We certainly have been busy around here. Trying to complete projects before the craziness of soccer season starts.  The kitchen is completed minus a few touch ups. Pictures coming soon. Eric worked on tiling the backsplash 2 weekends ago and last week. This weekend his project was painting some nifty garage flooring stuff with speckles in it and reorganizing our junk. Boy did he work! He is so proud of his garage that I've found him standing in it and just looking it over. In fact, he said he thought about pulling a sleeping bag out and sleeping in it. 

He took these pics himself and told me yesterday that he couldn't believe that Ally's birthday trumped his garage makeover. So, dear, here are visuals of all your hard work. Your family appreciates it!

Those darn wheeled toys are always in the way no matter where you put them. Maybe I can find something (other than the hanging) for them.

Funny story: Eric is pretty good at fixing things around here. We don't always get to it right away, but he does get to it. Dad is always great about helping us fix whatever we haven't had the time to get to as well. Last year, Eric decided to put in a different faucet in my bathtub. He installed one with a handheld shower sprayer. Now, Eric doesn't really do plumbing and this project was going to require the plumbing torch and sweating copper pipes and drilling holes in the bathtub, removing tile, replacing get the idea.  I found him in the bathroom with the laptop on the toilet playing a how-to video of sweating pipes while he was laying on his back underneath the tub with flaming pipe in hand. Gotta love it!



Somehow it happened. She turns eleven today. There was a time she had bows in her hair, red leather mary janes, and adorable smocked dresses. Now she has her own fashion sense that doesn't include dresses or skirts. My pay back I guess. It doesn't matter though because she's still the sweetest thing who would never, ever say anything derogatory about anyone or anything for fear of hurting someones feelings. 

She's funny, crafty, moody, giggly, silly, smart, and beautiful. She was our firstborn. You know, the kid that you sit with the video camera on to capture her drooling or give a gassy smile. Basically a video of absolutely nothing. I know you all have the same video! The firstborn that got all the big birthdays, the trial parenting, and over abundance of attention. She never cried as a baby because we never put her down. Can't believe she snuck in turning eleven on me. Sneaky kid. Gotta talk to her about that. 

It happens so fast. 

We love you so much, Allygirl! You are beautiful! You sure are turning into one amazing young lady and we are so very proud of you! Happy Birthday, baby girl!


Biggie Size

Who would have thought that two little girls could eat so much? I bought the big bucket when I took Ally and her friend to see the new Nanny McPhee movie and jokingly told them that it had to be eaten before the movie was over. 

They took me literally. 

BTW< Nanny McPhee Returns : great movie. I do love Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The girls loved it as did I. Think I may just have to watch the first one all over again!


Jiu: Chinese word for wine/alcohol

Our dinner conversation yesterday was, as usual, overtaken by Jake, the kid who literally doesn't stop talking. Yesterday in particular he has been really on a kick of telling us what China Baba gave him and what we won't buy him. Poor kid, hardly has any toys at all! HA! He seems to go through spurts of talking about China and his Chinese parents. When he does, he seems to be even more of a handful on those days. Yesterday was one of them. Jake has been his little stinker self for sure. Maybe I'm reading WAY too much into it, but sometimes I think he feels like he's "cheating" on his China parents when he feels like he loves us. But, maybe it is just normal comparisons for a four year old who has had huge changes.  

As we were sitting at dinner, Allyson took the vinegar out to put in her noodles. (She must not have liked my pick of Chinese vinegar this time). Jake piped up that "Jie Jie" was putting "Jiu" in her "Men" (noodles).  He was really tattling on her.  I don't think he was ever really convinced that she wasn't pouring wine either. Jake said that Chinese Baba and Mama had jiu, "but Chinese Baba not fall down"! There has to be a story behind that that we may never know! We asked him if he had jiu which he denied with a small mischievous grin. He told us that he had to wait till he got bigger to drink it! Oh, no, buddy! He went on rambling something about "car drink jiu, dead!". So maybe he has that whole drinking and driving thing down as well. Yes, Jake ALWAYS has a story to tell. 


Thankful Thursday:

I'm thankful for these ten little piggies

And this little face

And thankful for bloggy readers who don't hesitate to offer their opinions. Thank you for your thoughts on splitting Ally's tests into segments!  I sincerely appreciate it! We've had a good week so far and I have enjoyed my girl!


If only Candyland came with real candy~

Playing Candyland with Jake can be like banging your head against the wall. However, he has had a lot of progress. Towards the end of the game, he gets the idea of what he is supposed to do. But until you get to that point? Not so much fun. At least now he is actually getting the colors right! Eric faithfully reviewed his colors with him every night. I finally made his eye appointment so we could see if he was color blind, and then, as is usually the case, he got it! He can name the colors and get them right most of the time! 

BUT, if I didn't play Candyland with him, I would miss out on the very best faces. And when he wins the game, he laughs with his head thrown back and his little hands slapping the table. Wouldn't miss that for anything! We were riding in the car this afternoon, and Jake told me, "Ida saida fer da fit (fifth) times, I NOT cose (close) my eyes!".  One minute later, he was sound asleep.

So I have never seen a written rule saying a child has to take a whole math test in one sitting. Ally takes a long time to take a math test and by the time she turns the page, she's gets bogged down and loses steam! I'm thinking if I split it into two segments, maybe she won't feel so overwhelmed by it. Teachers, homeschooling moms, and interested readers, what do you think?


!st Day of Shea Shou

 Mohawks have been shaved down and my little Tibetan monks are back.  Grant and Allyson headed back to school this morning. Allyson started homeschool work at 7:15 and completed some before we took Grant to school. He was excited. To say that he loves school would be an understatement. By the way, it's such a shame that Jake never smiles for a picture, isn't it?

Jake still calls school "Shea Shou" and calls his bookbag his "bugbag". Super cute. 

Now I just need to find time to exercise, cook dinner, clean the house, pick up milk, stop by home depot again, and get some laundry done. Is it bedtime yet?


Back to Reality

We're back! After one week at the beach, too many gained pounds later, and too much money spent, we are back and getting ready for school to start on Monday.

My kids love the beach. Even Jake who isn't crazy about the water yet still loves to sit and play in the sand. We had one rained out day and one day cut short. Not too bad! 

That's one cool dude.....and he knows it!

Nothing like a Monkey on your back. Only "cost"  $10!

Only time he was actually out of the water. The rougher the waves, the better he likes it. He loves getting tossed around. Grant has always been such a water person. Even when he was little we would tease that he would try to swim to China if we'd let him. We're always calling him to come back in closer to the beach. His hands were raisins and had some skin coming off the last day we went to the beach!

The gorilla even enjoyed dinner with us. Yup, four adults, six kids ages 10 and under, and one large gorilla. You know they just loved us there!

Best Buddies!

Oh my! How cute is that face!

And now, back to reality. I don't think I'm quite ready. Maybe we should just move to the beach!

Finding Grant is now updated.

(p.s.  To whomever emailed me regarding the reference to our agency this past week: I accidentally deleted the email and need your email address again. I'd love to share our experience and help in any way. Thanks!)


Gotcha Day and Some Beach Time!

Headed to the beach for some family fun! 
There will probably be a ton of pics to post when I come back.

To Grant: Happy Gotcha Day!
Happy Family Day!
Happy I Found You Day!
Happy Your My Son Day!
You're My Special Boy Day!
Six years ago in Astana, Kazakhstan, a judge determined we would make good parents for you. Little did he know, what an amazing son you would make for us! We love you tons!!!!



Progress is happening in my kitchen! Countertops are in! We've been in this house almost 10 years and I've been waiting for new countertops for almost 9 of them. Yes, I admit it. I even chose the ugly green fake marble laminate when the house was built. I also chose a white laminate flooring in the kitchen as well. Live and learn; live and learn! We have a backsplash to pick out and install, the faucet installation as well as the mount the microwave. 

Eric's back is feeling better. Warning: I'm feeling a rant come on. He has been is some pain to say the least. He couldn't even sit to eat his dinner this week because of the back spasms. He kept saying how horrible it was and asked me to make an appointment for him. I did. In fact, I made several as he kept telling me that he couldn't make them due to work obligations. He would then text me saying he couldn't get out of his vehicle because it hurt so bad. Hmmm....if you can't get out of your car to GO to work, maybe you shouldn't BE at work. But that's not how Eric works (no pun intended!). Events were rearranged at work for today and he asked me to make him ANOTHER appointment. When I called the doc back, before I even said who I was the office staff said, "Oh, Hi, Mrs. *****, did you need to make another appointment for your husband?".   Oh my, how embarrassing! 

And just because my boys are handsome:

Don't ask what he's doing here. He's a total goofball!

You'll notice the Princess isn't in the pics because evidently when your almost 11 yrs old, you need A LOT of beauty rest!


You Know You Live in a Small Town When

You know you live in a small town when:

  • You can't run errands without running into at least five people you know
  • On the rare occasion you go to the grocery store without your kids, the produce man wants to know if they are okay
  • You know the men that deliver the ice cream and the pizzas to the grocery store and he's happy to tell you that his wife had the baby.
  • If you miss visiting the DD for coffee, they want to know where you've been
  • When you pick up a prescription from the pharmacy, the say "Oh, Hi Heather. Let me get it for you"
  • You know that the speech therapist is expecting and you haven't seen her and she didn't even tell you.
  • Your neighbor is a local shop owner downtown
  • Everyone knows to avoid the US postal clerk whenever she is on duty due to her pure nastiness (there are only 2 clerks)
  • You know most of the local firefighters.....2 live on your street and a third is your contractor
  • Your neighbor offers to bring the firetruck over to your house for your son to see.
  • The paramedic lives around the corner and your kids went to preschool together
  • We all congregate at the local high school parking lot to watch the 4th of July fireworks
  • There is no hospital, but just recently got a medical aid unit that you can walk to
  • When you stop by the bank, the teller greets you, "Hi, Jake's mom!". 
  • It's local paper is printed weekly but everyone already knows the news before it comes out.
  • Most of the teachers, shop owners, contractors, bank employees have lived here their entire life.
  • There is no Walmart to shop in
  • Pictures of your kids are in the newspaper regularly
  • You can drive into town (less than a half mile so I guess you could walk) and pay your electric bill, go to the post office, drop your library books off, buy your pool supplies, and visit your son's eye doc for another adjustment all within a few steps of each other and all done in a half hour!


Kitchen Chaos

Things certainly have been interesting around here. My kitchen is in a slight state of disrepair. More like chaos. If you look closely, you'll even find the new microwave on the dining room table. Needless, to say, last night was subway for dinner.  When the company says free set up and delivery, it comes with stipulations that we were not made aware of.

Really wouldn't have been a big deal, but Eric pulled a muscle in his back or something and is not feeling well at all. He forgets his age sometimes when he's playing with the kids and was tossing Grant around on Sunday. Grant has had a growth spurt and is now quite a solid guy. Actually, I love his build. It is soooo Kazakh! The men are solid, sturdy guys, and I think it is so cool seeing him grow. 

Eric had attempted fixing things last night. The frig wasn't the same height as our old one and was just a smidge too tall for the cabinet above it. He fixed that problem, but when he went to bend over for some plumbing tape, he came back in practically crawling. Guys! They won't go to the doc and they won't rest. Let's hope he heals quickly! We kind of need his brawn around here, and I hate seeing him in pain

Take a peek, Allyson is hiding in the kitchen. Those feet cannot be hidden! 



 Eric planned to meet his dad in Baltimore to catch a game. He thought about taking one of the kiddos. Last minute, we threw caution to the wind, and all jumped in the car to head to the game.  We all dressed in our Baltimore best, packed a cooler of water and a backpack full of snacks.

My has how we go to ballgames changed. We used to be able to enjoy dinner before or after the game and hang out. Then Ally came, but one kid is much more manageable on all accounts. Two kids came; still do-able. Three kids-- expensive and not as relaxing! The kids did great though. They enjoyed apples, an orange, crackers, and the candy from the backpack. We bought some lemonade and a french fry too. 

Batting practice: Glove in hand, ready, but no dice!

Someone is looking grown up, isn't she?

He was more impressed with the kids zone activities!

Dad and son sure do look alike!


"The Three Little Kittens"

Jake is you tubing again. He is reciting "The Three Little Kittens" with gusto! He did it twice as he likes to improve his performance and, more than that, likes to watch himself over and over again. Must take after his father! You can check our little actor out HERE. The chest pound in the second part of the video cracks me up. I squooshed 2 videos together so don't close it after he's recited it once....he just keeps going. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy watching him!

Jake told me today in the car that he and China Baba and Mama went to catch a fish in the water and China Baba helped him catch a big fish. He said China Baba "Sliced" (his actual word) off the fish's head and they ate him. Jake said he ate the fish but spit the bones out.  He then said that China Baba sliced his head off as well so I'm not sure what parts of the story are true! He said China Baba didn't shave scratchies off of his face like Daddy either. AND he says he loves all his mommies. How nice. I realize this last paragraph is extremely random and full of many bits and pieces, but you'd just have to hear Jake. His stories come randomly and in bits and pieces. Basically, I just wrote out his conversation with me. He's kind of all over the place! 


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