Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Bash: 500 Babies' Style

Here's how the 500 Babies celebrated New Year's Eve. Wow, what fun!Despite how unenthused they appear, the kids really did have a great time. We hadn't planned on eating out, but we were running errands, dinnertime was looming, and vanilla wafers can only buy you so much time. Kids' pizza places are never my first choice, but we had a coupon and it's always nice to go somewhere where you know kids are welcomed, there will be plenty of high chairs, and no one cares if your children make noise. It's a lot more relaxing for the parents.

We also like that our kids are too young to realize you're supposed to put money in the rides:

All in all it was a fun evening, with the exception of when I caught a little girl cheating on the skee ball game and "winning" tons of tickets. I told the worker at the prize counter what she was doing, and a few minutes later the girl's brother did the same thing and got caught by the worker. Billy and I debated telling the kids' parents, because we would certainly want to know if our children did something like that, but you just never know how some people will react so we didn't.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Play Village

One of the kids' Christmas gifts this year was "The Play Village". It's an awesome tent-like structure with three "rooms" connected with tunnels. I thought you might like to meet the villagers:

Hmmm . . one of those villagers was not quite like the others. But as you can see, they are all quite enthusiastic about their village. Daniel is especially fond of it:

Thanks Aunt Deb and Uncle Lanny!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Recap

The Christmas Eve/Christmas Day Event was a bit harder this year than I expected, but no less joyful. The Christmas Eve service was challenging because we had to go back and forth to the nursery at least three times to exchange kids. One of the nursery workers was late so we decided not to leave all three of ours in there like we had planned. We left Dan and Kiki but then Kiki needed her diaper changed and the nursery worker couldn't do it because she had too many other kids to watch so she called us during the service to come help. We decided to take Dan and Kiki into the service and leave Joe in the nursery. Well, Kiki wouldn't stay quiet so after a few minutes I brought her back to the nursery and by that time the other worker showed up so I felt ok to leave her.

Our kids were very tired afterwards, but they picked up a second wind at Aunt Lani's house (more like a second tornado of wind), where we somehow managed to contain the damage to only one broken candlestick and some spilled Big Red on the carpet. The next day was a true Christmas miracle - all three children made it through an entire church service! (It only took four adults and one 10-year-old to manage the feat. Thanks, Hobratschk family!) Despite a late night and early morning, the kids were in good moods most of the day and had a blast playing inside and outside with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The only damage at Grandma and Grandpa's house was caused by me. (Mom, I knocked over the little clothespin reindeer on the big shelf and his antler fell off. I told Dad but I forgot to mention it to you. Oops. Sorry!)

We didn't open our own presents until yesterday morning and finally let the kids get into their stockings yesterday evening. It was a lot of excitement and a lot of traveling and we are still recovering, but we're so blessed to have been able to share the holiday with our families. I hope your Christmas was blessed as well!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bad Santa, Part II

Today we attended our agency's Christmas party which included a chance for the kids to sit on Santa's lap. We were glad for the opportunity because at this point in our children's lives we have no desire to go to a mall, wait in line, and spend money for a picture that could look like this: I have two more of these pictures, each one with a crying Daniel and a crying Kiki. We went to the grocery store afterwards and a lady came up to Dan (who was squealing happily) and said, "I know why you're so happy little boy. It's because Santa Claus is coming soon." I laughed and told her we had in fact just visited Santa, and then I thought to myself, "No, lady, he's happy because Santa is far, far away."

Bad Santa, Part I

Several days ago we went to the mall. On the way there we were cut off by a large white SUV. Billy caught a glimpse of the driver, laughed, and then said, "He's only excused because he's Santa."

Once we got inside the mall we noticed a sign at "Santa's Workshop" announcing that Santa would return to the workshop at 6:20. we did a little walking around and when we returned, Santa was back. Billy took one look and confirmed that it *was* Santa who cut us off earlier. I guess he was late because he didn't have his reindeer.

We thought about getting even by making him hold all 500 Babies on his lap, but the line was too long.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Four Years

Happy anniversary to my dear husband! Thank you for four amazing years together. You inspire me, make me laugh, calm me, and make me feel more loved than I ever thought possible. Long before we had children I knew you would be a great dad, and watching you this past year confirms I was right. I love you, my best friend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dan's New Digs

We finally did it. We moved Daniel out of the pack 'n play and into a crib. We waited so long because we've always been afraid of losing Kiki and then having no need for two cribs, and also because he's been perfectly happy sleeping there and hadn't tried to get out. Yet.

But recently all three kids have been trying to climb into the pack 'n play (Joe can actually get in and out). And the other day when Dan was supposed to be sleeping (while Kiki's case worker was here, might I add), we heard a very loud thud and then crying from the bedroom. He was ok, but I think he was trying to climb out and fell back inside. Daniel has also started pulling up the pad lining the bottom and playing with it. So we decided enough is enough, he's outta there.

We tried about 3 different furniture arrangements until we finally found one that kept Kiki away from the blinds, both cribs away from cords/outlets, Joe not too close to either one, and still left room to play. He slept so well in his new bed the first night that he didn't take a nap until 3:30 the next afternoon!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting Ready for Christmas

Things we are learning:

1. It is difficult, yet still possible, to maintain a live, decorated tree in the midst of 3 toddlers. About once a day Kiki decides to pull off every ornament within reach and bring them to me. And being a glutton for punishment, I always put them back.

2. Christmas tree skirts make great capes for adults and toddlers alike. (There will be no photo of the adult, however.)

3. Getting that "perfect" Christmas picture is just not going to happen. Here is one attempt:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mystery Baby

Since my husband and Joe are out for the evening and the little ones are asleep and it's not like I have six loads of laundry to fold, a kitchen to clean, or a bajillion Christmas things to do, I have devised a little game for you to play. OK, it probably won't be fun because there's only one or two people who will know the answer, but here goes:

Who is this baby???
Hint: He is sleeping on our couch.

No, no, it's not Moses! But he did sleep in a basket.
Here's another look. The other baby is Kiki. A very *young* Kiki. Does that help?
Nope, it's not Daniel.
Here they are again, side by side. He sure is a little guy, isn't he?
Give up? Well, it's a little known fact that last November a couple of days before we were given the call about Joe and Daniel, we accepted placement of another newborn little boy, Baby Z. He was 8 days old and came straight from the hospital. The day after he arrived, our agency called and offered us Joe and Dan because we were open to a sibling group of their age range and they were much more likely to be adopted (at that time we thought we would be losing Kiki in a couple of weeks). Baby Z. spent one night and one day with us and was then whisked away to another foster home. We felt a little sad, but the boys sounded like a better fit for us.
We still think about you, Baby Z., and pray that God is watching over you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Still Waiting

I know many of you are wondering, and we are asked almost every day what is the latest on Kiki. The latest is that now we are just waiting for her case to be turned over to an adoption worker. The 90-day legal window has passed without any action from her family, and we are now officially free to pursue the adoption. Obviously we want to do so as soon as possible, but it's all out of our hands (as is just about everything in the foster-adopt process as we have learned). Our case manager said she hopes we can finalize by January. So do we!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


My biggest delight these days is seeing the children showing love towards each other.

Here is spontaneous affection between Daniel and Kiki:Here I asked the babies to give Joe a kiss:Sweet, right?

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Solution that Works

New challenges seem to arise with each stage of the babies' development. Climbing is still a big issue, and although I've given up on chasing Dan and Kiki off of the coffee table, climbing up into the high chairs is now the activity of choice for Kiki. She's doing it at least 6 months earlier than Joe ever even tried, which means she doesn't listen when I tell her to stop.

After a few days of constantly pulling her down, I've finally discovered a solution that works. Pillows:

But of course she then moves on to the empty chairs and encourages Dan to join in:
I'll let you know when I figure this one out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I Am With Child(ren)

This is what you have to do when you have 500 Babies and only six diapers left:

There's a kind of long story about why we almost ran out of diapers, but just because it's a long story doesn't mean it's an interesting story so I'm not telling it.

We went to a different HEB than we normally do, and I was surprised to see this sign in the parking lot:

I almost didn't park there, thinking there might be someone else who needed it more. But then I thought, duh, who really needs it more than me? (Plus there was another empty spot nearby.) But then I thought, does it mean customer "with child", you know, in the Biblical sense? Hmmm...then I guess it would say "expectant mother parking" or something like that. But then wouldn't that be kind of demeaning to pregnant women, implying they are giant vehicles that need to be parked?

Anyhow, the bottom line is now I have 184 diapers instead of 6. And I'm NOT pregnant :)