Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ben writes his name and coats himself in chocolate

Here is our fabulous Ben next to the completely independent writing of his name for the first time! I'm so proud of our little preschooler - he's already reading lots of words, knows most of his 72 phonograms, and now he's (almost) writing his name!

I thought you'd also enjoy this lovely shot taken of Ben this afternoon. He was munching on his Easter bunny when Mommy fell asleep on the Lovesac (is there anything better than Sunday naps?!?) and didn't want to disturb me and so kept holding on to his bunny until Steve discovered hands that looked like this! He was so sweet (pun intended) and kept repeating that he just didn't want to wake me up (I think the thought that we would be upset about the colossal mess) and he was successful - I didn't wake up until I heard the bath running and found some very chocolaty patches on my shirt!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Well, we've definitely decided that next year we're going to go through the Resurrection Eggs before breaking out the candy (Ben can pack away the sweets like none other, and if you think he's "active" before sugar, you should see him after a few dozen Peeps!), but other than that we've had a really fun Easter!

The festivities started Saturday when a couple of friends came over for egg hunt mania, which is always fun. Interestingly, my boys got the most excited about the eggs with quarters in them and the eggs filled with stickers - although the M&M's eggs will always be popular as well. Today (Sunday) we started with the traditional consumption of the chocolate bunny ears and Ben and I ate about 45 Peeps each (which he originally called "chips" which did lead to a lot of confusion until we realized that he probably meant "chicks" which is really only a small logical leap from "Peeps"). Then we went through our Resurrection Eggs, which is a cool set of 12 plastic eggs that Grammy got for Sam when he was an itty bitty - each egg holds a reminder of a part of the Resurrection story, such as a nail or a piece of leather or a rock. This year Sam read about each item as Ben opened up the eggs, which was a lot more fun than the usual "now it's my turn to open the egg!" bickering.

(This is a photo of Ben with a whole Peep in his mouth) On an amusing non-Easter-related note, on the way to church today Sam asked, "Dad, you know the special kind of cell that men make that you need to make a baby? How does that get inside the mommy?" Needless to say, we postponed that conversation until after church when we had more time. Kids, you've got to love 'em.

And now the ham is almost done and it's time to set the table and eat! We hope that your Easter has been as full of life, hope, and joy as ours has!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Prep

Well, I think we're ready for Easter - 18 hard boiled eggs dyed 9 glorious shades of unnatural brightness (well, 17 dyed and one that almost made it to the cup but unfortunately crashed to the table and was rendered undyeable). What more do you need? Ben actually enjoyed the egg decorating process a lot more than you might gather by looking at this picture. I don't know what's up with that kid - he makes the oddest faces when trying to smile for photos!

Anyway, the kiddos were bouncing off of the walls - who knew that water, vinegar, and little dye tablets could be so gosh darn exciting? And Sam really championed the "magic crayon" that came in the dye box, although it took him a second to realize that the "magic secret messages" that the box promised were really just the ones that he was supposed to draw on the egg himself. So much for truth in advertising...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Adoption Update

Today Steve and I went to CIS (Customs and Immigration Services) today to have our fingerprints taken for our Immigration forms for adoption! Yes, I know, you're probably thinking to yourselves, "Haven't you already had your fingerprints taken and completed somewhere around 50,000 forms?" Well, yes we have, but those were our fingerprints for the FBI background check, which is completely different, of course, from the CIS fingerprinting. Don't try to apply too much logic to the situation, you'll only hurt your brain.

So, after we get back our 171-H, which is the form that we'll receive back from CIS (hopefully soon!), we'll have received our last bit of paperwork! Hooray! When we get our 171, we'll then just need to get our Utah paperwork apostled and then our dossier is complete!

"What is apostling?" you may well be asking. Another great question. Basically, it's the State Department saying to the foreign government (in this case, Kaz) "Yes, these documents are legitimate." It makes a lot more sense if you see it from the Kaz government point of view. So, they require a form from our doctors saying that we're in good health. But how do they know that we didn't just fill out the form ourselves? Well, that's why we bring a notary with us when our doctors sign the forms, to verify that the doctors indeed are signing. But how does the Kaz government know that we didn't just buy a snazzy stamp from Office Depot that looks like a notary stamp and fake all of the forms that we're completing? That's where apostling comes in. Apostling is a process that any Hague Treaty-complaint nation has agreed signifies that a document is legit. It's where the home government validates the notary information and attaches a letter with the state's seal to the document to show that it's legit. Yeah, it's a really cumbersome process, but as long as we keep it in perspective - this is the Kazakhstan government making sure that we are who we say we are for the protection of our daughter - it doesn't get too overwhelming. Plus, it means that all of our documents have a lovely shiny state seal on them, and that's fun in its own right. Of course, we have to pay for each of those lovely shiny state seals... but nobody said that kids come cheap :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ben the Chocolate Monkey Shark Boots Boy

Mommy: Ben, is that chocolate in your hair?
Ben: Look... [exasperated sigh] it's just chocolate syrup.
Daddy: Why do you have chocolate syrup in your hair?
Ben: It was just on the edge.
Daddy: The edge of what?
Ben: The edge of the cup. And it was getting low.
Daddy: Your hair or the cup?
Ben: The chocolate milk
Daddy: Ah. So the chocolate milk was getting low in the cup, the cup had syrup on the edge, and your hair got in the syrup?
Ben: Yes, that's what I told you!

And we thought you would like a photo of Ben in his new shark boots, which he wears everywhere. I asked him how he wanted to pose in his boots, and this is what he gave me! Note the fins in back - I feel that they really complete the sharkiness of the boots.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Another Grand Visit

Steve's parents (Gramma and Poppop, Spike and Sharon) were in town last week and we thought we'd tell you more about our second "Grand" (get it - grand parents - my parents came, and then Steve's parents came, so it's a second grand visit?!? Yes, it's exceedingly clever) visit in the month of February.

They flew in the night before Sam's birthday, so they were able to celebrate both Sam's 7th birthday and his 7th birthday party with us. Way fun! They actually spent most of their days enjoying the Utah powder while Steve and I worked and the boys were in school, but don't worry, we managed to work in some play time as well, including teaching them how to play Rock Band on the 360 (they were astoundingly good!), helping Spike find a Nintendo Wii to buy (he likes the golfing game), and going bowling at Fat Cats (you'll remember that Sam's birthday party last year was a Star Wars bowling party at Fat Cats and he and Ben just love bowling, as long as it includes bumpers and a ramp to roll the ball down). Bowling was a blast, and Sam gave Poppop a run for his money, but Poppop prevailed in the end, even without bumpers, and breaking 100!

As you can tell, we had a full and fun visit with Gramma and Poppop! Now we just need to figure out how to find time to get out in the snow as much as our guests do! Oh, wait, now that I think about it, Steve already has that figured out... apparently I'm just the slow learner :)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Handsomest Boys Ever

In case you have any doubts about Sam and Ben being the handsomest little guys on the fact of the earth (with the exception of your son/grandson/nephew/kid's friend, of course), I thought I'd posts their official Sam is Now Seven portraits. So sweet!

And here's the picture that Sam designed (he picked out the background, props, and pose) to be his 7-year shot:


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