Tuesday, September 30, 2008

L'Shanah Tovah!

Tonight we celebrated the New Year at our home. It was a lovely evening full of family and tradition. Here are a few photos from the evening. From our family to yours, we wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Oh and BTW, I totally love that our family gets three fresh starts each year because we celebrate three New Years. Pretty awesome!!

Love this boy of mine

The Grandma's with Justin and Judy

Daddy holding his babies ;0)

Thought that you all would enjoy that the Gefilta Fish was plated on a Diego paper plate :)

Look at that bright and beautiful face

watching a little Diego after dinner

Dancing to the Diego theme song (they do this every time they watch the show)

still dancing

Our Floral Centerpiece

Here is a video of Grandma (Marc's mom) and Katie playing train. Ethan had just removed himself as the caboose. Katie and Ethan keep the grandparents young as well :)

Hello!!! Is anybody home?

All I have to say is WOW!! What are your thoughts?

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Anyone else stressed out?

Well, we here at "Stressed is the New Black" are not ashamed to admit that the financial situation that this country is in has us VERY STRESSED!! That says alot. You see, I have been in a constant state of stress for almost 3 years since the real estate market started sliding in late 2005. As most of you know, My dad and I are partners in a real estate business and have been in the business literally forever. We have never seen anything close to this and unfortunately we saw this coming a long time ago. Our country's leadership has totally let us all down. Now, we are all left holding the bag and there certainly is no money in it...VERY scary times indeed.

People and businesses are not able to get credit. Credit lines are being frozen and lowered and students are having a horrible time getting student loans. As business owners we are dead in the water. We need change and we need it now!

I feel sickened for people facing retirement or are already retired and I feel so worried about our children's future.

I am talking about this on my blog because this is so important. All of our financial futures depend on it and none of us are exempt; none of us!

Get involved, speak out and most of all vote for change in November.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Playground Fun with the Dynamic Duo

Today my sweet man gave me some much needed R & R by taking the DD out for the morning.They spent some of that time on the playground. Marc took some great pics of their fun, so I am sharing them here with you...enjoy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Little Taste of the Dynamic Duo's Energy Level

Today was another busy day in the life of the DD. Marc left early this morning for a show and will not be home until late tonight after another show. He did come home in between for a little R and R but with the DD, there is little of that ;0)

I took a few videos throughout the day to give you a little hint at why that Colonoscopy looked mighty relaxing. Hey, I am not complaining....much!

Before you get to the video here is a picture of Mom with Ethan today. She and Pop met me for lunch and there was a point where I was trying to get Ethan to eat his sandwich before his fries. He looked to Nana for help from mean ol' Mom. Of course, my mom fed into that by saying "Ethan, do you want to come home with Nana?" You should have seen that boy make his big puppy dog eyes even bigger, as he put his head on my Mom's chest. He then said "Yes Nana." Man oh Man...this little guy is too much. I told Nana that she better watch what she asks for or she may just get it!

This first Video is of Marc and the DD playing a little game of Daddy is sleeping and the kiddos keep waking him up. Of course, it started with his trying to lay on the couch for a real nap.

The second one is of Katie singing "We did it!" from Dora the Explorer. Katie and Ethan had just play acted that they had saved Baby Jaguar so they are singing in celebration. Watch Katie Cat and Copy Cat do their thing ;0)

This one is when Katie was singing the Barney song. As you can see Ethan is still running around like a crazy man while this performance is going on. The volume level can get nutso around here.

The last one is of Katie singing a couple of tunes from her Shabbat service at the Temple Preschool that she attends. Ethan at this point is completely over her performances.

Goodnight from Stress is the New Black until tomorrow when it is time to make the donuts all over again ;0)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Being a Mom and Relaxation ~ Is that an oxymoron?

Last evening was our FCC Mom's Night Out. A few of us met for an early dinner and then joined up at the Center for the Performing Arts in our County to watch "Three Blonde Moms". We had a total blast; basically laughed our asses off! Well, maybe not entirely off as if I had, then my diet blog would not be necessary ;0) Three Blonde Moms showcased three women comedians, one of which was a mom of a daughter adopted from China. How cool is that?! She totally cracked me up when she spoke of the exhaustion of a 52 year old mom raising a five year old daughter...I can so relate!! She joked that you know how exhausting motherhood is when you are laying down for a Colonoscopy and think to yourself that this will be so relaxing. Yup, having a scope snaked up your rectum and into your colon probably is more relaxing than taking care of small children; especially my DD...ROFL!!

After the show we met the comedians and expressed our thanks for a very fun evening as well as introducing ourselves as mother's of children from China and Vietnam. The adoptive mom exclaimed "are you an FCC Group?" and seemed happy to meet us and compare our notes of adoption from China. We then posed for a photo and called it a night.

A great group of moms and friends

The Three Blonde Moms (The brunette is Cathy Ladman who was making a special appearance and is the mom one daughter from China

After the show with two of the "Blonde Moms"

This video was taken when the sweet older woman who was trying to take our pic took video instead...it is funny.

Tonight, I had my Mom and "Big Daddy" over as well as Justin and Judy. We had dinner and we all just had so much fun spending time with each other and the kiddos. Katie and Ethan were over the top. They were just so revved up tonight and were non stop locomotion! Here it is about 10 pm and I have to finish blogging so that we are starting to clean up the mess from dinner........

Colonoscopy anyone?

The DD intently watching TV right before the family came over

The J&J Team

I likey this cupcake!!

The family Patriarch (Big daddy)

Justin playing around with Katie Starr

Love that face Justin!

The next photos of Mr. E make me smile

Happy Girl

Katie loves to be read to and Judy is happy to accommodate

An impromptu family photo

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Productive Day

As usual, there was lots to get done yesterday and in addition to what we normally need to get done. I had a conference with Ethan's teacher and then I had to run from that and take the DD to their last swim class of the season. Our pool is not heated so we may have another 3-4 weeks of swimming left before it is too chilly. I want to solidify what they have learned this last four months so that we can build on it and be off and running next May.

Right before their lesson, Ethan was playing too close to the pool and he fell in. The teacher hopes that this happens at least once during the lessons so that she can see if they can get to the side and pull themselves out. Ethan tests fate at the side of the pool continuously so it was only a matter of time.

Well, our Mischief Man did awesome. He fell in, went all the way to the bottom, swam up and over to the side and then pulled himself out of the pool all while we watched (holding our breath) He then ran over to me crying. I know that I say that he cries a lot but usually not for pain or fear. He cries to get his way. This was crying from fear and embarrassment and as he ran to me for comfort I celebrated that victory in my heart.

When the lessons were done and we hugged Miss Faith goodbye for another season, Ethan took a nasty fall on the driveway and bloodied himself all up. Again he cried...oh my goodness...twice in one day! He is fine now thankfully.

Before that, Ethan's teacher and I had an awesome conference and I so enjoyed getting a glimpse of our little guy through a professional teacher's eyes. I started the conversation after we sat down by telling her that I wanted to fill her in a bit more about Ethan's tough start in life. She was very open to hearing everything and was actually quite shocked by how far he has come in such a short time.

I will give you a bulleted version of what she said:

  • Ethan is chronologically 38 months old (as far as we know) but he is at about the 32-35 month range for most of his development with two exceptions (speech and attention span) In those areas he is much younger, all though she did not specify where he is. I would estimate about 2 years old maybe a couple of months older than that. Don't forget that he is a boy, which puts him at a disadvantage in addition to being the youngest in this class.

  • Ethan is amazingly independent. He would much rather do things himself than to let the teacher assist him. He is also not necessarily as affectionate as the other children. She felt, as do I, that these are behaviors brought about by being institutionalized with little nurture for over two years. He is very affectionate with us so I do not see the other as a problem, nor did she. As far as being independent, I totally think this will serve him well in life. She said that he is the kind of kid that is a leader and she can put him in a group of three and four to work and he will make sure everyone stays on track by leading them in the task.

  • The first week he was very much to himself but that has changed and now he is much more social. I am guessing he was trying to get his bearings and size the situation up before he decided if he liked it. Well, he absolutely loves it. He has made friends and all of what goes with that including tattling which she says is an awesome sign of positive development. If that is the case then Katie was three when she was still two as she has been tattling for well over a year...LOL

  • She says that he has good imaginative play. I owe this to the pairing of the DD. They do that a great deal together.

  • They are still working on crying for reasons of not getting his way just as we are. We spoke about the strategies that they use in school so we can have consistency in that. As his verbal skills improve so should the crying to a certain extent....fingers crossed.

  • Both the teacher and we see progress in language. He talks ALOT. We do not necessarily understand it all now but he is using sentences and I know we will understand alot more soon.

  • He has very good self help skills. He has always been very good in that department. One funny note is that he came to us partially potty trained and using the cue words of niao niao (in China (sounds like now now) We were told to use that by his caregivers and our guide and he always responded. Now that he speaks English we have tried to transition to pee pee but he really prefers niao niao. Well, now so do the other eight children in the class. The teacher laughingly told me that they will only use that term for using the potty. They actually say it three times like this....Niao Niao NOW!! At least he is a leader in the bathroom ;0)

    Overall, she feels that he is doing great in class. She says he is such a good boy and a pleasure to have there. I asked her if he should completely catch up by Kindergarten and even though she does not like to make projections almost 2 years away she felt confident enough to say that he has a really good shot at going to Kindergarten and losing the developmentally delayed label by 6 years old.

    The last point that I want to touch on is that she feels like we feel; that Ethan is a tremendous survivor. She seem the qualities that will help him to succeed in life as we do. In fact, she commented that she has been reading a book about the personality traits that survivors of catastrophes share and she told me that he possesses those qualities. Through the whole book her mind kept drifting to Ethan. This son of ours is nothing if not a survivor. I have great faith that he will be just fine.