Monday, May 31, 2010

Take me out to the BallGAME!

Wow!!  We joined forces with Van and company for our first baseball game experience! 

The boys were ecstatic!  Ate EVERY ballpark item that was - hotdogs, pretzels, cotton candy, popcorn!

While out stretching his legs, Austin got a personal meet and greet (read: High Five) with the super team mascot!  Of course, that was the one second Mommy put the camera down!

Both boys made it through the whole game and got to (GASP!) RUn the BASES!!! 

And of course, true to their inner selves, just had to "perform" on the "stage" before we left.

Truly, nothing tires these two out!  They (once again) did NOT fall asleep on the way home.  But went to bed fairly quickly.  Only to have Austin awaken with a haste (and a scream) about 2 hours later as all of the contents of his stomache preferred to be OUT.  ;-(  Poor baby! 

(That last little part will not be shown in the below video!)

Edited to add:
When Logan watched this video with me, we got to the part where Austin and Logan are rounding third to home plate and they "pass" a kid....Logan starts giggling and says "Momma, Austin told that boy, 'See ya tomorrow!"  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

PreSchool songs!

(Pre)school'z out for the summer!  
And lately the twins have been doing some pretty funky looking smiles - that kind where their cheesy -"Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeese" looks more like a wide distorted frown? 
So.....I don't have a lot (decent) of pictures. 
For the ice cream one in the previous post I made them "model" their ice cream - I showed them how to hold on up their "item" and showcase it with a mouth open look to it.

I think it worked.

But, back to this post.
In lieu of pictures for my FFF,
here's a video of them singing some of their songs
 from their PreSchool Mu-zee-cal!
For more FFF's, visit the adorable Hannah!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When you have nothing good to say....

...say nothing at all.  Right?   
Was that a whole week that just went by without me posting?

Take "funk" put "me" in it and that's where I've been. 
Too much going on? 
Evan graduating? 
Twins a mile a minute? 
Money woes? 
blah blah blah

I have been missing my brother like CRAZY! 
Isn't grief random like that? 

Ok - see?
Better to say nothing at all..

And I'm missing God.
Which is probably why I'm in a funk.

However, these guys are not in a funk

That's cuz they just got $14 ice cream bars off of the Extortion...I mean, Ice Cream Truck.

And if you'll notice on the sidebar, my posts from 2006 have grown. 
I went back and updated the beginning of our adoption. 
There's some cute stuff back there.

I'm going to try and go get out of my funk.
Love ya all!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Re-potty training!

Yep.  You read it right. 

We're truly blessed with our two in most areas.  Despite coming home at 14 months, they have never had speech issues.  In fact, at their 21/2 year old check-up, they were speaking at a 4 year olds vocabulary level.  They've memorized the Lord's Prayer.  The EAT any and everything.  They excel at sports.  They self taught themselves to ride bikes without training wheels at 3 years old. 

We are very spoiled parents.  And very blessed. In most areas.


Neither one of our little ones are successfully navigating the World on No Diapers.

Nighttime.  Not a problem.

Daytime.  LOTS of problems.

They went into undies last year (around three).  Austin had some relapse last summer and then again when school started up.  All centered around "change."  I was told not to worry.

Fall. Winter.  Most weeks had at least one or two accidents.

But then, this spring.  When the weather turned warm.  It seems both boys FORGOT all about using the White Porcelin Throne.  At all. 

The straw that broke the camels back was a few weeks ago.  Several days in a row.  I found pants in their closet that should have gone into the laundry.  Seems that "pee, change, play" were the modis operadus.  Not to mention all the clothes that we did catch.  Gary was up to his eyeballs in laundry!  ;-)

Last weekend, the boys and I went to the Wholesale club and bought a GIGANTIC box of pull-ups.

Now, each morning, with a permanent marker, I write a number on the diaper.  At the end of the day they have to turn that same diaper back into me "accident-free" to claim a sticker.  That was 7 days ago.  Austin has earned THREE stickers.  Logan TWO.

They have to get 14 stickers to earn a prize.  It was going to be a new Spiderman bike - one with a KICKSTAND.  and HANDBREAKS.  But I've told them they can earn WHATEVER they WANT!  A new Batman costume.  A soccer uniform.



I don't know why they can't master this.  I try, I really try not to fuss and yell.  It is so frustrating.

And yet, I have to remind myself, this too shall pass.  EVENTUALLY, they'll get it. 

I can beat myself up wondering WHY.  Trying to CONTROL it.  Getting FRUSTRATED with it all.

Or I can just suck it up and DEAL with it. 

~ ~ ~ ~
Here they are, racing like speed demons down a hill.  On their bikes.

After wrestling knee pads onto them, I was feeling confident that I had outsmarted them with extra safety measure.  Accept, like most things with them, my PLAN backfired.  Once they realized they could fall withOUT getting hurt....they fell MORE.  On Purpose.

(The song was auto picked, and I thought the "head-bobbin'" part was cute, so I kept it!)

Friday, May 14, 2010


While not something I would typically refer to either of my boys.

I have to admit, talent aside,

They can lean to the shy side during a "performace."

Do they look like they are singing to you?  ;-)

I wanna be a COW-BOR-WEE!


It doesn't get much cuter than that!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


In an effort to record a true and accurate account of Austin and Logan's childhood, it would be extremely negligent of me to leave out some of the more "taxing" moments.

I do believe I am a very patient mother.  I do believe I am a very calm mother. 

If you saw us out and about on any given day - me, with (2) wild and crazy boys, dressed in insane mis-matched clothing, running circles around me while simultaneously hurling questions at me with the speed,  accuracy and interrogation-like style of an award winning investigative reporter, I am sure you would think I was on medication in order to survive.  

I usually walk a straight path, two eyes focused on our destination, and 4 sets of newly acquired eyes seeking and scouring the area for incoming danger.  With a serene smile on my face, I deflect the constant onslaught of questions with karate like quickness and efficiency while somehow managing to get in several commands - issued with marine-like authority, "Hold hands, watch that car, NO running, stop wrestling, put that back.  NO touching!"

I have perfected my "One -eye-brow-raised yes -they-ARE-indeed-a-HAND ful- and THEN-some" look paired with my "I couldn't- be -happier with-them, you have no idea just how much I am blessed" smile to the ever present wide-eyed looks I get from fellow errand runners. 

All is well.   

Until.  Until I reach my maximum amount of testing and the not responding to Mommy's authoritative marine voice.  And then, I go from zero to 160 in a nano-second. 

I'm not talking about the knocking over a full-sized mannequin that put an abrupt halt to our shopping for a outfit for mommy trip.  I remained calm on that one.  I simply stated that we were "Done."  I left the store.  Left the mall and headed backout to our van.  Them?  They lost they freakin' marbles.  No play area time?  No food court lunch?  OH - the injustice!!!    Sorry boys, Mommy rules.  No knocking over mannequins - immediate loss of all privileges. 

No, I'm talking about moments like when I offered to go along with my mom to help her pick out a new computer.  I might have well just said, "Mom, we'll go in together and then you just go ahead and talk to the sales man all by yourself while I will begin to chase and coral my Olympic speed running, obstacle course, gymnastic performing children. ooooo-kay?"

It wasn't just that they weren't listening.  It was as if they couldn't even hear me.  My threats, my punishments, my timeouts didn't phase them in the least.  Although I did witness another woman quickly tuck her wide-eyed freckle-fresh cutie under her protective wing when I unleashed the sonic boom.

My two considered that same sonic boom.  A challenge. 

They started playing. Hide and Seek. from me.   Thus - completing my Mommy-Dearest transformation. 

The WORST moment was when I reached out to catch a blur as Logan darted out from behind a shelf of expensive cameras and then performed some NFL worthy "fake and roll" out of my reach.  And then.  LAUGHED.  loudly.  "Ha, ha you can't catch me!" 

Even in my deranged wire coat hanger state, I knew his little butt was safer away from me than within my grasp.

I would have gladly pulled the ole "I'm leaving" resolution, but one, I truly had no idea where in the store my children were.  And two, I was still hopeful that once I could laser beam the fear of Mommy into my children, I still believed, that even with no shred of respect left, I was still in control of the situation and therefore might actually be able to help my mother.  In fact, I think I did say something like "Go with the blue one."      ;-)

She eventually completed her purchase.  Someone found and brought my children to me.  And they proceeded to bounce their way back to the car chanting what a COOL store that was. 

I went home and updated my Facebook status with something about "Days like these....will be drinking wine (lots of)."

I hate, hate, hate these moments because I do loose control. I hate the mean, nasty things that come out of my mouth - the no nonsense goob-a-ly-gook words that make no sense, but may, I'm sure, hurt some feelings.   I hate that when all the weapons in my parenting arsenal fail me and that I am complete mess.  Unable to "fix" or handle the situation. 

It seems like I stay mad forever.  The whole way home - when I finally have them LOCKED down and they can't run from me - I go over and over and over again ALL the things they did wrong and ALL the privileges that I am taking away.  I hate that I can't talk myself off the edge - try as I might to want to shut up.  Knowing that they are only kids and are only capable of taking in but so much feedback? 

I wish I could just say my peace.  And let it be, John Lennon style. 

Instead of Pyscho style.  But something in me has snapped and it feels "helpful" to blah, blah, blah, blah and yak away at them. 


Thankfully, these moments don't come often.   And they don't typically last "that" long.  I eventually (drink wine and) calm down again.  Where I can look at them and look past the offending behavior.  And see their lovable little hearts again. 

BELIEVE ME, I'm not saying that I think Mommying should be Mommy-Dearest Moments free.  I think that's impossible to do (without medication).  I'm just saying, I hate it when it happens. 

And it does happen.  And it will happen again.

And I wanted to document it so that when Austin and Logan read back through this blog, they're not left wondering, "Hey, where's that crazy lady that raised us?  The one that told us we were never going to be able to have friends over, or watch another movie, or ever eat strawberries again?" 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to me!

I am a step-mother, an adoptive mother and (recently), a Godmother.

I am an "older" mother. ;-)

I am a card carrying member of the "I survived infertility treatments from hell" club.

Gary and I met in 1999 and as we dated, I immediately fell head over heels in love with his children (whom I had not met). As he told me stories about them, what they were like, I felt my heart growing for them. When I finally met them - that love just quadrupled. They were and are amazing kids. Most of Gary and mine's courtship centered on creating a home for the boys and focusing on getting custody of them. They came for visits - Spring Breaks, Summers, Christmas's. And then they would have to leave. As Gary and I prayed and waited on a judge.

June 2002 (4 long years later) - they finally stepped off a plane (for their summer visit) and never got back on. As happy as we were, we wanted to recognize that the boys might not share in our enthusiasm. As much as we wanted to throw a party and rejoice, we opted instead for a slower, calmer approach to getting them settled in.

I consider Mason and Evan MY children. For me, there's just no other way to raise children. However, I do recognize that they have their own mother. I fill whatever role they allow me to fill with pride and honor. I have been blessed beyond measure with the love and respect they have freely given me. Mason and Evan had a pretty large role - they graciously allowed me to stumble around and figure out how to raise 10 and 13 year old boys! Their entrance into my life made me a mother.

The entrance of Austin and Logan into my life made me "Mom." And just like with Mason and Evan, I had to wait to "meet" them. Everyday my heart beat for them. Everyday my heart swelled with love for them. And ached with such pain at not being able to BE with them.

Each time I visited my children in those 12 months, I wanted to rush forward, crush them, envelope them in my love. But I held myself at bay. After all, they didn't quite know me. As hard as it was, I always let them come to me. They were safe and comfortable in their foster family's arms. I wanted them to feel safe and comfortable with me.

Luckily, with their big ole hearts, I never had to wait long for them to warm up to me.  On our 2nd visit trip, just 8 weeks after our first, the twins recognized us and their faces LIT UP when they saw Gary and I come into the hotel lobby. Legs kickin' to get to us. It was simply amazing and one of the best feelings of pure joy-in-my-heart moments I have ever experienced.

Two visit trips and 12 months after first "meeting" my children, I finally stepped off a plane in Guatemala as Austin and Logan's legal parent. I was beyond exhausted. Not just from travelling 14 hours on 1 1/2 hours of sleep. Not just from a grueling and frantic month of pushing/pulling/dragging Mason out the doors of his High School WITH a diploma. And not just from hosting in-laws and an ex-wife, all gathered for the miraculous, I mean, all important High School graduation. Not just from the ill-timed, all crushing cramps sent compliments of Mother Nature. Not just from the 12 months of waiting, waiting, and waiting to BE Austin and Logan's Mommy.

But exhausted from a lifetime journey. Seeking. Yearning. Desperation to simply BE a "Mom."

And I sat. In a hotel room. Worlds away from anyone I knew. In a country that have given me my beautiful sons. A country that wasn't the safest at times. A country I had already experienced earthquakes in and could see smoking volcanoes with any given glance out a window. And I was about to accept full responsibility for me and my children and navigate us through this new world. I would have to find a place to live. Provide for them - all the basics, food, clothing and safety. My stomach churned.

I was excited. Ecstatic. And scared sh*tless! Really? This had all seemed like a great plan when I was stuck at home and AWAY from my children. Fly into Guatemala. Book adjoininng rooms for me and the foster family so that we could ease the transition. Move the twins and I to Antigua. Set up shop. Wait for Gary. Or Mom. Wait for the US gov't to say we could all could home. Maybe wait for a few weeks. Maybe a few months. The plan was, "Who cares!! I will have my children!"

The plan, on the onset of implementation, looked a heckuva lot more frightening and overwhelming!

The phone in my hotel room rang.

They were here. Downstairs in the lobby. I haven't stopped crying. My eyes are bloodshot. My stomach is going crazy.

I see them. I again, want to RUSH forward and cradle them and smother them in kisses. Instead, I sit in a chair next to the foster father. Austin (on his lap) immediately reaches out and starts to play with my id badge. Logan, across from me, has just woken from a nap and is watching me like a hawk. He doesn't take his eyes off of me.

Over the next 30 minutes, we all visit. I eventually get to hold and snuggle each boy. Each of my children. My sons.

Again, having booked adjoining rooms at the hotel - I thought it would be best for Austin and Logan. One, I could watch how their foster family cared for them - feeding, schedules, bath time and bed time routines. And two, I still wanted the boys to feel safe and secure by the time they left with me.

I had very limited contact with home. Bad reception. Internet problems. I was cut off from my "support." I could understand most of the Spanish. But they couldn't quite understand me. ;-) My dialect and southern twang threw them off a lot! I resorted to writing most of my questions and communication to them.

Then, before I knew it, I was in a mini-van, leaving the hotel, leaving the foster family. And on my way to Antigua with two 13 month old boys. I was once again bawling. This time for my babies' broken hearts. For them to become my sons, meant they had to say goodbye to everything they knew.

And once again, I found myself a little overwhelmed and scared at driving off into the unknown. I referred back to the plan. I had a beautiful place picked out for us to stay in. One that I could have everything delivered to me if I couldn't make it out. (Pharmacy, groceries, everything!). I could do this. I could make it. I kept repeating those thoughts at I looked down at my babies in my arms (car seats in Guatemala? pa-shaw! No such thing!).

And I had made one important adjustment to the plan.  I was now travelling with a Nanny! She was the wife of one of the hotels' doormen. Thank goodness God provided her for me. She spoke broken English and together we somehow made it to the grocery store, the phone store, everything, everywhere. We set up shop together and then, after two days, it was time for her to return to the city.

On my new phone, I had called mom. Who was having heart failure that I was miles away, in a foreign country, becoming a mother. I called Gary. My rock. "If I didn't think you could do this, I wouldn't have let you go. You CAN do this. You will make it.  They'll be fine.  You'll protect them. And I will be there soon."

And I would do it again. In a heartbeat, NOTHING could keep me from my children one second more. I HAD to be with them. That being said, I had not taken on a small task! I worried about everything. Everything. I was alone. There was a community of other American mothers there with there children, but I couldn't get to them. I had slightly under estimated just how much would be involved in taking care of my two over active 13 month olds. I couldn't get to a computer (to get to the other moms), I couldn't leave our rented room "safely" keeping both boys secured. On our first visit to the outdoor market - the Nanny and I watch a woman frantic with panic because her baby had been stolen.

I have never relied on God so much as in those days. He was with me. every. step. And I am not speaking figuratively. He literally was THERE with me. Constantly providing me answers. Providing me with a calming spirit. When one of the boys would cry out at night, I would immediately know what do - be it change, feed, burp, walk them. Etc. And believe me, I did not give God much rest. I pretty much prayed 24/7.

Dear God, please don't let my babies fall out of the bed and onto this hard tiled floor. Dear God, please let there be enough food left to get us through the week. Dear God, please watch over my babies - I've got to take shower.

Did I mention I got sick? Whether it be the lack of rest, the foreign land, the beautiful flowers. I got sick. Thousands of needles were jabbing themselves into my throat every second. What little sleep I could manage in between all night feedings and cries, I was coughing my head off in intense pain. And dang if I could get "Mucinex" to translate into anything that would have helped me!  Now that I had a working phone, I still couldn't call home because I couldn't speak. 

Those days alone with my babies, as scarey and as exhausting as they were, were wonderful. We just had each other. We laughed, We played. We sang. We danced. We cried. All of us. We got to know each other.

Sort of sealed the deal. I am Mommy. You are my babies.

My road to motherhood was not "traditional." It was not easy. I truly believe everything happens in good time. And everything happens for a reason. I think I am exactly the right Mommy with exactly the right four boys that I am supposed to be mothering.

I get told a lot that I am such a "calm" mom. As my children swing from the chandeliers, knock over store mannequins, perform hair raising, death defying stunts every hour....I typically take it all in stride. And I think it's because, in my mind, this, this is the easy stuff. Waiting on judges, waiting on paper work, being at the mercy of others, waiting, waiting and waiting and not knowing if you'll ever get to see, hold, and raise YOUR children - THAT's the hard stuff. That's the stuff that leaves you hollowed out, wiped out, and clinging to your spouse and to God.

This weekend, I am grateful. So grateful for the role of being a Mommy. For so long, that role was incredibly elusive. So completely unattainable most of my life. That it is not something I can ever take for granted. I know just what a gift it is.

So, indeed - Happy Mothers Day to ME!

Thank you, to my Mom, for giving me the gift of life, for loving me and molding me into who I am today. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing the gift of Mason and Evan with me. Thank you Austin and Logan's birthmother for giving them the precious gift of life. Thank You, Gary for standing by my side every. step. of the way on my road to Mommyhood!

Thank you God, for choosing me. For blessing me four times over with such great, abundant gifts.

To all my mommy friends out there - HAPPY MOTHER's DAY to YOU, too!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Birthday - in review

Austin and Logan had a fantastic birthday!
(despite my obvious turmoil at being a mommy to 4 year olds!)

They started of the day going to my bff, Anne's house.  She and Eli took the boys out shopping for their present - their first fishies!
 Austin named his fishy, Fluffly.   ;-)
And Logan named his, Curious George.  ;-)

Next, it was off to their 2nd season of gymnastics (Nonnie's bday present)! 
Reunited with Bryan (one day older fellow Guatemalan adoptee).
They've been "out" of gymnastics for 1.5 years, but you would never know it!

After that, back home to open "special" presents:

Their basketball uniforms - as requested, in Evan's high school team colors
and in High School Mucial colors!

Finally - off to Chuck E. Cheese!
Logan chose Spiderman themed cupcakes.
Austin chose Batman!

On Friday, we celebrated at their school.

Yes!  Still wearing their uniforms! 

Per Austin and Logan's request - orange push up pops were served!