Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas All Together

Christmas was wonderful this year. It was so good to have Luca home with us. That is the only present I needed. He loved opening his gifts. He received lots of gifts with buttons and that make noise (just what he asked for from Santa and family). Nico was amazed at the gifts under the tree. He woke us at 7:30am and said, "WOW! We must have been good. You should see all the presents under the tree!" (I guess he thought he wasn't that good....but he was). Brian was delighted as well. He still gets so excited for his gifts. I, myself, did great with a new GPS, slippers, gift cards, a hairbrush (thanks Santa, I needed that one badly!), and my season 4 of "Lost".

The family all made it over admidst all the ice. Going home they were not so happy as some didn't heed my warning of taking a run at the icey hill to get back out. I think we have decided that I will give up hosting Christmas and stick with the summer holidays/events due to the uncertainty of winter weather in Missouri. My nephew was home from overseas. He is in the Marines. He had several pictures he shared with us and I was able to copy them to my computer. I am so glad to have these photos of this part of his life. I was able to get a picture of my mom and dad with all the grandkids - AMAZING.

I am excited to be off work New Year's Eve this year. My brother just moved into a new house and we are heading there on Wedensday evening. We have several new board games from Santa and will be playing those. Our family has always played board games and we love it. New ones are always great.

I thought I had copied the photos to my external drive and went to load pics and they are not there. I guess I didn't copy them yet. I'll do that today and post the rest of the photos.

I let the boys each open one gift on Christmas Eve. This year they opened the gifts from Grandma Karen (Mike's mom). She visited us in November so knew just what the boys liked. Here's Nico with his snake book. He looks through it every day!Here is Luca opening his new jacket! It is a perfect fit. While it wasn't warm enough for Christmas day, it was great to wear the day after when it was 65F. (Midwest weather!)

I never did post the photos from our Troy Homeschool Christmas Tea. Here are some of the photos. The kids all decorated the tables. We then got spiffied up and had a wonderful tea. The kids also sang a few Christmas songs. The boys table theme was Star Wars. The boys all made gingerbread houses and the girls made horse dioramas. They were all great.
Brian's "Farm" gingerbread house with a silo too.

Trying to get a picture where they all looked great was next to impossible. This is as good as it gets. But this is them,,,,silly all the way!
Mom and her boys. Again, hard to get one where we all looked perfect. We are far from perfect, so that is to be expected.

The Choir
The boys table with the Star Wars decorations.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ice, Ice Baby!

Brrr! It is cold here at home! We are slipping and a sliding through lots of ice. We live in the country and our country road is all ice. We also have to go up and down 2 huge hills to get to our house. Lucky for me, I got home yesterday with all the Christmas dinner fixins before the freezing rain started. Mike wasn't so lucky. He had to park at the top of the hills and walk home in the freezing rain-not so fun. We are hoping the sunshine today will melt some of it and a little bit of traffic (we don't have much here) may break the ice up; however, it is getting down to 19F again tonight. I love the snow, but the ice can be left behind. My family is expected to come over tomorrow for Christmas dinner. If they can't make it to the house, it will be my first Christmas ever without my whole family (on Christmas Day).
We make the best of it though and have been making cookies and wrapping presents. Nico and Luca had fun with both of these activites.

Nico wrapping a present. He loves to wrap them all by himself.

Luca likes to play in the ribbon.

"How does that crazy thing work?" (investigative, just like his big brother)
"Yes, it's hot, but there are some yummy cookies in there. I am just admiring them." I loved capturing this photo. It brought back great memories of my sister, brothers and myself sitting in front of the oven watching while the snickerdoodles went from balls to flat cookies - amazing!

Nico also had his taste and feel of his first snow, or rather, ice and snow. He didn't get to really play in it because it was so bitterly cold and slippery! We had a layer of ice, then a small layer of snow. But, we took a few pictures anyway and he was laughing while holding the cold icey snow.

"What is this stuff?"

"That's some cold stuff. Where is the warm Guatemalan weather?"
"It's okay, I don't need the warm weather, this stuff is FUNNY!"

"No throwing ice chunks at each other, and especially not over the baby's head!" BOYS!

Nico, clearing the snow off the ice so he could ice skate.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Sweet Angel(s)

Luca was baptized last weekend. He looked so angelic in his beautiful, white outfit. Here are just a few pictures from the event. My sister-in-law has more pictures which I hope to get from her soon. My sister-in-law, Heather, is the Godmother and my brother, Vince, is the Godfather. Father Tom is always a joy to listen to in church and was even kidding at the ceremony. Luca even remembers Father Tom dipping his finger in the oil and rubbing it on his head, as the other day while we were wrapping presents, Luca stuck his finger in a roll of ribbon, tilted it over, and rubbed his hand on my forehead. He then walked over to Mike and did the same thing. Then he did it to himself. It was a week later....I was amazed! He is one smart cookie and doesn't miss a thing.

The boys are still getting along fantastically. Nico now gives Luca kisses goodnight and lets Luca kiss him. Before it was, "yuck, baby germs!" Nico was in a performance last weekend and Luca spotted him from the back of the auditorium and was shouting out and laughing. (It I can figure out how to get the video from the dvd to the computer, I will post the video.--any advise?). He immediately recognizes them. I also know he can see from far away now.

My angel standing at the baptismal font....."Hey Mom, there is a big bathtub here!"

The Godparents, Heather and Vince

Mom, Godparents, and the sweet, sweet angel.

Friday, December 12, 2008

First Flight

Luca gets his first helicopter flight!

On my second date with Mike, he took me on a helicopter ride. I was so scared, but I was not about to tell him that!!!!! I didn't want him to not date me.....I even started to get queasy, but again, played it off - phew! I now enjoy going with him when I get a chance. It is so beautiful to see things from above and not so far up as in an airplane.

When I brought Nico home, March 15, 2003, Mike arrived home at the same time with his 'new baby'. He purchaced a helicopter from Oregon and flew it to Missouri. He was flying it back the same week I was in Guatemala. I was calling him everyday to check his progress. I was so worried about him flying it so far. Nico received his first flight the day after coming home. He has LOVED flying with Daddy ever since. (Once he turned 2 he kicked me out of my seat - as he couldn't sit on my lap anymore). He now flies with Daddy any chance he gets. Nico was not too happy when Daddy asked if Luca was ready for a helicopter ride. (He hates the thought of someone taking his spot in the helicopter). I loaded Luca up and we went on his first ride. The pictures show him by himself, but he was sitting on my lap. He really seemed to enjoy it. He was looking down and pointing at things and then looking up at the blades spinning over his head.
Mike flies helicopters as his job. He is the pilot for the medivac helicopter in our town. I am so proud of him. He was laid off from American Airlines working as a mechanic and went to Alaska for 6 months to obtain his hours to fly for his new career. He already had his license to fly and had his own helicopter, but what a wonderful get a job doing something you love to do; plus serve the community and save so many lives.

Daddy and Luca, ready for take off - almost - we need Mom.

He is so tiny in there.

What are you doing to me?? What are these things on my head?? I love his chubby cheeks!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Preparations part 1

Nico finally got me to get the tree out of the closet. We set it up and finally got it all decorated. I realized once we were finished that everyone was home. I quickly rounded us all together (regardless of what we were wearing or how we looked - thank goodness we were all dressed:-) and started taking some pictures. We finally have a family photo to put in the Christmas cards.

Next week we'll start making cookies. We may visit Santa next week too. Nico hated Santa until he was 5 years old. Luca probably won't be so thrilled either. Brian, however, didn't have any fear of the man with the big, white beard. They are all so different.

Luca digging through the box of ornaments. He is interested in anything he can find.

The Happy Family. It's as good as it's going to get! I love my boys!

Friday, November 28, 2008

What I am Thankful for!

Another Thanksgiving come and gone. Now it is onto the scurry of holiday shopping and craziness. I always hate that Thanksgiving seems to be forgotten in the stores. I did attempt to go shopping on Black Friday, but after working all night I realized I was too tired to deal with the crowds and driving around from store to store for 'the deal'. It is not worth it. So I drove back to my sister's house and picked up my baby's to spend Black Friday home with them. It was a very peaceful day here today.

I am so thankful for my family. I am most thankful to have our newest member home with us this year. My heart goes out to all the families that are still waiting for their precious ones to come home.

Luca and Brian

Luca and Nico

Big Boy Luca (18 months)

I am thankful for my family being healthy. I am thankful for the miracle that turned Brian's health around 11 years ago. My parents are both healthy and active and my nephew is home on leave from Iraq in good health and good spirits.

I am thankful for my loving boyfriend, Mike. He is always so supportive and patient with me and the kids. You are the best!

I am thankful for the support group I have in adoption, my cyberfriends, and friends that are near. Without others who have been through the process and understand our journey it is hard to cope sometimes.

Following are pictures of my blessings on this Thanksgiving 2008.

Nico and Uncle Vince

Vince, Mom, Sandi (my sister), and Brian
Luca and Daddy
Big Boy Luca sitting at the table and feeding himself!

Yep, this is a picture of me. I wanted one with all the kids, but trying to get them all in one place is hard.

Monday, November 24, 2008

18 months old

Luca turned 18 months old yesterday! I can't believe he is a year and a half already. We are all having so much fun watching him RUN around the house exploring and learning.

Everyday he says or does something new. Today I was laying on the couch taking a rest after working all night. He carried over a toy with a couple of balls in it and attempted to climb up on the couch next to me. He was having a hard time getting up there with everything and actually said, 'help'. I have been trying to get him to say help each time he gets frustrated and starts fussing over something he can't do. He is starting to watch more of the PBS shows as he is understanding more English.

I sure love having a little bitty guy around again. I enjoy all my boys as they are all at different stages of their lives. Nico is still a cuddler and Brian is a teenager with the biggest heart and still likes to give his mom hugs in the morning and a 'good morning' to go with it.

This is a picture of him in Guatemala when I took Nico and Brian to visit him for his first birthday in May. It is hard to believe it was 6 months ago! The wait seemed forever and now the time is flying. I love the look on his face, like he is deep in thought (probably just savoring that icing from the cake).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A homeschoolers day

I have recently started homeschooling Brian again. It is so much fun to have him home with us. His attitude is all together different. He has been working very hard on his lessons. I am sharing my scrapbook room as a school room until we get the school house finished outside. It works out well. Luca has the run of the upstairs to play while the other two are working. Although he likes to be right in the middle of the action. I work with him building towers and looking at books. This week he wanted to color so I had him color a turkey project for Thanksgiving. I can't believe he is only going to be 18 months tomorrow. Sometimes he seems older than that.

Here' my little guy getting into the action. He didn't try to eat the crayons this time.

Nico is tackling his spelling test. He is doing soooo good. Because his birthday is late in September he would be in 1st grade if he was attending public school. Because I homeschool he is working at the 2nd grade level. Some subjects he is even higher, such as his knowledge in science and history. He loves to do experiments and get hands on. We are presently studying the brain and will be dissecting a sheep brain after our Thanksgiving break.

Here's Brian taking notes. It can sometimes be difficult when little brother wants to hang out on your lap, but Brian does well with it. He loves his little brother and his little brother just loves him. Brian is so creative in his story writing. We are spending time focusing on math and grammar. He loves writing and I just love reading his stories. If I can only get him to do the research papers as well as his creative writing; we would have it. Here's daddy's little buddy! I am amazed at how quickly Luca took to Mike. Although he had never met him (daddy never traveled with us for visits), Luca took to him almost immediately upon coming home. When Mike comes home from work Luca will yell, "HI DADDY" and go running to him. Yesterday Mike was putting on his uniform to go to work and Luca went to him with big, sad, brown eyes and put his little arms up to be picked up. Mike picked him up and Luca just laid his head on his shoulder and 'don't leave me!' (Yes, Luca needs a haircut, but I love the curls....we'll cut the bangs here before Thanksgiving).

I wish I had more pictures of me with my boys, but I am always the one behind the camera. We'll remedy that soon! (someone else is getting a camera for Christmas).

I love homeschooling and having my children with me. We not only complete lessons at home but the boys attend an art class, coops, rollerskating, tumbling, hip hop and a chess club. I love our homeschooling community. Some days can be rough, but overall I enjoy knowing they are getting the education I want them to have.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Preparing for Baptism

I have finally made the arrangements with church to get Luca baptized. I was thinking he would be able to wear Nico's baptism outfit since Nico was about 20 months when he was baptized. I pulled it out of the closet and found out it was a 6/9month outfit. I knew Nico was tiny when he came home but didn't realize he was still that tiny at 2o months.

Brian didn't have a baptism outfit. He was christened while he was laying in his ICU hospital bed at 6 months of age. We waited until he was off the ventilator and resting peacefully when we had the hospital chaplain come down and christen him. He was covered with a beautiful white blanket (which I have tucked away for him), a fresh bath and sleeping peacefully.

I decided Luca needed one of his own. The internet is a wonderful thing when you are sitting at work. Here is the special baptism outfit for Luca. He is going to look so adorable and angelic in it. I just love the robe and it also has a hat. Although I doubt he'll leave that on; he hates hats.

My brother, Vince, is going to be the godfather and my sister-in-law, Heather, is the godmother.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Loosing Teeth, New Words and Driving!

Oh my, these children grow so fast!

Nico pulled his second loose tooth today. The adult teeth were already growing in behind them. He refused to let anyone else pull his teeth. Two weeks ago he called me at work and said, "I pulled my first tooth!" The tooth fairy gave a special $5 for that first tooth. Nico had written a note for the tooth fairy to please leave his first tooth for his mom (she is crazy and wants to put it in a scrapbook layout). She did! He was amazed ;-0). Today we were sitting around and he said, "My other tooth is bugging me. I can't use my electric toothbrush. I am going to pull this tooth." He proceeded to the bathroom and said, "I just need a cup of water". Within 5 minutes he said, "Mom it's bleeding, it's part way out." Then wha-la, out it came. So another tooth under the pillow for Nico. However, this time with a note so he can keep it.

Look Mom! It's gone Nico's newest smile

Luca is growing everyday. He makes us laugh so much. He is running everywhere and just a joy to have in the house. All three boys get along so well!!! I love the age gap between them all. They are all at different stages of their lives. Luca is saying more and more words. I am amazed as he has just been home 3 months and stringing two words together at 17 months of age. His word list includes, 'mama, dada, hi doggie, go Belle (aunt Sandi's dog), what's dat, want dat, uh-oh, my daddy, hi, hi mom (as he walked by me in the hallway-like such a grown up boy), thank you and today he said, "i love you". I almost fell off the couch when he said it. I have, of course, been saying it over and over to all my boys and today I was laying on the couch dozing (after working my 12 hour night shift) and he was sitting next to me drinking his bottle of milk. He finished his milk, looked at me and said, 'I love you'. Oh my precious baby boy!!! He also imitates the cat's meow, the dog's bark, and the cow's moo. He imitates sounds for cars and helicopters.
He looks older than his 17 months sitting at the table like this.

Then there is my 16 yo Brian. I love him so much and am so proud of him. We have had major struggles this year with school and his dad and I battling out decisions and our beliefs in his education. (I am divorced from his dad). Anyway, he is back being homeschooled by me in the manner I want to do it. I am creating the curriculum that I want to use and teaching him what he needs to know to get out into the real world. His dad has been letting him do a lot of driving on his permit while he is with him. I am so nervous letting him drive, but last weekend I was so tired after work, I let him drive part of the way home. (It takes me an hour to get home from work-after working 12 hour night shifts I am exhausted). HE DID GREAT! I am excited to have him driving, but of course, nervous. When he finally gets his license I will be so scared to let him wonder off on his own, but I know it is a step that must be taken. He did so good this week during our lessons at home and doing his chores before playing the video games. He is a wonderful big brother and so much fun to have around. I am hoping the positive attitude keeps up as I am planning some fun lessons for the upcoming days.
Luca absolutely loves his big brother Brian!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Urgh! I did all the work and it didn't save it right! So, here's a second try of Halloween 2008.Luca's tail

Luca's transformation

Nico's transformation


Mom's transformation to a ghost bride

The three of us

The boys

Even the devil has to take a rest