Thursday, November 19, 2009

Career Choices

At lunch today, Lily made some career choices.

"Daddy," she said, "when I grow up and get a husband, I'm going to live in Hawaii."

"Oh, really? And what are you going to do there?" I asked.

"I'm going to live in Hawaii, but I'm going to work in China," she replied.

"What kind of work?"

"I'm going to take pictures of childs [sic] in China and send them to parents who want babies so they can see them for the first time."

I thought that was a very sweet sentiment. However, I don't envy her commute.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dressing up for the Skating Party

Every October our church has an annual "Skating Party" at our local roller rink. Here's the kids in their outfits, and it was the first time Aidan was ever on roller skates (although it seemed like the skates weighed more than him). He did a fine job ... with mom's and dad's help, of course.

Paintin' Pumpkins

We had some fun the other day painting pumpkins to prepare our porch for those nocturnal visitors tonight.

Here's Aidan showing off his masterful brushstrokes.

And here's the rest of us in the studio ... I mean the dining room.

Just a reminder that today's the day in 1517 when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany and the Reformation got rollin'.

The final product ... a real Picasso!

And here's the next Mary Cassat with her latest work of art!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Four Falls at the Pumpkin Patch

Thought this would be fun to share. Here's evidence that our little princess is truly growing. This is at the pumpkin patch which we visit every fall here in Marysville. The picture at the right is from October of 2006 and the one on the left is from our visit today.

Aidan's doing well... and a trip to the pumpkin patch!

It's been a rough week since Aidan's surgery. He seemed to be in a lot of pain, even with the pain medication, and had some trouble sleeping at night. We couldn't figure out if it was due to being in pain or the congestion that still seemed to be bothering him since before his surgery. We can tell that he's also getting frustrated not being able to feed himself. He's still on a soft diet and not allowed to feed himself for fear of poking his newly reconstructed palate with a utensil.

Upon the recommendation of the folks at Children's Hospital, Julie took Aidan in to see our pediatrician. She ended up prescribing an antibiotic. So here we are, two days later, and Aidan seems to be much better. He seems to be finally getting back to his perky self.

Here's evidence below at our visit to the pumpkin patch today.

Lily picked out a pumpkin. Actually, that's not the one she picked out. It just was convenient for a pose.

And Aidan was just wondering, "Hey, can I have a refill on this fine hot chocolate?"

Our tradition of measuring Lily at the big ruler at the pumpkin patch continued this year.

And this time Aidan got the chance to be included in one of our family traditions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thanks to all the folks at Seattle Children's Hospital

I can't say enough good things about the people at Children's Hospital. Every single person - from the surgeons to the interns to the nurses to the orderlies - has been tremendously caring and compassionate and showed the utmost concern to my son and to my wife and me. I suppose you have to have that kind of "bedside manner" when you work at a place like this. Here, it does not come across as feigned but completely genuine. Visits to the hospital are not always pleasant, and this makes the less pleasant visits...oh, shall we say, more "palatable"?

Only one VERY minor complaint. I wish they had the Sprout Network! My son loves it! But we managed with PBS Kids.

Mashed potatoes down the hatch!

And that means that Aidan probably gets to go home before the day is through. Up to this point he's only had a few ounces here and there of apple juice and a little bit of chocolate milk. Then for lunch today he had almost a whole bowl of chicken broth. But before he goes home, the goal was to see if he could handle some solid yet soft food. The mashed potatoes did the trick. Now, if he keeps it down, discharge is right around the corner.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recovering from Surgery

Nice luxury room at Seattle Children's Hospital. Wireless internet, too. But it's no consolation when you have to listen to your son cry and moan after surgery. Tubes and wires are connected to his arm, along with the restraints to keep him from picking and pulling and probing.

Julie is at his bedside while I type this. The nurse just arrived with some Tylenol. Jello is on the menu, it sounds like. More liquids and soft foods for the next two weeks.

We're thankful that the surgery went off as planned. The congestion we heard was not much of a concern after all for the anesthesiologist. We've been here since 6 AM this morning. Aidan left our arms around 8 and he got to his room a little after 2. About an hour before that, I was summoned to the recovery room because he was apparently inconsolable once the anesthesia began to wear off.

Now, Aidan just needs to have his mouth heal and get used to eating and drinking and talking with his reconstructed palate. He also had tubes put in his ears to drain some of the fluid that was there, evidently a common occurence in cleft palate kids. Another surgery is on tap sometime in late winter or spring to fix his lip.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers. Thanks also to two good friends who stayed with us during the surgery and to another who stopped by to visit. You are very much appreciated! Thanks also to the surgeons, nurses, and staff at Children's Hospital. Everyone has been so kind and helpful.

Julie will head home this evening to be with Lily (thanks to Julie's parents for staying for a few days) and will return in the morning. I get to stick around at the hospital tonight and try to comfort Aidan the best I can. Hopefully, Aidan can go home tomorrow if all goes as planned.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Surgery Day...we hope!

If all goes well, Aidan will have his cleft palate repair surgery tomorrow morning. He seems to be a little congested which might prevent his surgery from happening. We go in tomorrow to Children's Hospital in Seattle at 6:45 am. If they determine that everything is okay, then the surgery will go as scheduled. We ask for your prayers on his behalf. We promise to post an update one way or the other.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Staycation, Part 3: Aquasox Baseball Game

We were overdue for a visit to Everett Memorial Stadium to see the AquaSox play. They are a short season, single A minor league affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

We were overdue, I say, because I had a gift certificate that I had been hanging on to for over a year. Just didn't get a chance to get to the stadium and use it. Today was the day.

And it was Aidan's first baseball game. He thoroughly enjoyed it. Or is that look of pleasure due to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one hand and the beer ... uh, I mean, the apple juice in the other?

I've never seen someone get so thrilled over a corn dog.

Here's a shot just to prove that there really was a ballgame going on. We left right after the seventh inning stretch and the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," so I can't tell you the final score. What I can tell you is that the Vancouver Canadians were slaughtering the AquaSox.

But the score didn't matter to Lily. All she cared about was her corn dog, which she continued to nibble on throughout the game. Here she is all bundled up. It gets a little chilly at the ballpark after the sun goes down and the breeze from the Sound starts drifting in.

Both the kids did great. They both sat reasonably still for a four and three year-old. What a difference a year makes, too. I took Lily to a game last year, and she was up and down and back and forth and could not sit still for a moment. I think we lasted all of three innings and that was all I could handle. Tonight was actually very pleasant and enjoyable. Hopefully the kids will continue to like this grand old game. Their not-so-grand but definitely-getting-old dad would be disappointed if they didn't.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Staycation, Part 2: Evergreen State Fair

Today we headed to Monroe for the Evergreen State Fair. Started the day off with a pony ride. Surprisingly, Aidan didn't freak out, considering his emotions around animals range from skittish to berzerk. He got right on "Cinnamon" but it took some coaxing for him to put his arms down and actually touch the saddle horn.

Lily's an old pro, showing her brother how it's done. Let it be known, though, that Aidan did manage a moderate "Yee-haw" as he dismounted his steed.

Painted board with cut outs for faces! Gotta stop for these!

Always have to go see the animals, especially the momma pig and her piglets.

Here's Lily and I getting ready to go on the kiddie roller coaster. Too bad the shots of the ride didn't turn out. Lily's face was one of pure joy throughout. While we were waiting in line, I whispered to her, jokingly, "I'm a little scared. I might pee my pants." She giggled, turned to mom standing below, and yelled out in front of everyone, "Mommy! Daddy said he might pee his pants!" Thanks, kid.

Brother and sister enjoying another ride together.

Momma and Aidan taking a train ride.

Aidan did not throw Momma from the train.

And finally, here's Lily and I with our vegetable creatures which one of the exhibits invited us to make. Not sure what the point of all that was. Seemed like a lot of food was going to waste. But Lily just HAD to make one, so that was our last stop before we headed home.

Staycation, Part 1: Imagine Children's Museum

We decided to take a "stay"-cation this week instead of hitting the highway and taking a road trip. We're staying at home and doing things nearby (along with an overdue project from my "honey-do" list I'm trying to squeeze in). Last Thursday we went to the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett. Lily and Aidan tried their hand at firefighting ...

... in addition to having fun on the slide ...

... not to mention learning all about paleontology ...

... and cosmetology.

And when we got home, Aidan had to shave again, since the job by the gal at the salon didn't meet his approval.

(Don't worry ... that's just a toy razor. Although the shaving cream was real. Gillette Foamy. My favorite.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Aidan became a U.S. citizen today!

Aidan is not quite 3, and he already had to have a trip to juvy.

The day started out at the Snohomish County courthouse, but when our lawyer arrived, he discovered that there was a slight mix-up. The judge scheduled to handle our case was not present. He was about a mile or two away at the Juvenile Justice Center. So we had to jet over to the other facility to complete Aidan's readoption. When both parents travel to adopt in China, the child becomes a US citizen at the US consulate before returning to the states. But when one parent travels, as in our case, the child must be readopted here in order for the child's citizenship to be completed.

Here we are with the judge after swearing that all the information we provided was true. It was a very brief, but joyful ceremony. I'm sure that this is one of the more pleasant moments for judges and other court staff. Aidan had a great big grin throughout the process and had our attorney and the judge chuckling.

Albert Lirhus was the same attorney who handled Lily's readoption.

Both Julie's parents and my mom were present for the occasion.

Proudly waving the flag.

Afterwards, we headed to the Everett waterfront and had lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant. We probably should have had a typical American hamburger, but we were in the mood for tempura and yakisoba.

Aidan was so glad his Papa was there to have fun with him.

And here's just a cute shot of my girls that I had to include. Behind them is the view from the restaurant where we ate.

Aidan's 3rd Birthday Party

Aidan doesn't turn 3 until tomorrow, but we celebrated his birthday yesterday afternoon. We had a number of friends and family over for snacks, cake and ice cream, games, and tearing into gifts. We decided to go with a "car" theme, since Aidan likes little toy cars. Had to use the Disney paraphenalia from the movie "Cars" since that was readily available, although our family has not seen the movie.

Here's Aidan digging into his cake.

And here he is digging into his presents. His favorite ended up being the musical card he got that plays Rascal Flatt's "Life is a Highway." He carried that around all afternoon opening and closing it to get the music to play.

We played a few games, including the classic "Drop the Clothespins into the Milk Bottle" (our bottle was an empty Paul Masson wine carafe. Shhh! Don't tell anyone).

Lily tied for the best score.

Grammie O (Kurt's mom) flew up from California to celebrate with us.

And we were all pooped by the end of the day.

Today we have a court date in Everett to finalize Aidan's readoption and to celebrate his becoming a U.S. citizen. Stay tuned for more pictures!