Friday, October 31, 2008

say what?

After trick or treating last night (yes it is weird but for some odd reason we didn't go door to door on Halloween) we were revealing in the loot when O took her favorite treat from the night and did this (see photo). She then said, "Hey mom, I'm like the Pope."

Have I ever mentioned that my daughter is OBSESSED with the Pope?! What makes this even funnier is that we're not even Catholic. The first time I ever noticed her love for all things Pope, she wasn't even 2. He came to the US for a visit and it was all she could talk about for the week. "What's that Pope doin'?" "What's that Pope talkin' 'bout?" stuff like that.

I'm pretty sure the fascination has to do with the long flowing robes, the cool hat and the staff he carries. Thus, being in a gold lam met, floor length dress and having a sucker "staff" qualifies you to be like the Pope when you're two.

More Qin Jian

In 2 short days we've learned even more about our little boy. We are still trying to come up with a name (but are really close!) so from now on we will call him by his Chinese name, Qin Jian.

We found out that he has already had his cleft lip surgery (and that he for sure does not have a cleft palate). No palate, good, surgery already, a bit sad for us for several reasons. The biggest one being that I hate for him that we weren't there to comfort and love him through it. It's hard to imagine what that was like for him... but I utterly trust God was there and did a much better job than we could have done. I also find myself worrying about the kind of job they did on the surgery. But I am going to trust God for the outcome and also am sure that the Cleft Lip team of doctors here in Ohio will do a fine job to fix any remaining problems. (They come highly recommended.) It really is amazing how my motherly instincts have kicked in and he already seems like mine. Really weird and rather unexpected.

I also talked w/ my best friend, Lisa, (the one who spent SO MUCH time trying to get that blasted letter from China) and it "just so happens" that the orphanage QJ is in is an orphanage that our friends visit every summer to serve at and do improvements in. I am looking forward to hearing from those friends and finding out what the conditions there are like. (It seems like from these pics that it is clean and there are fun toys.) There just also may be a chance that there is a woman who works for this orphanage who runs a wing for older kids and treats it more of a foster care situation. Obviously QJ wouldn't be involved in that but b/c she is friends with my friends, there just may be a chance that she would go check in on him for us and perhaps even get some pictures.

It really seems like God's hand has been in this from the beginning. We have no doubt about that, but to see some specifics is really unbelievable to me. Doesn't he look SO different already post the surgery. It's amazing to me. Now if they would just get him out of that dang PINK exersaucer.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat

Well, tonight was beggar's night here in Dayton. So these are our pics... naturally we feel as though we had the cutest kids out, but you be the judge. (this may or may not be a recycled outfit for Turner this year.) The one and only year we can get away this year.

O wanted to be a bride. Most bride's wear gold, right?

Just had to include one more pic of our pumpkin.

The happy family.

The loot- not too shabby. (Just look at that grin on her face. Hilarious.)

O got to choose one piece right before bed. Naturally she chose the biggest and best. I ain't raisn' a fool! Now I have to figure out a plan to keep MYSELF out of the candy.

A sucker born every minute

I love holidays. Doesn't matter which one. I love all of them. And I want my kids to have every chance to have fun. So when we got back into town late Tuesday afternoon, after 3 1/2 fun-filled days at Grandma and Papa's house I was really excited to find out in the Sunday paper that Kroger was having a special Halloween 8 hour special "celebration." To me, it didn't really matter that we had only been in the house for an hour and 15 minutes after several days away. If there was a fun opportunity- by golly, my family was going to participate.
The Sunday circular promised: and I quote: employees will be in costume, pumpkin carving, trick or treat lane, costume contests for the kids, doughnuts and cider and samples through out the store. That says, dress 'em up and load 'em up to me. Thankfully, after being out of town for several days, we were out of various staples (a good excuse to go to the "party" at Kroger.) As we pulled up in the parking lot, it occurred to me... what IF we are the only people in the store with dressed up kids? O already had her princess outfit on but just in case, I decided to leave Turner's pumpkin outfit in my purse and put it on in the store.
This is where you are to refer to the picture. (note the look on O's face, it says it all.) Ummm... that was the extent of our Kroger experience. Disappointing to say the least. There were a few more samples around the store than normal. And we did take advantage of the Tombstone pizzas on sale for $2.99 (limit four, so we did.) Other than that- Olivia was the ONLY kid dressed in costume. Seems like she should have won the contest, but needless to say, I was too embarassed to ask if that was still going on.
We were at the deli pretending like we were going to order something so that Steve could take advantage of the samples when another mom and daughter were actually buying something. The mom asked, "Oh, did she have trick or treating tonight?" I played if off like "Silly two year old, what are you going to do?" by shrugging my shoulders and smiling. But Steve decided to chime in by saying, "We read in the add that Kroger was having party tonight. What a let down." Boy, did that make it look like we don't get out much or what?? The other mom and I gave each other the knowing smile and she and her daughter made a kind comment about O's beautiful gown. When we got to the car I let Steve have it about needing to explain it to the other mom. His response? "E, it's Kroger! What did you think was going to happen?" And then it occurred to me... I'm still 6 years old at heart. Believing it's all going to be as good, if not better than what "they" say (whoever they are.) I guess that's why I believed in Santa until I was 11. Well, live and learn. I won't fall for that next year... but there is this REALLY cool free carnival at a local church tomorrow night...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a....


Today we got some shocking news... meet baby Gum. Apparently in the special needs world, anything is possible. And today we received our referral. (Our paperwork isn't exactly complete, mind you.) But God has answered our prayers and this chunky sweet one-year-old boy (as of October 10th) is ours. Or at least he should be locked in by the time we wake up tomorrow.
His name is Qin Jian (we looked up the meaning in our Chinese dictionary) and the name Qin means close knit or intimate family and the name Jian means building or constructing. Can you believe that??? The workers at the orphanage gave him this name (most likely) and it is about to come true. For him and for us.
It has been a psycho day of running around trying to fill out forms that needed to be completed, talk with doctors, fax them info all in the context of normal life here and NATURALLY in the midst of Internet drama and computer glitches. You see, we were working in a time crunch. We have 24 hours to "lock" him in as ours or else he "goes up for grabs" for others. And according to the doctor in our area who specializes in international adoption cases this is a "KEEPER." She said he looks really healthy- duh! (She even chuckled and said, "looks like he doesn't miss many meals.")
Which actually is rare for 1.) babies in Chinese orphanages and 2.) kids with cleft lips. That is his special need. He has a cleft lip (apparently not a cleft palate, but they said to be ready for anything.) This will require at least one surgery, possibly speech therapy and most likely braces. All in all a very "doable" special need.
Why were we matched so quickly? It seems as though not many people want a boy from China (especially w/ special needs-- which btw-- is really just about the only way you can get a boy from China.) So Turner and baby Gum will be 3 months apart with Turner keeping his spot as the baby of the family. I've never been one to want to dress my kids in matching outfits, but can't you just imagine the two boys running around looking like "twins"? Separated at birth-- by an OCEAN. Love it. More later!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Book 'em

Today was an important step in the adoption process. We had our scheduled Biometrics (FBI fingerprints) appointment in downtown Cincinnati this morning (9 am sharp.) That means we had to pack up the car full of Koproskis at 7:15 to make it through the nasty Cincy traffic to be there, park, go through the metal detectors and account for any emergency potty stops along the way.

All went well this morning... but as of last night I wasn't so sure that was going to be the report. Late afternoon I started to feel like I was coming down with something. That slow decline you feel and you know there is nothing to do to stop it and by the end of the day I was flat out on couch w/ a full blown case of the achies and a bit of a sour stomach. I went to bed at 10 just so I could try and get warm. (Don't you just hate that feeling?)

11:30 found us with a wake up call from O's room- sounded like a retch. Steve bounded out of bed in time to get her to the bathtub so she could throw up there. She made it, thankfully. I still felt terrible and couldn't help. I was worried I might join her over the side of the tub if I tried. She threw up until 1:00 and then went into a sound sleep. Turner woke up at 4:45 and cried on and off until nearly 6:00. My alarm went off at 6:30 and miraculously, I felt about 95% better. At least ready for the day. Olivia seemed 100% and Turner, as usual was all smiles.

The kids did great during our appointment. The lady doing the fingerprints even let Olivia go back in the computer room and watch. And as an added bonus, Olivia got her fingerprints up on the computer screen. She was all business and seemed pretty proud of herself. Naturally, it rained cats and dogs the whole way there and back. I also forgot my camera (and was rather sad, I was hoping to get some pics to document this momentous occasion.) So all we get is that homemade pic of my fingerprints.

Later today I took all of our documents for our dossier (minus the document we'll get back *hopefully* in the next month or two from today's fingerprinting) to the post office to be sent to the Chinese Consulate. All of our documents need to be authenticated (and stamped) from the Consulate in NYC. That may take as long as 30 days to get sent back. I'm guessing it won't take that long. Once we get those back we send them to our agency, they get translated and wait on the last lone document. Once that one comes back and we get it authenticated - it gets sent to the agency to be translated and joins the others and they are sent to China. Once China has that and we assigned a child we are good to go. WOW. Now we realize this could take several months or even a year(S). But because we are adopting a child with special needs, it will probably be on the quicker side of things.

All of this may seem rather insignificant... but to us today is a day worthy of celebration. (Which we did - brunch at First Watch- in spite of last night's barfies.) We weren't going to let that get us down. Such a bummer that I forgot my camera. Oh well, in the scheme of things, there were other way more important things to remember today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The milk truck cometh

For the past 9+ months I have been attatched to either this


This! (Most usually This!)
My goal with Turner, as was with Olivia, is to nurse for the first year of his life. I weaned Olivia at 11 months as she was D-O-N-E. Moving on to bigger and better things. I'm sensing a trend. I'm trying to make it to 10.5 months with T-man (mostly b/c I'm a cheapo and don't want to buy formula for 1 month.) Because memories really do fade, I asked my pediatrician how early I can give Turner cow's milk and he suggested I give him Similac until he's 2. Ummm... no thanks. Even though the price of milk keeps going up, I'd rather shell out money for milk and not formula.
I have to say, I am counting down the days until I'm a free agent, once again. I've loved nursing my children and would do it all over again in a heartbeat, but I gotta say, I love my freedom just as much.
Because I am not one who pumps on a regular basis, my manual Avent Isis pump has worked out just fine. During my first go around w/ Olivia I was much more discrete with nursing in general... second go around- HA! Here are some of the more random places you could have found me pumping milk these past few months:
*The back seat of a Chinese taxi cab.
*Faculty lounge bathroom at UD.
*Student handicap stall at KU at UD (weekly for the first several months.)
*10th row of Made of Honor back in April at the Greene.
*In the bathroom at the Martha Stewart wedding of a good friend, Laura- who works for Martha's magazine. FYI- Martha was just outside the door mingling with guests at the wedding. Nice!
And a final classy place took place this weekend in between the ceremony and reception of Nikki's wedding. Steve wanted to watch the OSU football game and we had an hour and a half to kill so we went to a sports bar where, thankfully, they had a pretty nice bathroom. A bathroom that had stalls with real doors and not the kind that if you stand just right you can see everything. Really good since I had a nice knit dress, hose, heels, the whole shebang. As I'm pumping away, I gave myself a nice little pep-talk. "You can do it, hang in there for another month and a half. The end is in sight. No one even has to know about this- until you blog about it, etc.")
People say they'll miss nursing. I've even heard friends say that if they look hard enough at a baby their body will actually produce milk. Sounds crazy to me! If God wanted me to produce milk for a lifetime, He would have given me udders. This milk truck is ready to be taken to the junk yard and have it's parts stripped! So you may need to help Steve find me in December when I'm missing for 10 hours at a time just because I can be. Merry Christmas to me!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Have Mercy!

I'm not one for bathroom humor! I mean REALLY not. But with a 2 year old, all of a sudden things that I never found funny, are funny. Laugh out loud kind of funny. O and I are having a great day today. (Mind you, there have been a few tantrums, but over all we've done really well.) So when we were just sitting here snuggling together, reading blogs etc. (Ummm...why can't reading blogs together be a great mother/daughter bonding activity?) Baxter was laying at our feet. All of a sudden O. (who by small stature is closer to the ground) yelled out, "OH! Baxter's stinky." Just then...

Dog gas that could wake the dead. After gagging for about 15 seconds, Olivia and I just started cracking up. Last night at the dinner table, Olivia had a toot. Not funny. She is really good at not making a big deal of it and almost always just saying excuse me. Last night she says, "That was a UGE (huge) toot." I just gave her my stern look. Enough said. Then she squeaked out this other one and said in a cute small little voice, "That was a really little toot." I looked at her and then at Steve and I just couldn't do it, I laughed so hard I had a tear. So that's it- I've officially turned into a 12 year old boy. If you run into me and I'm making fart noises with my armpit, you may want to consider an intervention.

busy weekend

We are coming off a jam-packed weekend. You know the kind, fun stuff but you wish you had a weekend to follow-up your weekend so you can get some rest. For sure the highlight was going to my friend Nikki's wedding. Short background- for the past 4 years I worked primarily with three girls at UD. It just so happens for their last 2 years of school, they were all roommates. Another crazy fact, they all had long-term SERIOUS boyfriends (high school sweetheart kinda stuff.) Infact, Nikki and Erin (another of the 3 girls) got engaged the same day! Crazy. Well, now all three are married and Steve and I were able to make it to all three weddings. Nikki's was the only one we went to solo- no kids. It was fun to not have to duck out as soon as they cut the cake (because I do INSIST on staying to get my piece of cake-- no matter what!)

Side note- I'm not too familiar w/ Columbus, OH- Steve used to live there. So when I told him earlier in the week that the wedding was near one of the colleges in Columbus, he rattled through a list of them. None of them sounded familiar. We did this total waste of time "game" unitl I finally said, just forget it- I DON'T REMEMBER THE NAME. Well, we got in the car after we got the babysitter all settled where we finally looked at the directions, only to find that the wedding wasn't exactly in Columbus. It was 40 miles east of Columbus at Denison University. OOps. Adding about 40 min. onto our trip. We argued for about 30 min. whose fault it was (clearly Steve's!-- get your own blog bud... this is mine... so clearly it was YOUR fault.) We got there 15 minutes after the wedding started. Very sad. My favorite part of a wedding is when the bride walks down the aisle. Oh well. Live and learn: make sure Steve sees the directions more than 2 minutes before leaving the garage.

Friday night the 4 of us went to a fall carnival at the Y. It started at 7 and my kids have a pretty strict bed times (7:30 for Turner and 8 for O.) But there were pony rides, crafts, games, S'mores and a pumpkin patch. What fun is life if you can't break bedtime every once in a while and have some good 'ole fashion homemade-plate-mask kinda fun??? So we bundled up, stood in line for stuff that ended up being "too scary" (i.e. pony rides, S'mores and the pumpkin patch) for Olivia. But she won some prizes at the games, ate some candy and then we went home. It was really fun (or at least I thought so.) I just love this time of year. So now it's Monday and I'm in recovery mode. This week is even crazier... still waiting for that "normal" week. Good luck.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scarlet Letter

Yep, I've gone and done it- I've committed an unmentionable sin (well, not that unmentionable if I'm confessing it for YOU to see.) I've cheated on my hair stylist. I've been in a long term (nearly 5 years) relationship with my one and only love, Pam. When we first met she was working in a dumpy little shop where they didn't even take credit cards. Our first date ended embarrassingly when I found out they didn't take my plastic and I ended up leaving my wallet as collateral and running to the nearby ATM. Because Pam is brilliant at what she does, she quickly climbed the salon ladder. Her first move happened in the middle of the night and as I was about to go in for my appointment her former salon called to tell me she would not be keeping my appointment, luckily one of my friends had heard about her "deffection" and had her info.

So, naturally I followed Pam in the middle of the night to the new swanky salon. (secretly loving it, b/c I like to think of myself as a swanky salon kinda girl on a BoRics budget.) I am a loyalist and even though her prices increased, when you've got an addiction like mine, you must feed it (see, in case you didn't know this about me, I'm not a real blonde. Shocker, right?!)

Then about a year later without asking, me mind you, Pam moved AGAIN. This time to a salon whose name I can't even pronounce. And Steve likes to say we've second mortgaged our house just to keep me blonde. (It's not THAT bad.) But it has been bad. Bad enough that hair cuts have become birthday gifts, Christmas gifts and if there is a gift involved in any other holiday, you better believe it was going to outfit my head. In fact during one visit to Pam's chair, I forgot to ask how much the "extra little highlight treatment that we don't normally do but would look really cool with that new haircut" would be and I literally prayed the entire drive home that Steve wouldn't yell and me and that God would give me a really creative way to pay for the difference.

So, you can imagine my dilema when the same friend who introduced me to Pam (Chelsey, you stinker) told me about a new girl who was really good and in cosmotology school. Note: cosmotology student= very scary person. Second note: $9.99 haircut = very intriguing for our budget. This time, budget wins! So, I did it. In spite of our unspoken and undying love for each other (or at least mine for Pam's work); last week I went for highlights (1/3 the price of Pam's salon) and today I went back for part two- the haircut. She did an AWESOME job. I'm very pleased. My new love's name is Aimee and if you live in the Dayton area, I HIGHLY recommend giving her a call. She is at Regency Beauty Institute and please tell her Elizabeth sent 'ya. Oh, and if you run into Pam... just tell her I got hit by a bus and won't be needing a haircut for a while.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Are we crazy?

We have officially put our house up for sale by owner during the worst economic crisis in our nation's history since the Great Depression. We don't have the sign in the yard- yet- but we are listed in the MLS, we are up on different web-based realty links AND the coolest part of all of this, we have our own 1-800 number to intercept the calls for us. I was trying to figure out a way to have my mom, friends and others call me on this number so they don't have to pay but then Steve reminded me it's merely an answering service. Foiled again!

Because of putting the house on the market, we (that is code for Steve) has been spending a lot of free time on house projects. Why is it that when you are hoping others will live in your house you do all the jobs that you don't/won't do when it's just you living there? I mean, don't we want to live in a nice house with nothing broken, unpainted or unsafe? Woah, it just occurred to me that maybe you all do live in those kind of houses and we are just lazy...hmmm- take that last question as a rhetorical and let me live in my own reality, thank you very much.

Why move? Why move now? Great questions. Gotta say, ones I've mulled over myself this past month. Here's the beauty of our situation. We don't have to move. So take that US economy! We look you in the eye and laugh... HA!

You see, we live in a failing school district and believe it or not, I am beginning to consider that as a factor of life. Gulp. We are also adding another member to the family- soonish. And because we are suburban Americans, we feel the need to have room- and lots of it. I also really want my kids to grow up playing with neighbor kids, late night backyard games and being around other moms. When we moved into our current neighborhood my major criteria was to be within walking distance of a coffee shop. We've lived here 5 1/2 years and I've gone there 4 times. It seemed like a good idea at the time...

So this is our chance to see what we can do w/ for sale by owner. If it works, great, if not... we'll try again when we have to. So if you know of anyone in the Dayton, OH area who wants to live within walking distance of a pretty cool coffee shop (or so I hear) and in a newly spruced up 150 year old home, send 'em our way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Are there laws against this?

Just checking.
Why is it that my children AND my dog all choose to go bezerk when I'm on the phone? Today Baxter spilled a full cup of Crystal Light water (the staining kind) on my rug, Olivia spilled a full cup of milk all over the floor (who ever said it's no use crying over spilled milk obviously didn't have beautiful newly refinished hard wood floors), as we speak I just chased Baxter all around the upstairs (off limits to the dog) trying to wrestle toilet paper from the training potty out of his mouth and then there is this little stunt in the dog's cage. All was quiet on the western front (hmmm.. nice for a moment and then by the time I realized it, chills went and down the spine, realizing all is quiet on the western front = not a good sign.) I was tempted to leave them both there! They both were enjoying it, I was enjoying it. But I've seen one too many really bad stories on the news about this kind of thing. So I used good judgement and got the one in the dress out of the cage-should have left the one in the collar in! Lesson learned, I'll keep that one in mind for next time.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Xiao Wang!

Steve and I lead a house church in our home on Sunday nights. It's been really great and recently we have opened it up to University of Dayton students.

A really cool thing about our church, Apex Community, is that they really want to empower the local house church to reach the community. Our hc was given $500 to use any way we wanted as long as it was to bless some people.

We decided to bless 13 Chinese exchange students at the University of Dayton (three of them have already made appearances on this blog.) I asked them to invite their chinese classmates to a dinner on Sunday night.

(oops- sorry, thought I turned this picture but I guess I didn't.)

So we used our $500 to do a blow out dinner along with carving pumpkins and carmel apples. (Well at least that was the plan but we ran out of time for making the carmel apples.)

That's what happens when you leave a bunch of engineers to carve pumpkins. It took FOREVER.

But they made some sweet pumpkins. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen more intricate designs. It was the first time any of them had ever carved a pumpkin. It was really fun to hear them talk amongst themselves, squeal as they stuck their hands inside to get out the "guts" and delight in the baked pumpkin seeds afterward (something familiar!)

What a fun time. I think I've been extra motivated to build relationships knowing that Baby Gum will be home soon. I want it to always be a normal thing to have Chinese people in and out of our home. Plans are in the works for a Thanksgiving celebration.

back blog

Life has been a bit full these days! I really have fallen in love with blogging and it has even taken over *most* of my tv viewing time. But this past week when my evening hours rolled around, I didn't have much left to be clever or creative.

But don't worry- I'M BACK! Just a quick re-cap from last week. Thursday was family fun-day. We went to 2 different pumpkin patches to find our pumpkins. It was a weekday so there wern't 4,000 people (good) but on the flip side, the hayrides only run on the weekends (bad.)

So here are some shots from family fun day...

Turner turned 9 months last Wednesday. Love it. He is super fun right now. He started pointing at stuff, is close to saying dada and continues to laugh and smile all the time.

Olivia is such a diva. She insisted on wearing her velvet pink dress with the jeweled crown on it (sounds cheesey, but it is a beautiful Gymboree dress.) By the time we got home it was really really dirty... oh well.

The wagons were suppose to be for the PUMPKINS. But you can see how it played out with the Koproski's. Love it! Olivia ended up picking one for herself, a small one for Turner and mommy picked out a nice one for the family. (O's was more of the Charlie Brown Chirstmas special kind... if ya know what I mean.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A quiz for you

a.)What do YOU see to the far left?
b.)What do YOU See next to it ?
I thought they were pretty clearly drawn, so I thought for sure it was an accident and that according to her 2 year-old mind, Olivia would give me a different answer.
Here are the answers straight from the artist's mouth:
a.) a doggy
b.) a balloon
Did you get them right? Not bad for a 2 1/2 year old, huh? (personally, a.) looks a bit more like Rudolph but not a bad doggy! I'm not sure I could do much better.)
Granted, I'm a bit biased, but I'm sure we have a budding artist on our hand. Can you say SCHOLARSHIP?

Monday, October 6, 2008

God spoke to me at Target

I've often thought that Target is holy ground and this morning proved it. The kids and I were on our way home from the Y (Pilate's this morning) and we needed to stop at Target to pick up a birthday gift for O's friend, Mikayla. I also had a nice $1 off coupon for a pack of Huggies and if I bought 2 today, I got a $5 Target gift card. Thus making a nice little bargain for Turner's tush.

A little background: last week did not put me any closer to winning mommy of the year. I had a very trying week with my 2 1/2 year old. I didn't make too many good choices. I could blame it on the tantrums, the whining, the crying but when the rubber meets the road, and if I'm being honest, I have to chalk my less than stellar mommy week to a lack of patience and self-control. (read: lots of yelling!)

I've spent some time praying and journaling about this. I want to grow. I want to be a patient and kind mommy. I want to discipline well, not out of frustration and anger. I've prayed and I've asked others to do the same.

Okay, back to Target. We were at the check out (our second time around, b/c the first time around I had failed to read the small print about the diaper/gift card deal. Had to buy 2 packs, not one to get the gift card.) So the cashier hit the button to flash her check out light, ladies behind me did the heavy sigh, yet I was bound and determined to get my gift card, even if it meant becoming "that lady." We literally ran down the aisle grabbed the second pack, ran back and hopped in a DIFFERENT line hoping for a better outcome.

As the guy was ringing us up, Olivia started whining b/c she wanted to play with the newly acquired birthday gift for her friend. I told her no, that she could see it in the car. Still whining and crying, she reached up and grabbed the toy from the bag. I asked her to obey, she did not. This resulted in an ear flick. (that's for another post.) After I flicked her ear, I patiently explained why her disobedience resulted in the ear flick. The cashier (who honestly couldn't have been more than 19) said, "I love that word. Obedience. I don't hear that one too much around here." I smiled and just said, "Yeah,well, it's not her favorite word." Seconds later, O started to whine and then she stomped her feet and was a millisecond away from a full-blown tantrum. I was about to sign the Visa slip and I said, "Excuse me" to the cashier. I crouched down, gently held O's face in my hands and said, "Olivia, please make a good choice here. I NEED you to obey." Miracle of all miracles... she settled down.

I popped back up finished my signature, looked up and the cashier said, "Wow! You're like my favorite parent. That was AWESOME." I felt a little embarrassed, like a fraud. He obviously hadn't been around for most of last week. I grabbed my stuff and said thanks.

As we were making our way to the car; I replayed the conversation in my mind. It felt like God was speaking to me, encouraging me. I'm not a failure. I fail, but that is not who I am. I do have the power to make good parenting choices. When I'm operating in my own strength, I may make an occasional good one, but on the whole, I fail. When I'm aware that God's Spirit lives in me and I ask for help and ask for prayer, I can have self control and patience. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that the Creator of the Universe decided to show up in the check out aisle of Target, just for me today. Perhaps I need to head back tomorrow and see what else He has for me (maybe a cute pair of jeans or something?!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Somebody pinch me

'Cuz this must be a dream. We've been headed this way for a few weeks, but today it happened. My children played happily *together* for about 1/2 hour. It was lovely. Dare I say glorious??? Olivia shared. Didn't yank a puzzle piece out of Turner's hand the whole time. Turner didn't bonk his head on the coffee table or shut his hand in a drawer (see amazing Pottery Barn coffee table at top left hand corner.) A lovely gift my mom got us pre-kids. Came complete w/ drawers, cubby holes and 4 toddler level really sharp corners but I digress...
I sat and soaked up the tandum play for a full 30 minutes. No screaming, whining or selfishness. (And the kids did great too.) Wow! It's the simple things in life, it truly is.

boys will be boys

People always say how different boys and girls are and aside from the obvious reasons, I'm finding it to be more and more true each day. It could also be some personality differences thrown in for good measure, but Turner is MUCH more physical, curious and daring.

We have these glorious floor to ceiling windows in our living room/dining room. I love them and since having kids I have a love/hate relationship with them. On the one hand, it is a great way for the kids to watch the traffic in our neighborhood. (car and foot traffic: one of the major pluses of where we live.) Since it's been nice enough to have the windows open, the kids (both of them) have LOVED playing at the windows.

Fine and good- until today. Look at what Turner learned how to do. I'm all for celebrating accomplishments and mile stones. I just wish he had also learned how to get down as well. Ugh. He made it 1/2 way up the stairs to the second floor the other day (O just wasn't ever so daring.) T doesn't seem to be afraid of anything. At the end of the day he seems to end up with eggs (the boo boo kind, not the chicken kind) on his head, bruises on his legs and other crazy stuff- yet he always manages to come out of it with a smile. Tough guy! Even tougher as he puts up with a big sister who yanks toys away, tattles and takes it upon herself to discipline. I know these issues are a dime a dozen and are certainly not unique to my two. They'll both be in counseling for their childhood, as will I but I feel hopeful that we'll all be speaking to each other in 20 years!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Excitement on a Saturday

The normal Saturday morning at the Koproski's- The Today Show, coffee, either spinning class or a Weight Watcher's meeting, something fun in the late morning/lunch time (today it was a trip to the mall w/the kids while Steve power washed the deck so that he can prime and paint it.) and then naps.
Check check check and check. But what made this morning really exciting- and even brought the neighbors out of their homes, was a visit from the Dayton Fire Department.
I was getting the kids settled in for naps (O was already on her second "bookie") when the fire detector went off. Or at least I thought it did. Turns out it was the carbon monoxide detector. Steve unplugged it and replugged it and thought we should wait and see. I've never really thought of my self as an over-reactor, but now with kids, I just don't want to mess around with stuff. Especially after too many PSA's about carbon monoxide being the silent killer and stuff like that. So Steve called the fire department.
And in return, we got a visit from the big ladder truck. Sweet. I was a bit bummed though. No sirens or horns blaring. But three firemen did take a walk through the house and found traces of CO2. They told us to open windows and doors and that we should be okay. They were rather certain it came from the power washer Steve had been using this morning.
There are 2 morals to this story:
1.) Forget home improvements! They are more trouble then they are worth.
2.) Always keep your house in "firemen" ready condition.
After they left I went upstairs and realized that it looked like a bomb had gone off. I had been getting laundry together this morning and forgot to finish that job, not to mention leaving a dirty diaper laying on the floor b/c I was going to get to that after I put Olivia down for the nap. They were gracious on their way out and even commented, "beautiful house." But I bet they had a nice chuckle all the way back to the fire house!

why go to China...

when China comes to you? The other week I was on campus at UD and was hoping to meet some Chinese students. These girls were walking by and I essentially stalked them. I ran up to them and asked where they were from and explained to them that I was hoping to meet some Chinese friends. (It would be a total weirdo thing to do to anyone else except an international student. Trust me, NO ONE initiates with them and I think they would really like it if more people did.)

So we exchanged names and email addresses and I had them over 2 weeks ago for dinner. For future reference, tortellini and salad- not a good thing to serve to Chinese people. They don't like cheese or raw veggies. (I knew that, yet somehow I thought this time it would be different.) I'm convinced these girls were off to the Wah Fu after they left my house.

So I came up with a better idea! They came over again last night and I drove them to a local asian grocery and we bought ingredients for hot pot. If you've never had Chinese hot pot you don't know what you are missing!!! It is essentially healthy fondue. Now the ironic thing is that Steve and I had a date on Thursday night and we went for our first time ever to The Melting Pot. It is a fondue restaurant. It was very very good, but pricey. I guess I haven't had fondue since the '70's and I didn't realize how much it is like hot pot.

Hot pot is my very favorite way to eat Chinese food. In China, you go to a restaurant and sit at a huge table where there is a hole in the middle where they put a gigantic pot with fire under it. It is usually divided in half where you boil a very very spicy soup and usually some kind of seafood broth in the other. Then you order tons of ingredients to cook in the hot pot. Similar to The Melting Pot, they give you sauces that you put your cooked food into. Only these are delicious and usually spicy Chinese sauces. While the food at hot pot is so yummy, it is even more than a meal. It is a social experience. Usually you end up eating hot pot for hours with your friends. And I love it!

When we got married, our friends Ross and Cindy Queener- who live in NYC with access to Chinatown, got us an electric hot pot. I have to say, we have not used it nearly enough. But I always want to have an excuse to get it out. So last night was a blast. Our friend Sarah came over too and we just ate and ate. It was a great way to get to know my new friends. Unfortunately, the Asian grocery was mainly a Vietnamese grocery so the Chinese sauces and ingredients to put in the pot were a bit limited. (Boo... no fish balls or pork balls.) But we made due and got even a bit creative. And when all was said and done we were chi bao le! (very full.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

come on, now!

I'm trying, I really am! To live by our budget that is. Steve is amazing at figuring out our finances. And if he gives me the monthly numbers, I do my best to stay within the parameters. I do okay. I rarely make expensive purchases, you've seen the plaid couches, and my newly re-sized rear is waiting to be outfitted for the fall, as we speak. But a girl can only do so much.

It's the food budget that gets me every time. I think one of the big problems is our attempt to eat healthier. Ever notice that the Ho Ho's and Ding Dong's are always on sale but the yummy fresh veggies- not so much? Not to mention "T-bone" (as daddy has taken to referring to our youngest) is now eating his weight in baby food these days. And sorry guys, I'm just not that into making my own. Lecture me later, but my days are full enough!

All that to say, because yesterday was the last day of the budget- we ate like it was! I really am trying to honor my husband here. We ate 6 month old frozen Slovenian sausages (made at a friend's father's butcher shop) and baked potatoes covered in black beans. Why? Because that was what we had. It wasn't terrible, we survived and today is a new month. But let's just say it may be a day or two until I can make it to Kroger and Trader Joe's because life is full.

Enter, clueless husband. He calls from campus today asking if I would mind terribly if we change our plans of heading to the outlet mall (Jeffersonville Prime Outlets ARE heaven on earth!) where I was going to be able to buy some pants for my previously mentioned rear. We've learned that the whole family shopping outings are, in fact, a gigantic waste of time for everyone! Staying home is not a problem for me, other than a tad bit of disappointment. But I'm an adult, I can deal. The problem came when he suggest rather than heading out for shopping and dinner, we invite cousin Nick over to eat with us. For what? Another embarrassing edition of "What concoction with she come up with tonight?" I love it when Nick, or anyone else, comes over, but only when there is more than marshmallows, hot dogs and a can of chickpeas around.

Needless to say, after "reasoning" with Steve, we both agreed that going out sounded a bit more feasible this time around. (It is a new budget month, after all. And we usually like to blow our wad the first week of the new month!) Hopefully, Nick doesn't have class or it just may be marshmallow covered chick peas for dinner tonight.