I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I know, earth shattering confession to those that know me. Anyways, when it came to decorating the tree this year, Ian decided to have a pretty strong opinion about how the tree should look, and let's just say our "decorative tastes" are a wee bit different. It all started when I went out to the store and left Greg and Ian to start the lights. Greg is usually in charge of the lights and I'm the ornament hanger. Greg and I differ in Christmas Tree Decor also, I prefer clear lights and Greg likes the multi-colored ones, so we agreed years ago to alternate years. When I returned home from the store, Greg met me in the kitchen and told me that Ian wanted to do the lights by himself, so to brace myself. I tried to put my perfectionism in my pocket when I saw the tree, Ian was SO proud of himself! He had decided to do a mixture of clear and multi-colored (he told me that since they used the clear ones too this year, we could have multi-colored again next year as well, sneaky little monkey!), and as you can imagine, due to his height, there were about a million or so lights on the bottom (so many strands it was weighing the bottom branches down and leaving a big gap) and a sprinkling on the top that Greg had put on before Ian took over. It was hard, but I bit my tongue. I'm ashamed to admit that my mind immediately went to what we were going to do after Ian went to bed to fix it. When he was younger, that would have been fine, but he would surely notice now and he was so proud of his accomplishment! Greg had to snap me back to reality, he's good at that; and I'm so glad he did because seriously, when he's grown and out of the house, what am I going to remember; the year we had yet another "perfectly decorated tree"? No, I'll remember the year Ian used fourteen strands of lights on the bottom third of the tree, or the year he insisted on decorating the tree with pipe cleaners and feathers. They are only little once! We did end up adding one more strand of lights to the top though, with Ian's approval so the top would have a mix of clear and multi-color as well. Anyways, after I loosened up some, I ended up letting Ian have free reign of the ornaments as well, right down to the single strand of gold ribbon, the fore mentioned feather/pipe cleaner ornaments, and the brand new addition of a 9-volt battery tied to a string he insisted was the perfect ornament addition this year. It certainly didn't end up the way I envisioned, but it was perfect anyways. The memories made are what lasts, long after the tree is gone, right? Okay, on to the pictures!
Ana caught in the act trying to get into the water shortly after the tree went up!
Ian adding the solo strand of gold ribbon:
Ana enjoyed helping hanging the ornaments too, but more enjoyed taking them off after they were on!
Most of her time though, was spent giving Rudolph a new hairdo:
Just a couple of cuties, having fun (note Ian's "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" grin, I love it!):
The Fraize Family Christmas Tree for 2008 and it's creator, Ian
There are many blogs I follow by families with children adopted from Guatemala. One of the families is the Riggs family. They have a little girl named Abby who, at three years old, was diagnosed with a high-risk, aggressive form of Leukemia. Certain genetic complications have put her chance of surviving the treatment at about 20%. Two weeks ago, she started the most intense part of her treatment (and the portion she is least likely to survive), and has been in and out of the hospital with some pretty awful symptoms. Would you visit their blog and read about their little princess? They could really use your prayers!
The "You're Way Behind Blogging Beast" is sitting on my back and every day that passes he gets heavier and heavier! I'm going to try and catch up in little bites. Christmas this year was literally a blur. Between ice storms, power outages, my new "job" watching Stevie, Christmas just snuck up and bit me in the butt! I ended up doing all my shopping hurriedly online at the last minute, didn't get to do the activities with the kids I wanted to, and I was up almost all night Christmas Eve wrapping and preparing things. My quest for this year is to have shopping, crafting, and preparations done before the Christmas tree goes up. I want to enjoy, and be able to convey the real meaning of the season to my kids this year. It's a very exciting prospect!
Anyways, onto Christmas 2008 recap. First up, cutting down the tree:
When we moved here, there were four spruce trees on the side lawn that were peculiarly placed. We decided they would be our Christmas trees for our first four years here. Well this year we cut down the very last one, boo hoo! Anyways, we had just come home from Greg's work Christmas party (which rocked by the way and I'm still kicking myself for not bringing my camera! It was put on completely for the kids, amazing balloon artists, musicians, face painting, cookie decorating and crafts, way too much fun!!). We usually put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, but that weekend was so packed we had to push it off a week.
Ian was happy to help once he realized Greg had deemed him old enough to help with the clippers this year. Not sure why he thought perching himself on Greg's back was help, but it was cute anyways. I didn't get to pay total attention to the cutting process, because Ana was running a muck exploring the yard.
The only picture where I got Ana to actually look in my direction!
First, thank you all for your comments and stories on my last post! I won't say that I'm happy you all are experiencing crazy moments with your toddlers, because that just wouldn't be nice, but I will admit that I'm relieved that I'm not alone! Anyways, though she is a real monkey, she's still super duper cute even while she's creating all that chaos, and I count my blessings every day that our kids are two healthy, active, thriving children.
I thought I'd share how much Ana's vocabulary is exploding all of a sudden. Here's a list of the words she's using fairly consistently:
please - pees thank you - da doo mama dada brother - bra buh strawberries - dabees down - dow up - pa sometimes, but most of the time, down and up are the same. cracker - ca ca dance - de-as yes - yesss no - nu nu poop - bup juice (or any drink for that matter!) - doose shoes - doose snowman - nu mah snow - nu nu santa - ta ta more - muh bite - bise
She just started putting words together this past week, our days are now filled with a combination of the following phrases:
"ma ma pees!", "ma ma dow!", "ma ma doose!", "ca ca pees!", often these are strung together in a repetitive circuit gradually increasing in intensity!
Her most recent addition to her vocabulary is "bup" which means poop, and she's using it appropriately! She follows me into the bathroom all the time, chanting "bup, bup, bup", and attempts to pull her pants and diaper down. We have a small potty in there that she will then sit on and wait for me to be done, it's so funny! Well last night at my mother's house, she ran to the bathroom door saying "bup, bup, bup, bup!". Well we decided to indulge her and took her in, took off her diaper and sat her up on the big potty. She sat there forever, actually pushing with great concentration and ended up peeing in the potty! I was just really in shock that she even had a clue what to do, but she really seemed to get it. Of course, she then didn't want to get off for anything! I am by no means expecting to potty train her now, but if she wants to sit on the potty now and then, I'm not going to discourage her!
I don't expect Ian to have funny words anymore, but he does! It's cute when they come out, and I love the reminder that he's still a little boy no matter how big he seems sometimes! Here's a few that I can think of off the top of my head.
diagonal - diangle permanent - permadent gluteus maximus - gluteus maximum (thankfully he wasn't talking about anyone's in particular!)
The other day he told me that his friend Tyler is a "lubricant driver" in Mario Kart. I asked him what that meant and he told me that he drives really fast! I'm not really sure what he was meaning to say, but it did give me a good giggle! It does make sense theoretically, I guess!
Lastly, I can't believe I let the day slip by without mention, but January 10th marked the one year anniversary of our PGN OUT day! Ana has been with us for a little over 10 months now, simply amazing!
12:15am lumber up to bed (I hate going to bed when Greg isn't home, I put if off as long as I can!) 12:45am Ana wakes up screaming, I go in, and too tired to deal, bring her into bed with me. 2:30am Tired of eyeball poking and the incessant "mama, mama, mama, mama...." I tell her that she needs to go to her own bed. We rock for a bit, I put her down and get back into bed about 2:45. 3:14 Screaming again. I realize that even though at some level I knew the upset was over teething issues that I neglected to give her some Tylenol, so I do just that, and bring her back to my bed until it kicks in. 3:42 put her back in her bed because she is insistent on waking Ian by bashing him in the head with the cordless phone I am sleeping with (I told you I hate being home alone!) 3:59 more screaming. We rock for a little while longer, put her down and immediate screaming ensues. I'm done. I wrap her up in her blanket, swaddle style and bring her back to my bed, determined that she will keep her hands to herself. As my head hits the pillow, I hear a strange noise coming from the hallway...it's the dog. He's drinking out of the toilet. A pee pee filled toilet. I know this because after putting Ana in her bed the last time, I used it and was afraid to flush and get her going again. I'm too tired to care. Ana finally falls asleep and I don't feel or hear another thing until 6:15 when my alarm goes off. 7:15 peel myself out of bed after hitting the snooze button repeatedly over the past hour, and reluctantly start my day with a headache for the second day in a row.
Is your 18 month old wreaking havoc on your house? I am feeling seriously overwhelmed this week. A big part of it has to do with the fact that my dear husband left at o' dark thirty on Sunday morning to go to Seattle for work, but Ana is PURE TROUBLE! Seriously, she goes from one thing to the next. While I'm picking up from one incident she has already moved on to the next. It's 10:30 in the morning and she hasn't touched a single toy, only things that she's not supposed to touch. This age sticks out in my mind as being hard when Ian was younger but I really don't remember this much naughtiness!! Now, it's been 6 years since he was that age, so maybe I'm just not fully remembering, I don't know. All I do know is that this week I feel like pulling my own hair out might be more fun than dealing with monkey pants here. My house is a mess (which only makes everything worse; more for her to get into, and just an immediate feeling of chaos when I get up in the morning), I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water here. Sorry for the negativity. I swear I will catch up someday, it just won't be today. As I finally get around to posting this, Ana is clinging to my leg crying because I yelled at her. Why did I yell? She finished her lunch and I let her down out of her high chair, and while I was emptying the left overs into the trash (so Milo won't knock the tray off the high chair spilling food all over the kitchen AGAIN), she makes a bee line for the baby who is sleeping soundly in the living room (which was a feat in and of itself, he was completely sure he didn't need to sleep today) and sees it her duty to wake him up by probing his eyelids. Here's to yet another nap time countdown day.
Well, I made it 4 whole days. Oh well. I suppose there are worse things I could have not kept up on; like feeding the children for example, in which case I did okay, really! Anyways, I'm not letting my lapse defeat me, I'll just continue on. I'll admit, the whole getting back to reality yesterday really threw me for a loop. Ian is having a hard time getting back into the swing of getting up for school, which is due mostly to his difficulty falling asleep at an appropriate hour. It's not like we've been letting him stay up late all vacation; maybe a day here or there for a holiday party, or a Christmas special, but mostly we've kept up on the bedtime schedule. He's just having a hard time settling down at night; still laying wide awake at 9:00 sometimes 10:00. Then there's the whole wee hours waking to climb into bed with mum and dad that he still does nearly every night. All of which equals a tired, crabby Ian in the morning. I'm sure we'll get back in the swing of things eventually, I hope so anyways! I'll close with some first grade drama. When Ian got off the bus yesterday, he told me there were three things he was mad about. Before he could tell me, my neighbor came over to talk to Ian (she realized that he had noticed our other neighbors boys were coming to her house until their mother got home from a doctor's appointment) and told him that it wasn't a play date, that they would only be there for a few minutes until Nancy got home. That if it was a play date, Ian would most definitely be invited! When she walked away, Ian said, "Okay, I only have two things I'm mad about now!". He then went on to inform me that there was a new student in his class. He said that he (Ian) used to be the smartest fastest kid in his class, but this new girl was taking his place. He was pretty grumpy that she was able to finish her math faster than him. The second thing was that there was an uneven number of boys and girls and that one of the tables had to have three girls and one boy, and that, you guessed it, he's the one boy at that all girl table (one of which is the new girl who is beating him out in math!). He told Greg the same thing at bedtime and Greg and I had a good giggle over it. Greg told him that Mrs. Dobson must have a lot of faith in him that he will be nice and respectful and help the new student settle in. Today he came home and informed me that he thinks the new girl (lets call her E), might just be one of his new best friends. All because they are both speedy at math...ahhhh young love!
It was so nice today to have a little time where we weren't running around to actually accomplish something. We spent the day trying to do some organizing. I got some of Ian and Ana's out grown clothes sorted, got some more of our unused clothes into bags to donate, and finally got some drawer handles on Ian's dresser we painted several weeks ago. The most exciting thing though was the removal of the living room clutter collector we called our computer desk. We have always had the computer in the living room, on a desk in the back corner. Some time ago, we moved the printer and computer up above the garage in what is slowly becoming my craft room leaving the laptop attached to a monitor and a keyboard on the living room desk. It was nice for a while, it was much less bulky than the "normal" computer setup. But ever since Ana has become mobile, she has been making me crazy getting at the computer; tapping away at the keyboard, playing with the mouse, fussing with the wires under the desk, and getting at all the goodies that were stashed in the side drawer. It got to the point that I literally taped the drawer and cabinet closed to save my sanity! Anyways, after our monitor recently bit the dust and we discovered that Ana had somehow managed to reach up and rip the Caps Lock key off the lap top keyboard, I convinced Greg to help me ditch the desk entirely! We still have the computer set up above the garage (where I am currently typing), and the lap top can be used with the wireless connection anywhere else in the house. I am SO excited to have that desk out of the living room! It had become a place to put all the stuff that Ana finds and brings to me (or more likely the things that I have to fish out of her mouth) and was constantly a cluttery mess so it feels so clean to have it gone! Now I just have to figure out how to use the empty space!
I swear I will get some real posts in, but it's just been so busy! I stayed up super late last night making little purses for my sister and sister-in-law, got up at the crack of dawn to felt said purses, wrapped, then was off to do the remainder of my shopping. Then it was home to get the kids ready and we were off! It's almost 10:00 and we're exhausted, and I just want to fall into bed, but I will be catching up with posts and pictures over the next week, there's so much to cover! So check back, I promise it will not be this boring much longer!
Not much time to blog tonight. I'm getting ready for Christmas with my family tomorrow since Mike and Michelle were in Michigan this year, and I'm not remotely ready for it. I told you Christmas was hectic for me this year!! Anyways, just wanted to share a little something that made me smile tonight. For my birthday, Steve and Amy gave me a gift certificate to The Holy Grail, a restaurant in the town we grew up in that was converted out of the old Catholic Church. It's so yummy, and Greg and I went out to use the certificate tonight for dinner. We dropped the kids off at Mimi and Bumpa's house (thanks guys!) and were on our way. I had my mind set on a nice glass of wine with dinner, but when I ordered it, I was carded! I haven't been carded in years so I was a bit surprised, and to top it off, I realized that I had left my license in checkbook that was sitting on the dining room table, oops! So it was diet coke for me! The waitress was apologetic, but I thanked her for the compliment! Let's just ignore the fact that I think they are required to card if you look under 40, shall we?!
I can't believe 2008 is gone already! To celebrate the coming of 2009, (and because I'm once again woefully behind on blogging) I am again joining the NaBloPoMo challenge committing myself to post every day for the month of January. I really enjoyed it in November, and am excited to give it another go! The theme for January is CHANGE, and though blogging on theme is not required, and I certainly won't stay on topic for the full month, there certainly has been a lot of change for our family this year! Last year at this time, we were so anxiously awaiting Ana's file to be released from PGN. I remember waking up on New Years morning feeling in my heart that 2008 was the year we would bring another child into our family, but feeling so stressed out that we were still in PGN and facing the changes that were occurring in the Guatemalan adoption process. I can honestly say that at the time I wasn't sure Ana was going to come home, and it makes me tense up just to go back and read the posts from that time! I am continually in awe of where this year has taken us. Even after Ana came home, the way she has grown and changed not only physically but emotionally from the quiet little 8 month old we brought home to the rambunctious 18 month wreaking havoc on our house today, it's simply amazing. Really, I could go on and on about the changes the year has brought, but frankly, it would take far too much energy and I'll spare you the length for now. Let's look to the new year, shall we? In 2009, there are several things that I want to accomplish:
Get Healthier! This includes regular exercise and eating well, I'm not focusing on losing weight, only on gaining health!
Plant a garden. I've been wanting to do this since we moved in here. At our old house, we had a garden one year, and I've been aching to do it again. There's even a little plot out behind the house that I've prepped every year, but my perfectionism always gets the best of me and I never get to the point of actually planting. Well, this is the year! It may not be much, but you have to start somewhere, right?
Work on gifts for Christmas starting NOW! I am determined to enjoy Christmas Eve this year! This past Christmas was so hectic, and I really don't feel like I was able to enjoy it fully. I think with little Stevie starting right at the beginning of December, my world was thrown for a loop as far as getting out for shopping and such. I had really good intentions, and I wanted to do a lot of hand made things this year, but time just got away from me! Oh, and those Christmas cards? Yeah, still sitting in the drawer to go out (and I do still intend to send them!) Well, I'm starting now to work on gifts for next Christmas, my goal is to be finished by Thanksgiving! Hey crafting buddies, ready for a crafting date?
Use my crafting to help others. When I was searching for a doll pattern to make for Ana for Christmas, I found a pattern that a woman posted for charity use and it really got me thinking about what I could use my crafting to do. There are hundreds of knitting, crochet, and sewing projects that can benefit many different charities, and I'm committed to choose at least one this year to participate in.
I'm pretty sure there were a couple more, but my mind is mush at the moment and I really want to get this posted!
Oh, I forgot that I can now make a very important announcement that I've been holding onto for over a month now! One of the big changes to our family this year was the addition of my nephew. Well, 2009 holds the promise of yet another addition; my sister announced at Thanksgiving that she and her husband are expecting their first child, due August 2nd! How exciting is that?!
We have been married for twelve years. We have three children; Ian is our spunky 10 year old son, Ana is our beautiful yet sassy 4 year old daughter, and our Coopie Monster is already 2 years old! Life is good!
Oct '06 - attended adoption meeting Dec 26 '06 - mailed application Jan 23 '07 - 1st SW meeting Feb 6 '07 - 2nd SW meeting Feb 20 '07 - SW home visit Mar '07 - received homestudy rpt April 24 '07 - fingerprinting appts May '07 - domestic match/fail mid May '07 - received CIS I-797C June 14 '07 - dossier to agency July 1 - Ana is born Aug 6 '07 - referral of Ana Sept 17 '07 - DNA results, a match! Oct 2 '07 - received PA Oct 4 '07 - out of family court Oct 4 - 9 - visit trip Oct 19 - mis comm. still in FC Nov 5 - entered PGN Jan 10 '08 - OUT of PGN!! Feb 13 '08 - New Birth Certificate Feb 20 '08 - DNA at lab Feb 27 '08 - DNA at Embassy! Feb 29 '08 -PINK!! Embassy date - 3/13/'08 Home forever March 17th!!!