Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Wedding: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good
6 well-behaved kids sitting front row during a Catholic wedding.

How the girls were calling their newly married Aunt "Mrs. Cinderella".

The beautiful ceremony, bridal party and reception.

Award-winning performance of "Natural Woman" sung by my sister at the reception.

Julie dancing the night away on the dance floor. Again.

Being able to get one more wearing of the wedding clothes even though sashes needed to be pinned on.

James and Julie meeting many new family members for the first time.

The warm welcoming into the family for them.

The positive, supportive comments about adoption from almost everyone.

Scattered family reunited.

The rite of passage of a long road-trip for the kids.

The Bad
My legs and feet after wearing high heels when I've been accustomed to flip-flops and bare feet.

"When're we gonna be there/how much longer/he touched me/I'm hungry" on a loop for 12 hours.

James getting his feelings hurt and feeling sad for most of the reception.

The Ugly
Sigh. One person's ugly comments about adoption/adopted children.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Beach: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good
The ice cream man ringing his bell at the top of the dunes
Popsicle juice dripping down sandy chins
Miniature golf
The views from the top of the lighthouse
James and Julie learning the art of boogie boarding
Sand sculptures, including castles, dolphins, mermaids, seaturtles ....
Warm sand, sound of the surf, cool breeze
James and Julie seeing an ocean for the first time in their lives

The Bad
Sand on the floors
Sand in the sheets
Sand in our ears
Jellyfish legs after climbing the 200+ steps of the lighthouse

The Ugly
Pretty blue crab legs collected by Natasha on the jetty not smellin' so pretty the next day

Friday, July 10, 2009

6 Month Post-Placement Report

Back when we adopted Bella many years ago, the post-placement report requirements were different than they are today. They were done at 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, two years and three years. Today they no longer require reports until the child has been home a year, but they are then needed every year after that till the child is 18.
So although no one is knocking down my door for the 6 month report, I thought I'd give an unofficial one anyway since the kids have been home with us 6 months as of yesterday, July 9th.

In a nutshell, they're doing fanatstic.

They have both celebrated birthdays with us: James turned 14 in March and Julie turned 11 in May.

James enjoys taking long rides on his bike and producing breath-takingly beautiful artwork and projects of one kind or another. He loves swimming and horsing around with Patrick. He takes great delight in "ninja-ing" his family members, and he and Patrick have a running contest to see who is more Ninja. James likes middle school and brought home straight A's. He was also voted most artistic 7th grade boy by his classmates.

Julie loves to play school or kitchen with Bella, paint her nails with Rosie, go swimming, and sew. We're currently working on making some pajamas for her and she always has some little embroidery project in the works. She loves, loves, loves going to family weddings and dancing the night away all dolled up. Probably her favorite pasttime, though, is to cuddle up in my lap and just snuggle and love.

Though they were both a bit fearful of the dogs when they came home, they absolutely love them now. They also enjoy holding the bunnies or our guinea pig. James loves to watch the frogs go cricket-hunting when we feed them, and Julie adores our fat-cat Mamfy. James has a great time fishing in our pond or skating on it in winter time. Julie is not as much of a nature-child as her brother, but likes to go for walks to the creek or play outside in the driveway with chalks or her bike.

Their mastery of the English language has been nothing short of amazing. They can both read, write and speak English with impressive fluency. Here Julie has an edge over James, though whether that has more to do with her younger age, or being a girl, or just having an innate talent for languages I guess we'll never know. Though she still gets her pronouns mixed up and has more vocabulary to learn, she's pretty much understood by all who talk with her. James still struggles with sentence structure, so sometimes his point is lost as we try to rearrange his words and figure things out. But he'll get there. They still speak Russian with each other, which we've strongly encouraged so they don't lose their native tongue.

Six months down, a lifetime to go.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thank you for America, Mom ....

First 4th of July celebration for James and Julie yesterday. They had a blast, literally. We kept it simple, just staying home for cookout and DIY fireworks in the driveway. All the kids got to light a few things and ooh and ahh over all the sparkles and bangs. Julie was by turns scared silly and totally amazed. She kept telling me, "Thank you, Mom, for America".
Rosie made a BD cake and we all sang and blew out the candles.

Happy Birthday America!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

End of another busy week.

You'll forgive me if I've been out of touch for the last week. We had friends visiting with us; they arrived Sun eve and left for home (NJ) yesterday afternoon, which was Friday. The kids all had a blast and they swam, ate, gamed, and played their hearts out for 6 days solid. But it was a houseful. Most days we had 13 here, but there were nights I was cooking for 15 or more depending on what strays we picked up for an afternoon or evening or overnight. Can you say paper plates?

A couple times we loaded everyone into two cars and headed to the movies to see a matinee of Transformers, or to the creek to have a picnic lunch and splash around in the water and throw sticks for our yellow Lab Sunny. My friend Mary and I were even evil enough to pawn all the kids onto her dh for an afternoon as she and I treated ourselves to a chick-flick and cried our eyes out to My Sister's Keeper.

So it was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work making sure the kids picked up their cups and plates and cans and trash. Extra effort being the laundry police to ensure wet bathing suits and towels got hung out to dry instead of sitting balled up in a corner. Being the Fairness Officer so everyone got their turn at whatever they were waiting to play with. Throw into the mix that one kid developed some kind of infection inside her eyelid and another got something worked inside of his pinky toe to create a nasty infection of his own, and an older dog that seemed to have lost touch with his bowel control and it all made for an interesting and busy week.

Fred laughed at me last night. Tucked into bed for the night after a long day I sighed, "It was a fun week but it's kinda nice just having the 8 of us under this roof tonight".
Guess he thought saying "just the 8 of us" was a bit of an oxymoron.
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