Monday, March 23, 2009

Sport Time!

In an effort to give the twins some exposure to organized play - and since we didn't want to assume that our boys would be soccer players simply because they are from Colombia - we have enrolled all of them in a Saturday morning sports program at the rec center across from our neighborhood. It is called Sport Time and will give them an introduction to various sports. So far, they have participated in basketball and hockey.

Their first class was the weekend Troy was running his marathon. It could only be described as pure chaos! Luis and Daniel wanted to be in Samuel's class and they just were not getting that you can play any other sport with a ball than fútbol (soccer). Luis kept kicking the basketball (though I do love his little soccer kick) and Daniel kept bouncing the ball off of his head. Only Samuel seemed to care that they were learning how to play a new sport, and as it turns out, his gym teacher started their basketball unit the next Monday - needless to say, Samuel was elated that he knew what basketball was and how to sort of play it. The second weekend, the organizer moved the 5/6 year-olds to 10:00 AM (the 4's are at 9:00 AM) which was a huge relief because it enables us to focus on one age group at a time, and the twins always require twice the effort (poor Sam!).

We aren't sure of what sport they will learn next, but soccer is definitely in the rotation, and we will be beaming with pride as our boys kick the ball around and bounce it off their heads. I think we have learned that Luis and Daniel are soccer players to the core, but Samuel is enjoying all of it. He really wants to try new things, see how it works and then see if he can do. Unfortunately, if he doesn't get it the first time, he decides he can't do it and wants to give up. The biggest blessing of his class being split from the twins is that it enables us to cheer a little bit more from the sidelines for him. His next endeavor will be something he is great at and loves to do: running. The rec center is offering a track program with real meets at a local university. Troy is planning on coaching. We will keep you posted on the details as the program starts.

Here are some Sport Time pics. Sorry for the not so great quality. The gym is really dark and the kids move really fast, but you get the point, right?

Luis was actually pretty good at shooting the ball. He got it in the basket nearly every time which we thought was pretty impressive for a little guy who has never played basketball before.

Daniel struggled a little, but he did make one basket and it was the most exciting thing in the world. He kept jumping up and down, saying "I did it Mamá! I did it Papá! I did it! I did it!" He was so excited and it was just too cute!

This is one of the organized games that the 4-year-olds get to play. The cones they are carrying are their "steering wheels". Note Troy in the white shirt trying to get Daniel to join in. Luis (in front of the guy in gray way in the back) had no problem running around.

Sam being silly while one of his classmates shoots the ball. The big kids got to play with the big hoop.

video
Here's a short clip of Samuel shooting the ball. Not too bad!

Troy will have to fill you in on this past week's hockey class since I was not there. I heard it was crazy though!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Duality -or- The Adventures of A Reluctant Stay-At-Home-Mom

Many of our faithful blog-stalkers are always hounding me to update the blog more frequently. I get it, the boys are cute, you guys can't get enough of them and think that now that I am not working I should have more time to write. Well, the truth is that since I lost my job, I have been too depressed to write. In my head, this is not how it was supposed to be. I was supposed to return to work, find full-time care for the boys, and have my cake and eat it to. I loved my job. In many ways it defined me. When I lost my job, I lost a huge chunk of my identity that I have not been able to recover.

So why this post? Why now?

As I was sitting at lunch with the twins today, I was really struck by just how lucky/fortunate/blessed/"whatever you want to call it" I am. I have this realization often (usually at meal times), but today it really struck me to the core. I have had time I would not have otherwise had with my little guys (Sam included) if I were working. In fact, I might not know them as well as I do if I weren't home with them all day. Our bond might not be as strong as it is if I weren't home with them all day.

When we first got the call about the boys last May, we toyed around with the possibility of my staying home to care for them. This idea was quickly dismissed for many reasons, including finances, their ages, and my desire to keep working. I created an FMLA plan with my boss that worked for me and the company, and by the time I got back from Colombia I could not wait to get back to work. I was barely off of my part-time schedule when Luis needed surgery, and I had only been back full-time for a month when they lowered the boom. Devastation. Anger. Despair. There weren't enough words in the English dictionary to cover what I felt. The upside was that it was the holidays and I had the boys' first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's in their new home to keep me busy. Only now, the holidays have come and gone, and I am still (reluctantly) at home.

This month I am approaching the four month mark of unemployment. I still do not consider myself a stay-at-home-mother. I cannot take on that title. If I get too comfortable, if I get us into too much of a routine, if I start to call myself that, it will make it that much harder to go back to work when I do finally find that much needed job. Although, now I must say, I need the job not to define me, but because our bills are stacked up. So I live in this weird limbo - not a "working mom", not a "stay at home mom". I am just a mom, and I realized today that's OK because that is exactly what our boys need because they have not had anyone just be their mom (or dad) before. Sure they have a birthmother and a foster mother, but they have never had a bonafide, smother-you-with-hugs-and-kisses, wake-you-up-in-the-morning, walk-you-to-the-busstop, tell-you-just-how-awesome-and-adorable-you-really-are kind of mom (or dad) before. So when I have freak out moments about whether or not their emotions are "developing properly" for their ages or whether the twins will be ready for kindergarten because they aren't in pre-K, I try to remember that Troy and I have years of loving on them to make up first, everything else will take care of itself. Loving on them is the easy part, it is the cabin fever that I have to ward off!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SOAPBOX - Don't Read It If You Don't Want To Hear It!

OK, I can no longer keep silent. There is one subject that has been driving me absolutely bonkers for over a week now, and I just have to unload. So, in the vein of my buddy Redonna and her "Constantine" post a few weeks back, I am now going to give the world my two cents on...wait for it...the Bachelor.

America, it is time to move on with our lives. Jason dumped Melissa and hooked up with Molly. GET OVER IT!!!! I personally don't think this makes him the scum of the Earth. I have dated men much scummier than Jason. Here are my reasons why it is time to let it go:

1) All of these women and this one man signed up for a REALITY television show. That means that they chose to have "have their lives taped, stop being polite, and start keeping it real"...Oh wait wrong show, but you get my point.

2) They all signed contracts that most likely locked them into being OK with whatever the outcome may be.

3) The whole process takes something like six weeks. Jason whittled down a group of 25 girls in 6 weeks through a series of grandiose dates - most of them in groups of at least 3. Yep, that sounds like a formula for falling in love for forever, doesn't it?

4) They would have broken up eventually, whether on TV or not. Of the 13 seasons of the Bachelor, none of the Bachelors have married. Only one of the 4 Bachelorettes have married.

5) Ratings, ratings, ratings...it is all about the ratings.

So, whether you choose to hate Jason forever or wish him and Molly a happily-ever-after, he made his choice and ABC has chosen to continue to exploit this poor girl's "pain" by putting her on Dancing With The Stars. Now who is the scum of the Earth?

Give me a shout out if you voted for her last night!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Snow? You Have Got To Be Kidding Me...

**********PLEASE NOTE: This is one of four new posts. If you haven't read all of them,
you may want to start with the IKEA post and work your way up.**********

This past Sunday, Troy went to see a Ben Folds concert with our friend Paul. He had not been gone for very long when he called me to let me know that it was snowing. Sure enough, I opened the front door and our front yard was blanketed. That was 7:00 PM. By 9:00 PM, the school system called to let the parents know that school would be canceled. Ugh!!! When we woke up Monday morning, our neighborhood - well all of Charlotte and the surrounding area - was a winter wonderland. There was nothing I could do but get the boys suited up and take them out in it. We had about 4", but the yard was pretty slushy because it had rained for 2 days prior and our yard holds water. We still had fun. They tried to make snow angels and snow balls. If the yard hadn't have been so wet, we would have had an awesome snowman. The twins ended up sitting near a puddle, throwing snow into it and watching the snow melt. Like my mom always says, "it's the little things." Enjoy the pictures from snow day #3 in Charlotte. Who would have ever thought we would get so many, especially one after spring had started to bloom here!













P.S. It is supposed to be in the 70s next week. Living in the South is wackadoodle!

Sylvia's Big Day Out

Two Saturdays ago, Maria and I took our dogs for a "girls day" to Barkington Park. In this world that is overrun with testosterone it was wonderful to spend some quality time with each other, Sylvia and Ruth "The Tooth". The pups had a blast and we can't wait to go back and do it again. Although, we both felt guilty about leaving Baxter behind, so we will have to take him next time.

It was a gorgeous day, so there were tons of dogs and dog lovers out and about. Sylvia and The Tooth were a little overwhelmed at first, but they caught on quickly and made friends with everybody they could. Sylvia kept trying to take a ball from this one little boy who just wanted to play fetch with his pooch. Silly me, I didn't even think to bring her ball.

So this is the only picture I captured of the two girls together, and, of course, Sylvia is peeing in it. She felt it was necessary to mark her territory everywhere - perpetually the alpha. A lesson learned is that dogs move too fast to take good pictures!

...unless they are sniffing each others butts which was the beloved pastime of every dog there. Humans wave hello. Dogs sniff each other. I am thankful God made me a human!

Maria of course came prepared! She had lots of water on hand much to Sylvia's delight. What is that on Sylvia's nose? Oh that is just a big string of ooey-gooey spit. She was so over excited she started frothing at the mouth with shoelaces of spit coming out of the corners. I am not quite sure of how it ended up on her nose though.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Playtime...

When we aren't going to IKEA, we are doing lots of other fun stuff! Here is just a glimpse of what we have been doing with our days.

Daniel helped Papá put the TV stand for the living room together. The plan is to move the TV (and pretty much everything else) out of our loft, convert the loft into a playroom and turn our "formal"/never used living room into a "lived in" room. Hopefully this will give the boys some more space, and give us parents some more time away from toyland. The other big change is that Sam is moving into the guest room. He has been sleeping in there for a week already. We will be converting that room into a space just for him. The first night he slept in there, he sat up, declared with his arms raised in the air "Mamá, I'm a big boy!" He's absolutely right!

Luis helped with the TV stand too! He was in charge of organizing and stacking the parts - a fitting job for him indeed.

I finally put the train set together for the boys. Nana and Pop Pop Peregory got it for them for Christmas. The boys love taking all of the pieces and configuring it in different ways. It has become a fast favorite. So have their Lincoln Logs from their Tio Rico and Tia Amanda. Anything stackable is always a hit.

The new favorite game is "doctor". In this case, Sam was the patient. They love to use all sorts of toys as their medical instruments. It is hysterical. It is also incredible to see their imaginations at work. I know I ramble on and on about this, but if you all could have seen how deprived and almost unchildlike our children were when we met them...In just these few short months they have opened up and blossomed and have learned to play like little boys. It is simply amazing and I am truly thankful for it and blessed by it everyday.

They often make their stuffed animals the patients. Here Mami Popoino is the patient. The face mask was actually given to Luis as part of his pre-op preparation. It smells like bubble gum!

Welcome IKEA!

For those of you who know me, you know that I am absolutely in love with IKEA. I love everything about the IKEA experience - from sitting on the furniture, to carrying around the paper measuring tape, to eating in the café. Sadly, I have never lived close to an IKEA. In fact, I have always been at least four hours from one where ever we have lived...until now. Hello Charlotte IKEA!!!!

I had been trying to talk Maria into camping out with me for opening day (which it turns out was a downpour), but fortunately we didn't have to. Thanks to our husbands' connections in the city, Steve was able to secure a pass that enabled a carload of us to attend a special preview. I have never been more thankful for our minivan. On the Saturday before the grand opening, February 14 to be exact, we loaded up the 'bergers and Freys and headed to IKEA for some good old-fashioned shopping. What recession? You can get placemats for $1 each!

The majority of photos below are courtesy of Maria. ¡Muchas gracia Miss Maria!


Waiting in line until the doors opened. The boys were kind of confused, and Luis got a little lost once the crowd started to move, but he caught up quickly.

We felt like rock stars as the staff cheered for us as we walked through the doors. Again, the boys were perplexed, but they just went with it.

Luis did not want to get up from this table. He loved that it was just his size. In fact, we are turning the loft into a playroom and will be purchasing their play table from IKEA because you can by the table top and legs separately.

Who knows what Samuel is doing, but he sure was having fun!

Luis enjoyed measuring things with the paper measuring tape.

Daniel wanted to work like Papá. SIDENOTE: I did not intentionally dress the twins in blue and yellow (the IKEA colors), but because of it they got their pictures taken and video too! Who knows, maybe they will end up on some promotional materials. That makes my marketing heart proud!!!

Samuel is chillaxin' as my good friend Sherry likes to say.

I think we let them watch that So You Think You Can Dance clip of the little B-Boy one too many times.

I will own this chair one day. I will put it in our bedroom. Once I do, I will never get up from this chair...ever again.

Troy is so handsome! I had to throw this one in here.

Steve and Maria!!!!

Daniel eating breakfast.

Samuel sharing his breakfast with the rest of us.

Luis shovelling in his breakfast.

My favorite part of the day was that I got to leave the kids in their playland for one whole hour! I am not so sure the boys loved it, but I certainly did.

All in all, it was a successful trip. Troy got a much needed dresser for very cheap. That is the best part about IKEA. You get great furniture, for low prices.

My favorite picture of the day though has to be this one. Luis has his finger up his nose 90% of the time. Thank you Miss Maria for capturing the true essence of Luis!