Multnomah falls

CIMG0006

Sunday we picked up Shawn, then went home picked up Sam and all 4 of us drove out to Multnomah falls. Multnomah Falls is the second-tallest year-round waterfall in the nation. Along the way we stopped and had breakfast at Shari’s (where Shawn got to eat for free).

In the past, we have taken Joshua’s parents out to the falls and had breakfast in the lodge at the base of the falls. This time however, we decided to attempt the death march to the top. It’s only 1 ½ miles to the top of the falls. Sounds easy, but it is uphill at a 25° incline with no guardrails and thin trails clinging to the side of the mountain.

We had a great time once we got to the top, we walked in along the longer 6 mile trail and rested on some great boulders in the creek bed. Joshua and Shawn walked up the creek while Sam and Anthony tried to recover.

We then walked back to the main trail and followed it to the waterfall edge for an amazing view. Check out the photos online now in our photo gallery.

CIMG0095

On our way down (1 mile to go) Shawn announces that he needs to use the restroom. We found a side trail and a good tree for him to use… but he was not ready to be that much of an outdoors man. So Anthony and Shawn raced down hand in hand to the restroom, and made it without any accidents.

After a short visit to the gift shop we climbed back in the car and headed down the winding road of the scenic highway. Sam doesn’t deal well with heights and curves so he was a little carsick. We stopped at Crown Point and Vista house which is an awesome little rest stop.

The views were stunning and beatific, but we are all a little sore today.


Labor Day Weekend

Frog meatballs

We had an uneventful weekend. Saturday Anthony made cookies and Joshua worked on homework.

We had Shawn over on Sunday. Shawn had a very bad day on Monday, he was sent home early from daycare because of his behavior. Because of this,  part of his punishment for Sara having to leave work early was for him to write out apology letters to Sara’s 5 bosses. The extra punishment was that if he did not have the letters done by Friday, he would have to do lines on Sunday at our house with no video games.

We both were a little worried about how this would play out and we did not have very high expectations that he would have finished the letters in time for a nice visit with us on Sunday.

So Friday came and went and the letters were not done. <insert doom music here> Sara said it was up to us if we wanted to enforce the lines. We both agreed that forcing him to do lines would not drive home a teachable moment. So we told Shawn, lines would depend on how well the letters were written.

So while Anthony setup stuff for lunch, Joshua sat at the table with Shawn. First Joshua tried to do his homework on his laptop while Shawn did his letters. Shawn is very easily distracted. So we had to clean off the table of all distractions, close the window shades and in the end Joshua had to close his laptop and put it away. But the two of them got the letters done with no meltdowns. It only took 2 hours. And as we had guessed it was a bigger teachable moment for us then him.

Afterwards, Anthony and Shawn cooked lunch together. They made spaghetti and meatballs. Shawn helped mix up the meatball ingredients, cut the veggies, and help cook the meatballs.  When Shawn asked what type of meat we were using. Anthony told him Frog and Lizard guts. Which caused great laughter and excitement. So much so that Shawn started to tease Joshua that he was going to have to eat Frog and Lizard guts. But the laughter died when lunch was served and two big Frog & Lizard gut meatballs sat on Shawns plate… the fun ended and quick refusals to eat them quickly appeared.

So Anthony retrieved the ground turkey wrapper, which Shawn carefully read. For the rest of the day when describing the meatballs he made he would quote the label verbatim and say that they where made from “Fresh ground turkey and all natural ingredients.” Just so no one would be confused like he was.

Labor Day was pretty dull. Sam was home so all three of us hung out. We did breakfast together at Elmbers. Then all three of us bummed and lounged around the house. Joshua had picked up 2 used games for the PS3, Walle and UP. So we all took turns challenging each other. For the record, Sam is a horrible cheater.

That evening we all headed down to Frys electronics and got to geek out. We made it out of there only spending about $19.00, a first for us!

Homestudy DONE!

So yesterday, we both took off from work early. We had a 1:00pm appointment with our caseworker. Our home study is done and we are now at the looking at profiles stage.

2 HUGE books filled with kiddos. Our caseworker left us alone and we started to review them one by one. Just as we got to the end of the last book, we heard a strange high-pitched noise, which we ignored. After a few minutes, we started to get worried that it might be a fire alarm. Sure enough, our caseworker walked in and said we had to exit the building.

The two upsides to the fire alarm was that it was just a drill and we got to see our instructors from our Love and Logic classes, who were awesome. After the alarm ended, we all headed back in with our caseworker and the three of us looked over the 12 profiles we marked. Well, 12 profiles, 13 kids, as one profile was for two twin boys.

She recommended we send in our home study to all of them, even the ones we were on the fence about. We would get more information back once we did that and then we could decided if we want to move forward or not. So, 12 is the magic number… at least for now. Our caseworker told us that we would most likely not even hear back from 70% of the kids caseworkers, even though they are suppose to reply back even if they don’t think our family is not a match for their kiddo.

So excited and worried about how long the waiting could be before we are matched (days, months, years…), we headed for lunch and home. We stopped first at the Old Spaghetti Factory, but they were closed, so we ended up at the Olive Garden by our house.

Just as our lunch was ending, we got a call from Sara. She was leaving work early as Shawn’s daycare called. He was having a bad day, and they needed her to come and take him home. She was calling us in the hope that we could come over the house for backup support. So we ate up quickly and hit the highway again.

A Dull Atomic Weekend

fallout-3-20080710014132672_640w

We had our plans go array this past weekend.

We had intended to spend Sunday with Shawn and Donny and take in the Neighborhood  picnic, which was planned by our HOA to be held in our front yard. (yeah no notice).

But mid-day Saturday we got a call from Sara that changed our plans. Donny and Shawn were fighting and being defiant again. So she felt it best for them not to be rewarded with guy time this week.

Which was huge bummer for us. We have both really come to enjoy our weekend time with Shawn and having his little brother Donny too is like twice for the fun. So we where doubly disappointed. We had planned on making ice cream with the boys to take as our part of the potluck picnic, which would have worked out great for us, as we had no clue what to make and bring. But without the kids, we really didn’t feel like making ice cream alone, so we skipped the picnic.

Joshua had borrowed a PS3 game from our friend John Friday night, Fallout 3. Which turned into our weekend activity. We both use to play a lot of video games. But since we stopped playing EQ2 we have kinda gone off the video game world. So we threw in Fallout 3 and started playing it, and playing it, and playing it.  Ahhh a new additive game…… great.

Beach trip Aug 2009

CIMG0064

We started out Friday night (Aug 14th). Anthony got off work at 4:00pm and took the MAX to the Gateway Fred Myers and started shopping for the last minute items; Marshmallows, Logs for a fire, Roasting Forks, and Hershey bars. He also picked up a new pair of swim goggles for Shawn as the last ones didn’t fit so well.

Joshua picked up Anthony from Freddie’s and we headed down I-205 at about 5pm…. during rush hour…. on a Friday…. Long story short (too late), it took 30 minutes to get from Lake Oswego to the I-5 I-205 junction!

We made it down to Newport Beach and our hotel Shilo Inn Oceanfront about at 8:00pm and checked into our room with an amazing view and then started to look for dinner. The hotel’s café was closed, but their fine dining restaurant was open but seemed much too pricy. So, we jumped in the car and headed down to the next hotel’s restaurant, Georgie’s Beachside Grill.

We walked in and they had a table for us… in the bar. This was not bad, as it was a window table. They carded BOTH OF US, which was a huge treat for Anthony. But that is where the good times ended. We ordered the Deep fried Artichokes. Which turned out to not be fresh but canned… in bitter brine, which is sad as there where farmers market stands all over the freeway on the drive in with fresh ones. They fried the canned artichokes apparently in the same oil they use to fry the fish on the menu, so the crispy tempura coating tasted like old greasy fish… not a great flavor combination.

For our main courses, Joshua had the stuffed salmon. Which was not fresh and very rubbery, stuffed with imitation crab and cheap shrimp. Anthony ordered the chicken and sun dried tomatoes penne pasta. Which comes served in a white cheese sauce… according to the menu. What arrived was a cool, white paste. On a positive note we both loved the bread they served with dinner! We headed back to the hotel room, with upset stomachs and when to bed.

The next morning we got up early and headed over to Pig and Pancake for breakfast. We love the Pig and Pancake in Lincoln city. The food is outstanding, good value for money and tastes great. Unfortunately, we ate at the Pig and Pancake in Newport, where the highlight of the meal was seeing someone wearing a Roxy T-shirt.

After a horrid breakfast we drove up to Agate beach. Joshua likes rocky beaches, and Agate beach sounded ideal. Agate beach turned out to be a wonderful soft sand beach. But it did have some neat rocky cliff area’s which we explored.

We then headed up to Depoe Bay and walked around the shops and Whale Watching center. Turns out we arrived on Pirate day. So several hundred folks, all dressed in pirate wear, were walking around and setting off canons. We picked up a gift for our friend, Scott and headed up the road to Lincoln City where we found three new pairs of pants for Joshua at the outlet mall.

The whole reason for going to the coast was that Sara had asked us to come down as a backup support for a trip that she and Shawn were taking for her birthday. So after shopping we started to head back to Newport to meet up with Shawn and Sara who where driving down from Portland.

We met them at Yaquina Head; we all parked in the visitor center and walked out to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the west coast, and we all got to climb to the top! We then walked down to a little cove area and explored the tide pools with Shawn. Shawn really wanted to touch some of the animals he saw so our next stop was the Oregon Aquarium!

If you have never been to the Oregon Aquarium, it’s like EPCOT’s living seas, but just a bit bigger. We ate lunch at their café ….. Strike three for you baseball fans. We decided to share the basket of Fish and Chips ($11.00), which turns out to be just what the sign said… One breaded piece of frozen fish and ½ cup of shoestring oily French fries….aaggghhhhh. The only plus to it all was Shawn had a great time at the Oregon Aquarium.

We all headed back to the hotel, and Sara, Joshua and Shawn decided to go swimming.  After, we all met up for dinner at the Shilo Inn café. And I wish I could tell you we had a good meal. We arrived 45 minutes before they closed which they said was not an issue. They had one other table besides us. The waitress came over and took our drink orders, drinks arrived and order taken, the other table of diners left and we were sitting in an empty room….. No wait staff no diners nothing. We had all ordered pretty easy food items, but the food took over 30 minutes to come out of the kitchen. The service was lousy! The food was just ok.

We then headed down to the beach. After a long walk we found a good spot and Joshua got the fire going while Anthony played mom and got the smore production line ready. It was really windy and the wood Anthony got at Freddie’s was very dry so the fire started easily and burned fast. We make lots of smores and only lost one in the fire and one in the sand.

The next morning, we woke and looked out the window to see Sara and Shawn digging in the sand so we called them. They were having fun so we headed out for breakfast alone with a mission to pick up French toast for Sara. We found a place called the Chalet Restaurant & Bakery, and had a GREAT breakfast with wonderful service. So we headed back to the hotel with French toast for Sara only to have missed them. Shawn had gotten wet and they changed clothes and decided to head up to the Tillamook cheese factory.

So we packed up the car and decided we should head out as well. We stopped in Neskowin, which is just north of Lincoln city. Anthony’s Grandmother took him their once when he was little. It has a few motels that overlook a great sandy cove. We decided that this would be our next beach vacation destination.

We drove up to Tillamook and stopped in at the Blue Heron cheese factory and purchased 2 wheels of their brie (regular & smoked). We then of course stopped in at the Tillamook cheese factory, and it was a mad house! We dove in grabbed our squeaky cheese (cheese curds) and got out of there as fast as we could.

We then drove home and Anthony made dinner. We had Tillamook cheese Enchiladas and reheated French toast. It was a fun trip but next trip is definitely at Neskowin or the beach house in Oceanside! It seems we are way too picky of eaters.

We also had a weekend of pre-shopping as Suzanne would say it. But we pre-vacationed, “When we have the kiddo, we will do this, or we will go here” Or “yeah not doing that again”.

Zoo Weekend!

Oregon_zoo_elephant_P1537

So after a few attempts over the past few weekends, we finally made it to the zoo with Shawn.

We picked up Shawn around 9:30ish and after getting the “we had a good week” ok from his mom, we headed over to the Oregon Zoo.

The zoo has changed quite a bit since Anthony was a kid. Joshua grew up in Salt Lake and has fond memories of the Hogle Zoo, but Anthony is a web-toed native and grew up visiting the Oregon zoo.

images

Shawn told us that he had been here before, so he was our cartographer and lead the way with map… sort of.

We started over in the NW habitat area. Joshua had us stop at each display and asked Shawn to read it to us (always turning fun things into an educational experience). Joshua and Shawn spent a bit of time looking in the bobcat exhibit before they found it hiding at the back of the enclosure. We could smell it but had a hard time finding it.

We wandered down the trail finding some blue bill ducks and several large bottom dwelling fish and some yummy looking salmon. However, no matter how much we tried to convince Shawn, he would not jump in the tank and grab us some fish for dinner.

The trail led us to the new and much improved petting zoo and then we walked over to the elk meadow just in time for the wolf keeper talk. Shawn loved the elk antlers hanging from the walls and thought they were definitely a cool thing.

We wandered down for lunch at the African counter service area. Hands down, the San Diego zoo was a much better dining adventure. There we had cloth tablecloths and silverware and waiters, and all for about the same price we paid for two adult meals and one kid sack meal here locally. Joshua is very much looking forward to do San Diego zoo again!

After lunch, we walked over to the grass amphitheater area and watched the birds of prey show. The best part of the show was the Bald Eagle that flew right over our heads by about 2 feet. We could feel the air blow by as it zoomed overhead.

After the show, we walked through the elephant area. Shawn got really excited telling us all about the baby elephant. We then wandered over to the train area and took the Zoo train to the Rose Garden.

We jumped off the train at the Rose Garden and spent some time wandering around looking at the roses. Much of the time was spent hunting for Blue Roses (they don’t exist unfortunately).Then we walked down the hill to the huge playground area.

We took the train back to the zoo and where just in time to watch the penguins get fed, which was great fun. Shawn got to stand right at the big window as the keeper threw fish in the water in front of him and all the penguins dived towards Shawn.

After the penguins where feed we all shared a huge elephant ear and Shawn snacked on some goldfish and an apple juice drink box that Anthony packed for him.

We then started working our way towards the exit, taking in the Africa exhibit and the fruit bats, which Shawn was really excited to see.

Shawn really liked our camera and took a ton of photos. Most of the one that were not to blurry are online now.

We are planning a special trip next weekend. It’s Sara’s birthday so we are heading to Newport Beach. Should be a blast!

A long long weekend!

timbers

Friday night Anthony’s 16-year-old nephew, Kristian came up for a weekend visit. He spent Friday and Saturday night over out our house and was the first person to try out the new bunk bed and mattress in the kid’s room. Anthony had not seen his nephew since Kristian was very little. So this was a very fun weekend of getting to know each other and reconnecting.

After a quick tour of the house, Kristian found the video games and Anthony cooked dinner, beef enchiladas. Since Sam had the night off we all 4 of us decided to go see a movie, Disney’s G-Force.

Saturday we got up early, had German Pancakes for breakfast, and then headed over to Portland State University because Kristian wanted to check out the campus. This proved to be a little difficult. First, they don’t run weekend tours and second the whole campus was engulfed in a hippy farmers market and Pro Iran event. (They don’t call Portland little Beirut from no reason!)

But luckily, we were able to avoid most of the craziness of the market and wandered though the Student Union and walked around the campus and where able to check out a lot of the buildings. Hopefully he got a good idea of campus life. He still wants to come back later and take the official tour.

After stopping off for Starbucks, we drove down to Pioneer Place Mall. Kristian wanted to pick up a Trailblazer T-Shirt. Unfortunately, the Mall did not have what we were looking for. So, we decided to drive over to the Rose Garden and hit the Blazer Store.

Before leaving downtown we did a walk though of the Nike Store, which brought a HUGE smile and big eyes to Kristian’s face.

After the Nike Store we drove over to the Rose Garden, only to discover that they were holding a Street Jam – 3vs3 Basketball Tournament. Which was kinda fun. Anthony found the Radio Disney table and picked up some stuff for Shawn. But, we struck out again for a Blazer shirt. They had the shirt Kristian wanted, but not in his size.

We walked over the MAX, rode it up to Lloyd Center, and found the T-Shirt in sports shop. T-shirt hunting as followed by lunch in the mall, as we were all hungry.

After lunch we traced back our path, took MAX back to the Rose Garden, picked up the car and drove home. Joshua and Anthony both took a short n.a.p. while Kristian played video games. We then all got back in car and drove down to PGE Park as there was a posted 5:00pm Timbers Soccer game. Which once we got down there and stood in line at the window, turned out the 5:00pm game was in Minnesota. That is what you get when you leave non-sports people in charge of the sports entertainment. There was a 7:00 Beavers baseball game, which no one in the group wanted to stay and watch.

We changed plans quickly, which we seem to be getting much better at. We drove back up I-84 towards home, stopped by Fred Myers for some groceries, and then headed home for a movie night on the sofa. Anthony headed into the kitchen and cooked up a big pot of spaghetti, green beans and sour dough rolls. Josh and Kristian worked on Resident Evil 5 together. After dinner, we watched Kingdom of Heaven.

The next morning, Anthony made pancakes and cheesy scrambled eggs for breakfast. Kristian’s grandfather was supposed to pick him up at 10:00, because we had to pick up Shawn before 10:45. So at 10:15am we said all our goodbyes and Anthony drove like a madman to Tigard to pick up Shawn. About 10 minutes later Kristian’s grandfather picked him up. Sara had an 11:00am appointment, and Anthony made it just in time to scoop up Shawn.

Just like Kristian, Shawn made a beeline straight for the video games. But, he only gets 30 minutes a day. So while I help him find a kid game to play. Joshua set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes. Then Anthony and Shawn when and played in the back yard for a bit with a paper airplane that Anthony picked up the day before at the Street Jam – 3vs3 Basketball Tournament at the Disney radio booth.

Afterwards we had lunch, corn dogs and tatter tots with apple slices. Joshua then took Shawn swimming again and worked on his backstroke and dolphin kick.

Before the movie, Joshua and Shawn boiled some eggs and made egg salad sandwiches together for a afternoon snack. Shawn had never seen a gas stove before and was a little in awe of it. At first, he thought there was something wrong with the stove when he saw the flames shoot out.

We then watched the adventures of Ichabod Crane. Which has the headless horseman in it. Joshua and Shawn had two different theories on the movie. Shawn felt the headless horseman was real while Joshua thought it was just someone trying to scare Ichabod.

After the movie, we noticed it was getting late so all jumped in the car and drove Shawn home. Arriving home we both plopped on the sofa like 2 bags of wet of sand. It was a long weekend!

One cool, yet expensive thing did happen Saturday night.  We got the copy of our home inspection form in the mail, all signed and legal. With it came the $1,500.00 home study bill. And in a week or so we should get then $1,200.00 coordination fee bill as our home study should be done within the next 2-3 weeks.

Both of us feel we are getting so close to being done and the excitement level is getting hard to control. Which we keep trying to do as the next stage could be the longest and hardest to swallow, waiting for a placement. This could take a few months or a few years or never.

Passed our Home inspection!

home_inspection_magnifying_hg_wht

We met up with our caseworker at our home last night for the last step of our home study preparation, the home inspection.

She had a long checklist and we gave her the 50¢ tour of our “Grand Estate”. Again we were expecting a much more intense investigation. The inspection took only about 10 mins. The explanation of why we have so much Disney items took much longer.

We spend the main volume of our time together talking about our comfort limits about different levels of special need kiddos. She did this to get a better idea on what types of kiddo’s profiles to show us and which ones we might not be comfortable with. We also talked about our recent experiences with Don and Shawn. Since Shawn was adopted out of Washington, his special needs are a bit higher then what Oregon normally places in the ready to adopt category. So apparently we are already working with a kiddo that might be called more “challenging” then what we will be matched with out of the Oregon adoption pool. Which is hard to believe, as we would adopt Shawn and his brother Don in a heart beat, if they didn’t already have loving homes, as they are both wonderful kids?

So now comes the start of the hardest part, waiting.

Oompa Loompa’s and Witches

EPCC-pool

Saturday we spent the day cleaning to get ready for our Home inspection, which is scheduled for Monday afternoon at 4:00pm. It is also suppose to be 103 degrees! Should be a fun and hot day.

Sunday, Shawn came over and helped us by mowing the lawn with Joshua. He then got all excited and wanted to vacuum, which we were happy to let him do! For those of you in the ICS, you will like this next part. Shawn walked over to Anthony’s desk, saw the Nicole the Great Bobble head doll, and asked, “Why do you have a witch on your desk?” We both had to take a minute to compose ourselves.

After the chores, Anthony made toasted tuna fish sandwiches with apple slices and some homemade Mac & Cheese. Then Joshua and Shawn decided to go swimming. This was a fun adventure for Joshua as it has been ten years since he last taught kids how to swim. Shawn also had a great time over at the East Portland Community pool as it has a Water Slide & current river complete with a whirlpool. Shawn is a great little swimmer and was willing and eager  to learn. The highlight was definitely the whirlpool area as Shawn was going around in circles. It is a wonder he didn’t get dizzy. Joshua was tired as the whole swimming experience lasted about 2 hours.

After swimming, we all plopped down in front of the TV and watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Joshua tried to take a small power nap and passed out right on the sofa. Only to be awoken by the many questions and excited remarks from Shawn. The best one came right at the part where Vioet finds her Dinner flavored gum and is about to start chewing. Shawn jumps up and announces that Anthony needs to go to the store and get gum just like that for Joshua and himself to chew. Then less then 5 minutes and one giant blueberry later a much less excited voice from Shawn quietly told to Anthony that he no longer wants THAT type of gum.

A “Change Of Plans” weekend.

mt_tabor_downtown_view

First change happened Thursday when I emailed Sara to arrange a pick up time for Shawn on Saturday for a day at the Zoo. The email I got back was…. “Did I mention I have both boys this weekend?”.  So we got  the extra treat of both boys, Shawn and Don on Saturday.

The next change came as we drove over to Tigard to pick the boys up.We noticed that Sara had called but had not left a message the night before. So we called her in route. Seems both the boys had a bad night and were both having some defiance issues. By the time we had arrived they had both lost their TV rights and Video game rights and she didn’t want us to reward them with a nice day at the Zoo. So we quickly scrambled and came up with a “Chore day” at our house and picnic up on Mt. Tabor for lunch.

Once we got back to our house with the Boys. We all headed to the back yard and they helped pull weeds and eat raspberries. And clean up dead flowers and eat raspberries. They both got really into helping out. Don loved the potato plants and wanted us to pull them all up. Shawn was really excited as we let him use the clippers (while being supervised) to trim back the roses.

After our chores where done. Anthony made sandwiches and packed up the cooler while Sam and Joshua read stories to the boys. Then all five of us drove up to Mt. Tabor park. Both of the boys loved the fact that it was volcano and really wanted to see the Lava. So our first stop was to the lower level to see the lava rock walls. We then took a short nature walk in a big circle back to the car.

We then drove to the upper parking lot. Grabbed the food and started the long walk to the top. We got to the top and found a grassy area for lunch. Just as we served out the food. Don needed to go #2. So Joshua and Don walked over to the restrooms on the upper level. Which where closed. So then they walked down to the middle level only to find no restrooms. The only restrooms open where all the way down at the Lava face wall. So down the two of them went. While Don desperately held it all in.

So 20 mins later, Joshua and Don returned (with no accidents) to eat their lunch. After lunch we all walked down to the restrooms and then to playground and played for a while. Both of the kidos where getting tired at this point and the adults where too. So as we arrived at home Anthony took them both into the kids room for quiet time (nap time for us, quiet time for them as they quote “ do not take naps”) So we had 30 minutes quiet time. Anthony read them stories and they both struggled so hard not to sleep. In the end no one did, but we got close. After quiet time we headed out to the backyard again for a bit to run around and play in the sun. We played tag and hide and go seek. At 4:00pm we loaded up the car with kidos and headed back to Sara’s house. Along the way Don fell asleep.

Sunday, all three of us headed out to meet up with the Lovely Suzanne for the 12:10 showing of Harry Potter 6. Afterwards Joshua had planned to head over to her house to work on the Roxy website. But plans changed again and Suzanne rescheduled the work party. So we ended up being “forced” to make homemade enchiladas and then “forced” spend the evening together playing Resident Evil 5, where we learned that Joshua cannot open doors.

A busy weekend

Saturday morning, bright and early, the new bunk bed mattress arrived for the kiddo’s room. After we unwrapped them and placed them in the bunk bed, we both got “nesting fever” and headed over to IKEA in search of a rug for the kiddos room.

We had “pre-shopped” on our last trip to IKEA, and knew which rug we wanted, a big green swirly one. But once we got their we laid out several rugs on the floor and ultimately switched to a nice brown rug as it seemed calmer then the green. This did work out better, as the green would have not matched the great bedding we found…

After IKEA we headed to the source of all evil, Wal-Mart. We needed to find 2 bedding sets; one for the top twin bunk and one for the bottom full. We were planning to just buy two bed-in-a-bags but found a great pick and match set in fun blues, which seemed more appropriate for a boy’s room then the bag options they had. We also “pre-shopped” a Wall-e set and Disney Airplane set that might have to be purchased down the road as well.

Soon as we got home, and did some accounting, and we decided that we should have just purchased the kiddos dresser when we were at IKEA. So Joshua volunteered to drive back and get it and convinced Anthony that we should get two new ones for our room as well. Both of us have been using the same bedroom dresser for years. Replacing them removes the last vestiges of that “college dorm room” look our house has been sporting for the past year. So Joshua headed to IKEA and Anthony washed the new bedding.

Sunday we woke up early, drove out to Tigard, and picked up two little boys, Shawn (8) and his little brother Donny (4). After a short drive back to our side of town we stopped Fred Meyers for some food shopping, and shopping with a 8 and 4 year old is super fun.

We got home after the shopping adventure and both boys headed over to the TV and tried to figure out which video game to play while Anthony made lunch. We had green apple slices, fresh Donny picked raspberries, apple juice boxes and homemade Cheeseburgers.

So Anthony cooked but Joshua sewed. Ever the little homemaker Joshua spent about an hour whip stitching up Shawn’s backpack, which came to us with a big rip along the top.

After lunch, we decided to walk over to and go play in the Park. We all changed in to long pants, as it was getting a bit cold outside. Donny, got all excited and stripped down to his underwear right in the dining room window, only to the announce he had to go to the bathroom alone to put his long pants on as he needed to go be “indecent”.

After we were all “decent”, we walked over to the park. Now neither of us had ever been to this park before so it was new adventure for all of us. We walked all over and found each play area. The tire swing was huge hit.

Returning from the park, we played the board game Monster Smash and the plopped down in front of the TV and watched The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Which was not a problem for Shawn, but Donny had a real hard time getting his little body to calm down enough to watch the show quietly. It took 2 trips to the kitchen for Graham crackers and some “pudding” (also known as yogurt) before he was ready to settle with the group. We had no issues with getting Donny to eat.

As soon as the show was over it was time to return to mom’s house. So we loaded the car up and Anthony drove everyone home, while Joshua tried to build the IKEA dressers.

A long weekend, but a rewarding one.

A pretty amazing week

Comfy-chair

We had our individual adoption interviews on Monday. From everything we had read we where expecting an intrusive highly personal interview in a locked dark room, strapped to a rickety wooden chair under a single hot white light.

It turned out to be a funny & quick recap talk about our questionnaires. No hot lights, no rickety wooden chairs… more of a Monty Python – Spanish Inquisition with comfy chairs and pillows. (FETCH THE COMFY CHAIR!) Just goes to show that you should never believe everything you read in adoption books. (or see & hear on Fox news)

After talking with our Adoption Clinician, it looks like we are on track to have our homestudy completed sometime in early August and then at that point we can start looking at waiting children profiles for matching!

The news got even better as it looks like the International Conference that Anthony has been working on got the final green light with it’s contract changes and concessions and is a go for Disney World in May of 2010 (barring any additional inter-political nonsense)!

4th of July weekend @ OMSI

OMSI

We had a great weekend. Since we did our big party last week, we decided to eat leftovers and hide at home this weekend. Both of us had Friday the 3rd off so we took advantage of the 4th of July weekend sales and purchased the mattresses for the bunk bed. We found out that we have become spoiled on our latex mattress. Anything with a spring felt horrible! It took us 3 stores before we found a set we liked and had a price we could afford.

We headed home and Anthony became head Jam maker. 3 batches of raspberry Jam of our own bushes! And one batch of Watermellon jelly! We are set for the year when it comes to P&J.

Sunday we took Shawn to OMSI. What a blast!  If you have never been, it’s like a smaller version of EPCOT’s  Innoventions. We picked him up at 9:30am and headed straight  to the museum. We didn’t tell him where we were going, and since he had never been, he had no clue where he was for the first 10 mins even when we had arrived. But how cool it was to see his face light up when he figured out what type of place we had come to.

At 11:30am we watched a show at the Planetarium, Stars… hosted by Mark Hamill. Which is not a traditional Planetarium show, but rather a loud overhead movie. But, he loved it…. it was loud…. had cartoons and was (thankfully for the adults) wonderfully short.

We spent the rest of  day playing and learning. Breaking only for a quick lunch.

After lunch and since Shawn was being such a good kids we even bought tickets for the Submarine tour. We Hadn’t planned on doing the sub, but when we arrived we found out that we had over paid since OMSI was having a special sale on admissions. (Anthony got the tickets at full rate online) So the refunded us back $23.00 and the sub tour only cost $15.00 so we came out ahead! The Sub was smelling and cramped, and everything else little boys love. Shawn was completing into it. He got to drive the Submarine and try out one of the crew beds. He was also the only kid to ask questions! A proud respite caregiver moment!

We only had one moment of unhappiness when Shawn figured out that his $2.10 in change was not enough to purchase anything at the Science store (gift shop). It was like all the joy in the world had gone away. As soon as we entered the shop I knew nothing good would come if it as he ran right to the $50.00 and up  item wall. But to Shawn’s credit, he did not ask for money or for us to buy him anything.

A great weekend!

Tick…Tock…Tick…Tock

Magic-School-Bus

So this past week we had three great days, that have really kicked the old biological parenting clock into overdrive for both of us.

First a great evening with Jaden. Then the adoption BBQ and then yesterday we spent the afternoon and evening with Shawn (8) and his little Brother  Daniel (4) who was visiting. (Changing names for privacy reasons).

Shawn was recently placed with his forever family. A great lady named Sara. Our adoption clinician referred us to Sara, as Sara needs some respite care help so she can have a well-earned break now and then.

Our clinician though it would be really good for us to see firsthand what working with a special needs adoption child is really like. And the added bonus is we are also learning what being a special needs parent can be like.

So far, we have three great visits now with Sara and Shawn.  Yesterday Shawn’s little brother was down for a visit, so we got twice the fun! As we walked to the house, Josh headed up stairs to help with a little project with Sara and I became an instant jungle gym for the two boys down in the living room.

Both Joshua and I had a wonderful time with the two boys and it really made us both think even more about looking into sibling groups for our own adoption.

Shawn and I spent the afternoon working on Magic school bus science experiments, as Shawn is a young budding mad scientist. We learned all about how iodine changes color when mixed with bread and sugar. We also learned that the board game Sorry does not work out so well for a 4 year old.

Next weekend, if Shawn has a good week, we are going to take the mad scientist out to OMSI and let Sara have a Sunday off.

Summer Adoption BBQ Extravaganza

CIMG0012

So today was our big Summer Adoption BBQ Extravaganza! What a blast! We had way too much fun throwing this party, I fear that a second one is going to be not to far off!

Thanks to everyone who came out and showed their love and support, it really meant a lot to us! Extra special thanks to Mr. Smiling Ryan for reminding me how old we both are!

Since we did an all day party, people came in waves throughout the day. Which was fun, but we both need a nap! The weather was great for the BBQ,  not to hot and the evening is looking even better.  Second wave of the party is going to happen later as some folks will be back for movies and outdoor chilling under the new lights that Joshua has strung up in the patio area of the yard.

Wonderful day and can’t wait for the next party…. which might be a Sunday brunch… stay tuned for details!

Star Wars: The Raspberry Menace

legorass

Last night we had our first big harvest of the Raspberries from the back yard. Luckily Jaden (April’s son, Suzanne’s grandson) was visiting and was able to help us.

It was Jaden’s first time picking berries but he quickly became an expert. Within 10 minutes he had a big bowl full and was carefully eyeing the white ones to see if they where ripe enough to pick.

Jaden then helped Anthony wash the berries and then all four of us (Josh, Sam, Jaden and Anthony) sat outside on the patio and ate some with cool whip.

Jaden let us all know that he doesn’t like berries except sweet strawberries. So we added a little sugar to his and he then magically finished the rest!

After cleaning up, Jaden showed us his new Cars video game and then got very excited to see we had the Lego Star Wars game for the PS3 just like at his “weekend house”

This was cause for a sudden and major shift in video game priorities. It was just as we finished level 3 of Star Wars Lego Jaden’s Mom came by to pick him up.

Two Gay Penguins And A Chick: German Zoo Pair Raising Baby

Germany Male Penguin Parents

BERLIN — A German zoo says a pair of gay male penguins are raising a chick from an egg abandoned by its parents.

Bremerhaven zoo veterinarian Joachim Schoene says the egg was placed in the male penguins’ nest after its parents rejected it in late April. The males incubated it for some 30 days before it hatched and have continued to care for it. The chick’s gender is not yet known.

Schoene said the male birds, named Z and Vielpunkt, are one of three same-sex pairs among the zoo’s 20 Humboldt penguins that have attempted to mate.

Homosexual behavior has been documented in many animal species.

The zoo said in a statement on its Web site Thursday that “sex and coupling in our world don’t always have something to do with reproduction.”

(Photo above) Two male Humboldt penguins cautiously guards the entrence to their cave in the “Zoo am Meer” zoological park in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, on Wednesday, June 3, 2009, where they are fostering a six weeks old penguin chick. After a penguin egg had been abandoned by its biological parents, it was placed in the male penguins’ nest, who then adopted and hatched it. The gender of the penguin chick has not yet been determined. Bremerhaven zoo veterinarian Schoene said the male birds, named Z and Vielpunkt, are one of three same-sex pairs among the zoo’s 20 Humboldt penguins that have attempted to mate. (AP Photo/Focke Strangmann)

2 weekends of blisters

The berries are coming!
The berries are coming!

So it’s spring here is Portland. The winter rain as given way to the spring rain. And with it comes the new yearly task of keeping up with the neighbors.

Last year we tried a vegetable garden in our back yard and there just was not  enough sunlight  getting to the back yard area. So this year we are trying to set up the yard so that we have to do as little to it in the future, yet still look cool and groovy. To this end, we spent that last two weekends cutting up the front and back yard.

The old owners of the house had rose bushes scattered all over the yard. We moved them all to the front and in the back built a rose trellis for the 4 climbing roses we found.

In the front yard we cut out a corner of the yard and put in a little bark dust garden with some cute low bushes. We used a neat black trim for the front and loved it so much we are planning to force Sam to install it on all the borders over the next few weekends.

The blueberries and raspberries are coming in great this year. If fact we planted 3 new yellow fall bearing raspberries so next year we should have berries all summer and fall. We also planned nasty weed called rhubarb, which can be made into Joshua’s favorite type of pie.

Joshua has big plans now for the back yard and keeps talking about a pond…..

Love & Logic – The first class

love-and-logic-logo

So last night Joshua and I took our first class in the Love and Logic. The basic idea of the Love and Logic parenting system seems to be helping your kids fail in a good way so they can succeed in life… but don’t quote me on that, we are still learning!  But so far we really like the class.

The class is taught by the same teacher we had for our SNAC training last year. In fact we are meeting in the same room. Our teacher is real hoot. Very funny and very skilled in what she knows and she know A LOT!

Unlike the SNAC training which was a full room, the class size this time was very small. Only 3 1/2 tables of parents. Should be good as we can ask a lot of questions and get a lot more individual attention.

One neat thing is we were not the only same sex couple in the class, we are not alone! Which again really shows how far we have come and helps me at least stop worrying that we will be blocked or denied based solely on our sexual orientation.

 We did have one freak out moment. Joshua came downtown and picked me up from work and as we started driving away, the car died. Luckily it started right up. Then about 10 blocks later on the 1-5 exit, it died again. So our poor car has the flu and is going off to see the car doctor. Normally I would be freaking out, but strangely I was the calm one this time. Joshua does the family finances and only saw more bills, I see it as a chance to get my all Electric car.

Gym Day Two…

fat_ass_south_park-12678

So we had our second morning in the gym today.

Our new habit is to wake up at 5:00am and drive the 4 blocks to the gym. Where Josh runs off the pool to do his laps and I plug my head phones in and walk uphill on the treadmill for a few miles.

Yesterday Joshua was feeling it, now today I am a wreak. Professional couch potatoes are not met to endure this type of punishment!

On the plus side, we have a whole new wardrobe of  gym clothes which we look very sporty in.

And it’s Anthony by a nose….

So I just had my last test run for my adoption medical paperwork. Which means I am officially ahead of Joshua in the race to get our paperwork done! LOL

I just came back from Kaiser. I had to meet with the nurse to have her check my TB test results, which I passed.  Then down to the lab where they  stole 3 tubes of my blood and a cup of the yellow stuff. You know you can never go when you need to go and when you shouldn’t or can’t THEN you have to.

So next step is to finish the 121 questionnaire…. only 96 more essay questions to go!

On a more fun note, we mailed off our form and fee to take a new month and a half round of parenting classes. Love and Logic parenting. Should be good. The class is taught by the same lady who did our adoption classes last year and we both really liked her.

April Adoption Movie Night Recap

Thank you to all our friends and family who came out and joined us. It was a great first get together. We hope have many more movie nights in the future. If you missed it we sure hope you can make the next one.

We started off with Disney’s Meet the Robinsons (on blu-ray) then watched a nice movie with a “friendly” donkey called Clerks 2, and ended the night with Death to Smoochy.

 Sam and Joshua worked the grill and served up the best movie hot dogs ever. Anthony was on popcorn duty, all of which Ryan consumed in one sitting. JJ contributed to the party with a big bag of Goldfish crackers, which was a big hit with everyone.

It was a great night of family and friends and we can’t wait for the next one. Thank you to everyone who came!

Disneyland 2009 Trip

disney-day-3-015

Day one. We flew down on Alaksa air to Longbeach airport on Monday March 30th.  The airport (longbeach) was very small, old, and a little scary, but we saved $100.00 per person on our tickets by choosing LGB. We had a small gang of people with us this time, Joshua, Me, Sam, our friend Scott and his partner Michel. Michel also invited his friend James to come with us as well as unexpected surprise.
The shuttle that was supposed to pick us up was late. If fact when it did show up to get us they boarded us and then tried to de-board us as they had other people to pick up. After waiting 20 minutes for the shuttle we kindly refused to de-board. So we will be sending a nice letter to Prime Shuttle.

We got to our hotel about 11am. We stayed at the Fairfield hotel directly across the street from Disneyland. We spent the day in Disneyland and California adventure. This was Sam’s first trip to California Adventure and he just loved the Bugs life 3-d movie! We lost Michel and James about 30 minutes into the park and spent the rest of the day with Sam and Scott. For dinner, the four of us ate at Tortilla Joe’s in Downtown Disney. After dinner we found Michel and James, just in time to head back to the hotel and get some sleep.

Day Two was our big trip to San Diego. Sam, Josh, and I all woke up early and walked down thru Downtown Disney to the Alamo car rental location and picked up our rental car for the day. We then proceeded to drive for 2 hours to San Diego. Check out the view point photos we have posted. Thousands of mating squirrels, no really, they were everywhere, it was somewhat biblical. We had breakfast alone the way at a Denny’s like place in Oceanside.

Once we found the Zoo, (adventure) We spent the morning with Joshua’s Aunt and Uncle and met Joshua’s cousin Grace, who is adorable! Around lunchtime, Sam decided to join his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin and they headed home. Joshua and I spent the rest of the day in the Zoo alone. We had a great lunch in Albert’s restaurant and I got to see the Pandas! (check out our photos)

After the zoo, we headed over to pick Sam up and have dinner at the Aunt and Uncles house. We were both dead tired, so Joshua’s Aunt put me on a slant board. After my nap, we had a great dinner of fish tacos. The fish was gladly provided by Cousin Adrian (who likes to skip school to fish). After dinner, we drove the long trip back north to our hotel in Anaheim.

securedownload

Day 3 was our full day in the parks. We got up early again for the 8:00 early park admission only to find out that on Wednesdays they do not do the early morning entrance. So we got out of line and had breakfast at the little café off Downtown Disney. James and Sam both slept in so it was just the four of us.
Later that morning, Sam joined us for lunch at the Blue Bayou, which was wonderful!

After lunch James and Michel headed off alone, again, leaving just the four of us.
That evening Josh and I broke off from the group and had a private anniversary dinner alone at Napa Rose inside the Grand Californian hotel.  We ended the evening watching the fireworks over Disneyland from a great spot by the castle. Scott and Michel headed to bed but Josh, Sam and I stayed late (until 11pm) and road Space Mt & the new Nemo Sub ride, which is not as cool as the old sub ride, but still very very cool.

Thursday was our final day in the parks. It was also extra magic hours. So we got up early again, checked out of the hotel, then checked our luggage into baggage check and hit the park at 8am. I think we did every ride in the park with the exception of big thunder mountain. Which of some reason never made it on our radar.

At 2:00pm we walked over to our hotel unchecked our bags and took the shuttle back to Longbeach Airport (which was on time ). The flight home was uneventful other then Joshua gave me the green light to start  planing for Disney world.

So anyone want to come along?

After the Interview

So Anthony and I had our first interview with Boys & Girls Aid yesterday. Needless to say we were both nervous and were wondering exactly how in depth this was going to be. I learned that I hate driving downtown especially when I have no clue on where I am going. I know the downtown area pretty well but getting to BGAID was especially difficult. I knew I should have had something to eat other than the oatmeal and coffee from the bistro at work. We managed to get there in one piece however. From now on Anthony is going to drive there, as I hate all those little twists and turns it takes to get into that part of Portland.

Our Adoption Clinician, Elizabeth, was wonderful during the interview. She was extremely nice and personable and quickly put us at ease. I have to say out of the two of us, Anthony was definitely the talker while I just absorbed the information and stayed mostly quiet… There was a running joke about the date since we had to sign all sorts of paperwork. Some of it was just everyday stuff such as their policies and what to do if we have a complaint to specific rules on what type of discipline is acceptable. We also have to take Sam in to have his fingerprints taken and have a background check on him as he is living with us and will be a part of our home study. She also gave us a complete checklist (which Anthony loves) of different things we need to get before she can write our home study.

Overall it was ten times easier than I thought it was going to be. There is the small matter of answering in depth a whole list of 127 questions delving deep into each of our private lives but that should be something that we can work on together.

Adoption Update

We got the email from Boys and Girls Aid. They have received our application and we have been assigned our adoption clinician. We will be having our first intake meeting with her hopefully next week!

The adoption clinician is the person who will be working with us to create our home study report and will work with us to help match our family with a child. We are officially bouncing off the walls in excitement!