Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go!

We heard from the ET adoption group that the ET Orthodox Church was going to have a special celebration and bonfire for the Ethiopian New Year, but when we got to the church it was empty (we later found out someone had misprinted the date). We had all dressed up in our beautiful, traditional Ethiopian clothes and decided we better at least take some pictures if we couldn't go to the ceremony.

First trip (of many!) to the zoo

We didn't know how Ricky would react to all of the animals we would see at the zoo, so we had an exit strategy in place and were prepared to only spend a short time if we needed to ease his nervousness. Contrary to our preconceptions- and to our delight!- Ricky LOVED the animals! (collective sigh of relief- phew!) Maybe it was the obvious cages, glass walls, and barriers separating him and the beasts? Or maybe he saw how much fun the other kids were having making noises and faces? Whatever it was, he was relaxed and confident that he was not going to be lunch. At the petting zoo, he didn't even hesitate to pet and comb the goats. He must have been told in Ethiopia not to get near any wild dogs (hence the terror of Boo and Mingo) and maybe he remembers the friendly and unobtrusive goats, cows, and donkeys that dot the paths where he lived.

All 4 of the kids love the cotton candy, and Ricky inhaled his portion before I could snap a picture. For the big kids, eating cotton candy flooded them with memories of Mexico, their curso de verano last summer, and ita and ito. Such fun to have memories triggered when you least expect it! Playing in the children's zoo portion:

Papi and his 4 kiddos enjoying hot zoo day:
We showed Ricky all of our favorite spots: walking in the beautifully landscaped grounds, crawling through the piranha tunnel, marveling at Nemo in the coral reef...

and cooling off in the many misting stations. Hot, sweaty, tired, and happy, we headed home to relax and grill. A beautiful weekend in September!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweaty September

Sometimes after jumping in the trampoline for an hour, you really need a popsicle! Ricky wasn't sure at first about the coldness, and ended up throwing it away. He also doesn't love sweet things- he prefers soft, spongy bread, pasta or overcooked veggies. But we have made progress- I used to nuke the baby carrots in water for 3 minutes or so, but we are down to only 30 seconds (really almost raw). He also ate a raw apple the other day! He has been broadening his horizons and even tried spinach salad with avocados and lime (and made a face but still ate it).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sibling Love: Maybe don't squeeze him so hard?

This is how Maya loves to spend her day- squeezing Ricky and saying I love you, (um, or bossing him around). I didn't put the pictures of him crying, but you can imagine how this love session usually ends as the squeezing gets tighter and tighter until they fall down. The other day I heard Vivi saying (from the other room) "he can't breathe when you do that" and I ran in to see Maya hugging him from behind around his face. Without letting go, she says "Mommy I'm just hugging him, don't worry." I think these are best buddies in the making:)---

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One month home!

We've been home about a month! Here's a little video of Ricky talking- he has learned so much!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lemurs lament

"Mommy, do dreams really come true?" (after we read a bunch of Disney princess books). I said "Well, most dreams can come true if you work hard..." Vivi: "Oh good. My dream is to be a lemur."
That was last week. This week, Vivi is having second thoughts. She is going to be "Tiger of the Day" next week (for school) and she has to tell her favorite animal, and she told me she might just say cat because no one will know what a lemur is and she thinks they will laugh at her:(.

So, I gave her a big pep talk about being herself and not making up things just to be cool. I told her this was a chance to teach them about lemurs. I also told her that maybe they would have heard of them from the movie Madagascar. "Madagascar mommy!? Those aren't the lemurs I like! I don't like King Julian! I like real lemurs!"

The day came when she was going to be Tiger of the Day, and I was holding my breath when I went to pick her up from school.
She DID admit her favorite animal was a lemur, and when her teacher didn't understand what she was saying (wemur) Vivi went to the board and wrote it correctly:). I love my little girl!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Busy weekend!

We had a wonderful time with our friends at a birthday party (yet another!) and Ricky broke his first-of many- piñata! He was a little confused about why we were taking turns to hit the cute figure, but once the candy rained down and the pile of kids descended, he happily joined in.
Here's Vivi, my little chef. She begs to help me in the kitchen and I always try to find her jobs that don't involve knives or the hot stove. She can't decide if she wants to be a scientist that studies lemurs, an illustrator, or a chef. :) I told her she should do all 3, and she looked at me like I was crazy and said "Mommy, I won't have time for all 3!"

We spent Sunday at the museum, showing Ricky the dinosaurs. In the above picture, he and Maya are fighting over being in the carrier. One at a time kids, mommy can't do 60 pounds!!!

He is adjusting really well, and loves to do whatever the big kids are doing!

Even though he was only been with us a couple of weeks, he is starting to understand pertinent commands like "manos" (hold hands), "a comer" (time to eat), look!, "ponte los zapatos" (get your shoes on), "a dormir" (go to sleep), "ven aqui" (come here). Amazing how fast they learn!

Bath time is one of his favorite times, because of the water of course. Sometimes we do showers because they are faster, but sometimes the kids just want to play in the bubbles, and the millions of toys they have hiding under the bubbles. Why is it that neither he nor Tonito are by soap and shampoo running into their eyes? Ricky could have his eyes covered in soap and he will still be laughing and opening those big eyes of his. I won't be able to do baths with the 4 kids for long, so we are taking advantage of their littleness for now!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lovin' the Agua!

Ricky is learning very quickly what we do for fun in the summer heat!

Ricky LOVES water- loves to turn on the faucets and bathtubs and let them gush, loves flushing the toilet and playing with toys in it, loves the sprinklers, the hoses, our pool, puddles- anything with free-flowing water. Obviously his first trip to a splash park was a success!

We got his first doctor's appointment out of the way and started all of the immunizations from zero (he has not had any shots yet, ever). After 4 shots and a lot of blood drawn, the sleeping- and walking- was a bit rough for a couple of days. Now we're back on track and he is enjoying sleeping in Tonito's room (which really now is the boys' room). He loves splash parks, and mommy loves them too because there are no deep ends where Ricky can jump in! We spend a lot of time outside burning off energy, especially when I am alone with the kids. Tonio had a business trip to Europe this week and I survived my first solo week (well, by myself but with 4 kids!)..

Some fun Ricky facts: Ricky can sing the ABCs in Spanish and English, we think he is a LEFTY like me, and he lost/hid 2 remotes, 1 of them is for the digital converter box (bc we don't have cable) and now we can only watch CBS. That's a little annoying when Tonio is out of town so I need to buy a new remote or find the old one. I have found clothes in the garbage can (put their by Ricky when I tell him they go in the "ropa sucia" and I have a feeling he also threw away the remotes).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Tonito!

Tonito is 6!!! Happy birthday my big boy!!!!! You are so big- how are you already 6 years old!? We woke up Tonito singing Las Mananitas, and let him rip open his presents before going off to school. Although we won't let him watch Star Wars yet, we've gotten out some books from the library and it must be in his genes to like it.

Ricky has only been home a couple of weeks and we've celebrated 2 kids' birthdays, and we've gone to 2 other birthday parties- guess what song he is really good at singing!?!? I wonder if he thinks we're going to do this all the time!

Thursdays are our crazy day with different activities, but it was fun to start the day with presents, and end it with cake just before going to bed. Happy birthday buddy!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My sleeping boys

In Ethiopia, and since we've been home, Ricky has been happily sleeping in our bed. We rock him to sleep, or rub his back until he falls asleep- and sometimes repeat this many, many times. There was one night I was extremely frustrated as I went through the process at least 15 times. I would wait until I was sure he was asleep, tiptoe out of the room, and within minutes he would be terrified and crying and we'd run back in to start over again. Then one night, when we were going upstairs to kiss the other kids, Ricky pointed to the empty bunk bed in Tonito's room, and raised his eyebrows, asking in his way if he could sleep there. Tonio and I looked at each other, smiled, and said "Yeah buddy! La cama de Ricky! Go ahead!" and he climbed in and got tucked in. We showed him where Tonito was and kissed them both... and cautiously walked out of the room... and listened for 30 minutes while Ricky sang and talked and played with all of the toys he pulled into the bed. But then he went to sleep! It was our first night of him sleeping in his own bed, and he never woke up. Definitely a turning point!!!! Later in the week, I went in to wake up the boys in the morning and found this heart-warming scene:)---

Who knows at what time Ricky climbed up to Tonito's bed? And how sweet that Tonito is on the outside, not letting Ricky fall out the top bunk? I love it. Tonito has been asking us for a brother since he was able to communicated with us, and now he and Ricky are truly bonding!