Saturday, November 28, 2009

They changed the name!! Whoo hoooo!!!

Ok...I have to share this little tidbit...

so yesterday the kids were talking to their hamster and calling it "that" name...and so I just said casually, "mommy hates the name nibbles." Well, I never expected any one of my boys to care what their uncool mom thought? ...but they did? They hated - that I HATED - the name that they picked. So after a few conversations and checking a few "hamster name" websites...they decided on FLUFFY. And they are very excited about this new name! :) kids are not that creative I suppose...but at least it is not nipples....I mean nibbles!!

And fluffy is doing very well so far in her new home! Cali (the big black furry dog) has taken a huge interest in fluffy and so we are being very careful to keep them apart! :) Other than is bliss in our little circus! :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To quick thoughts before I get lost in the Thanksgiving Holiday!

I decided a few weeks ago, that it was not my job to FORCE my kids to play video games less. I mean...if that is what they want to do...then taking it away, or limiting it just makes them want to play it more. And then they are unhappy....thinking of video games and just plain miserable.

I realized this was the case when I told all three big boys to head up to their room and pay with puzzles or Lego's. No video games till before bed! That was it...I was taking control. I go up the stairs to get them for dinner and I pause outside of their room. I listen. And as you can probably guess...they were talking about what guy they would be on Smash Bros. "before bed" and what guy can beat what other guy...and what's more...they were even going as deep as to teach Will what buttons to what that his guy could beat up another guy? All as they sad in the middle of their room with an unopened box of Lego's in the middle of them.

Next plan....give my kids something to do so that they don't want to play video games? Better idea right?

I send Steve to the store yesterday to buy a hamster. They have been asking for a year...I told them to ask Santa...but now seemed the perfect time to introduce yet another living thing into the Mongold family!

They love "nibbles" (yeah...I was not there when they picked the name...sounds like Nipples when Will and Josh say it and I HATE that name...but "nibbles" it is!)

They all want to play with him all the time. And so here is my new take on the whole "find them something else to do besides play video games."

1. I have 4 rough boys...and one small hamster....if that darn thing lives through the week I'll be surprised. And if it does not make it...I have to deal with the whole "death" thing.

2. It smells a bit.

3. It runs in that darn wheel all night long and my house is not big enough to get it far enough away from me to NOT hear it.

4. It poops all over the floor when they play with it.

5. I now need someone to hamster sit when I go away for Christmas.

6. And it is darn hard to find when they forget about it on the floor.

7. Video games are less fragile and less work, cause less fighting.

8. Hmmmmm.....I think this might have been a bad plan!! :)

Anyway - meet Nibbles (I even hate typing it). She is adorable and truly...Steve and I even played with her when the kids went to bed last night! I think I might get attached once I get over the fact that she was probably not the best idea!! :)

And nibbles's house is cooler than ours! :)

Second. I am not sure why I find this funny...but my CHINESE INDIAN is cracking me up. Josh made this headband on Tuesday at school and he hangs it on his bed post when he sleeps and then puts it right back on when he is awake. He wears it ALWAYS. And the feathers are most often right in the front. If you ask him what it is - he will say "MYINIAN". Too funny! :)


Monday, November 23, 2009

Doin' life his own way....

This is a picture of Will reeling in a fish with his fishing rod! Don't tell him it is a stick! Kyle tried and he seriously went postal on Kyle and .....Kyle went running away like a scared baby!! :)

...this list goes on and on...but these are the current choice of tunes that Will is singing day to day. And case you are not aware....OUR VERSION IS THE WRONG ONE! :) It is CLEAR to me that i have been singing these song...and many others... wrong for almost 40 years! And WHATEVER YOU DO......DON'T try to correct him...because he will whine and let you know that "YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SINGING!"

Won't you take me to......... "Fumpy tan".

"Join" to the world.

Taco Body....taco body....taco! (To the tune of talk about it, talk about it, talk about moo - 00 - VIN!)

ABCDEFGHIJK - "MnMs - OP......

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells....Jingle "In the way".........

rock a "MY" BABY...on the tree top....when the "windows" the cradle will ROCK.

The Itsy bitsy spider climed up the water spout......"Down in the drain it washed the spider up".....

a friends account in China.....

My friends Jarrett and Amy have a little boy that they adopted from China. He is 6 years old and a dear!! :) They also have a beautiful 6 year old daughter from China and two bio girl! They are a blessing to me and I feel so lucky to have become friends with their family!

Mr. Potts is traveling to china for work this week and he wrote the following e-mail. Since it has been almost exactly a year since I was ...where he is now...It was a great snapshot of the time I spent in China. I good reminder of what we here in the US can be thankful for! I hope he does not mind...but I am going to cut and paste his words here!! :) Enjoy.

So this time I came to work and work is just what I did. I got to Shanghai and worked for two days. I did not go out at all. Just work, eat sleep and work out. But I did get the opportunity to observe something which you might find interesting

Smoking here is a government sponsored sport. A pack of smokes will run you about $0.17 to $0.40 China brand. You can buy knock off smokes for about $1 and the real thing for about $6. Anyway, people here smoke so much they barley take time to eat. For example, I sat a few tables from a man that held a lit cigarette in one hand and ate soup with the other. When the cigarette would go out he would stop eating and light another one. The guy was like 50 and not dead. I was shocked.

Yes, spitting is illegal in Shanghai but as with traffic laws, they just do not care. I was in an elevator going up to my room and a guy just hawked one up and spit on the floor. No really. Shanghai is the spitting capital of China.

Facebook is blocked again. It goes in cycles. They open it for a few months then close it for a year or two. This time they closed it because Obama was coming. It is still closed. So is twitter and blogspot too. Anyway, you can get all kinds of crazy things on the Internet but they block facebook. You can buy porn on the street, get it on the Internet but you cannot join a social networking site.
Another thing they do is limit what you can find. For example, you will find nothing bad about the incident in Tian'anmen Square in the late 80’s. Nothing about a guy standing in front of a tank. Oh and for the record they do this with the help of Google. Anyway, if I turn on my VPN I can still find it. Again, they do not want any bad press about the Chinese government. Very odd

Christian websites are a 50/50 shot. If the website mentions china and is a Christian website, poof…. It no longer exists.

The pollution is really bad this time. They have not had rain in Beijing in a few weeks and the wind has died down. It seems to get worse by the day. I think they need to shut down the city again. They can do that here. Right before the Olympics, the only allowed bikes, and taxi’s to drive for about 3 weeks. They also shut down all the factories. Cleared the air up but it is back to where it was before.

For those of you that have been here before, it is all about bargaining when you buy something. They see the round eye coming and the price jumps 400%. Yaw Shaw is one of the most famous places to shop and they have some signs that said “no bargaining”. What is this world coming too? I went to a no bargaining stall and starting haggling with the guy. Again, the sign was just a suggestion (kind of like lane markers)

Church was very interesting. Went to the state sponsored church. You have to show that you are not a citizen of China to get in. So this is for foreigners ONLY. They now allow Chinese to go to Christian churches but they must register and attend a state sponsored Chinese only church. Of course people do not want to register with the government because they fear they will be punished. In the city they have more freedom that way. They actually have a choice. They could go to church if they registered. Now outside of the city there is no government sanctioned church so all church is illegal. This is where house churches spring up. Crazy but true. You can still lose your life for being a Christian in rural China

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interesting Note for Mommy

Kyle weighs EXACTLY 70 pounds
Ben weighs EXACTLY 55 pounds
Will weighs EXACTLY 40 pounds
Josh weighs EXACTLY 25 pounds

4 kids and an equal 15 pounds between each of them! Weird huh?!? :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Amazing grace...

The day that I got Josh was a crazy day. It was not what I expected. There I was...standing in a stinky hallway....thinking i was kind of waiting in line for "my turn". I was sitting with some friends - the McClintock, when I lady came down the hall.

She looked at me...knew I was the lady in the photo albums, and handed me Josh. I was taken off guard...he was WAILING....And for a second I was not sure what to do next. My dear friend Sara said, "just hold him tight Renee," And I felt a calm come over me...and that is just what I did. I held on tight as he cried. I just held him. And while I was standing there holding my dear little man, I could hear Sara singing quietly beside me. She was singing Amazing Grace. In a beautiful voice I might add.

I have never told her that I remember this so vividly. Her voice added to the calm that was coming over me. And the calm that was coming over Josh. As the hallway began to get crowded, I walked away from all the people with Josh in my arms and continued to sing this song to him.

Throughout our time in China, when josh would cry or look scared, and even into out time here at home...I would hum or sing this to him when he needed to find his calm place. A mix of the beauty of the the words, and the sound of his new mommy's voice...would relax a bit more each time.

Fast forward almost one whole year....and I'll be honest...Josh isn't as scared, and I don't need to console in the same ways any anymore. Yet eveyr now and again, something will come over him that I can tell brings him back to that scared place in his head.

A side note: And add to this, that Josh is becoming quite the singer. He can sing songs like the ABC's, twinkle little start, Barny song...and you truly can tell by his tune what song he is singing. The words are not clear, but the tune is very recognizable.

So today I am dropping him off at school and he started to cry. So I picked him up one last time and he clung to my neck...and I swear...I know this sounds hokey...but I swear as I sit here...he started humming Amazing grace. Just the first part, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound." That was his tune! I know it was. I listened to him do it over at least three or four times. And so I looked at him and started humming the song TO him. And he smiled, as if to say, "yeah...that's the one" And got down and went on with school with out a single tear! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Doing a whole lot of nothing around here....

Last weekend the boys and I went to the Katty Shack. It is an animal rescue operation in Jacksonville that houses big CATS. Cat's that people might have though would make interesting pets... until they grew to be 200 pounds? And then what? Over 50 large cats at this ranch....lions, tigers, panthers, Jaguars and even a white fox. All in large kennel type arrangements that is no more secluded than my dogs garage kennel. Kind of creepy, but a wonderful thing that this not for profit agency does for these animals. They are no longer able to be in the wild and so they have a nice home here in Jacksonville. Right in the middle of a residential neighborhood! :) NO JOKE! :) Cool thing to see none the less..just glad we don't live there! :)

The Cats like to stalk....and the guide told us that they particularly like to stalk the young kids as they stand at the cages. We had several of them?

On the way home to checked out a new state park. Kyle found a vine to climb on just a few inches from the parking lot! It was a good park! :)

We didn't see any Manatee? But we sure spent some time trying to find them :)

This vine made for a great limbo game!! They must have learned this on spring break because I didn't teach them :)

Josh....doing everything the hard way...but BY HIM SELF!

Josh thought KYle was stuck and he wanted to help pull him through the hole?

And always...Josh...stripping just any old place he feels like it? This is the kid that used to cry every time any article of clothing was taken off! At first we almost had to bath him much we change! :)

The tide had just gone out so the sand was like quick sand...very deep. Throwing rocks in it and trying to make them so deep they disappeared was about the best game EVER! :)

The next day the little boys and I went to see the Air Show on Pop Pops beach.

Didn't do much plane watching...but I enjoyed the show very much!

Will....yet again...finding something...anything he can jump from! A sand dune will work!

Then we headed to the swim club for an evening swim. Might as well take advantage of the warm temps. If I can't wear the sweaters I want to wear...I suppose we will swim.

Kyle swims around with Josh on his back. What good exercise! :) And Josh could not love his ride any more :)

Here they come....TEETH!! Yeah!!

I told Will, "Put your pj's on buddy and a pull up." And that is exactly what he did. And when I asked him why his pullup was outside of his PJ's, he said, "You told me to put the PJ's on first!" Smart guy! None the less..kyle laughed so hard that he snorted! :)

Last soccer game! Sad the season is over...we had such fun! ;)

This is what is was all about for Will. He wanted his FIRST trophy. He slept with it.

Kyle, trying not to look excited! Don't let go of that Big Lunch attitude! :)

Friday, November 6, 2009


Henan Kids is a group of adoptive families with very special children from China who volunteer time and resource for the well-being of Children in Henan orphanages.

They maintain this website, raise funds, and produce a monthly newsletter as part of trying to accomplish this mission. The profits go to helping the children left behind in the province where Josh was born! Supplies, surgery needs, daily care....every penny helps to give these kids what they need to thrive and hopefully get adopted into a wonderful family! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Tribute to Bens Achievements.....

When Ben went to preschool for the first time at 3 years old - he cried. All day for most of the first 6 months and then only half of the day for the rest of the year. 4 year old preschool was a bit better, but just a BIT. Kindergarten was rough too - as I had to carry him onto the bus each day with tears in his eyes and an inability in his body to walk through the doors of the bus.

His anxiety was so high, that is seemed to paralyze rational thoughts and physical ability.

In the end of Kindergarten Ben was given an award. "The best personality in the class". His teacher, when presenting this award, when on to talk about how in the beginning of the year, Ben would not speak, he would not participate. She told about how he did his work well, but beyond that, he could do nothing more.

And as the year progressed, Ben made friends. Friends with everyone in the class. He held no judgement of any kind, he never participated in any kind of making fun or meanness....he loved everyone equally. By the second half of the year, he became popular. She said that other children were drawn to his solid personality and his kind demeanor.

Not only did I cry on the day that he received his award, but with me cried every parent in the room. I was not alone in knowing what a HUGE year this was for Ben.

Fast forward to first grade....a new teacher....and Ben took only a few months to warm up to this new life.

We tried several activities here in Florida. Tennis, basketball, baseball....and Ben like them. He was not THRILLED with any of them, but he did his best on the days when he felt strong and we held his hand and coached him on the days of high anxiety. The one activity that he just could not warm up to was Cub Scouts.

Ben was afraid of the large group, afraid of the unknown, as each week held a different schedule and a different array of events. Events and activities that he could not anticipate like the sports.

IN the end, we allowed Ben to quit cubscouts. It caused him such stress and I hated that look of fear each week on his face!

This year, Ben ASKED to be in cubscouts again? At first I actually said no. I didn't think it was a good idea to go back to that level of anxiety and he is doing SO well in school with his new teacher and friends. Only a week or so to warm up to his second grade year. Should I really encourage an activity that may send him backwards in his strides?

But....he ASKED? And so I said "of course"!

The first week was rough...but he ASKED to go back to week two. Now after a month of cubscouts under his belt he made it through a weekend camping trip with flying colors! Amazing! A weekend of sleeping out, tug of war, hikes with large groups of people, instruction from different adults, and just a super time!!

Ben is now a kid that has seemed to conquer many his fears. They still exist, but he has learned to live with them, accept them, and work hard to do the things that he thinks he will like - despite the initial fear that fills him!

We are so proud of Ben! Here are a few pictures of the camp out. For me, these pictures are like trophies - tributes to how far ben has come in the last 7 years of his life! We all have burdens to bear in this world. And maybe Ben's will always be a sense of self doubt and all the anxiety that goes along with this. But no matter what your long as you can learn to work with it, manage it...and never lose sight of who you are a success! And my Ben is a huge success this year!! Great job guy! :)