Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summertime is Here

Easter Egg Hunt

Coloring Easter Eggs

Hamming it up for the camera

Emma's first grade program

Lucas's Kindergarten program (he's in the striped shirt)

Pool fun

Future diver...ok...maybe not!

Fun with Daddy

"Ok, I'm ready...throw me"

Memorial day crawfish...the kids were not impressed.

Ok, ok. I know it has been 2 months since my last post. But really...I've been busy. No, seriously...busy. These kids aren't gonna raise themselves. I will try to do better though, I promise.

Anyway, summer is here and boy is it here with a vengeance! It's not only hot...it's Africa HOT. There is something wrong with the universe when my car temp reads 109 degrees F (that's 43 C for you Canadians). When I first saw it I had to blink a few times because I thought "surely I must be hallucinating" then I had to slam on the breaks because I almost rearended someone. But then when I got home I got out of the car and I was instantly showered with a humidity hug that was both unsolicited, and shockingly forceful. Sigh...summer is here. Thankfully we have the pool.

Lucas and Emma finished their school year with amazing report cards and glowing raves from their teachers. Lucas's teacher is convinced he is going to be an engineer and she made me promise to keep her updated on his progress through the years...just to prove she is right I suspect. Emma's teacher was just so amazed at how much progress she has made this year. We are very proud of both of our braniacs.
The majority of our weekends are spent in our backyard sanctuary...the pool. The kids have turned into regular little fish and progressively advancing toward a beautiful glowing brown color that makes me incredibly envious, since my skin is advancing rapidly towards...middle age. Yep, that's right, I'll be turning the big 4-0 in September. I remember (like it was yesterday) when my mom turned 40. I remember thinking "Wow, that's REALLY old". It doesn't seem SO old to me now...and I'm actually looking forward to it.

I have time for one funny story (and I've got a million of em...these kids keep us laughing constantly). So, last week I get a call from Lucas on my way home from work. He said alarmingly "Mummy, we are going to the waterslide for our field trip tomorrow and we need some more sun scream. You need to stop at Walgreens to get some". So, I stopped and bought the Walgreens spray kind (it goes on the easiest)...It was two for one...score!! Anyway, the next day after I got home both Lucas and Emma ran up to me and exclaimed "Mama....YOU got the wrong sun scream!!!!". I was like..."What?". They said (in unison...which is quite amazing really) "The sun scream you got is for ADULTS!!!" ...again...."What?". They sighed really, really loudly, rolled their eyes and said with as much exasperation as they could muster "IT SAYS KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN!!!!" Of course I started laughing hysterically and they looked at me with that "why is that crazy lady laughing at us again" look and I explained that it didn't mean that it can't be used on children's skin (which I really think they thought their skin was going to melt off or something), but it is to be kept out of the reach of children so they don't play with it and blind themselves by inadvertanly spraying themselves in the eyes or something. Their response was said in unison again, with such a sense of relief..."OOOOhhhhhhhhh". They seriously thought I had made such a grave mistake that would result in their iminent demise or something...or at the very least, the removal of their exposed skin. Gotta love their sweet little literal minds.

Well, I hope everyone is well. Please feel free to post a comment... I may be more motivated to post more often if I know people are actually reading...yes that's a bribe.
Love to you all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Videos galore...

Well, I have been asked by a few people to post more videos of the kids. So...here ya go....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Life and all its special moments...

On their way to a birthday party

Luucas's 5th Gotcha Day (January 26)

Color coordinated family

Grandma...playing in the park

Daddy and Lucas...he wore that new hat all day

Hat hair

Check out my cool new robe

This is just the cutest picture of Lucas (aka: the Martian)

New hat and scarf

Christmas Eve at Aunt Tracey's

Well, many months have passed and I am once again negligent in my updates. Life tends to get a bit busy and by the time I have a few moments to myself to write, I am either too exhausted, or I’m just plain too lazy. So, I am going to attempt to give the “Reader’s Digest” version of the past 3 months.

December flew by at super sonic speed as usual and as always I was scrambling at the last minute to get everything done in time for Christmas. Chris lost his job the week before Thanksgiving so money was tighter than usual but somehow the kids seemed to get more than imaginable. I had been buying gifts for months and I really had no idea how much I had until Christmas Eve… the wrapping took many hours and the tree was bursting with presents. My mom came for 3 weeks and it was so nice to have her here. The kids adore her and I have it on good authority that she thinks they are pretty amazing as well. I was so happy that she could join us for our New Years ritual of waking the kids at midnight screaming “Happy New Year”. She usually tells us how mean we are to do such a cruel thing (particularly because we enjoy it so much…their faces are hysterical when they are jolted out of sleep by crazy adults with noise makers and champagne…juice for the minors), but this year she was an accomplice in our cruel, cruel ways…and she enjoyed it just as much as we did. The celebration was continued on the driveway with sparklers and the viewing of fireworks from our front yard. We are fully aware that our children will undoubtedly pay us back someday for our one night a year of “fun”, but we are willing to take that risk. We imagine, in our twilight years, them creeping into our room to scare the living daylights out of us. I’m giggling just thinking about it.

January and February have sailed by and we are looking forward to the summer with eager anticipation. Lucas and Emma are doing very well in school and we are so proud of them. Emma has an amazing mind and she blows us away sometimes with her wit and ability to learn with relative ease. Though, as with many people of intelligence, she lacks the common sense gene which continues to vex me greatly at times. But, I am working on this because I am absolutely certain that God gave me a child that is the exact opposite of me so that I can learn from her. And I do learn from her every day. I admire her more than any other person I have ever met. She has a spirit that captivates me because it is so carefree…something I am most definitely not. We have a lot to teach each other and I am so grateful that she is my daughter.

Lucas, on the other hand, is my twin in both sense and sensibilities. He is my first. He is my heart. I imagine someday he will no longer think of me as the greatest person on the planet, but until that day I will revel in the joy of being his mom. He was selected by the school district to be a part of the SPICE program (Special People in a Creative Environment) which is the early “gifted and talented” program for kindergarten-2nd grade. I think he was selected for his creativity and his critical thinking abilities. We will find out more tomorrow night at the school’s open house, where they are having a parents meeting for all the kids in the SPICE program. When I told him about it he said “Does that mean I will get more homework?” I said “I don’t know honey, but I think that you might get more homework”…to which he responded a very enthusiastic “YYYYAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!”. He started running around singing “I get to do more homework”. As I keep telling y’all…he’s from MARS!!!!!! …and we couldn’t be more proud of our little Martian.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fall 2008

Lucas took this shot

Lucas and Lawton


Emma and Maya

Our little soccer player

Lucas's birthday

Well, this fall has been extremely busy! I only have time for a brief synopsis...
We survived hurricane Ike...with only minimal debris and no power for 11 days...but it could have been so much worse.
Lucas celebrated his birthday (6) at the Teddy Bear Stuffin Shack. All of his friends came and they all had a blast making stuffed animals and playing games.
Haloween brought lots of candy and more fun memories of our two little trick-or-treaters who are growing up so fast.
Soccer season started in October and both kids had so much fun. Lucas surprised us by scoring 6 or 7 goals his first game (though most of the time it had to do with being in the right place at the right time rather than skill). He got to play with his best friend Lawton which was a thrill for him. Emma...oh Emma...perhaps soccer isn't her forte. She tried hard, and had a lot of fun...but let's just say she's not going to be bending it like Beckam any time soon. Both kids were blessed with fantastic (and incredibly patient) coaches. Chris even subbed one weekend for one of Emma's games...that was hysterical.
We had parent/teacher meetings for both of the kids and they are doing great in school. Emma is reading very well and just needs to keep working on her writing. Her fine motor skills are still lagging...but considering she had never picked up a pencil or even knew which hand she wrote with 15 months ago...I'd say she's doing remarkably well. Lucas is an eager beaver and his teacher is impressed with his enthusiasm. He also has a great mind for math and he begs us for "homework" of addition and subtraction questions. I've said it before, and I'll say it again..that kid is from Mars!
Thanksgiving was wonderfully relaxing, just the four of us. It's so nice when we all get to spend time together. We took the kids to Lake Houston State Park yesterday and enjoyed a picnic and a walk through the woods. Some people were riding horses and they came over to let the kids pet the horses...a thrill. The only thing that I don't like about that particular park is the dozens of signs stating "venomous snakes live in these woods". OK...like I need a sign to remind me of the obvious...since I am petrified of snakes, I am ALWAYS aware of their existence...I live in Texas afterall...I just don't need visual reminders every hundred feet or so...haha.
Anyway, that's all for now. Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The End of Summer

Lucas (with his new glasses) and Emma

Playing darts (unfortunately...not very well..haha)

Emma Diva!

Memorial service for Chris's dad

Emma's Birthday

First Birthday Cake

Chuck E. Cheese

Second Birthday cake

First day of school!!!

Well, summer has come and gone...but we had a great time! So much has happened since my last post...

Chris's father passed away after a recurrence of colon cancer. It was a peaceful ending to a full life and we are happy that he is in a better place, though we are sad because we miss him dearly. We had a memorial service for him at the lake where they used to own a house. We scattered his ashes off the same pier that we had scattered Chris's mom's ashes 13 years ago. It was a lovely way to honor him, surrounded by his friends and family.

Emma had her first birthday in America! We had a family birthday night on her actual birthday, which consisted of her choice of dinner (she requested peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...but we eventually settled on pasta). After dinner, I asked her if she thought that she would get any presents for her birthday and she looked at me and said "I didn't get any presents today". I then asked her if she thought that mommy and daddy got her any presents and she said "no...I don't think so". She truly had no idea that she would get presents on her birthday! Can you imagine? Seven years old and never a birthday present. I then told her to sit down in the gameroom and I brought in her presents. I don't think I've ever seen a more surprised or excited look on anyone's face...it was so sweet. After the presents, she blew out the candles on her cake. I asked her if she had cake in Ukraine for her birthday (I already knew the answer) she said "no". I then asked her if anyone ever wished her a happy birthday and she looked at me and said "Mama, I didn't have birthdays in Ukraine"... to which I said "have another piece of cake honey"...

She had a birthday party with her friends at Chuck E Cheese (her choice...NOT mine...haha). Everyone had a great time and I could tell that she felt special. She doesn't like to be the center of attention so when we sang happy birthday to her just prior to blowing out the candles, she covered her face. I think she was a little overwhelmed by it all. I'll admit...it brought a tear or two to my eyes to see her take it all in. She was so happy and she told me it was the "best birthday ever!". ...Mission accomplished!

The first day of school was the day after Emma's party. We had attended the open house at the school several days prior and Emma was very excited to get back to class. Lucas, although excited to finally be starting school (like big sis), was very nervous. He likes to know what to expect and he was a little overwhelmed with not knowing what to do. He kept saying "I don't know what to do. Mama...you need to show me". Fortunately, Lucas is in the same class that Emma was in last year so we are very familiar with his teacher, and so is he. On the first day, we took Emma to her class first so Lucas could see how it was all done, then we took him to his class. We looked for his assigned seat...which we found at a table with 4 girls. When he saw that he was going to be the only boy at the table he said "ooooohhhhhhh nooooooooo!". It was so funny! They had a great first day and they were so excited to go back the next day. I can't believe my baby is in Kindergarten!!!

We took the kids to get their eyes checked before school started. I was concerned that Emma's strabismus (lazy eye) may cause her some issues. Well...her eyesight is fine...Lucas...not so much. He is farsighted (like me...go figure) and he has to wear glasses. I had to wear glasses starting when I was four and ended when I rebelliously refused to wear them at age twelve. He looks so cute in them...but I am also sad because I know how difficult it can be on a kid. He seems to like them and doesn't mind wearing them...so I'm happy about that.

Well, I'd better get this posted. Hurricane Gustav is heading this way (though it probably won't be too bad for us).


Thursday, July 24, 2008

In the midst of summer...

Astos Game (Emma's first)

In front of Minute Maid Park (Astros)

4th of July Parade

Cutie Lukie!!!

Our beautiful Emma!

Well, summer life continues and the kids are having a great time. Their new daycare takes them on several field trips per week and so far they've been to the zoo, the children's museum, the weather station, the library, the local PBS tv station, a WNBA (Comets) game, an Astros game, and various other places that I can't remember. I wanna go to daycare!!!!!

We continue to spend most of the weekends in the pool and they are now quite adept at swimming. A few weeks ago they were using arm floaties, but now they are swimming (sans floaties) all around the pool and are even able to pick up the diving sticks that we throw into the pool. Emma has some difficulty because she's light...and she can't seem to sink very well but she is able to fight her way down to the diving sticks in the shallow end. Lucas is able to pick them up from the bottom of the deep end. Simply amazing!!! I think we will put them on the local swim teams next year.

The attached photos are of an Astros game a few weeks ago and at the 4th of July parade. It was very special watching Emma wave her little American flag.

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of our SDA appointment which is where we first saw a picture of our beautiful little girl. I can't believe it's been a year!!! I'm so happy that so many of you have continued to stick around for updates and are able to see the progress that Emma has made in a year. She continues to be a joy and we feel so blessed to have her in our lives. I am following some other families in Ukraine right now and I have a strange sense of envy. I can't believe how I sometimes wish I was back in Ukraine. Maybe because its been a year and I've forgotten all the hard stuff but I really miss it at times. I hope we travel back some day for a visit...I doubt we will adopt again though. We were told by so many people prior to our last trip that lightning doesn't strike twice (meaning we would never find a kid as great as Lucas). Well, lightning did strike twice...but for it to strike three times...well that's just pushing it...haha.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Keep posting comments if you get a chance...we love to read them.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The joys of summer

At camp...awaiting cabin assignments

At Poppy's house

At Poppy's house

Fun in the pool

Watching Emma perform in her last day of school concert

Last day of Kindergarten

At Poppy's house

Emma's bunk at camp

Summer is here and the fun has begun!!

The kids went to the YMCA camp last week for 2 nights and they had a blast! Two news channels even did a story on the camp and Lucas was in the background of some of the footage...that was cool! I couldn't wait to pick them up on Tuesday because a) well...I missed them terribly and b) I couldn't wait to hear all of their stories. They went swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, did archery, crafts, ate smores, and sang songs. I want to go to camp!!!! Emma received the "Most Cheerful" award. Which just made me so proud considering 10 months ago she was in an orphanage and now she was recognized for being her sweet, happy self. She is amazing!!! Lucas received the "Dust Buster" award...which makes sense to anyone that knows him well. He LOVES to clean! His cabin counselor came up to me and said "Luke is just so organized!!". He was astounded at how meticulous Lucas was with his "stuff" and with cleaning the cabin. That's my boy!!

Emma graduated from Kindergarten and will be going to the first grade in August. We are so proud of the progress that she has made. Her teacher was so great to her and we are hoping that Lucas will be placed in her class when he enters Kindergarten in August (she has told us that she has requested Lucas to be in her class). Lucas is nervous to start the "big" school but he's also excited. Chris was teaching him the Pledge of Allegiance this morning...it was cute....especially when Lucas said "indibisible".

We're just spending time in the pool every weekend and enjoying the lazy summer days. Work for me has been quite busy and I'm hoping it slows down a bit, but that seems unlikely. I'm just fortunate to have a job that is challenging yet rewarding with a boss who is very supportive.

Well, hopefully everyone is having a great summer. Thank you to all who continue to post comments. We love reading them. And to all those who are just getting started on your adoption journey...I pray that your path is smooth and your courage is plenty. You are embarking on the greatest adventure of you lives! ...Worth every moment...

L, C, L &E