Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve

Happy New Year's Eve! I hope 2008 was wonderful for all of you. I hope 2009 is even better. Jacob, M and I have had a great couple of days. I will post pictures and update in the next couple of days. Isn't life great when you have so much fun you can't update a simple blog?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Portrait Studio

I got professional pictures of Jacob and M done today. They turned out well despite the boys refusing to cooperate. They should be ready in a couple of weeks and I look forward to hanging M's picture on the wall. While I don't know how long he will be here, he is family while he is here. It looks like he will be here for at least several more months. If he does stay forever, I also have pictures of the boys together while they are young. I am waiting to do an official family picture until I know for sure whether or not M is going to stay forever.

M's social worker also wanted a picture of M's new haircut to give to M's mom. I plan to give her copies of some of the pictures. Hopefully, she will be pleased with how much he has grown and how he looks with short hair.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who is this kid?

Jacob has been a different kid today! He is always a good kid but today I was just amazed. He helped me pick up the living room and kitchen. While I had to redirect him a few times to keep him on track, there was no whining, crying or complaining. When I told him it was nap time, he gave me a kiss and said, "Good night Mommy." He then walked off. I went to check on him a few minutes later and found him laying in bed under the covers.

M on the other hand has had a rough day. He is 19 months old now and showing it. He sat on the changing table this morning saying, "I'm naughty." He then started grabbing things he knows he is not suppose to touch and laughing. I'm not quite sure where to go with that except hope he grows out of this stage quickly. Jacob went through a similar one. I don't know how long it lasted but it did eventually go away. Hopefully, it will be soon!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas

I finally have a somewhat quiet moment in the house. The boys are up and playing which is why it is only some what quiet. I thought I would take a moment to explore my new computer and update everyone on our Christmas. You will have to scroll down to the entries I made Christmas day to see some pictures.

I was originally planning on working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I always ask off work for both of those days but wasn't able to get them off this year. I couldn't turn my request slips in until about 3 months after most of the people on my shift since I didn't move to dayshift until May. My parents were going to babysit the boys and I was dreading spending another holiday at work.

Those plans were changed on Tuesday. About 40 minutes before my shift ended, scheduling called and told me I could take Christmas Day and the day after off work. That was if I still wanted them. I quickly stated I would love to have them off. Not only would I be home for Christmas but Jacob's daycare is closed this week and I could spend some time with him and M.

Christmas Eve was okay. The service was fun except that M was very tired and a little hungry. He spent most of the service having temper tantrums in the cry room. Jacob really enjoyed the service though and particpated in children's time as well as getting a box of Christmas cookies at the end of the service.

Christmas Day was much better. The boys really enjoyed the festivities. This was the first year that Jacob really seemed to understand what was going on. He is normally fairly slow to wake up in the morning. I told him Santa had come as I left the room to get M out of his crib. Jacob jumped out of bed and beat me to the living room. Santa didn't disappoint them. Jacob received the firetruck he really wanted and M received the megablocks and Disney cars he has been eyeing at the store.

We went to my parents' house to open presents and discovered this was the year of duplicate gifts. I had made lists of gift ideas for all of us and left it for my family. Each list had about 15 ideas on it but apparently we all think alike. M received the same outfit I had bought him to wear Christmas Eve. Jacob had the exact same outfit from my parents and from me. I had been hinting that I needed new pots and pans and received sets from my brother and my parents. M also received megablocks from Santa and from my brother. It was fun to laugh at all of the duplicate gifts and play with the boys' new toys. Who new Playskool's ball popper could keep kids and adults entertained for long periods of time?

The rest of the day was fun and pretty much uneventful as Christmas should be. I ventured out to buy batteries for the ball popper (I had bought the wrong size earlier) and found I was not the only one appreciating that Walgreens was open. We had Christmas dinner at noon and then it was time for some very short naps. My mom and I took Jacob to a movie in the afternoon while M stayed home with my dad and brother.

I spent Friday doing my part to stimulate the economy. The experts weren't kidding when they said prices have been slashed. I returned the duplicate clothes and pots and pans and helped the boys spend their Christmas money. I also stopped and bought a new computer. I have bought things from this store before and never had them willing to cut prices just to have me take their products. That is what they did this time. When I stated I wouldn't pay as much as they wanted for the computers in stock, they knocked another $150 off to get me to buy one that day. I gladly accomodated them and accepted the deep discounts to get a computer that is virus free and much faster than my old one. I now plan to get the old computer fixed and let the teenagers upload their programs and play on it.

It was a very nice holiday and I am enjoying spending time with my family. I really enjoyed having J and B over yesterday to shop, play on the computer and then have dinner at my parents house. The laughter and giggles went on for over 2 hours last night before I told everyone it was time to go home. I don't know if my parents enjoyed the noise and activity as much as they claimed but is was fun to see everyone having so much fun.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! We have had a wonderful Christmas. The children even took duplicate gifts (there were 3 of them) in stride. Jacob's favorite gift seems to be the moon sand. M really likes his ball popper.

Jacob enjoyed the children's Christmas Eve service last night while I watched it from the cry room with M. We went to bed on time but made sure the bedroom door was shut so Santa wouldn't accidentally wake us up by saying "Ho! Ho!" in the doorway. Where do these kids get this stuff?!?

Santa came as promised and the reigndeer ate some of the oats Jacob left for them. Lunch was at Grandma's as well as gift opening. We are off to take short naps now before a movie this afternoon.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. It is so nice to spend it with family!

Christmas Pictures

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Final Christmas Preparations

It is Christmas Eve and I am almost ready for it. Jacob, M and I finished up our family preparations last night. Jacob got his hair cut again so it looks nice. I found a new outfit for M to wear to church tonight. I found a pink toy house for Jacob. I gave it to him last night telling him that Santa would not be brining one. I know. Jacob is spoiled but as long as he continues to behave well, be polite and generous, and has some understanding that we can't always get what we want, I don't think it is a big deal. Of course, he won't be getting many new toys after tomorrow for quite awhile.

My computer at home is acting up and I hope to get it fixed next week (or buy a new one if Santa is good to me). I hope to be better about posting pictures regularly at that time. I also hope to use my parents' computer to post Christmas pictures in the next few days.

Merry Christmas to all of my readers. I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Panic

I just realized that I forgot to help M buy a Christmas present for Jacob. With only one more evening to go, I better get it done tonight. I have to work tomorrow (and Christmas day) so that only leaves me about an hour after work today. I guess I will be going to the store in my work clothes again. Oh, well. It will be worth it on Christmas.

Jacob made reigndeer food at school yesterday. It is oats and glitter. According to the note on the food, the glitter helps the reigndeer find the food and our home. Jacob is concerned that Santa might break a window when he lands. I promised him that I would fix the window if Santa breaks it.

Jacob is still convinced Santa will be bringing us a new home. I keep telling him that Santa doesn't bring houses. He suggested that he and I build one after Christmas then. I wish it was that easy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A New Big Sister

On the same day as we said goodbye to E, Jacob, M and I met a new friend P. P is a seven year old girl. She is my new little sister through Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She is the same age and in the same grade as my first little sister, J. I met J eight years ago.

I took my kids and P to Chuck E Cheese last night as our first official outing. It went well. P seemed to enjoy helping Jacob on the rides and they both had fun playing games. M was a bit more of a challenge and took a lot more of my attention. He was a normal one year old. It was a great time and we are looking forward to getting together again next week.

A Holiday Beginning

Jacob, M and I began our holiday celebrations last weekend. E was with us all weekend and a joy. The behaviors I was concerned about last spring are completely gone. While she is far from perfect adn still has some challenges, she is doing much better.

It snowed about 10 inches on Friday. M played inside (in a safe confined space) while E and Jacob helped me remove the snow from the driveway. The roads were clear by noon so we headed off to McDonald's to burn the rest of our energy. By the time we left, E was falling asleep at the table and Jacob and M were just as tired. Naptime was a breeze and we spent Friday evening relaxing at home and playing.

Saturday was a very busy day. We started by watching a free concert celebrating Hannukah. While none of our families are Jewish, I thought it would be good for the kids and me to learn a little about the Jewish culture. We all had a great time and learned all kinds of fun things. The kids enjoyed listening to the music and dancing. I enjoyed watching the dancing latkes. Who knew potato pancakes could dance?

Saturday afternoon we braved more snow to visit Santa at the mall. Jacob and M had their picture taken. Jacob asked Santa for a new house for mom again. I keep trying to assure him that our house is fine and that he should ask for something for him. He keeps insisting that he wants to buy me a larger house. Someday we will get that bigger house it just won't be now.

We left Santa and headed out to church. The snow was continuing to fall but that just made it the perfect festive mood for some Christmas carols. Jacob had sung Ruldoph the Red Nosed Reindeer at his school performance on Thursday and E had recently learned Jingle Bells. Church was also fun. E had never been to Church School before and loved it. She came home all excited and telling me about the birth of Jesus. She appeared a little confused at the prayers but sat quietly and even bowed her head for the last one. I really hope that E's forever family takes her to church so that she can continue to learn and enjoy it.

Sunday morning we went to my parents' church for some Christmas activities. Once again, we had to battle cold and snow to get there. The kids were able to make Christmas crafts and then played in the nursery. I attended services and enjoyed them. Saturday night services are contemporary while Sunday morning is more traditional. I really have fun at the Saturday night services but enjoy the relaxing atmosphere at the traditional services as well. It's also fun to see all of our friends at both churches. I get so much support at both places.

E left Sunday afternoon and we already miss her. I assured her that I love her and will always love her. I have told her and her current foster mom that she is always welcome at my house. I have told human services that I would welcome her back as my daughter if they decide I am the right home for her in the future. In the meantime, I have volunteered to provide respite services for her new foster home anytime they want. Now, it is in God's hands. I can only pray that wherever she goes she is loved and finds a permanent forever family soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Swimming Lesson Not Learned

Jacob had his final swimming lesson for this session last night. He is even more confident in the water than when he started. He kept letting go of the railing and trying to swim on his own. Although the teacher and I kept telling him to stop, he refused. Finally, she turned her back to help another student when Jacob let go and slipped off the platform the kids stand on. As he swam under the water, the teacher began to quickly move to grab him. At the same time two other preschoolers let go and now three of the four kids were underwater. Before the parents could even react, the teacher had all three kids scooped up and safely back on the railing.

All three kids began crying. The teacher quickly checked them over and told them they were fine. Jacob continued to cry and I was just getting ready to walk over and try to calm him down. Then the teacher handed him the toy cup he had dropped and he was fine again. After class I learned that the other two boys were crying because they were scared. Jacob was crying because he dropped the toy and he wasn't sure the teacher would return it. He still has no fear and has not learned to hang on. He definitelly needs to continue swimming lessons before he hurts himself!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Celebration

Today was the Christmas program at the church. I didn't have a very good seat so I don't have any good pictures to share. It was a wonderful performance. Jacob was in the children's choir. He did an excellent job standing and sitting at the appropriate times and singing with the other children. I was very pleased and proud of him.

After the Christmas program, I took our friends J and B on our annual Christmas shopping trip. Normally I let them pick a mall within 5 hours of home. This year money is a little tighter so I gave them a choice of two outlet malls within an hour of home. I packed the car full of strollers and children and we were off. We shopped for over two hours and left with more things than we intended to buy. The above pictures were taken at the end of the afternoon when we were ready to go home.

Although I spent more than I planned, it wasn't bad. Jacob is very close to outgrowing his 3T clothes. I don't have very many 4T clothes yet so we got some pants, sweaters and pajamas. Jacob loves to wear sweaters and although they are a little more expenses they last longer than the long sleeve t-shirts. M has outgrown the clothes I bought him earlier this Fall but for now he is stuck with Jacob's old clothes. I do buy him a few of his own outfits but he really doesn't care what he wears and doesn't know where they come from. Of course, I will buy him more of his own clothing if he is still living with me when he is old enough to notice he is wearing Jacob's old clothes.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Morning Greeting

I was running late as usual this morning. Jacob is on antibiotics for a sinus infection and woke up complaining that his head still hurts. I got him some Tylenol and his antibiotic and told him we had to hurry and wake up M. Jacob ran ahead of me and I heard him trying to wake M up.

I walked into M's room to find Jacob standing next to a sleeping M. Jacob very excitedly was saying, "M someone's here for you! Look who came to see you!" I walked over and gently rubbed M's back to wake him up. As soon as M's eyes opened Jacob said, "I told you there's someone special here to see you. It's me! It's your big brother!" M smiled and giggled at him and we were off to a very good start to the day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Welcome back E

Some of you may remember I had a foster daughter, E, last Spring. She is changing foster homes again and needed a place to stay for a couple days. I told her current foster mom she could come to my home. She will be here next week for a couple days also.

It was fun seeing E again. Jacob does miss her and they did have fun playing together. I really hope she finds a permanent home soon. She is such a great kid and I hate that she can't just stay here. She will be moving on to a new foster home in about a week and we most likely will not see her again. I will miss her though and pray for her often

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fragile Children

Jacob overheard my mom and me talking about driving careful in the snow today. From the backseat I hear:

"Mommy and Grandma be careful! We're fragile!"

How right he is.

Snow Day!

Jacob and I woke up to the ground covered in snow. I don't know the totals yet but I am guessing about 7 inches of snow. The schools in the area are all closed which means his daycare is also closed. This wouldn't be a huge deal since I was planning on keeping him home today but I forgot his snowpants at school. I tried putting garbage bags around his legs and tying them with garbage bags. Those are the white things around his legs in the above photos. It didn't work very well though. They kept sliding down his legs even with the rubber bands.

Jacob and I finished the driveway and turned on the news. It stated that most of the snow had fallen and that the main roads were improving. I got M and Jacob dressed and we headed off to shop for new snow pants. We had to go to three stores but we found some! We will be shoveling the driveway one more time and playing outside again later today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Some Promised Recent Photos

Jacob's Christmas Wish

Jacob has been telling everyone he wants a truck or moon sand for Christmas. That all changed yesterday. His preschool teacher went around the room and asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas. The kids all gave standard answers. Except Jacob. Jacob's daycare director had tears in her eyes when she told me about the list.

So what does Jacob want? A NEW HOUSE FOR HIS MOMMY.

Jacob was adament about it even after we got home last night. Here is the conversation we had.

M: Jacob, what do you really want for Christmas?

J: A house for you Mommy.

M: I think Santa only brings toys. He cannot bring houses.

J: Can M get a toy house then?

M: Maybe but don't you want something for you?

J: No. Just a house for you and a toy for M.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

An Eel!

Jacob is now an eel! He passed the pike swimming level to move up to eel. I spoke to his teacher after class. She agreed that Jacob makes us both nervous in the pool and that he needs swimming lessons before he kills himself. Pike is the beginning swimming level for young children. At two different lessons, Jacob was warned that he would go home if he kept swimming away from the teacher and class with his little blue flotation device around his waist! He is very comfortable in the water and can swim for about 4 feet. He has no fear which is a good and bad thing. Especially when he can't touch the bottom! At least I know that he can float until I can jump in if he ever does decide to jump in over his head without an adult in the water.

First Sentences

M has just started putting words together. He turned 18 months at the end of November so his languange skills are really blossoming. His first 3 word sentence (or at least that I heard) was "I love you" while turning to hug my legs. His second three word sentence was about a week later. He told my dad, "I want cheese." Not a bad start.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A New Haircut!

Oh, I wish I could post M's picture. I can't though so I will just do my best to describe it. M's hair was below his shoulders in the back and below his nose in the front. I have been asking the social workers if I can cut his hair for several weeks. They kept telling me to wait hoping that things in his case would improve.

I finally got permission to cut his hair last week. Actually, I received permission for a light trim. That is what I told the hair stylist. She said she would just even it up. Well, after all of the layers of baby hair were evened up, it was a traditional boys haircut and very short. The social worker will probably not be happy but it is done. M looks so much cleaner and so handsome! I can now see his cute ears and blue eyes!

Holiday Weekend Recap

First off, I apologize for not posting any pictures. My camera broke and I put it somewhere safe so I could use the memory card out of it. Now I can't figure out what safe place I put it in. I bought a new camera but won't be able to post pictures until I get that memory card.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I had to work on Thursday and Saturday but celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday evening. Jacob had fun watching Grandpa and Uncle Chuck cut the turkey. We had a wonderful family dinner. M and Jacob got to spend the entire day with Grandpa and Uncle Chuck which they thought was wonderful. Uncle Chuck stated that while he does not want to do a lot of babysitting, his new girlfriend will. I just may have to take her up on that offer some day.

Friday was my 31st birthday even if I did tell everyone I was still 28. I took the day off work and did my part to help stimulate the economy. I wasn't the only one. The stores were packed. Other than a little annoyance when we got celebrated from one the teenagers I mentor, J,it went well. J had told me where she was going but I didn't hear her so it was a 40 minute search through a very busy mall to find her.

Jacob saw Santa for the first time this year. M stayed with the teenagers. It was so crowded and overstimulating that I was a little worried about how he would react. I plan to take both boys back when it is quieter and get their pictures taken. That is if they cooperate. Jacob told Santa he wanted a truck. I was happy Santa didn't promise it to him just said he would "See what I can do."

We had dinner with my parents and brother Friday evening. Jacob and M gave me some flannel sheets for my bed. Jacob also gave me a very pretty heart necklace my friend helped him buy earlier in the day.

I also received a phone call from Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I have been waiting for a new little sister. While I love mentoring J and B, they are teenagers now. I have been matched with them for eight years and we have a family relationship. I will still be matched with them but wanted a younger child to do younger child things with. It is a chance for Jacob and M to help me do volunteer work. I will find out later this week if P's parents approved the match and will update about her then.

We finished the weekend with more shopping yesterday. Whew! I got a good start on it but still have a long way to go. I may have to wait until I get paid again though. I think I'll just call work now and see if I can pick up some overtime to pay for the things we bought!