Friday, June 22, 2007

The Latest from the Woods'

Wow! Time has flown by the past several months!! We have made the big move to New Jersey. Bill came out to Morristown 2 weeks ago and the boys and I have been here for one week. He’s busy adjusting to his new job while I am busy unpacking boxes and keeping the boys out of trouble.

I’m going to back track a little to my last day of work at Summit. What an emotional day for my co-workers and my students:( I worked as an elementary teacher at this school for the past 8 years. I’ve made so many friends during this time and taught many wonderful students. For our end of the year party, we had a red carpet event and presented each student with a special award that shares something unique about them. When we began the ceremony, the tears started flowing (girls and even the boys)! By the time we reached the end of the awards, nearly everyone in the room was in tears. I don’t think there were too many dry eyes. I will never forget my last day at Summit. I was truly blessed to have worked with the staff at Summit and all of the children I’ve had over those 8 amazing years!

We spent our last weekend in Michigan with family. A great time was had by all! We spent Saturday afternoon at the beach with my mom, sister, niece and nephew and my aunt and uncle. The kids had a ball! The water was too cold for swimming but the kids took off their shoes and waded. Well, that wasn’t enough for my niece! She decided to strip down to nothing and swim in her birthday suit!! Her delighted squeals were precious, although my sister didn’t think so. Because she stripped down, Lawrence and William thought it would be a great idea too. I managed to get them to stop at their shorts and they spent the rest of the afternoon frolicking in the water and sand in their underwear. Neither of them had ever been to the beach, so I had to let them enjoy feeling the sand on their skin. I have many pictures and video clips to cherish forever. Mom, Aunt Sandy and Uncle Mic, thank you for putting the picnic together. We all enjoyed ourselves.

The following week after school got out, I had 2 more staff days. Bill was already in New Jersey, so I needed to find a sitter for the boys. My wonderful sister came down for a visit and watched the boys and her 2 kids in my classroom while I worked. Bless her heart! She had the patience of a saint! The first day, all four of them were wired and she was exhausted by the end of the day. The second day was much better because they had worn themselves out the previous day. The 2 little ones spent their evening chasing and taking down the 2 oldest. They were a riot! They kept high-fiving each other and saying, “We got ‘em!” Thank you, Lisa, for watching my angels!

Now, to the move! We left last Thursday for New Jersey. We traveled through Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and into New Jersey. The boys were fantastic travelers considering it took 11 hours to get there! The construction in Pennsylvania was awful. They had their portable DVD players, lots of movies and backpacks full of toys. William slept about 3 hours and Lawrence never slept a wink. He doesn't like to miss anything. Lawrence was a great big brother and helped William out when needed. We stopped a few times for potty breaks because of course neither of them had to go at the same time and we also stopped for lunch. I’m grateful they were good for the drive!

We are all excited about what’s to come here in New Jersey! The boys love their new home and are looking forward to all the things to come! Lawrence can’t wait for school to start. He just finished kindergarten and he’s ready for first grade! Sooner or later, he will understand what summer break really means and maybe not be as excited about the start of the school year!

Sorry this had been so long! I will be trying to update every other day and share the little things that happen in our lives. Feel free to post comments and keep us posted on life back in Michigan!

Peace & love,
Kelly, Bill & the boys

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Just Over Two Months Home!

I can't believe how quickly time goes by! It's already been two months since we returned home from our trip to Ukraine. Life has become quite different in a very rewarding way.

The boys are keeping Bill and I very busy. Lawrence has been in school (kindergarten) for almost 6 weeks now and is doing absolutely wonderful. His teacher and his classmates are impressed with how quickly he is acquiring the English language. He can already recite the ABCs, recognize them out of order, and knows quite a few of the letter sounds. He can count to 30, which is what he needs to do for kindergarten. He still needs to work on colors and shapes, but we know those will come soon. Lawrence is very eager to learn and please Mama and Papa.

Last week, we were driving somewhere and we asked him what something was in Russian. You could just see his little brain working hard to figure out the right word. He couldn't think of the Russian word and said, "Pa Russkie, chi choot), which means Russian, a little. He's already forgetting a lot of his native tongue. Although we are saddened by this, we want his English to progress with the intent of coming back to the Russian later on.

William has been going to preschool for 2 weeks now and seems to have mixed feelings about it. Some days, he's very excited about going. Other days, he cries and tells Papa he wants to stay home. He just goes 3 days a week for half a day. His English has really started to pick up in the last week or so. He also has started taking more of an interest in knowing the ABC song. We listen to a lot of Wee Sing CDs in the car whenever we go somewhere. He loves to sing! Some of his favorites are "Three Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed," "Skitta Ma Rink," and "Bingo." He has started counting out objects up to five and he's been working on colors.

Today, we took the boys swimming with two of their aunts and two cousins. We asked the boys if they had ever gone swimming before (plavich). They said no, but they were very excited about putting on their bathing suits and jumping in the pool. Lawrence was slightly hesitant about exploring the pool, but eventually got over that. William, on the other hand, has absolutely no fear! He loved the big slide so much, that he decided to get away from dad, cut in front of about 4 people and go down all by himself! Yikes!! He ended up being fine, but I certainly didn't like seeing him go down alone. He did have a life jacket on, so he never really went underwater at the end of the slide. Both boys were exhausted by the end of the 2 hours we spent at the pool.

Until next time, peace & love to all!


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mid-Winter Break

This past weekend and the week so far have been awesome! My nephew spent all of his mid-winter break with Aunt Kelly and Uncle Bill. He had a blast hanging out with his new cousins. He ended up going home and telling his mom he wants a little brother! My sister said no way! She's happy with two kids.

Since we've had so much snow, we decided to take the boys sledding. They had so much fun the first day, we went a second day. All of us took turns flying down the hill. Lawrence and Willliam had no fear whatsoever. They each took turns zipping down the hill on their own with Mama or Papa not too far behind, of course. Papa decided it would be fun to give Lawrence a big push. Well, he zoomed down the hill and then about half way down he hit a huge bump and flew off his sled. We anxiously waited to see if was okay or if he would stand up with tears. Well, the second one happened. He was crying because he had a pretty bad bloody nose. We got him all cleaned up and he was right back at sledding. The bloody nose didn't stop him from doing more sledding!

The rest of the weekend was a lot of fun and our boys just loved spending time with their cousin. There will be more sleepovers in the future, full of lots of laughs and good times!

Poor little William was inconsolable tonight. He fell asleep kind of late for a nap so I had to wake him up to eat some dinner. I sat him down at the table and not five minutes after sitting him down, he says he has to go potty. Well, he really had to go and barely made it. He had some difficulties with his aim, probably because he still wasn't completely awake yet. He hit the floor, the toilet seat, and his pants, so those had to go. I decided not to put more pants on because he would taking a bath soon and be putting on his PJs.

I put William back in his seat at the table and the next thing I know, he's sobbing. He wanted new pants and refused to eat his dinner. I carried him upstairs to his bed so he could relax and maybe go back down to eat. While he's relaxing, I go ahead and get their clothes ready for school tomorrow. William starts crying even more! I'm confused and a little frustrated because I can't figure out why he's crying. I finally get him calmed down enough to try and talk him through why he's crying. Turns out, he's upset about a combination of things: he wanted new pants, no school, and he'd rather be home with mama! That just melted my heart!

Any way, things continue to go well! We love our boys to pieces and they are really starting to more comfortably show that love back. We are blessed to have these boys in our lives!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is the boys' first Valentine's Day with us! It was an even better day because Lawrence and I had no school because of a winter storm that came through over night. The boys each got a Valentine from Mama and Papa. Then, they spent the afternoon with Grandma & Grandpa and Papa, while I stayed home and cleaned the house!

When the boys all came home, I had prepared a Valentine's Day chicken dinner. We ate dinner by candlelight. It was quite romantic! Lawrence and William were mesmerized by the candles, but eventually William blew them both out. We all enjoyed ourselves and left the table stuffed. Then, it was time for their bath and bedtime.

Bill has been doing alright as Mr. Mom. Some days I come home from work and the house is a disaster: toys scattered across the floor, dishes in the sink, and unfinished lunches sit on the table. Other days, the house is picked up and the dishes are done. He sometimes gets frustrated because the days get long and he doesn't always know how to fill the day, but he's enjoying this bonding time with the boys. Life will be different when he starts his new job, so he loves this extra special time he has with the boys.

This was a wonderful day and we can't wait for more Valentine's Days together!


Monday, February 05, 2007

My First Day Back to Work (Not Quite!)

Today was supposed to be my first day back to work after taking off ten weeks for the adoption. I spent last night getting my schoolwork together, packing my lunch and picking the day's outfit. I set the alarm for 5:30a.m. and finally went to sleep.

I awoke at 5:30, dragged myself out of bed, and was just about to get in the shower, when my phone rang. It was my car pooler, Melissa. She had the best news, "School is cancelled!" My teaching partner called also to share the good news. I couldn't believe it. I'm supposed to go back to work and school is cancelled due to severe cold weather. The Midwest has been hit by an Arctic blast and the temperature this morning was -5 degrees and -25 degrees with the wind chill. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold also but not as cold, so my guess is that I'll have to work tomorrow:( I think the high is supposed to be around eleven degrees.

I enjoyed spending one more day at home with the boys. We spent the day playing games, reading books, and just hanging out. Bill rough-housed with the boys for a bit, too. They love being tossed around and up in the air by Papa. Tomorrow will be Papa's first day as Mr. Mom! I know all will be well, but I'm not sure what the house will look like when I get home;) I wonder how long William will cry before he wears himself out. He is very much a Mama's boy and isn't ready to hang out at home with Papa all day. Bill bought some earplugs to save his ears from the screaming because our little guy has a strong set of lungs! I don't worry about Lawrence because he goes to school in the morning and he loves hanging out with Papa. William tends to give Papa grief about things and not me, while Lawrence likes to back talk to me and not Papa.

I'll have Bill post next time and share his adventures as Mr. Mom and a top ten list!

Peace & love,

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Oh My Lord!

This weekend was a lot of fun! We started the morning with a trip to the post office to get the boys' U.S. passports. Bill had to take this on by himself, while I had an eye doctor's appointment. After my appointment, I had to run over to the post office and sign the paperwork. We had no idea how William would do with the passport picture. Fortunately, the lady had some candy and that's all it took for him to smile and take a great picture. Lawrence loves smiling, so he had no problem getting his picture taken.

After the passports, we had an appointment at Wal-Mart's Portrait Studio. Again, we had no idea how well this would go. Much to our surprise, the boys did wonderful and mom spent way too much money!! I can't wait until the pictures come in 2 weeks. They both had the most darling smiles in all of the poses, so I had to order portraits of each one. I justify buying so many by saying that this is their first set of professional pictures. I'll be better next time and not spend so much, right?

After the pictures were done, we went home and waited for grandma, Aunt Lisa, Dante, and Imani to arrive. My mom, sister, and niece and nephew came over Saturday for a visit. We spent some time at our house and let the boys show off their new toys and games. Then, we went to an indoor playground near our house. The kids spent about 2 hours running around, climbing ladders, and sliding down the slides. We went out to dinner and then came home. We played musical cars with the kids after dinner. We ended up taking Imani home, while our boys rode home with Grandma and Aunt Lisa. Well, they both get very excited when they see an airplane. They scream, "Samalyot! Samalyot!" My mom and sister didn't know this and when we all got home, they told us William kept shouting, "Oh my Lord! Oh my Lord!" They couldn't stop laughing. Well, it was even more funny when we told them what he was really saying. They started laughing even harder.

The boys continue to adjust very well to everything around them. They love being with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and vice versa. They bring smiles to our faces as well as the family and friends they encounter. They are truly a blessing and we feel so lucky and honored to be their parents! Life is so good!

Peace & love,
Kelly & Bill

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lawrence's First Week of School

Lawrence started school this past week. He attends half day kindergarten. We have been talking about school for the past 2 weeks preparing him for his first day. We talked about Dad's school, visited my school (I'm a teacher), and visited his school. We'd been counting down the days on the calendar. He was so excited to finally start! Only once did he have second thoughts, that we know of. We were discussing school one night at dinner. He thought everyone would be speaking Russian and was a little shocked to hear that it would all be in English. He got past this and was okay.

Bill stayed with him all morning the first day. Lawrence really didn't pay much attention to him, though. He settled right in with the rest of the class and went about his day. One little girl spent most of her day showing him around, making sure he knew what to do. The next day, I stayed for about half an hour. Then, on Friday, I walked him to his class and left. What a big boy!! We're very proud of him and how he is adjusting to his new school!! He always comes home and tells us he was a good boy at school.

He absolutely loves his classroom, his teacher, and especially being around other kids. I think he was missing being with the friends from his groupa. He can write his first name with a little prompting and is working on his last name. He can also sing the ABC song and recognizes quite a few of the letters. He can almost count to 20. He can recognize a few colors. He's got some catching up to do, but I don't think he will have too many problems. We just have to keep up his positive attitude!

William likes being home with Mom, but that changes next week when I go back to work:( I start back at my school next Monday and Bill becomes Mr. Mom!! I can't wait to hear how his days go. It will give him a taste of how my life will be when he transitions into his new job and I stay home all day. Things will probably be a little rough at first for him, but they will run smoothly after awhile.

Each day and every day the boys continue to amaze us with what they know! They understand more and more English every day and add several words to their vocab. We are full of joy and happiness and are very blessed to have these boys in our lives. Bill and I are always worn out by the end of the day, but it's all worth it!!

The first picture is of Lawrence's first day at school. The second is of the family at their Welcome to the Family party and the last is of them in our yard after an ice storm.