Sunday, December 31, 2006

Raising Black Boys

Someday I'm going to take a chunk of time to write a nice long post about our experiences and perspectives so far on the subject of Raising Black Boys. In the meantime... here is a blog post written by another white mother raising two black sons that nicely articulates some of the same thoughts we have: Click Here.

New Year's Eve Day

Photos from this morning...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Please Touch Museum & Milestone: Rice (!)

Today we spent the afternoon in Philadelphia at the Please Touch Museum. Owen and Kyle loved it so much that they BOTH threw mega-tantrums when the museum closed at 5:00 and we had to leave. That's always a real pleasure: double tantrums. Luckily for us, it is a very rare occurance. Luckily for us, we can each take one thrashing/kicking/screaming bambino. We don't know how single parents of multiples do it, and our hearts really go out to them. One of the very best parts of the Please Touch Museum is the racial/ethnic diversity of this museum's visitors. Today our experience there was one of the most racially integrated experiences I/we have ever had. For our family, that alone is well worth the trip. While not one other family we saw even came close to resembling our own, K & O got to play with lots of other black kids and we all got to be in an environment with almost every racial/ethnic group represented. And while we still get tons of stares and questions and strange/curious looks, K & O were not the only people in the place with dreadlocks! (although, they were definately the only people under the age of 12 with dreadlocks!) Anyway, it was fun.
The BIG news of the day is...
(And this is BIG news!)...
Drumroll please...
KYLE ATE RICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On the way to Philadelphia we stopped for lunch at Baja Fresh -- The boys had quesadillas and they came with rice. I thought, "what a waste! they'll never eat the rice." But... in an incredibly historic moment for our family, Kyle happily gobbled down not only his own rice, but his brother's rice too!
This is a huge, huge, huge deal for us. Because rice/beans has been part of our adoption story right from the start. While they were in the orphanage the boys were fed nothing but rice and beans (in addition to the baby formula they'd sometimes get). At the age they were then (0-8 months), they were not able to digest it. We'll never forget the very first time we changed their diapers only to find horrifying diaper rashes and big piles of undigested rice and beans in there. I honestly think that horrific image is burned into my brain forever. From the start they both refused to eat rice and/or beans. Understandably. We thought it would wear off. But it didn't. Every few weeks I have tried to feed them rice and/or beans. I've even tried hiding it in soup or stew, etc. They'll pick out every tiny grain of rice and every little measly bean. But not today! Our Ky Ky ate a whole bunch of rice! Happily! Yay for him! Owen refused it, but that's no problem-- he ate enough of his (and his brother's) quesadillas to make up for it!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Photos of the Day

Christmas Break

Our daycare is closed for this week, so I've taken this time off from work, and for the past three days I've been home with the boys. I purposefully didn't plan any outings or activities for us -- thinking that after being away in New Hampshire for a week the boys could use a little low-key down-time at home. Although I've almost lost my mind (I'm not someone who can easily stay put in any one place for one whole day... let alone three in a row!), it was definately the right thing for K & O. Other than getting back into the swing of all things eating-and-sleeping related (they got waaaaaaaaay off track while we were away), and re-bonding as a tight little dynamic duo (they are going through an incredibly intensive phase right now with their relationship -- extremely loving with each other and extraordinarily happy to play alone just the two of them, with almost zero fighting or irritability whatsoever), and of course spending gobs of time playing with all their new Christmas presents, here's what's comprised the bulk of our time over the past three days:

Playing with Water in the Kitchen Sink
[Note: most of the time they are pretending that they are "washing trucks in the car wash"]

Waiting for Their Heroes (The Garbage Guys / Trash Truck Drivers ) to Arrive
[Note: K & O insisted on bringing the trash trucks they got from Santa to the end of the driveway. The trucks sat there for over an hour until finally the trash guys arrived to pick up our trash, then the boys did their regular thing - ran like crazy to greet the guys, clapped and cheered for them, etc.... AND... proudly held their toy trash trucks up high for the garbage collector guys to hold and admire. The guys were quite impressed with the trucks... and the four of them (2 trash guys + their 2 biggest fans) spent quite some quality time discussing the similarities between the "real garbage truck" and the "toy garbage trucks"... to see other posts where I've mentioned the boys' relationship with our garbage collectors click here and here]

Seriously Discussing the Finer Details of the Inner Workings of Trucks' "Motors":

Putting Rocks Inside Trucks:

Putting Sand Into Trucks:
Swinging Like Little Maniacs:
[Note: most of the time they are pretending that they are "pilots driving a biiiiiig airplane"... or... their favorite... that they are "going sooooooo FAST! in a BIIIIIG TRUCK!!!!!!"]

You don't need to spend three days isolated alone at home with them to pick up on the robust TRUCK theme!! ;0

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas 2006 - Part I

It was a Christmas To Remember!

As I was taking my first "Christmas Vacation" photo in the Philadelphia airport on Wednesday morning I laughingly said to Braydon, “Is it ok for me to take about a million photos of these two boys over the next week?!” And he laughed back, “YES!! I bought an extra memory card for the camera!!!” An older woman in the airport overheard us and ran up to me to say: “Honey, enjoy it! And take as many photos of these adorable boys as you possibly can!!!” Then she walked off smiling. I thought to myself, “I WILL take tons of photos! I will I will! I don’t care if I go overboard with it! They’re only going to be 2 for Christmas once!” Just now as I uploaded the photos from the camera to my computer it showed that we had taken 396 photos! Here are some of our favorites.

The journey begins in the Philadelphia airport.
This was our first time traveling via airplane with the boys without strollers or baby backpacks... the boys rolled their "turtle bags" like old pro's!

Owen arrives at the Manchester, New Hampshire airport.

Once at MorMor and MorFar's house... first thing on the agenda:
A ride in MorFar's Tractor wagon!

Three cousins throw rocks and sticks into Lake Ossipee.

My little family spending time where I grew up.

Grandparents and Grandchildren.

Beautiful Owen.

MorFar uses his chainsaw to "cut wood!"

Owen and Kyle use their chainsaws to "cut wood!"
(These toy chainsaws -- identical to MorFar's real chainsaw -- were
Christmas presents for the boys from my parents... K & O *love* them and once they had received them then for the rest of our trip we rarely went for more than a few minute span without hearing these toy chainsaw motors running.)

Dinner and drinks at my sister's beautiful home in Maine
after we all attended my niece's Christmas Dance Recital.

Yogurt! The boys went on some sort of crazy yogurt binge over the Christmas week. (Over one 48-hour period we actually kept count -- Kyle alone ate 14 yogurts in those 2 days. We didn't even tally up how many they each ate the rest of the days.)

The extraordinary view looking out over the field behind my parents' home.

Three cousins play trumpets! (another gift from MorMor and MorFar!)

Christmas 2006 - Part II

On Christmas Eve day my parents treated us all to a horse-drawn hayride
through Freedom Village.

MorMor and Kyle.

MorFar built a big bonfire in the campfire pit. The boys loved it!

My dad and I standing by the bonfire as it gets dark.

Christmas Eve.

The boys made a guest appearance in the Freedom Church Christmas Eve Pageant! All of the boys were supposed to be sheep, and the girls angels. But K & O really wanted to be angels, not sheep. So they were. They stole the show (see "Highlight" post!)

Christmas morning.

Christmas afternoon.

MorMor playing with her three cutie pies!

Braydon packs up to head home!
We've never before had a travel experience where
half of our pieces of luggage are filled with toys!

Owen and Kyle at the airport before boarding the plane.

When we arrived home there were tons of Christmas presents waiting that had come in the mail while we were away. Included was a bag of gifts that had been left at our door for K & O by none other than....... the boys' heros!..... our garbage collectors / garbage truck drivers!!! (the boys are their biggest fans and always LOVE waving and cheering for them as they pick up our trash each week in the big garbage truck) We were so honored that these two guys had taken the time to leave a gift for our two boys.

The big present waiting under the tree at home was a train set.
Our Christmas holidays ended with
our sweet Owen playing quietly into the night.

Christmas - H & B's Biggest Highlight

So... Kyle and Owen got to be in the Christmas Eve Nativity Pageant even though we were just visitors (very inclusive church!). They chose to be angels and their cousin Sadie chose to be a sheep (toddler gender-bending! despite what anyone else might have thought, we were beyond thrilled with this!!!). Our two little angels absolutely stole the show from the second that "the multitude of heavenly angels" entered the stage. They were about as gosh darn cute as could possibly be, and every person in the place was ooohing and aaahing over the two of them. Then came a moment that I quite possibly will never ever forget... and the only moment that I (as well as many, many, many other audience members) have laughed so hard that I've cried in church... Our little angels stole Baby Jesus out of the manger and took off!... Due to some sort of Christmas Miracle Braydon had the presence of mind to capture the whole thing on film:

Here, as the bible story of the birth of Jesus is somberly read aloud in the dimly lit church, the boys realize that there is an actual baby lying in the manger (well, it was actually a doll, but it was very real looking)... you can see the look of sheer wonder (and thrill) in their eyes.

As many of you know, the boys desperately want a baby brother/sister. They ask for this almost daily. I fully believe that in this moment they truly thought that their biggest dreams had been answered on this very special Christmas Eve and that this baby could potentially be theirs! Just imagine- we've been making this huge deal about Christmas- finally it is clear to them-- "Ah ha!!! This is why they've been making such a big thing of this!!!!!!" In this photo above, you can see the look of concentration on Owen's face as he ponders how to claim this baby -- "Hmmmm... How can we get it out of the manger and out of this place? I think I could just snatch it right now..." And you can see the look on Kyle's face too as he peers up at his 3-year-old cousin -- "Sadie, you're my cousin and all, but don't you dare even think about stopping us from taking this baby!"

And then, they make their move. Owen snatches it out of the manger, Kyle's got his brother's back, and the two of them take off, delighted. Sadly for them: 1) MorMor took the baby away and put it back in the manger, and 2) They realized later that the baby was just a doll. The entire Christmas Eve congregation in this quaint little New England church erupted in deep, belly-aching, tears-streaming, from-the-gut laughter. A little Christmas present for us from our two little angels!

Christmas - K & O's Biggest Highlight

Well, I hate to make assumptions about their own thoughts and feelings and opinions, but I think this one is pretty safe to assume... If they were able to verbalize their own highlight from Christmas 2006, I can guarantee that Kyle and Owen would say, "Motorcycles! Hands down!!!" Yup, they are spoiled rotten by their MorMor and MorFar. Yup, they got motorized VESPAS from their MorMor and MorFar. Yup, -- so far so good -- they truly genuinely organically appreciate their MorMor and MorFar. So, nobody is complaining. No comments necessary for these three photos taken upon unwrapping the vespas on Christmas morning.