Monday, September 29, 2008

Gracias A Dios...

Where to begin?! I had wanted to post late last week, but I did not get the chance to sit down for very long. Also, I hadn't quite processed some news we got, so I wasn't quite ready to write about it.

Last Thursday, I took Luis to the cardiologist. Our pediatrician and friend, Dr. Douglass, found a murmur during Luis' well-child check-up a few weeks ago, so he referred us to a "doctor de corazón" as he has come to be known in our house. The paperwork we received on the boys said that Luis had respiratory problems and cardiopathy when he was 4 months old, so this did not come as a big surprise to us. What did come as a gigantic shock though is the source of his murmur. It turns out that one of his coronary arteries is not attached to the heart as it should be, therefore Luis will need surgery - open heart surgery. Scary, right? Troy and I were beside ourselves last week when we received the news. We are still in shock, maybe a little denial since we haven't received word yet as to when the surgery may take place (we are told soon). On the upside, Luis is fine for all intents and purposes - he plays, runs and jumps around like any other 4-year-old boy. Also, had we not adopted him, his condition would most likely have gone untreated and who knows what would have happened in the long run.

In news of the "how cute are they?!": After the cardiology appointment, Luis and I picked up lunch for everyone. When we sat down to eat it, Daniel did the prayer and in addition to thanking God for the food he said, "Gracias a Dios para el corazón de Luis Angel" (thank you God for Luis' heart). I could have burst into tears, and Troy and I just sat there beaming with a mix of emotions and awe over Daniel's insight and sweetness.

Over the weekend I got to go on a retreat with other women from our church in the mountains of NC. I cannot even begin to express how much I needed this break from everything. It was nice to not have any demands placed on me for a couple of days. I also loved getting to know some of the women of our church better and hearing their stories. I even had the opportunity to share the story of how Troy and I came to adopt these three fantastic boys.

And, finally, God continues to reaffirm this adoption in His provision of a childcare fix for us. Troy has been granted a temporary schedule of 5 hours per day at work and 3 hours at home. He will work from 7 AM - 12 PM, then pick the boys up from the Y at 1 PM, and work through their naptime. Samuel will go to Afterschool at the Y. We can do this for 2 months at which time we should have heard from Bright Beginnings (the CMS Pre-K program for children with extraordinary circumstances like not being able to speak English). If we don't get into Bright Beginnings...well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Here are some pics because I know that is really why you all check this blog! Enjoy!

Daniel got his new glasses today. He is just so stinking cute, I can't stand it! The bonus is that they make his left eye much straighter.

All my boys. A self-portrait.

Papa survived the weekend outstandingly! He took the boys on an adventure that included a pit-stop at the Speedway! The boys love cars, but from what I understand there was some kind of truck on the track.

They are either excited or confused about the truck on the track.

Did I mention we love anything on wheels?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


School is in full swing. The air is getting cooler. Our annual camping trip to Crabtree Falls is coming up. must be Fall. This is definitely my favorite time of year because 1) the summer's in CLT are nearly unbearable and 2)'ll have to wait til the end of the post for the biggest reason why Fall is my favorite (I doubt it will shock any of you).

Fun with Mr. Potatohead! Check out Daniel and Luis' attempts at putting a Mr. Potatohead together. Be sure to note the shoes (or zapatos as we say) for ears on Daniel's and the tongue for hair on Luis'. Pretty awesome! And they were so proud of their creations.

We really are making progress with the dogs. Every morning, Samuel helps me put the dogs in their crates, then the twins spend a couple of minutes taunting them while working up the courage to stick their hands through the bars. ALL of them now let the dogs give besos to their hands. This is followed by a lot of squealing. We still can't all be in the same room (only Samuel is OK with hanging out with the dogs), but I consider the fact that they are willing to touch the dogs at all a real victory.

On Sunday we went to this really cool event called "Touch-A-Truck". It was like it was created just for our boys, but it is really a fundraiser for lung cancer research (which is a cause very dear to me because I lost both my grandmother and - just this year - my aunt to this horrible disease). There were all sorts of trucks/vehicles for the boys to sit in/on. It was AWESOME!!! One of their favorites was the army helicopter.

I have this great video of the boys running around with other kids while all of us parents stand in line to make sure that our children are able to experience the helicopter. I will have to upload it to YouTube since it is sort of long.

How cute are they? You might be thinking, "Where is Daniel?" This is about the time when mama was rushing to the restroom which was quite a hike while carrying a 30-something pound kid who kept reminding me repeatedly that he needed to "chi-chi". Can anyone explain to me why children always have to go when there is NO bathroom convenient? Is it one of Murphy's Laws?

Lastly, the real reason I am glad it is fall - TV is back!!!! I am beyond excited to be in the midst of premiere week. I have many shows that I love, and we have plenty of room on the DVR. Why else do you think we get the kids in bed by 8 PM?

Just a few more updates: Samuel has gotten a sticker from his teacher everyday this week. In fact, I think he is up to 6 stickers in a row. This is a great little victory for us because it means that he is understanding Papa when he tells him to listen to his teacher and not worry about what the other kids are doing. We are very close to figuring out what to do with the twins while I go to work. We have a couple things to work out, but I should be ready to go full-time next week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Road Trip!

For those who are keeping track, we are at the 10 week mark! Hooray! We have our good days, our bad days, our challenges and our triumphs, but overall I would say we are definitely feeling more like a family. Sometimes I can't believe that these three amazing boys are my sons, and other days, I just can't remember life without them.

The twins and I went back to work last week. We had a couple of days where Daniel would melt down as I dropped them off at Child Watch, but now they say "chau mama" as soon as we walk in the door. Everyone is exhausted as we adjust to our new schedule, but we are making it through at least.

Last weekend we took an all too short trip to see mi familia in Virginia Beach. It was a weekend jam packed with a stint at la playa and a birthday celebration for my darling niece. It was fun to show off the boys to our extended family and family friends. The highlight for me though was Troy and I finally having our own kids at one of my niece's birthday parties. For years we have longed for this as my sister and brother-in-law have a couple of families that they are close to who all have children. There were many times when I left her celebration feeling a little defeated by my inability to conceive. It was fun to see the boys running around their house, making themselves at home in Ethan's room.

Challenges: Samuel is starting to struggle a bit with school. He is not always able to understand, so now that they are getting into the meat of the curriculum he is starting to lose focus. Fortunately, ESL testing took place this week and he will start regular classes next week. Daniel jammed his thumb tonight and proceeded to scream in my ear for about 30 minutes before asking to go to bed. Poor guy! Luis is becoming more and more defiant on a daily basis as he enjoys testing what he can and can't get away with. As a result, he spends a lot of time "in the corner".

Triumphs: Samuel is speaking more and more English everyday. He has started to throw out new words and is very proud of what he is learning. His favorites right now are "yes" and "thank you". He is also learning his colors and commands like "stop it" and "be quiet" which he says to his brothers often. Daniel has learned how to whistle, not well, but he is trying and whistles along with the music in the van. Luis has become more cuddly. He runs to me everyday with arms outstretched when I pick them up from Child Watch. He then proceeds to shower me with besos! Sweet boy!

Nana and Pop Pop posing with all their "little men". The birthday girl was off doing birthday things with her friends - we have all learned that at 9 years old, friends trump family everytime.

The boys loved the giant sandbox that God created just for them. There is nothing more fun than a sandy beach. Let me just say that I did not know that sand could get into so many places. We were all covered in it, but it was the best time I have ever had at the beach. For those of you who know me well, you know I have never like the beach that much despite growing up minutes from the ocean. Having kids heightens the excitement for me. I wish I had pictures of their faces when they saw the ocean for the first time. There were lots of "ohhhhs" and "wows". It was priceless.

It must be a boy thing. The girls were in the water, and the boys were on the beach digging in the sand. E's whole goal was to make the sand in this one spot as wet as possible and he had Nana trekking back and forth to the water to fill his bucket.

This picture cracks me up because of the look of sheer terror on Daniel's face. Neither of the twins liked the water. I walked them down to where the tide was coming in forgetting that the tide sucks at your feet as it goes back out. We weren't even up to our ankles, but they both screamed like the ocean was attacking them. I, of course, have adopted a "make them suffer until they get used to it" approach to the twins' fear of everything, so I made them stand there for a little bit, screaming, hoping they would see that the beach is not malo. Let's just say, Nana did not approve of my "try it until you like it" method. Those within a two mile radius probably didn't either as the boys emitted super-sonic screams.

We played so hard with our primos (cousins), at the beach, at Nana's, etc... that the twins passed out within 15 minutes of being in the car and headed home. We need to visit Nana more often!

Monday, September 15, 2008

GUEST BABYSITTER..The Cast of Grey's Anatomy

Setting: The cast of Grey's Anatomy is at our doorstep....a Snow Patrol song is faintly playing in the background...
Merideth Grey Voiceover: When you babysit, you watch children. And they watch you. Both watching. And maybe we are all children in some way. Sometimes I feel like a child. A child who sleeps around all the time.
McDreamy: Um, we are here to watch your kids.
Andrea: There's mac and cheese in the fridge.
Izzie: That reminds me of Denny! How dare you!
Pager goes off...
Troy: Do you need to take that?
The dude from Can't Buy me Love: No. There's drama going on right now. I only operate at the right time.
Troy: Wouldn't that be when someone is really hurt?
The guy from Loverboy: Not really. I need to wait until Merideth's voiceover is perfect, or at least until The Fray start singing.
Troy: I totally understand. Look our kids play well by themselves more or less, just make sure they are in bed around 8pm. We are going to see The Dark Knight...this time at the dollar theater.
Dr. Preston Burke: Your kids aren't gay are they?
Troy and Andrea: (speechless)
Andrea: Nah....don't think so.
Dr. Burke: Not important. I'm not even sure why I'm here, didn't I get fired? Wait a second, why is Izzie here? Hasn't she trashed everything about the show?
Izzie: How can you say that? I'm a perpetual victim character that way too many females relate too? Can't I be empowered enough so that everything I do should be applauded, yet the second I make a mistake I need to be comforted because I'm a a female?
Troy: I can't really say anything can I?
All the females present: No.
McDreamy: I'm actually babysitting for 2 other families tonight.
Andrea: We figured as much. You have commitment issues...we know. Anyways we have to go.
Sandra Oh's Character: You couldn't work me into this post even though I'm the only one you kinda like?
Troy: Nope. Sorry. Wait for the cast of Sideways post I guess.
Merideth Grey Voiceover: (Coldplay song starts to swell in the background) And so we are alone. With other people. Yet alone. Yet not alone. It's like being a doctor. Except when it's not. 

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Gearing Up For Another (Long?) Week

So, it turns out that I did indeed have strep. Let me qualify this by saying that I have not had strep since the 7th grade when I had it so bad that I am pretty sure it left me immune. Well, the antibodies must have worn off or my kids have introduced me to the much fiestier, Colombian version of strep because according to the nurse I "had a different strain". It is never good when all the doctor has to say is "Yeah, that looks bad." I went to work on Thursday anyway (because I was so anxious to go back) where I promptly caught this weird-upper-respiratory-virus-thing that is going around. I have been coughing ever since. Needless to say, I am tired of being sick.

Last week was all around hard for us as we dealt with my sickness and adjusted to Samuel's new schedule. All of the boys were just plain exhausted by Friday afternoon which resulted in the following: Samuel had a note sent home from the teacher letting us know that he kept making noises and touching his classmates. This means that he got put on the "thinking trail" at school that day. When I saw the note and talked to him about it, he burst into tears. Needless to say, I just held him on my lap and let him cry it out. It was so obvious he was exhausted. Luis Angel was stacking things that won't stack which resulted in more than just his usual whimpering. He had a full out meltdown, so I just held him on my lap and let him cry it out. Daniel wouldn't go to sleep at bedtime - he gets the opposite of tired when he is tired. He wasn't making noise, but I did hear him run across the floor around 11:00 PM. When I went to see who was up, I found him laying on the floor staring at the night light. He just wanted to look at it. So, I held him on my lap and rocked him until he was still enough to go to bed for good. Hopefully this week will put us on more of a schedule and be a little less hard for all of the boys.

Fortunately, once they were asleep, they slept well and were ready to meet Nana and Pappy Shoenfelt and Tia Becca. Troy's family came to visit this weekend, and though I spent the majority of it in bed, I know that he was so glad to see them. And the boys took to them very quickly. Baxter and Sylvia also enjoyed spending time with Pappy out on the screen porch.

Here are a few pics from the weekend:

Tia Becca (with yet to be born and named girl cousin - Yay! We need the balance!), Nana S. holding Daniel, Luis, Samuel, and Pappy S. What a great family visit!!! And I HAVE to give a BIG, BIG, BIG shout out to Hospice of Central PA who have taken great care of us in the most amazing way. They donated four large tubs of clothing, plus various other items such as books and toys to our boys, in addition to a very substantial gift card to my favorite store in the whole world - Target. Their generosity is simply amazing and we are at a loss for words.

We have started playing this game called "Get It All Out" which is meant to do just that - get out all that last minute, excess, pre-bedtime energy. You have to see it to appreciate it, but basically, we lead the boys in a minute or two of shear crazy movement then we STOP and count "uno, dos, tres, go!" We do this as many times as it takes before they start falling over. But it is so fun and they really get into it. Luis' face really says it all in this pic. Yes, Daniel has his shirt on backwards, but this is what happens when four year olds dress themselves. We just go with it. Luis wore his shorts backwards all day the other day, mostly because I was too sick to fight with him about it.

After the boys went to bed, we somehow conned the fam into playing one of our favorite board games, Ticket To Ride. Oh the simple pleasures!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Carrier Monkeys

So today was not my much anticipated return to work and the twins much anticipated beginning in day care. I woke up with aches, a sore throat and a fever of 101.2. I have had more sicknesses since we met our children than I can remember, so I am totally blaming them, especially since there has been a significant amount of coughing and sneezing going on in Casa de la Eisenberger and Daniel had a fever yesterday. Fortunately, Troy came home to let me sleep and he is going in late tomorrow to let me go to Urgent Care - my fever is up to 102.5 and I now have what appears to be a blood blister in the area of my left tonsil. Not good. We will keep you posted, but as always please pray for the health of the members of our household.

Monday, September 01, 2008

End of Summer...Bummer

Tomorrow starts our new family schedule. Yay! Samuel will be going to school everyday, and the twins and I will be going to work everyday! I am very happy to be going back to work. We need structure...desperately. This will definitely put us on the path towards structure. Samuel is very excited to go to school, and we keep telling the twins they are going to "escuela muy pequeña" (literally translated: very small school). They are excited, but all they really know is that they are going to work with me. We will see what happens. I am packing their blankies just in case.

Today we decided to have some fun in the sun in our very own backyard. This is true parent dedication: blowing up the baby pool until you feel like you are going to pass out, making sure the dogs are nowhere near the path from the inside to the outside of the house, making sure the yard is free from dog poop and various debris, and taking turns refereeing to ensure that the older brother doesn't accidentally drown his younger brothers. They had such a good time though in their very own piscina, and Troy and I loved the fact that we didn't have to leave the house.

In other very exciting news, the boys' "certificates of citizenship" came today (well we came across them today) complete with a letter from the President. The letter is really moving. It talks about their civic duty as Americans. I hope one day they can appreciate it because right now they don't really care about anything except eating, playing and taking baths. It is very cool to have these very official certificates that simply list their names as Eisenberger. No more epic hyphenated last names for them.