Friday, September 24, 2010

Theme Week: Penn State

Last week we got to take a surprise, last-minute trip to Penn State so that J could do some recruiting at our alma mater.  Here's a little glimpse of our trip.

Day 1:  Okay, kids are way more into hotels than I am.  The small refrigerator in the room is the biggest hit--it's totally kid-sized. 

Glad the kids survived the Target trip--wait, make that I'm glad I survived the Target trip.  ;)  Yum, peanut butter and jelly and tuna fish sandwiches--separately, not together and some or*o cakesters.  Those things are good!

These 50-cent goggles are down-right hilarious!  There's no way they'll work, but they sure do make a great picture.

And I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about being in a big pool with both kids, but they had so much fun.  Of course it involved pretending to be chased by--you guessed it--stingrays. :)

Day 2:  Score for getting to the Nittany Lion shrine so early in the morning.  Zero people around to hear me accidently set off the car alarm.

In an attempt to pass the time before the stores opened, we roamed the campus lawns.

 We had bagels in a lovely garden where M and T promptly set about making chipmunk houses.

I've been waiting to get here for months to go to Animal Kingdom to pick out that bear for sister.  Note to self, next time we go bear shopping I need to scope out the store first.  We knocked over a lot of bears with all of our "shopping."

I finally got some comfortable waterproof shoes.  They seem like a good idea for international travels.  That store had the genius idea to turn a dressing room into a toy room for kids--LOVED that.

And shocked, but T actually took a nap after more swimming and M had to wake him up!  Cute stuff. 

Quite amazed, in general, how well M and T have been sleeping with all of us in the same room.  Good work, gang!

 Day 3:  Abandoned all tv time-restrictions and let them watch hours of Mickey Mouse and Cat-in-the-Hat.

Grand adventures today.  First stop, stocked up on Penn State t-shirts until they're both 6--have to represent the home team!  Next, the cupcake shop.  If we could ever find it.  Walked back and forth on the same blocks like 4-5 times before we finally found it--I was ready for someone to start carrying me!

And the Farmer's Market.  T picked up two flower stems, raised them over his head and shouted in his very loud voice, "Gooo, Penn State!"  He got a lot of appreciative nods.  M ate her weight in red raspberries.

Creamery time.  So much to cram into today--not ideal to mix cupcakes and ice cream before lunch, but sometimes you just have to roll with it.   

And, finally, to end the week, a little trip to the art museum.  Noted along the way that M and T have a fascination with students.  T said, "Is that a student following us?"  M said, "We're going along with the students.  Isn't that crazy?"  "There goes another student."  Funny because we were the outsiders--there were no other strollers and there are like 40,000 students there. :)

The week had it's moments, but I can't wait to go back.  Completely love PSU--so many amazing, life-defining moments took place there.  It feels like home. :)

[Housekeeping note: The previous 2 weeks were Prayer and Prepare weeks as we got ready for school.]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Introducing Gordy and Check Out The UNoffical Numbers! :)

This past week we went on a little road trip and we finally got to pick out a bear for Sister. :)  Both M and T have happened to fall in love with G*nd bears so I thought it would be fun to pick out one together for our next little one. 

A HUGE two-sided shelf full of bears makes the decision pretty tough.  In the end it came down to the feel and possible washableness of his fur and the "kindness" of his eyes. :)

Without further ado, we are pleased to introduce you to the newest bear in our family....Gordy!  

And now for those numbers.  It has been a crazy, fun week in that department.  We are sitting OFFICIALLY at number 18, but over the past ~2 weeks there have been 5 girl referrals and 2 boy referrals.  I think that means that we are ~12-13 unofficially.  Wow! 

We really never know how quickly referrals will be made, but it is pretty cool that we could possibly see our little girl's face before Christmas.  :)  While that is still months away, time totally flies by during the holidays.  Exciting!!!! :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Funnies: What we do for fun. :)

Last week T was playing quietly in his room at bedtime.  He and his best buds, Cheetah, Black Bear and Beary were apparently on a boat in stingray-infested waters.  When I peered in he was sitting in his tool box facing the wall on his little bed and telling Cheetah not to get in the water.  T made a few quick appearances downstairs to ask what seahorses and crabs do (they swim and pinch respectively).    

After a while all was quiet and I remarked to J that T had probably fallen asleep sitting in his tool box boat.  We tiptoed over to his room and spied him sleeping in the middle of the floor.  "Ahh, so cute."  Then we tiptoed away.   

J turned to me and said, "Wouldn't it be funny if we walked in and said, 'The stingrays are going to get you!'?"

I paused for a moment to think through the possible scenarios and decided that the worst that could happen was that he would cry a little.  Best case he would do his funny I-love-to-be-scared scream and laugh and then we would all hug and he would go back to sleep.  :)    

Yep, so we did it.   J walked into his room and said, "T, the stingrays!"  Nothing.  He didn't even flinch.  

Ahh, but we were in it now.  So louder and with a little shake, "T, the stingrays are going to get you!"  Still NOTHING!  Poor boy was out!  

On the third attempt T stood up looked around and walked over to turn on his light to see what all the fuss was about.  Dear child had not a clue what we were talking about and he just walked over to his bed and snuggled down.   Crazy parents, stingrays live in the ocean.  We don't have to worry about them in our house.  Go to sleep.  :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Funnies: Forecast--Showers at 6

So, the other night I was sitting on the deck working on a project and watching the kids playing in the backyard.  All of a sudden there was a loud click and the sprinkler starting spraying across the lawn.  A  little shocking, but we are in the process of replanting some grass and have a sprinkler system set up to a timer so we just laughed and I told the kids to stay out of the water.

I was minding my own business when I noticed that the sprinkler was starting to spray the deck.  Surely, I thought, it would stop and go back out towards the lawn.  Nope, it sprayed right into the kitchen through the screen door.  But, now, surely it would stop and go back into the lawn.  Umm, nope.  To my dismay, this huge, deluge of super-soaker water was still coming my way with no means of escape.  I grabbed my project, yelped and dashed for cover under the table.  Crazy sprinkler!  

J's not quite sure why the sprinkler was set to such a trajectory.  Maybe it was the victim of some child tampering. :) The kitchen was quite wet--but on a postitive note, now quite clean. ;)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Favorites: Seedless Watermelons today, when I cut open a watermelon it was FULL of seeds!  I can not tell you how long it has been since I have had such a rare seeded watermelon.  As I carefully removed all of the seeds lest one of my children refuse to eat the said watermelon because of the them, I was VERY THANKFUL for the convenience of the seedless variety. :)

The carnage. :)

Besides watermelon, we have also been partaking of the delicious pears and apples from one of my parent's neighbors.  Thank you Mr. and Mrs. S!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

September Number and FDL!

Our official (and unofficial) September Number is:

For a little girl 0-15 months (from #52 in Feb).

And Number 13 for siblings (0-15 months).

And on Tuesday we received our FDL in the mail--YAY! :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Choosing to SEE

I've been listening to Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman tell their story on Family Life Today.  My heart hurts for the unbelievable tragedy that they are walking through, but I am so encouraged by their candidness and vulnerability in sharing their journey.  Small glimpses into their lives give me tangible models of how to live life well (not perfectly, but with great hope and humility). 

You can listen to them share more about their new book Choosing to SEE on Family Life Today here (there were 5 shows in total--air dates 8/30-9/3).  I laughed out loud when they talked about how they met and his mullet.  Good stuff. :)  They were also recently on Focus on the Family and you can listen to that here and here.

And while I haven't read it yet, it is on my "Must Read" list--check out Mary Beth's book Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Friday Favorites: Catalog Living

One of my FB friends posted a link to the blog Catalog Living a few weeks ago.  I literally had tears running down my face I was laughing so hard.  Not sure I can fully explain why, but it just totally cracks me up!

I am definitely an admirer of Pottery Barn catalogs.  I may even examine every picture looking for inspiration. ;)  Case in point, this monogram on our desk.  I saw a similar one in the first Pottery Barn catalog I ever saw, and felt moved to make my very own for our desk. :)

And so perhaps, because I too look at catalog images and sometimes wonder exactly what is "going on" in the picture, I find this blog absolutely HILARIOUS!  Love it! :)

Some favorites:  late guests on stools, flowers on a plate, the book stool, pages on the wall, the abacus, and the garnished cocktails--just to name a few. ;)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

FDL Update, Rain Forest Week

Yay!  We finally have some information about our FDL (Favorable Determination Letter that we need for a referral that shows the approval of the government of our adoption)!  USCIS has had our paperwork for 6 months and every time I have called the conversation went something like this:
Me: Hi!  I'm calling to check on the status of my form.  Our fingerprinting appointment was in April--almost 6 months ago.

Them:  Hmm...I can't find it in this system give me a few minutes to check this one.  Oh, it hasn't been assigned to an officer yet.

Me: Do you know if it's missing anything or how long it will take to be processed?

Them: I can't tell anything from the computer system and we have over 18,000 files to be processed.  Once it's assigned to an officer they will contact you.  Call back next week.
I've been calling regularly since the beginning of July.  BUT, today before I called I prayed that I would have the right words to say, because quite frankly I didn't know how to figure out how to hurry things along.  Most people seem to get theirs back within weeks.  I know it's not URGENT just yet, but it would be so nice to just have this piece done. 

Anyway, back to today.  When I called today, again, the officer checked multiple systems and said it wasn't being processed yet.  I said that I had been calling since July and that got her attention.  She left for a few minutes to literally search for the file and then when she couldn't find it she sent an email to the file room.  She said that as soon as they found it she would personally take care of it. 

THEN, tonight when I was at work, she called J to say that they had found the file, she had looked it over, and that our FDL would be coming in the mail!  YAY!  Thank you so much, Officer H!

Ahh...FDL drama. ;)

Okay, and now for last week's theme--Rain Forest Week!

We listened to the Magic Tree House Rain Forest story multiple times.  And we read Compassion's latest children's magazine about life in the Amazon.  We also draped ALL of the upstairs doorways with blue crepe paper to look like waterfalls.

And we visited a fun pet store with a room full of un-caged tropical birds, lots of fish and of course the usual rabbits and mice.

In the Magic Tree House story they talk about piranhas, so I thought it would be fun if M and T could see one.  I would love to know what the guy working in the aquarium section thought about this mom with her two young children asking to see the piranhas.  Apparently he thought I was interested in buying one because, in case you were wondering, they are, in fact, not allowed to sell piranhas in NY.  But not to fear, if you would like to have one for yourself you can just go to PA or CT.  Thank you, Mr. Pet Store Guy. :)