Thursday, July 31, 2008

Off to the beach

Our annual family Beach House vacation starts tomorrow. We'll actually tomorrow isn't the fun part, it's the driving to N.C. part. But by Saturday, we'll be on the Outer Banks with cousins and aunts and gramps. Sixteen of us in one big house. It's not the same house we've had for the past two years, but it's oceanfront and has a pool, so I can't imagine it won't be anything but lovely.

We really need a vacation. The kids are beyond excited. We're mostly packed and it's before midnight (good for us). Here's hoping we get a week of sunny weather....

Photo from Beach Week 2007

When I four?

Kisae puts great faith in the magical things that will happen when she is four. She has been looking forward to four since shortly after she turned three (late November). And telling people "I turning 4" since, oh, February. When she knows she can't do something yet, she will ask, "When I four?"

So not too long ago we had this conversation:

"Mommy, when I four, I get...."

She pauses, turns side to side, and makes a swishing/spraying sound.

"....a wiener."

Um, no, not when you're four nor even 44. And I hate that word. And, yes, that's the danger of having a 9-year-old brother.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Triathlon Boy

On Friday, we heard about a kid's triathalon. On Saturday, Ben decided he wanted to do it, never mind that he neither swims, runs nor bikes competitively, nor has any of the attire or equipment of someone who does. He's reasonably athletic and very active, but that's not exactly the same thing. Also, the darn thing started at 7 a.m. Sunday and required a 6:15 a.m. arrival. Ugh. Jim took him, though I did get up to see him off (then fell back to sleep until the late-sleeping Kisae woke me at 8:45 a.m.).
Anyway, Ben did well, considering (9th out of 14 9 year olds, in the middle of the pack for the 154 kids that competed). It was a 50-yard swim, a 2-mile bike and a 1/2-mile run. He tried, and he finished. Pretty cool.
The photos, I fear, are out of order, as it was swim, bike, run. In the pool, he's in the middle, in red rash guard.

Monday, July 28, 2008

white shirt + Ben = still not a good combination

I noticed yesterday that even before dinner, Ben's shirt was stained and filthy. How, I asked, could a shirt get so dirty so quickly?

"Mom," Ben said, "it's white, and it's me."

Yeah, that's it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My daring duo

A few shots of both kids' daring in the water -- they are daring going in and under, I'd say. It's funny because Ben doesn't like roller coasters (and that's fine, I'm not a fan, either). But he flips himself off a diving board all the time, as though it is nothing. Don't get that.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fun, with fun photos

Well these photos are helping me get out of earlier funk.

Sunday afternoon Jim took Kisae (and the camera) to a new, little splash park. Ben was asleep, recovering from a sleepover party the night before where he did very little actual sleeping. So I stayed home with him (he slept from 2:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. when I woke him for dinner...not sure he's napped like that since he was a small baby).

Chakisae loved the park, as she loves all things water. Jim loved that she was sporting "free hair." I love these photos!

A long week

It has been another long week (we've had lots of them lately) at work. Much stress, fear of layoffs, people we like and admire are leaving. At least it is Friday.

I was determined we'd have a relaxed, fun family movie night. I had snacks for the kids in the car, figuring somebody's after-camp grumpiness of late was due to hunger. Everyone ate snacks, even said thank you. We grabbed several movies without much disagreement and in fairly good time.

I came home and started a very quick dinner for them -- Annie's pasta, grapes, milk, bread. You know, stuff I could get on the table in like, oh, 10 minutes.

And still in those ten minutes, moods dissolved. Someone (I'll protect the guilty, I guess) was in the fridge getting a drink, and someone else on small wheeled thing (can you guess who?) ran into fridge, banging sibling's head on the door. Or so the complaint went. Then someone got mad, someone else didn't really apologized, but laughed. There was yelling and stalking off and then crying. My mood soured, too.

Finally, they ate and then calmed down (well it helped that someone was temporarily banished to their room). We all eventually enjoyed the movie. And while we watched I did more twists in Kisae's hair (I'd done big ones early in the week but needed to divide). My usual thing. Still need to broaden my skills, but I was at least happy with how that turned out.

Now they're asleep, and I have a headache.

At least tomorrow is Saturday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two years ago today

Two years ago today I arrived back in Orlando with Chakisae. I was exhausted and dirty and lugging around a tired and scared (but still remarkably good-natured) toddler.
We are so lucky she is ours now.

What an amazing little girl - so full of fun, of laughs, of song, of silliness.
When I first met her (see photos in the frilly pink dress) she was so quiet, so scared, and yet still so agreeable. She just kept sitting with me, and it only took a few hours before I got a glimpse of that amazing, mega-watt smile.
I loved my week in Ethiopia -- loved meeting the other families, seeing the countryside, etc -- but it was so nice to come home, to have Chakisae finally meet Jim and Ben. To start our new life as a family of four. They met us at the airport. Kisae looked confused, but she let Jim hold her and Ben, too (and thank goodness for that -- he'd been waiting for a sibling for so long, an airport rejection would not have gone well).
In some ways, the two years have just zipped by. In others, it's hard to even imagine a time when she wasn't with us. Our life is better with her, our "whole fambely," as she says, some how more complete now that she is here.
One of her preschool teachers wrote on her weekly report that Chakisae is a "joyful child." So true.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The crib is gone

I know I can't really complain when my kid goes to bed easily and sleeps nearly 11 hours straight through the night.
And I know I can't complain when the switch from crib to bed happened in one easy night. "I sleep in my big bed," Chakisae said. And she did -- and has ever since. And now the crib is taken down (and sitting in the living room, waiting for word on its fate).
Truthfully, I was ready for the switch because we've had a crib and a double bed in her room since she came home. So beds were taking up a lot of floor space in her not too big room. But previously, she'd never wanted to switch. She liked her crib; she slept well in her crib, so we figured there was no point pushing crib removal. But then one day, she suggested it, and that was that.
The good news is that with the crib gone, we could move her "art table" out of the Florida room and into her room. We got more room out there, and she got more floor space in her room. All good.
But I can't help being a little wistful. The crib is gone. Packing it up was a bit like putting a final lid on the container of her babyhood. But as she often says, "I not a baby!" And she's not. So the crib is gone -- or at least going.
I'll be okay.
Before Jim took it apart, our silly girl posed for a few photos in her old bed. I think this is my favorite.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"You shake my hand?"

As we headed to the zoo on Sunday, I reminded everyone that two years ago that day I was leaving Orlando on my way to Ethiopia to meet Chakisae.

Chakisae wanted to know more about this meeting.

"You shake my hand?" she asked.

Jim, Ben and I burst out laughing at that, cracking up at the image of me shaking hands with a 1.5 year old (and my new daughter). Kisae then got into the joke and started saying, "You say, 'Nice to meet you baby.' I say, 'Nice to meet you Mommy."

Of course, the actual first meeting wasn't quite like that (more on the real thing to come, I'm sure), but I'm still chuckling about the imagined courtesies. And, yeah baby, it was nice to meet you.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Little Miss Sass

These photos pretty much sum up Chakisae's new, sassy attitude. You're in trouble when she's a teenager, a friend said recently. Oh good.

Not that she's not a sweetie anymore. But there's just a lot of that hand-on-the-hip stance -- and more than we'd like of the sassy comments. Things like: "I told ya!"

Oh, and yes, the hat is quite the fashion statement isn't, it?. It's a Ben hand-me down, and it matches Jim's. Kisae picked it out as we were heading out the door for the beach. The good thing is she actually wore it (and happily) the entire time we were at the beach, keeping sun at bay and (I realized later) a lot of sand from her hair.