Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bedtime Battles

Our situation, being as crazy as it is, just never seems to end. The day we left Kenya, Chase decided to crawl out of his crib. Seriously??? The day we leave the country of Kenya, to the land of opportunity (or used to be anyway...sorry, had to put that jab in), the land of hotels and new places, with more adjustments than he will ever know what to do with...he crawls out of his crib?????

I knew we were in for it once this happened but knew we would have to just push through it. At our first spot, the hotel, we had a crib. He crawled out once, but then gave up after that. It must of hurt or something, who knows. I thought we were Golden!!! Yes, Chase stayed in his crib, but Hannah had another story.  We thought she would be ok on the couch, with a table pushed up against it so she wouldn't fall off, that way Tom and I could sleep in the king bed next to Chase. But, after a few hours, Hannah realized she had no idea where she was (rightfully so) and crawled into bed with Tom and I. Something we never let happen, but what were our options?  Anyway, night after night it ended up that Chase would sleep in the crib, but Hannah would soon take over the ENTIRE KING bed with Tom and I hanging off the ends, with barely any covers and either Tom or myself would end up on the couch. Not bad for a few nights since we were already so jet lagged, but eventually it started to be a bit uncomfortable. Did I mention Hannah has a horrible snoring problem?

And although Chase was sleeping in his bed all night, he would wake up occasionally and decide to play with the blinds at 2 am, 4am and 6 am, sometimes even in his sleep. We would of moved him, but there were not any other places for the crib, except next to the window.  Eeeggh!

So, sleeping, to say the least was and has been difficult.  Then, we got to my friend's spacious home where Hannah would have her own room and I would have my own area in her very nice finished basement and a spot anywhere I can put a pak n play for Chase. There are three different large areas to choose from for Chase's bed in the basement, but I chose near me as I did not want him to get scared if he woke up again in area he did not know.  He cried every night when I put him down, but managed to fall asleep a few minutes later. 

Until of course...he figured out how to crawl out of the pak n play. Oh yes...he figured it out. The first time he crawled out was supposed to be during nap time.  I came downstairs to check on him.  When, what to my wondering eyes should appear ... I see Chase laying in the main area of the basement, he had gotten a toy, sat on the floor and turned on the tv himself. Yes, he is 2.  He was just sitting there on his stomach (on a pillow), propped up on his arms, watching tv. Although he did not fully know how to turn the tv actually "on", he did manage to put the sound on and that pleased him just as much. 

I am not sure if this was the same day, but the next night, I put him to bed.  He crawled out and then went up the stairs to the main level peaking around the stairs, and I again I put him back downstairs and into his pak n play. He did it again, and again and again until my friend Michelle said...let me try.  So, she then put him back down a couple times, waiting behind the door until he tried again and told him to STAY in his bed. He finally stayed put. Thanks Michelle!! She said she had to turn the light on, because in the dark he looked like a little Ninja crawling out of the bed. We really got a kick out of this, so that is his nick name now, Little Ninja. 

I think Michelle enjoyed the task and asked if she could try the next few nights to put him in his bed. She masters three children, so I gladly accepted her attempt...anything was helpful at this point. And although it does take some time to get him to actually relax and take many checks to makes sure he has not crawled out, he manages to stay in MOST of the night.  The weekend Dad came in, he must of gotten out of his crib 10 times. You can't blame the kids for being excited. :)

Hannah on the other hand fights going to bed every night in her new room. Its nice, its well lit, the boys are down the hall, Auntie Michelle and Uncle Chris are down the hall...but no, she just wants Mommy. I understand of course, but sometimes when it takes you two hours to put a child to cant help but cry out of frustration at the end of the night, and that I did.  Maybe it is just a 3, almost 4 year old...I hope.

The sleep fairy actually even came for a visit, Hannah calls her the Tink Fairy...only if good boys and girls sleep in their bed all night.  Unfortunately the Tink Fairy came before Hannah got of her bed and we had to keep her special treat aside and save it, still yet to be used. Mom also had to take her favorite new shirt away from Princess and the Frog...still had not gotten it back. So, out of desperation and just pure sadness that my sweet Hannah could care less about all these things, she simply just wants to be with Mommy.  So, we moved her single mattress down to the basement with me.  

That night, she slept in her bed (right next to Mommy in her own bed)...all night.  And Chase, he actually stayed in his pak n play all night for the first time since he figured he could crawl out. The other nights have fluctuated a bit, but all in all, they have both slept well.  Chase's nap yesterday started in the crib, but I realized that since I could not get the door open downstairs, the nap began for Chase out of his crib.  He was passed out on the floor and blocking the door. If only I had a picture of that!!! Ha  Like I said, every day is different.

As a mother, I think we all know that a good nights sleep and happy children are priceless.  If you have any advice for me on changes, adjustments and sleeping patterns and what has worked for you...would LOVE anything to help my children sleep soundly and through the night! :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mothers Day!

We spent a wonderful Mothers Day weekend with TOM!! My friend Michelle packed up her family for a camping trip and left her house to the Rhodes family for a nice relaxing, almost like home experience. We were so happy to see Tom as it was his first week away for training and the kids and I missed him horribly.  Luckily he was able to come home for the weekend and his training was only a short hour and a half away from my friend's house. 

Tom's Papa came over Saturday afternoon with homemade lasagna for the family and we were able to visit and relax for a few hours, which was nice.  The kids were more than excited about Dad being home that they rarely slept the entire night. Although sweet....would have loved a few hours of some REM sleep.
Oh well, Daddy was home. :)

The kids had fun trying on Dad's training gadgets.

On Mother's Day, Mom got breakfast in bed and a some extra sleep time.  I got out by myself for the first time (Kenya girls...can you imagine?) for or a few hours for my first pedicure and eyebrow wax.  Just so you know, it was $45. Girls please enjoy those pedis and the eyebrow threading for only the small price of 1000 KSH ($13). I mean, seriously? back to Mother's Day...

Hannah wanted her hair to look like Mommy's, so we tried. :)
After I got home, we brought some snacks to the park and flew Princess and Brobe kites, our kids first kite flying experiences. It was a lot of fun and a perfect day for kite flying!!  Chase and Hannah actually flew them by themselves. Hannah got bored after about 5 minutes. Chase loved it, but Dad had to chase after the kite a couple times...Ooopps. I mean, he is only 2! Ha


It was a wonderful Mother's Day but most importantly our family was together again. After all we have been through, and all we are about to go through...there is nothing more important than family time. 

We are looking forward to Tom coming back again to visit this weekend on Sunday, but only for the day. :(

A Note for Mother's Day

To my Mom: I appreciate you now more than ever and thank you for all the sacrifices you made for me.  You are an amazing mother and I couldn't be the Mom I am today without your unconditional love and guidance.  I love you!

To my children: I am so lucky to have you both as my children, I have truly been blessed!  Every day when I wake up and see your smiling faces, I feel like I am the luckiest Mom in the whole world.
I love you and Dad more than anything!!

From there to here, from here to there....Funny things are Everywhere!!

An update of the last few weeks in the US...

We have eaten at almost every fast food restaurant to get our "fill", practically throwing up at the end of each meal but happy to check it off our list. Sad, but true in my case anyway. The kids did not really love any of the kids meals as I thought they would (this I love), but I wasted well over $100 figuring out they wouldn't eat anything. Lesson learned.

Tom and I celebrated our 5 Year Anniversary April 22nd! Tom is in training with Matt, one of our good friends from Israel, and he graciously volunteered to babysit the kids while we went out to dinner. It was wonderful...thank you Matt! We went to PF Changs, one of our favorites and finally had some time to TALK since the first few weeks of our trip were filled with getting over jet lag and entertaining the kids with all their needs. Boy...I miss Florence!!!! But we enjoyed a nice night out and as with most of our moves, they normally land on a birthday, an anniversary or something, so we are prepared for a short-lived celebration. Regardless, it was wonderful and couldn't be happier to be married to the man of my dreams and look forward to each and every anniversary ahead, where ever it may be. :)

We have just recently been in a one bedroom hotel for two weeks. This, by far, has been the most rude awakening to the US and to my wonderful busy life of two children.  Unfortunately, Chase and Hannah resorted to chasing Piper around the 700 square feet of space, including the closets and bathrooms.  Poor thing is traumatized.  They did well however entertaining themselves by using the closet as a hiding spot and drawing on themselves. Ha

Hiding in the closet, making a fort, coloring on paper and on ourselves (as Chase has shown us above) and a nice smile from Hannah.  Anything we could do to keep ourselves busy.

A few adjustments for the kids (or should I say Chase) was NOT to look into the elevator cracks and stick fingers inside this amazing ride of a lifetime.  This being his first elevator experience and yet another, if you can imagine experience.  Hannah also asked repeatedly while in the apartment if we could PLEASE just go downstairs. 

We had a second floor apartment with a balcony and realized after walking out just once on the balcony that Chase could easily fit through the rails. We found this out after he was hanging half in and half out....ummmm SCARY!! Needles to say, we did not go out on the balcony after that experience. 

Tom's wonderful grandfather has been gracious enough to lend us his car while we are here since we do not have one. We are pimped out with the Lincoln and feel pretty cool. I have to admit, its a smooth ride. :) So, luckily the kids and I have been able to get out, have a few mall playtime experiences, Target and grocery store last me the rest of the year!! Ha

On our first Target experience I managed to keep the kids quite calm while walking them around in the cart. I am of course in amazement (as I am every time I go to Target after living overseas) at EVERYTHING they pack into this place. It is so awesome...but so overwhelming.  Wow, that is A LOT of stuff. Anyway, I managed to take a look around, grab some sippy cups and t-shirts for the kids, get them a few snacks and get in line for the check-out.  At this point Chase had enough of sitting in the cart and with no running and touching ALL of the THINGS, he was in rare form! I decided that since I was almost through, I would let him out.  He looked at the shelf next to the register, the one provided JUST FOR KIDS, so that you will buy and extra $20 of crap to keep your kid quiet before you check-out...Yeah, that shelf.  The "stuff" was in the bags and in the cart and I needed to pay, so while taking out my credit card the phrase... WINDOWS IS SHUTTING DOWN went on the computer screen.  Oh yes, Chase went behind the counter and turned off the computer before I could even finish my purchase. AWESOME! So, we had to move registers (with Chase screaming) unpack the bags and re-check everything. That was super fun!

Our first grocery experience included Tom, myself and the kids.  This grocery store was huge! Although we had ONE quite large grocery store in Kenya, the kids had never seen anything like this. It's amazing how easily they adapt, I want this, I want that, etc. Eeeghh! I can only imagine their eyes seeing the amount of snacks, cookies and chips that they normally rarely see except when the commissary gets in a special shipment for that week.  It doesn't help that every kid item has a cartoon character on it like Disney Princesses!!! Mickey Mouse Or Toy Story!!! It is difficult for them not to see...the point, of course! Thank you marketing department!! Ha

We again, decided to let Chase out of the cart...Yes, friends....I am slowly learning, and off we went chasing him isle around isle. He thought is was a fun game. He then found the large bouncy ball cart (that they again put right at the check-out for your child's benefit) and pulled out some balls for the whole store to enjoy. HA Tom chased the balls around and so did Chase so they could again put them all back in the cart. But while Chase was chasing the balls, he ran into one of the battery racks and his eye went straight into one of the holders. Luckily he did not need stitches, but he had quite a bit of blood and a nice cut over his eye as a souvenir from the fun time at the grocery store.

We have had a few more of these experience with Mr. Chase like him eating a piece of used gum at the Amsterdam airport or him trying to run on the moving sidewalk (the wrong way) at the airport and having to chase him half way down to catch him. I seriously need to get in shape to keep up with this guy!   I am sure I will think of a few more stories and undoubtedly, a few more things will happen before our trip is over. 

But through the ups and downs and the ins and outs of experiencing being back in the US, we have been able to do some fun things. We have been able to visit old friends...

My friend Robert and his wife Christy who just had their beautiful baby boy this past weekend. Chase LOVED Christy and would not leave her side. So cute!
And George and his wife Anna with their cutie pie.

Our friends from Miami, Toni and Kristen Ramirez (left) and Oliver and Heather (Right), also from Miami. And a picture with Tom's old boss from Israel and our good friend Matt, from Israel (and also the babysitter for us for our anniversary).  :)

We were also able to enjoy the park, a few miles from the apartment. We played at the creek and at a playground and went on some nice walks.

After arriving April 16th and staying at the temporary apartment for two weeks, we then packed up our stuff again and with the help of my friend, moved to our next location. We are gratefully staying with my very good friend Auntie Michelle.  She is a dear friend of mine from Israel that now lives in Virginia.  When she heard our predicament of having to leave our temporary apartment (a story for later...much later) and the government not giving us a place to stay...she graciously offered her home to us.  What a saint!! I mean truly...A SAINT!!

We have now been at the Young's home for a little over a week.  We joined her husband and three boys for what has been a crazy experience with 5 kids...but a truly wonderful and incredible learning experience for me.  It is so nice to have space for the kids and be in a real home, one I know the kids have really missed in only a few weeks. All the kids seem to be having a blast, most of the time. There are always moments, but all in all, I feel like it is going well. For the real story, you may need to ask my friend Michelle. She is a true blogger and you can check out here REAL experiences on
 Ha Ha. 

A few pictures of the kids playing, eating, chilling out, dancing and having fun!


Michelle, with the assembly line, dishing out the kids dinner. Michelle, how do you make it look so easy? :)

What's next? All I have to do now is find a place to stay for our third and final move in DC and rent a car for our 4th and final move and trek it down to Atlanta for some family time for Tom
and HOME for the kids and I.

Oh, the adventures ahead...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chase's First Barber Shop Haircut



I am pretty sure he looks like just like his Daddy. :)