Visiting Santa

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 3 comments
We went to the mall today to get Oliver's Christmas stocking embroidered (how sad is it that I have a stocking with Emma Claire's name on it and not one with Oliver's name?) and we also visited Santa and Build-a-B*ear (how'd that happen? I got hoodwinked).

Its amazing how jaded kids can become so quickly. In B-A-B, Chloe pointed to a stuffed animal and declared it was LAME! "Where did you hear that!?" I asked. "Oh, I just knew it," she claimed. Right. I know exactly where she heard it---SCHOOL. Yes, kids certainly learn more than the 3 R's at school. It's a blessing and a curse.

Then, when we were in line for Santa, Chloe asked, "Why does some man want to dress up like Santa Claus? Is this his job?". I told her it WAS the real Santa Claus and that she better be nice or she would certainly end up on the Naughty List. Seriously, its like she went from sweet toddler to teen angst and she's only six! I'm beginning to understand why some parents choose to homeschool.

Anyway, Oliver was mesmerized by Santa. It took about 10 attempts before we finally got him to look at the camera and not at Santa's beard and glasses. Somewhere on attempt #5 Santa told the photographer to hurry up because Oliver was "squirly" and he would hate to put a baby on the Naughty List. Chloe laughed and told Santa Oliver should already be on the Naughty List.

I realized today that it was one year ago in Ethiopia that Oliver officially became our son. Our court date for our adoption of Oliver in Ethiopia was November 30, 2009. Of course, the phone & internet lines went down in Ethiopia and our attorney in Ethiopia couldn't relay that we passed court until later in the week. We were in limbo for a while and our agency thought that we were missing something in our file but as it turned out, it was another family's file and not ours. We had to wait almost a week to find out we passed and even then our agency didn't know the correct date of our court date. We only found out when we went to Ethiopia and got all the court documents that we did pass court on November 30 and were officially & legally the parents of Oliver.

Thanksgiving Weekend

Sunday, November 28, 2010 No comments
Thanksgiving in our family is about giving thanks and celebrating time off from school, work and the daily routine of life to spend time with friends and family. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it is the holiday that holds my fondest memories. Its never been about big sales and rushing out to get the Christmas shopping done. I like to cruise into the holiday season, so my Christmas shopping is completed usually around the 2nd week in November. Its a habit I have gotten into and one that works for me. So, this weekend we didn't shop but we did eat and spend time with family and friends.

On Thanksgiving day, we took it easy. I began preparing some of the dishes for our Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night. I spent some time on the phone Wednesday and Thursday to my father, picking his brain for my grandmother's stuffing recipe (it's all about the stuffing folks). On Thursday, we stayed in our jammies until mid-morning (ok, I think I stayed in my pjs until I saw our dinner guests arriving and then I made a mad dash for the shower). The kids played and we watched a bit of the parade (No, we don't brave the crowds in the city to see the parade in person. Perhaps when Oliver is older.). We also discovered a bit of tv that grabs Oliver's attention. He loved watching Victory by Design story of Ferrari. He loved watching the cars and hearing the fabulous Ferrari noise. (I mean, seriously, he's growing up in the house, with Matt for a father. Is this surprising that this would be the only tv he would pause for?)

Our dear friends, Bryan and Sue, came over to share Thanksgiving with us. We enjoyed a great meal that proved Ina Ga*rten knew what she was talking about when she said kosher turkeys are the best--there's no need to brine them and they come out moist indeed.

Unfortunately, Oliver didn't make it through his first Thanksgiving meal. I don't know if he was planning on doing some Black Friday shopping, but he was out at 4:15 p.m. and didn't wake up until 11:15 p.m. when he took a bottle and was out again until his regular waking hour. I would like to say it was the tryptophan in the turkey, but he didn't even make it that far. I think it was the excitement of the day--having his sister and daddy to play with and Bryan and Sue. He enjoyed himself, it just wore him out!

On Friday, we spent most of the day at home until we went to dinner at our friend's house. Chloe and their two boys played and watched Star Wa*rs and the adults spent the evening herding Oliver away from pestering the older kids. It was a great evening with great friends.

Saturday was a low-key day. We ran some errands and hung around the house working on the remote controlled cars. This is Matt and Chloe's favorite past time now. In the afternoon we had pizza and watched the Razorbacks beat LSU. GO HOGS!!

Sunday was another low-key day. We went to church and raced the RC cars afterwards. Matt made his famous turkey curry with the leftover turkey and his sous chef, Chloe, assisted him.
Making turkey curry.

The line-up of cars--there are two BMW M Roadsters (Matt had the larger, real version  before Chloe's arrival) one which Matt made and one which his father made for him. The car in the center Matt made many years ago. Its a Formula 1 reproduction RC car. Unfortunately, it had an accident (like it got ran over when a six year old, who shall remain nameless, ran it under the tire of her mother's large SUV as her mother was backing up said SUV. It can be repaired. We think.) shortly after this picture was taken.
Ready to race.

Driving the course. 

Oliver chasing the RC cars. He's holding a smaller, slower RC car that he managed to capture.

Chasing the bigger RC cars.

Hey, this car is not moving and is easy to capture. Unfortunately, that car doesn't belong to us!

Re-Adoption Day

Friday, November 19, 2010 No comments
It's officially official---we re-adopted Oliver! His New Jersey birth certificate should be on its way. I am so relieved to have it all complete!

We went to our county courthouse for the big day. Our county had a big party in honor of National Adoption Day, complete with a cake and clowns. They even gave us a disposable camera to snap photos, a mommy/son stuffed bunnies and the book Guess How Much I Love You. There were 15 other families also adopting/re-adopting. We found out from the paralegal that walked us from the party room to court that each county in NJ tries to out-do the other counties and have the most adoptions/re-adoptions for National Adoption Day. That revelation put a little tarnish on the day, but everyone in the courthouse was very nice and very excited for everyone. Regardless of motive, they made a special day.

When we went into court, I was holding Oliver and he wasn't pleased with that. The judge kept insisting that I put him down and let him and Chloe play during the proceedings. I think the judge came to regret that suggestion. Oliver ran through the courtroom like a tornado, grabbing at every wire and balloon in the place. The proceeding was recorded and I am fairly certain that our hearing is incoherent as Oliver was screaming and smashing the balloons into the microphones.

Here he is, the newest citizen of the U.S. and who is officially now Oliver Matthew Abdulhakim....

 The family in court. The balloons survived.

With the judge who presided over our case.

Star Student

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 2 comments
Chloe was named the "Star Student" in her class. She came out of school today with a BIG sheepish grin holding her certificate. I know she was proud but if you ask her why she got the award she will tell you it's because she is the only one in class that doesn't misbehave! I think there's a little more to it than that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Seventeen Months Old

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 3 comments
Oliver is 17 months old! I can hardly believe that he is approaching a year and a half old and our one year anniversary of the day we met is fast approaching.

A friend told me the other day that Oliver is a little boy now. He's no longer a baby. He was running around the playground, desperately trying to get Chloe and her other six year old friends to play with him. He didn't want me to help him up and down the slide. He wanted to run with the big kids.

I am certain that I must burn 1000 calories a day chasing after Oliver. The photo above couldn't capture his personality any more. The picture was taken during the children's photo shoot last month. The photographer pulled out a stool for Chloe to sit on. Oliver thought it looked like a fun toy to climb on and thus this photo was taken.

To say that Oliver is into everything would be an understatement. Our house is babyproofed and then some. But, of course, that doesn't stop Oliver from pointing out things that need some attention like---
  • hiding any plug or cord of any sort in the house. Do you want that lamp plugged in Mom? No, I don't think we need light in this room! Want to recharge your laptop Daddy? No, I don't think so. 
  • hiding all cell phones and cordless phones. We just love to pretend we're talking on the phone and press those numbers. Don't give him a toy phone! Puh-lease, he knows its not the real thing---no one is on the other end asking, "9-1-1, what's your emergency?". And there is nothing more exciting than practicing for discus throw with Mommy's i*P*hone.
  • the need for toilet locks. Oh, the melodic tune of a toilet being flushed 400 times a day. Just shut the bathroom door many would say. Yes, I did that and it worked until Oliver learned how to open the door.
  • keeping the iP*ad safely out of his reach. There is nothing more Oliver loves to do than seek out the iP*ad after he's caked his hands in some sticky snack. Did you know the touch screen becomes disabled if the screen becomes crusted with food or greasy finger print marks?
We love our little guy and he does keep us on our toes. He's a bright little guy too. He has said his first sentence, "What is it?". He runs all over the house showing me things now and asking what it is. He asked it Saturday night after I gave him broccoli for the first time. He held up the broccoli, asked "What is it?" and then threw it to the dog.

Note to Self:

Monday, November 15, 2010 No comments
Next time we purchase a house, pay more attention to the types of trees in the yard. Don't get trees that drop their leaves at different times in the fall. You'll be raking every other day!

Daddy Likes, Daughter & Now Son Likes

Saturday, November 13, 2010 1 comment

Happiness is...

Friday, November 12, 2010 1 comment
discovering your mom restocked your dress-up chest with Halloween costumes she got on clearance at the big box store for 75% off!

Note: I got the kids 7 dress up outfits (El*mo, Da*rth Vad*er, Captain Rex, a ninja, a pirate, a motocross rider, and black-suited spidey) for ONLY $12! Chloe was so excited!!

Our Mini-Break

Monday, November 08, 2010 2 comments
There is a lot of irony in driving 10 hours so you can get in a car and drive all day around a racetrack. But, sometimes you have to drive a long way to have lots of fun.

Matt's Pors*che club rented out V*I*R for the weekend and we ALL decided to go thanks to the NJ teacher's union that provided us with three days off from school so they could attend a convention in At*lantic C*ity. We loaded up and headed to the Virginia/North Carolina border bright and early on Thursday morning. We picked up Matt's Por*sche pal, Paul, and his racecar and were on our way.

Chloe was fantastic on the long trip. She watched movies and slept most of the time in the car. Oliver, well, he's not one to sleep in the car. In fact, the car has the opposite effect on him. He stayed awake the entire drive, happy most of it, but when you are 16 months old and refuse to nap in the car and stay awake for 12 hours straight...well, you can guess what kind of mood that would put him in.
Oliver, not enjoying his car seat so much.

The racetrack has accomodations, but they book pretty fast and we missed out. The racetrack sits in tobacco farmland, with two sizable towns both 30 minutes in either direction, one in Virginia and one in North Carolina. When I was searching for places to stay, I was able to stumble on a house rental on a lake in North Carolina only 15 minutes from the racetrack. It was also priced comparably to the area hotels. It was a done deal for the long weekend.

Tobacco drying. This was the farm down the road from the house we rented.

Matt and Paul raced Friday & Saturday and had their fun cut short when the CV joint came loose on the car after the first run Sunday. With no replacement part, the guys couldn't keep driving and we decided to head home on Sunday instead of Monday morning.
Tech inspection on Thursday evening, after we arrived at the track.

Of course, what do you do with children at a racetrack? Well, we looked at the cars...

And we watch Matt race. Well, some of us did anyway.

And we goofed off a lot.

On Saturday, we got adventurous and went farther afield. I had suggested we go to some civil war sites, but Chloe nixed that idea pretty quickly. She wanted to go hiking. I wanted some scenery. Oliver, well, he shares his opinion pretty loudly, but its usually incomprehensible. We decided to go to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was COLD!!! We had to stop and buy some gloves and hats.

At an overlook. The city of Roanoke, VA is in the background.

We went for a hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The kids and I even scouted out a possible summer vacation spot. We also enjoyed the southern hospitality and cooking. Chloe finally had to ask a cashier, "Why did you call my mom sweetheart?". Chloe also pointed out that my Texas twang got a little more country too. She came back with a new, favorite word..."GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!". She giggled everytime she heard someone from the area say it. She thought the long, drawn-out O's were hysterical.

Though our trip was cut short, it was still a goooooooooooooooooooood one!

All I Want for Christmas is...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010 3 comments
my two front teeth!!

A confession:
Chloe lost her top left tooth last night. It came as a surprise to everyone. It was loose but she kept declaring that it wasn't ready to come out. Matt checked it this past weekend and said maybe next week it would be ready. I guess all the sticky candy Chloe consumed after Halloween loosened the tooth. Before bed last night, Chloe was partaking of some candy and her tooth started to bleed and was barely hanging on in her mouth. She wouldn't let me touch it but held a paper towel to her tooth until her Daddy got home. Matt pulled the tooth.

Chloe is thrilled beyond belief because she's the only student in her class to get on the tooth chart twice (meaning she is the only one in class who has lost two teeth this school year).

Unfortunately (and here's where the confession comes), we weren't prepared for the tooth loss. We're preparing to go out of town and I was making packing lists and watching the election results last night. I went to bed without playing the role of the tooth fairy!! It never even occurred to me until this morning when Chloe came into our room and told me that the tooth fairy didn't come last night.

I felt like a heel. I still do.

I played it off and told Chloe that I am sure the tooth fairy will come tonight (you better believe she will). I asked her if she woke in the night to check her tooth fairy pillow (knowing full well she did). Chloe told me she woke up 3 times in the night to check. My explanation to Chloe was that she probably woke when the tooth fairy was in her room and so the tooth fairy left and she will come back when Chloe is not awake. Though I forgot to play the tooth fairy last night, and that's unforgiveable, I'm killing two birds with one stone with this "story". See, Chloe has been waking several times in the night and waking us up to declare that her ankle hurts, her room is 10 degrees warmer than ours and she's sweating buckets, our bed is more comfortable than hers or that she saw a spider (on her ceiling in the dark at 3:30 a.m. mind you). Its all a ploy to get in our bed. It would be cute, but not every night in a row at midnight, 1:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m. and again at 4:45 a.m. So, I'm going to turn my error into a win-win for everyone and maybe we will ALL get some shut-eye as we sleep through the tooth fairies arrival (at least for one night anyway). 

The First Soccer Team

Monday, November 01, 2010 No comments
Chloe's been playing soccer on a team since the beginning of the school year. In our town, children don't start actually playing soccer games until the 1st grade. So, this is Chloe's first time playing an actual soccer game against another team.

Chloe's team is the Cosmos and they wear brown jerseys. I joke and say we should get U*P*S* to sponsor the team. Chloe is having fun and learning lots about soccer. On Tuesdays we have practice and on Saturdays we play the soccer game against the opposing team.

In between listening to the mom upfield declare her son the best on the team, "Without {son's name} the Cosmo's wouldn't have a team", and wondering why another mother was wearing her mink coat to a soccer game, I snapped a few photos.