Catching up

September 8th, 2014 by janice

So I totally blew it on July and August. No love for the blog. Heh. I think maybe I’ll try to do one of those daily writing challenges soonish and see if I can get regular posts up for 30 days or something rather than FB posts! Hah! We’ll see.

I don't post his art very often but he was really proud of this!

I don’t post his art very often but he was really proud of this!

Anyway, July was quite eventful. We took a trip with Darren’s extended family to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is definitely one of my bucket list destinations so I was pretty happy about going. July might not have been my first choice for time of year but actually the weather turned out to be quite fine and the bugs mostly manageable. Darren’s sister reserved us all hotel rooms in various places around the park so we got to experience the many different faces of Yellowstone. It was quite lovely although I think with as much driving around as was involved I might have been inclined to wait until Alexei was a little older. He did pretty well but that’s a lot of car time for a four year old!

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

Looks lovely but too hot for a dip

Looks lovely but too hot for a dip

Another hot pool

Pic in front of another hot pool

Lots and lots of water in Yellowstone

Lots and lots of water in Yellowstone

Lovely falls

Lovely falls

Stone chair

Stone chair

Family pic

Family pic

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Alexei really liked seeing his cousin Kyle again and hung out with him a lot. Fortunately Kyle is a very kind teenager and was really patient with him. We even got pics them (accidentally) dressed alike. It was pretty funny.

This really wasn't planned

This really wasn’t planned

One of the highlights of the trip was a covered wagon ride to a lovely meadow in the park and dinner. We all really enjoyed the ride out and back, the dinner food was pretty decent and we saw quite a few animals. Alexei got absolutely soaked playing in the little stream by the dining area but I think it was the best part of the trip for him.

Our rides

Our rides

Always bring a change of clothes!

Always bring a change of clothes!

Yes, they do get up close and personal

Up close and personal

Black bear trying to crash the picnic

Black bear trying to crash the picnic

On the rip back

View from the trip back

And elk of course

Elk!

And deer

And deer

Pronghorn grazing

Pronghorn grazing

Full moon in Yellowstone

Full moon in Yellowstone

Sunset over Yellowstone

Sunset over Yellowstone

We also got caught in a bison traffic jam driving through Hayden Valley.

Bison traffic

Bison traffic jam

Bison dip

Bison dip

Apparently we missed by just a few hours the road be melted by an emerging glacier along a major route in the park. Timing!

Bonus pic of Grand Tetons. Alexei was done with site seeing by this time

Bonus pic of us in Grand Tetons National Park. Alexei was done with site seeing by this time

Alexei was pretty well done being dragged out of the car to see yet anther stinky geyser by the end of the trip so an afternoon walking around in Jackson Hole was a nice change of pace.

Jackson Hole is an odd place

Jackson Hole is an odd place

He loves the plane rides both out and back and all the things that come with air travel. Glad he still finds that fun and hope he holds onto that for a long time to come.

Almost there!

Almost there!

 

Have I mentioned that he's really stinking cute?

Have I mentioned that he’s really stinkin’ cute?

Sadly shortly after we got home, got the news of the unexpected passing of an old friend. John was the leader of my old Renaissance faire guild, the Border League. He had just retired to Mexico with his lovely wife and had been looking forward to a quiet life with her. He was a very fine and gentle man and he will be much missed.

Toward the end of July, Alexei was showing every sign that it was time to take off the training wheels. So one day we got home from daycare and did just that. Luckily Darren came home a bit early that day so he was able to be a part of Alexei’s first solo ride! He’s been pretty much unstoppable since and had barely been riding on two wheels for a day when he was asking for a faster bike! LOL!

Riding a two-wheeler

Riding a two-wheeler

The end of July brought the Ventura County Fair, which Alexei loves and is still young enough to get in for free. We spent a couple of days there, taking advantage of the unlimited ride wrist bands in the late afternoon. Hopefully next year we can get over even earlier on at least one of those days. Alexei actually got brave and rode some of the stuff he wouldn’t last year.

Fair time!

Fair time!

Truckin'

Truckin’

Look, Mom. I'm flying!

Look, Mom. I’m flying!

Fun at the fair

Fun at the fair

Zoo train at the fair

Zoo train at the fair

August was also a whirlwind of activity as we hit a couple of big milestones including losing two front teeth and getting ready to start Kindergarten! He lost both of his bottom front teeth with 24 hours of each other so we got visits from the Tooth Fairy two night in a row. Alexei was pleased by getting gold coins as well as a small special surprise for the first tooth. He got to keep the first tooth as well since it was the very first one. Sadly he doesn’t quite have enough room for the two new adult teeth so the dentist wants to take our the two baby teeth next to them. He also has a couple more cavities. Sigh! Guess I’ll be glad when these baby teeth are all out.

First tooth came out at daycare

First tooth came out at daycare

Second came out the next evening

Second came out the next evening

He had his first play date with the A Team at Andrew’s house, an PJ party the evening before his birthday party. He had a great time and Mom and Dad got to have an adult dinner. So it was a win-win. Apparently Ariana, Andrew’s mom survived the experience so that was good too. Hopefully we’ll be able to arrange more play dates once Alexei settles into the school year.

Alexei’s birthday party was at a really cool kid’s place called Clubhouse Fun Zone. Had quite a few kids although as always at these things it seems like there were more adults than kids. We really do have know a lot of singletons. This year’s theme was Lego. I was really surprised how few Lego party favors there are out there. Fortunately I found some really neat little things for the goodie bags, Lego Movie stickers to make posters and Darren got a great cake with most of the Lego Movie characters.

Party was a success!

Party was a success!

Birthday party fun

Birthday party fun

Alexei's 5th 096

I want that piece!

I want that piece!

We did indulge him with a new bike for his birthday. An awesome little Trek which we hope will last a couple of years till he’s ready for one with gears.

New faster bike!

New faster bike!

The next day was a trip to Disneyland with Mommy. He got to get a birthday pin, although he pretty quickly got tired of the happy birthdays and made me put it away. :-( Ah, well. We finally got to ride Radiators Springs Racers – Alexei liked most of it though he wasn’t really into the up and down parts so we only rode it once. He did say at the end of the day he liked it and wanted to ride again next time. We actually ended up leaving early as my little man was quite tired from a busy weekend.

First ride of the day!

First ride of the day!

Goofing around!

Goofing around!

All Disney-ed out!

All Disney-ed out!

Well and now it is September and Alexei has started school and turned 5 and we celebrated 4 years together as a family. So amazing how the time has flown by! Alexei is very happy with school so far. I hope he continues to love it.

September’s going to be a crazy busy month as we try to get into a new groove. Wish us luck!

Bright blessings to you all,

Janice, Darren and Alexei

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Happy Birthday and First Day of School!

September 2nd, 2014 by janice

So hard to believe the baby they placed in my arms just few short years ago is 5 today and staring his first day of school!

Ready for school!

Ready for school!

I know we have picked the right place for him – it’s a Montessori school and we think will be a good fit for his learning style – yet I am still a bit anxious for him. It’s the biggest change since he came home and of course it worries me a bit. However, he’s been excited about going to “big boy school” for weeks now and since – as Linda C predicted – he practically kicked us out the door, I know he’s ready.

Checking out the class

Checking out the class

I’m also worried about the inevitable storm of illnesses he’s going to be bringing home. Dr thought it best to wait and see how he does before putting him back on maintenance steroids for the asthma. Hopefully we won’t have to. But I dread a repeat of the first fall and winter he was home. Ugh!

He’s also starting his Mandarin class this afternoon. He’s been showing a lot of interest in all things Chinese (although I still have to remind him of the difference between China the country and Chinese New Year the holiday. LOL!) So we’re taking that as a sign he’s really ready to start. The teacher is very passionate about kids learning the language and she has a good reputation (she’s a former teacher at the school) so we hope this will be a good start for him.

Saying goodbye to his caregiver of nearly 4 years was also really tough. We both cried. Alexei seemed pretty unfazed but I don’t think he quite gets that he won’t be going to the place that has been his second home for all this time. We plan to keep in touch – he’ll be there for a few days during his fall break – as she is very special and really is attached to our boy. And of course we have play dates planned with his best buddy Andrew and his other good friend Alyssa (who shares a birthday with him) – we call them the A Team – so we hope to keep these friendships in tact in the future.

Anyway, more updates and pictures later!

Bright Blessings,

Janice

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In Under the Wire

June 30th, 2014 by janice

Since I totally neglected to put pics on the last post, here’s an all picture post to assuage my guilt.
In before midnight!
Love and bright blessings,
Janice

Rock climbing at near the house in Big Bear

Rock climbing at near the house in Big Bear

That's a mighty BIG cat, Mom

That’s a mighty BIG cat, Mom

My little miner

My little miner

Alexei the Explorer!

Alexei the Explorer!

Officer Alexei to the rescue!

Officer Alexei to the rescue!

Showing the pinata who's boss

Showing the pinata who’s boss

Making rivers in the garden

Making rivers in the garden

Big boy

Big boy

Wrestling luggage as we head to the airport

Wrestling luggage as we head to the airport

Meeting our pilots

Meeting our pilots

More luggage wrangling

More luggage wrangling

Vancouver airport

Vancouver airport

Every. Single. One

Every. Single. One

First glimpse of Vancouver

First glimpse of Vancouver

Waterfront sunset

Waterfront sunset

Ran into them filming something or other

Ran into them filming something or other

At the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens

At the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens

In the tree tops at Capilano Suspencion bridge park

In the tree tops at Capilano Suspension bridge park

The cliff walk - don't look down

The cliff walk – don’t look down

My brave men!

My brave men!

Cheesing it up

Cheesing it up

Water is awesome!

Water is awesome!

Candy!

Candy!

Vancouver aquarium

Vancouver aquarium

Mischievous boy

Mischievous boy

Still loves the jellies

Still loves the jellies

I'm taller than a Gentoo!

I’m taller than a Gentoo!

Can't resist climbing

Can’t resist climbing

Conquering the jungle gym pole

Conquering the jungle gym pole

Cheesing on the ferry to Victoria

Cheesing on the ferry to Victoria

He loved the wind

He loved the wind

Feeding seals (yeah, I know!)

Feeding seals (yeah, I know!)

The 2nd oldest China town in North America

The 2nd oldest China town in North America

Hop!

Hop!

Lovely Gardens!

Lovely Gardens!

Yeah, don't expect a smile every time, Mom

Yeah, don’t expect a smile every time, Mom

This one was worth a smile though

This one was worth a smile though

Love the story poles

Love the story poles

You shall not pass!

You shall not pass!

Water, as always, is awesome

Water, as always, is awesome

Lovely fountain in the Japanese garden

Lovely fountain in the Japanese garden

Secret paths

Secret paths

Obligatory tourist shot

Obligatory tourist shot

Budding photographer

Budding photographer

Cats do not approve of vacations!

Cats do not approve of vacations!

Conquering the rock wall

Conquering the rock wall

Conquering the Monkey bars

Conquering the Monkey bars

Blue scooter, purple helmet

Blue scooter, purple helmet

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Poor Neglected Blog

May 23rd, 2014 by janice

So I keep posting here partly because I know some of you who follow aren’t on Facebook to catch all the daily shenanigans. And partly because I like having something a little more in our control for maintaining memories. Facebook is so much easier for the quick status update but it is not easy for finding a particular occurrence and of course, well, it’s Facebook so it’s go issues. Heh. Anyway, I guess as long as I get an update in once a month that’s a win.

So Alexei will be starting at the Ventura Montessori in the Fall. Montessori doesn’t have grades per se so the classes are divided into Pre-primary and Primary. He’ll start with the Pre-primary so they can evaluate his skills and he’ll move into the Primary as he masters things. Kids go back and forth sometimes as well depending on what things they are excelling at and those they need to keep working on. I like that fluidity. Makes much more sense then “You are X years old so you will go into X grade and should learn X skills before the end of the year.”

It’s a nice calm and supportive atmosphere so I hope he’ll have an easy time transitioning. I calculated with weekends, holidays and vacations he has about 60 more days with his current caregiver. This makes me a little sad. Trying to think what I can come up with as a really nice gift to give her for all she’s done for him. And hoping he won’t have too hard a time leaving his second home. I’m sure everyone is right and it will be harder on me than him – he’s a resilient boy – but yes, every big change worries me just a little because he’s had so many in his short life.

But I am very excited about him going to school. And he is too. He talks about it a lot. Has all these things he really wants to do – carry a lunch box to school, get a real back pack etc. So school shopping will be fun at least this year! He is definitely ready. I’d put him in for the summer session except: 1) I really want him to have the summer with Bev 2) the summer session starts while we are in Canada for my birthday 3) we’re out for a full week in July (going to Yellowstone!) and 4) the session only goes through July so I’d have to do something with him for the bulk of August. Sigh! Also, really, I like the idea of him starting in the fall, most likely with other kids also starting for the first time.

OK, I am also looking at ideas for dates for Alexei’s b-day party. His b-day is the Tue after Labor Day so sort a toying with the Saturday before. He’s saying he wants to do the museum again – which is cool by me but wondering if others think that’s too repetitive.  Anyone want to weigh in?

I’ll post pics late so check back!

Blessings and love,

Janice

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Yet another Late Post

April 3rd, 2014 by janice

I was going to write another post about family building issues but  I just realized it’s April already and rather than let another 8 weeks go by, I thought I’d better get something up.

As I’ve mentioned, we’re looking for a school for Alexei for the fall. Aside from being a lot of hard work, it’s also really gut wrenching. Facing down the fact he’s going to be 5 (yes, sometimes that missed year just about kills me!) even if it’s still 5 months away. Yeesh! As my friend Linda keeps reminding me: “Don’t blink!” (No, Dr. Who geeks, not like that!)

We think we’ve found the place, BTW. More on that later when we have it secured.

Harder still is facing, once again, the fact that he’s our one and only. My heart is continually in my throat even as I exercise superhuman restrain by NOT stopping him from climbing that tree or jumping off that rock. I’m sure parents of more than one feel the same about the subsequent children, too, of course. My parents certainly weren’t exactly blase by the time I came along but I do know they weren’t as hyper-vigilant about every right and wrong move since they’d had a chance to work out some of that anxiety on the first model. (LOL! Love ya, bro!) I also imagine that as he gets older, being an only may be an enormous amount of pressure for our  Alexei, so we have to find ways of reducing that to only “amazing” proportions rather than “alien super powers” level.

And while I’ve tried hard to be OK with the one and done factor, there is still a big hole in my heart where a second child should be. Events keep conspiring to remind me of that “missing person” – new baby at daycare, a fellow adoptive mom starting her next paper-chase, All The Pregnant Ladies. Sigh!

I try not to feel so sorry for myself. I am blessed. There are certainly any number of folks who would gladly exchange my woe for theirs. But it doesn’t make it hurt less to know that, really. And it makes me feel kinda like an asshole to compare my pain to theirs. Ya know what I mean?

Sorry, end of my whinging.

Alexei continues to grow seemingly overnight. He is definitely maturing in so many ways and I am more and more convinced that extra year at his current caregivers was the right thing for him. He’s really become a leader and big helper at daycare. This week while our caregiver has been recovering from surgery he’s been such a big help to her. He picks things up off the floor for her without even being asked! FYI: she has adult help, too, so it’s not like she’s relying on the kids but I am so proud of how he has stepped up.

4 has been a challenging age all the way around though. He’s very opinionated, a mixed bag of independent and babyish and pressing the boundaries at home more and more. We are still having some minor sleep issues – he still wants me to stay until he falls asleep and I still get called in the middle of the night for reassurance. I think over the summer I may have to start pushing both of these issues. I’d like to see him getting to sleep by himself and sleeping most nights all alone before he starts school in the fall. We shall see. He can count to 20, is starting to recognize and form letter, along with a growing number of awesome things. When he chooses to he can be a big helper around the house. For reasons that I cannot fathom he likes to scoop the litter boxes and does a pretty good job of it actually!

We are also saw an unanticipated effect of his early life: he had several pretty nasty cavities in his molars. The dentist thinks it partially due to lack of fluoride while he was little in China. He was an incredibly brave boy and dealt with the major procedure very very well. He only got upset when I had to step out of the room for the x-rays but I was able to reassure him from the hallway. I was very pleased with the pediatric specialist and the whole office staff aswell. They were very reassuring, they have movies for the kids to watch in the chair, allow parents to stay (obviously) and gave him lots of positive reinforcement including prizes and a Perfect Patient award (a free round of mini golf!) Doc says we need to be on the lookout for more cavities but so far everything looks good enough to wait until the next 6 month appointment to try more x-rays. He also thinks his adult teeth will be better for exposure to fluoride.

Well, guess I better post this before it turns into another few days and then another few days etc.

Blessings all!

Wish he didn't want to give this up!

Wish he didn’t want to give this up!

If you're very good in this life you get to come back as one of my cats.

If you’re very good in this life you get to come back as one of my cats.

Time for some reeds practice!

Time for some reeds practice!

Special medal from gymnastics

Special medal from gymnastics

New Jedi shirt!

New Jedi shirt!

At the Lego shop in Downtown Disney

At the Lego shop in Downtown Disney

Building at the Lego store

Building at the Lego store

Not so sure about this, Mom.

Not so sure about this, Mom.

I'm king of the world!

I’m king of the world!

Alexei cheesing with his best bud

Alexei cheesing with his best bud

Family time at the SB Zoo!

Family time at the SB Zoo!

 

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February Update

February 8th, 2014 by janice

So as per usual, Facebook is killing my blogging. Although despite that fact we’ve been very busy since the new year began, there haven’t been any really big things to report.

Alexei had a hard time readjusting to “normal life” after our vacation and break. He really loved the hotel, mostly I think because of the elevator and his “Transformer bed” (sofa bed.) He also kept talking about what Santa would bring him next and was disappointed at the lights being taken down all over our neighborhood. And his wish list has only gotten longer. Damn you, Amazon!

We finally had the bay window out front replaced. The new one is much nicer. But doing that has started the cascade of Things Which Must Be Done to the house. Gonna be a constructive 2014 I guess.

We’ve been to Disneyland a couple of times already, of course. Even got to ride the holiday it’s a small world before they closed it to change it back. Alexei loved all the lights on the outside, too. Disney must keep Sylvania in business single-handedly. Unfortunately we didn’t get to make one last ride on Finding Nemo! They closed it one day early! We were very disappointed. Going to be really pissed if the rumors are true and they are shutting down this attraction for good. Grrrrr!

Alexei is learning to play soccer now. They had a little six week class in his park near his daycare and thankfully they had enough interest that there will be another class after this one is done! I’m sad that it happens during  the day though as it’s tough for me to go see him play. I did take a morning off to do so though. And I’m really glad. He’s really seems to be enjoying it. So we’ve found something to replace gymnastics, which he’ll be giving up after this month is done. Sigh! He’s just really not that into it anymore, I guess. Oh, well. You cannot force them to like something! He is still having fun at the ranch so we will try to make it up there on Saturday mornings regardless of no longer having gymnastics.

He was REALLY excited about Chinese New Year this year and loved wearing his Chinese clothes to daycare for their little celebration. He has become very interested in many things Chinese. Although he’s still doesn’t appear to have any interest in Mandarin (we play the music and story cds we brought home from China for him regularly but usually he only wants to listen for a short time.) It’s interesting to watch him try to process his adoption story – he likes to tell people he was a baby in China right now.

Warning: political rant ahead. We’re looking into various options for school for him in the fall. I think I’ve already ranted about him missing the public K cut off by ONE DAY! And Ventura county schools are making NO exceptions. So we are looking into private K programs for him. We’re actually hoping to put him in a particular private school that is K-5 (and may eventually go to 8) as it’s pretty clear Common Core is going to screw things up for a while until the bugs are all out – or the Next Big Reform comes along and screws it up again!

As a liberal mom, I feel sorta guilty abandoning the public schools as I do believe in the idea of them. But the so-called GOP have spent a lot of time, money and propaganda trying to destroy our public schools systems and then a lot of grifters have made a lot of money and well-meaning privileged folks with no educational experience have made a lot of press trying to “reform” what has been intentionally broken. NCLB is an abomination and Common Core, as I already said, is going to mess things up again for a while.

So we feel it’s in Alexei’s best interest to keep him out of the storm if we can.

Unfortunately our options are somewhat limited as almost all the private schools in our area are religious. Sigh! The school we are hoping to start him in is having him do a shadow-day with their K class later this month so we can evaluate if he’ll be ready for their K program. I’m also looking into the two local Montessori schools, one of which goes up to 3rd grade, so that would give us a little more leeway.

OK, rant off.

I know y’all only come for the pictures so enjoy!

Love and bright blessings,

Janice

Checking out the exhibits at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum on our trip last month

Checking out the exhibits at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum on our trip last month

Rock climbing!

Rock climbing!

He liked the new chairs at the gym

He liked the new chairs at the gym

Hole in the wall where a window used to be!

Hole in the wall where a window used to be!

And the new window nearing completion

And the new window nearing completion

Alexei and Sazerac approved.

Alexei and Sazerac approved.

Holiday it's a small world

Holiday it’s a small world

Steering the Columbia

Steering the Columbia

Really sad he wants to give this up!

Really sad he wants to give this up!

Making obstacle course for me a Jo

Making obstacle course for me a Jo

A boy and his shadow!

A boy and his shadow!

Helping clear the arena

Helping clear the arena

His Chinese togs

His Chinese togs

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Helping with the presents at our nieces baby shower

Helping with the presents at our nieces baby shower

Breakfast of champions - cinnamon rolls and diet coke. I know, I am Mom of the Year! ;-)

Breakfast of champions – cinnamon rolls and diet coke. I know, I am Mom of the Year! ;-)

Mixing our geekdoms

Mixing our geekdoms

Waiting for Toy Story!

Waiting for Toy Story!

Making our wishes for the Year of the Horse

Making our wishes for the Year of the Horse

Happiness is a sword in one hand a blaster in the other!

Happiness is a sword in one hand a blaster in the other!

Paying close attention to Coach Jessie

Paying close attention to Coach Jessie

Practicing dribbling

Practicing dribbling

Check out the mad skills!

Check out the mad skills!

No defenders in sight!

No defenders in sight!

Goal!

Goal!

Puzzle Fun!

Puzzle Fun!

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Happy New Year and All That Jazz

December 31st, 2013 by janice

Happy Western New Year!

Love and bright blessings,

Janice, Darren and Alexei

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!

First real boat ride.

First real boat ride.

Mustache!

Mustache!

Sleeping thu Xmas Eve dinner

Sleeping thru Xmas Eve dinner

Officer Alexei

Officer Alexei

Giving Daddy his gift

Giving Daddy his gift

Rockin'!

Rockin’!

Hey, I'm playing here!

Hey, I’m playing here!

"Snowball" fight!

“Snowball” fight!

Helping with Jo's bucket

Helping with Jo’s bucket

Helping Alissa fetch Jo

Helping Alissa fetch Jo

Saying bye for now to Jo

Saying bye for now to Jo

Alexei and his best bud bonding after long absence. :-)

Alexei and his best bud bonding after long absence. :-)

Alexei's new ride!

Alexei’s new ride!

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December Photo Bomb

December 7th, 2013 by janice
New riding helmet

New riding helmet

There's something not right with this Jo-jo

There’s something not right with this Jo-jo

And bike riding!

Bike riding!

Conquering the playground equipment

Conquering the playground equipment

Climbing on the playground

Alexei and his best pal

Alexei and his best pal

Hanging with Jo

Hanging with Jo

Digging for dinos

Digging for dinos

Playing at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Playing at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Posing with the whale skeleton

Posing with the whale skeleton

Big smile after the latest haircut

Big smile after the latest haircut

Kid in a box!

Kid in a box!

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October Update

October 28th, 2013 by janice

Good grief! It’s almost the end of October. As usual it’s been weeks since I posted anything. And it’s been months since I posted new pics here! For those who follow the blog and aren’t on Facebook, I greatly apologize.

Without further ado:

Yes, Alexei turned 4 this year. 4 is a bit more challenging than 3. We’ve had a few knock-down-drag-out erm… discussions about listening and not always getting what we want. Fun! But he really is a super good kid. He’s just definitely checking the boundaries.

We recently had his speech evaluated through the school district because we were still having some trouble understanding him and it was clearly causing him a lot of frustration. Fortunately the speech therapist was able to give us a few tips for helping him so a formal course of speech therapy ended up not being necessary. We did a follow up a few weeks later and she was very happy with his progress. We continue to model correct pronunciation and push him to use his pronouns and full sentences. He’s improved by leaps and bounds and the moments of frustration are much less for both of us.

We had his birthday party at Gullwings Museum in Oxnard. He loved it. The theme was Star Wars (as you may have noticed in the birthday post) but he wanted the Disneyland Castle on his cake. I love this kid!

Birthday party at the Gullwings Museum in Oxnard was a blast!

Birthday party was a blast!

Note the candle

Note the candle

The firefighter gear was so heavy he fell over!

The firefighter gear was so heavy he fell over!

Monkeying around with Grandpa and Grandma G.

Monkeying around with Grandpa and Grandma G.

This was his favorite birthday gift

This was his favorite birthday gift

We had a house party at a place we rented for Darren’s birthday. Yes, Darren cooked his own birthday dinner. Nothing new there. LOL! Big time thanks to Auntie Resa for keeping Alexei entertained with the light saber fights and “airplane” rides.

Checking out the cool staircase at the house we rented for Darren's birthday.

Checking out the cool staircase at the house we rented for Darren’s birthday.

Running from the "bad guy."

Running from the “bad guy.”

Relaxing in the cool chair at the house we rented for Darren's b-day. I sense a purchase in our future.

Relaxing in the cool chair at the house we rented for Darren’s b-day. I sense a purchase in our future.

We’ve done a ton of Disneyland since the summer hiatus of course. Alexei got picked for the Jedi Academy at Disneyland! He was super proud and excited. Eowyn got picked too so it was a happy day for both kids!

I’ll try to post the video of them fighting Darth Vader. Too many of the pics are of him and a bunch of other kids so you just get the diploma pics for now.

Alexei got picked for the Jedi Academy at Disneyland! He was super proud and excited.

Alexei after turning in his robe and  light saber and getting diploma.

Jedi diploma!

Jedi diploma!

Alexei and I also go to meet up with our friends Beth and Silpa, their daughter Sofia and foster son at Disneyland a few weeks ago. Alexei did pretty well in the roll-reversal of being the biggest kid introducing the toddler to Disney. Had to remind him a few times that he had to let other people pick rides too but we only had a few bad moments over that. Heh. He and Sofia walked around much of the park hand in hand. It was pretty darned cute.

This also marked a major milestone as Alexei was finally brave enough to meet some of the characters. He actually met Tinkerbell and the fairies by himself but we met most of the others with Sofia and/or “A” so out of deference to their privacy I will not post those pics here. Those of you who are friends with either Beth or Silpa on FB can check out some of the great pics there.

Halloween time at Disneyland!

Halloween time at Disneyland!

Alexei and me meeting one of the fairies at Pixie Hallow. Yes, we actually waited in that line. Heh.

Alexei and me meeting one of the fairies at Pixie Hallow. Yes, we actually waited in that line. Heh.

Rocking out on the Casey Jr. train sporting his Tinkerbell necklace. I love this kid!

Rocking out on the Casey Jr. train sporting his Tinkerbell necklace. I love this kid!

He’s now the oldest kid in his daycare, which has been great for him. His caregiver has been doing preschool stuff with him for a few weeks now.

Learning his letters!

Learning his letters!

Modeling the NASA outfit at his daycare

Modeling the NASA outfit at his daycare.

He liked this NASA outfit at daycare so much we were inspired to go visit the Space Shuttle Endeavor on the one year anniversary of it being brought to the California Science Center. The whole museum is a blast and it’s FREE. (OK, $10 parking but still…)

Ready for launch! At the California Science Center. Seeing

Ready for launch! At the California Science Center.

It was really hard to take pics with the shuttle in the temporary building so here’s just the shuttle.

CAL Science Center 112

 

Alexei is obsessed with Star Wars right now so of course is going as a Jedi for Halloween. He’s very adamant that he is Obi Wan Kenobi!

Showing off the Jedi robe (I love his expression in this pic!)

Showing off the Jedi robe (I love his expression in this pic!)

We took our annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch with Auntie Boo on Fillmore and Western Pumpkin Liner.

Relaxing on the Fillmore and Western Pumpkin Liner

Relaxing on the train

Running the corn maze at the pumpkin patch

Running the corn maze at the pumpkin patch

Riding the carousel at the pumpkin patch. I swear that thing ran for 5 minutes. (Not that I am complaining, mind.)

Riding the carousel at the pumpkin patch. I swear that thing ran for 5 minutes. (Not that I am complaining, mind.)

So Friday Alexei woke up with a pretty clear case of Pink Eye. Sigh. You know how much fun it is to try to get a four year old to let you put drops? Fortunately we’ve developed a routine that allows him to have some control over it so we can get it done. He first has to give all his stuffed animals their drops (Visine) then Alexei gets his. Then Mommy (also Visine.)

After the doctor’s visit we had to go by my office to change the back up tapes so Alexei got to hang out a Mommy’s work for a bit. Everyone fawned over him of course.

Visiting my office. Yes, he is eating peanut butter pretzels and drinking a Diet Siera Mist. Get over it!

Visiting my office. Yes, he is eating peanut butter pretzels and drinking a Diet Siera Mist. Get over it!

Here’s the equine menagerie:

Alexei and his equine friends

Alexei and his equine friends

Halloween is in a couple of days. I promise I’ll post pics of the Jedi!

We’re planning to go away for our anniversary and Xmas this year. Thinking Cabo or Puerto Vallarte as they are both close and warm. Anyone have any personal experience with resorts in either area, especially ones good for small children?

Bright blessing and love to all,

Janice, Darren and Alexei

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Happy Family Day

September 5th, 2013 by janice

3 years ago today!

Alexei Day 1 025 Alexei Day 1 029 Alexei Day 1 032 Alexei Day 1 038 Alexei Day 1 040

Where does the time go?

Love and blessings,

Janice

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