Thursday, August 27, 2009


Took two of my girls to the eye doctor this morning. One right after the other.

Julia was first, and turns out she needs reading glasses. She picked out a really cute pair--- her very first glasses! Then off to school.

Right after, I went and picked up my other daughter to take her to have her eyes checked. On the drive, I reminded her to answer the doctor's questions as truthfully as she can so that he can accurately determine how good or bad her eyesight is. In kid language, I expressed the importance of this and the importance of taking care of her eyes, and how I wish I did not need glasses because of how inconvenient they were at times. I also asked her why she can't wear my glasses, so that she can put two and two together. See, I do not let my children try on my glasses because they have a (strong) prescription which I refer to as medicine and it would mess up their eyes since they do not need the same medicine. She knows this.

The point of this conversation was to parent her out of conflict and encourage her to do what is right---- at the same time gently reminding her to be honest so that she can make good choices.

I waited in the waiting room with Alex and Dennis while she had the exam and soon after the doctor came out and wanted to speak with me privately. In a nutshell, he told me my daughter was failing her eye exam just to get glasses. To prove this to himself, he finally told her to try on a pair of glasses to see if they would help her to see better. After failing miserably one minute prior, my daughter now miraculously could see 20/20----- with no prescription in the glasses.

In the car, I gave her the chance to make things right. I asked her how the appointment went.


I asked her if there was anything interesting that happened.

No. Are you angry Mommy?

No, I am not, but I might become angry if you are not honest with me. So please answer me with the truth, just like I am truthful with you.

Of course Mommy.

During the exam, did you answer the doctor with the truth about your eyes?

Yes--- elaborating on her lie, of course.

On so many levels this was a huge disappointment. Sure I know kids will be kids, and she probably just wants glasses real bad--- probably to be like me. But. That does not excuse the fact that she was dishonest to me, dishonest to the doctor, she didn't listen to me, she was willing to screw up her eyesight, and she didn't come clean when given the chance.

Yes, kids will be kids...... but in our home, this is a serious offense. Dishonesty and disobedience is not the norm. She knows this and my other kids know this.

Her consequences will depend on her attitude when she gets home from school. My kids know that they could dig themselves deeper or get themselves out of a hole--- all depending on how their attitude is. Yes, she will still have some form of grounding regardless, but even that can be handled with a good attitude-- and will probably make the duration much shorter.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Chunk-Of-Love

This little boy has my heart like no other 2 year old! He is the sweetest thing ever. Just yesterday John was laying on the couch and Dennis went and pulled out a blanket and covered up his Daddy. It just about melted both our hearts.

Tonight I gave him (and Alex) a haircut. He is looking like such a big boy these days-- I can hardly stand the thought of him growing up. Last month marked one year that Dennis has been home---- his transformation has been unbelievable.

He has come a long, long way in that year's time--- just take a look at him this time last year.

His personality has finally bloomed too-- one that will make you smile.

Thank you God for allowing us to be Dennis' parents.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hmmm, I wonder.......

why I find myself busier these days. :)

I am pooped out-- heading off to bed in a few minutes.

Just got back from Adam's back to school night after taking Rachel to soccer practice, taking Adam and Julia to church worship practice,picking them up, having John pick up Rachel from soccer practice-- and trying to cook and sit down to have dinner together. It was a whirlwind. The back to school night had us running across campus-- back and forth-- every ten minutes so that I can hear about the teacher's expectations for the students. I was exhausted after an hour and a half!

Earlier in the day, I finally had my eyes checked after two years (I find myself putting my needs on the back burner just like my mother told me I would) because I have been having more headaches and trouble seeing close-up. Turns out, my eyes have gotten better with the nearsightedness and were being strained having to see out of my old glasses, but I have developed astigmatism. I also had my pupils dilated--- NOT FUN. But all in all, my eyes are healthy. And I finally picked out a new frame! Can't wait----- I think they are so chic!

I have been going back and forth with starting Dennis on potty-training. He actually went pee-pee in the potty the other day too--- but I am just not feeling 100% like he is ready. But with him starting pre-k and all of my other kids being potty trained by the time they were three, I am putting unnecessary pressure on myself and him I am sure. Soooooooo----- I have decided to put it on the back burner for a few days to think more about it and observe Dennis a bit more to see if he is ready or if I should just wait a few more months. Nothing is worse than trying to potty-train a child when they just are not ready-- believe me, I've been there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Sunday Happs

Caleb can be so sweet, but he can also be so stubborn. Out of the blue, he came up behind me and gave me a big hug. He even let Rachel get a picture.
Quite the opposite of the other day when he and Julia wanted a piece of leftover cake for their snack instead of pretzels and fruit. "There is not enough for everyone to have some, so it would not be fair. Have a peach." And then as soon as I got back from taking Rachel to soccer practice, I found out that they had had the cake anyway. "Fine-- but you had your dessert."
The softie that I am-- and this generally being their biggest offense, I went ahead and offered them some dessert after dinner anyway. Julia happily took me up on my offer while Caleb insisted he didn't want any. "Caleb, I know you really want some. Since when do you pass up dessert? Quit being stubborn and go get yourself an ice-cream." He still insisted he didn't want any. "Okay."
Twenty minutes later however, he came up to me and admitted that I was right. And I said, "Go get that ice-cream, Cay." He smiled. So did I.
Adam and his friend Joey offered to make Tollhouse cookies after church on Sunday. Since I didn't have enough chocolate chips, I had them throw in some white chips too. They were awesome!

William is slowly adjusting to having another brother. For the most part he is great with Alex, but sometimes he wants to bug Alex just like he bugs his other siblings. We have to remind William that Alex is still so new to our family that he doesn't take it as kidding around and that if William keeps on bugging him, Alex is not going to like him. And William does not want that.

Our new couches finally came in. We all love them! The loveseat should be delivered later this week.

I finally managed to get some pictures up on the wall of Alex. And yes, he noticed. And yes, I think it makes a difference in him feeling like he belongs. It is something concrete that he can see and he loves trying to name all the people in the pictures.
Here is Alex with his walker. I have shoes for him so that his ankles can be better supported, but that just wouldn't work with him going swimming.

Annalyn and Sveta make sure that the dogs are included every now and then. :)
John took nine of the kids up to Grandma and Grandpa's to visit with family that is in town.
Jonny conked out on the way home.
I stayed home because Alex, and Dennis were sleeping, and Adam had to finish his homework before I took him to the high school youth group kick-off at church. It gave me a chance to relax and do nothing.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More on Alex

Alex continues to show tremendous growth every single day. His happy disposition gives him a great outlook on life which fuels his determination to do things just like everyone else. Yet...... he listens to us and chooses to obey our instruction most of the time even when it is kind of frustrating to him. His inability to walk right now, not only slows Alex down, but it slows me down as well. Not a bad thing as I previously said that I wanted to move at a slower pace and take time to enjoy the simpler things--- but what I mean is that when it is time to go swimming, all of the other kids just take off and jump in but for Alex, it requires me dropping what I am doing and helping him get undressed, and changing him into a swim diaper, and then physically carrying him outside to the pool steps where he sits and plays. I don't mind doing this (it is what I signed up for), but I can't always just drop what I am doing to attend to him immediately especially since his desire to go swimming is not an emergency. So---- Alex ends up waiting a little longer than the other kids who are already out swimming.

Thankfully, he is pretty darn patient and I am pretty sensitive to this and try to get my act together a little faster and in the end he ends up waiting only about five minutes.

Alex and Dennis were evaluated last week for speech. The Speech Teacher is really nice and seems to have a genuine interest in learning more about my boys. I am expecting that they will both be starting pre-school very soon, but I will not know for sure about Alex because he doesn't automatically qualify like Dennis does for his cleft palate repair.

Since Alex is scheduled to start kindergarten next year and may very likely be attending pre-k in a week or two, I have had to push him a little faster to become a little more independent. With tons of encouragement and praise we are trying a "daily sit" to work on becoming socially bowel continent. I am also asking him to help in undressing and brushing his teeth. Rather than me carrying him everywhere, I went out and bought him a pair of high top boots and a pediatric walker. In the meantime, he is using it inside the house-- and while it is pretty obvious he will need some sort of surgery to correct his hips and legs, him using the walker is helping to build strength and get him used to being up off the ground.

He has the bad habit of sitting in a W so to correct that I remind him to sit in this booster chair that I constantly move around for him. It is working--- until we get into the SB clinic which might be a few weeks out.

It is amazing to see how much less Dennis depends on me for entertainment when the older kids are at school now that Alex is home. They are definitely brothers-- either playing happily together or fighting over a toy.

At lunch time, I continue to feed Alex a mixture of food he is used to (for comfort), and new foods like peanut butter and jelly or scrambled eggs. He is not fond of yogurt by itself, yet I know that calcium is good for him so I have started introducing it to him in things that he already likes. I add a dollop to his oatmeal or on a piece of cake. He has no problem eating it then. :)

Naptime is the only time when I hear, "Nee hachoo," but even then it is only a little whine. His finger-sucking days are over and I will soon be stopping the medicine . The boys also seem to sleep longer when I put each of them down in separate beds-- something I wasn't sure of at first. Now they both have no problem going down separately, and they are down for a good two hours.
Praise the Lord-- we were given a double stroller for the boys! They love riding it-- now if I could only find a way to fit it into my van. ;) This thing is huge!
It is interesting to see Dennis and Alex and how much of a difference a year of being home makes. When we made a cake the other day, Dennis was right there begging for one of the beaters while Alex had no clue what was going on.
Don't worry, Alex got a taste too!
** Update -- After some researching I believe that Alex will qualify for an IEP and receive PT and OT under "children with orthopedic impairments". :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another Teenager in the House!

Why?? Because today we celebrated Caleb's 13th birthday. Technically, it isn't quite his birthday yet---- but this weekend worked out for everyone to come and be a part of it!

Cousin Matt provided loads of fun by bringing silly string for all the kids.

But I have to question--- fun for who?? Certainly not me who is still cleaning it up even after the kids did a tremendous job of picking up after themselves. Oh well---- birthdays only come once a year or in our case just once a month. ;)

Alex had a really good time. Given the fact that lots of family came over and the house was loud and chaotic, Alex was a very good boy--- all the way around. I could see his little head spinning watching all of the excitement-- more than he has ever seen in his whole life. I can't wait for it to be his birthday.

Of course, Caleb got some preferential treatment being it was his party, getting to be the first one thrown in the pool!

Everyone enjoyed hanging out while the burgers were being made.

My sister Elena came over too. She always brings fun to the party.

John cooked up a storm!

Come time to eat---- everyone dug in!
The grapes that my Mom brought were very sweet and tasty. Andrew made sure to get some.
Here is a picture of all of the kids (minus Anna who was at a birthday party) with John and I.

On a more serious note......

Isn't Rachel and Alex adorable together? Same hair color and shirt color---- I love this picture.

John went out front to play Frisbee with the kids.

Time for cake!

At one point, Aunt Elena did this.....
which ended in this.

Everyone was pretty quiet here enjoying their cake and ice-cream.

Caleb got mostly money for his birthday. Now he can buy what he wants--- a mini- motorcycle!
And then it was back to more swimming!
Now onto the sleepover!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Cutest 2 and 4 Year Olds in the World!

Or at least I think so. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Covering a Book the Old Fashioned Way

Adam came to me today with a cool request. "Mom, can you help me cover my book?" Of course I could help him cover a book! I thought this was something that they no longer had the kids do since this is the first time any of my kids have had to do this, so I was happy to squeeze in five minutes of time with Adam showing him just how cool I can be.

Alex and Dennis watched Alex's adoption video at least twenty times today! And each and every time they squealed with delight at every new picture and laughed when Alex was eating the banana and hitting the ball with Julia. Alex even seemed to be a little embarrassed of his singing at the end but when I told him how much I love his singing he seemed to be less shy.

When I called to check and see when our couches would be delivered, the manager tried to tell me that his assistant manager sold the couches to me for less money than he was supposed to and tried to get me to pay another couple hundred dollars. I couldn't believe he would actually ask that when it was his employee who offered to sell me the couches at that price and I had already paid in full for them. I told him absolutely not and that if he didn't deliver the couches I just wanted a full refund. After some number crunching on his part, he informed me that he would be delivering the couches tomorrow minus the oversized chair that is on back-order. So the kids and I cleared out the living room and moved the other couches into the game room. Secretly, I am thrilled to know that I got such an awesome deal. And now we will be able to sit our whole family down for a movie night.

William and Alex are starting to spend more time together. It is nice to see.

Caleb has also taken a liking to Alex. He loves that he can make Alex laugh anytime he wants.