Sunday, December 30, 2007

Antartica Video

Listed at the bottom of this post is a link to my share page at I have posted a photo montage of my parents' trip to Antartica. They had a good time but one that they said they may not always recommend. The pictures are wonderful they just have concerns about the safety of the trip. You will see a picture early in the video of a boat sinking. This is not the cruise ship, Explorer, that sank later in their trip. The pictures of the small boats and a large cruise ship sinking are of the Explorer rescue. As you may remember, my parents were on the rescue boat and not the Explorer. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the sinking or rescue. I hope you enjoy the video.

A Lot Of Spilled Milk

Ok. I realize that Jacob is a very good kid. Another mother pointed out yesterday how very few "2 year old" problems I have had. But this one is beginning to drive me nuts. Every time I turn around, Jacob is spilling milk, juice, water or anything liquid. He seems to think it is fun to splash the liquid around and watch it pour off the table. I have tried having him clean it up but he just spreads it more. I have tried time-outs but this only works for a few minutes. I have tried not giving him anything else to drink. He happily goes off until the next time he gets the opportunity. Sippy cups are great but he really doesn't need them. He knows how to drink out of regular cups and not spill. So if any experienced parents have advice, let me know. Otherwise, I'll just have to wait until he grows out of this phase too.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sierra to the rescue!

Jacob gave me the scare of a lifetime yesterday. I took a short shower (about 10 minutes) like I do most mornings. I came out of the shower and noticed it was quiet. This is common as Jacob likes to take these 10 minutes in the mornings to see if he can do something I wouldn't normally allow. I snuck down the hallway expecting to see him "cooking" in the kitchen sink or reorganizing the DVDs. Instead, I noticed the front door wide open and Jacob and the dog gone. The door could not have been open for very long. The cold air hadn't even reached the hallway yet and it was only about 30 degrees outside.
I threw my head out the door (wearing just a towel and still soaking wet) and yelled for Jacob. I heard his pouty cry that he gives when he has fallen in the snow and wants me to pick him up. I couldn't see him though. I raced through the house and threw on the first pair of pants and shirt I saw. As I stepped into a pair of boots, a neighbor walked up the steps with my son in his arms and my dog at his heels. He said that Sierra (the dog) had come over to him and got his attention. He then noticed Jacob outside in just his slipper pajamas and one of my t-shirts.
After I calmed down and got myself and Jacob dressed, I followed Jacob's footsteps in the snow. He had gone to the neighbor's front porch. What was more amazing was that my dog's footprints stayed right with him and only left when she went to the neighbor's house to get the neighbor. Jacob's hands were a little cold but other than that, he was fine.
I have now ordered a new front door with better locks. I tried putting a 14 pound bottle of kitty litter in front of the door but Jacob easily moved it. I now have a very heavy box of books. It takes me to hands to lift it and Jacob can't get it to budge. Jacob also promises to never go outside without Mommy again!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Very Merry Christmas!

Since this is the first year that I have a child to share Christmas with, I got to decide which Christmas traditions to keep and what new ones to start. Our first tradition began the night before. As I have done for the past seven years, I celebrate Christmas a week early with the kids I mentor. The girls decided to spend their gift cards in the afternoon. We went to a nice resteraunt afterwards where I spent far more on a meal than I normally do. B and Jacob loved watching the fish and Jacob even was allowed to feed them.

Christmas Eve we wraped christmas presents. Jacob helped with the tape and put the bows and name tags on them. We took our afternoon naps and then made cookies. It was Jacob's gift to the rest of the family. We had dinner and then got ready for church. The above picture is after Jacob was dressed for church. He thought the doll's glasses were a great finishing touch!
Santa Claus arrived Christmas morning to confirm what I already believed. Jacob has been a very good boy this year. We took the new train set Santa left over to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Grandma and Jacob enjoyed playing with it while they waited to open Christmas presents.
After a wonderful lunch, Jacob played with his favorite toy of the day. His new Giggle and Go Sesame Street garage. He really loves the car elevator and all of the "garages." I will admit that this is one of my favorite toys also.
We concluded the day by saying a special prayer at bedtime remembering our family and friends in Ethiopia and America. I hope that our Christmas traditions will teach Jacob about the many values of the holiday. Church will be a good reminder of why we celebrate and to keep God and Jesus involved. Wrapping gifts and baking cookies for others will help us remember the joy of giving. Enjoying our gifts will help us remember how loved and blessed we are. Our evening prayer will help us remember our past, present and future and be grateful for all of it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Wish Come True

It was 2 years ago on Christmas day that I decided to adopt a child. I had been thinking about adoption for awhile but did not believe a single woman could adopt a baby. I wasn't ready to adopt an older child through foster care and wanted to wait a few more years. I began searching web sites wondering if I could find a photo listing of foster children available for adoption.

As I searched the adoption agencies, I discovered single women could adopt. The decision was made immediately. I called a friend who also stated she wanted to adopt a child and had been thinking about it. We attended an informational meeting the following month and the rest is history. Jacob is that Christmas wish and my friend is anxiously waiting for her wish to come true. She is on the waiting list for an infant from a different country.

Over the past two years, many things have changed. As I considered which agency to use and which country to go through, my son's Ethiopian mother was trying to decide if she would be able to raise him or if she should make an adoption plan. Two years later, I hope that we are both happy with the decisions that were made. I know I am.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Beginning To Understand Christmas

I have been very busy this week trying to prepare for Christmas. Our tree is now up, our stocking hung and gifts bought (or those that can't wait until next week). Jacob understands that a special day is coming with presents, church and family. He is being patient but gets excited whenever he sees Santa Claus.

One of my worries as a parent is that Jacob will only see Christmas as a time to get gifts. That it will be all about gift giving and none of the other important parts. He put some of those fears to rest last week. We had been talking about what he wanted for Christmas. I suggested cars, trains, airplanes, clothes, things for his baby, etc. Jacob stopped me and stated he wanted "Uncle Chuck can play." He is already learning that one of the best parts of Christmas is having family together and being able to "play."

Jacob's Christmas wish came a little early last week. We had dinner with my parents and brother. I found Chuck's old toy barn in the basement. Uncle Chuck and Jacob had fun exploring it and learning how animals live on a farm.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Meeting Santa!

Last weekend we had breakfast with Santa. It was at the YMCA and open to children 2-6 years old. Many of Jacob's friends from preschool were there as well as his preschool teacher. Although it was earlier in the morning than we normally operate, Jacob was a trooper and had a great time.

We began with a continental style breakfast. Jacob really loved the bagels with strawberry cream cheese.

After breakfast we met Santa Claus. The older kids sang songs with Santa but Jacob isn't really into singing yet. He may enjoy it more when he is older. Right now, he will sing in the car softly if he thinks I am not paying attention. As soon as he realizes I am listening, he will give a nervous giggle and stop. I think it is because he isn't able to say the words in the song yet. A few more months should fix that problem. He is getting much better at pronouncing his words every day.

After meeting Santa, the kids received a small gift. Jacob really enjoyed it and wanted to take the other childrens' gifts also. He doesn't quite understand that everything doesn't belong to him. I am hoping this is a phase that passes quickly.

I am sure Jacob does not understand who Santa is or what Christmas is about yet. He is beginning to understand though. He loves the Christmas trees and the lights. He understands that this is an exciting time of the year and that he will get to see Uncle Chuck. That is enough to make him happy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Preparing For Christmas

We finally put the Christmas decorations up today. It is getting late and I was afraid it wouldn't get done if we didn't do it today.
Many families have a tradition of putting decorations up Thanksgiving weekend. I never allowed my family to do that. My birthday is November 28 and I always made them wait until after my birthday. I still follow that same tradition. I had today off work and we had some extra time so I thought it was a good day to do it.
Jacob helped me decide where to put the decorations. He watched as I set the nativity scene up and explored under the tree. I turned the lights on and he stated "wow!" He loves looking at the Christmas lights and we took a drive to look at some tonight. It was a fun afternoon and he is excited about experiencing his first American Christmas. I don't know what they did at his orphanage in Ethiopia but I do know that it was very different than what he will experience as part of a family in America.

Foster Care Classes

I am excited to announce that I begin the classes for foster care licensing next month. I was worried about getting off work to attend class. My slips all came back approved yesterday so I am well on my way to becoming licensed. My house is almost ready (completing some improvements for a home study last year helped a lot.) I still need to change some door knobs (they have to have locks) and replace a smoke detector that is not working. Other than that, the house is ready to go!

I am very excited to open my house up to another young child. As my doctor said, being a single parent is difficult but having a house full of children is wonderful. Jacob also has "only child syndrome" very badly. He thinks he should always be the center of attention and that eveyone around him is here to play with him. He will have to adjust to have other children living here but it will be good for him.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Nap Time Troubles!

First, let me say that Jacob is no where near ready to give up naps. I am not either so I don't see an end to our mid-day naps/quiet time anytime soon. The problem is that we leave the house at 1:40 so that I can get him to the babysitter and me to work before 3.

The past 2 days we have been busy and haven't been able to lay down at 12:15. Both days it was closer to 12:45. After 10 minutes of stalling, Jacob has been lucky to be asleep by 1:00. Last night he fell asleep while the babysitter was still cooking supper. He ate a snack at midnight when we got home and a huge lunch. I predict the same thing today. If only I could switch to dayshift soon!

I am continuing to enforce nap time and will probably do so until he either doesn't need it or I don't need it. Working second shift, it is very important for both of us. It is the only way we by with not going to bed until 1 AM (he sleeps at the sitter's before I get there but is then up for about 1 1/2 hours after I get off work) and getting up between 7:30 and 8 in the morning. He will just need to continue to take the naps that he hates but needs.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Welcome Home!

My parents have safely returned from Antartica. They said they loved the trip and it was quite an adventure. Due to the unexpected emergencies, they were offered a discount on a future trip to Antartica but I think one trip will be enough.
One of their favorite parts of the trip were the penguins. There is a rule about how close they can approach the penguins but no rule on how close the penguins can come to them. Apparently the penguins were as curious about them as they were about the penguins. They said some of the penguins came within feet of them! It sounded like a wonderful trip. I really wish I could have gone.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Snow is Fun!

Snow is so much fun! Or, at least when you have a mom to do all of the shoveling and scraping :)
We received about 6 inches of very wet snow followed by light rain yesterday. Today, we tried to shovel our way out of it. I wasn't very successful. I got about half of the driveway (thanks to the help of my two wonderful babysitters) and the end of the driveway (thanks to my neighbor with the snow blower) done. The other half iced up before I could finish it. I don't know what to do now. It will either get warm over the next few days and will melt or I'll have to get out there and just keep trying to break it up.
Jacob thought the snow was great. He spent a lot of time just falling into it and rolling around. He also thought sledding down the snow bank at the side of the driveway was fun. He didn't want to go back inside but it was getting late. There will be plenty more snow before Winter ends.