Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lydia Eats

We had a full Saturday yesterday. In the early morning we went to The Ledges to hike, and it was a foggy, buggy morning. Two hours and a shower after we got home, I found a tick crawling on my ankle. Ticks are in NE Ohio, and it's a no-doubter.



Last evening we went to the livestock auction at the Summit County Fair. I was completely ignorant of what to expect, but now that I've seen the process, we're planning on buying a pig next year. Nick, one of my middle schoolers, finished 4th in the hog division, 3rd in showmanship, and his hog fetched $2.40 per pound. This trailed only the Grand Champion ($6.00/lb.) and the Reserve Champion ($6.10/lb.)! It's clear that the champions fetch big money because the buyers get recognition over the next year, so it's good advertising. For instance, the Marhoffers of the Ron Marhoffer Auto Family bought the Grand Champion Hog.

I'm quite impressed with the 4-H kids and their families. Having seen both ends of the 4-H spectrum, the young kids with the chickens and lambs to the veterinary students who got their start as the young kids with the chickens and the lambs, it's a pretty cool organization.

I'll have some fair photos to post in a few days. Until then, feast on these...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Art (or mess?)

I had to go back and read the last entry to see where I'd left off. Lots has gone on over the past week. Our AC is back and running very well. Between the furnace, the roof update, and the AC, hopefully we're done with BIG home improvements for a while.
Lydia is on the cusp of learning to crawl forward, and she's got a couple of more teeth breaking through. She's at the stage now where as soon as she wakes up from her nap, instead of rolling over and going back to sleep like she used to do, she sits straight up and starts talking to herself or crying. Today was the first day she actually laid back down and went back to sleep. Hopefully the trend of short, unproductive naps from the front of the week was just a short one.
Lincoln's swimming lesson this past week was good from the learning standpoint, but he's still doing lots of crying when we arrive. He's so good about Sunday School and Ladies Class and other social things, and he loves the water, be it the kiddie pool in the front yard, Grandma Laura & Grandpa Dave's pool or West Branch, that I'm not sure what the problem is with swimming lessons? He even likes his teacher. Oh, well...
We've got a big weekend on tap. Tomorrow morning we're taking Gretel for a hike. She's been somewhat naughty lately and is need of big-time exercise. In the evening we're going to the Summit County Fair for the Livestock Auction. One of my middle schoolers has been raising a pig in his 4-H club and it's "going to market" tomorrow. I'd kind of like to get a pig and stock our freezer with bacon, ham, sausage, ham hocks, roasts, etc. We'll see how the auction goes.

Lincoln has been showing an interest in looking at my old photo albums and at my high school yearbooks. It's fun to take the trip down Memory Lane and to see him get excited to see me in old photos.
Lydia has been really, really chatty lately. Today, Jenn could hardly hear herself talk on the phone because Lydia was making such a racket.
Recently we signed on with a landscaper and the word is that we're going to get a front yard makeover in the next couple of weeks. We've got to take it in stages. As much as we'd like to get the front, back and side yards taken care of in one big project, the bank says we've got to spread things out.
Jenn picked up some funny looking balls at the store yesterday to use in a craft with Lincoln today. They got out his paints, laid a drape down on the deck, and went crazy with the artwork, dipping the balls and some of his blocks in the paint and making all sorts of stencils.

Friday, July 22, 2011

No Air Conditioning

We'll lead off this post with a photo from our evening at Pirates @ Blossom. We'll be submitting this photo to the Chinese government to prove that we are real and that we socialize in public with friends and family. The photos have to be relatively recent, so our photos from vet school and early marriage won't suffice. This is one of several photos that we'll be submitting, as there is a specific number that we must compile. I say all of this quite roboticly and half-jokingly because it's an example of all of the details that we (mostly Jenn) have been keeping track of over the past number of weeks as we compile our documentation.
Our air conditioning needs replaced. That's right, on the hottest stretch of days northeast Ohio has seen in several years, we have no air conditioning. Thankfully, my parents have opened their home to the four of us to stay, and it's much more comfortable there than here. The first two nights weren't too bad, but the house doesn't have enough time to cool at night before it gets up into the 90's outside again. In fact, it's in the 90's upstairs during the day. Yikes! All of this will be fixed today.

Lincoln's swimming lesson on Wednesday was a bit of progress and a bit of a setback. He was doing great, not crying, following Miss Hannah from the start, and then half-way into the lesson he got water up in his nose and he cried the rest of the way. Kudos to Miss Hannah for keeping him engaged in the lesson even when he was upset. Afterward, Lincoln and I talked about how all swimmers get water in their nose at least once, and that it happens to Daddy lots during water skiing.

In the Stage of Life department, Lincoln is definitely showing more of a 3 year old attitude. We're working on talking in a pleasant tone of voice and remembering our manners. Also, we've been stressing the importance of always at least trying and not giving up without a try. This has been especially relevant to swimming lessons and learning to dress himself. Lydia has been laughing more and is rolling all over the place. She desperately wants to pull herself up on tables and chairs, but has not yet been able to do so. She's also crawling backward, which suggests that crawling forward is not far off.
Our second visit with the social worker went well. It was very routine, though quite hot being the third day without air conditioning. Our house checked out well from a safety standpoint. I suppose moving the paint-thinner and rusty nails from the middle of the family room floor was a good thing to do at some point in time. Our next visit is in two weeks and at that time we'll talk about our childhood years, our parenting philosophy and influences, and our history as a family.

I'm off to work... Stay cool out there!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean w/ Live Score!

A couple of things I left out of the last post due to the busy-ness of the week were:
A photo from Lincoln's swimming lesson...
...and our first visit with our social worker on Wednesday. We found out that we (because of Jenn) are over-prepared in a big way. Most of the first hour, we've come to know, consists of the social worker reviewing all of the documents that need to be collected and the copies that need to be made. When we arrived, Jenn set a big folder down on the table that contained about 85% of what we'll ultimately need by the end, and the rest of the visit was just a formality. We have three more visits, all at our home, over the next month. I also recently came to realize that I do not, in fact, need to submit an autobiography. This knowledge came after I'd finished my 23rd page. But most of the interviews over the next three visits will touch on things that showed up in my manuscript, so I ought to be prepared!

Jenn and I began using Rosetta Stone to learn Mandarin. Our foreign language skills are pretty horrible, but Rosetta Stone's method of teaching is pretty fantastic. I've made it through Lesson 1 of the first Level, Jenn's into Lesson 2, and we're both picking it up better than I thought we would. I stunk really bad at Spanish in high school, and avoided foreign languages like the plague in college. We'll see as time goes by how well we can speak and understand Mandarin. In the end, we want to be able to get by in China with at least learning how to ask for the appropriate restroom.
Lydia is getting closer and closer to crawling. She's also showing interest in pulling herself up on things, and she recently started clapping on command/encouragment!
Last evening Emily and Jeremy joined us at Blossom for a screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. I never cease to be amazed at the orchestral performances by the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom. The timing was perfect! There was even a choir to do the vocal portions of the score. I must say, I now prefer to watch a movie with a live score. It was incredible.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Swimming Lesson Progress

Swimming lessons were another adventure this week. Lincoln saw the door to the pool and began crying, nay sobbing uncontrollably. Tears were streaming down his face, he was drooling like a leaky faucet, and then Miss Hannah walked over and picked him up and then in a nanosecond, he stopped crying, looked at her and said, "Whatch this!" and made a funny face. From that point on he was completely outgoing, wanting to be the first to do each new thing in the pool. I'm not sure how much closer he is to swimming, but the crying isn't lasting as long!

Did you see Emily's Independence Day cookies?!

Lincoln and I went on a walk at the Beaver Pond this evening and he and I got some good photos.

This has been another typical one-doctor week at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic. Grandpa Doug and the family went up to Stony Lake, and things were extremely busy at the clinic. No complaints, though!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thing 1 & Thing 2

Have you noticed a theme with the posts recently? It's been so hot and sunny lately, and we're increasingly learning that Lincoln is best behaved when he's in the process of getting tired, not bored, that we've been spending lots of time outside.
The adoption process is rolling along. The amount of information gathering and paperwork is phenomenal. Jenn's keeping track of most of it and doing a great job. We just recently gave thought, and we'll likely volley it back and forth for months, to taking Lincoln with us when we go to China. Lydia will be too young to process and remember any of it, but we're coming up with some pretty compelling reasons to take Lincoln along. We'll be giving this prayerful consideration along the way.
The Grandparents and the Hopwoods are at Stony Lake this week. Look for fun photos over at Emily's blog soon. I'll be flying solo at the Clinic.
In one week we'll be at Blossom for the Pirates of the Caribbean show. They're playing Curse of the Black Pearl at Blossom with the Cleveland Orchestra playing the score live! Jenn and I are really looking forward to it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sprinkler Fun

First, a Lincoln snapshot of Lydia.
I surprised Lincoln with some playtime in the sprinkler before dinner.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lydia's First Tooth

It's been a couple of weeks now since our big Father's Day Dinner. Since that time, Lincoln's bedtime prayers have included all of our extended family, the boy or girl in China that will be part of our family, Pastor Joe and Mr. Bossler, the little boy that got our Christmas shoebox, and Great Grandma Mullen's strawberry jello. Apparently that jello made quite an impression on Lincoln.
When I placed this shirt on Lincoln and grabbed my tie, he put it together instantly what I was planning. He said, "I can be a doctor!" Yes, Lincoln, you can.

Monday evening was Lincoln's first time using fireworks. He watched me shoot bottle rockets, fire off Wolfpacks (he was not fond of these), smoke bombs and smoke candles. His hands-on experience was limited to whiper-snappers (a.k.a. snap 'n' pops). He loved them! He stayed up much later than usual, and was very cooperative with bed time, which leads me to wonder if we should make fireworks part of the bedtime routine...

Lydia finally gave me an opportunity to get a photo of her first tooth!
Yesterday was Swimming Lesson #2 for Lincoln, and after much weeping and gnashing of teeth upon entry into the large pool room, Miss Hannah took him by the hand, pulled him in the water and told him to blow bubbles, which he immediately did very well, and the crying stopped. He did very well for the rest of the lesson and seemed to enjoy himself.

And to close this post out, here's some more of Lincoln's photography...