Friday, November 30, 2007

"This Land Is Your Land"

One of the CDs we listen to regularly in the car right now is 20 Great Kid Songs: Music For Little People's 20th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition (click here). Song #4 on the album is "This Land Is Your Land" by Woodie Guthrie. This CD's version of the song is a really cool version by Willie Nelson and friends (lots of 'friends' including many verses sung in various musical/regional styles and some verses sung by children). Kyle loves this one track and requests to listen to it over and over and over and over. For the past couple of weeks I have noticed him listening to it intently in his carseat when I play it for him. His favorite part is a section where one of the verses is sung in Spanish. He waits in anticipation for the Spanish verse and will often say, "Mommy, where is the Spanish??!!" I'll say, "Just listen, it's coming." And sometimes he's say, "I'm so excited! I can't wait!" Over the past few days he's been starting to sing along for sections of the song. He enunciates the words very strongly, follows the tune almost perfectly, and sings many of the verses' with confidence-- especially the chorus where he really belts it out with precision: "This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land, from California, to the New York Island, from the Red Wood Forest, to the Gulf Stream Waters, This Land Was Made for You and Me." This afternoon, on the drive home from their school, I noticed that Kyle was able to sing -- word for word (including the verse in Spanish) -- the entire song, almost perfectly.

Quote of the Day

This one comes from the "Things I Never Thought I'd Hear Myself Say" Category~~

"Owen! We do NOT put pretzels in our shoes! NO MORE pretzels in your shoes! O.k. Owen?"

Good Moods and Good Eats

These past few days K & O have been in such good moods. As anyone who knows them well knows, they tend to be very happy and very animated most of the time. But sometimes we seem to go through little spurts where they're even more happy and animated than usual. These past few days there has been very little fighting and picking-at-each-other, there have been lots of giggles and belly laughs, and even more hopping-skipping-dancing-jumping around than usual. They're in a good place right now. Braydon and I enjoy these little spurts immensely, it makes it feel like everything is o.k. regardless of whatever else is going on in our lives. And Owen--- man, he is eating up a storm. Being so sick last week he lost more than 3 pounds (a lot for a kid with zero percent body fat). This week he has eaten an incredible amount of food. Yesterday he ate 7 pieces of french toast for breakfast. Today he ate 5 pancakes (plus guzzling down cup after cup of milk of course, and a glass of OJ here and there too). Two nights this week he ate the same amount of dinner as me. One night we had made pizza with a thick crust - Owen and I each ate 2 slices. Another night we had fish, rice, green beans and fresh dinner rolls - Owen and I each ate the same serving portions of all of it (except that he ate 2 dinner rolls and I only ate 1). The boy can eat. Anytime. But this week he's setting records--- even for himself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Starting to Grasp It...

Early this past summer Kyle and Owen went through a phase of being hyper-interested in their own adoptions and in concepts related to 'where babies come from' (click here for just one example of blog posts from that period of time). Over about a 3 week period they were like little sponges, thirsty for information. We gave them as many of the age-appropriate details we possibly could. However, during that time, despite our best efforts, they consistently insisted that they had come from "a nest" or from "an egg" (as in a bird's egg), or... their favorite: that they had come from "Haiti" (as in they were "born from Haiti" - with no acknowledgement of there having been any human beings involved). It seemed very, very hard for them to grasp, at that point, the concepts that we were trying to convince them of: that they "had grown in a lady's belly" and that they were "born from that lady" and that "she wanted us to have them" and that "then they were adopted and we became our family." Whenever they'd initiate it, we worked this from every angle, in the most straight-forward and simplistic ways. We followed the advice of all of the adoption literature. We followed the advice of other adoptive parents. We followed the advice of child development books. Still, they more-or-less ignored our information and plowed ahead with their own explanations. This is one of the interesting things that I've found about raising twins; regardless of what they hear/see/experience via Braydon and I (or any other person for that matter), they still have the mighty power of twinship... so, for example, if the three of us (K, O, and me) were talking about how they were born and I was insisting that they were born from a lady's belly, but they were insisting they were born from a nest, then ultimately it is 2 against 1, and it is twin-super-powers vs. wacky-old-mom and... to state the obvious (obvious for the twins at least): they win out. No matter how much their logic or rational (or behavior, as the case may be) is flawed, it is, ultimately, the two of them vs. the rest of the world. And, in our experience with our twins (who have a bond stronger than titanium), the two of them stick together through thick and thin. So when their explanations for babies' births come up super thin, those frail and flawed explanations still overpower the logic-of-another. Any other. In June, after going around and around with them about this baby-born-thing, I figured they weren't ready yet -- just simply weren't ready for the information. When they put it to rest, I happily let them. And waited for it to rise to the surface again. Recently, their interest has blossomed and we're in the thick of it once more. And now, just 5 short months later, they seem much more able to grasp some of the basics. Over the past couple of weeks they are suddenly deep-in-thought about it again. It comes up repeatedly, at any and all times. But this time around there has been no mention of being born from a nest or an egg or from Haiti. They currently seem to fully grasp that Haiti is a place (that you can be born in, but that you can't be literally born from), they understand that all human babies are born from human women, and... drumroll please... they 'get it' that they themselves "grew in a lady's belly." They can talk about how "the lady squeezed and squeezed" (Kyle needs to add that "she squeezed gently because she didn't want to hurt him"), and how then they "came into the world!" They also seem to understand that they then lived in the orphanage "until they were EIGHT MONTHS OLD!!!" and that then we came on a "big airplane!" to get them. They can tell the story of how we "held them!" and "fed them bottles!" and they know that we loved them so much right from the start. They also know that for our first days we stayed together "in the hotel in Haiti" (and if you leave this part out, making it seem like we went straight home from the orphanage, they will correct you), and that then we "took them on a big airplane" to "bring them home." Although I've begun to introduce the word "birthmother" to them, they have yet to take that on. They ignore it, and continue to call their birthmother "a lady" (with a strong, positive, upbeat tone), and for now it seems that they are not ready to go further than that. Which is o.k. With their newfound knowledge (or, I should say, their newfound acceptance of this knowledge), and their comprehension of the idea that they grew and were born from a lady's belly, K & O are now expressing what could only be expected: deep and profound sadness that they did not grow in my belly and were not born from me. They have told me numerous times "but I want to be born from your belly Mama." And it gets me each and every time. We hug and I tell them, "I know, know, and I wish you were born from my belly too, my baby," and I try to remind them of how much they were loved from before they were even born. They are particularly fascinated with the idea that they were both in "the lady's belly together." And, importantly, this seems to give them -- Kyle in particular -- great solace to know this. This tiny piece of information seems to mean the world to him right now. Which makes perfect sense. Three days ago the boys were playing with their dolls and I walked into the playroom. As Owen watched, Kyle walked straight to me, took his doll and carefully pushed it up under my shirt until it was tucked fully inside. He looked up at me and told me his baby was growing in my belly. I then slipped the baby out of my shirt and Kyle announced that the baby doll "came into the world!" Kyle held his arms out to me and said, "Now you give me my baby Mama." I handed him the baby, "and it was an adoption!" The next day during their rest hour I peeked into Owen's room to check on him. I saw him playing with a different small soft doll. He was pushing it up under his own shirt. He noticed me in the doorway and announced to me, "Mama, I am a lady!" I said, "Oh!" He then told me that his baby was "growing and growing, bigger and bigger" in his belly and that "soon it would be born!" He walked in front of his mirror to admire himself with his doll tucked fully under his shirt. Then he let the baby drop out and announced that it "came into the world!" He then handed me his baby and told me to "hold it gently."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Top 10: Favorite Funnies From the Past Few Days

  1. "I'm just a wreck!" -Owen, discombobulated, trying to get on his boots/coat/scarf/hat/mittens.

  2. "Mommy, we are so mad at you! Mommy, we will TAKE OFF! Mommy, we will run away from you SO FAST!" -Kyle, speaking on behalf of both brothers, shouting out at me from the laundry room where they were reluctantly getting their shoes on after I told them, firmly, that they could not go outside without shoes.

  3. "You're killing me!" -Owen, laughing hysterically at Braydon's antics.

  4. "It is a sunset. The sun is going down, down, down. The sun is landing!!! Wait a minute, where is the runway???" -Kyle, watching the sunset.

  5. "But I am a person! I am not a kid! I am not a child! I am not a baby! I am a PERSON!!!" -Owen, when I wouldn't buy him a Ghirardelli chocolate in the check-out line at a store.

  6. "If I grow up, then I will be a grown up. I slept so well. See? I growed up from sleeping so well. Now, feel my muscle!" -Kyle

  7. "I'm not angry at you Mommy, I'm just mad at you." -Owen

  8. "If I throwed up, then can I get some soda???" -Kyle

  9. "I'm so great! Right?" -Owen

  10. "But we are growing up. We are getting to be grown-ups." -Kyle, holding back from petting a random lady's dog because she told him that her dog 'really likes kids.'

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Child with a SERIOUSLY Positive Attitude

We've known this about him for a long time -- basically, since the first few days we spent with him: our son has a seriously positive attitude. This boy is ever the optimist. Without a doubt this is true about Kyle too, but Owen is this way to an extreme. And because I've been thinking so much about Owen's incredibly positive attitude these past few days, I want to focus here on just him. The first moments we spent with Owen it was clear-- He left that orphanage with an intense look in his eyes, a smile on his face, in his Papi's arms, and never looked back. At eight months old, with two perfect strangers and his twin brother, leaving everything they'd ever known, Owen never hesitated, not even for a second. He was bright-eyed and ready to see the world. He was thrilled with everything we introduced to him. A brand new formula? Awesome! Pureed green beans? Cool! Being carried, hot and sweaty, in a front-pack baby carrier for 8 hour stretches at a time in Port au Prince? Let's go! No problemo. His first morning home he babbled and screeched with joy like there was no tomorrow. Owen never fussed over a wet or dirty diaper. I don't think he ever cried once from falling down when trying to learn to walk; he'd bounce right back up and try it again. To this day he rarely even bats an eye when he falls/slams/smashes/scrapes down; he always jumps right back up, laughs it off (quite literally), brushes himself off (quite literally), and goes for it (whatever it is) again in a heartbeat. More than once I've discovered trails of blood droplets through the house and had that be my very first clue that Owen was hurt. "My God!!!" I've screamed, when I've followed the blood-drop-paths to find Owen with his bloody cuts. "WHAT happened Owen???" His typical response: "It is just a little itty bitty blood Mommy, I'm O.K.!!! Don't worry!" I'm not kidding. The boy is amazing. Every day is a "BEAUTIFUL day!!!" for him -- rain, snow, sleet, or hail. Every field is a "PRETTY field!!" Every person is "Soooo NICE!" Everything is so good. This recent bought of sickness has brought with it, for me, a new-found sense of awe at Owen's incredibly positive attitude. Despite a long stint of barf and diarrhea (almost 5 full days straight), he was unbelievably upbeat the entire time. He'd puke a ton, then look up at us and announce cheerily, "I just throwed up a little itty bit!" He'd be sitting on the toilet for the 100th time that day and shout out to us cheerily, "I'm o.k.! I'm just having a little bit of di-rea, but I'm O.K., and my belly is JUST RIGHT!" He'd be lying on the couch in misery, but when asked which video he'd like to watch next (in a long, long string of the same old boring videos) he'd say cheerily, "I know! How about Diego!?! That would be a good idea!! Diego!!" Really, the whole thing is mind-boggling. Yes, Braydon and I tend to be the-glass-is-half-full-kinds-of-people. Surely that is part of it. But Owen takes it about 1,000 miles further. Owen is a glass-is-overflowingly-full-kind-of-person... even when the glass appears to everyone else to be quite empty... and Owen is this way to an extreme which I've honestly never previously witnessed. Owen is, if nothing else, a child with a seriously positive attitude.

Locs Questions

Real quick post to give the link to a longer post about K & O's dreadlocks. We've received a few comments/emails lately asking for info on the boys' locs. If you're interested in knowing more about that, check out this post from March, 2007 -- CLICK HERE. If you have questions leave them here in the comments and I'll try to respond. Remember, though... we are *not* black hair experts!!! ;0 We're just two white parents trying to do our very best with our sons' hair.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

What a long strange trip it's been.
Monday night at around 5:30 Owen started saying he felt "sick in his belly." At 6:00 he had one of the biggest, nastiest vomit attacks I've ever witnessed. Let's just put it this way: Our boy does nothing in moderation... and at age 3 it is impossible for him to aim while puking (it just goes everywhere).
And that was the beginning of the end.
It was the end of our Thanksgiving Week plans, the end of our Thanksgiving Week house-guests (MorMor, MorFar, Stina, Tim, and Sadie), the end of our Thanksgiving Dinner (which 17 people were planning to join in), the end of our Thanksgiving Week festivities, the end of the Thanksgiving that we had spent the past few weeks planning and prepping and preparing for.
It was the beginning of a four-day marathon puke and diarrhea fest for Owen, the beginning of a four-day laundry and Clorox and Febreez fest for Braydon, the beginning of a four-day sad-lonely-without-twin-playmate-and-jealous-of-the-sick-twin-getting-all-the-attention fest for Kyle, the beginning of a four-day long-strange-trip for the Mama.
Tuesday morning we were hanging in there, hoping it was a 24-hour flu bug.
Wednesday morning we were hanging in there, hoping it was a 48-hour flu bug.
By Wednesday night all of our Thanksgiving plans were cancelled, our plans were dashed, and we were just hoping it would end soon. And we were buckling down for the long haul.
It was quite the Thanksgiving.
It was quite the day-after-Thanksgiving.
And here we are, Saturday morning, seemingly out of the woods. We've been throw-up and diarrhea free for about 16 hours now. We're thinking the coast is clear. The fog feels like it is lifting-- at least a bit. Although we are left in a gross kind of haze, feeling dazed and confused and stir-crazy and cottage-feverish.
Which, we fully acknowledge, is much better than feeling flu-feverish.
We are left feeling truly thankful for so many things. But what are we most thankful for this Thanksgiving 2007? We are most thankful that only one of the four of us got it. So far.
Knock on wood.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your Turkey Day left-overs for us! Over here, we've got plenty of leftover Saltines and Pedialyte (that we're hopeful we won't have to use on bambino #2)! ;0

Monday, November 19, 2007

First Snow!

Sunday morning Kyle and Owen were delighted to wake up to see snowflakes falling outside their windows. Our first snow of the season! Granted, it was just the lightest of a snow dusting, but it was snow nonetheless. And it was beautiful outside. The silence and peacefulness of a real snowstorm, but with the slightest, daintiest of snowflakes falling gently from the sky. Outside, in their pajamas and boots, it was magical for the boys. (the top three photos are of Kyle; the bottom three are of Owen).

Jonah's Birthday Party

Saturday we went to Jonah's 4th Birthday Party. K & O love birthday parties. Many of their friends from school were there, and the boys had a blast-- of course. But this party was actually super fun for everyone -- it might have been the best kid-party I've ever been to. No joke. It was at a really nice Japanese Hibachi Restaurant. At first, when we got the invitation, I thought 'oh my gosh, a restaurant party -like, at a nice restaurant- for 3 & 4 year olds?! It will be mayhem!!!!!' But the kids were mesmorized by the exciting live hibachi cooking (including lots of fire!) and the result was that I've never seen so many little kids behave so well in a restaurant-- ever! A highlight for K & O was that we got to sit at a table with their three best friends from school. Kyle sat right next to his very best friend (click here for backstory), and the two of them were so cute together laughing and playing and trying to use their chopsticks. Kyle kept saying "Will, you see that?! You see that Will?!" (when the Hibachi Chef would do something dramatic), and "Will, you like the chicken?! I love the chicken Will!! You like the noodles Will?! I love the noodles Will!!" Turned out to be a really great time (and the really great food was just the icing on the cake--- so to speak)! Kyle did announce later, however, that for as much as he loved Jonah's party, he still wants to have his birthday party in our backyard. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Celebrate Adoption!

November is National Adoption Month!


Today is National Adoption Day!

Some of you may be surprised to hear this, but we get quite a lot of anti-adoption 'stuff' thrown at us via this blog. Pretty regularly we get anonymous comments (funny how the horribly hurtful comments are always anonymous, huh?) from anti-adoption folks (before starting this blog, I didn't even know there were such people-- let alone so many of them out there). They say some nasty, nasty stuff. I refuse to even acknowledge it by repeating any of it here. I always just delete their comments before anyone ever sees them. But it is sad, really. Adoptive families -- in all sorts of subtle and overt ways -- get lots and lots of yucky stuff directed their way. And as with most things in life... we tend to hear a lot more negative than positive. Rarely do people take the time to send the nice messages (subtle and overt) -- so much more often it is the mean junk that gets sent and received (subtly and overtly). National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day are meant to be times to celebrate adoption and all the good that adoption so often is (and can be). Adoption is something that Braydon and I feel really strongly about, obviously! If you are reading this, and you've been considering adoption, please do not hesitate to come to us and chat. We're huge advocates but not 'pushers.' Leave a comment here with your email address and we'll be happy to be in touch (if you'd like, just note "private" in the comment and we will not publish it on the blog). We celebrate and support adoption. If you've thought about adoption... think about acting on it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Snapshots of Our Day: A Quiet Moment & Hot Chocolate

7:40 a.m. -- We catch Owen in a quiet moment. These moments aren't exactly rare, but they are not exactly commonplace either.


2:30 p.m. -- Home from school, after lots of playing outside on a cold November day (it is finally starting to feel like fall around here), the boys and I (heather) make hot chocolate.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"A Big K and a Big O"

Just like Braydon says in the post below, K & O have been talking a lot about when they were babies, and talking a lot about when they grow up--- or, in their own words, when they will be "a Big K" and "a Big O." Right now we seem to be in a stage of them feeling compelled, to assert their independence. They like to do everything themselves, with "NO HELP!" They like to do "growned-up" things, like "REAL cooking! NOT pretend cooking!!!" They like to try to do things on their own (for example, yesterday morning they tried to get themselves their own milk in the morning --- bad idea --- but got somehow sidetracked and began taking every single item out of the refrigerator and placing them in random places around the house - a bottle of ketchup here, a jug of juice there... you get the picture... by the time Braydon and I came downstairs and realized what was happening half of the fridge had been dispersed all over the house). Anyway, the thing is, I think especially with twins-- this sort of independence is such a relief. Twins are really hard to care for-- just even physically/logistically speaking -- when they are babies. Any parent of twins knows what I'm talking about. Just the simple task of lugging them both to-and-from the car, for example, is a major task. I think back on the days that I was mixing up huge pitchers of formula to make bottles by the dozen every morning and strategizing how to hold two bottles and two babies at once... I think back on the days of diaper-after-diaper-after-diaper (ask any parent of multiples and they'll tell you the war stories-- of course, just as you get one cleaned up and re-diapered, you have to start in on the next one, and this can just go on and on and on all day and all night)... I think back on the days when both of them would be throwing food all over the place, with bits of baby food smeared everywhere, and no matter how often we'd ignore it or scold them for it, there would be zero impact since both of them would be laughing like crazy at each other and getting the biggest reaction possible out of each other... I think back on all of these sorts of things and I feel so grateful that we've got these two guys in a whole new phase now. Now, rather than having food fights and apple-sauce-smearing contests at the dinner table... Braydon and I are looking across the table at each other and laughing at: #1) how much the boys eat, and #2) the fact that we literally [and I do mean, LITERALLY]cannot get a word in edge-wise during dinner these days. They boys dominate [and I do mean, DOMINATE] the dinner conversation. Kyle and Owen are a handful, for sure. Have always been, and I suspect they'll always be. But man, life is so much easier now than it was then. But still, still, still, still, still, still.... oh how I miss the baby boys that they were. I thought it then, and I stick to it now (I know, I know, every mother feels this way -- just indulge me here...) I swear, Kyle and Owen were the cutest babies in the whole wide world. This isn't to say they aren't adorable now. They sure as heck are. But my oh my were they ever the cutest little things back then. Apple-sauce-smeared and all.

When I'm a Big K

At the moment, K&O are both very interested in when they were babies, and also interested in when they are "Big". Kyle tends to verbalize the "when I am big" more than Owen (which is pretty typical). He's trying to define his world as he sees it when he is older. And it just breaks/warms my heart when he talks about it, because this is the size of his world right now.

"When I am a Big K, I will get dressed all my my self"
"When I am a Big K, I will wash my face all by my self?"
"When I am a Big K, I will drive my big, light blue car!"
"When I am a Big K, I will make my own mac & cheese and give it to mommie"
"When I am a Big K, I will go on a big airplane and go on a biiiiig boat!"
"When I am a Big K, I will go to bed with no diaper?"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This morning we were getting ready to head out and I was in the laundry room throwing clothes in the dryer. This is what I heard emanating from the kitchen:

HBJ: You really really want Mac and Cheese for lunch today?
K&O: YES YES YES! I really really want it!
HBJ: But you just had mac and cheese for dinner last night.
K&O: Silence
HBJ: Ok, I will make you mac and cheese for lunch today, you can help me, let's get a pot.
K&O : Mac and cheese - thank you!
K: You are the best mommie ever!
O: You are the best mommie in the whole world!
HBJ: Thank you my baby - that makes it worth it!

I emerge and what do I find at 7:20 AM: A pot of boiling water with Heather, Kyle & Owen crowded around it making mac and cheese; all happy as can be!

Photo of the Day

Monday, November 12, 2007

Honesty Is the Best Policy

Mondays are long days this fall semester. Today the boys woke up at 7:00am, left for school at 8:00, Alex picked them up at 1:00 and brought them home to play, Braydon finished working at 5:30 and relieved Alex, and I got home from work at 6:00 to find K & O & Braydon sitting at the table starting to eat supper. They boys were in bed at 7:15, and sleeping by 7:20. To go from 8am-6pm without seeing Mama (and only spending an hour together in the am, and another hour together in the pm) is a long day for K & O. Luckily we only have these sorts of long days 2-3 days per week this semester. I really feel for women who work in jobs with less flexibility (i.e., corporate jobs, jobs that require extensive travel, etc.). At least 2-3 days per week I can get home early to spend significant amounts of time with the boys (2 days I pick them up from school at 1:00 and am with them for the rest of the day, and I try to get home before 5:00 on one other day). Granted, most days I work after K & O go to bed (often working 'till midnight), but I feel very fortunate to have a career in which I can make these sorts of choices for myself relatively guilt-free. I do miss my boys when I'm at work, though. Especially on these long days like today. And everyday I tell them about how much I missed them while I was working. Tonight, after supper I was cuddling with Kyle at the table. I was holding him and we were snuggling tight, Kyle was just gazing into my eyes, and the conversation below happened. Recently there have been several occasions where this exact conversation has transpired between Kyle and me and/or Owen and me:

Heather: Ky Ky, I missed you today when I was working.
Kyle: You did?
H: Yes, I did. I was thinking about you when I was at my office.
K: You were thinking about me when you were at your meetings?
H: Yes, I was thinking about you when I was at all my meetings.
K: Oh.
H: And I was thinking about you when I was working at my computer too.
K: Oh.
H: Ky Ky, did you miss me today when you were at school?
K: No.
H: Did you miss me today when you were with Alex?
K: No.
H: O.k., baby! I love you!
K: I love you too Mommy!

Honest to God, there can't be anything that makes this working Mama happier than that. Pure three-year-old honesty is the best. And nothing --absolutely nothing-- is better than knowing that your kids are happy and content during their days without you. Nothing. I'm sure K & O think about Braydon and I, and I'm sure that at some level they miss us. But I'm so very, very happy that they don't miss us longingly or feel pain about us being at work. They are happy. Very happy. I am so grateful to finally have a childcare situation that is so good for our family right now. And I am soooo grateful to have such confident independent secure boys for sons! We're in a really good place right now. It is a good phase. And we can really appreciate it since we haven't always been here.

That was Then, This is Now

Visit to the Swan Pond June 4, 2005.
K & O age 13 months.
Visit to the Swan Pond November 11, 2007 (yesterday).
K & O age 3.5 years.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lantern Walk

On Friday the RVWS had it's annual Lantern Walk to celebrate the fall season. We had never been to one, but the school had been preparing - and the boys had given us a preview of the songs they had been working on.

The letter home about it had instructed us, under no uncertain terms, that the Lantern Walk is a quiet peaceful time; adults are not to socialize and chat, and there should be no cell phones or cameras or video cameras. All of which it turns out I was glad for (although I did break the rules).

They handed out lanterns made by the kids - in our case little glass jars with colored paper painted-on and hung from a short stick with wire. We sang a few songs as a group all about fall and winter. Kyle and Owen followed along - kind of - since they didn't seem to know the words or the tunes too much, but it was super cute.

In typical K&O fashion they had to be the center of the action. And by center, I mean the center. They stood in the center of the fire pit (that would be lit later) while everyone stared at them. When the singing started, we made sure they came back to us.

Then everyone did a nice nature walk around the school, lit by luminaries and our lanterns. Kyle insisted on walking with Miss Kathy and holding her hand when possible, Owen liked to walk with the big kids as much as possible. Typical on both accounts!

After the walk we all had nice warm apple cider around the "bonfire" and everyone murmured and chatted (quietly of course).

All in all, it was really really nice. The boys loved it. So much in fact that as soon as we got in the car, Kyle said "Papi, you have to turn around and go back!". Heather and I loved it too.

My rule breaking self couldn't not take a few camera phone pics (double whammy!).

Eating And Playing

I've been thinking about this lately: all Owen and Kyle do these days are two things -- eating and playing. At night they sleep. A solid 11.5-12 hours in a row. But during their waking hours they literally just eat and play. All day, every day. They play, play, play, play, play. Mostly outside. For long stretches of time they'll play without any interruption. They stop only to eat. Braydon and I have a motto (that I know a lot of people share with us): Work Hard, Play Hard. K and O have a motto too: Sleep Hard, Play Hard (and Eat Up A Storm). Here are some scenes from our weekend (our first really cold weekend this fall).

Saturday Braydon took the boys to Philadelphia for a Retirement Party for Braydon's father, who flew in from Atlanta. I couldn't be there because I had to work. But all reports are that it was a great day that centered upon a leisurely lovely lunch. Even though Owen and Kyle don't see him very often, they love their Grandpa Robert. And they finally got to meet their Great Uncle David and Great Aunt Sandy, who drove down from NYC for the party. A highlight, of course, was Auntie Sabrina-- the boys, Owen especially, adore her.
Sunday lunch at one of our favorite restaurants.
Sunday afternoon playground scenes.

K & O's Sunday night tradition: An early kids-only dinner for two (a late adults-only dinner for two comes after they're snoozing).

Friday, November 09, 2007

The most popular boys in school and their good friend

I drop K & O off at school most of the time. I love it - it's a great way to start the day - there is so much positive energy getting to school and walking in. And I am witnessing something wonderful about our boys.

K & O are already the most popular kids in their class, if not the school. Any by most popular, I don't mean most recognizable, or token friend (although there is some of that too of course), but I mean most popular. And for someone who was not not not not popular as a kid - I can see it a mile away. This morning is a good example. On pulling up to school:

Me: come on guys, hurry hurry let's go, we're already late [ed: late is not typical, but I have to always usher them in]; grab your back packs, let's go - vamanos!
K&O: big stretch, lazily get backpacks... Look - a sea urchin! [pine coney thing falling from tree as we walk in]
Me: ok fellas - let's go!
First person to see them: "It's Kyle and Owen: good morning gentlemen!"
Second person to see them: Hi Kyle and Owen! Good morning!
Third person to seen them: Hi guys! High Five!
K&O: Good morning! [Kyle holds the door for the people going in; not sure where he learned that, but a good start]
Me: come on guys - keep going!
K&O: [invariably] Papi - look! The fountain! [it is always there and either on or off]
Me: ok guys [voice getting quiet as we arrive at their classroom], let's listen for fussing [hold over from first days of school when O would fuss]

We go in and this is what happens:

KYLE, OWEN; KYLE & OWEN ARE HERE!!!! The shout comes from about 10 kids between 2-4 and they all (yes, all) run over to greet K&O. If the class were a boat, it would capsize at that moment. Some are grabbing and hugging them, some stand a couple feet away, some are wearing capes that stream out behind them.

Kyle and Owen react in course - they start hamming it up making all kinds of strange noises and faces. The kids all laugh and engage in it. Pretty soon both boys are jumping on my back as I try to put their slippers on. Then other kids are too and everyone is laughing and having a great time. I am trying to not get smooshed. Their teacher comes over and starts to redirect and the day is well under way. Lots of laughing. Kyle tells me he loves school.

Looking over, I see Kyle and Owen with a special friend of theirs. This friend has Downs syndrome and is 5 years old. I see them saying hi - the boy has a huge grin and K&O are laughing with him and holding hands. The three of them are a happy little crew and like to walk in the woods outside - Kyle and Owen on either side as they walk, hand-in-hand singing songs.

At some level I think they are aware something is different about him. I think there is more than just peas-in-a-pod friendship here - that they get it he needs a little something extra. And they give willingly, unassumingly, unreservedly with love. That is it right there - those are my boys; that's the amazing thing.

The most popular kids in class, great friends with a kid needing a little more. Not much more; he's not helpless, he's not a problem. But we all know how it can be for people who need more. We've all seen what happens when someone is an outsider - it happens with kids and adults.

And that's why this is a big deal.

Puppet Show & Compost

Wednesday night Braydon did an impromptu little Puppet Show for K & O. They (all three of them) thought it was the funniest thing ever. K & O were laughing so hard they were falling out of their seats (literally). It was such a hoot to watch this whole scene. I was in the middle of getting dinner ready but stopped to quickly grab the camera.

Thursday was Johnson-McCormick Family Compost Day, which is, hands down, the boys' favorite school-drop-off day because they get to bring our big compost bucket with them. We started composting this summer and the boys are waaaaaaaaay into it. The boys' school has a compost collection site, so now we give add our own compost to the school's compost each week. Braydon drives the boys to school each morning, but once a week they bring the compost for drop-off too. They take the compost we've collected that week, lug it to the compost heap at the boys' school, and dump it out. I've done this only a couple times with K & O, but that's enough for me to have the full visual of what Braydon tells me is now a full-blown-weekly-ritual. They love to watch our family's compost get added to the pile, they are hugely dramatic with their yelps of "IT IS SOOOOO STINKY!!" and "IT IS SOOOOO SMELLY!", and they take great delight in the whole entire process. Then off to their classroom they run to see their friends.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Our Little Funny Man

Owen just loves to make people laugh.
All day, every day.
And it is hard to not laugh at him /with him.
All day, every day!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007