Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Quick Run Down

This post is a quick run down of what has been going since picture day/nyet wa-wa day! Well actually it is up until about a week ago when I last downloaded my pictures. I should be blogging all the time. I have no excuse right now. My sister arrived last weekend from California and she is so much fun and such a huge help with the kids that you would think I would have more time to sit and post. Somehow that just hasn't
happened. She has the luxury of sleeping in while I get my three tired monkeys up and off to school though. It is nice and dark and dreary today. So she will be sleeping in for a while longer while I make my weekly post. I am trying to keep up and post
more but at the very least weekly is my goal.

As usual I have tons of pictures. Unlike usual I am not going to post as many of each
adventure because I had a dirty camera lens for about a week that was unnoticeable until I uploaded the pictures and looked at them on a larger scale. :(

The kids at a school Monkey Joe's fundraiser night. You will notice the obvious absence of Julian in this one. The training continues...

On Saturday (this was 2 Saturdays ago) the kids were enjoying one of first fall-like days. The boys went with Kevin to Costco and the girls went out to play. They spent the entire day creating Sophie's imaginative bug village, complete with swimming pool, in our front yard. They were so busy (and dirty) that I brought them a surprise picnic lunch outside. By late afternoon we had 13 neighbor kids join us. There are only 5 houses on our cul-du-sac! The funniest part of the day was when the first bug showed up in the village. The girls sort of screamed at first. They quickly calmed down when I reminded them that having a village for bugs was the goal. Needless to say the bugs who chose to partake in the crisp swimming pool waters are no longer with us.

Our very own Shevchenko.

Kevin's parents have been in Hawaii for the last couple of weeks (poor things). They spoiled us by sending us packages three times! This was from the first round of packages. The kids love everything and they hope to be able to wear their Aloha wear in Hawaii when they grow into it. The second set of pages was more shirts for the boys, grass skirts and a hula video for the girls, necklaces for everyone, and books too! The last package just arrived yesterday and was full of boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts! Thanks Bill and Charlotte, you sure do spoil us! We love it and we love you guys! Hope you had a fantastic trip!

First trip to Chuck E. Cheese's:

Later that afternoon Kevin had a headache so we took off for a while so he could get some rest.

Lily showing off one of her many kindergarten masterpieces. I love having their artwork hanging in the house!

The kids all love making cocoa after school on a cool autumn day.

This is one of the reasons Julian has rock hard abs. He does crunches for fun! Sophie tried joining him on this particular evening. Silly kids. Their favorite game to play is "gymnastics".

Monday, September 22, 2008

Picture Day / Nyet Wa-wa Day

Last Tuesday was picture day at school. Now, I am not under the illusion that these school pictures will probably turn out well anyway. I have seen the way that they sit the kids down for 10 seconds in front of a neutral dull backdrop, have them say cheese and the resulting generic smiles that come from them. I have also seen the overprices packages that they offer. But the kids first picture day was kind of a rite of passage. I bought a small package for each of them, mostly for the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and posterity sake. I will be pleasantly surprised if the photos turn out well. We got studio photos taken the week after they were home and I imagine we will get them again before the year is out. They are changing so quickly!

So here is the story of picture day:

They started out the day with fresh hair and clothes. I have no idea what time it was when their photos were taken. I am also hoping these aren't the faces that they made! Of course it ended up raining after I sent them on their way. Sophie's classroom is outside the main building and she told me it was raining when they were on their way to pictures. She also told me about her brilliant plan to use the hooded sweatshirt she had in her back pack from the day before to stay dry. Oh no! The only thing worse than rained on hair is probably hooded sweatshirt hair. ;) I think I faked a smile for her sake (thinking she was so smart) and prayed someone had the decency to fix her sweatshirt head.

I dreamed up a brilliant plan to let Tate play outside in the rain while I cleaned up inside. I put his water table out, gave him a raincoat and an umbrella, and let him have at it. I kept the side door open so he and Keaton went in and out as they pleased and I could see and hear him out there. It was such a nice morning. Kept him busy for two hours! No small miracle with the Tater Tot.

Another small miracle that day was that Lily didn't cry at school. School has been in now for about a month. I think Lily had gotten herself into the bad habit of crying every day at school. Her teacher told me she cries when ever another child is crying. This is no surprise to me, she does this at home sometimes. It is probably left over from her detsky dom and probably had to do with getting attention if you were crying, or getting upset that someone else was upset. Anyway, I thought she was developing a bad habit crying every day so I challenged her to cry only if she really needed to (hurt, etc). Of course she got into the car that very next day telling me "nyet wa-wa" (no crying)! She was so proud of herself. We drove straight to the market and bought things to make strawberry cupcakes with pink frosting in celebration. Anyone in our house will tell you that, "Lily loves pink!" So after dinner we made the cupcakes and after baths we frosted and ate them. We even sang Lily "Happy Nyet Wa-wa Day to you!" (Sung to the tune of Happy Birthday.) She ate it up (the cupcake and the attention) and she didn't cry again at school all week!

Tate's absence in the cupcake making pictures is due to his choice not to listen to mama and papa that day. :( In fact I would say that both boys had a serious training week last week and missed out on several fun things due to choices that they made. Can I just say that I know it will pay off if we try to nip this behavior in the bud, but that it is my very least favorite part of parenting? I just will not let disobedience slide (I can't stand whiny or "smart" children, and it isn't the way God calls us to parent anyway). Good times.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

We could not decide what to do with what could very well be one of our last pleasant summer-like Sundays. Kevin went to lunch with friends and I took the kids to the market. By the time we were home it was too late for the lake or any other big outing. The neighborhood pool looked crowded, and we had just played at the school yard on Saturday night on our way home from dinner... what to do? We decided to go for a walk to the stream near our house. The kids loved it and so did we! We saw crawfish, tadpoles, fish, and frogs. The kids played in the water and Julian led the charge to try swimming in the shallow water. They are so used to just stripping down at the detsky dom so that is just what they did! It was such a wonderful, relaxing family time. :)

These are the days! We won't have the time that most parents have with their kids. We are trying to make the most of the time that we have though before the chapter turns and they are more independent. We feel so blessed each day to be called their parents.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our Week

Here is a brief overview of some of the highlights of the week. I should be posting a picture of Tate sitting on his bed for touching something he knows he should not touch, me doing laundry, Kevin loading the dishwasher for the 7th time in three days, or the two older ones working on homework. That would give you a real taste of our week. But I will spare you the boring details.

This week had lots of fun points as well.

On Monday afternoon, Tate and Lily napped in the afternoon while Julian and Sophie helped me make blueberry muffins for our small group meeting that night. Our group meets at our house so the kids can play upstairs while the adults meet downstairs. That way if any kids need their parents they can just go downstairs. This was the best way for us since we are still trying to be the ones to meet all their needs for bonding and transition purposes. Either Kevin or I is with the kids upstairs for now.

They all had haircuts (or trims) as well. I picked them up from school one afternoon and we went and bought Julian's mattress for his new bed. Their Babushka Charlotte (Kevin's mom) had given them each a trim or cut when we were first home. I imagine these were their first professional cuts. They all loved this local children's salon!

It had been a hot day. We went and picked up a gift at Learning Express for a birthday party the girls were going to on Saturday and then we headed home. The kids settled down on the couch to relax and watch a movie until Kevin got home. Then the hot, sunny sky turned dark and it was pouring. The kids looked bored with sitting around so we all ran outside to play in the rain instead! Then it was straight to the bath for these soaked monkeys!

Making cookies for the first time. Chocolate chip and heath cookies. Yum! Poor Tate. He had to go nap instead of helping because he is still working on listening to mama. He has been missing out on a lot of fun lately! I think it is working though because yesterday he finally had a day with no major listening issues. :)

This is the girls right before they left to go to their first birthday party in America. They loved it! Little girls, music, cookie decorating, a pinata, designing their own magic wands, cake, and candy! What could be better? I purposefully left them there (it was two doors down) even though I could have stayed. I thought it would be good for them. They would have clung to me otherwise. They knew five girls from our cul-du-sac and two other little girls from Sophie's class at school, including one who is also in one of Sophie's dance classes. It was only an hour and a half so I thought it would be best for them to interact with the little girls together. They did great!