Hi Johnson-McCormick Family Blog readers!!! Since starting this blog I've posted pretty consistently on a daily basis. I love doing it. And goodness knows that K & O provide plenty of material to blog about (I am not a blogger who is ever at a loss for material, that's for sure!) But I have decided that I'm going to take the next five days off from blogging. No need to worry when you don't see any posts, I'm just taking a little blog break so that I can focus as much of my energy as possible on some other things. I plan to be back in the saddle again Wed or Thurs of next week.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Posted by Heather at 12:06 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Yesterday was a planned day-off for Alex. My goal was to spend the day at home with the boys trying to unwind/de-compress/come-down-from-the-natural-high-of-the-"Haiti Reunion"... I had envisioned the three of us lazing in the sun, splashing in the pool, quietly chatting about our experience at the reunion, and catching up on sleep. It didn't work out that way. And that is an understatement. Who was I kidding????----- "lazing"?!--- "quietly chatting"?!-- "sleep"?!-- This is Kyle and Owen we're talking about! "Teeming" - "screaming" - and "wide-eyed-awake" is more like it. Plus. It Rained. ALL. DAY. LONG. The highlight of the day, by far, was that the three of us made blueberry oatmeal muffins together. The boys are waaaay into cooking right now. And they are getting easier and easier to cope with in the kitchen. The muffin making was good. The rest of the day... was... um... let's just say: it wasn't as good as the muffin making. I think I broke up more fights yesterday than in any other day ever (click here for just one of many examples). The combination of being all wound up from the awesome weekend plus being cooped up inside from the rain (plus, let's face it, the real culprit: I did not have a rainy-day Plan B in place)... well, let's just say, it wasn't one of our better days. Here are some photos from the good part of the day! (and below them a funny overheard car conversation...)
So, Braydon had mercy on me and decided we should go out to dinner last night. On the way to the restaurant this is the conversation we overheard in the backseat (sometimes it is so hard to not laugh our tushes off at the things we overhear --- but we try not to laugh when, as was in this case, the conversation between K & O is completely deadpan 100% serious)-- Try to imagine that their tone here is totally earnest, sober, contemplative; like they are talking about something very, very, very serious.
K: What you want to talk about, you and me, Owen?
O: Kyle, you will have french fries at the restaurant?
K: Yes! French fries! And ketchup! You will have quesadillas at the restaurant Owen?
K: Yes. I so tired from the K.
K: Yes. I want to have a O. Kyle and Owen both.
Posted by Heather at 11:21 AM
Monday, July 23, 2007
This past weekend was one of our best family experiences ever. We have had many amazing family experiences in the past 2.5 years, and this one was right up there. We spent the weekend together with 14 other families at the 4th Annual Pennsylvania Haitian Adoptive Families Reunion. Before going I thought, "Wow, only 14 other families in PA??? What a sad statement?!!!" And it is a sad statement -- only about 150 Haitian kids are currently adopted into the U.S. each year... and that is not for lack of kids to be adopted... that is for lack of U.S. families adopting them. Anyway-- I don't want to get up on my soapbox about that so I'll stop there. So, I must say: although collectively we were only 14 families from the entire state of Pennsylvania... 14 families can go a looong way. 14 families with super exuberant, happy, healthy, well-adjusted, thriving Haitian Adoptees can go a looooooong, looooooooooong. loooooooooooooooong way. And when you're Kyle and Owen... and the kids from those 14 families are all super energetic/active/running-non-stop/happy/lovely kids... and those 14 families are all smack in the middle of an outdoorsy woodsy camp -- complete with pond and playground -- well, suffice it to say, K & O were in their glory.
The point of this Reunion is for us in Pennsylvania to get our families together for a weekend; to share in a way that, realistically, when you're a Haitian Adoptive Family, you can really only share with other families just like your own. It is a unique kind of family. It is special in certain ways. It is challenging in certain ways. It is miraculous in every way. It was really special to be able to talk openly with other parents who have gone through and/or are going through similar experiences as us. And it was really special to watch our boys PLAY. ALL. WEEKEND. LONG. with all these wonderful kids who have life histories so similar to their own. Kids who were born in Haiti. Kids who survived in Haitian orphanages. Kids who were adopted. Kids who know resiliency. Kids who know transcendence. I could write forever about the past weekend, but instead I'll just let the photos do the talking. It was hard to choose just 14 photos because we have so many beautiful ones. I will leave it to you to take from these photos what you will. There is a lot to see in them. I will only say this: each of these kids have an intense look in their eyes, an intense history, an intense engagement with their world, an intense zest for life. All of these things are familiar to me because I recognize it in my Kyle and Owen too. Spending the weekend together with these families really was spectacular, invigorating, affirming, and rejuvenating... especially for K & O. For all of you reading who were there----- thank you. We cannot wait for next year.
for more, click here, and here.
(click to see any photo larger)
The whole weekend was one huge highlight for Kyle and Owen, but when we try to break it all down with them (try to help them process it all -- it was a lot for a three year old to take in!), it is clear from our conversations that there were three major highlights that really stood out. From Kyle and Owen's perspectives the top three highlights of the 4th Annual Haitian Adoptive Families Reunion were: Tenting, Tabitha, and Together
The reunion was at a campground - we tented as a family for the very first time! It was awesome. We all four absolutely loved it. I wasn't so sure how it would go, but I never should have even questioned it -- the boys are game for anything, anytime, any place. And as always, they did not disappoint. The boys were totally into it. They loved sleeping in the tent. Absolutely loved it. Both woke up (at 9am!!!) with huge cozy cuddly smiles on their faces. Today they spent a lot of time talking about "the tent!" and "sleeping in the tent!" and how "it was soooo dark in the tent!" and "it was sooooo fun in the tent!" This was our first tenting experience, but definitely not our last.
When you ask the boys what their favorite part of the "Haiti Reunion" was they say "together! the slide all together!" I know what they are talking about because I happened to see this happening and ran over to take some photos of it. A ton of kids were all riding down the playground slide together one right after another over and over and over. They'd purposefully make a huge big pile-up at the bottom... all laughing hysterically and dramatically the whole time. It was priceless. I'm glad I caught some photos of it because it really truly was K & O's top highlight of the entire weekend. And from the photos you can see why...
So, Heather has been valiantly attempting to keep the boys noise level in check during my conference calls. She has made muffins with them and had them playing upstairs. Then they went to the basement to play. Things got a bit rough and much crying ensued (on the part of the boys). Then I hear the following exclamation in addition to the scampering of little feet:
"Both of you go to your room nooooow! There is absolutely NO hitting your brother with your drill!!!!"
Now that is not something you hear everyday....
Posted by Braydon McCormick at 11:50 AM
Friday, July 20, 2007
Congratulations to our dear friends Ben & Ruth (click here) whose brand new baby girl twins were born today! Robin Catherine, 6 lbs 8 oz & Anna Dorothy, 7 lbs 3 oz!!! Anyone who knows anything about twins knows that is two big healthy full term babies and one totally incredible mama! We're so excited to have some of our very closest friends also be a twin family now!!!!
Posted by Heather at 9:13 PM
Braydon and I are overly educated. We both have doctorates. We read a lot. We understand the intrigue of thinking deep thoughts and pondering life's curiosities. However, we're regularly stumped by the questions our two three year old's pose. Is there a "right" answer????????????? Are there cliff notes on any of this??????
Top Ten K & O Questions From the Past Few Days:
- What is 'God'?
- Mommy, you have a beard under your armpits?
- Why is Curious George so curious?
- In the toilet, when I flush it, where do my poopies go?
- Why are spectacled bears afraid of pumas?
- Mommy, what are you afraid of?
- Do girl bugs have a vagina?
- But mommy, why aren't your breasts so big and huge like that other lady's breasts?
- When can I get a real real trombone - a real instrument trombone - so I can make trombone music - WHEN?
- When I'm grown up can I have a penis and a vagina both??
P.S. Since writing this post I've received the funniest emails this morning from people asking me what I actually have said in response to these questions!! Just for the heck-of-it, here ya go:
- What is 'God'? What went through my head: "Oh my God, I have no idea!!!" What came outta my mouth: "Go ask Papi!"
- Mommy, you have a beard under your armpits? What went through my head: "Oh my God, I really need to shave. When did I last shave???" What came outta my mouth: "Yes, sweetie, it is kinda like a beard!"
- Why is Curious George so curious? What went through my head: "Oh my God, I HATE these freeeekin' Curious George books soooooooooo much." What came outta my mouth: "I don't know why sweetie. Why do you think he's so curious!??"
- In the toilet, when I flush it, where do my poopies go? What went through my head: "Oh my God, why do we alllllllllllllllwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyys have to talk about poopies around here?" What came outta my mouth: "Go ask Papi!"
- Why are spectacled bears afraid of pumas? What went through my head: "Oh my God, I HATE these freeeekin' Diego videos soooooooooo much." What came outta my mouth: "I don't know why sweetie. Why do you think they're afraid of pumas!??"
- Mommy, what are you afraid of? What went through my head: "Oh my God, where do I even begin?? Ummmm.... I'm afraid of you dying; I'm afraid of your brother dying; I'm afraid that you'll both hate me when you're teenagers; I'm afraid you'll get a terrible terminal illness; I'm afraid you'll never be able to catch a cab in a city; I'm afraid I love you too much; I'm afraid of dark alleys and scary men; I'm afraid our house is going to burn to the ground and we're going to lose everything; I'm afraid that you and your brother will drown in the swimming pool because I'm so exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open right now..............." What came outta my mouth: "Who wants a snack?!!!"
- Do girl bugs have a vagina? What went through my head: "Oh my God, I have no idea." What came outta my mouth: "Go ask Papi."
- But mommy, why aren't your breasts so big and huge like that other lady's breasts? What went through my head: "Oh my God." What came outta my mouth: "Who wants a snack?!!!"
- When can I get a real real trombone - a real instrument trombone - so I can make trombone music - WHEN? What went through my head: "Oh my God, how much does a real trombone cost??? How heavy are they? Could he even hold one??" What came outta my mouth: "Maybe for your birthday sweetie?!!"
- When I'm grown up can I have a penis and a vagina both?? What went through my head: "Oh my God, I suppose that if they can do surgery to change the genitalia then they could technically do surgery to give someone both, right? Well, at least by the time he's 21 they'll probably have that technology in place, right???" What came outta my mouth: "When you're 18 sweetie, then you can make that decision for yourself. And I'll always love you no matter what because I am your Mama. Now, who wants a snack?!"
Thursday, July 19, 2007
This past week Alex was away on vacation so I was home with the boys. One great thing about this summer is that when all is said and done we will have had four full weeks of no non-parental-childcare. One week in May when we all went to Virgin Gorda (click here), a week at home in June (click here), this past week of July at home, and another week that we have coming up in August. It is really challenging to maintain my career while also devoting this much time to my bambinos. And the stress and anxiety and pressure sometimes take a toll on me (we had a couple low points this past week -- just read between the lines of this blog and you can see the cracks in the pavement). But I have worked my a** off in order to be at a point in my career where I can even consider doing it this way.... and I'm maximizing on that as much as I can this summer. This post is a sort of random series of snippets from the past week.
As you've probably noticed from the photos on the blog, we're rarely dressing the boys in matching outfits anymore. I had always told myself that when they turned three I was going to try very hard to avoid the cutesy-twinsy-matching-outfit-temptation. I've been more or less successful. But from time to time the boys still insist on wearing the same things. On the day of the photo above they had both wanted to wear overalls. Luckily we still do have a few things that are "match to match!!" (as the boys say), so we do have a few cutesy-twinsy-matching-outfits for when the need arises. On an entirely other note --> cute story: I have taught/trained the boys the following ~~ If I say, "Where are you going to go to college?" They say, "Howard University!" So, we were sitting at the table having lunch. I said, "Owen, where are you going to go to college?" Owen said, "Howard University!" I said, "Kyle, where are you going to go to college?" He said, "Howard University! With my brother!" Suddenly Owen threw up his hands saying "Wait a minute! Wait a minute guys!!! I have a good idea! Mommy say 'where are you going to go to college?'" I said, "O.k. Owen, where are you going to go to college?" He said: "Howard University! With my brother and my mommy!"
Posted by Heather at 10:56 AM
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Dinner: Rice pilaf; blackened tilapia; steamed green beans; "salad and dip" ("salad and dip" for K & O = salad minus the lettuce -- i.e., all the cut up veggies -- with some salad dressing on the side to dip the veggies in. The only exception to this is caesar salad at Carrabbas or the fuji apple chicken salad at Panara Bread... they'll eat both of those lettuce and all.). To drink: water and "wine" (i.e., a Dora the Explorer cup with some watered down wine in it). When I was preparing this meal I was getting out that classic ol' box of Near East Rice Pilaf and I actually thought to myself, "I should probably make two boxes of this." And then I thought to myself, "No! That is ridiculous-- they're only 3 years old! I'm not making two boxes!!!" So I only made one box. Big mistake. Braydon and I only had small spoonfuls. The boys devoured the rest of it and would have had more if there was more to be had. Toward the end of dinner I said to Braydon, "God help me! If they eat this much now, what on earth are they going to be eating when they're sixteen?!" He just laughed. Of course. I said, "No, seriously Braydon. I thought about making two boxes of rice pilaf but then didn't. I should have! If I have to make two boxes of rice pilaf when they're three, how many boxes will I need to make when they're sixteen?" He said: "Three boxes. One for us. One for Kyle. And one for Owen." Anyhoo... When we were in Virgin Gorda we discovered that Owen loves fresh blackened fish. He now requests that we get "fish" when we go to the grocery store. Go figure. Kyle now eats it too. And they love green beans. As you can see in the picture below, Kyle loves green beans so much he eats them double-fisted shoving them in one by one as fast as he can swallow. Oh, and after dinner they each had strawberry ice cream and whipped cream for dessert. Then each requested milk... and each guzzled down a large sippie cup full before heading off to bed... Thank heavens that at least they do sleep ~~~ that gives me a chance to rest... after all, it is only a matter of hours before breakfast begins another day of steady work for the Executive Chef.
Posted by Heather at 9:51 PM