Monday, May 30, 2011

Gotcha Day ~ 2 years already??

On Friday we marked the two year anniversary of the day when the judge said, "Dah!" that we could be Connor's parents.  I will never forget the window washers banging into the windows as Daryle was talking to the judge.  It was quite a distraction to me. Nobody else seemed to be bothered by it! I guess that is a good thing.  I also remember how the Swine Flu was the big news of the time. Connor was sick when we went to court so we didn't get to visit him at all.  We did get to see him through a window for all of 15 seconds and then out the door we went.  The following days we weren't even allowed to come back to the orphanage for fear that the "Americans might have the swine flu". Never mind that we weren't even sick. Oh well.  So we did a lot of sightseeing in Moscow instead.  That seems like soooo long ago!  Connor is fast becoming a "big kid" and is no longer a "baby"... although I still refer to him as such from time to time. He will be 3 years old in just 2 weeks.  Amazing.  
Here we all are.  Even though these pictures were taken two days after Gotcha Day I don't think we changed that much between now and then.. haha!!
Connor, we are so blessed to have you in our family.  We would not be the same without you.  It is a joy to watch your sweet personality blossom each and every day. Your Independence amazes me.  Not a day goes by that you don't do or say something and I wonder, "Now where did you learn about that??"  Just yesterday you called 911 all by yourself and asked the lady to come to your house. Never mind that you thought you were calling Robosaurus over for a play date.  I just kept wondering, "Now how did he know about calling 911?" I think after your time out you learned your lesson on that one.  In fact after your time out you told me, "I won't call on the phone anymore mommy!"  But perhaps the highlight of the day was when we were walking in the Costco parking lot. I was carrying you when you flung your arms around my neck for a big hug and said, "This is MY Mommy!!"  Why, yes I am! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Week, Sad Week

This week has been an emotional roller coaster for me this week. Let me begin with the happy times! Travis got the Student of the Month Award for April. We are so proud of him!  Here he is with his teacher (Daryle cut off her head!) and the May Student of the Month.

Last quarter Travis found out about Math Olympics.  These are math timed facts quizzes. He loves math.  Once I explained it to him he was ready to try it out.  The first one he took was 50 addition and subtraction problems in 3 minutes. He did it all and got 100% right on his first try! So this week at our awards assembly he got an award.  Only two kids did it this quarter. Way to go Travis!  Now we can start practicing for next year.  That will be 100 addition and subtraction problems in 4 minutes. I know you can do it! Ahhh, once again I am not sure if it is good or bad to have your mom be a teacher!  haha!
Travis is now ready for Second Grade!  I am so excited to have him be near me next  year. It's kind of funny, he keeps telling me that he wants to be in my class! I told him that is not allowed, Principal's rule!  It is cute he wants to be with me, but we both know that could never work out.  He has come a long way this year and we are so proud of him.  On Thursday we wrapped up the school year with the last day of school.  The week was jam packed with fun activities for the kids.  It seemed to go by quickly. Until I woke up on Thursday morning anyway.

Now begins the sad part of my week.  I woke up early on the last day of school and had some time to check emails, facebook, etc.  I was stunned and shocked to see that my uncle had posted that his son, my cousin, was in ICU and they didn't know if he would make it through the night.  A major amount of chills ran through my body. From what he said this was a drug overdose.  Being that it was 5:30 in the morning I wasn't sure if I should call my parents or not.  I figured I would wait until 6. I was thinking that a ringing phone this early in the morning was going to jolt them so I figured I would let them sleep a  bit more. Plus I texted my dad to see if he was awake yet (he is an early riser) and he didn't respond. Well, I called them at 6 and they knew all about it.  They had gotten a call late in the night and had been at the hospital with my aunt and uncle.  I can't say that this scenario was a complete shock. My cousin Thomas had his fair amount of troubles in his short 26 years of life. Unfortunately he had been in and out of jail and had dealt with a drug addiction for years.  These are the calls you dread and you hope and pray that you never get.  Anyway, I went up to the hospital with my parents that night to be with him and see what was going on. He was completely unresponsive.  Just a shell of a person was lying on the bed.  The paramedics had performed CPR for 37 minutes before they got a pulse. Who knows how long he was laying on the bathroom floor before his "friends" called for help.  Sad. Depressing. Devastating. A parents worst nightmare. I think that being a parent myself has made me look at this from a new perspective. I know once your children get older you can only hope you have taught them right from wrong.  If they go down the wrong path it is very difficult to bring them back. Some people are fortunate to have the love and support to get them through. Others are not so lucky. That was my cousin.  I wish I could have done more to help him. And I am talking about way back when he was just a little kid. I know in my head there was nothing I could have done, but in my heart I sure wish there was something I could have done to help. I just hope he knows how much his family loved him.  Unconditionally.  Yesterday afternoon the decision was made to take him off of life support.  There was just too much brain damage.  I have never been with a person before during their last moments on earth.  I can say that it was peaceful.  Just about a week ago he was released from jail and now this.  Such a shame. Such a waste of a good person.  A waste of a life.  Drugs just take everything from you.  I have so many emotions and thoughts running through my head.  I have to admit, it has been a few years since I have seen Thomas.  This was not the way I had hoped to see him the next time our paths crossed. But I am glad I was there to be with him. It gives me peace to think that our grandparents were there to greet him with open arms.  To meet a grandfather he never knew and to be reunited with a grandmother who loved him with her whole heart and soul.  I know he is in a happier, safer place.

So, I am hoping that the rest of my summer can be devoted to creating more memories with my two little guys. Yesterday was Connor's Gotcha Day. I can hardly believe it has been two years already! It is hard to remember what life was like without him.  We plan on celebrating today.  Here's to a summer of cuddling and PB&J sandwiches!

Peace to my cousin Thomas Scott Melzer, Jr.  Just 26 years young.  May you rest in peace.  Our love and memories of you will live on in our hearts forever. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

3 R's: Reading, Rainbows, and Uncle Rob

My brother's favorite book growing up was Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry.  He loved finding Gold Bug's hiding spot on each and every page.  I can remember looking at his book with him over and over again as we sat on my mom and dad's bed. I can remember how the binding and pages were taped over and over again to hold it all together.  Then when Travis came home some good friends of ours gave Travis a copy of the book.  Travis also enjoyed hunting around all of the pages on the "Gold Bug" hunt.  Looking at all of the cool modes of transportation was always a big hit too.  Yes, even our book acquired some tape during Travis' love affair with the book.  Well, Connor seemed to find the book on the bookshelf recently and now both of my boys are heavily engrossed in reading this all the time. Now it's Connor's turn to find the little yellow guy.  I wonder how much more tape we will be needing this time around??  I love it!

 Uncle Rob's plane finally showed up on Saturday.  Although our visit was short because he was actually here on... gasp.. business! We were just happy he came in town a day early so he could hang out with us, even if it was just for dinner. Plus I was able to get an updated shot of him and the boys for the annual Christmas calendar that the family gets.  We never know when we will get to spend time with  him so I am always getting pictures when he is here. Unfortunately this was the only picture. Oh well, at least it was the important one!
 Yesterday we got a little bit of rain in the desert. Well, those of you who live where rain REALLY exists would question whether or not this was rain. However, since we got a super cool (look closely to see the double part) rainbow over our house I would say we can officially say we got rain!

It was so big I had to get it in two shots.  It was so cute, Travis was outside and ran in shouting for us to come outside. I saw the rainbow and rushed in to get my camera. Good thing I did because it didn't stick around for very long. The pictures don't do it justice, it was so bright and beautiful. I just love rainbows!
Am I a bad mom because we all played in the raindrops for a few minutes? Since we hardly ever even see rain (let alone rainbows!) around here I didn't think it would hurt. It sure was refreshing!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I don't like waiting for things. However, I have learned over the years how to wait in a more patient manner.  I think I need to pass this on to my dad. He can't wait. 

We had a busy morning with the baseball team end of year team party which was at the park down the street from our house.  Daryle and I went to bed at 12:30 and my little you-know-who came into our room at 6:30 bright eyed and bushy tailed!  That was just not enough sleep for me.  Then, it was pretty warm out there, in the high 90's this morning.  I actually came home and took a power nap afterwards. I am feeling much better now.

With that being said, I will get back to the waiting part.  Right after I got up and around again my phone rang. It was my dad. He wanted to know when we were coming over. You see my brother's plane from Seattle is landing at 3:27. He called me around 3:12.  He wanted to know when he should start getting the pork loin cooked on the BBQ.  Well Dad, Connor is still sleeping.  We will come when he wakes up.  Didn't we already go over that?  At least three times?? Yesterday? I know he is excited. But really? Yes dad, we will call when we are on our way. 

Gotta love my dad!  He really is the best, even though he didn't inherit MY patience gene!  LOL

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I had a wonderful Mother's Day!  For so many years I celebrated this day hoping that "next year I would finally be a mom".  I will never forget my first Mother's Day when Travis was finally home with us!  Then three years ago on Mother's Day we decided to head back to Russia for our second adoption. Now for the second year I celebrated this day with both of my boys!  Travis made me some cute projects at school (and one at Home Depot with dad) and Connor made me some cute gifts at the babysitter's house. His involved "fancy jewlery" and I don't know who wore it more today, Connor or me!  Here are my gifts:
These are from Travis.  Love them!

 These are from Connor... priceless!
 We went over to my parent's house today for hamburgers and some swimming. After Connor had a nap we headed out to the park to feed the ducks. I am not sure, but this might have been Connor's first time feeding the ducks.  We had fun watching the ducks fight over bread as the birds tried to steal it all from them!
The boys finally got to start the swimming season at my parent's house.  It is great because they can finally play together. Connor is fine with his vest and Travis swims great.  Here they are jumping off the side of the pool.

Of course I had to get a picture of the boys with my mom. I have the most wonderful mother.  Thanks mom for all you have done for me over the years.  You are so strong, I can only hope to be half as strong as you one day!  I love you tons and so do my boys!!

Yesterday was one of Travis' last baseball games.  It should have been the last one but we had one rain out week so we will play our make up game on Friday night.  Since it was nice and sunny and all of the grandparent's were there (to watch Connor) I decided to take some pictures of my little baseball player.

All in all it was a pretty good weekend.  This morning Daryle and the boys fixed me breakfast in bed, we went to mass together and then we went to my parent's house.  My mom and I even got away for a bit to do some shopping while Connor took a nap.  To all of you who are mothers, I hope you had a wonderful day. To all of you who are still hoping to be a mom one day remember to keep the faith and stay strong.  These things have a way of working out even when we don't understand what is taking so long. We were married for ten years before we were blessed with Travis. Believe me, I don't take Mother's Day lightly! I am so grateful for my boys and I say prayers of thanks each and every day that we were brought to each other.  Before we got married I would never have thought that we would end up traveling across the world to find our children.  Life is funny that way.  We end up doing things we never thought could be possible.  Happy Mother's Day!  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Boys Night Out

Last Saturday Daryle took the boys to a Monster Truck show.  Yes. Both boys.  Without me. He did bring his friend so that he wasn't out numbered though!  Daryle and Travis have gone several times before in the past, but this was Connor's first visit. To say he loved it is an understatement!  He has been talking about it all. week. long.  I was just happy to have a few hours to myself. Absolute bliss for me! Here are some pictures from their adventure together. 

The highlight of the evening was Robosaurus.  Evidently when he came out Daryle lost the feeling in his neck because Connor was holding on so tightly!  He was entranced by the fire breathing, car eating dinosaur.  Once he figured out that it ate CARS and not little BOYS he loved this thing.  When it started to leave he got quite upset. As Daryle said, it was a roller coaster of emotions in a very short period of time!

As you can imagine Connor has been talking about Robosaurus all week long. Even just now when he saw these pictures we had to look at all of them. He had to show me the sharp teeth and as we looked at the pictures he made different types of growling noises!  I think something like this would have scared the you-know-what out of me when I was 2 years old!  LOL  Not my Connor. Like I have said before, this boy has NO FEAR!  As for me, I completely enjoyed my evening to myself. I can't wait until they go again!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Puppy Love

This past weekend Travis had his first experience with a puppy. His "old" speech teacher's dog (she taught him so well he doesn't go anymore!) had a puppy a few weeks back.  She has been promising Travis he could meet him when he was old enough for visitors.  Travis surprised us both with his gentle manner and sweetness with the little guy.  I am not a huge animal person, but boy was this little guy an absolute cutie pie!  Travis couldn't give him enough kisses and hugs. It was so sweet to watch him. He says he wants to be a vet when he grows up.... we will see. I do know one thing, and that is that he will always have a pet of some kind. This kiddo loves animals (as does his little brother, and his dad... hey, how did I end up with these people anyway??!  LOL)  Next time maybe I will be brave enough to let Connor come too. I was afraid he might suffocate the little guy with his unintentional roughness!  I must say though, puppies sure are cute!