Saturday, December 18, 2010

Preston is 6

A little late posting (it's that time of year!) He had a nice 6th birthday on Wednesday. We were supposed to hit the Great Wolf Lodge on Thursday night and the kids were going to skip school Friday, but Mike hurt his back so we had to reschedule to January. Preston did pick out his candy cane cake, opened gifts and we ordered Outback for dinner. His favorite present was Orbeez. Caden loves Orbeez too. Not sure what the fascination is with these things, but it keeps them busy for a while!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This photo is to blame

I am almost positive this beach photo is to blame for the rash decision to remove the locs. I just ordered it from our photographer and it came in the mail this week. Seeing it reminded me how much I miss her afro/headband style! Hopefully, after getting these locs out, she'll have some hair left on her head for an afro!

Four hours in...

And only 15 locs out. About 200 left. Yes, I am taking Avery's Sisterlocs out. I know, what a waste of time, and as my husband likes to frequently remind me (MONEY!) but I really thought I would love these. They ARE so convenient. I haven't had to lay a finger on her hair since we got them put in. We went for one re-tightening session and that was also very uneventful and easy.

But, from day one I was not in love at all with how they looked on her. I thought after a few months time they would grow a little, and therefore grow on me, but they haven't. (They have grown a little....but haven't grown on me!) I miss her afro poof hair, pig-tails and fancy beads. And, until the locs grow for another 1-2 years there was really nothing I could do with them. Nothing at all.

So, we spend four hours today trying to work those little locs out. WHAT A PAIN but they are coming out little by little. I would guess it takes 5-10 minutes per loc and we have at least 200 more to get out. I plan on doing 5-10 each day, so yes, we should be done by the time she can drive.

Anyway, I think she just looks more like "Avery" with her hair the way it used to be. My husband thinks I have lost my mind but he is used to my antics. So, he gave me a fuss for just a little while. So I am praying.....

1. That I can get them all out
2. I won't want them put back in as soon as I am finshed! :)

So that battle with hair continues...and Monique (our hair girl) is SOOO not going to be happy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What happened between 8 and 9?

Last year, Caden was 8 years old and was SO into the Elf on the Shelf. We do Elf on the Shelf "against the rules" at our house as I let the kids (GASP!) touch and hold their elves. They sleep with them, carry them around, etc. Preston even brought his to school today (Yes, all the other parents will soon hate me.) Anyway, last year every morning both boys BELIEVED in the magical elves and were so excited to see where they were hiding each morning.

Fast forward to this year, Caden is convinced I am the one hiding the elves. The elves are not magical, and he is going to prove it. He is planning on hiding his own elf, where I can't find it. That way he'll know if the elf doesn't hide again, it's because I have not been able to find it.

He also no longer believes in Santa. I'll take some of the blame for that one. He asked me if Santa Claus was real. I said, "Yes he's real!" and Caden said he knew I was lying and that he was well aware Santa was not real. So he said, just tell me the truth. I want you to tell me the truth about Santa because all my friends already know that Santa isn't real. So I said, "Fine, you're right, Santa isn't real." He started to cry. So, I quickly said, "Just kidding, he's real!" as I felt so bad he was upset to hear that Santa was indeed pretend. But, seems there is no going back as he still insists Santa does not exist because "I" told him so!

Why was last year so simple and this year so complicated!? What happens in a boy's brain between 8-9 years old? UGH!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

List of Averyisms

So a few months ago, Avery could barely put two words together. Honestly, from January 2010 until October 2010, we saw very little improvement in her language. It was really starting to stress us and for lack of a better word, it got a little annoying. Not that she could help it, but day in and day out, she would babble and it got so frustrating having no way of understanding her.

Well, the past couple weeks I have noticed a pretty big improvement. Mind you, at least 30% of what she says, even I can't understand. But here is a list of phrases that she uses regularly that "I" can understand. Not sure most people could, but I am starting to learn the language of Avery I guess.

"I like that" or "I want that"
"I have to go pee pee"
"Avery nite nite"
"Preston stop"
"No hitting" and "no whining"
"Grandma loves you ---which means Grandma loves me (Avery)"
"Mommy loves you" "Daddy loves you"
"Where's Papa? Work?"
"I'm three"
"Mommy nice" "Daddy nice"
"Drink please"
"Put that away"
"Can you read this?"
"Can you help me?"
"Wash hands"
"Yummmmmmmm"--her response to all food commercials

"I went"---her response to anything I tell her to go do
"Who me?"----her new favorite phrase
"Avery eat!"----the first words out of her mouth when she gets up in the morning
"Mommy running"
"Baby crying"
"I hungry"
"Pizza"---her response to what's her favorite food
"Haiti"---her response to where are you from
"Love you mom"---my favorite

Proud Mom even if it has to do with Duke

So, at the risk of sounding like an annoying bragging Mom, I need to post how PROUD I am of our 9 year old. He received a letter home from the principal yesterday that he was selected for the Duke University Gifted and Talented Program (which I have never heard of.) It was funny because as he was rushing off to school this morning, he said oh's something my teacher gave me yesterday. I opened it up and said, Cade, this is a big deal! Do you know what this is? He said not really! So I proceeded to explain it too him and he said, oh cool.

I would have to, very cool.

Anyway, I know some day he'll read this blog and I want him to know how proud we all are of him. He works VERY hard on his school work and we are happy for him that his time/effort is paying off. Oh yeah, and we're Big East Fans and Big East Fans are NOT Duke fans. College basketball season is upon us and Duke is ranked #1 (BLAGH)....However, Duke may be growing on me just a little! :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

DMB in Buckhead

I didn't figure out the surprise trip ahead of time and it turned out GREAT! We ended up at the Dave Matthews Band Concert in Buckhead, Georgia. Mike had to attend a work related meeting there so it worked out to combine the concert into that. On the way there, he hinted at where we were going. I said, "I sure hope we are not heading to a concert!" as I had pictured myself lounging by a pool sipping on a margarita at a spa all day. A concert didn't sound at all relaxing (I have nightmares of attending a Van Halen Concert with him and not getting my hearing back for a week.) But, once it sunk in I was really looking forward to it. Especially since we hadn't been to a DMB concert since college and he is not touring next year.

We ate dinner at Dante's Down the Hatch which has an old pirate ship interior complete with a real crocodile swimming around the tables. The food is fondue style which is my favorite. It was good, a little overpriced, but that's how those fondue places are. We could walk there from our hotel (the Ritz-Carlton....more on that in a second) and also walk to the MARTA which we took to the concert.

So, when we checked into our original hotel, they asked us if we would move 2 blocks down the road because they had overbooked. At first we said, naaa, don't think so as we were already running a bit late and wanted to get settled in. But as the manager explained it would be a free night and at the Ritz-Carlton. Oh, well, now that's different! So we easily accepted that offer. Now, he did fail to mention just parking our car at the Ritz was $32 a night and ordering a hamburger and side salad would cost $43, but at least our room was FREE. I had no idea what it costs to stay there but I looked it up online and the rates are $389-$2700 per night. It is a five diamond place. I personally thought our room smelled weird, but supposedly it's one of top 25 hotels in the entire country. I wouldn't ever pay $389 to stay there but apparently someone does.

It was awesome to get away for the night (thanks again to Grandma) and she said the boys had perfect behavior. Avery was probably Avery, but she is only 3 so she can get away with it for now! :) Came home to Preston wiping out down our neighbor's driveway on his bike. Back to reality in a hurry!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sports and Super Heros

Christmas lists reveal a lot about our kids. We have one sports (soccer) fanatic, one super hero fan and one who wants every toy on TV!

Caden's Christmas List
Ronaldo Soccer Jersey
New Soccer Cleats
Indoor Soccer Shoes
Soccer Ball
Lacrosse Stick and Head
Phiten Tornado Necklace
Preston's Christmas List
Star Wars Footed Pajamas
Star Wars Wii Game
Batman Shirt
Iron Man Suit of Armor
Nerf Gun
Black Converse Sneakers

Avery's Christmas List

Every toy on the shelf ("I want that!")

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where are we going?

Below are three hints I have been given as to where Mike is taking me overnight next week. I have searched the internet and can not figure out where we are headed. Which is fine, I love surprises...but there is also something in me that loves the challenge of figuring out surprises too! I hope I don't solve it because I am the hardest person to surprise and I hate it. I LOVE surprises but it's rare that anyone can pull one off. But, we'll see if I get this one figured out by Tuesday. Oh, and it must be within driving distance and for only 1 night because of Caden's insulin pump (we can not be too far away....)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Avery's 1st Halloween

Dressed as a bumble bee, Avery got really into it and went trick-or-treating to as many houses as her brothers did. Which was 2 hours worth and she walked the entire time lugging her heavy candy bucket . She didn't quite get the fact that she couldn't eat the candy from each house right there on the spot. She didn't want to keep it for later. She also didn't understand why she had to go to house after house...."I WENT" was her response when I said let's go to another house!

The boys were supposed to be bugs too, but Preston messed that plan up and had to be a punk rocker. He was hilariously funny at a costume contest they entered at the Renaissance Festival. The director said, show everyone what a rocker does...and Preston says "Rock on Peeps" with his hands making those rocker signs up in the air (see photos.) The crowd cracked up. We thought for sure he won a prize, but they ended up giving almost all the prizes to adults which we thought was rediculous. Why are adults entering a children's costume contest?

I must say I am more than OVER Halloween at this point. Preston wore his costume for four days (and nights) straight and I am really sick of monitoring candy intake. They did set aside about 3/4 of their candy to send to the troops at Operation Gratitude...but that still leaves a good amount to hide from them and hope they forget about. They got really into packaging up the candy for the troops. Caden wrote a letter to put in the box and Preston colored some pictures of fish and octopus (random) and put those in as well. Caden is hoping to get a response, but I am thinking it's probably unlikely.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween. Up next...Thanksgiving! Is it really already November?

Friday, October 22, 2010

4th grade ain't what it used to be

Every year as Caden advances to the next grade in school, I am always suprised at what they cover (in comparison to what we did WAY back when.) They seem to be covering topics at least 1-2 years earlier than when I was in school. I remember in Kindergarten, he was introduced to fractions. And now in the forth grade, he is on to writing papers that 4-6 paragraphs long, using confusing vocabulary words, and college level math! :) Really, many of my juniors in college would not be able to solve his math problems. This week, he was working on a math superstars sheet. Math Superstars is an optional program that we choose to participate in. One of the rules is parents can not help the student solve the problems. Well, Caden had left one problem with three parts to it completely blank. I can't stand him turing in unanswered I "thought" I would discreetly steer him in the right direction to just get him started. One hour later (and I am an Ivy League graduate!) I was still solving the problem myself...set aside finding a way to explain it to him!

His spelling words this week included: Resounded, Lingered, Inspecting....not hard to spell, but he had to use them in a sentence as part of his homework. As I checked his work I giggled a little after reading his attempt at using these words correctly. "I was not INSPECTING to get a dog for Christmas." and "My voice was RESOUNDED in music class." Made me laugh, and I didn't even try to correct him. I mean really, does it matter if a 9 year old can use the word resounded correctly?

Anyway, it's only October, so I can only imagine what he'll be doing by the end of the year...I feel like I am back in school again too!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Reality

This blog has focused mainly on Avery and bringing her home from Haiti. It was a way that I could feel like some sort of progress was being made when our adoption stood still for 2 years. Posting updated photos we occassionally received from her orphanage, or posting the smallest tidbit of news, made all the difference when we continued to wait and wait.

Suddenly, she literally flew into our world without but a weeks warning after the earthquake hit Haiti. Everything was a whirlwind, and to some extent continues to be. And, through that chaos the boys have remained calm, loving and my rocks. They accepted Avery as their sister from the moment she stepped her little toe into our home. I expected some sort of reaction like "she doesn't seem like our sister" or "we just met her, so how can she be our sister?" but we never got any of that. And, much to my surprise, we continually heard "I love Avery" and "Avery is the cutest little girl in the world!" Now, that time has passed, and she has found ways to press their buttons, I am not hearing those statements as often, but the love that is there is stronger than I imagined it to be at this point.

Adopting has not been easy. Accepting a stranger (I had only met Avery once for 3 days and Mike never) as our own was definitely something neither of us had ever experienced before. The love was different than it was (as expected) after giving birth to our boys, and we both struggled (or still struggle) with how it felt or feels "different." I think we were both caught off guard about how we felt once Avery was here, and we felt overwhelmed with all that had changed in our family. Adopting is not easy and admitting that is not easy either, it's hard to do. Sometimes I feel like people are thinking "'re the ones that signed up for this!" and therefore we might be reluctant to express the reality of adoption. I am sure it's easier for some families than others, but I will venture to say that all families go through adjustments they couldn't predict until they were in the midst of the experience.

As the months have passed, Avery has become a part of our family. Are we still adjusting? Yes, of course. It's like when you bring a new born baby home and all you picture are cuddles, cooing and cute baby booties. And, no one talks about how you feel when you're sleep deprived, when your baby is screaming for hours on end, and how much your lives will be completely changed forever. Same thing goes for adoption. There have been days, where I think "did we do the right thing?" It was so easy before as a family of four. Having a toddler arrive unexpectedly from a third world country, who doesn't speak any language, requires lots of extra attention, takes a ton of patience (still working on that!) is very overwhelming.

Anyway, not really sure where I am going with this post....but one thing I do know is how the children, our children, have come through this experience seemingly unscathed. All three...Avery, Caden, and Preston. Have they had to make adjustments, had lows/highs, argued and cried? Yes. But overall, the three of them relate to one another as if they had have been siblings for years. The boys never go to bed without first going to Avery's room and kissing her goodnight. If Avery looks sad, they are not going to rest without asking her what's wrong. Big brother Caden likes to protect her, and Preston likes to tell on her....typical sibling stuff.

I guess it's just so interesting to watch their relationship grow and learn from how well children adapt to new situations. I find myself easily stressed out and distracted by the little things, over analyzing everything, when really I should take a deep breath and just look at those 3 beautiful faces and know that everything is just as it should be.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Sisterlocks Experience

An experience it was. First of all, we had to be there at 8am. So we rushed to get there on time, and I had forgo my Starbuck's because we had no time to stop. (And, I had to go empty the ATM on the way as they only take cash.) Monique was running late, (I could of gotten my coffee afterall) and as soon as we got there I realized I forgotten to bring something for me to read or do. UGH. I thought I would sit and read for 5 hours while Avery got her hair done. So I was madder than mad that I showed up empty handed. Yeah right. I didn't sit down for the entire 5 hour appt. I got to stand in one spot and hold Avery's head still (or try to) for five hours straight. My lower back started to ache, my arm started to shake (and will be sore tomorrow) and we had Dora blaring on the TV. Not exactly what I had in mind.

First three hours went well, although slow going. I kept eyeing the clock and looking at the progress and it seemed as if we would not finish by 1pm. Those locks take FOREVER to put in. You can read more them here. Avery sat somewhat still although I had to entertain her and/or feed her constantly. She ate 3 lollipops, 1 pack chewies (not only did we spend a lot of money on hair, I was also gearing up for spending a bunch of money on filling her cavities), 1 banana, 1/2 PB sandwich, 1 cereal bar and 1/2 Egg McMuffin. She played with books, her toy computer, silly bands, stickers, and my phone. All of which completely failed to interest her after the 4th hour. But, still, pretty darn good for a three year old.

Avery showed the stylists some Iphone photos of her with bead/braids in that I did in the past. Let's just say they had no comment. Even the lady next to us who was getting her hair re-tightened giggled a little.

I also learned we have to treat her locks/scalp with Seabreeze. This suprised me so I asked "The stuff you wipe on your face?" And yes, that's the stuff. Strange! We also bought some special spray they use at the salon and we can't wash her hair or get it wet until we go back around Thanksgiving! By next summer, her hair will be able to get wet. Not sure why it can't get wet now, but I didn't want to ask too many more stupid questions.

All in all I am pleased with the results. I knew what they would look like beforehand because we did our research online and Monique (the stylist) has Sisterlocks. Personally, I am not in love with the look of Sisterlocks (in comparison to her Afro poof hair) but it's much more practical and healthier for her hair. It will not break or get damaged and once it grows we can pull it up in pigtails, braid it, put beads on, etc. For now, it just looks a little crazy and free, but she's only 3 and it looks cute and quirky. Or, as Preston says "She looks like she has a bunch of noodles on her head!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Avery's Hair---The Night before Sisterlocks

Just washed, conditioned, detangled and combed Avery's hair for what might be the LAST time for a while if all goes as planned! Not that I dislike combing her hair (okay maybe a little), it will only do something after it's been washed/conditioned. And, everyone says you can't wash her hair more than 1 time per week or not even that often. So for the remaining days of the week, it is a big knotted mess. We tried yarn braids, getting braids at a salon, puffs, etc. and nothing lasts longer than a dayor two. Her hair immediately looks fuzzy and messy. The ladies at the salon said with the type of hair she has, that's just the way it's going to be.

So, they recommended Sisterlocks. I have to admit, never heard of them and I am still not completely sure I love they way they look. But, there is minimal upkeep, they protect the hair, and allow the hair to grow. Although, you can't take out Sisterlocks, so once they're in they're in (unless you chot them off!) So, I pray we like them and we like them A LOT! Because they sure aren't cheap, and they take HOURS to put in. The hair stylist is estimating 5 hours for Avery's hair and that's because she is a child with very short hair. I have read online for some people it took 3 days to put them in.

Anyway, I going to miss her natural "afro" hair with headband, but that style is just not realistic for her. It requires multiple comb-outs per day which results in lots of breakage (and we have tried every tons of products, combs, silk wraps, etc.), and her whimpering through the process.

Hopefully, I'll be able to bribe her with enough lollipops tomorrow to get her through a 5 hour span...and if so, we'll post photos when we're finished!

What are Sisterlocks?
Sisterlocks are tiny uniform locks that are the result of a precision parting grid, and the use of a specialized tool that places the hair into its locking formation. The Sisterlocks method does not require the use of waxes or jells. The small size and parting grid form a lock that is easily styled.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Caden's Application to Children's Congress 2011

What is Children's Congress?

Every two years, JDRF International Chairman Mary Tyler Moore and over a hundred children with type 1 diabetes gather in Washington, D. C. to meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. government. The children, ages 4 to 17, represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As participants in JDRF's Children's Congress, they have a unique and empowering opportunity to help Members of Congress understand what life with type 1 diabetes is like and why research to find the cure for diabetes and its complications is so critical.

Children's Congress will take place on June 20-22, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Caden (with help from Mom) sent in a his application yesterday. He won't find out until early 2011 if he is selected. Here is his letter.

Dear Member of Congress:
Hello. My name is Caden and I am 9 years old. I have had Type I diabetes for over 7 years, as I was diagnosed with diabetes before I turned 2 years old. I have a 5 year old brother, Preston, and a 3 year old sister, Avery. They are really lucky because they don’t have diabetes like I do. They get to eat more desserts than I get to, and sometimes I don’t mind. But, sometimes I do mind and it feels unfair.

When I got diabetes, my parents said I started to lose weight, was drinking way too much and my diapers kept falling onto the ground. My mom took me to the doctor and they sent me straight to the hospital. My mom said the doctor was crying when she said I had Type I diabetes. I don’t remember being diagnosed, or spending the night in the hospital, but I do know my mom said she was very scared. I am lucky because my mom is a dietitian and she knows a lot about how to take care of me. I am also very lucky because this year a new student started at my school with Type I diabetes and we get to walk the nurse’s office together. We also get to sit together in class and we play together after school. I don’t remember what life was like without diabetes but I am sure it was a lot of fun not having to worry about my blood sugar levels all day. Sometimes I get really mad and sad at the same time because it’s not fair that I have diabetes and almost all my friends don’t. I don’t get to go to sleepovers and I need to visit the school nurse 2-3 times a day. Sometimes I miss out on important things in class if I don’t feel well.

My life is different than most kids my age. I check my blood sugar every few hours and sometimes I don’t feel well if my sugar goes too low or too high. This summer when we were out of town, my pump broke. Then my mom accidentally gave me too much insulin in a shot and 911 was called. The ambulance crew came but I was fine. I got to drink a lot of juice and the crew gave me a fire truck Silly Band! I was really scared and my mom looked really panicked and she was crying and running around in circles. This made me even more scared and my stomach started to hurt really bad. It all turned out ok. I do wear an insulin pump but sometimes it doesn’t work right and it’s not the same as a cure. Sometimes kids ask me how I got diabetes and if I ate too much candy or junk food. They don’t understand that Type I diabetes is out of my control and I didn’t do anything to get it. It’s hard to explain to other kids how I got diabetes because I don’t really understand how or why I got it either.

I have tried each year to raise money for a Cure for Diabetes. The first walk I completed was in 2004, when I was two years old and I raised more than $5000. My school raises a lot of money for diabetes every year and I always walk with my class around our school track to help raise money for kids to attend diabetes camps. I have gone to a diabetes camp every summer for the past four summers. It’s my favorite camp because everyone there is just like me. And the doctors make us really great food which is all nutritious. Plus, we swim, climb a rock wall, and make kites.

A cure needs to be found for Type I diabetes. I have had it my whole life and I might have health problems that come from having diabetes for so many years. I am scared about that. I would love to live part of my life not attached to a pump and know what it’s like to be free of diabetes. I hope you’ll read my story and do what you can to help find a CURE for kids like me. I am a really well-behaved boy, and I love school. I try my hardest every day to do my best at whatever it is I am doing. Someday I want to be a marine biologist or a professional soccer player. I deserve a CURE. I deserve a chance to be just like everyone else!

Thank you, Ms. Congressman, for reading my story and doing everything you can to help find a cure for me and others who have diabetes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blowing Rock

This weekend the weather was just perfect. Sunny, high in the 70's, fall has finally arrived. After a miserably hot, humid summer we have been trying to spend more time outside. This past summer was basically useless as far as outdoor activities are concerned (other than the pool.)

Saturday, Caden had two soccer games which were 3 hours apart. The first game they lost, so we were hoping for a better second game. After waiting it out for the second game to start, the other team no showed. Ugh. Very annoying. Could of headed to the mountains a whole lot earlier!

Granny and Aunt Kathy came for a weekend visit so we took them to Blowing Rock, our favorite mountain town. Unfortunately, the leaves haven't even started to change yet, but it is always a beautiful ride. Our kids love it there. It was Art in the Park weekend, so the line for Kilwin's Ice Cream was out the door, down the sidewalk to the next corner. And yes, we still waited!

We all enjoyed dinner at Canyon's and came home to watch Invictus, which I thought was incredibly boring.

Now it's back the Monday morning routine, and I just realized I am out of coffee filters. UGH!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tooth Fairy makes a visit!

The tooth fairy made an early morning visit to Preston today. He lost he first tooth last night, age 5 3/4. Caden was almost 8 years old when he lost his first one, so Preston seemed super young to me to be losing a tooth. BUT, when I volunteered in his classroom last week I noticed some kids had many of their permanent teeth already in and this is in kindergarten! So guess he wasn't so early after all. Caden must have just been super late.

Anyway, Preston got $2.00 which didn't thrill him in the least. But I told him later today we can go buy TWO packs of gum and that made his day (he loves to buy gum.)

Here he is showing off the new little gap in his mouth!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Mike and I got to go overnight to a winery this past weekend. I wanted it to be an extra great time since we only go overnight once or twice a year at the most. Saturday morning we decided to watch Caden's soccer games and it was about 100 degrees out. So, already I was a bit grumpy, knowing I am leaving drenched in sweat. We got a late start after having lunch and running a couple errands, and didn't get to the winery until late afternoon. Still sweating we didn't have time to shower, because the winery closes around 5:30pm. We wandered around aimlessly for about 20 min before figuring out what or where we were supposed to be. We tasted 5 wines each (which took about 10 minutes) and then didn't know what else to do. We weren't really interested in doing a tour as we just wanted to just sit and drink wine and relax. But, there was only a spot to do that outside (where it was 90degrees and infested with mosquitos.) We stayed at a "fancy" Hampton Inn, but it wasn't as nice as some I have stayed and it overlooked I-77. Two cool things did happen that day (I am really getting desperate here..) Heard our wedding song on the radio that morning, and considering it's from '91, we never hear it on the radio anymore. And, on the picnic table at the winery, there was a heart with Tracy & Michael carved on it.

So anyway, so much for that. Sometimes things don't go as planned but we're over it. Hopefully we'll go another weekend and this time go somewhere with a bit more to do, or somewhere that is more relaxing. It poured rain all the way home, just to top it all off!

This weekend we are hoping to head to Blowing Rock (one of our favorite mountain towns.) Granny and Aunt Kathy are coming to town from NY, so hopefully soccer will end early enough on Saturday that we can head up for some cool mountain weather. Supposed to only be in the 70's here this weekend, so that means 60's in the mountains...Love it!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This week...

Both boys are absolutely loving school this year. I would say for Caden, it's been his favorite grade so far. I am not exactly sure why. He has a planner and a folding binder thing for all his assignments arranged by subject (all students have this) so I think he enjoys the responsibility of staying organized. This is surprising to me, because he is not usually very organized or neat but this year he is taking it all very seriously. The other day in class, he thought he lost an assignment, and he said his stomach sank to the ground. Poor guy...he gets so uptight about the little things.

Caden also had a
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy done earlier this week. He has had stomach pain on and off for at least 6 months so we're trying to get to the bottom of it. It is possible he has celiac disease (very common in Type I diabetics) so we'll have to deal with that should that be the problem. The doctor took biopsies of his stomach and intestine, and we'll get those results next week. He did get put to sleep for the procedure and he did great. Woke up a little groggy, but other than that he felt fine. Here he is after the procedure enjoying some hospital pancakes. The worst part about the whole thing was we had to be in the city by 5:30am, which meant waking up at 4:30am...

Preston is enjoying kindergarten, although he always saying how annoying some kids are, etc. I keep telling him, kids are kids, and kindergarters act silly sometimes, but he doesn't seem to get that. He is his big brother's clone. The are both like little grumpy old men sometimes. Also he gets a little bent outta shape if he is quiet in line and the teacher doesn't notice, but she notices someone else being quiet. Again, I have to keep reminding him to just keep behaving and she'll notice because she only has 2 eyes and can't see everyone at once. I think he is still adjusting to having 25 kids in one room and still sorting through all the various personalities. And of course, his favorite things about school so far are: recess, lunch and PE. So typical!

Avery is having a good week, and I feel like she is growing an inch a day. I am 100% sure she will be taller than any of us. She is talking a little more each week and going to speech therapy once per week. I am stressing out about everything we have left to do to not only complete her adoption but also to get her US citizenship. There are a billion forms we need to fill out, some hefty fees involved, and a visit to a Civil Surgeon? I just need to get this all sorted out. But its just so overwhelming I keep putting it aside.

This weekend, Grandma is in charge as Mike and I are getting away for 1 night. We haven't been away from these kids much at all since the New Year, and well, we are in need of a break. So we are heading to a winery not too far away for some peace and quiet! I haven't posted much to this point about the ups and downs of adopting, and I won't get into it now... But, it's definitely challenging at times, I think we both have realized we need to make sure we find time away from it all occassionally!

Thank God for Grandma's! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Much better than the version we posted a few months ago! Yeah Avery!

That Smile

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Avery Turns 3!

One day late on blogging, our Avery turned 3 yesterday! She was really excited, although a bit overwhelmed when everyone sang to her. I have video of it, I'll post later, she looked like she was going to burst into tears at any second when we sang "Happy Birthday!" When she gets nervous she plays with her fingers, so I could tell she was slightly overwhelmed. Of course, she LOVED her cupcakes and opening gifts. Every gift she opened, she would say "MINE!" She does not want to part or share any of her new toys, which is understandable. She never had an official birthday before! Everything right now is "Mine, mine, mine!"

She has been home almost 8 months. In many ways she has come so far. The ONLY concern we have right now is her language skills. Comparing her to other 3 year olds she is light years behind. BUT, comparing her to where she was 8 months ago, she has improved leaps and bounds. When she arrived here in January, she said not one word. NOTHING. She didn't even speak Creole. She never even made a peep unless she was mad, then she would scream. She was either completely silent or screaming. There was no middle ground. Now, she will talk all day long, but her words are very hard to understand. She'll put words together, like "Look at me!" or "Where's Preston?" It's usually just 2-3 words in a row, and no more. She will tell us when she's hungry, thirsty, has to go potty, etc.

She is ALWAYS smiling. I have never seen a child as happy as she is. In her own way, she is so appreciative of everything. Anything I give her (like a cracker) she says "Thank you, Mom!"

She says "I love you, Mom" at least 20 times a day and her absolute favorite thing to do is cuddle. If I say, "I love you too, Avery!" she says, "Thank you." So sweet.

She loves to be held, loves to be played with, loves to be read to. She shows NO signs of attachment issues (maybe these will show up as she gets older?), except she can be a little overly friendly with strangers. When Mike comes home from work, she yells "Daddy home!" and runs to the door and about plows him over with a huge hug. Basically, she LOVES to be LOVED and LOVES to give LOVE. It really does seem like she is making up for the years she didn't get the love she needed.

She is VERY easy child at home, but of course, around other kids her age she will fight over toys with the best of 'em. She also will copy what other kids do (good or bad) and she can get really hyper around other kids....again, not surprising. She tends to listen to me better than anyone else. When she gets hurt or gets her feelings hurt, she can be very dramatic and carry on for longer than is appropriate. However, she doesn't carry on as long as she did when she first got here.

She loves to push her doll babies in their stroller, brush their hair and feed them, play with her laptop toy, look at books, and carry her blankie around. She also loves to EAT and EAT and EAT. When she first got here she ate NOTHING. For at least a month she would only eat oatmeal and goldfish crackers. NOTHING else. Now she will eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. She can eat more than anyone in this house. I don't know where she puts it all! My boys will only eat a 1/2 sandwich at lunch, and Avery would like 2-3 sandwiches! Her favorite thing to say is "I Hungry!" or "Avery hungry!" She is tall and we are wondering just how tall she is going to be! Which is sort of comical because our boys are below average height. One day....we are picturing Avery looking down on her "big" brothers!

She also loves to tattle-tail on her brothers. She likes to fight with Preston about who gets to sit next to me on the couch. She loves to ride bikes with her brothers and swing at the playground. Her abosolute favorite activies are swimming and putting on everyone else's shoes! She LOVES to go to bed and sleeps like a dream from 7:30pm-7:30am. She sleeps so soundly I think we could throw a party in her room and she wouldn't even flinch.

She doesn't like green beans, iced tea (I am really grasping for something she doesn't like!), milk, and isn't crazy about cookies...but I am sure that will change. Oh, and she does not like going to the doctor! :)

Overall, we could not be happier with how she is doing. Her smile just lights up the room and her positive, upbeat attitude is so amazing given all she has been through!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yarn Braids

Kayla over at Our Mixed Blessings, gave me the idea of trying yarn braids on Avery's hair. Avery's hair is thin and breaks so easily, it's seems like it never grows any longer and I was getting frustrated. I was hesitant to try yarn braids (basically hair extensions using yarn) because I think it makes her look way older than her age. But, after battling her hair all week, I decided it was worth a try.

So after searching at 3 different stores for plain black yarn (who knew Hancock Fabrics doesn't sell yarn? and the local knitting store doesn't carry plain black?) we gave it a shot. Took 5 hours to get them in. Avery is such a good girl when she gets her hair done. She sat and played with toys from 5-10p. We did take a couple stretch breaks. And I think she ate 15 popcicles.

Instead of leaving her hair down, I pulled the extensions up into 4 pig tails. Overall, they came out pretty good. I have been putting a silk scarf on her head at night to limit the fuzziness in the morning, but I am already seeing a little bit starting after day 2. I am hoping to at least leave them in for 2 weeks. Avery seems to enjoy all the beads in her hair and the noises they make when she walks!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

School Update First Week

Boys have just completed their first week of school and so far everything is going great. Both boys are eager to get up in the morning, which I'll give about another couple weeks before I have to drag them out of bed.
Caden is in 4th grade and so far he is absolutely loving it. His teacher has a fish tank, so that really put the icing on the cake. Right now they are working on bar graphs, line graphs, math facts (multiplication and division review) and writing short stories. He mentioned yesterday how much fun it is to write stories, which is interesting because usually he hates writing. Today he has his first religion test and tomorrow is a spelling/vocab test. I thought the religion stuff looked pretty difficult, so we'll see how that turns out! As I was reviewing it with him, I was glad it's him taking the test and not me!

Preston is enjoying kindergarten, although yesterday he got in the car and said "Could everyone please stop talking?" "I have heard talking for the past 8 hours and I am sick of it!" He especially dislikes carpool, which does get loud as kids wait in the gym to be picked up. His favorite part so far is buying milk and/or ice cream at lunch. Although yesterday he didn't have time to eat his applesauce, but managed to have plenty of time to finish his popcicle.

This weekend both boys start lacrosse. Preston is playing on the peanut lacrosse team, and Caden U11. We are hoping Preston loves it because so far every sport he has tried, he has not taken a liking to. So we're keeping our fingers crossed. I asked him if he wanted to play soccer again, and he said "No, why would I want to run around and get out of breath?" Not sure what he thinks will happen during lacrosse?

Avery is doing well. Her behavior when Grandma is watching her has improved quite a bit. She still whines when she doesn't get her own way, but not nearly as bad as a couple weeks ago. Speech therapy has started, and she seems to be saying more and more each day. Most is very hard to understand, but you have to start somewhere. Her hair continues to challenge me. It doesn't seem to be growing much, and even seems to have thinned quite a bit. So, not sure what is going on with it. I put coconut oil in it last night, and made her sleep with a silk cap on her head....she still woke up with it all flattened to her head and tangled up.

That's the scoop for now! Looking forward to a long weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Caden Turns 9

Some (okay a lot!) of my favorite photos over the past 9 years. Unfortunately, the baby photos need to be scanned into the computer as it must have been before the days of us having a digital camera.

Our oldest boy has been through a lot, being a diabetic since before his second birthday he doesn't remember life before it. He is responsible, trustworthy, very brave, and sometimes questions why he has to deal with diabetes and his friends don't. He loves soccer, is learning to play piano and clarinet, and has always had an interest in fish/oceanlife. He can be shy and reserved when he first meets someone new, and is rarely ever in trouble. Actually, he has never even had a warning at school from K-4th grade. Not one! (However, I am wondering if his little sister might more than make up for this when she goes to school!) He loves his school, enjoys learning and we are very proud of all he has accomplished!

He dislikes loud noises, playing outside alone, sleeping in the dark and keeping his room clean. And, unless the book is about fish or dolphins, he thinks reading is a bore.

Can't believe our little boy is already nine! Happy Birthday, Cakers!

We are so proud of you!