Friday, January 30, 2009

My photographers

Playing with mommy's camera is a favorite past time in the Mongold house. I don't really like when they do it - because it is the sole reason that we have our current camera? The last one was broken by a little man? No one will say which one it was...but none the less - BROKEN!

So when they ask if they can take pictures - what do I say? YES? Drives Steve nuts!! But the following photos are compliments of either Ben, Kyle and Will. Josh plays with it, but can't quite figure out how to take a picture. He just holds it in front of his face - backwards - and says CHEESE!! :)

No...I don't think anyone has some secret talent or will be attending any famous schools for photography! But it is interesting to see what they find "photo worthy"! And it is so much fun to have them sit and view the photos that they have taken! They crack themselves up!!

Most all of these photos were taken in the last few days...but there are a couple that I think are funny from months passed. I delete most of these at the end of the month, but once in a while the kids take a photo that is a keeper - and not always because they have captured someones best side!! :) ha ha ha And Alyssa and Shelli - if you are offended - I swear I will delete them from the blog - just say the word!! :) ha ha ha

Kyle can often be found playing DS with a look of utter concentration on his face!!

Ben playing the Wii. He is truly in another universe and has no idea he is being captured on film!

Will loves being photographed so much....that when he can't find someone to take pictures of him...he takes them of himself!

All three kids LOVE to take photos of the TV. Then they like to look back at them and discuss what show it was and when they watched that episode? They like pics of the TV like I LOVE pics of them? Hmm....kind of scary!

Poor Josh - just trying to eat...and Kyle is flashing one shot after another. He just sits there and takes it now! He is getting used to this crazy family little by little! noticing that his alternate universe is being compromised by photographer Will. And he is not happy about it!

Will being Silly and loving the attention of the camera? Who will this kid be?!?!

Aunt Shelli - helping Kyle to take the silliest photos he can find!! The kids love this one and it will never be erased! Sorry Aunt Shelli - but you are a hero because of this face!!! :)

If I don't lean over for Will's photos....he gets my chest and no face?

WIll loves seeing his own silly faces on the computer. We have at least a hundred photos of wills face like this!! :)
Ben made Will pose in Daddy's hat for this one!
Kyle was taking photos the day after we got back from China. Just what I want to remember - mommy ....looking haggard....drinking to her seeping China Baby? Not a proud photo!! :)
The flash is not always on when they take pics, but Kyle got a neat shot here!!
This face may be better than Aunt Shelli's - but the thing is...I am not sure Alyssa was trying!! ha ha ha (kidding!!)
Every photo of me that Kyle takes is an UP shot! Cracks me up. This is what Kyle sees when he looks at me - better keep that nose clean!! :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Josh't first SLEEPOVER, finger painting and Renee's resolution!

Finger painting and paint eating were much fun! Josh does not like to be dirty? He has to eat every meal with a wet paper towel in order to clean his hands and face after every bite. Little by little, he is easing up on this requirement!
At first - he was not sure what he thought of the paint on his hands. After about 10 min...he realized that this was well worth the mess!! :) We have his first glorious piece of art work hung on the wall for all to see! He will walk up to it often and point and say - Mine! He is very proud!
Will loves to paint. It is his favorite thing to do in the whole world! And Will is truly so happy for any company when he paints. Ben and Kyle don't have the "stick to it - ism" to paint for hours like Will prefers! But Josh was in for at least 45 min! Will said that Josh is his new "painting friend"!

Our good friend Shea spent the night on Saturday night. He is in Ben's class at school and his family has become the most wonderful friends to the whole Mongold family here in Fernandina Beach! It was not only OUR first sleepover here in this house, but Josh's first sleepover - EVER! They all had a blast!

Since we only have one "boys" dorm here at our house, the boys all slept together (not josh - he reluctantly went to his crib) in one room! Not much sleep was had, but the giggles were worth every second of tired crying that we will put up with today! :)
And as for me and my resolution....well....I seem to have the whole "4 kid" thing going on ok here! I get everyone fed, clothed, played with, carted to activities and sports - and I can do it all without feeling frazzled. The house is pretty clean and the toys are organized. Homework is done on time and done well and everyone seems happy.
So don't take this the wrong way - I am HAPPY! But I have realized in the past two month, that when something had to was my needs that went by the wayside. I am ok with this, and not resentful in anyway. But my thought is this...if I can meet the needs of everyone else...and do it with out too much stress...then there is room to meet a few of my needs as well. I just need to make the effort and get moving in the right direction.
Most of you know that before I started my china planning - I would hit the gym at least 5 days a week - I would run most every day and I ate pretty healthy. My own physical shape was important to me, but not quite as important as the energy and stamina that my working out gave me in all other aspects of my life.
So when I cut this part of my life back significantly, I started to feel it in more ways than my waistline! I need to run, I need the outlet for my energy and I need the energy that I gain from being in shape to be a good mom! And so it begins. My resolution to me.
I plan to find the time in each day to run, or get to the gym, or to do Pilates, whatever....but in order to be the mom that I love being, I need to be on top of my own game!! :) I resolve to eat right. And to this end, I joined the online weight watchers. Yep....I need to be accountable for a few months so that I can get myself back on the track that I used to know and love. And when I have to punch in the 9 point piece of pizza that I ate (or maybe two) then I think...won't do that again!! :) Worth 60 bucks if it helps me to think before I eat! MM's don't count as a meal? It says that right on the home page of weight watcher - doesn't it?!?! :)
And as for running. I started last week to make it a daily priority. Kind of rough going in the first days.....I have not lost it - just not as fast as I was! :) but that will come back too. Muscles have memory just like our brain! I am convinced of that! !:)
And that is all i have on this Sunday afternoon! Time to get the itty ones up from nap so I can rescue poor Tisha - who has B and K on the beach right now! She is the one dealing with the sleepless crying! And that hardly seems fair!! ha ha ha!!
Here's hoping everyone has a super week! I know we will!! More to come from the Mongold house soon!! :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Home is not so bad???!!!

Anyone who knows me - KNOWS - that I am always on the go. From the beach to the park, to a bike ride, and then to the YMCA etc. etc. Even when we have no Basketball, Cub scouts, Tennis or school, I love to be on the go!

Well...I have had to admit a bit of defeat with a fourth child. (at least for a while - ha ha ha) We still do regular activities... three different school schedules ....and homework, but we are now introducing a two year old into our lives. One that gets tired a bit more easy, and that needs two naps a day if I can swing it!

So that means, that the Mongolds have had to find a bit more fun around the house to keep the little Mongold Men busy!

And you know what - all is well! We have an hour here and an hour there and some blocks of even two or three hours, where I plan to go out and about, and in the just seems easier to find joy at home than it is to drag Josh out of bed, get coats on 4 kids and head out! ON top of that, It's been a bit chilly for the beach and our long bike rides, so the back yard is in full swing.

We can play and then come in to warm up and then go at it again! Sorry northern friends - I know that 40 degrees is not chilly to some...but for us...we are climatized right now and it feels like 20 below!

Here are a few pics of our very normal home life! Oh how good normal feels!! I sure don't miss the adoption "process" and I don't miss the waiting and the anxiety. I don't miss the planning and the unknowns....I just love the NORMAL life that we are finding each day that goes by! I feel crazy some days, out of control on others- but complete every day of the week! And that is worth every ounce of what we have been through having our children, moving, adopting etc. etc. Worth it all 10 times over! But I will not lie! I love that my biggest hurdle right now is finding entertainment at home for 4 boys! LOVE IT! :)

The tire swing has become a spaceship that we can escape the bad guys on!

Will gets cold more easy than the others, so he visits the inside more often for snacks and drinks!

Josh would stay outside in a hurricane if I would let him! That child was born to be outside! He never gets cold or tired when he can be out!

Can you see it Will...get a bit closer?

Super hero's together - fighting for good! I THINK!

Mommy's guitar is not in use currently, so Josh and Will have found lots of fun playing with it - and the case!

Here is the Justice League again!~

Josh's favorite thing to do is the See Saw with either Ben or Kyle. They can make him go up and down and spin him at the same time. The big boys are truly Josh's HEROS!!!

Kyle's best buddy in Florida - Zachary played with us the other day. His mom had a baby girl this day and so we got to keep him for a while! What fun we had!

Well...he hugs me and plays anything I want? Hmmm....maybe Josh is not so bad after all?!?!?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Coffee shop, scones, and the salon!

I dropped the kids off at school yesterday, stopped at the coffee shop in town for a late and a scone, and then walked down the street to the salon! Josh walked beside me with his hot chocolate and a hunk of scone in his hand! Isn't America Great!!!
My friend Suzanne made time for Josh in the salon where she works!! :) It was a hoot watching him sit in that chair - playing with himself in the mirror - as she cut away some of that BAD hair!! :) It's going to take some nutrition and some time to get that full head of Chinese hair going on, but for now - he looks like a million bucks! And he feels like it too! You could tell he was proud!
Josh put on quite a show for all the Ladies there! Shy little "Deer in the headlights" JOSH - IS NO MORE! He loves to get attention - work the room - and perform for anyone that has a smile! :)

He also really loved Suzanne! Who wouldn't - she is sweet and beautiful!? And did a super job with our little China Man! Thanks girl!! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

One Beautiful Month!

One month ago - I had yet to look into your eyes. I had not yet held you. I had not yet heard you laugh. And now - I am blessed beyond words to do all of those things and more every single day! This has been the most perfect month. Some days I can't believe you are really, truly, finally here ...and other days I feel like i have known you forever!! We love you little man!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

creative parenting becomes a must

After three weeks of being home, many new things have emerged that are both special and challenging. I am sure anyone that brings home a new child - especially a toddler - can relate to the situation!

Josh and Kyle: He is in love with his brothers. He wants to be with them ALL The time. Kyle is the one that takes 110% interest in Josh. He sits outside his door at nap time and waits for the first peep to run in and hoist Josh out of his crib. He kisses him, hugs him, plays with him and never seems to lose interest! Josh will call for Kyle from his crib - not mommy -

During a basketball practice last week, Josh caught a glimpse of Kyle running down the court and before I could stop him...he was running in the middle of 12 - 5 year olds...dodging balls and arms and legs....screaming for his brother. But the time I swooped Josh up....he was crying in frustration because he then knew that his brother was off limits for a while!! :)

Will: Not sure he loves Josh? At first I tried to give Will more mommy attention to combat the new brother jealousy...but I soon realized, that is was not mommy he was feeling abandoned by - it was Kyle? Kyle used to treat Will with the same zealous that he now treats Josh. And I needed to address this. So the creative parenting began.

Allowing Will to take long baths with JUST Kyle. Allowing Kyle and Will to do some special things that they felt privileged to do - like sleep in a tent on a school night - or splash water all over the bathroom. Amazing how this chilled Will out a bit and he started accepting Josh much more readily!

Last night I had not seen Will and Josh in a while so I head up stairs to see what is going on. The door is locked? And there is silence in the bedroom. So I knock...nicely at first and then with a firm pound! And nothing? Ok...I admit I start to panic? What has Will done with josh? Are they ok. Will is not always super fond of Josh, so I get scared! I yell for Steve to bring a Credit card upstairs to unlock the door. And I am kind of yelling at this point!

Steve runs upstairs and hands me the card. I open the door and I don't see anyone. Silence? I run to the upstairs bathroom and the door is also locked! I am knocking and yelling and silence. I am almost ready to cry at this point, so i use the card to open this door as well. And what do I see when I open the door? Josh and Will - in the dry bathtub, with blocks and cars, playing and building and having a blast! But also...hiding from mommy! I was so happy...I was so furious? There were having such a good time. So do I punish? Well...I didn't. I had a talk with Will about the doors being locked and left it at that! How happy they were together and I didn't want to take away from the bonding that was going on!

Ben: Ben is interested in Josh just as he in interested in Will. He is more of a care taker. He watches josh and Will and makes sure they are in line. He plays with them when he is not involved in one of his important projects like his math book, or his webkinz, or his video games, or his drawing etc. etc. He is a helper in all ways and patient with everyone most of the time. He is my right hand man and when asked will tell you how happy he is that Josh lives with us now! How much he loves Josh comes easily off his tung and he is in more knowledge of where Josh was and how he came to be with us than the other two and I love seeing Ben's big heart in action!

Daddy: Daddy seems to have taken to Josh pretty quickly. He changed his first diaper yesterday - not like is has been that long, but just the same - it was a reality check for the big guy!! WE HAVE A BABY!! ha ha ha ha! He plays with Josh very well and it is very natural. Steve made comment that it is actually kind of "strange" how this little orphan boy can fit so well into our family." He said, "Renee...he even has a personality that is similar to our other kids - he is truly one of the family - so fast - I never expected this!" And so I take that as a huge check in the "All's a go" department here at the Mongold house! Once daddy is on board and in the mix....we are officially a family of 6 - crazy, fun, challenging, happy and ready to play!! :) Life is good!

STeve has fixed my bike - will put carpet on the porch, fixed lights, called the handyman, balanced the check book, did his laundry, and still finds time to take the boys to BB practice and on bike rides! Just like he never left! Of course I need to remember to buy more food when I go to the grocery store - it disappears when Steve is home? Hmm....wonder why!! :) ha ha ha But other than that - life is all up hill! And a few more min in the grocery store is well worth our whole family being together again!! :)

Now on to a nice 4 day weekend and then truly back to life without added stress of "one parent blues" and "adoption stresses"! I can get used this! Now on to planning the spring break activities, visitors, summer vacation etc. etc. I need to be planning most all the time - it is just who I am! But I certainly am glad to not be planning for anything huge and/or unknowns! On to the fun stuff. the easy stuff and the life as a mom of 4 boys! Yeah!! :) I almost feel like a chapter in my crazy book is over and the sequel will be a bit less interesting!! :) And another Yeah for that!! :) I am so looking forward to a "not that interesting" existence for a while! Feels and sounds so good!!

This video is not that clear? I think I was running out of batteries - but just the same - it will give you a preview of how well Josh plays with Kyle. Kyle takes turns pushing Josh and Will around the house every night!! :) They love it and actually are very much learning to share Kyle's attention! I love seeing the boys grow closer! sorry you have to see Josh fall! ha ha ha...he is still so clumsy!! But he gets over it quick and starts all over again! Two min is a long cry for this little man!! :) Lots of love!!

Click to play Kyle and Josh
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Fort that brings them together and The Mongolds are all together again!

The one thing that brings Will and Josh together is the building of a fort that they can play in together. Sheets, blankets, chairs, beds...whatever I can use to make a fort. They love to play together - under something. So I went today and bought a tent. For their room? Yeah....2200 square feet of home, 4 kids, a big dog and two adults...yet we found room for a Coleman tent!! :) And it is such a hit!

Josh is in the tent in this pic, but would not even come out to say cheese for the camera! They had a blast. I bought this about 4 hours before Daddy came home. so this is where we waited for him!! :)

It made such peace in our home...that Will and Josh went from the tent to play together with Mr. Potato Head!! No stealing...just playing! It was a great way to be... right before Daddy came home!

This is Will and the tent!!!

And of course...Josh can always find a door to open and shut! He knocks on it...opens it and says - Hi there!!! :) then closes it again! And we continue to wait? We were told daddy would be home at 1:00 - it is now 4pm?

About 4:30, the door opens! Finally - the moment we have all been waiting for. Everyone was so excited!! :)

Most of all - Will! He just missed daddy something fierce!! :) Called him on his pretend cell - EVERY day and left messages.

They took daddy directly upstairs to see the tent! :) Josh watched the boys jumping all over Steve...for about 5 min - he just stood and watched. Steve turned to him and said..."Hello Buddy - how are you?!?!" And josh just walked right over to him and started to crawl up his back!! ;) With a huge smile!

Steve flipped him over his shoulders to his lap - like he would with any of our kids and josh laughed out loud and would not leave Steve's lap for the next 10 min!! :)

He has loved Steve ever since! Every now and again Josh will get that concerned deer in the headlights look on his face and he will look over at me. And when I say - It's ok guy...that's daddy...remember daddy? And Josh will shake his head and on he goes playing with Steve and the kids! Amazing!

Maybe showing him pics every dad did work? Who knows! I know that watching the other boys hug on Steve and crawl all over him also made Steve an immediately friendly person to Josh. He loves his brothers so much. AT times...I truly believe that he loves them more than me! ha ha ha...and that is OK by me right now! As long as he feels can come from any one of us and I am at peace with that!! :)

A victory of a day! We had an hour at home and headed directly to Kyle's basketball game where he played so well he scored 4 points and had a blast!! Kyle was on cloud 9! MVP and Daddy is home...could his day have been any better!

We all had a super homecoming and while daddy has to work all weekend - at least we know that he will be home for dinner today and tomorrow and then he has off Monday to Thursday to be home with us. Or at least that is the claim now. Would not be surprised if he ends up working - not his choice! But knowing we can see him at the end of the day is A-OK for us! Life is good!

Thank you from all 6 of us for your prayers and love that helped me get to this wonderful day! Whoo hoo!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Our New Years Break - and a little secret!!

After three stores with 4 kids - looking for our bike trailer - we found just what I wanted! And to be honest...I just wanted a bike trailer? Was not that picky! I am guessing that many people got these for Christmas, because many stores were OUT!!

And after a whole day of assembly - had to walk away at some point to quit from crying and then that night I got out the big tools and got the darn thing together!!

...We finally left the garage! Together - and HAPPY! We had 5 days left of New Years Break and truly NOTHING to do but a couple of basketball practices? we biked! And we biked....and we biked! To the beach and back again - two times every day. Biked to a friends house.....We played at the park, stopped for drinks at our version of 7-11 and looked for any small hill that we could find to go down FAST!!!

WE dug for buried treasure, and just passed time eating snacks and doing not much of anything! We made the most of our 5 days!
Now we are back in school and the week is really flying by. Ben came home from school yesterday and said - "Mom...I feel like I never see Kyle, Will and Josh anymore?" And he seemed quite sad about that! Made me feel good. But at the same time, the separation of the kids for a few hours a day has really brought a bit of love and peace into the house. They are so excited to see each other at the end of the day (for us that is noon for Kyle and Will and 2pm for Ben) - that they play so well and we just seem happier as a whole - now that we have a bit of a routine back!
Now personally - I like "no school"! I like being home, doing nothing, going nowhere and having no commitments! But I would be lying to say that a "non committed, structure free" world is what is best for my kids! It is just NOT! And so I concede to a life of school, studying at home, sports, music, friends, parties, cubscouts, and whatever else I don't even know I will be signed up for yet!!! :) Out goes biking comes soccer mom!!! :)
But biking mom will be back on Saturday get ready boys....we are heading out and ABOUT!! :)
And Want to know a secret?!? Mommy is getting her Christmas present very very soon!! :) Yep...SURPRISE!! By the time I write again - I may be posting a picture of DADDY with this boy! Early? What? That never happens in the NAVY!!?! But indeed it is happening to us! And I could not be more happy, relieved, excited, all of it! It is going to be a great weekend! Hope that everyone else has a super weekend as well and I'll post about our reunion soon!! :)
Ready comes your tall, scary, daddy!! ha ha ha (Truly - I bet is will be fine in short order - I'll keep ya posted!)