Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Red Ribbon Night

Well, the night of the Festival started out with high hopes - my chili was gone within a half an hour while the 20+ other pots were still full. I thought I had the blue ribbon in the bag. Ah well, second place isn't bad. It will give me something to strive for next year. I joked with one mom that I only have about 3 more years to get the blue ribbon - otherwise we'll have to hold Little Bitty back from Kindergarten so that I can keep competing at their preschool. Luckily, she knew I was joking. Another mom who suggested I enter in the State Fair - to which I replied, "Oh yea - maybe I can work my way up to a National Championship" - did not respond with a laugh. She merely nodded in agreement. My friends who remember the days when fixing the rice for our dinner "parties" was more than I could handle - would see the humor in this.

Mommy, Brother and Little Bitty posing with our Red Ribbon

The pumpkin muffins that Brother and I made to sell at the bake sale. Thanks, Michelle!

Little Bitty the morning after the big Festival @ Shoneys. She reminds me of a college student the day after a big party. ;)


On a completely different note and tone... the following goes under "speculations of an adoptive mommy". It has nothing to do with chili or muffins. Thankfully, right?

Since Little Bitty arrived home I have put her to bed by lying down next to her. This routine started off in Mommy and Daddy's bed and then I'd move her to her crib once she was asleep. Then, since we've moved her to her twin mattress we do our snuggle routine in her room. It has been so interesting to see the way our snuggling has progressed. In the beginning, she always wanted me there - but she would face away from me and not really want to be touched at all. At the time, I didn't think this had anything to do with bonding - I just thought it was how she liked to sleep. Then, several months ago - she started backing up into me right before she was reading to drift off to sleep. She would wiggle her way into a "spooning" position and then be asleep within a minute. I cherished this little change of habit. I rocked Brother to sleep for at least a year when he was a baby and it felt a little odd to have her fall asleep out of my arms. Well, this past week or so - she's decided to get even closer. Now, she hangs out on the bed until she's about ready to fall asleep and then rolls over facing me and wraps both little arms around my neck. She's even started trying to use my face as a pillow at times. It's like she can't get close enough. Looking back on the progression - I think it has been part of her bonding process. And it is so cool. There is nothing better than being next to someone and realizing, without a doubt, that they love you as much as you love them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

From the mind of a Supermom

Yesterday was one of those days when I marveled (for a short time) at what a wonderful mother I am. I was productive at my job during the day - all while caring for Little Bitty - who played nicely with her toys, did some drawing, and actually watched very little TV. Then, we picked Brother up from school a little early and went to a cool local toy store that has a haunted hallway. I escaped the store only spending $1.12 - we bought one sour gummy lizard and one lollipop (you guess who picked out what). Then, we came home and Brother and I made homemade pumpkin muffins for the bake sale at the Fall Festival at their school today. Then, I baked some chicken and gathered ingredients to start the crock pot full of chili that we're entering in the Chili Cook-Off at the Fall Festival (I was robbed and got 3rd place last year - I think I have a shot at the blue ribbon this year). Then, after getting Little Bitty to sleep - I designed and printed off some very cute invitations for Brother's upcoming birthday party at the local Pump It Up. Right when I felt a little too good about my Supermom-ness I took one of the invitations up to show Brother (who was reading in bed with Daddy). I waited for his little face to light up with excitement at my creation. His reaction? He burst into tears and told me he didn't like them. He wanted Backyardigans invites that you color yourself. ?! Who knew. We reached a compromise (something he is learning very well - or am I the one learning it?) and his school friends are getting the cute-custom made ones and I'll get some Backyardigans ones for some neighbors we're inviting. It's fine... but if anyone bursts into tears after trying my chili tonight - I'm done.

Here are some random pics from the last week.

Brother added a new lizard to our family. This one clips on a key chain which is then fastened to his belt loop. He actually scored 4 new lizards total -
those deserve a post of their own. coming soon.

This is Little Bitty waiting for our train in Mt. Dora - I like this picture because she's double-nutzering. One in mouth - one in hand.

Family Train Photo. Here is Brother helping me make the pumpkin muffins. See his happy face? This was before I showed him his heinous birthday party invites. See Little Bitty in the background? Go to next photo.
Little Bitty was caught very carefully pouring her milk (from McDonalds - I left that part out of my Supermom story) into the muffins papers. She was so focused on it - I just let her do and cleaned the mess up later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Out Of Sorts

Brother: Mommy, I'm feeling all out of sorts.
Mommy: You are, sweetie?
Brother: Yes... I think I only have about one or two sorts left.

I had the brief conversation above with Brother a couple months ago. Last week - I only had about one or two sorts left - and then Little Bitty used them up Wednesday night when she would only be consoled by the singing of Pablo, Uniqua, Tyrone, Austin and Tasha (on the mini-DVD player in our bed) until 4am. Note that this wasn't a spoiled toddler situation - her ear infection was apparently causing her pain that was alleviated only by the sweet voices of The Backyardigans.

Luckily, we left for Florida Thursday where we had a delightful visit with family, an awesome time at the wedding and a lot of great food and drink. So, we returned Sunday night with all of our sorts and ready to get back in our groove. Thank goodness that groove has included Little Bitty sleeping all night (whether it is mostly on her little mattress or in our bed is unimportant - it's sleep!)

Today we visited the pediatrician for Little Bitty's 15 month check-up. She's still on the small side of average (except for her big melon), but growing well and very healthy. Plus, the doc assured me that shh, dkk, and brrrr are actually words when used consistently. So, I guess she is talking quite a bit. She has mastered "DADDA" - and it is usually followed by a squeal and laugh - which is about all that anyone could ask for. I even got a couple "mama's" last week - although they were followed by sobs and outstretched arms... but I'll take it. ;)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On the mend and off to Florida

We are leaving for Florida tomorrow. We are lucky that Brother and Little Bitty's grandparents all live in pretty cool places. Therefore trips to go see the family are also vacation-like. So, tomorrow we will be arriving at Grammy and Nonno's house for some R&R and a lot of fun. We will also get to spend the weekend with a lot of extended family as our cousin is getting married (and his fiancee is also a good family friend)! Fun weekend ahead!

So, we're busy packing. So far, we've packed the usual; wedding attire, poolside attire, shorts, t-shirts, pajamas, comfy travel clothes... and 7 or 8 costumes. Because it's close to Halloween? No, just because costumes are awesome. I loved overhearing Daddy convincing Brother that with all the costumes he already had in his little suitcase, the cowboy hat just would NOT fit.


Little Bitty is finally using walking as her primary mode of movement again. I think her five-day ear infection and fever slowed the healing process down a bit since she just did not feel like moving anyway - let alone with a hurt leg. But, today she was showing signs of being the little firecracker that she is.

Nutzer? Check. Cowboy Hat? Check. Red Lollipop from several hours ago? Check.

Red cape to be a superhero like Brother? Check. The Little Bitty is back in business!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Never-EVER-ending Story

We checked out this movie (The Neverending Story) at the library last week. For those who aren't familiar with it, it is an early 80's (I think) kid's adventure movie. I thought Brother would enjoy it - he did. Despite having to have Daddy or me help him cover his eyes at some parts, he was totally engrossed with the whole adventure. And now - Atrayu lives with us. He fights wolves with knives. Valcor, the flying luck-dragon joins us everywhere we go. Artez, the warrior horse is also in our home. Daddy and Atrayu have had some ferocious wrestling matches as they try to save the world. The good in all this (other than the joy and excitement of Brother having a new adventure to act out) - I get to be known as "Empress" now. I'm kind of getting used to it.


In other news, Little Bitty is still not walking. She has resumed crawling and will pull and stand holding on to stuff - but the leg is still obviously giving her pain. Yesterday after a dose of Motrin she did take some steps and walk a little... but this morning she hasn't used her leg at all. The doc said to give it until Tuesday. She was also up for A LOT of the night last night very fussy and with a slight fever. I think it is a teething thing. The great thing about being a parent?
This is all just part of it and when she was wide awake at her usual early hour this morning - grinning, laughing and wanting me to get up and play - she was completely irresistible. I think we love each other even more today after our rough night together. Our Little Bitty is a joy even when she's not at her best.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The immobile Little Bitty

She didn't want to go down the twisty tunnel slide but since we like to "foster a sense of adventure in our kids" - I put her on my lap and away we went anyway. She stuck her leg out part way down to try to stop us.

The x-rays didn't reveal any breaks in her leg, but the doctor said at this age it sometimes takes several days for a break to show on the x-ray. Hopefully, it is just some sort of strain and in a few days she'll be walking (or at least crawling!) again and we won't have to get more x-rays. Our poor Little Bitty.

Interestingly enough - it seems that Brother experienced the most trauma from the injury. He was not at all happy when the radiology tech told him he couldn't stand with Little Bitty and me while she got the x-rays taken - and when they had me don the rubber and lead vest he proceeded to scream and sob repeatedly from the other room (he could see us as he was only about 8 feet away standing in an open doorway), "DON'T WEAR THE VEST MOMMY, DON'T WEAR IT!!!" I still haven't figured out if he thought the vest was somehow going to hurt me... or if it was just that offensive to a little man with such keen fashion sense (you've seen the wardrobe). At any rate, his meltdown was really something to behold and the three radiology techs (and Little Bitty) all gave me sympathetic little smiles and pats on the back as we left. I kept saying things like, "geez - he doesn't usually act like this... wow, he must be tired... hmmm, someone must really be ready for lunch...etc." They weren't believing a word of it, they obviously thought that my sweet little guy has some real issues - which he doesn't - he just REALLY didn't like that vest.

Carla - you about ready for that FedEx shipment? ;)

No pictures to share at this point. I'll try to take some tomorrow of Little Bitty and myself lounging on the couch eating bon bons. Which reminds me of the good news - at 15 months - our Little Bitty finally topped 20lbs!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My stroke of genius and some pumpkins

First - my stroke of genius. Brother is what some may call a picky eater. I'm still hoping it is just his age. But for now, it is a real struggle to get him to try even a bite of many of the things I make for dinner. I recently offered him $1000 to eat one green bean. He declined. (I know that he has no concept of a $1000 yet - hence the offer.) We've also tried the "you will sit here until you try at least a bite" and "yum... this broccoli is really great dipped in ranch, try it... just one bite" none of this has really worked. The ploy that DID work last night - we pretended that each bite of dinner was something that either "Survivor Man" or "Man vs. Wild" might have to eat. So, broccoli with ranch - gross. A chicken beak cooked over an open fire - not bad. I gloated over my "stroke of genius" as Brother ate several bites of his dinner. My husband's reply was "yes - if that's the route we want to take... trickery and games." Umm - yes, it is!

Our trip to the pumpkin patch was great. Brother and Little Bitty had a lot of fun despite the 90 degree heat. Thankfully, we did get to skip the hayride because Brother had no interest in it... I think he's catching on that the thought of a hayride is really more fun than the ride itself. Kind of like horse-back riding - or skiing. Now - a bunch of pictures highlighting the day.

Little Bitty on a little bitty John Deer
Brother on a tire swing
The best picture out of about eight tries in this pose
This one taken by Brother!
Picking some good ones
Brother and the outhouse
Little Bitty taking playing in the corn very seriously
This is my favorite - Brother is the best big brother anyone could ever ask for!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A sled for all seasons

One of my favorite blogs is Carla's.They have a little girl who they adopted from Guatemala a few months before Pilar came home. They used our same agency, etc. She has pondered before whether her daughter is bored with the sameness of their days at home together... or if it is true that toddlers thrive on routine. It is sometimes hard to know. I have gone back and forth with these same thoughts and struggled with working from home and feeling like I should have my kids here with me more - but really unable to get it all done when they are here.

But, on Thursday (one of Little Bitty's days at-home-with-Mommy) I caught Little Bitty trying to escape and decided that she does, in fact, enjoy a day out now and again. It's good to have that confirmation.

So, this weekend (in the spirit of keeping things interesting around here) with both Brother and Little Bitty at home, we devised this game. Thank you, Mum for the sled. It is a year-round present that just keeps on giving - even here in the South.

Later, Brother and Little Bitty had a quiet dinner together. Sometimes it is nice for them to just get away and have time by themselves without hovering parents. After their dinner they turned in early and slept peacefully all night. Yeah, right. ;)

This morning we developed yet another use for the sled. I know it may appear a little dangerous in the pictures... but we really try to foster a sense of adventure in our children. Please overlook the chocolate chip cookie on the floor near Little Bitty's foot. I don't have the time nor skills to edit out all our imperfections for the blog.

We have a trip planned to a pumpkin patch later. So, please look forward to some good fall photos that will hopefully a) not involve activities that would make DSS question my parenting and b) have Brother in actual clothes that have been bought to wear in public. Only time will tell though.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Spiderman Sighting

Anderson Cooper 360?
I'd say more like Anderson Cooper 180.
If you don't get the reference. GOOD.

And now on to some actual unbiased and candid journalism:


Spiderman learning to hula hoop.
Oh - and we've determined that the Phoebe-from-friends pronunciation of Spiderman, "SPIDERmen " is not received well in this house.

Shortly after the hula hooping, Brother saw that our neighbor was in his garage (man in his 30's, married but no children, slightly serious demeanor). So, he told me that he thought Mr. Scott would probably like to see his Spiderman costume. Our little boy is not an "in your face" type of kid, but rather, somewhat shy a lot of times - so I was proud of him for wanting to walk to our neighbor's house and say hi (by himself even) and told him to go on over. I was kind of laughing to myself wishing I could be a fly on the wall when Mr. Scott looked up from whatever he was doing and saw a 3 ft. Spiderman standing staring at him.

When he returned, I asked him what Mr. Scott thought of his outfit. His reply, "Well... he DIDN'T say like 'Hi Buddy, cool costume' or anything... he was just kind of like, 'Oh, hi Spiderman.'" He seemed not so much disappointed as just perplexed. Me too, really.


I love Little Bitty's current jack-o-laternesque smile. I almost don't want to see the other front tooth pop through!

Finally - those of you new to this blog format. Please note there is a little comment counter under the post. You can click on it and leave a comment. You don't have to - but if you do occasionally, then I know that someone is reading and enjoying (or not) the updates. ;)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Not to be outdone by this:

Little Bitty has started sporting this:

Those are Daddy's socks. His dirty socks... she brought them to me after bath time last night and wore them most of the evening. This morning, as soon as we changed her diaper - she grabbed the socks and (with my help) put them back on. This is similar to Brother's routine with his superhero outfits. Fortunately, she is not quite as opinionated on her wardrobe as her Brother yet - and when it was time for school - she left the house looking like this:

Speaking of "school", we have made the decision that Brother and Little Bitty will not be on the 9a - 3p schedule for the next couple of months, they will stay a little longer. This is mostly due to the fact that we live probably 20 miles away and on days when I take them and pick them up I am only left with 5 hours tops to fulfill my work responsibilities. Plus, Little Bitty stays home with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I have to somehow take advantage of working from home (i.e. not having her in full-time daycare yet). So since right now my husband and I both have busy work schedules they will both stay at school a little longer most days.
However, if I'm honest about it - this decision to extend their "school" hours was due in part to an experience I had on Monday. Brother and Little Bitty were still on their 9a - 3p schedule at this point. At about 2:45pm a designated staff member marches all the 3 o'clock kids up to the front entrance to wait for their parents. If a 3 o'clock parent arrives one minute or later after 3 o'clock - they sign a "late parent" sheet and are charged an unusual amount of money. Whatever. This is all fine with me. I try to pick the kids up on time... but as said earlier, the half hour commute and a full-time work schedule does sometimes cause this mommy to run late. If this is the case, I call and let them know. Specifically so that no one wastes their time or my little ones sitting at the front entrance waiting for me.
This day, however, I was not late. I pulled up to the school at 2:58pm. I got out of the car and headed toward the door, which is probably 20 feet away. I was greeted by the designated staff member opening the door and saying, "Run."
Next she mumbled something about me almost being late (she probably wasn't mumbling but by that point I wasn't really listening, I was replaying the scene of her telling me to Run over in my head). Then, I mumbled something to her about not being late and she didn't need to tell me to run. I've stewed about it for 2 days now. Then... I called and told them I would be paying extra to extend Brother and Little Bitty's hours. This gives me more freedom to pick them up whenever it is most convenient for me. But, somehow, I don't feel like I came out the winner here.
Now, as with most confrontations in life - I of course know how this would have better been handled. "Hi Ms. J. I'm actually not late today - and please understand I am a busy, working mother doing the very best I can and I would much rather be greeted with a hug from my children or just 'hello, how are you?'" "Also, if it is an inconvenience for you to bring my children up here to the front entrance - I would just as soon go to their classrooms to pick them up anyway. But don't worry, on days that I am running late I will still call and pay the exorbitant late fee."

See, I feel better already!

Monday, October 1, 2007

An Un-boring Weekend

Truck driver not paying attention while driving on interstate: annoying and dangerous
Badly damaged Honda Accord: inconvenient but replaceable
Unharmed husband and children: the only thing that matters.

In other news, I took Brother and Little Bitty and went to visit my dad. My sisters and their families met us there. We had our First Annual Papa's Sailing Camp. It was a blast and watching my little ones play with their cousins is about as good as it gets. I love it. Matching shirts were compliments of my uber-organized and very talented younger sister. As were the sailing/outdoor-themed activities.

I am one of four children in my family and my parents definitely did something right (if I do say so myself). I LOVE my siblings, they are all very cool people. And then - as if I'm not lucky enough... I married my husband who also an awesome sister. So, my children are blessed with a whole group of really neat aunts and uncles. Thankful, thankful, thankful.

On to photos of the weekend (minus the car accident on Friday - cause that would just be a bummer).
Little Bitty the deck hand

Any attempt at full group shots went about like this:
Gazing at the open sea... errr, lake

A couple of First Mates My guy and his rubber lizards
My loves