Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day and Blog Bye Bye!

Today marks the one year anniversary of Nick being part of our family! YAY! It has been quite a year and we feel so blessed. Because Bill isn't home during the week days, we will have our family celebration when he comes home later this week. I am hoping to leave work early this afternoon so Nick and I can go for a special after school swim. Then we'll have a quiet dinner together, complete with chicken nuggets and cupcakes (two of his favorites!).

I thought I should post a picture from Gotcha Day last year and then one from this year to see how much Nick has changed.

Gotcha Day 2008 and 2009

I have been really bad about posting lately. I don't want to go into details but suffice it to say that it is the culmination of several stressful personal events that have taken my focus away this summer. The most obvious of which is our recent lifestyle change (Bill's job out of town). It's now been about two months since Bill started his new job (and he loves it) but we are still working through the transition with Nick.

Don't get me wrong, Nick is doing great and thriving, he just misses his Daddy. We talk on Skype almost every night and Nick gets to see Bill, which I think has helped alot. But he continues to cling to me in the mornings and act out when I pick him up. The other slightly upsetting side effect is that he has been really stingy with the hugs and kisses for me. I don't understand this but I'm sure a psychologist could tell me why.

I say all of this because I think its time that I close up the blog. It makes me sad because it has been so great, especially meeting all my bloggy friends out there, and I don't want to lose touch. I just don't think I can do it any more.

I don't know if anyone is even still reading this, but if you'd like to keep in touch, please email me and we can do the email thing, or FB (gasp!), although I've been pretty apathetic on FB too!

Its been fun and take care all!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Scattered...and Nick's Development

My plan this morning was to blog about Nick's recent developmental evaluation, which I'll get to shortly. But I have to open with a little anecdote from this afternoon.

My drycleaning has been at the cleaners for almost 3 weeks. I forgot about it for about a week, and since then haven't been able to find a good time to go since stopping after picking Nick up at daycare isn't usually the best plan. Today I decided to stop before picking Nick up. I go in and while they are looking for my clothes I realize my credit card is in my purse in the car. I run out to the car to get my purse and proceed to search through looking for the loose card. (The night before Nick and I had attended a going away party for some friends and I left pretty quickly after paying because Nick was heading in a bad direction, thus dropping my card in the purse, not in my wallet). I basically unload my bag in the cleaners and my card isn't there. So, I give her my other card. She runs it through and to my shock and dismay she tells me, "It says its cancelled". I think about this for a minute and remember, oh yeah, when I was on my way to Chicago 2 weeks ago and tried to get cash it was denied. Did I do anything about this 2 weeks ago? No. Totally embarassed, I tell the teenager behind the counter that I'll have to leave the clothes because I have lost my card and the other one is no good. I felt so silly, for many reasons, but mainly because I should have followed up on the issue I had at the airport and also, I really had no idea what I did with the card the night before. This type of thing has been happening to me alot lately. This is just one little example. I have about 5 from my Chicago trip, and many more from recent weeks. I'm just wondering when did I become a scatter brain?

OK, back to the subject at hand which is Nick's recent developmental evaluation.

I worry. And after a very concerning language "screen" (I think the screener spent 10-15 mins with Nick), we decided it was time to have a full evaluation of Nick's development. Prior to the screen I thought he was doing great and making alot of strides, but the screen cast doubt on that.

The evaluation took 2 hours and included observation in the following areas: Cognitive, Expressive Communication, Receptive Communication, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Social/Emotional and Adaptive. There were 3 specialists observing Nick and a student. Basically, Nick played for 2 hours straight with the various toys they provided and he was observed by the professionals. It was slightly nerve wracking for me. I don't think any one is surprised that a two year old will not perform on command. So, of course I worried when Nick wouldn't do the chunky shapes puzzle and when he wouldn't make the sound a cow makes. There are countless other things that he wouldn't do that I knew he could do. It was frustruating. But then he surprised me a few times too. He responded to the 1 - 2 - 3 consequences every time he was on the verge of a conniption and he threaded beads on a shoe string, an activity we have never tried at home.

I had no idea what the outcome would be. My main reason for wanting the evaluation was to make sure that we weren't missing a big red flag and to be sure that he is on track. In order to qualify for services in our county (and I think Virginia) a child has to have a greater than 25% delay in one or more areas, or an atypical development in one of the areas, or is diagnosed with a condition likely to result in a developmental delay.

In the end they "score" the children with the present level of development in terms of age for each area. Relatively, I wasn't surprised by the results of each area vs. the others. Nick had his most positive results in Social/Emotional, Adaptive, Cognitive and Gross Motor, where he was either at or close to 26 months (his current age). The areas where he needs more focus are Expressive Communication where he is at about 22 months and Fine Motor where he has scattered results ranging from 18 - 24 months.

One interesting factoid I picked up from the evaluation team is that it isn't unusual for a child that drools to also be behind in Fine Motor skills. Apparently it has to do with being placed on the back as opposed to the stomach and when a child is on the back they don't develop the strength through the upper body and face that is developed through play and placement on the belly. I hope I haven't butchered the explaination they gave me! Nick's drooling was identified as a potential issue in the original "screen" and it has improved considerably over the past month. But, it is still evident especially when he is really concentrating or if he is stressed out or uncomfortable. They referred to him as having a static face which they explained to me as child that isn't using his facial muscles as much as they would like. We have recently switched to cups with straws which I think are helping his strength. Some other ideas they gave me to improve his facial muscles are to have cotton ball wars on tables (blowing the balls around) and also work with bubbles and pinwheels. We have been working on these things more diligently since the eval.

The result of the day was that Nick does not qualify for services. I was so relieved and really thankful that he is on track. The women who evaluated Nick were so good with him and it was a very positive experience. They also put me at ease by telling me how impressed they were with how well he is doing after such a short time with us. I was actually shocked by this praise but ate it up, of course :-)

Finally, they armed me with many ideas for different activities to stimulate the Fine Motor development and also to increase vocabulary and language. I have to say it was a very well spent 2 hours and I was so proud of how well Nick handled it.

Aside from the developmental news, we are in week 4 of our lives without daddy being home during the week. The best thing we have done to help with the transition is to set up a camera for using Skype for video chats with daddy on most nights. Nick is starting to really enjoy and look forward to talking to daddy on the computer and it is a fun way to feel like we're not so far away from each other.

Have a great 4th of July all!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Outer Banks Trip and More

This post is going to cover a hodge podge of topics because I'm getting stressed about being behind and this is my attempt to catch up!

The most fun thing we have done since Nick's birthday is to spend a week in the Outer Banks. We loaded up Nick, Abby and all the beach toys and headed south packed to the gills. We had a wonderful house that was just a short walk to the beach. The best thing about the walk to the beach was all of the earth moving equipment working on the road near our house. Nick could have spent hours observing the workers. Luckily, we were able to coax him away with promises of the ocean and sand.

The ocean was foot numbing cold most of the week but Nick didn't seem to mind. The morning of Mothers Day was the first day we went down to the beach and Bill and I had to tag team to play with him in the water because of how frigid it was. It turns out that Carey and her family were staying very close by during the same week, and we saw them briefly down at the beach on Mothers Day. We also had the pleasure of spending a few hours together later in the week. We had a great time, Nick loved playing with Carey's children (who were sooooo sweet with him) and Carey and her family are awesome!

The week went by way too fast, the weather was great, and we were all sorry to leave. Here are some random pictures from the week.

Bill and Nick splashing at the pool

Mommy and Nick at the oceans edge

Good Times at the Beach!

Nick enjoying himself poolside

Fun with Carey and Family

Abby watching over Nick

The week after our trip, Nick had a speech assessment. Unfortunately, neither Bill nor I was present for this so we don't know exactly what went down. I will say I am quite concerned about the results and have contacted the early intervention people to have a complete language evaluation done. We hope to have this scheduled as soon as possible.

We have recently started back to our church. We took an extended break to transition Nick to being with us and felt like it was time that we return. We have been welcomed back with open arms but are still very new to the congregation and don't know many of the members. Despite being new, this morning was a special day for us because an Adoption Blessing was said for Nick after the baptisms. It was very nice, somehow I didn't cry, and we are thrilled that we did this. So many people congratulated us and made us feel welcome. One elderly couple told me that in all their years of attending this church they had never seen this blessing in person and how incredible they think it is. How sweet is that?

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nick's 2nd Birthday!

When I last blogged, over one month ago, I had every intention of blogging about Nick's birthday in a matter of days. Now, more than 30 days have passed and I'm finally getting back to business.

We had a really fun day celebrating Nick's birthday with family and friends. Everyone came over to the house for a cookout and party. In the end we had more than 40 guests, which in the past would have been no problem. But now, with one of us taking care of Nick the whole time, this was quite the undertaking. One thing I wasn't expecting was that Nick would want me to hold him continuously for the first hour (at least, it may have gone on for 90 minutes). I should have realized he would have this reaction to all the hubbub, but I didn't.

The good news is that my friend Anne brought a Nascar Bubble Car that Nick adored and that provided endless entertainment. We also broke out the bubble mower, singing mower and various other toys with bubbles!

Nick also got to spend time with his new friend Harper, who was not only adorable, but did her fair share of mowing the yard!
We had a Thomas cake because he is Nick's favorite, and Nick enjoyed the sugar high!

Above Nick is enjoying the icing on his "2".

Happy Birthday Nick!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring All! I've always been a fan of spring, but this spring has been extra special because of all the things we have to celebrate!

We had a fun Easter weekend. We colored Easter Eggs on Saturday afternoon, well...Bill did. Nick wasn't really that into it, but Bill did a fabulous job! On Easter morning Nick had a fun time finding his Easter basket and all the goodies inside. He was very distracted by both the chocolate and the bubbles. Which to pursue? More bubbles or more chocolate. This is one of the really hard decisions Nick has had to make recently! We spent the afternoon of Easter at my sister Jill's house with my nephews, Jill's mother in law, and my Dad and Gretel. We had a really nice time eating great food, relaxing and watching the Masters. Here are a few shots of our spiffy little guy on Easter!

Nick's birthday was later in the week and we began the day with a special waffle breakfast. Nick spent all day with Bill and then we went out to Red Robin for dinner with a small group of friends. Have y'all ever been to a Red Robin? I had only been there for lunch before and didn't realize they would have a big lifesize Red Robin there to greet the kids. Not a big deal, right? Oh, no, no, no. Poor little Max who was with us was quite traumatized by the big red bird. I wasn't sure he was going to make it to the table but he eventually did. He did spend most of dinner under the table, but he ended up having an OK time, poor guy. I was just thankful that Nick wasn't afraid of the bird as well! The servers serenaded Nick with their Birthday song and of course I didn't have the camera ready (bad mom!) and they brought him a sundae which he absolutely loved. Every time he took a bite of the ice cream his eyes would get really big and he would kind of shake his head, it was pretty funny.

On Saturday we attended our neighborhood Spring Festival which included an Egg Hunt, Moon Walks, Face Painting and a Petting Zoo. The Egg Hunt was hilarious. Nick was way more interested in watching all the other kids pick up eggs than to pick up eggs of his own. I was finally able to convince him to put some eggs in his basket and he kind of got the hang of it but then he was more interested in opening the eggs than finding more eggs. I think it was really overwhelming for him. We keep telling ourselves that next year at the ripe age of 3, he will really be into all this stuff, we shall see!

After the egg hunt we stood in line for the Moon Walk because at the Irish festival Nick had gone in so we thought for sure he would want to do it here. Not so much. We waited in line for about 10 minutes and by the time it came to actually go in, he would have nothing to do with it! We knew he wouldn't do the face painting so we headed for the petting zoo. In the end, he really just wanted to run around the amphitheater.

After the Spring Festival Bill's family came in from Northern Virginia and we started the 2nd celebration of Nick's birthday. I think I'll save that for my next post because this one is getting really long!
Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This Should Have Been Written 2 Weeks Ago!

It has been almost a month since I last blogged. I can't really explain the absence, except I just haven't felt like doing it. Similar to why I haven't been running on the recent cold, rainy mornings we've had lately. Enough excuses, I'll try to hit the highlights of the past few weeks.

I suppose the most exciting news is that Bill has a new job lined up! YAY Billy. This is really great news and we are both very thankful because its such a tough economy and its a job Bill is really excited about. There is just one catch, the job is in Maryland. So, the plan is that Bill will live in Maryland during the week and come home on the weekends. He has two friends from his former employer that are also going to be working at the same place so they will hopefully be able to get an apartment together. He is probably going to start in early June but they are still working out the details. We know that this will be tough on Nick. We're planning to contact our Social Worker to see if she has any advice on how to ease this upcoming transition.

Nick has been sick on and off for the past 2-3 weeks. Nothing too major, although early this week he had a 103 fever that didn't respond that well to Tylenol. He is on antibiotics now and doing much better. He is definitely sleeping more soundly and for this we are very happy!

Nick continues to grow like crazy and he is talking alot...we just don't know what he is saying. His appetite comes and goes, its frustrating but I have learned not to try to force it. If he doesn't want to eat, he isn't going to eat, it's very simple. The worst habit he has picked up and seems to be taking a long time to shake, is spitting. He is still spitting and he still thinks it is hilarious. We have tried many ways to try to break him of this habit, and they are working on it at school too. So far, nothing seems to be working. We'll keep plugging away.

We are preparing for Nick's second birthday, next Thursday, and then the following Wednesday is one year from the day we first met him. We have alot to celebrate in the upcoming weeks!

I'm going to close with some pictures from the Irish Festival we attended a few weeks ago. Nick got to experience a bounce house for the first time. He didn't bounce though, he just sat there, mesmerized. I'm hoping he'll be able to bounce at our neighborhood Spring festival in a few weeks. He also almost had his face painted, but didn't really like it so he had his hands painted instead. Bill got his face painted as well as a special bonus! The best part were the firetrucks. We spent a long time at the fire station, looking at the trucks and running around. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


The first week of Bill as a stay at home dad is over and I think it was a good week. As I mentioned in a previous post, Bill's company is shutting down and his last day of work was a week ago. Because Nick has done so well in daycare ("school" as we call it with Nick), and really seems to be loving it, we didn't want to pull him out completely. We decided to have him go to school 3 days a week and stay at home with Daddy for the other 2 days.

It turns out that the transition has been a bit tough on Nick. He loves his days at home with dad, and the next day back at school he is shy when I drop him off and hesitant to leave my side. This isn't how he had been in the mornings when in the past he would go join the group in whatever they were doing. I think it will just take some time to get used to the new routine.

Nick has been talking so much lately. One of his favorite pastimes is to point to everything he sees, wanting to know what its called, and then repeating it back to us. Amazing. His repetition doesn't always sound like the word, but he is trying. He has started calling his classmates by name, and also his teachers. He is also saying thankyou at the appropriate time, which is really sweet. He is still announcing his bodily functions, although not at the appropriate time. It seems any activity at all, farting, peeing and pooping, all amounts to "poopy" in his mind, which he tells us whenever anything happens. His teachers tell me he does the same thing at school. I find it pretty amusing, not sure why. It's going to be so unfortunate when he is in the potty humor phase and I can't keep a straight face because I'm laughing. I'll have to work on that!

He continues to love music. His favorite being the CD from our Music Together class. He asks for it almost every night and will sing (he tries) and dance and also likes to dance with Mommy and Daddy. He also loves the CD of love songs his Uncle Carl put together.

Last weekend we had gorgeous warm weather here in Virginia and headed to our local playground with Nick. He had a blast and we were totally taken aback when he was able to climb up this metal structure/wall (see below). We had no idea he would be able to do it. I was so proud of him! Here are some pics from the day.

Finally, I think I kind of messed up. His school had picture day on Friday. I made an effort to dress Nick in the sweater that I think he looks best in, and put him in jeans. A cute casual look. Well, I was totally surprised when I dropped him off, the little girls all had dresses on, not the normal casual dresses one might wear for a day at school, but church type dresses. The little boys were dressed similarly. I thought, oh boy, I missed the boat on this one! But when I thought about it, we really don't have many dress up clothes for Nick, is that bad? I'm going to have to work on that one. I think the pictures will still be cute, even if Nick is a bit on the casual side!
Have a great weekend all!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blog Break

In the spirit of Spring Break I have been taking an extended Blog Break. Not that I've been the most dedicated blogger lately, but I also usually don't let 3 weeks go by.

Part of the problem is that I finally got onto Facebook and it is totally addicting. I knew it would be which is why I resisted for so long, but the pull of finding long lost friends and acquaintances was too strong.

Nick has been doing great and we are currently enjoying a visit from all of my brothers and sisters. It is the first time we've all been together since my wedding and it has been alot of fun.
Nick has decided that he is an Abba fan and loves the song Dancing Queen (one of my favorites as well). Here is a shot of Nick with Uncle Pat, watching the Dancing Queen video on the computer and trying out some new dance moves!
Last night we got about 7 inches of snow, which is beautiful but really cold. Here is a picture of our street.

Well, its time to go try to dig ourselves out of this so we can get together with the rest of our visitors!
Happy Snow Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

6 Months Together

Today we celebrated our 6 month anniversary together as a family! YAY!

We had cupcakes which went over very well with a certain someone who doesn't get sweets like this very often.

Nick has been doing really well at daycare recently and has gotten better than normal reports for the past two weeks or so. He even received a "happy gram" early this week for having such a good day. Its the first time he's gotten one of those! Bill and I are both thrilled by this and think maybe he has had some sort of breakthrough. The teachers have told us that recently he has wanted to be held more and is more cuddly with them. Apparently, up to this point he had been very independent. I think it is a good thing that he is forming attachments to his teachers.

He has also been talking up a storm, a storm of words that we don't understand, but a storm no less.

One of the funnier things he has started doing is telling us when he has a "poopy" diaper. He says "poopy" and points to his rear end. The other day he said "poopy" pointed to his rear end, and then proceeded to poop. I think this is a good sign for potty training, although we are far, far from going there.

He has also been practicing walking down the stairs standing up (as opposed to going down backwards). He is so proud when he finally makes it down to the bottom like a big boy. Although, he often gets so excited on the last 2 or 3 stairs that he almost misses them and falls. Don't worry, we are always there to catch him.

The weather has been so nice here over the past few days that I am itching to get out and try the new jogging stroller that Grandma Francine gave us, thank you Grandma Francine! Speaking of Grandma Francine, we visited she, Grandpa Bill, Aunt Mary, Uncle Dan and Aunt Susan last Sunday. Grandma Francine just had hip replacement surgery and is home and recovering well! Aunt Mary made a fabulous brunch and we had a great time on our short visit in Virginia. While up north, we visited Bill's high school buddy Augie and family. Augie and Kathy have 3 wonderful children who were so sweet with Nick all weekend. Nick did not want to leave! Thanks Augie, Kathy and kids for a wonderful time.

Finally, last week we found out that Bill's company is closing down the Richmond site and Bill's job will be over in early March. We weren't necessarily surprised by this announcement but in the end were surprised by the suddenness of the closure and the fact that there was no severance (not that surprising due to bankruptcy) and no coverage by the WARN act (60 days pay for massive layoffs, etc.). I don't understand how they avoided paying the 60 days, but that is the way it goes. In the end, we feel lucky that Bill is able to work the extra month because many folks were cutoff from pay and benefits immediately, with no warning.

I hope everyone has a great Valentines Weekend!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tagged and More

We were tagged today by Joel and Clarion (who have been home for about 4 months with their darling boys) for Book Tag.

The rules:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 2 to 5 sentences, along with these rules.
5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual book. Pick the CLOSEST!
6. Tag five (or more) other people to do the same!

I fear this is going to be really dry since the computer is in the kitchen and the closest book is Toddler 411. On a side note, I really have used this book alot to answer toddler related questions and I think it is pretty good! So here goes...

"The good news - 75% of kids who stutter will outgrow it on their own. Although it happens equally among boys and girls, boys are more likely to need help to overcome it. The term "speech fluency" describes the ability to put sounds together correctly and flow words together into sentences. Stuttering is considered a "disfluency"."

I'm going to tag:

1) April and Dan
2) Jenny and Randy
3) Lori
4) Jodi and John
5) Tiger and Kar

Some other interesting tidbits from the past week are:

1) Nick has recently started saying "NO" and appears to like the sound of it. He isn't always using it in the right context such as in response to "Hi Nick".
2) We had our first non-family baby sitters (sisters) on Saturday night. It was our first night out alone together since September and was really nice. And, at dinner, Bill pronounced Steak au Poivre so well, our waiter asked him if he's fluent in French, too funny. Those of you that know Bill and his "love" of French can appreciate the humor in this!
3) Bill's company declared bankruptcy in Germany last week and long term viability of the company isn't looking good.
4) I signed up for a 10K in late March and was supposed to start running again this weekend, I didn't!
5) Some friends of ours gave us Amish Friendship Bread starter and I can't wait for the week or so until we can make it! I used to make this in high school and loved it.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Random Thoughts

I'm going to begin with a Daycare update. Things went much better last week with no biting incidents involving Nick. I am so happy about this and hope his good behavior continues. He did have a fall on Friday and got a nasty gash on the inside of his upper lip, but you can't even really see it and I think its healing fast. The teachers in Nick's class tell us that they think he is starting to understand how to play more gently with his friends. Apparently he is using his "gentle touches" most of the time.

Nick had his second hair cut last weekend. He was beyond looking a bit shaggy and past due. We took him to Sports Clips and first he watched Bill get his hair cut and then he sat on Bill's lap for his hair cut. He did really well, although you can't tell from the pictures! And, he looked really cute when all was said and done.

While we were out getting haircuts we made a quick stop at the mall to buy some new and bigger pajamas and pants. There was a great sale at The Childrens Place, and we really like the pj's there so we stocked up. Bill picked out the pajamas, which were the warm fleecy kind, and apparently they didn't have many left in Nick's size so we ended up with one set of PURPLE girlie pjs for him. The first morning when I went in to get Nick in the morning he was standing up, in his purple pj's with the biggest smile on his face, it was hilarious. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me so we took a few this morning because he had them on again. I love a guy who can wear purple with confidence!

I was thrilled this week because Nick has finally started calling me Mommy. It doesn't happen often, but he will use Mommy to refer to me, which makes me so happy! The other day we were in the car and I said, "Hey Nick, who am I?" and he said "Mommy". I couldn't believe it. He has been calling Bill "Daddy" for a while now. He is also trying to say his own name, which he has some trouble with but its coming along. One of his favorite things to do recently is look at pictures and pick out Mommy, Daddy and Nick.

I've decided to start running again. I stopped last summer right before our second trip to Russia and haven't started back up again (isn't that terrible!). Anyway, I signed up to do a 10K at the end of March so I've got to get back out there to pound the pavement. I need some inspiration for sure! I want to get a jogging stroller and have my heart set on a BOB Revolution but they are pretty pricey and this isn't the best time to spend a bunch of money. If anyone out there is still reading this and has advice on a jogging stroller that you like, please let me know the model and brand!

That is it for now. I'll leave you with a picture of cutie pie from the past week!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Doctors, Post Placement, Daycare and a Sad Day

We have been really busy since the holidays, hence the lack of posts. Although I hadn't been exactly cranking them out before the holidays either.

Nick has been sick, on and off, since January 2nd. It started with Pink Eye and a really bad cold. Right now he's got an ear infection but he seems to be doing much better since he went back on antibiotics. Somehow, I have been spared of the sickness but Bill has been almost as sick as Nick.

Earlier this week Nick had his 21 month checkup. Apparently this isn't a normal check but our pediatrician wanted to see him, plus we need to finish up the immunizations. Anyway, Nick really has a thing against the stethoscope. The minute it comes out he starts screaming bloody murder. I don't know why this upsets him so much, but it does and it makes checkups really fun (NOT). Other than the freakout with the stethoscope he did pretty well. He is now up to 24.5 pounds and is a little over 34 inches tall. This means that in 5 months he has gained almost 3 pounds and grown 2 1/4 inches. We had been noticing recently that his pants and pjs were starting to get a little short so this weekend we'll be stocking up on some longer/larger clothing.

This past Thursday we had Nick's first post placement visit. I have to say, we have the best Social Worker, whom I would highly recommend to anyone in the area. She is so nice and Nick took an immediate liking to her. I was a bit worried about how things were going to go with him during the visit because it was late in the day and Nick had what was probably his worst day ever at day care that day (more on that later).

I thought the post placement visit went really well. Our Social Worker seemed very happy with Nick's adjustment to his surroundings and attachment to us. She had some good advice for us to help with addressing some of the regular toddler behaviors and also offered to help us find resources if we need them in the future.

Our agency has given us two different dates for having the report to them, one of the dates is today, as communicated to us through email on Thursday (yes 2 days before it is supposedly due). The other date they gave us in a friendly reminder call on Wednesday is January 31st. This is also the date they communicated to us in writing back in August when we returned from Russia. I really had hoped they would get their act together but through this recent interaction I see that they haven't. It's a shame. We are hoping to get the report to them by the end of next week, which will be a week ahead of the date they gave us in writing. I think thats pretty good!

Back to the bad day at daycare. Normally, I drop off in the morning and Bill picks up at night. But on this day Bill was home sick, so I did both. When I went to pick up I noticed a bunch of sheets behind Nick's daily report but didn't think anything of it and just grabbed his daily report, artwork, and coat, and went into the other room to get him. His daily report noted that he had an OK day (this translates to bad) and had to have several reminders to use his gentle touches with his friends. So, I go in the room to get him and the discussion goes like this:

Me: "Nick, it sounds like you had a rough day buddy."
Teacher: "Well, the first bite was because his friend took his book away."
Me (totally flustered and thankful no other parents are in the room): "The FIRST bite, how many biting incidents were there?"
Teacher gingerly: "Three."
Me horrified: "Three, where are the incident reports?"
Teacher: "On the clipboard, we turn them over so no other parents can see them. We'll need you to sign them before you leave today."
Me: "Of course, I didn't realize, I'm going to get them now."

Oh my god! Three biting incidents in one day! Two of them were not even provoked. Not that it would be any better if they were provoked, its just at least then it would be slightly more explainable. But apparently, during morning snack Nick just leaned over and bit his friends back. Who does that? I was beside myself and so upset. The teacher said they were all really surprised because the little one whom Nick decided to bite not once but twice, is his buddy! So glad that we had to rush home for our post placement visit. Needless to say, getting a report like this was very stressful and upsetting. Not to mention that if I were the parent of a child who had been bitten I would be really upset too. I asked about the kids who had been bitten and the teacher thought the bite marks were all mainly gone by the end of the day. I hope so.

On Friday, I was so worried that Nick would start up the biting frenzy again. When I dropped him off the teacher said that they would keep a close eye on him. And I guess they did because they told Bill that he had made some (not sure how many) attempts to bite again Friday but did not succeed because they got to him before he was able to bite. They do some sort of discipline for trying to bite, not sure what exactly, we'll have to find out. Anyway, I really hope he will stop this behavior now, because I don't want anyone else to get hurt.

Finally, something else happened yesterday that makes me very sad. I don't think I ever mentioned it, but prior to this November I worked for Circuit City at their corporate headquarters. I was planning on returning to work at CC after my adoption leave in mid-November but thankfully found a new job and gave my notice 3 days prior to a massive layoff of 800 people at the Corporate Headquarters, including the team I had managed. This was very upsetting, to have so many friends lose their jobs right before the holidays. But some friends remained employed there and hopefully they would be able to turn it around. Shortly thereafter the company declared bankruptcy and filed for Chapter 11. I had high hopes for the company to fight its way back. Circuit is an institution here in Richmond and I really wanted them to succeed, for the 34000 employees, their customers and the Richmond community.

Unfortunately, yesterday, after failing to attract a buyer able to get financing to buy the company, Circuit City announced that it will have to liquidate its inventory and close all stores.

Say what you will about Circuit City, everyone has a story. I know there were issues, colossal missteps, etc. But, I can honestly say that the people I worked with there were some of the smartest, hardworking, fun and amazing people I have ever had the pleasure to spend my days with. I developed some wonderful friendships that I'm sure will last a lifetime. Not all companies are like that, fostering real teamwork and comraderie amongst their workforce, while still getting the work done.

It is a sad, sad day for the Richmond community and for many communities across the nation that had stores where 34000 people in total were employed.

With that said, I'm going to say bye for now.

Have a great weekend all!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year, we certainly did!

This was such a special holiday season for us. Everything seemed to go so quickly that I really had to make myself stop, slow down, and enjoy it in the moment. Nick didn't really understand what was going on with all the decorations, Christmas music, Santa Claus and presents. I think next year he will understand much more which will make it more fun for him. Its been a while since I've posted, but I'll try to give a rundown of the highlights of the past two weeks.

For us, I think the season really kicked in the weekend before Christmas. That Friday, I left work early to attend the Christmas Party at Nick's daycare. I'm glad I went as it was nice to see Nick interact with the other kids. I was hoping to meet some of the other parents but that didn't really happen, mainly because there weren't many parents there. The minute I got there Nick started showing off, for my benefit I think. It was slightly strange and I was glad to leave and go home to enjoy the last weekend before Christmas.

On Saturday morning Bill, Nick and I went out Christmas shopping. It was fun and festive and we were very efficient (we bought in every store we went it, Bills words BTW!). We were able to get most of the Christmas gifts for Bill's family and some for mine. Nick is good for shopping for about 2 hours, so I went back out Saturday afternoon alone. This time the shopping was frustrating and the traffic was crazy. I was completely unsuccessful which meant that I would be out shopping Christmas Eve. Oh well, whats a girl to do?

I spent most of Sunday finishing decorating the house and cleaning in preparation for lots of company. Bill spent the day making 2 lasagnes for a dinner party and cooking a special Georgian (Russian) dinner of Khatchapuri (a bread stuffed with salty cheese) and a Spicy Georgian Pork Stew. While in Moscow we really enjoyed the Georgian restaurants we visited and the dinner Bill made was fantastic. It brought back so many memories from our trip. Nick loved the Khatchapuri so that will definitely be on his rotation for meals. We are going to make the Georgian meal a pre-Christmas tradition!

On the Tuesday before Christmas we participated in a progressive dinner with our neighborhood friends and had about 20 people at our house for the dinner portion of the evening. It was fun to have everyone at the house and the dinner was a great success. In retrospect, hosting a large dinner party two days before Christmas, on a day that both Bill and I were working, on the night before another workday, probably wasn't the best call. Oh well, live and learn.

The net result of all the pre-Christmas activity was that I ended up having to leave work on Christmas Eve at 11am to do my Christmas shopping for Bill and Nick. I usually do my Christmas shopping late in the season, but I can't remember being so far behind, so late in the game. Somehow, it all came together and I wasn't even the last parent to pick up their child at daycare, thank goodness!

We had Christmas Eve dinner at my sister's house with my nephews, dad and stepmom. It was a nice evening although by the time we got around to exchanging gifts, Nick was on his last leg. So we opened gifts in record time and made a quick getaway. I spent most of the rest of the night wrapping gifts and watching Christmas movies, which is a Christmas Eve tradition for me. It was fun and I was up late!

We had a low key Christmas morning with just the three of us at home celebrating. Bill's Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother-in-Law came around lunch time. Nick took an extra-long nap and didn't wake up until 4pm. By that time, my dad and stepmom came and joined us for dinner and it was really great! Bill made garlic and herb rubbed filet mignon, roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary, sautee'd green beans and homemade parmesan and roasted red pepper bread. I think we were all exhausted by the end of the day.

I worked in the morning the day after Christmas, but was able to leave early and spend the afternoon with everyone at home. We had a nice afternoon opening gifts with Nick, eating and playing games. Nick received so many wonderful gifts. We had put musical gifts on his Christmas list, so there was no shortage of musical gifts. I think his favorite was the Little Tikes Guitar, it plays Message in the Bottle and Rockstar, too cute!

On Saturday Bill's family left and it was time to spend a little more time with my family. My brother -Pat, sister in law-Linda, and nephew-Jack, had flown in on Friday and were staying with my sister Jill. On Saturday afternoon I (it was during Nick's nap time, so I went alone without Bill and Nick) went to lunch at TJ's at The Jefferson Hotel with my family. The hotel looked spectacular and it was nice spending time with my family. Sunday afternoon, my brother's family came to our house to open more gifts, watch football, make cookies, play WII, and eat!

Nick handled all the company, attention and gifts really well. We definitely tried to space out the gifts in order to not overwhelm him. By the end of the weekend, we had gotten through most of the gifts from other people, but Nick hadn't opened one gift from Bill and I (long boring explanation that will go unexplained). We thought it was more important for him to open the gifts from our visitors. So now it is one week later and Nick has almost opened all of his gifts :-)

We had a great first Christmas together, the Christmas cards aren't yet mailed, but the Holiday letter is written, and hopefully I'll get everything in the mail on Monday! I truly hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and wish you all the very best in 2009!

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