Sunday, November 27, 2011

2 Santas and Dozens of Trees

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We had a wonderful time with the family and the days went by too fast.
We had quite a number of people for Thanksgiving Day dinner, and we stuffed ourselves.  Christian managed to uphold the Roth kids tradition and dumped over his drink....twice.  Growing up, my siblings and I didn't make it through a meal for years without someone spilling a drink......history repeats itself :)  He freaked a little when he thought it touched his food, but the food was safe and he continued to chow down.  I think he ate a whole bag of corn by himself, he LOVES corn! I found the first food he doesn't like, pumpkin pie.  He had a great time playing with all the kids, and even though his nose was running and he was cold, he didn't want to come in from outside.

My Mom and Dad babysat Christian Friday afternoon while I ran to pick up a few last Christmas gifts. The roads and stores were still crowded, but nothing like they tend to be in the mornings.  I put him down for his nap before I left and had hoped to be back before he woke up two hours later. Much to my surprise, he took a three hour nap and I made it back about 10 minute after he woke up and I got my shopping all done.
He wants a fire truck with moving parts and sound: siren, flashing lights, doors that open and a ladder the moves.  After three stores, I finally found one!  It is by Tonka, is plastic, battery operated and has all his required features. The ladder is plastic and you can move it up and down and pull one section out to extend it. I am worried the ladder won't last long because it's plastic, but we'll see.  My sister also had a fire engine that her kids outgrew and gave that to him to play with.  The sounds on that one are LOUD!  I found a button on the bottom that turns the whole thing off. I told Christian the batteries ran out because my parents and I couldn't listen to it any more, we had already been hearing it non-stop for an hour. I know I told him a lie, but I think I will be forgiven for the sake of my sanity.

Saturday we headed out early with my sister and her daughter to see Santa.  There is a new store the had it's Grand Opening and was having free photos with Santa. The store, J. Parons, is unbelievable, I fell in love with it. The backdrop for the Santa photos was like a fairytale but I noticed one big thing that was wrong.  Santa was not sitting in his red velvet, gold high back ornate framed chair. I asked where he was and a worker said he wasn't on duty until 10:30 a.m.  It was 9:00 a.m.  I told him that the newspaper said Santa would be there all day, he said sorry, I could wait, but my sister had an afternoon commitment with her in-laws.  So we checked  out the store and I found a few more Christmas ornaments I just had to have :)

So off we went to an annual event, the "Festival of Trees", a creation of a local hospital.  Basically business and/or people can decorate a tree, wreath or 2 ft. tall tree, they are displayed for about 10 days and people bid on them via a silent auction.  Gingerbread houses are also available by silent auction. They have local talent schedule throughout the days: singers, dancers, gymnasts. This year, and I am guessing, they had about fifteen 2 ft. trees, forty 6 ft trees, ten wreaths, and about thirty gingerbread houses. They were all so beautiful, had wonderful unique themes and made me wish I had the space and money to have two trees in my house!
Christian and my niece took a ride on the train the wound around through the decorated trees and then we got in line to get a photo with Santa.  The backdrop was not great, plain actually, but the Santa was amazing!  He was the best Santa I have EVER seen, no kidding!  When it was Christian's turn, he quickly walked up to Santa, held up his arms, Santa smiled, picked him and set him on his knee. Before Santa could say a word, Christian told him he wanted drum sticks and a drum. Santa threw his head back and laughed! Christian did a great job of looking at the camera and smiling, but of course the volunteer photographer didn't catch him at a good time, so the photo isn't great of Christian, but is great of Santa.

They had a kids area for little art projects, and we managed to talk Christian into doing a handprint potholder for me.  He doesn't like his hands really dirty or goopy, so I wasn't sure how this was going to go. We selected the white potholder with red trim and selected the green paint for the handprint. The young kid painted Christian's hand with a roller, we turned it over, pressed it on the potholder and he held so still.  It turned out great!  Then we washed his hands and he proudly rushed over to my sister to show her his handprint, he was so proud of himself.  Time was up and we had to go home.

After seeing that Santa photo backdrop at the store, I really really wanted his photo there and was a little bummed it didn't work out. But the Santa at the Festival of Trees was so good, it was hard to be unhappy with it.  After his nap that afternoon, I was telling my parents all about this new store.  It was so beautifully decorated for Christmas I was telling everyone about it.  Mom said she would like to see it and would go with us if we wanted to go back and we could get Christian's photo.  I was in!  Dad decided he wasn't going to be left out, so we all piled into the car and off we went again.  It was raining and cold all day, so that was annoying. We walked in and no one was in line.  I peeled Christian's coat off, stuffed it in the cart and caught a glimpse of him as he dashed by me to get to Santa.  This Santa was......bad.  What a let down!

Christian did the same thing, held up his arms, Santa picked him up and he told him he wanted drum sticks and a drum.  They took his photo, which will be emailed to me in about a week.  I was surprised because the store is nice, beautiful and the Christmas section was like a dream and then they had this generic Santa suit with the really bad white polyester beard. Now the Santa at the Festival of Trees would have been absolutely perfect in this setting!  So I hope this photo turns out, because Christian was pointing in the other one and one of his eyes is a white light from the camera flash. I don't know how to do photoshop, but I'm going to ask someone I work with if they can photoshop the good Santa into the good backdrop. I know that's cheating, but if that photo works out, I'll post it and you'll see why I did it, it will be fabulous!

It was funny, after Christian told Santa (both Santas) he wanted a drum, he thought he would get the drum right then. It took several hours to get him to understand he had to wait until Christmas to get the drum.....only if he's a good boy, because Santa is watching him. I had to use that line a couple times this weekend and it worked!  I hope it keeps working and I'll use it as long as I can :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I guess I am starting to show my age in the memory area.....or I just have too much going on at the same time.  I'm going with the latter.

Last week I was heading to a shopping center and took the wrong road.  Thankfully I realized what I had done in time to use cross streets to get to my destination.  It took me an extra 15 minutes but it could have been worse.

Then a few days ago it was raining and Christian was adamant about holding the umbrella. The only way this works so I get some coverage, is if I hold him and he holds the umbrella.  I hurry to the car, plop him in his seat and drop my bag and purse in. I can hear Christian hollering, not sure about what, but sometimes he gets annoyed with me for the smallest things, so I just ignored it and dashed around the car and dropped into the driver's seat.  After I took a deep breath, I focused in on what he was saying, turned around to see that I had not buckled him in! I was upset!  So back around the car I go, get him buckled in, kiss him over and over while I tell him what a good boy he is by telling Mommy he wasn't buckled in. Now I am extremely diligent and check it three times before I close his door.

We head to the store, the main purpose being to buy milk. You guessed it, I came home with other stuff but not the milk.

All day my subconscious was nagging at the edges of my memory, there was something I was supposed to do after work on Monday. I couldn't get it in focus in my mind and it was driving me crazy.  I picked up Christian, went home for supper, then to do laudry.  It was when I picked up a beach towel to put in the washer that it hit me.....swimming lessons!  Swimming lessons are on Monday nights and I totally forgot!  I said, "Oh!  I forgot your swimming lessons were tonight!"  With a disappointed voice, he said, "oh Mommy."  I felt terrible.  Of course, like most toddlers, he kept bringing it up over and over throughout the evening.  I even have it written in my calendar, but it does help if you look at the calendar.

So with my recent experiences, the odds are I will forget to take something to my family's for Thanksgiving.
My guardian angel's wings are frayed from flapping so hard lately :)

I am most thankful for my family and especially my miracle, Christian.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, safe travels.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Best Birthday

I had the best birthday ever on Tuesday!
Before Christian went to bed Monday night, I told him it was Mommy's birthday the next day.
He was SO excited and within two seconds had it all planned out.  In his jumbled speech, he told me that after I pick him from school, we were having a party with pizza, cake and balloons.  The squealed, clapped his hands and chanted, "party! party!" jumping up and down in his bed. I was sure I messed up telling him right before he went to bed, that he'd be thinking about it and not fall asleep.  Thankfully he did sleep :)

The next morning when I woke him up, the first thing he said was, "Mommy's birthday today, party!" and gave me a huge hug.  A precious moment for me. He chattered nonstop through breakfast and the ride to school.  When I was leaving school, he excitedly showed me to the door and said, "you go to work, come back soon, we go home for your birthday party."  He was excited like it was his own birthday again.  Come on, let's face it, at my age you don't like to count the years anymore :)

I was pleasantly surprised at work several times.  The day before my birthday I got a small box of Godiva chocolates, the only way to start off a birthday. A co-worker bought a tasty chocolate pecan coffee cake type of thing which was SO good!  I got several cards and a wonderful smelling candle. Too bad we can't burn candles at work but I lit it up as soon as I got home. Then we had a vendor luncheon and they brought a cake and huge helium balloon for me. That cake was the best thing I have had in years....seriously!  It was from Schnucks grocery store; chocolate cake with milk chocolate icing (a layer inside) then covered in dark chocolate ganache.  Yes I heard you sigh.  There was some left, so I went home with 2 out of 3 things Christian wanted for my birthday.

At school they helped him make a paper cake for me for my birthday.  The shape of a cupcake was cut out in construction paper and he added the paint.  He ran to me with it, he was so proud of his artwork and of course I gushed over it.  The rest of the kids made a construction paper card for me which was wonderful and the owner videoed them singing Happy Birthday to me and emailed it.  A couple of the kids said, "Happy Birthday Christian's Mom," to me too.  Then Christian about jumped out of his skin with excitement when he saw the huge balloon in the car.

He played and played with the balloon until I had to practially pry it out of his hands to eat dinner.  I found a candle in the cupboard, put it on top of a slice of the cake for us to share. He had been singing the Happy Birthday song to me, well as best as he can, which of course sounded perfect to me.  So I got the video camera, set it at the end of the table.  I lit the candle, he sang to me and we blew it out together, ending with him throwing his arms around me for a hug that I will remember forever.  We proceeded to devour the cake, with me fending off his roving spoon which constantly headed for the pile of icing.  I could just see him getting sick, eating just the icing!  I usually don't get excited about my birthday at all, but Christian's innocent ecstatic excitement for me grabbed my heart.  The best birthday I have ever had :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Photos, Sick and Swimming

We've been so busy lately!  Sorry for the delay in posting.
Saturday morning we went to an event and had our Christmas photos taken.  As expected, Christian was busy checking out the lights, chairs, backdrop, you name it.  We had three people behind the photographer making faces, telling him to say "cheese," "three", anything to make his mouth form like a smile.  He did smile some and I just hope the photographer caught at least one good photo that I will be able to use for our Christmas cards.

He did look very handsome in his dress clothes. I had such a hard time deciding what I wanted the photo to be: formal dress clothes, casual jeans and sweater, pj's with a stuffed animal, on and on my mind raced, trying to think of the perfect fit for us. I decided to go with the formal dress clothes so then the challenge began to see what we already had that would look right and what, if anything, did I have to buy.  I needed a sweater for Christian and shopped all Friday afternoon (yes I waited until the last minute).  I finally found a cute sweater at a store called "Once Upon a Child."  People had told me about it and I hadn't had the chance to go there yet and I was happy I did. The red long sleeved knit sweater had off white strips at the sleeve ends and around the crew neck.  It had an off white band with black snowflakes that went across the chest and around the back.  He had black cordurory pants and I had to buy a black turtleneck. He looked so grown up in his dress clothes and thought he was handsome, he kept looking in the mirror :)

I ended up having a migraine that stretched from Friday to Sunday, which was not fun at all. I managed to get us to the photos during a short migraine reprieve and then it subsided enough for me to take Christian to the park Sunday late afternoon. Whenever he slept, I slept. Thank goodness he didn't wake up in the middle of the night last night to ask me to cover him up with his blankets, which he usually does twice a night. I think getting a full uninterrupted night's sleep helped me alot!

Tonight was our second night of swim class where he's in the pool by himself. He had been talking about it all weekend and this morning, telling me he was a big boy because he swam by himself.  He runs up to the building, jumps around with so much excitement I could barely get his swimsuit on him and races out the door to the pool.  He wanted to get in immediately, but another class was finishing, so we had to wait. That was our undoing, the wait. By the time his class was ready to begin, he did NOT want to get into the pool. Once again, it took about 10-15 minutes of coaxing before he would get in, and even that was under a little bit of protest.  He finally enjoyed it but would suddenly look at me, start crying and wanting out of the pool.

Now the class guidelines say that sometimes it's best if the parent is not in sight, and then the child does much better. I just can't bring myself to have him out of my sight while he's in the pool because I am so nervous he will go under the water and the instructor won't see him because she's working with the other kids.  I've gotten reassurances from other parents, but nothing's been said to make me stay away from that pool.  I hope he does better next week, but if he doesn't, he's at least getting in the water for a little while which is a tremendous thing in itself due to his complete terror of water when I first brought him home. 

He's progressing in everything by leaps and bounds and I am so proud of him. He's talking better every day, learning his letters and numbers and I've noticed he's making up stories about his toys, using his imagination. It is all so intriguing to experience the world all over again through his eyes.  He has my heart :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sick, Swim Class, Con Artist

Christian wasn't feeling well over the was a loonnggg weekend!
On the up side, I did get alot of my cabinets cleaned out and organized when he was sleeping.
He felt good enough Monday evening to go to swim class.  This is the next class up from the Mommy and Me class we finished a few weeks ago.  However, he is in the water by himself, with the other kids and teacher. I told him about it and he was adamant that I be in the water with him.  I tried the old, "Oh you're such a big boy now, you can swim without Mommy," routine, but he wasn't buying it.  This went on all weekend.  We would be reading a book or watching Benji (which by the way I was ready to snap that DVD in half, we watched it so many times) or coloring and he would pop up and say, "Mommy in water with Christian."  I decided that talking about it to prepare him so he would know what to expect wasn't the correct approach, so I just didn't answer and redirected the conversation.

I picked him up from school last night and the first thing out of his mouth was, "going swimming, Mommy in water with Christian."  Deep sigh, this class was going to be a challenge. I kept telling him how fun it was going to be with the other kids and he slowly started believing least that's what I thought.  He started saying, "Christian swimming, Mommy not in water."  So I took that as a good sign, wouldn't you???

He ran up the sidewalk, repeating his mantra the whole time, so excited to go swimming.  He rushed to get his suit on and ran to the pool.  We had to sit on the side and wait for about eight minutes, which made me nervous because I thought he'd change his mind.  We watched some kids on the swim team, who were laughing and having fun, and I told him that he was going to have fun like that.  He was bouncing around, smiling and chattering a mile a minute about how much fun he was going to have. YAY.....not so much.

The teacher started the class, there were only two other kids who were about 5 yrs old.  Christian moved to go into the water by the steps like we did in the other class and the teacher told him not to, but to come around to where she was.  That was all it took. He was embarrassed which turned to stubborness and he wouldn't move, he was like a 100 pound concrete statue, with a vise like grip on the railing.  I could not budge him unless I wanted to pry his hands off the railing, which I'm sure someone would have called DCFS on me.  I tossed out my best lines at trying to convince him to get into the water, but he would have none of it. The teacher tried too, but I knew that wasn't going to work because he'd never seen her before.  So the class started, with us on the sidelines, and me getting wet from the kids splashing me. Note that I am in regular clothes,  not swimwear.  Slowly, inch by inch, I managed to nudge him closer to the pool edge.  I even sat on the wet edge so he would sit beside me.  His feet were now inches away from the water and 10 minutes have passed.  Then the teacher blew it!  She came up to him, moved like she was going to pick him up, and he shot to his feet, spun around, and clamped onto the railing again.  Deep sigh.

So I started the process over again, 5 minutes later the teacher brought out this red foam floating board thing that was shaped like a gingerbread man. Christian wanted to play with it so bad and I told him he had to get into the water first.  He rushed to the edge, hands outstretched to the toy, and before he could change his mind, I picked him up and just about tossed him to the teacher, who quickly laid him on the toy and pulled him around.  He screamed for about 5 seconds and then it turned to laughter. The tide had turned! He stayed in the water the rest of the class and did everything the teacher said.  I was so nervous when they went out to the middle of the pool because he's not too steady yet in the pool and I was scared he would slip off the noodle he was hanging on, go under, and the teacher would be busy helping the other students.  I actually had this dream, so I made sure what I wore wouldn't matter if it got soaked with chlorine pool water, in case I needed to make a splash down to save him :)  But all went well and he chattered all the way home about what a big boy he was that he went swimming, "all by myself."

Tonight he came and laid down on my lap asking for me to rub his back.  A few seconds later, in a softer voice, he asked for a blanket.  Another few seconds, voice softer yet, came a request for a pillow.  He head was turned to the side on the pillow so I saw the sly little dimpled grin when he practically whispered in a weak like tone, "orange juice." HA! HA! HA!  The little con artist!  We laughed so hard and then he kept saying, "orange juice," to make me laugh.  I've never heard him laugh this hard before, all I could do was stare at his beautiful face, a huge smile spread across my own face, while the warmth and love filled my heart for him. It's moment's like those that I wish would go on forever.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

1 yr Post Adoption Evaluation

We're set for another year!  We had our 1 year post adoption evaluation yesterday morning.  The social worker intern arrived at my house first, 15 minutes late, only to find the main social worker wasn't here yet.  So I tried to chat with her but she was such a shy nervous sort of person, so it was difficult.  This was the one time I wasn't annoyed with Christian constantly interrupting :)  The main social worker arrived about 5 minutes later and we sat down for the session.

She referred to my 6 month report, asked the same questions to compare and see what has changed.  She asked stuff like how's his development, eating, sleeping, interaction with friends/family, how's school going, etc. She also asks how I am doing with this life change, do I make time for myself, how's my support system working, etc.  In between all these questions was Christian tugging on my hand wanting my attention. He's not used to not having me all to himself at home. He would stand in front of me, pull on my cheeks so I would look at him, all the time saying, "Mommy, me. Mommy me."  I would stop and see what he wanted and then go back to the discussion.  The social worker, being a parent herself, understood and was very patient and understanding with the interruptions.

Then it hit me, as we like to call it in my family, the "green fog."  A sharp, nostril burning smell that started as a slow creep but quickly changed and attacked my senses.  Christian had pooed his diaper...BIG time!  I didn't think it had wafted to the visitors yet, so I felt like I had a few more minutes to finish answering questions in this particular category.  The category ended and the social worker told me it was fine with her to take a break and change him.  YEAH, I'm sure it was for her, I think I saw stinging tears in her eyes from the green fog!  Of all times to have one of his smelliest BM's.....nice.

At the end of the question session, she told me it appeared like we were both doing well and that she was happy for us.  ~deep sigh~ relieved.  I don't know why I get nervous with these meetings, it's not like they're going to take Christian away from me.  Of course if I was a psycho or abusing him, then that would be different.  But I did take a deep breath and sag against the door when they left.  Now we only have to do two more evaluations; next year for the 2 yr mark, and the following for the 3 yr mark.  I better coach him before the meeting next year because he'll be able to talk better and who knows what he'll say :)

It's hard to believe on Nov. 29th, one year ago, I was standing in a Russian court room, my whole body shaking and me praying the judge would say yes.  She did and my sweetie bug, dream come true, was rocking in my arms tonight before bedtime.  God is good!