Monday, December 31, 2007

Baba Pants

Acer loves 'Baba pants' as he calls cord's. Here he actually got a hold of a pair of Bill's work pants, non cords, and decided to wear them. His whole body fit in one leg, but he kept at it until he felt he was wearing them properly.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Drop by drop, or person by person, the house fills up again

On boxing day, I drove out to Lansing to pick up Alex for her Christmas visit. We had to meet much earlier than normal because I had to work at 3 that afternoon. Alex lives with her grandparents on the other side of the state so we meet roughly halfway. Alex will be 15 in a few months and is growing into a fine human being. Bill has watched her grow from age 4, I've only known her since she was almost 8 but I have to say we love her and the only way she could be more ours would be to go through court procedures (not going to happen she's in a good stable home and happy now). She's smart, funny, cute, musical, athletic, polite and helpful among other good traits. It's always nice to have her here.
Alex loves Acer and is a really good older sister or JieJie (pronounced like the first half of the name Jeff). She's so patient, loving and doesn't mind playing toys or singing with him when he asks. She and Brandon get along well too. Tomorrow we'll be picking Brandon up to stay with us until Sunday. They have a good cousinly relationship and look forward to seeing each other here whenever possible. They also have a longstanding partnership in returning our soda bottles. We stock pile them until both the kids are here and then make a mega trip. They split the work, money and goodies. Brandon is now 16 but this partnership has been 5 years in the making so I think it will endure.

We have a big house rearranging plan in progress, so the house is all dis-arrayed. I think Brandon will end up on a blow up bed in the computer room, soon to be the sitting room (with all my antiques and breakables. Alex is in the lowest level, in the sitting room bedroom we used to sleep in which will be the spare bedroom, entertainment center and computer room (with room to play DDR again!) Acer's room will be turned more fully over to him as we pull the entertaiment center out of there, it's not been used since we've been home anyway. We're in what used to be Alex's or the spare bedroom, it will also be altered as we move out a Queen Anne chair, an oriental rug, a bookshelf, Alex's box of stuff and some of my craft stuff, and move Bill's dresser in. With all this going on you can believe we're going to use the younglings to help. I guess it's also a good thing that I took seasonal layoff this year, not only will I be able to rest and get rid of my sinus infection, I might just be able to accomplish this plus some painting I want to do before April rolls around and I go back to work.



Here we see both my wonderful brother and my nephew Brandon doing an activity I thought I'd never see again. Brandon is swinging and James is watching to make sure he doesn't get hurt. Yes, Acer's swing can go up to 175 pounds, and yes, Brandon did manage to sing his backside into the wall & (slightly) hurt himself, so James really was needed.

Unfortunately, with my stoopid sinus infection, we moved nada and now the younglings are back in their respective homes. Dern.

Christmas in a new bed

We asked for and received a new bed from Ikea this year for Christmas from Bill's parents. I love it. It has 4 drawers underneath and is just a simple pine frame, but it is lovely and doesn't creak, holds up our mattress well because the slats aren't all broken and moved around funky and is a really good height to go against the garden seat I use as a head board. Our old bed was mine from when I lived in WA, o' those many years ago and it had not aged well at all.

(Pictures here later)

We actually got it Friday night after Acer's birthday dinner and Bill and his friend Will assembled it on Saturday. Aside from the wierd positions that sleeping with a sinus infection makes me sleep in, I find this to be an extremely comfortable bed.

less than stellar

Well, after the good start to the 24th, I worked too hard and exhausted myself. Because I was exhausted, my stooopid sinus infection has spread to my ears and down my face into my teeth and I wasn't up for anything except sleeping on the 25th. I missed Christmas dinner at my in-laws, (thought about calling & sending my regrets but forgot to, thus seriously irking my MIL), and more importantly, missed Acer's first Christmas. Bill, Mum and Acer went, but Bill forgot to take any pictures. Sigh.
Acer doesn't really understand this Christmas thing. Combined with his Birthday, he's been getting gifts for days now. He is getting better at unwrapping them though. He rips and then hands you the paper and goes back for another rip. After every single chunk of paper, big or small, you have to say "Thank you for the paper", if not, he reminds you by saying it for you.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Swinging!

Acer spent 45 minutes already this morning on the swing. He took brief breaks to turn somersets, but he stayed at it until Bill's snoring enticed him into our bed for some snuggle time with Bill. He also mastered the art of swinging belly down.


I finally finished decorating the tree, I had to go through our boxes of ornaments and pull out the ones that were relatively unbreakable. I didn't put our angel up this year, I was too worried about her suddenly taking flight. Instead we have a lovely bow, that I wore on the back of my head on our wedding day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

unbridled joy

Acer got a two part birthday gift from Bill's parents. Part one is a camping sleeping mat, also good for tumbling. The floor pad got rave reviews from Acer, not only was it good for somersets, it was also good for simply lying on, laughing and kicking your feet in the air.



Part two was an even bigger hit, if that were possible, a swing that we installed in his doorframe. It's hard mounted in and has both a swing and a bar attachment. Acer LOVES to swing, and having a swing in his very own room - such joy knows no limits.



And lastly, Acer loves to brush his teeth. I actually have to set a time limit otherwise he'll keep going for half an hour or better. So. here he is... Mr Clean Teeth

Night Terrors

Acer doesn't have night mares or night terrors often, but he did last night. We went in to comfort him and Bill ended up carrying him to his computer room chair for some snuggling. After Acer calmed down and was heading back to sleep, I looked over and saw this....

Friday, December 21, 2007

Acer is THREE!

Today is Acer's Third Birthday!
What a day this was indeed. We started out by going to his school Santa picture/breakfast. We picked up Mum to join us and away we drove. Acer sat on Santa's lap, tried to swipe Santa's reindeer bells and then had a meltdown when he had to give them back. We had a lovely breakfast of pancakes and ham, while sitting across from schoolmate Lauren; ham is one of Acer's favorite foods. We gave Acer's teachers cd's of some of his favorite music. Acer did a couple projects, one was coloring a tree, they have special expensive paper that puffs up along printed lines, so he can color within the shapes like his cohorts do.

We picked up Acer's beloved Cousin Brandon after school and then came back home. As soon as we were home, Tia Vicki came over with her Christmas presents, she said she just couldn't wait any longer & had to give them to him today. When I told her that it was his birthday anyway that just made it that much easier and more joyful. She got him a cool drum toy and and a keyboard that has many different features including a microphone. So far Acer has only rocked the house to Manamana and Dog train, but he's getting the hang of it. I don't really even know which toy he liked better, he loved them both.

Then both sides of the family went out to eat at our local Chinese restaurant. There were 15 of us total, five children from 1 to 5. Acer looked quite nice in a burgundy sweater and black pants. He got a sit and spin type device from us (Ikea) and a hang it in the door frame swing (and tumble mat to go underneath) from Bill's parents (very cool, Acer LOVES to swing and now will be able to do it year round. We aren't celebrating his birthday in a big way, in fact next year it will probably just be take out at home, but this year we felt we'd do somthing really big but low key. We'll celebrate his gotcha day with the big party in May, or Chinese Children's day in June (the traditional gift giving to children day in China)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This could have been Acer's story

Last week, while cruising waiting child picture lists, I discovered a little boy, almost exactly a year younger than Acer and born without any eyes at all. He caught my attention, his cute face and situation so much like Acer's, and I watched his photo, hoping someone would open their heart for this boy. I wanted to bring him to people's attention and say good things about Acer in the hopes that he would be the joy of some family's life. Then, yesterday, the day before his second birthday, he died. The agency doesn't know why.

It makes me feel so sad that he died never knowing people to call Mama & Baba, and it makes me feel so blessed to have the little man. He could have stayed in China and lived under the care of the orphanage, he had a good foster family who loved him. His future would have been so limited though; at one point before we had him in our arms I wondered if we were doing the right thing by taking him away from this family who had fostered him for years. Then I saw a blind beggar, just sitting and rocking back and forth, God spoke to me through that sight and said "you would sentence him to a life like that" and so I knew it was the right thing to do, to bring him here and give him a chance at an unlimited future.

So today I mourn a little boy I never knew, who never knew a family.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yeah! I got an "A"!

It's been 15 years since I've actually enrolled in any classes, and so I wasn't too sure about taking any more much less correspondence courses. But I did it, I signed up for a free class at the Hadley School for the Blind entitled "Learning through Play". Let me tell you, this was whole new ground for me. Somehow these things don't come up in the horticulture world. It taught me a lot, including simple things like making a line of blocks is actually a building block for bigger and better things. I've learned that despite Acer's gross motor skills being great, his fine motor skills need work, and playstyle wise he's about a year and a half or so behind average. Hmm, does that mean he should or shouldn't play with the over three toys now?
Anyway, the class was no pushover, it would take me hours to complete an assignment even if someone were watching Acer as I thought and typed. Big thanks go out to Mum, Bill and Vicki who each watched Acer at different times so I could complete the class. This is the note my teacher sent when she emailed my grade:

Congratulations on completing the final lesson in the Learning Through Play course! You did a great job on your Lesson 7 examination, and earned an "A+" for it! You also earned an "A" in the course!

You are obviously a dedicated parent who puts a lot of time and energy into providing a quality environment in which Acer can thrive. You definitely understand how to apply what you learn in your studies to your day-to-day life with Acer.

Today I started my new class, "Introduction to Braille" Here's hoping this one goes as well.

Yummy, and the chocolate monster

Note, Bill will post the picture later, Yes, I really need to learn how to do this on my own.

Today, at the end of school, Acer announced that he needed a "yummy". Okay, well, this was a new one on me, he'd never asked for this before, but as I had to stop at Walgreens for pictures anyway, I told him okay.

Our yummy of choice? Pudding cups, they were on special and I saw a chance to have Acer practice better spoon skills.

Wisely, I had Acer strip down to his skivvies before I even had him sit down at the table.
The end result .... I introduce the chocolate monster!



Yes, here he is, and look, he even got down from his chair at one point and decided that he wanted to climb the stairs with those lovely chocolate covered hands.



Note our ever lovely oilcloth table cloth, and the reason WHY I bought it despite having enough tablecloths already. Also, that very cool place mat has braille letters and words on it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fat Squirrel or Long Tailed Woodchuck?


We have the fattest squirrel I've ever seen patrolling our yard for goodies. I swear it's really a groundhog with a squirrel tail. I've left our pumpkins out for it to gnaw on and throw it Acer's apple cores. I haven't seen it since the snow hit, but when it resurfaces, it'll find some good stuff buried in the snow for it. I figure I've got to feed it, how else will its huge self make it through the winter. Don't tell Rugby & Lobelia though, they'll think I'm committing treason by feeding the enemy invader.

How to keep a small man busy when you're sick

This has been my dilemma today. My sinus infection/cold/flu thingy has gotten to the point where I'm now trying to figure out how to keep the little man out of trouble if I have to bow to the porcelain goddess. I have this as my plan.

1) Mention the words "Deep Water Bath"
2) Watch the little man run into the bathroom & peel out of his clothing in joy.
3) Cover bathroom floor with towels
4) Run the deep water bath,
5) Insert child
6) Be sick
7) Recover on floor while being splashed by water from the little man

Okay I think it's a workable plan, here's hoping I don't have to put it in action

Later that evening update, I made it until Bill was able to make it home from work, with a short pitstop on the way for TacoBell. Yes, oddly enough, that settles my stomach.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Slowly, the house gets ready for Christmas

Well, I accomplished a fair bit today.
I took our tree from lit to lit plus some decorations, with Acer's help. Thank you Ikea for 48 unbreakable ornaments! Of course, currently the decorations are all clustered in the three foot and under section of the tree, but I'll add more different ones up higher later.



I also put up our WAY COOL color changing LED Season's greetings sign, both the tree and the sign were major scores from the store I work at. I totally don't mind waiting, or will put up with small and fixable problems for a good price (it's the Scot in me).
I also decorated our scrawny weeping Alaskan cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula') with more super buys from work - five huge dangling ornament strings. I put them up last year and I don't think we ever had as much snow on the ground as we do now.
I'm not sure if we'll be able to get our lights up and running this year, they are mostly up and mostly running but we haven't turned them on yet because I still have to re-fix some. Yup, I actually can fix Christmas lights, even icicles. I've run the same tree lights since '96 if you can believe that.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Now that's really a Michigan snow

This morning when I went to let the dogs out, I actually moved snow with the door. It snowed last night, enough to reach past the bottom of our door thresholds. Finally we have a decent amount of snow!
It's 11:30 and my two favorite Y chromosome carriers are out in the snow. Bill is shovelling and Acer is "Helping". I can see Acer's mouth is constantly in motion, which means he is telling Bill about all sorts of important things, like "Momma said no light bulbs in the mouth" or Grannie Pat says "Eca scuse me!" or "Bananas in the shopping cart, Boom!"



The snow just from our sidewalk and driveway is halfway up Acer's thighs and every now and then I see Bill pick Acer up and toss him in the snowbank, to Acer's obvious delight. I've taken pictures, through the window, so there are funny smudges because of the snow on the window and the flash.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dragon Hat

Last winter, when we were hoping to have Acer home for Christmas, I bought fleece in Acer's colors and asked ever talented Sister-In-Law Kerry to make us matching hats with dragon tails. Alex, Acer and Bill have hats, I have a hood with scarf combo, but all have these lovely tails.




Drawer Organization

I have an unusual personality in many ways (if you couldn't guess), this is just one of them; I love to organize but don't really like to keep them that way. I have made an exception in the case of Acer's clothes, I keep re-organizing them so frequently that I surprised Bill can find clothing to dress him in on the days I work. Here're pictures of my most recent efforts.

I've sorted his shirts by color and length of sleeve, and then turned them up on end so I don't have to sort through stacks to get the shirts I want. Then I can just re-file them into their correct spot after they come out of the wash.

Here is Acer's pants drawer; all his pants seemed to be different lengths and I just wasn't able to stack them or to get into any sort of a system, until now! I roll them up and make lines of jeans, cords, overalls etc. All neat and clean and easy to find Yeah! (okay, little things like this really do amuse me)

Friday, December 07, 2007

You can help those in need with just a click

Howdy,
Please visit the free rice for the UN site (link just below our picture in the sidebar). There you can test your vocab and donate rice at the same time. This is not just a holiday event so I would ask that if you visit our site, you'd just click over there afterwards and make a quick donation, 10 grains of rice at at a time.

Also, Pepsi will donate up to 50,000 dollars to second harvest. You can visit our snowglobe and then make your own. The amount donated will depend on how many people make snowglobes. We were just #160 so I hope that there will be many many more.
Our Snow Globe

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Haircut

Well, Acer is not too happy with the latest haircut. I cut the back of his hair up to the level of his shortest layer of hair, which meant - I had to shave the back of his neck up. He keeps feeling it and saying fuzzy.

I thought he would like it because he loved it when Bill's hair was short and fuzzy like that. Oh well. I also keep trying to even it out, but everytime we've washed it or combed it out, it gets uneven again because his hair has moved. I've decide to stop trying to even it out before I'm left with a boy who only has a topknot of hair left. While this is a very traditional Chinese haircut, it's just not what I was hoping the little man's hair would look like.

The things that make you go hmm...

One of Acer's favorite outfits to request is "baba" pants (corduroys) and a polo shirt. I wasn't sure why he liked to wear his various shirts and pants that go by those two descriptions. Yesterday I figured out why. Even though we'd never told him that Bill wears polo shirts to work, he does. Acer (correctly) told me I was wearing a polo shirt yesterday after feeling the fabric. Therefore; Acer knows Bill wears polos and cords and Acer wants to wear them together just like Bill does.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Playing in the snow

It finally snowed here over the weekend, and we were able to go out in the snow the other day. I decided that doing a "snow walk" would be best, and get the little man out and walking, and allow him some practice navigating in his snow pants and snow boots.

It also was raining, so I found out for sure that he likes rain when he took off his hood and held out his hands, looking up into the rain, and just saying "rain" with a happy look on his face. I can't wait until the spring/summer warm rains, so he can go out and play in them.

That day, I was asked to look at the sound system at the church where Heather and I were married, and mum was asked to watch Acer while he napped. While there, the new pastor said, "You are coming to the potluck, aren't you?" So I was able to head home, and get ready, get Acer, and bring him back, just in time for the meal. I found that he will eat just about anything put in front of him, as he ate: BBQ meatballs, Chicken w/ gravy and stuffing, Sausage with sauerkraut, chili, and fruit. I was able to get the chicken wings before the little locust was able to eat those too... :) Well, I am glad he liked all the foods. After the meal, uncle James took him around to meet people of the church, and they ended up in the church library, where Acer played the piano, it looks like he will be learning that one before too long.

Well, i have to get to work, so I will wrap up this post with the images of that day, all wrapped in a slideshow.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Dern, I cursed us.

I shouldn't have mentioned that Acer was sleeping in, I doomed myself. I think he's now figured out that if he wants to see Bill in the morning, he has to wake up early. Both yesterday and today we were awoken by a small man voice saying "Go see Baba?" at a whopping 6:20 in the morning. Bill gets up with him and lets me sleep for those few blessed minutes. Yesterday he startled us by stripping down and joining Bill in the shower, today we were more prepared for his declaration of intention to join Bill in the shower. I will admit it is pretty funny to lie half asleep in bed and listen to their shower conversation; Acer is a water hog and wants to stand in the middle of the water stream. I'm not sure how someone who is half Bill's height and a small fraction of Bill's weight manages to take up more of the tub than Bill does, but by the conversation I hear, that's what happens.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

So much to say, such a little bit of time before Acer needs my attention again

Howdy!
Well, we've had a blissful couple of weeks in our own bed, re-learning how we snuggle and fit together. Acer has been sleeping at least in until 7:15, I think he's no longer as bothered by Bill's waking up at 6:30. Still earlier than my 8:30 -9:00 normal waking time, but I'll take that 45 minutes, no problem.
Well, little man needs me, I'll continue this later.
Heather

Acer is now eating second breakfast, so that gives me a few to continue before we head off to school.

We're working on Acer's dressing himself. I will admit I was dressing him myself because it was easier & faster, but it's definitely time. He has the skills to do it, I just have to be able to explain it in a way he'll understand. The hardest to me is the shirts, explaining how to put his arms through and how he'll know the difference between a collar and a sleeve by feel. Any suggestions?

Acer enjoyed his first " 'sgiving meal " at Bill's parents. Mum and James were invited but James was sick so he stayed home to work on getting better. Mum enjoys going and helps Bill's Mom as much as she can in the kitchen. Sometimes things are not done exactly as Sue would do them, but she's earnest in her desire to help.
Acer behaved reasonably well until he knocked down a block tower his cousin made, which had just been knocked down by the youngest cousin and re-built. It never occurred to me that he would do this and precipitate a major meltdown. He was on his way to Bill and nothing ever has deterred him from doing this before. I just wasn't close enough to prevent him. Sigh.

It has finally gotten cold enough for it to snow, but it hasn't stuck yet. Acer ate his first handful of snow Monday. Can't let him do it too frequently because I need to protect his precious hands, even more than I'd have to on a sighted child. frostbite would be devastating and the little man HATES mittens. Thankfully he's obedient enough to leave his mittens on once they're on, otherwise I'd be in trouble.

One last item, Acer has a new name for himself, started it on Thanksgiving morning - Mister Grin - Not sure how he came up with it but I love it. It so describes his engaging grin and charisma.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Asleep in our own beds!

Yes, yes indeed. After 6 months of sharing a bed, for bonding purposes and because he shared a bed with his foster parents, Acer is sleeping thru the night in his own bed.
We tried having him sleep on air mattress next to our bed one night, he slept for a couple hours & then was just sobbing heart wrenching sobs, so we let him in with us.

The next night we moved him up into his bed, which he's used to napping in. He slept 4 hours before the sobs started and we brought him in with us. We'd also moved back into our old bedroom, so that we were just across the hall from him instead of downstairs.
Two nights ago he slept through the entire night, 11 and a half hours. Yeah! The first uninterrupted sleep we've had since May 13th!
Last night he slept through too! Yeah! we're on a roll!

He tends to sleep sideways on the bed, so I tucked blankets into both the top and bottom so he can snuggle where ever he decides to sleep.

Now we will start the great furniture migration, We live in a tri-level and Bill and I had turned the lowest level into a sort of bedroom suite for us, and Acer. Acer's room has been serving as our TV room. We'll need to move the gaming and TV stuff downstairs and a dresser upstairs into his room.

Some furniture and a rug will move downstairs for the seating area part of that room and the other part will be both the gaming and TV area and the futon will be both seating and spare bed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

6 Months, what a ride it's been.

Wow, it doesn't seem like it has been 6 months since we got our much yearned for and prayed about little guy handed to us. I still haven't seen the video of it yet (mainly 'cause we're not sure where it is) but the swell of emotion I felt still makes my eyes tear up. It was incredible.

Then we had the endless weeks of not being able to sleep. I think we had a little post-partum like depression going on because we were so tired, that derned reality reared it's ugly head. We still loved our little guy just as much, and we totally expected something of the sort. Expecting however it, is not living it.

We survived and now after 6 months of the little one sharing the bed with us for bonding purposes, we're ready to transition him, and us into our long term beds and bedrooms.
He is such a joy, even when his lower jaw is stuck out stubbornly and tears are in his eyes because he's been denied something when he was too tired or hungry to have another method to deal with it.

It was a long and stressful trip from the very first form we filled out until we arrived home from the airport. The thought that our futures were on sheets of paper that decisions were being made about by total strangers, well that wasn't an easy one for someone who likes to be in control. I would do it again in a heartbeat to get the little man.

November is National Adoption Month. I think we're going to be celebrating it truly for the first time ever. If you think it might be for you, drop me a line, I've been on both sides of the fence, as birth mother and adoptive mother.

Ski pants like a swim vest

Acer received his first Christmas present early, on Sunday night. Vicki delivered it for her sister Lori. Lori and Vicki are my oldest friends; I still remember running down the street and meeting Lori running down the street to meet me. The excitement as we found out we were both three and then running over to meet their parents. I don't think I played more with any other children than with Lori and Vicki in the sun or the snow, we'd suit up and off we'd go. I even remember how excited we were when our parents let us take thermoses of hot tea outside with us in the winter.
So, it was entirely appropriate that Acer's first pair of snow pants would come from Lori. She also sent two pair of pants, a shirt, fleece jacket and a 'nice hoodie' (to use Acer's own words)
We tried on the ski pants right away and Acer immediately announced 'Ski pants like a swim vest' I think because they were padded and went over his shoulders. He's in an analogy stage, almost everything is like something else. He has some logic to it, but it can be hard to figure out what he means sometimes. This one was easy though.
Thanks Lori for such a great gift, and sent early so that I won't have to worry about finding them!


Acer with Tia Vicki and the new toy

New toy on the move

The nice hoodie

Acer in Lori gear

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fantastic blanket

This incredibly wonderful blanket was made for Acer by my sister-in-law Kerry's Mom, Mrs M.. I couldn't believe it, it is so cool that my pictures don't begin to do it justice. She made this; consulting with friends and finding all these different kinds of fabric and making the super cool dragon, putting his name on it, using little tiny buttons to make the braille letters for the different words. I am in awe and thankful that she chose to use her time and talents to make such a neat-o nifty cool item for our little guy. I am also running out of superlatives!

We use it as a car blanket for Acer, It not only keeps him warm, it can keep him busy!



Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween At Last!



I think the captions explain the night, I'll just flesh it out a little bit.

We played our Mannheim Steamroller halloween cd's so that people could hear them as they walked up to the door and we had our giant blow up monster up and running. We used some of Acer's school art to decorate the door and I had a few pumpkin decorations of glass and terracotta. We had our real pumpkins on the porch, but we'd never gotten them carved! Oh well, it's so hard when we're playing tag team parenting to do much of anything together.

We just went up and down the street, about 15 houses were open for business so to speak, We could have gone onto another street, but that was really enough for Acer. He'll get the hang of it soon enough, he has an expert for a teacher. I went until I was 18! Acer even used my old pumpkin (yes I still had it, but really, I just used it for decoration;) )

Back at the house Mum gave out about 6 bags of candy and when we got back we gave out another two. We're in a big area for trick or treating, but it was a school night, so not as many were out as had been in past years.

We also put the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the best use it's had so far. We used it to keep the dogs upstairs so they didn't spasm at every trick or treater. I think for sheer volume from them it was our quietest Halloween ever.

I hope everybody had a good Halloween and sent up some thoughts to the big guy for All souls/saints day.

My beautiful tiny tree





This is a Kamagata Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum'Kamagata'). It's less than a foot tall and grows only about an inch a year. (What can I say, I like all my perennials to be over 4' tall and all my evergreens and trees to be dwarfs or miniatures.) Anyway, this year the color on it has been incredible, and has been so for some weeks. I had to take a picture; it is just this little blotch of bright color in a garden that is dying back for winter.

This is what you find if you don't get to the bathroom as quickly as Acer thinks you should!





Yes, the little man crawls up and stands on the seat! He's very stable, I've watched him. I don't want to reprimand him while he's doing it because he might fall. I don't want to discourage him from going to the bathroom so... I just walk in, pull down his pants & sit him down (facing the tank). Thank heavens he's not trying to pull his pants down too, that could be disasterous!

The good Lord has a sense of humor

This is a fact. Why else would I be named Heather (Calluna vulgaris) Anise (Pimpinella anisum) Bowman (Bowman's Root - Gillenia trifoliata) and be a horticulturist?

This is why I bring it up today. I am not a morning person. I have uttered such bon mots in the morning like "you're talking to me." to Mum as my brain exploded with the effort of having a conversation before 9 AM. So the Lord gives me a wonderful, funny, smart, musical joy of a son. Yeah! Except the Lord said, nothing is perfect (except him) so we'll have to give him a personality flaw. Yes, my little man is a morning person.

Today he started rolling on and over me at about 5. I tried my best to convince him to stay quiet as Bill had a rare morning to sleep in past 7, but it was rough. In Acer's defense, this was his quietest not allowed to get up yet morning. When Bill's alarm finally went off, I asked him to take the little man so I could get some more sleep. Oh those blissful 45 minutes!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mama, were you there when...

Something that came to me as I was drifting off to sleep. I was thinking I'd make it into a book for Acer. Feel free to alter words to fit your little ones if you want, maybe to go in their lifebook or something. Obviously Acer doesn't know how to do some of the things I'm saying we were there for, yet. I was just writing down milestones for the future.





Mama, were you there when I was born?

No little man. After we found you, we came as soon as we could to bring you home and love you.

Mama, Were you there when I learned to crawl?

No little man. After we found you, we came as soon as we could to bring you home and love you.

Mama were you there when I learned to walk?

No little man. After we found you, we came as soon as we could to bring you home and love you.

Mama, were you there when I learned to talk?

No little man. After we found you, we came as soon as we could to bring you home and love you.

Mama, were you there when I learned to run?

No little man. After we found you, we came as soon as we could to bring you home and love you.

Mama, were you there when I learned to sing?

No little man. After we found you, we came as soon as we could to bring you home and love you.

Mama, were you there when I learned to ride my tricycle?

Yes, little man, We came and brought you home and loved you forever. We were there when you learned to ride your tricycle.

Mama, were you there when I learned to swim?

Yes, little man, We came and brought you home and loved you forever. We were there when you learned to swim.

Mama, were you there when I learned to speak English?

Yes, little man, We came and brought you home and loved you forever. We were there when you learned to speak English.

Mama, were you there when I learned to dress myself?

Yes, little man, We came and brought you home and loved you forever. We were there when you learned to dress yourself.

Mama, were you there when I learned to write?

Yes, little man, We came and brought you home and loved you forever. We were there when you learned to ride your tricycle.

Mama, were you there when I learned to read?

Yes, little man, We came and brought you home and loved you forever. We were there when you learned to read.



Little Man, Mama and Baba love you and want you forever!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Acer's first Halloween Party!

Acer had a party today at his school, Both he and I dressed up and away we went. Acer as the world's cutest monkey and yours truly as "Bill in the Morning."

I actually got Acer to keep his hood up long enough for me to take this picture and then we were off to the store and then to school. Good thing I had Acer with me as a quiet bit of explanation, there were people who thought I seriously looked like this all the time!


Here we stopped at teacher Miss Diane's table where she had Acer ice a cookie and add sprinkles. He ate the whole thing and then thanked her as prompted, but ad libbed and added "for the cookie" I think he's making strides in sentence construction!



Here I am in all my glory, a passing mom took the photo for us, Acer was in grumpy mode so please ignore his look.



Afterwards we stopped at Vicki's and I had Acer practice "Trick or treat". I think it was successful as she did indeed give him a small package of candy.

Mum came over this afternoon and watched Acer as I worked on my class assignment. She ate dinner with us and then we all headed off to church. Mum and Acer headed off to the nursery, she volunteered to watch him while we were in the service. It was wonderful, for the first time since we came home in May, Bill and I were able to go to church together. Usually one of us stays in and the other takes the disruptive element (Acer) out of the sanctuary.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More pictures today!

I love to take pictures of the ittle man sleeping, I have no idea why I do, but I do. This is another picture of him, really. there's an Acer sized lump under that comforter.




Acer took these two pictures (with only a little help from Mama) He aimed the camera straight out and I only had had help him push the button. Self-focusing cameras to the rescue. Now we know how Acer would see Rugby - stright on looking him directly in the face!





This is the ever so Fashionable little man in his woodsman look. Who knew they made chamois shirts so tiny!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I feel about this big

What a morning,
I was grumpy, and getting grumpier with all Acer's morning requests and activities. He was getting into the box we keep his dinnerwear & cutlery in and throwing stuff around and other stuff like that. So, when I heard him open the dishwasher and pull the bottom shelf out, I got grumpier yet again, when I heard him try to close it and the crash of all the plates, I went ballistic.

I sat him on the ground and "discussed" getting into the dishwasher with him as I put away all the dishes.

Then I got to the end & saw one of his little forks sitting on the open door, lonely & silently accusing.


Yes, the little man had tried to help and tried to put his fork into the cutlery basket.

Poor little guy, I've probably scarred him for life and he'll never want to do dishes ever again. Sometime in the future I'll have to tell my daughter in law why he'll never willingly do dishes.

:(

I did hug and snuggle with him and tell him I was wrong for being so angry and apologized for being grumpy. Suddenly I felt a lot less grumpy 'cause the little man still says he loves me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

God is good (as if you didn't know that already)

This has been a tight month here financially, I've been working more hours at work, 6 days a week, and Bill had been trying to find other things to do for money (this Saturday he's working at a stage show in the evening). We are so blessed compared to many many others that I'm not complaining, I count all my blessings as they come, including the ability to have a mortgage to have to pay.

So, yesterday two friends, one's two year old, Acer and I went to a big mall grand opening here. We decided to go to it and get there early. It was mildly lousy weather, rain on and off and the little ones definitely aren't used to staying in one place for an hour. So we went to the Parisian store opening, got our free give away, small black lunch type bag and then continued thru the mall. We ended up getting into a line for a clothing store as the line was short by this point, walked in & got handed gift cards! I was excited, 'cause this place is a perfect place to shop, not for me, but for someone else who'll get the card for Christmas! Yeah!

Today God bought Acer a pair of black pants for our family portrait. I've been shopping for them, but didn't want to spend much on them, so I wasn't having any luck. So, fast forward to today and ... Our next door neighbor is a lovely woman and ever so nice to live next to. I'd told her about an ornament at work, hand painted from Russia, with a beautiful picture of Northern MI in winter and the Mackinaw bridge on it. It is a pricey ornament, but she and her 10 year old walked across the bridge this year, It was on the same day as her dec. husband's birthday and it opened the year Linda was born. We only got in 100 of these company wide, so I asked her if she were interested I'd pick her up one, and use my discount. I brought it over to her today, and her change from the purchase. Because they were on sale and I got my discount, it was significantly less than we'd expected. to my amazement she pulled a bill out of the change and handed it to me to "Buy something for Acer" I immediately told her she'd just bought a pair of pants for Acer, I was so stunned, I was almost in tears. God cares even about something so tiny as the right color pants for a little boy.

Friday, October 12, 2007

FFFF #51 - Sweet Tooth

This week's Friday Family Foto Fun was an easy category for us, although I think it should be sub titled, Messy face sweet tooth because all the pictures we took of him eating sweets were because of the cute mess he was making of it. The first one is of Acer's eating his first chocolate chip cookie, the second is apple leather made by Bill's Mom, the third is frozen custard and the forth is from licking the bowl when we made brownies. I guess I should say that the apple leather one is not a messy face one, but the picture is blurry so that makes up for it.
Heather

Thursday, October 11, 2007

School Fundraising... another step forward down the path of parenthood

Yes, Bill and I are enjoying a part of parenthood many of our friends and relatives have already enjoyed; The school fund-raising drive. Now is the time we go back to those we've supported in the past and ask for a return of the favor, oh joy. But hey, we signed on to be parents and that's part of the job too.
Acer goes to MIPP - Macomb Infant Preschool Program, a program for the special needs children in our county, under three years old. These are kids with all levels of learning disabilities and the fundraiser helps the school purchase supplies and toys to spark their interest and expand their abilities. They have lent us toys and books for Acer to use at home and are a group of caring and concerned people.

One of the things I like is the ability to personalize gifts and to order on line for shipment to your home. One of the things I REALLY like is that the fund raising company gives to Smile Train, and helps fund cleft palate surgeries around the world.

Here's the letter the fundraising people sent us to send out, very bland I think, but what can I say.

Acer is currently doing an online fundraiser for MIPP ROCKWELL... and you can help!


Go to www.kathrynbeich.com before 11/12/2007
Shop from their great selection of personalized items, chocolates, and more!
Enter 144364 under Option 1 after selecting an item.


By entering number 144364, you'll credit Acer and Mipp Rockwell with a large percentage of your purchase price.


Acer thanks you for all your help!

Aunt Kerry's sweater and the Baba pants

Wednesday it was finally cool enough that I decided Acer could wear a sweater to school. Aunt Kerry the ever talented, knitted this lovely hoodie sweater for the little man, she calls it a wallaby. I've been waiting for an opportunity to have him wear it for ages. Then, lo and behold, in the drawer of Acer's pants I discovered someone had given us these lovely cords. (Acer loved it, he calls cords 'Baba Pants" because Bill wears cords whenever he can, even in 90 degree weather.) I couldn't believe I had such a lovely outfit and so great to wear to school




Household decor

I love to organize, I may not keep things that way but I do like the initial process. This is just a litte funny thing I decided to share with you, part of my cleaning up for Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday. I've seen others have nice little rolled up hand towels in pretty baskets, but mine is much more practical. Yes, those are rolled up little boy underwear sitting nicely on the back of my toilet tank!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

To all my Canadian Friends and Family, wherever you've been transferred to or from during your life, Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Canadian Thanksgiving, It's at a much more logical time of the year, not crammed in so close to Christmas. We started celebrating it a few years back, Inviting Mum, James and Brandon, and then added friends with no family in the area. Mum still has her Canadian citizenship so it really is a legitimate holiday for us to celebrate.

We got up early and started on laundry and sorting stuff around the house. Acer went down for his nap and I went into turkey prep mode. I cooked my first Thanksgiving Dinner when I was 10 and at Mum's we used to cook turkey frequently for meals because it was cheap. Back in '85 my cousin Jean taught me a three hour turkey cooking method (listed below) that I have used ever since. This year, I couldn't use it because I would have had to turn the oven down while I was in class with Acer, which obviously wouldn't work from 8 miles away.

Mum met us at the house early and helped with prepping the table and other tasks which left me free to cook. Thanks Mum! James watched Acer so he didn't become a danger in the kitchen during the busiest period of cooking.

We had Mum, James, Bill's Uncle Gordon, our friend Carl, our friends Betty & Becky Fonfara all sitting aroung around the table at the same time with the three of us. It was nice. Conversation flowed freely and the variety of topics covered was as broad ranging as appendix operations and income tax improvement ideas. Bill had picked up a dutch apple pie for dessert and it was lovely.

Thanks to Uncle Gordon for bringing the befores of cheese & crackers and to Betty for bringing her "crabtoes" and lovely baked squash casserole.

Also Acer behaved himself really, really well during the meal. He ate and leaned on my arm and drank milk for a great deal of the time. Bill put him to bed before we ate dessert and he was quiet very soon afterwards. Acer goes from full tilt talking & kicking in the bed to dead quiet and asleep in a matter of seconds, but the kicking and talking can go on for an hour and a half sometimes. Then the magic sleep button is pushed and poof! he's asleep. Thankfully That night was a short time until sleep

Jean's turkey cooking method - gets raves. No basting needed.
you'll need a brown grocery bag, clean. (you can use a cooking bag too if desperate)
Clean out turkey, don't stuff. (I don't believe in stuffed turkeys because of all the possible issues)
Season as normal
Pre heat oven to 500 degrees
cook at 500 for one hour (yes, and the bag does not catch on fire, this seals in the juices)
cook at 400 for an hour
cook at 300 for an hour
Turkey is done.

Heather's turkey recipe - also gets raves even if Jean's method is not used. no basting needed either
Start this about an hour before you're supposed to put it in the oven, to give it time to get the best flavor
you'll need three oranges and a pound of bacon, plus toothpicks
Peel and slice oranges about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick
Use toothpicks affix the oranges over the turkey breast and drumsticks. I usually go thru the center white core and they stay.
I then let it sit until it's almost time to go in the oven.
Then, use the tooth pick to hold the bacon in place and drape the turkey in bacon. Place in pre-heated over and cook following Jean's method or normal 325 degrees for x amount of time.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Acer enters the Matrix

This evening I was holding Acer, then I set him on the counter, still holding him but much easier on my back. I don't think I've ever done this before on this counter and Acer decided this was a wonderful time to explore everything on the counter. Little man was having a rough, grumpy night, I think he was extra hot and tired today; so, Acer wouldn't stop grabbing at everything and he wasn't listening. I simply took him down from the counter to solve the problem I'd created. Acer was extremely upset at being taken from the new treasures he was discovering and destroying, He held on to my hands and tried to scale the cupboards to get back up. As you can see, Acer did some extremely interesting moves before melting completely down. If his legs were just a few inches longer he would have made it, no problem I'm sure.

Gotta get the little man into gymnastics class I think.

Also on the list of things in the 'who would have thunk it' category this evening. Acer's green Ikea rocking horse made it into the kitchen and next to a different set of cupboards. So he stood on it to check out that counter top. It made sense to him, and he was balanced enough, just made us a little unbalanced to see it.

Heather



Problem Solving 101

Last night, we asked Acer to help put the groceries away. He was willing and carried a few cans to the pantry cupboard, dumped a few freezer container lids down the stairs, and then brought me the 300 ounce container of laundry detergent. I waited on the stairs, Bill took pictures and we watched as Acer tried different ways to move this heavy object the three feet to where I was waiting. He first tried picking it up, and succeeded in moving it a few inches. He then pushed, pulled, shoved and grunted and after a bit, managed to get the container to me. He never asked for help, and he certainly asks for it readily enough, he was determined to do this himself and help us out!
Heather

Acer's Hair

Acer's hair is a concern to the both of us, as we work on getting his now longer than crew cut length to do something, anything, that doesn't leave him looking like Moe Howard. I tend to part it on the side, because of the placement of his cowlick, but Saturday Bill tried to have it all go straight back away from his face. Despite the fact that I've cut Acer's hair for a side part, this looked pretty good and managed to stay that way for a while. I may need to re-cut it back to even again just to give us a better choice of hairstyles. I actually think it's kind of funny, that the both us us, with naturally curly hair and no real skills in hair styling are doing our best to make sure the little guy looks good. We could just cop out and let it be, but we're working on getting the most attractive look for him. I just can't wait until the rest of his hair grows out from the crew cut and gives us a few more options.

Heather

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Parrot

Acer frequently repeats what he hears, this is normal for a 2.75 year old. What I find unusual is that he repeats both sides of a conversation,including changing his voice and inflections to imitate the speaker's voice.
example (currently being repeated ad nauseum)

A. euuhh (said in a tone of minor distress)
A. What's the matter? Use words, tell Mama" (said in a different voice, supposedly mine)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Made by Aunt Stephie

This week, I've been feeling pretty happy about Acer's bonding as we have multiple conversations a day following this script
A. "Mama"
H. "Acer"
A. "Acer's Mama"
H. " Yes and that makes me happy"
A. "Mama Happy!"

He also has been far more affectionate than before, looking for physical closeness.
Another quote has been an adaptation of my words " Mama yao ni Forever!" which is a Chinese-English mix of "Mama wants you forever" Acer says "Acer yao ni mama forever"

So I was feeling pretty good until the other day when I'd put him down for his nap, with Aunt Stephie's blanket, and had finished doing his lotion on the belly and lotion on the legs ritual we do (theoretically it calms him for the nap, in reality it is just good for soothing his scratch & surgery scars) Anyway, I'd left him to get to sleep when I hear "Acer Yao Lotion Forever"

hmm, I rate right up there with lotion! Yeah Me!

Mum and Acer Stepping out

Mum came over Monday so that I could work on my monthly article for the MI gardener magazine (for those in MI, I am euphemistically called "English Gardens Experts) I had a harder time than usual getting anything accomplished because Acer still wanted to be in the room with me, attached to my leg. So I sent Mum and Acer out for a walk, all went quiet and I typed away. Soon, I thought I heard the back gate open & close. I thought I was mistaken, or perhaps it was just the dogs rattling the gate. However, I quickly figured out what had made the noise, Mum had correctly interepreted Acer's 'Tricycle follow Grannie Pat on sidewalk' request, located the tricycle and I heard Acer's gleeful shouts of "Go! Go! Go!" out the window.
Go Mum!



Acer the Monk

Wednesday was Acer's third day of school and Acer's first day with his play group. We got up as normal and had our shower early so we wouldn't be in a rush later. Acer ran around in his robe for a while as you can see below.



After Acer had breakfast, morning activity and then mid-morning snack, we headed off. Acer was and extremely grumpy little man. He was upset during most of the class. Miss Cathy took pity on me and gave him his first whole apple to chew on. He might have had apples in China but they are different in taste and texture than the standard US apple. Who would've guessed that he would be that hungry well before his normal lunch time? I felt embarrassed, like I was a neglectful mom who never fed her kid. He ate snack of Applesauce & Juice & then resumed munching on that apple. The rest of the class, three little girls, got their apples after class. Miss Diane said he did well enough, that some kids cry the ENTIRE first class. It was still frustrating, because I know he likes playing with other kids.
So we headed off home and I cooked him his requested chicken nuggets. The boy must have been hollow yesterday, because he ate a whopping 15 chicken nuggets! He usually only eats 4 or 5, then he drank 2 more bottles of milk after nap! He also ate a huge dinner.
This morning it's not yet 10:30 and he's eaten, bowl of cereal, glass of milk, an egg, and is now going for his second string cheese! Note by 11:30 he'd added a handful of dried cherries and a stem of grapes and is asking for more grapes!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

This sounds excellent

I've been looking at guide dog programs for Acer so this caught my eye USA Today. We'll be ordering copies of all six books as soon as we can. I love the idea that it also helps pay for more dog assistants for veterans, a double blessing.

Unfortunately I don't think Acer will be able to get a guide dog before he's 16. As he gets closer though to that age, I'll make sure he's on the waiting list, if he wants to be, I know more blind people without dogs than with though. so who knows which way he'll go.


BTW
We asked Acer if school were good or bad yesterday and he replied that school was good. Yeah!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

First Day of School!

And what a day it was. Bill took off a half day from work to be there and since it's Grandparents week at the school, Mum stopped in too. Bill's Boss, Matt, gave us an official first day of school sign to hold for the pictures we took, he's always done it for his two boys and it seems like a good tradition to follow. Thanks Matt!.


We started with time with the Occupational Therapist, Miss Diane. In her classroom, Acer played in a ball pit, bounced on a GIANT ball, played with a few toys and, to his great dismay, learned that there are rules in school. His first rule, which we had to enforce later, was that if you go up the stairs to the slide, you have to slide down the slide. Acer just wanted to play on the stairs, not make the whole trip. He has to learn this for school because there may be other children behind him wanting to come down. It makes sense to us, but when he went up the stairs to a slide in a different room, he didn't like the enforcing of this rule. Major meltdown.
We went from Miss Diane's room to Miss Cathy's room, she'll be working on different aspects that Miss Diane won't and she's also the visually impaired students' teacher. She gave me some good literature that I'll be reading as soon as I can. We also signed paperwork requesting an orientation and mobility specialist, someone to teach him canework. PTL! I can't wait, it will be great because he won't have such a bruised forehead that I worry people will think I'm beating him!
Well, had to post quickly, need to head off to work. Bill will add pix later
Heather

Bill added the following also:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Acer, Now A Schoolboy

Today Acer was enrolled in a Pre-Preschool though our local SN school district. He'll attend about an hour at a time, twice a week. We met with various people and signed lots of papers. One gentleman had visited us in the home, and there were three woman, therapists and teachers of different sorts, who helped us set up goals. The school district only has tis program through age three, so in June he'll be switched to our local district for preschool and he'll stay there 'til he graduates high-school. If he were less able, the SN school district would perhaps have him for longer or perhaps take over his schooling again when he's older.



One of the best things was that the physical therapist said she didn't see any needs for her services, but mentioned getting in a mobility specialist to teach him cane work. other than that I think we're mainly concentrating on gettng Acer to respond correctly to requests ie, put this here or can you find the two similiar items out of this pile) Some goals had to be re-set because they were too easy, like learning up and down. Currently I'm teaching him incline & decline as we walk the sidewalk. Acer has an incredible grasp of the slightest change in ground elevation, often he'll tell me we're going up or down before I've noticed it myself. I think it's the built in altimeter we noticed the first few weeks we had him when he would notice we were sitting down, even if he were asleep.

So, tomorrow at 2:30 Acer will head off to school, with me, for our mutual first day of pre-school.



Also, I experimented with the hair goop. I think I used too much and that his hair is too long, it just looked weird.

Maybe tomorrow instead of spiked, I'll try for a simple part & see how that works. I really need to get this down so that when the time comes, I can teach him how to do it himself. I've never really cared that much about my own hair. Curls like mine do what they want unless I put a lot more effort into it than I really want to. I just don't want Acer to suffer for my hair knowledge lack. Oh well, at least I'll have some years to practice. I should have it down by the time he reaches kindergarten!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our First Date!

Okay, so we're married, we've obviously had more than one date. This was our first just the two of us event since 5/13/2007, which was when Acer was placed in our arms. We've had James or Mum watch him while one was at work and he other had to be somewhere, a whopping two times total, but other than that Acer has always been with one of us.

We had a lovely day at our friends', Curtis and Teresa, wedding. It was at a beautiful old banquet hall in a lovely park on a perfect weather day. The bride was especially beautiful, she's beautiful to begin with, and the groom was handsome and looked appropriately stunned/in love as Teresa walked down the aisle. Curtis has family and friends who've adopted, so I asked him if he'd started his dossier yet ( instead of the standard when are you going to start a family). He also has a good friend in his best man whose son had the best small asian boy hair we've seen. I buttonholed him to ask what the product they used was called and believe I bought the right stuff today. Thanks for the tip, here's hoping that after years of not ever having to do much with my hair I'll be able to do something decent with Acer's.

Six and a half hours after we left, we were back home and James was free to escape off to church for the evening service. Acer didn't even do the happy boy dance when we came home so I guess it was no big deal for him to be left with Uncle James. Of course Uncle James, Bill and Acer spend several evenings a week together to go grocery shopping for both houses.

Acer has started calling my Mommy sometimes, it's more English, but it's a bit of a shocker because somehow it feels like it's part of his growing up. He's also started calling me Acer's Mama, that makes me feel good, his staking a claim on me so to speak.

The dogs are both getting better, but Lobelia shaved off sections of both front paws, so she's still moving very slowly. Rugby's mainly back to normal except he seems to be having loud dreams more frequently than before. Today he woke Lobelia up with his closed mouth howl while he slept. She just lifted up her head up and looked at me like "what the heck is he doing?"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Snoozin through the ages

FFFF#48 Snoozing

Heather loves to take pictures of the little man sleeping. Here is an excerpt of them, sorted by date, that shows the progression. This is our first FFFF, but it was a natural for us as we already had so many of these pictures.



See http://lovinglydia.typepad.com/ For more Snoozers

Saturday, September 22, 2007

So very sore

The dogs are still recuperating, slowly. They think long and hard before they decide to change floors, heck they think hard about changing position on the floor. Bill had to go out and help Lobelia back into the house last night, I think she would have stayed outside all night otherwise.

Rugby is actually getting better faster than Lobelia and he's six years older. Well, another day another aspirin and more rest should see a marked improvement when I come home tonight.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm so excited

Bill has put our travel group gallery up and 3 other people have put their pictures in. This is cool because frequently we would be in a shot of theirs or they might have a different angle on something that I like better than ours. So, I've been pulling off pictures, from two different albums, & putting them in a folder on my desktop. Today I moved them to iPhoto (yes I am a Mac person, we have a mixed marriage). When I put them in a folder with existing pictures, I was able to simply arrange them by time. Now they all mesh and I have an incredibly complete picture of this portion of the trip. Yeah!

Bill knows I like to organize things, may not keep them that way but I like to organize, and the fact that our photos were not in chronological order bothered me. Hence my excitement at being able to select a function and have them all nice, Neat & in order, just how I think it should be.

Doctor, I've been Shot!

Oh, no, that should be Dr, why are you giving me shots. Acer had three of them yesterday, and although I'd prepared him as best I could beforehand by telling him he was going to the Dr's, he was going to get shots and that it would hurt (but only for a little while) He was really pretty good. It only took two of us, instead of the four it took last time, to hold him still. He immediately tore off the bandaids but at least he's caught up for a little while. I guess we go back in Nov. for some more. by then he should have even more words and will be better able to understand.

I did put him on the scale there & he's holding steady at thirty one and a half pounds. He's a healthy weight, but he's only gained a pound since we became a family. I guess I keep expecting a growth spurt or something. I guess this really means he was well taken care of, if I couldn't figure that out before this just confirms it. They fed him well and really kept him developmentally on track, which can be hard to do with a blind child. I'm thankful.

Dogs On the Run !

Well, let's just say it involved; a two and a half year old, three bags of groceries, and a squirrel across the street. They were off & running thru the subdivision without a backwards glance. By the time I was able to get in the beater & chase after them, with Acer yelling "Lobelia Car" helpfully from the back seat, they were gone. I couldn't even hear any neighborhood dogs barking at an invasion in their territory to try to locate them that way. This was at 10:30 in the morning, by the time we left at 3:20 there was still no sign of them. I left all the water bowls full, the gate open and the back door open enough for them to slip in. Rugby's collar has my cell phone on it, so I made sure Bill had it in case they were found, he could respond.

All night at work, I kept waiting for him to call, but he never did. So I drove home & opened up the car door et viola! there was Rugby, but no Lobelia in sight. I actually wasn't worried about Rugby, I knew he would come back, but Lobelia, I wasn't quite as sure about her. So Bill came downstairs and as we were celebrating Rugby's return and questioning Lobelia's continuing absense, in she walked through the open back door.

Yeah! us, we were back up to our normal number of dogs, except one stunk and was covered with burs. Poor Lobelia, you could tell she just wanted to lie there and recuperate after the obvious stresses of her day, but no, she gets tossed in the tub, shampooed and combed. Here she thought she smelt just fine, but her people are dousing her with watermelon scented shampoo.

So this morning they are laying around like they have the hangovers from #### and Rugby is having a hard time moving fast enough to get out of Acer's way. Lobelia has a cut on one of her from pads and is barely moving at all. I asked Rugby what he was thinking of, the last time he pulled something like this he was sore for days and that was four years ago, then he did more than 10 miles in two hours. 11 Hours on the road, evading animal control and running through the parks and sub divisions, who knows how far they went yesterday. For Rugby it was too far; he's 10 now and for a big dog, that's pretty dern old. Looks like they'll both be getting an aspirin a day for a little while, just to help them cope.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Suspiciously quiet

Today, while I was waiting and waiting for Acer to come downstairs for our daily walk, I had happy visions of Acer playing quietly with the toys in his bedroom. My happy visions were broken as the small one walked towards me with a piece of toilet tissue in one hand and a Hansel and Gretel trail of tiny shreds of toilet paper behind him. I shouuld know better, if he sounds too quiet and well behaved, he probably isn't well behaved in the slightest. Acer got his first lesson in whisk broom/dust pan work and I got a much smaller roll of toilet paper than I had just a few minutes before.

As soon as I figure out how to get the picture off my camera phone, I'll post them.

A lot of chatter to cover the real activity

So I guess Acer learned from his earlier run with the toilet paper. This time he managed to get into trouble while talking all the time. He usually self narrates, tells you what he's doing, but not this time. After lying on the bed wiggling talking, singing, kicking, all the normal fun stuff to stop himself from going to sleep; Acer managed to find the tube of lotion I'd used to rub on him at the begining of naptime. Mum had come over at 2, to watch him while I worked on my latest school assignment. Acer had been resisting sleep for about an hour at that point, so I settled Mum into the lower level with a good book & I went back upstairs to wait out the little man. I went in to check on him again about 2:45 and he had squeezed out the lotion all over himself. It was on his face, dripping down his neck, on his body. just as I got there he was inserting the tip of the tube into his mouth and getting ready to squeeze. Forestalling lotion in mouth movement, I called Mum to see what her youngest grandchild was up to and went to get my camera phone. I then spent many minutes rubbing the huge excess of lotion into the small man. If his skin wasn't smooth before....

Again, I'll post the picture soon.

Things don't really change

I was just checking last year's blog entries for September, and re-read a bit about how adults usually hold Acer's hand when he walks because he likes to throw things. Well, we don't hold his hand too much when he walks (except for parking lots and streets of course) because he likes to follow us and run & explore as we go, but what hasn't changed is his love of throwing things. Not only does he still love to throw things, but if he can throw them down the stairs, that's just and added bonus of joy!
Now, thinking way towards the future, what kind of job would let him throw things like this? They say you're happiest in your job when you're doing a job related to something you liked to do between ages 3-5. I'm very happy in my job as a horticulturist and I used to love to be outside with flowers. Thankfully, he's not yet three, so maybe another favorite pasttime will present itself.

Arr! 'tis talk like a pirate day!

Avast me mateys, 'tis the day to prop that parrot up on your shoulder and sing some sea chanteys for 'tis Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Putting your trust in the Lord

We truly believe that God led us to Acer and that he was meant to be our child. However, because we found him on the waiting child list, it moved up our time table by more than a year from what it would have been if we'd gone through the matching process. I'd planned on working full time for another year. Not a huge issue, just put our finances in a little bit tighter than we'd like; enough that I had put off buying new, and expensive, shoes for work and was trying to figure out boots for Acer for winter.
So instead of worrying and fretting, I spent more time praying and trusting. Bill and I are trying to be better stewards of the many blessings, including each other, that God has given us. So what does God do, he put my shoes on sale and the last day of the sale, Bill gets paid for helping a friend with their computer and it was just enough to cover the shoes. So yesterday BIll and I went on a quest for an belt for Acer, figuring it was cheaper to buy the belt than replace many of his pairs of pants. We also looked at boots and bought a shirt on 80% clearance. It was money we spent very carefully, debating needs over wants and how much use it things would be. Today in the mail, we got a card from Mum's cousin with just enough money in it to cover the cost of the belt, shirt and new boots for winter!
Trust in the Lord with all your might!

Evenings with the little man

Most evenings are Bill's territory, With tag team parenting, I'm currently working a lot of evenings and Bill feeds Acer and puts him to bed. There is however, one special time each night I call my own. It's the time whe I watch my big burly husband carefully pick up the tiny boy, make shusshing sweet nothings at him to ease him and then set a still asleep Acer on the potty. Acer barely stays straight & Bill takes such care to quitely & efficiently pull down the PJs and make sure everything's okay. He take such care and shows such tenderness and love to a tiny boy who's not even awake enough to grab on to Bill & stabilize himself. Acer is just a totally zonked out sleepy limp little bundle. I must admit that it just makes my heart melt.

I wish you could see it, it's just way too dern cute, but I'm just way too cautious to try to take a picture and wake Acer.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mornings with the little man

There are certain times of the day with Acer that are my favorite. Morning is one of them. Acer wakes up about 7:15 but then wants to wiggle around on the bed, roll over Mama, and pet the dogs for about 15 minutes before his feet actually hit the floor. He sings snippets of sings, kicks his legs in glee and flips the blanket on and off. This is good for me because I really wake up about 8:30 or 9:00, So a slow wake up when I don't have to be anywhere is good.
We have a leisurely breakfast (brekafist in Acer speak) and then we'll head out on our walk up and down the block. We generally get dressed and head out about 8:30-9:00 in the morning. We go slowly, Acer isn't into speed at this point except in short bursts. Exploration is key, finding sticks a joy, and listening to the sounds of the morning a must. Most sounds are imitated vocally and he attaches names to the ones he knows, like cicadas.
After we come back home Acer loves to sit with me in the rocking chair and listen to his beloved music. Sometimes he almost falls asleep and others he bounces up and down, standing on my legs while my arms circle around him, just in case. I love this time, the cheek to cheek, the songs that might be bellowed into my face on a whim, the little arms around my neck. These are the moments I tuck into my memory book, the visuals of the small man in his tidy whities snuggled with his face in my neck or the look of glee as he bounces are the pages I need to keep stored in my brain. I'll open these pages and read them again and again over the years.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh, the wild life we lead

Or not.
We have seen a lot of wildlife this week though. We had a small (8) flock of goldfinch in two large perennials outside our front room windows. These two plants, Herbstonne Rudbeckia and Lemon Queen Heliopsis are both well above 5' tall. They give me beauty I can see from the window with their flowers and butterfly, bee and bird viewings too. If we can find the charger for our camera, from wherever we safely put it, I'll post pictures.
We also had a Sparrow hawk land on a visitor's car right in front of the house. He was worried it would scratch the paint & chased it off. Oh well, I just wished I could have taken pictures.
We saw a teeny woodpecker on a tree kitty corner across the street from our house. He didn't seem to be doing much just hopping around & giving the occassional peck. I was hoping that he'd give some really good woodpecker sounds for Acer to listen to.
Mum has some tapes of birds that I think Acer will like, Bill can copy them to MP3's & then we can play them on itunes. I think if he can put names to the different sounds he hears outside, he'll be even more interested than he already is to spend time out there. I know some bird songs, but under a dozen probably, so I think I'll enjoy learning them too.

Thursday 9/6 I had another class, this time on conifer problems. It was interesting, there was a plant physiologist there & I learned quite a lot from him. I'd never heard a plant physiologist's view of the effect of different issues on the growth of the plant. The other speaker was a gentleman I'd heard several times before so it mostly a refresher of the information he provided.

Friday night 9/7 we met with my Mandarin class at a Chinese restaurant. We dressed Acer up in his Chinese outfit to start, but brought everyday clothes for him to eat in. The place was very loud, but Acer behaved very well. It was nice to meet the spouses of my other students and professor. I wish I could have spent more time talking with them, they all seemed very interesting.

Sunday 9/9 was Mum's Birthday, Happy 71st Mum! We'll meet you this Friday at Erma's for custard to celebrate.

Monday 9/10 We hade two representatives from the county intermediate school district out, the special needs district. Acer, of course, failed the visual/motor (hand/eye) test as expected, but did reasonably well for a blind child. They were impressed by him, his brains and his personality and said he will be fun in class. It'll be a few weeks to hear from them & know where & when to show up for class. I guess I get to go to class too, going by something they said in passing.

Wednesday, 9/12 I gave Acer the requested toidy privacy whilst he SAID he was going #2. After a suspiciously long quiet time, Acer is always talking, I went in & saw a pile of unrolled toilet paper as tall as the toilet! Now mind you he couldn't simply pull it down off the roll & pile it up directly under the roll, no he had to pull it across his body and pile it up on the other side of the toidy. He was concentrating so hard that he jumped when he heard me sternly say 'Acer' (I went for shock value, not yelling). Little guy's buns must've been numb by the time he got off the seat because I made him stay there & help me roll it back up. On the plus side, he was able to pull up his own pants afterwards, a step in the right direction!

Mum had another eye check up & we ferried her to & fro. She learned something very important there, that tears/tear ducts are to keep the eyes lubricated & clean. Her eyes were red because she wasn't putting wetting drops and her tear ducts weren't producing enough tears. So now she (and you) know. Afterwards we went to the Grand Traverse Pie company. Mum & Acer had never been and thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Acer behaved very well, though the ladies sitting next to us chuckled when I told him he couldn't get down from his chair because it was a "Rule" I used the same term when we went to lunch with Mindy and he stayed in the booth, so far it seems to be working. We'll see how long it lasts, I just don't think it fair to other people to let him run around them while they eat, even if he is the cutest kid in the world ;) (A title shared by many)

The temperature is just getting into the brisk fall stage here & I'm putting Acer into long pants & long sleeves. My problem is that his pants don't stay up. He ends up dragging them around on his hips like some trendy teenager. Overalls work, but are a pain to get off when it's time for the toidy. I need a little tiny webbing belt for a two year old, not one of those wierd braided ones that are ineffectual because they stretch too much & don't end up doing their job. Yesterday I put Acer in some ugly sweatpants we'd been given. Despite their unfortunate color, they were the best fitting, least fall dawn, easy toidy access pants. I may need to ignore the color & just dress him in them fairly regularly. Another bonus is that he can pull them up himself after visiting the toidy! Oh well, I guess he can't be a sharp dressed man all the time. Bill bought a belt the other day, but it doesn't actually fit in any pants except the ones he was wearing that day, it's too wide. Oh well, it should fit him by the time he reaches kindergarten.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Best way to the 2008 Bejing Olympics

My favorite Chinese actor of all time has been Jackie Chan. The people who are going to be having to travel during the 08 Beijing Olympics might not have to do all that he is, but they take Visa!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Overview of the past week, detailed posts below from 8/28-9/6, Including new pictures & a new video

This week Acer has learned what a Blue Jay sounds like (and he imitates it vocally) what cicadas (cadas to him) sound like and is mastering using a glass (or would that be a plastic?) . We've been learning nature sounds as we do our Follow Mama walk in the morning or evening. See Tuesday 9/4 for some pictures of a typical walk. Notice there's not much distance between shots. He tends to go in bits and spurts, definitely more of the hare personality than the tortoise. He also puts so much energy into his running that he gets tired quickly. I'm trying to teach him to use big steps because he goes much faster using big steps than when he's actually running.
Acer also conquered taking off his shirt. We had a hard time explaining this to him in or getting a method he has the fine motor skills to reproduce. We tried two or three different methods because Bill & I use different methods to take off our shirts. We actually had to sit and brain storm about this. What finally worked was for him to hold one sleeve & then pull his arm through then he can pull it over his head and off. He actually came up with this method on his own, our idea was to have him pull both arms through, but he found that he didn't need to. Now I'm just never sure how much clothing will be actually on the boy when he wakes up from his nap.
We've tried turning Acer aound on the potty so that we can just climb up on a stool and go potty himself. In theory, this would stop his climbing up onto the seat of the toilet and balancing there. In reality, this just means that if he scoots himself far enough back, he can dip his butte into the water, which he does again and again if not stopped.

He now climbs up onto the stool and pulls his pants down, but turns himself around so he's facing the toilet tank again and then turns himself back around. This is not a smooth process and any parent would be driven to hiccups by the many times during the process that he could take a header. So we're back to the old method until I can figure out something else. Anyone with boys have any suggestions?

Bill - Also note that some of the new posts are re-dated, so they appear in the correct date/time order, so there are new posts going back to 8/28. Just so you all know...... B

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dogs on the run & Lunch meeting

Acer and I were prepped to go and walk down the street when my next door neighbor showed up at the door to thank us for collecting her mail while she was camping. We're really blessed to have Linda for a neighbor, she and her daughter Leeanna are great. Anyway Linda accompanied us as we marched off. I had just finished commenting to Linda that you could hear the dogs complaining because we had left them behind when we see the two of them barrelling down the street, shoulder to shoulder towards us. I managed to grab Rugby's collar and Linda stayed close to Acer gently guiding him back towards the house. I kept calling "Lobelia. Car!" but it seemed she didn't believe me and disappeared around the corner. Rugby is always happy to get into the car, Linda offered to come & be another set of eyes, so I put Acer in the car seat & away we prepared to go. Just as I went to put it in reverse, there appeared Lobelia at my window. I guess she figured that we really were going for the coveted car ride & she didn't want to miss out. She hopped in, over my lap and away we went around the block. We got back home and I made sure the gate was securely latched so they couldn't push it open even with a lot of effort. It's funny, Rugby is better behaved on the whole than Lobelia is but he hates to get out of the car. Lobelia hopped right out & into the yard & Rugby just sat there. I finally got him out of the van, but he switched seats several times before he actually left the car.

At 11 Acer and I headed off to meet my good friend Mindy for lunch. Acer decided on the fish children's meal and even ordered it from the waitress himself. The only problem was that he's used to Bill's ordering fast food on Sundays and so he didn't know it would take a long time for them to cook the meal. It was a huge piece, larger than the plate, and Acer ate almost the whole thing. I was amazed. Acer stayed in the booth the whole time and only dropped his fork at the very end, after he was done eating. It was good to see Mindy, because of schedule differences we haven't been able to get together for a long time.

After lunch, when Acer was lying in bed chattering and not napping, One of Acer's seeming Non-sequiturs was explained. Acer has been saying "Rugby shirt" and I would reply, "no, Rugby doesn't wear a shirt" thinking it was a joke he'd made up. I mean 'Lobelia is Nanjing dialect' is a joke to him so why not Rugby Shirt? Acer also says, Rugby whining, Rugby groaning and Rugby barking. When he was lying there, he was saying Rugby Panting, and then panting in imitation. Then he said Rugby shirt and I finally understood. If Acer has pants and shirts, and Rugby pants then, Rugby must have pants and shirts too!

Oddly enough, I would have said that Lobelia would have been Acer's best buddy, I mean she's much younger and always wants someone to play with her, but generally she leaves Acer alone to do whatever Lobelia things she wants to. She also steals his food off the table, including bottles or other milk containing devices (we're down at least 4, I think she buries them), but other than a food source, she doesn't pay a lot of attention to him. Rugby on the other hand is 10 years old and is slowing down, but he's Acer's buddy. Where Acer is, Rugby is. I don't know if it's Rugby's herding instincts coming out or what. Rugby has even stood there while Acer climbed up and sat on his back. That's why you'll see Rugby in pix with Acer but far more rarely, Lobelia.