Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Spooky Diaper Monologue

We can tell that winter is almost here by the frost on Holly's tail, the Christmas tree placed precariously in our living room, and Roman's obsession with the physics of just how Santa can get all those presents down the chimney.

But the first sign of chilly weather was the arrival of British Grandma (Helen's mum), who loves to join us for trick or treating.

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble .... (Wm Shakespeare)

But more on the wicked witches later, first we need to update you on our late summer activities.

September 10th was Roman's 3rd birthday. To celebrate his officially leaving toddlerhood behind and becoming a "preschooler," we had a construction party complete with caution tape, orange cones, and diggers.

Aunt Mari and Aunt JoAnn's cake was a big hit (it included chocolate "dirt," gummy worms, and orange icing).

Construction vehicles are Roman's current passion. Last year it was all about Thomas the Tank Engine(and he still is a big Thomas fan) but this year it had to be construction, fire engines or recycle trucks (with spiders, worms, and penguins also in the running).

Creative wrapping paper from Polina (thank you Sharokh)

Liam, Polina and Kally with the Stomp Rocket!

Luke retrieves a rocket from the construction site

Roman hanging out with "Big Kids" Natalie, Nicole and Liam

A big thank you to everyone who came and helped make it such a fun party.

Totally unplanned, a construction crew turned up right outside our house the next day and, of course, they let Roman drive their backhoe! The perfect end to a wonderful birthday.

After a morning of digger driving, we set off for Eastern Washington to visit Great Grandma and Grandpa in Davenport (a 7 hour drive with a 3 year old, a 4 hour drive without one). Roman is surprisingly good on road trips. It helps that he has a passion for all motor vehicles, so driving down I-90 is fascinating for him. We turn our road trips into adventures and stop when we see something fun. It's been interesting for us too, as we try to take a preschooler's perspective and really stop and smell the roses (or the trucks).

We met up with Cookie Grandma and Poppa Jerry who had driven out from Wisconsin (a 4 day drive, imagine how long that would take with Roman).

With Grandma Lois "Cookie Grandma" and Grandpa "Poppa" Jerry

With Great-Grandpa Harvey and Great Grandma-Mildred

In Great Grandma and Grandpa's garden.

Jerry and Lois were staying with Harvey and Mildred in their tiny house, so we stayed with Rich's Uncle Barry and Aunt Karen in Keller, just a few miles up the road. Roman got along famously with Uncle Barry and Aunt Karen. As you can see, Holly also made herself at home.

Barry drives the Keller Ferry, a small ferry called the "Martha S." that takes passengers and vehicles across the Columbia River. Of course, Roman had to try his hand at driving the ferry, and even Holly got her sea legs!

The Martha S. is 61 years-old. Here she is on her maiden voyage in 1948...


and here she is with Roman at the helm ...

Roman not only "drove" the ferry, he also ate the crew's lunch!

Salty Dog

On the way home from Eastern Washington, the three of us shared the most humongous peach ever in Wenatchee.

Roman and the Giant Peach

Rich wanted to take a short detour through a town called Ritzville "it'll only take 5 minutes he said". Well, he can be forgiven for not realizing that there were several combine harvesters and a John Deere dealership in Ritzville ... that detour took over an hour!

Roman started a new preschool  class in September. Check out his snazzy back pack!

He is still in the South Seattle Community College Co-op Preschool but has moved to the Admiral location this year. His new teacher is Teacher Carrie. Some familiar faces from his class last year are also going to Admiral, along with Roman's buddy Sebastian. It's two mornings a week, and each parent volunteers at the preschool on one of those 2 days.

Roman and Sebastian at preschool

In more news .... Holly has a BFF (Best Friend Forever) Lily the pug who stops by to play almost every day. They get along famously, as long as food isn't involved.

 mmmm ... after we play, we can polish off those pumpkins.

So fast, they're a blur.

Which brings us back to Halloween, the witching hour, and British Grandma's visit.We paid our annual visit to Remlinger Farms to pick the perfect pumpkin, ride the ponies, and feed the baby cows and goats.

  This year, Roman was old enough to go in the corn maze (at least we thought he was). He was certainly old enough to have fun and not get scared but he's so short that we couldn't see him once he was in there. He took great delight in hiding from us and disapperaing through tunnels. A bit scary for mummy, daddy and grandma but he loved it.

He was also old enough (and tall enough) to go on the rides this year, and discovered a new love ... rollercoasters! There is a little wooden coaster there, and Roman wanted to go on it again and again with mummy. It may have been little but it managed to turn Helen's stomach upside down a few times! Roman also enjoyed a trip on the spinning pumpkins with daddy.

Trick or Treating was a whole new adventure this year. Last year, Roman couldn't even say "trick or treat?" This year, he not only yelled "trick or treat" very loudly, but he and his buddies Dawson and Sebastian carried on whole conversations with the people they met. By the end of the evening, they had it down to a science.

Just like last year, Roman picked his outfit. Last year he wanted to be a kitty, this year it was a firefighter (mummy smudged black lipstick on his cheeks which gave him a realistic "sooty" look).

With Dawson (the puffin)

and Sebastian (the dragon)

No need to worry ... the fire department's here!

Sebastian and Roman (every dragon needs a firefighter around just in case he accidently sets something alight with his fiery breath).

Not only did we have fake spiders to decorate our house... we had real spiders too! Roman became rather fond of two spiders that had set up home right outside our front door. He watched them for weeks, and named them "Spi" and "Der" (like Kanga and Roo from Winnie-the Pooh). We put our fake spidersweb up only to find Spi and Der happily climbing across it the next morning. Guess Target's spidersweb is pretty realistic ... it has the spiders' seal of approval!

Closing this blog entry now because we are off to Atlanta in the morning to visit Aunt Bekke, Grandma Victoria, Grandpa Gene (and Aunt Kathy will be there too!). Roman's first time on a plane since the BIG journey back from Russia. We're sure he's going to love it and will be disappointed that the flight crew won't give him a hand at the controls! We'll leave you with some pics and Romanisms...

Approximately 1/3rd of Roman's Hot Wheels/Matchbox collection

Roman had just given Helen a big bubblebath-y hug!

 Brother Tom surveying the wildlife ... his confidence as a birder has grown since he almost caught a bird recently. Granted, this was a bird that had flown down our chimney and flew around our living room before we managed to get it out of the window.

British Grandma maintains that she is a "cat person" ...which only made Holly all the more determined ...


Grandma has come home because we love her. (ahhhh)

Roman: Mommy, there's a dachshund! I love dachshunds. Can we give Holly away and get a dachshund?
Mommy: Oh no sweetheart, that would be a horrible thing to do, poor Holly.
Roman: If Holly has babies, will they be dachshunds?

Mommy: We're going to stay with Aunt Bekke and Uncle Steve in Atlanta. Aunt Bekke has six dogs and a swimming pool!

Roman: Aunt Bekke smokes.

Santa comes at Thanksgiving.

Mommy: Did you have a good time at Erin and Andy's?

Roman: Yes, we baked cookies with stuffing on them. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Summer Adventures of the Green Family

We kicked off our summer in style by tagging along with Holly and her basset pals to Basset Fun Day, supporting Basset Rescue of Puget Sound. Each hound got a free bandana and enjoyed a "basset buffet," with treats especially appealing to our floppy-eared friends. Holly entered some sporting events but unfortunately the lure of a bacon treat was her downfall each time. In the picture below, she is being wooed by one of many suitors.

In this picture, Roman is attempting to get three dogs to "sit." As we told you in an earlier post, Holly has been going to dog training (which is actually more like "owner training"). Roman is surprisingly good at the commanding "alpha-dog" tone but bassets, unfortunately, only pay attention when they feel like it. Holly will sit on command ... if it's the second Wednesday in the month, the moon is in Taurus, and it's raining with a hint of sausage in the air.

One of our favorite activities this summer was exploring Alki Beach and Constellation Park at low tide. We often ventured out to find purple starfish, sea anemones, and lots of crabs. Roman enjoyed splashing in tide pools and chasing mommy with kelp.

Roman is now the fastest thing on three wheels in our neighborhood. He's quite a daredevil on his tricycle and also enjoys riding his three-wheeled scooter. As you can see, it won't be long before he graduates to a bicycle (although Daddy's bike is a bit too big). Roman's big kid pals Devlin and Luke have both given him their old bikes and Roman can't wait to try them out. We just need to get some training wheels, and he'll be off!

He has already asked for a skateboard and a pogo stick (this is what comes of having lots of "big kids" on our street). Santa may (and this is a big MAY) bring a skateboard for Christmas. Mommy and Daddy are still researching it as it appears that it's really something for the 6 plus crowd. However, Roman is riding his scooter (skateboard style) down hills and recently hopped on a stray skateboard, and tried to "do a trick like Liam does." So maybe we have the next Tony Hawk in our midst ...or maybe we have many trips to the ER in our future.

Liam is our 8-year-old neighbor who has a huge trampoline in his back yard, does skateboard tricks down the street, and wanted to take Roman for a ride on his pogo stick. All things, which Roman thinks are extremely COOL. Just wait until he sees snowboards...

At one of our favorite destinations ... Jack Block Park, overlooking the Port of Seattle terminals (Roman could spend a whole morning watching the freight containers being unloaded).

Other summer activities included several Mariners games at Safeco Field. We usually stay for the Seventh Inning Stretch then it's time to head home for bed. Roman's favorite Mariner is the Moose!

We also took Roman to see the Seattle Sounders (Seattle's MLS team). We sat in the Fox Sports suite at Qwest Field, which he loved, but the crowd was way too noisy for him and we had to leave early. He loves soccer but we'll have to start with some smaller venues.

We returned to "Day Out With Thomas" at the Snoqualmie Valley Railway. Roman is a Thomas nut! His favorite characters are Salty, Cranky the Crane, and the extremely stuffy Harold the Helicopter. Roman also enjoys seeing the other steam engines and operating the miniature railway.

The highlight of our summer was WACAP Family Camp at Sun Lakes, Washington. Many families who adopted through WACAP get together for a long weekend each year. There were children from all over the world including Ethiopia, China, Guatemala, Vietnam, Korea, and of course, Russia. We enjoyed spending time with our friends the Ghayems and the Douglasses (Polina and Luke's parents) and meeting other WACAP families. Roman had an absolute blast! We plan to make it an annual trip. 


Roman had a crush on Luke's sister Taylor and her friend Alissa, and demanded to know why he couldn't go to the Teen Center too (not until the 2020 Family Camp we told him, but you may be able to sneak in there in 2019).

First time in a "Big Boy Bed" (in our cabin at camp). We had to move the dresser in front of the door every night so the master escape artist wouldn't go out for a walk.

Roman took swimming classes this summer and enjoyed being in the water. We bought him his own life-jacket and he had tremendous fun swimming in the pool and in beautiful Park Lake with us. But when it came to swimming classes it was time to ditch the life-jacket. Although we did warn him, he was quite surprised when he jumped in (with a loud cry of "cannonball!") and sank like a rock. Rich, of course, fished him out super-quick. He now knows that we humans don't naturally bounce back up when we hit the water.

We had lots of family come to visit towards the end of August. First to arrive were Uncle Gary and Aunt Linda (Aunt Linda is Rich's dad's sister) who visited from Phoenix. Roman likes to call Uncle Gary "Mustang Gary" because he gave him a shiny red toy Mustang.

We had so much fun with Gary and Linda, Roman really enjoyed spending time with them.

On "The Duck" (amphibious vehicle).

Rich's sister Aunt Bekke came to visit us from Atlanta, and Roman convinced her to try a "pedal surrey" on Alki beach. Roman was in charge of ringing the bell, a job which he undertook with gusto. I think we all needed helmets!

We gave our back yard a makeover and it is now a great place for Roman to run and play.

Unfortunately, a family of raccoons is also enjoying the new lawn. The freshly laid sod is easy for them to pull up, and underneath they find a buffet of juicy worms and bugs. We've woken up to find our lawn ripped up a few times and we're hoping they'll leave it alone long enough for it to put down some roots. We've read that the smell of cougar poop will put raccoons off so we are going to buy some from Cougar Mountain Zoo (yes, they do actually sell it). It's good compost too. Just hope it doesn't attract cougars to our back yard.

We'll end our summer blog entry with the biggest news, which has been something of a blessing in disguise. After 23 years working at Fox Sports Net, Rich was laid off (on his birthday). The company laid several people off on the same day due to changing ownership and "structural reorganization". Because of his long tenure, Rich got 6 months of severance pay and also has unemployment benefits, which means the financial impact hasn't hit us ...yet.

The reason we say "blessing in disguise" is because it has allowed us to spend many wonderful days together as a family. We had never had a prolonged time to spend together just the three of us as most of our family leave time was spent going through the adoption process in Russia. We had also adjusted our schedules so we didn't need to leave Roman with a babysitter, but that meant that we didn't have a single day off together! 

Rich has been doing some freelance work. He continued to direct Portland Timbers games for FSN and has filled in on all sorts of positions in Seahawks, Sounders, Husky football, volleyball and Everett Silvertips hockey. Right now, we are enjoying spending time together, just us ... the Brit, the Russian, and the American.

Rockin' Preschooler (Roman's impression of Angus Young)

Dawson and Roman at the zoo ... hey, is his half bigger?

 The "Russian Rascals" Luke, Polina, and Roman.


Mommy: Taz has gone to doggy heaven to be with Missy

Roman: Mommy, where is doggy heaven?

Mommy: It's a long long way away sweetie

Roman: Is it near Portland?


Mommy: Perhaps you'll get married when you're a grownup.

Roman: Yeah, I'm going to marry Polina ... and Luke

Mommy: Luke?

Roman: Yes, he has lots of cool cars!