Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Growing up, my brothers and I were super competitive. Freakishly competitive. We turned everything into a competition, and someone always ended up crying, cussing, punching, or kicking someone else in the end. Or a combination of all four. Our competitions were often shut down because of our over the top intensity. My competitive nature has lessened over the years, but it has not completely gone away. I don't like losing. My brother, Price, hates it even more than I do though.

We can definitely still go at it, especially on the ping pong table. We grew up playing a lot of ping pong and think we are pretty good. We made our mom video us the other day so that we could bask in the glory of our skills.

So here is a little tribute to my sweet baby brother. I am so proud of you for always trying your hardest. I'm sorry that it's just not always quite enough.

(video only slightly edited)

Thanks for standing in the corner for over six minutes to capture this, Mom. 

Lots of Love!

our trip to the north pole

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Chronicle about a Polar Express train that you could ride on to the North Pole. This particular North Pole is in Palestine, Texas. A little over 150 miles from us. It sounded amazing and I knew we had to take the kids. When I went online to book tickets, most dates were already sold out. The only time that we could do it was Monday, the 17th, at 8:11 PM. Yes, it was a school night, and missing school the next day was not an option because Joey and I both had to work. But we decided to go for it. 

I read that they encouraged pajama wearing, so I took Ace Monday after school to pick out some matching jammies for herself and Archie. I was of course picturing something at least a little bit Christmasy, but she decided on some sharks PJ's and there was no changing her mind. 

Joey got off work at 4:30 and we started heading North to Palestine. The kids had no idea where we were going, we told them it was a super duper surprise. I thought we were allowing ourselves plenty of time....until we got stuck in the most insane traffic while still in Houston. We were in bumper to bumper traffic for almost two hours before we really started moving. Once we got out of it, I thought we would be okay, but we were pretty freaked out that we weren't going to make it. The map on my phone had our ETA at 8:30, and the train was set to leave at 8:11 sharp. I was already planning all these different scenarios in my head of what we were going to do since I was sure we were missing the train. The kids were so excited and we were going to have to come up with something good. 
Here is my "Holy Crappoly, we're not gonna make it!!!" face. 

The kids slept a good part of the drive. And miraculously, with some swift but safe driving, we pulled into the parking lot at 8:06. We ran to the ticket booth and heard the train whistle blow. (Meaning they were about to take off). The lady in the booth screamed "Eicher??" and tossed us our tickets as we sprinted with kids in arms to the train. I kid you not, this was straight out of a movie. We jumped onto the train and it literally started moving before we even got to our seats. 

(At this point Ace was a bit confused and quite serious)

Once we were finally seated and able to explain to the kids that we were heading to the North Pole to see Santa and his elves, everyone was super excited. 

The train ride was so awesome. Singing, dancing train attendants (I don't really know what you call them, but they were the equivalent of a flight attendant) filled the aisles. They served us hot chocolate and cookies, and we listened to The Polar Express.

When we finally pulled up and could see the North Pole the kids were freaking out. Santa stood outside of his workshop with his elves waving at us. 

The best part was when Santa came onto the train and came through to see all of the kids. Ace was in heaven. Archie was a teeny bit freaked out and didn't want to sit in Santa's lap, so he stood behind him. But it turns out he looks like a freaky possessed-eyed growth coming off of Santa's head. If you stare at it long enough it really does get weird. I just did. 

And Santa gave them bells! So exciting. And we could all hear them ringing. Ace tested us several thousand times to make sure we could hear. 

What a night it was!

 When we got off the train there was a little food stand so I got myself a treat for the car ride home. (I literally ate 92% of that thing). And it was RIDICULOUS.

And everyone got corndogs!

We finally arrived home at 12:30. And we are still catching up on sleep. I have been making the kids sleep in whatever clothes they are wearing the next day and letting them stay in bed until it is time to get in the car in the morning. I have such a hard time waking them up when they are so sound asleep. 

The kids have already made me reassure them many times that we will go back and do it again next year. And we will! Maybe with a little more planning next time. But maybe not.

Lots of Love!

why the "yank away" doesn't work for us

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lately in the mornings when I drop Archie off at school I feel like I am really annoying his therapists, teachers, whoever it is that comes out to get him from the car. I totally get the concept behind the "yank away" technique as I like to call it. As a preschool teacher, I know that it is best for many kids just to be whisked away from their mom or dad at drop off and thrown into some fun distraction. 

But that just doesn't work with Archie. And it's very frustrating when someone is trying to pull him away from me while I am trying to tell him goodbye, hug and kiss him, and explain to him that I will see him in just a little while. It is true that by now he knows the routine. He knows that I will be right back, and that I am not leaving him forever. But he does still get anxious. And his way of calming himself is by hugging and kissing me, or Ace, or Joey. When he is scared, he immediately grabs my face and starts kissing my cheek.

So in the mornings when we drop him off at school he has to have at least two hugs and kisses from me, and at least one hug and kiss from Ace. Sometimes he needs more. There have been a couple of times where I have let the teacher take him away before he felt comfortable, and I had to watch him through my rear view screaming for me with his arms out begging for a hug.

The thing is- He will go. It's not like he is trying to avoid going to school all together. He loves school. He just needs to get himself to a place where he is not feeling anxious and he feels comfortable and ready. And it takes less than a minute.

I finally reminded a therapist the other day that Archie has only been with us for sixteen months. That's it- sixteen months. And we are making up for SEVEN YEARS of lost time with him. Seven years without a family, seven years with no mom, or dad, or sister to hug and kiss. Some things are just different with adopted kids. And that's okay. It's just the way it is.

So if I bug some people because we are taking some extra time to love on him before he goes. Then so be it. I will give him that for as long as he needs.

Lots of Love!

oh well.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

That awkward moment when you realize that Ringo Starr is your doppelganger.

And you're a chick.

Lots of Love!