Wednesday, December 30, 2009

High Fashion

I mentioned in the previous post that I was snow bound. What I didn't mention is that we were stuck in the house because when we went outside Avi said, "Too cold," walked inside and closed the door after himself. So that concluded our days outdoor activities. I really didn't feel like driving around in the snowy mess outside and was really enjoying the laid back vacation I've been having so we stayed inside. The only problem? Two bored toddlers and a grown man who should never be left with his imagination and no adult supervision create situations like this:




Why are they wearing immodest evening gowns you ask? Avi thought so too. He was saying, "I'm princess!" :) He cracks me up. Itai was not so happy, he wanted to wear the green one and was furious I made him wear the tacky blue one. So what was I going for? A toga party of course! I have to say, for having only one safety pin and no experience the togas look awesome. Ok, ok, so I'm not the most creative or fashionable guy out there, but I think my little Romans looked so cute! Itai fell asleep almost immediately after his picture. I guess it was a result of the trauma of being dressed up in a blue toga/princess dress.

Itai, what did you think of the toga?
Oh...

If you're wondering where my toga is you should know that I'm kind enough not to subject either them or you to that. Besides, we don't have any nice, shiny blankets in my size. :)

Correction

After Debbie read the last post she said it made it seem like she didn't do anything around the house. I am, therefore, issuing a public statement to correct any misperceptions about the amount of house work done by Debbie. She is the only reason we have a clean shower and clean toilets. She does most of the organizing of this mess, all of the best cooking and everything in between. I hope no one misunderstood my post as an indictment against Debbie. It was merely the ramblings of a bald, rotund, snow bound man.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why Bother?

So I've been wondering about a few things today. First off, how do toddlers know about this flop thing. Is it something they're born with or is it learned. Avi was never very good at it, but Itai has reached a level of proficiency that has become the envy of the neighborhood. Children come from blocks away to observe the tantrum master as he contorts his body into a unruly, unmanageable shape and weight. Avi didn't teach it to him so where did he get this from?

(This isn't one of my serious posts if you haven't noticed.)

Next up, the dining room floor. I'm so smart. I use breakfast time as a chance to clean up the front room. The boys love eating and would never bother undoing my cleaning while there is food on their trays. The front room was perfectly clean, maybe not perfectly clean, but a woman I work with told me that men don't really clean, so perfection is out of reach anyway right? Anyway, this morning Itai emphatically announced that breakfast was over by dumping the contents of Avi's cereal bowl all over the floor. Milk, Cap'n Crunch (or yellow cereal as it is known here) and Cocoa Puffs (brown ball cereal) were everywhere. Why Cap'n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs? Because not only am I an AWESOME dad, I'm also an excellent nutritionist. Does it make me sound better if I tell you they had clementines and apples first? Oh well.

So I clean up the floor and take the boys up for a bath. They loved their bath and were so cute and clean(because like I said, I'm an awesome dad.) Before I put Itai's diaper on he insisted on throwing some trash away. On his way back he stopped and peed on the exact spot the cereal bowl landed. Do toddlers mark their territory these days? If so I may be in trouble. After cleaning that spot twice the rest of the floor looked that much dirtier. So I sent the boys into the clean front room while I swept and mopped the kitchen and dinning room. Obviously, I don't understand the system the boys have set up with their toys. They went into the front room and immediately reorganized the toys back to the way they were. I can almost hear the thoughts: "Let's see, the car went in the corner. The guitar was over here and the bus with it's children and driver were all the way from the couch to the door. Baby Elmo? Oh yeah, he was right in front of the toy box...with all of the toys dumped out beneath him."

Oh well, maybe the house will be clean tomorrow. Not if my nemesis has anything to do with it. The laundry basket, the most evil, sadistic thing we own. It enjoys taunting me. No matter how many times I empty it it always seems to fill back up. Then it sits there, waiting to see how long it will take for me to fold all the clothes so we can restart our little dance.

While I'm complaining about possessions, why do I even own a scale? That thing hates me. Everyday I work hard to please it, think about every time I eat and visit it hoping for good news. How does it repay my total devotion? By rewarding me with bad news! Ok, scale I have some news for you. I'm going to eat a cup of ice cream with milk so that when I'm done with the ice cream I can drink the chocolate milk! You know what else? I'm going to enjoy it and I'm not going to care what you have to say tomorrow. Oh, and tell the laundry basket that all the clothes are going to be folded by the end of the night and it can expect to be full again tomorrow (it's been a busy underwear day, what can I say?)

Why do I bother? Maybe it's because even when Avi is inventing new messes, like potty body art (I'll spare you the details, but let's just say it's been a busy bath day too.) or even if Itai has decided that everything I just swept up looks better scattered across the floor again they're still the best boys on earth. Maybe it's because even on a snowy day like this when Debbie would rather be home drinking hot chocolate and playing with us she's working to keep us fed and in a house. Whatever the reason, tomorrow I'll probably end up vacuuming, sweeping and mopping again. I'll definitely have more underwear to wash and second baths to give.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Itai's First Haircut

Neither of our boys made it to the tradition of getting their first hair cut on their third birthday. Itai's day came today. No more hair poking out over, around and behind his ears, no more cute little curl in the back, but the hair poking up between his two cowlicks in the back remains. Good luck with that one Itai! :)
Here he is before, just in case you've forgotten. I'm not sure what the look is all about, but he's still as cute as can be.
Here he is in his little vest.

He looks so different now! My little cutie. Poor little guy, he spent 487 days growing it out and we chopped it right off.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house not a creature was stirring

Not even a mouse!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Potty Karma

Sorry, yet another potty post, but they keep happening and you keep reading. Avi had a great day with his potty yesterday. He woke up dry and stayed dry at school. At home he only had one underwear accident. The accident was pretty bad though. I found him in the kitchen just starting to poop. His underwear were messy, but nothing compared to what happened afterward. I took a picture but decided to spare you all. When I went to check in on him I found poop on his the potty seat, the top of it, the wall, the floor, the stool (not a play on words) and of course all over him. I was a little frustrated with the whole thing, but potty Karma was coming to make things right. That's right, the toilet swallowed Avi! Luckily Avi wasn't scared at all by this event. He actually thought it was kinda funny. If you're wondering what is on his face, well that's a slightly different story.

I've been having major trouble staying asleep lately. It's just one of the blessings of working the night shift. Anyway, yesterday I woke up a little after 4:00 in the morning and couldn't sleep. After a morning run run, getting the boys ready, three loads of laundry, Itai refusing to take a nap and Christmas shopping with two boys who didn't want to be there I was pretty exhausted. Debbie was kind enough to let me take a quick nap. While Itai and I took naps she did a quick load of laundry and let Avi color a picture. I guess somewhere along the way he decided that paper is ok, tables are fun, legs and hands are better, but faces are the best place to color. I came down from my power nap and found him like this. He's obviously proud of his artistic integrity. Isn't he the cutest tattooed toddler? Since were already talking about how cute my kids are here's some gratuitous cuteness from Itai.
video
Feel free to offer to babysit these cuties any time. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fort Fun


A blanket fort is just magical.

It's hard to believe that only 30 seconds

and a few blankets can create such big smiles.

Thirty seconds is also all you need to make a great

big

mess!

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Potty Time

Avi continues to make progress on potty training. He still struggles with going number two (it's just not natural for a grown man to say that!) but he has started saying need go potty or want Elmo potty. So yay Avi!

This story comes from Itai. Avi decided to try the toilet instead of his little potty. Itai is very curious about this whole potty thing. He followed Avi in. Before I could stop him he harassed Avi off the toilet and began splashing happily in the water. I came running in and closed the toilet lid and washed Itai's hands. While I was washing his hands Avi jumped up and said, "What happen?"


I look in his potty and see that he had peed. So we clean it out, flush the toilet and wash his hands. As we leave the bathroom Itai is waiting. I kneel down and give him a little kiss. He smiles at me and then pokes at my eye. I give an over exaggerated ow! He laughs and then pokes his finger in my mouth. I start play chewing on it when suddenly I think, "Wasn't that hand wrist deep in toilet water?"

What follows is some spitting and sputtering and hysterical laughing from Itai. Yuck!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Huge Little Victory

As I've mentioned before the psychologist who originally diagnosed Avi didn't give us a very pretty picture. It involved a child who couldn't do anything for himself or reciprocate love in anyway. Hearing something like that leaves you feeling pretty bad. Well today all I have to say is, "Take this Dr. Mike!" Is that too prideful? Oh well, I'm not perfect.

I thought back then (and in times more recent) that I would never live to see him do something like us his spoon with such command.

Or dress himself.



Well...sort of. I'm not sure what's with the color on this picture. Other than coats, he's been doing really well dressing himself in shoes, socks, underwear and pants. Oh, and hats too.


Or engage in turn taking games. No picture for this one, you'll know why in just a second. Today we picked up some sufganiot for Debbie's work party and went out to the car. While I was putting Itai in his seat Avi suddenly took of running yelling, "Stay here!"

I closed the door telling Itai I'd be right back and sprinted, yes sprinted after Avi who was now three stores down from me. When I finally caught him he was four stores down from our parking spot! I'll skip the part where I wanted to scream and go right to me putting him in his seat and telling him it's very dangerous to run in a parking lot and that I don't like to leave Itai alone to chase him. So yeah, I didn't get a picture of his world record race to get away.

I never did believe him about Avi not being able to show love. He's always been affectionate and loving.

So...take that Dr. Mike!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sad...Just Sad

Dear Food Court Chair,

While I appreciate your honesty, there are better ways than breaking to tell a person it is time to lose some weight. Next time you could try something more tactful, like creaking loudly or maybe even cracking, but when you break in front of the whole food court of Christmas shoppers it just leaves me feeling embarrassed.

I'm sorry if I hurt you,

Jared.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Andes Brothers Inc.

Is your driveway covered in snow?
Is your dad too lazy to shovel the snow himself? Our professionals are standing by for all your snow removal needs.
Call now!

Now tell me...

What kind of dad would take away the snow shovel
and make his kids work with such tiny little shovels?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Keeping the Faith

I told myself not to blog. I seem to be developing a healthy addiction. I tried to stop myself, but here I am, and since you're here now why not?

Overall I would say I'm a pretty positive person. I honestly do recognize that I have it pretty good. I have two of the best children on the planet. My wife is a ceaseless fountain of amazement and perseverance (luckily for me!), I have a job and school is going well. I know that God lives and His Son is my personal Redeemer. I live free in the wonderful country and no matter what foolishness I find myself in my friends and my family support me. So first off, Debbie, thank you for sticking with me despite my constant battling against the "injustices" I see around me. You must have some secret stash of patience to have put up with me for this long.

Despite all of the great things in my life my hope sometimes runs low. It is so hard to stay positive when looking at a denied stamp on the application that would give your son the services he needs. It is difficult to stay positive when your wife asks if it is really worth it to do work so hard and still be denied coverage that should be a essential right. It is difficult beyond word or measure to look at your beloved son and know that relief is within reach, but is beyond your grasp. This is just one of the reasons I'm convinced God cares about the suffering of parents; He's experienced it more deeply than I could begin to fathom. It is difficult to stay positive when all the right choices seem to bring all the wrong results. You see, today Debbie found out that the ABA treatment we desperately want for Avi will cost $880/month. I want to believe that something incredible can happen, but in the face of such opposition it strains my hope.

So, I cry and rant on the internet to an unknown audience. Well, unknown audience, do mind if I tell a little story? It was the end of the first miserable winter on my mission. Following two difficult companions and the last minute change that left me a junior companion again I was feeling pretty worn out. My companion and I had no investigators and no prospects. We didn't even know our area very well. One night after spending the whole day tracting in the rain we started home. We were both wet, but one of us was about to get a lot more wet. We didn't realize it, but no buses were running at that time of night and we had a long, rainy walk home. When a mini bus went speeding past us my companion turned to try and flag it down and, so doing, stepped into an open sewer grate with real raw sewage. I knew this would send him over the edge and the next day would be difficult to get him out of the apartment. I was feeling pretty down (though he was probably feeling worse) as we made our way to the bridge and eventually home. But I still remember on the back roads of a tiny area of a small town in the middle of one of the most insignificant countries in the world I felt comforted. The words of the hymn When Faith Endures came flooding my mind and warming my heart. I often reflected on them throughout the most difficult times on my mission. Those of you with your speakers on are listening to my favorite version of this hymn.

So this morning as I sit feeling beleaguered by hopelessness I try to remember that I will not doubt, I will not fear. No matter how the rain may pour or how insignificant the road I walk, God's love and strength are always near.

Thanks for reading this far, maybe you'll read a little further? I honestly feel better knowing, or perhaps believing that eventually you will be reading this. And despite the fact that you aren't here right now, you strengthen me. Thank you for checking in on me. Honestly, I feel better. If you feel so inclined, maybe you could leave a quick note about how you renew your hope. Really, I feel much better now. Yes, I cried. I've recently decided I don't care who thinks it's not masculine, I'll cry when I feel like it! I'm just curious about you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adventures in Pottydom


Potty training is going pretty well. Debbie decided that he needs to wear just his underwear no matter what happens. This experiment has only been going for this week, but Avi is already making great progress. He is coming home with dry diapers and waking up dry. He still has a few struggles with it, but overall he's doing great. Today has been an interesting day with potty time.

Avi's major struggle is...um, number two. I guess that's a nice way of saying it. Anyway, he doesn't like to do it unless he's standing up in a room separated from everyone else. This change has been difficult for him, but he's coping with it. His favorite coping mechanism is sneaking off and doing it in his underwear before we catch him. That's what he did today, only this time I caught him before he could really get started. I put him on his potty to finish up. Itai can't help but follow Avi everywhere he goes but this one was messy! It was really difficult trying to clean him up and keep Itai at bay in that tiny room so I kicked Itai out. I could hear him bumping into the door trying to get it open. Luckily for me he hasn't figure out the lock yet! Suddenly I couldn't hear him anymore. I didn't think about until I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over and saw four little fingers under the door wrapped around the pacifier that lie on our side of the door. Poor little Itai was struggling like crazy to get it under the door.

During dinner tonight Avi suddenly stood up and started walking away saying he was all done. Debbie asked what else he wanted. As he ran off he shouted, "Orange!"
I peeled an orange for him but wanted to wait until Itai finished eating to bring it out. Itai sat eating while Avi played in his tent. When he finished up I brought out the orange and gave him his part. I noticed Avi had rearranged the furniture in the tent. Weird, I thought. When he came towards me I noticed he was wet. Grrrrr. Oh well, clothes off and back on the potty. Then I had to go find out what part of the house was wet. First stop: the tent. Suddenly I realized why he had rearranged the furniture. When I lifted his little couch I found his hidden secret. That sneaky little boy has learned to cover his tracks!

So while I'm busy getting this cleaned up and Avi on his potty Itai was packing a secret of his own, a REALLY messy diaper. I didn't notice until the bath was full and I pulled his diaper off. Silly me, I thought four dirty diapers in one day were enough. And while we're on the subject, I don't remember feeding him grass so what was all that green stuff in his diaper? Ok, back to the story...the wipes were downstairs so I had to run him down to clean him up while he screamed about being taken away from the tub. I finally got everyone clean, dry and Itai covered in Desitin.

I'm not sure how these boys plan these things. Some sort of telepathic trouble making talent? However they plan this out they make life an adventure! Oh and what an adventure! By the way, does Desitin make me smell like less of a man? :) I actually kinda like the smell.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Little Shopper

This is my first and probably last, "look at this deal" post, but I had to show off. :)

Avi owed Itai a Christmas present so we went to Kohl's to shop. One of the reasons we stopped there was because on Black Friday I did some shopping and received ten Kohl's bucks back. I'd love to tell you what I bought, but there is a chance Debbie will take a look at this so I can't give away any secrets. I will say I saved plenty on her gifts as well. Sorry Debbie, you'll have to wait until Christmas.

As soon as we arrived at the toys both boys went wild! Itai was trying to open packages and Avi was pulling everything he could reach off of the racks. Luckily for us we weren't thrown out of the store for looting! All of the toys were 40%-60% off so we had a lot of looking to do. While the boys were attacking the toys "Avi" was able to find two toys for Avi: a rumble truck and an Elmo bath toy.

Total price after the Kohl's bucks? $1.47! Good shopping Avi!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My New Decision

I cannot remember a time when people weren't asking about my eyes or making fun of them. I have had the lovely nicknames of ching chong, I think I'm turning Japanese (too long to stick), Chinese devil, white ninja and Chwexican (that's Chinese-White-Mexican). There maybe more but these are the ones that stuck out.

A few weeks ago yet another patient asked me what my "nationality." While I thought about saying American and not paying attention to here thinly veiled attempt to find out if I'm Asian or not, but I decided to give her the information she was looking for. I told her that my family is a mix of just about anything you could think of, everything except Asian. She did not believe me, so she asked, "No Asian at all? Are you sure?"

Other than being a little annoyed with the stupid way she asked I told her that I am mostly German. She responded by shouting, "German? German? They don't have eyes like that!" She said this so loudly that the nurses at the station begin to look in.

I start blushing a bit with frustration and embarrassment. I finish my test and leave, handing the EKG to the nurse who is looking at my eyes trying to decide if I really am Asian or not.

So after this I decided that I'll have to get some plastic surgery to correct my eyes, just to keep people from asking me what my nationality is.

That plan seemed good until last night. I did an EKG on an older, very angry lady. As soon as I stepped into the room she looked at me and asked, "Why do you shave your head?"

This question comes up at work nearly as much as the eye question. Apparently, my bald head is very offensive to the older population. Then I realized, I can get my eyes changed, but then what? Hair plugs? That doesn't sound very appealing. I could try a toupee with scalp snaps like my grandpa, but that sounds painful. Then there is my nose, not many people ask about it, but how would they ask that? Are you related to an elephant? How about my Adam's apple? Would I have to get corrective surgery to fix that too?

So I decided it's much cheaper to just put up with the questions about my eyes and head and see what kind of creative nicknames people come up with.

He Makes Me Smile, Too


The other day Avi's bus pulled up to the house and I went out to meet him. Avi came bounding to me smiling. The driver told me as they pulled up Avi looked over and said, "Avi house!"

As we walked inside I asked him where he was and he excitedly said, "Avi house!" I thought about it and I realized that he really does believe this is his house and he really does rule the roost. What? You need proof? Well, I just happen to have some!

While this one is true of just about anywhere Avi goes it is especially true of him at home. If you have a plate or bowl or even a handful of food you can bet that it won't take Avi long to come over and carefully investigate. Then he'll probably get a little closer, maybe even lean on your legs and eventually steal something from you when your guard is down. Chips and cereal are particularly vulnerable, but if you come to visit don't leave your drink, desert items, sandwiches or fruit unattended long.

Exhibit B: We cannot forget that Avi has two beds in the house. Normally he sleeps in his own bed, but sometimes he will climb into our bed or will stand there staring at us until we pick him up (that can be kinda scary to wake up and see) and let him in our bed. This is where he establishes his dominance. He finds a nice comfy spot right in the middle of the bed. Once we're all settled he will suddenly push his butt out forcing Debbie to scoot closer to the edge of the bed. Then suddenly he'll slide his head into mine. Once I've moved away from his battering ram head he strikes with his next weapon: tiny feet of fury. His feet always seem to land in the right spot to make me get as far away from him as quickly as possible. Thus, having won the majority of the bed, he stretches in every direction and enjoys his prize.


Of course, there's the toys in every room of the house, item after item purchased to serve some therapeutic purpose and enough Little Einstein's paraphernalia to start some sort of cult. But wait there's more!

Sometimes while exploring every inch of our little home Avi is overcome with love for someone. This comes suddenly, almost explosively. This may result in his strange, yet affectionate butt kiss. Yes, he really runs up from behind me and kisses my butt or thigh. I can't wait until this little phase is past! I guess I should consider myself lucky; Itai has it far worse than I. Avi will be playing near him and suddenly feel a great swell of affection and before Itai knows what is happening to him he is wrapped up in a monster bear hug so huge that it inevitably takes them both to the floor. That's right, the rare tackle hug. Then when he has Itai pinned down he squeezes him and mashes his face onto Itai's. Most of the time Itai laughs his head off, but sometimes, like when they don't land on carpet, he doesn't think it is so funny.

The last piece of evidence for now is he owns all of the clothes in the house. He will take our shoes, jackets, hats and whatever else he can get his hands on. He loves parading around in our shoes smiling the whole time. Is he smiling because he thinks it looks funny? Because he knows likes the feel of over sized clothes? Maybe. Or maybe it's because he knows that the world is his oyster, or our house at least.

Yes, we live in "Avi House" and we love it!
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