Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's been a busy couple of months (although they all seem busy - the "on the go" strategy is our way of life). We traveled to Atlanta for our Adoption Agency's Annual Reunion (World Partner Adoption) in October and were able to visit with our friends, the Adkins. PawPaw came down to go with us again. We can officially call it an annual tradition (now that he's come two years in a row).

Of course, October and November were busy with Halloween and Thanksgiving and all the festivities that go along with those holidays. We have also been putting our theme park passes to good use which Kai and Sierra have really enjoyed. And we were able to spend time in our pool up until the beginning of November (we knew it was time to close it up when Kai and Sierra would only spend 5 minutes in the water and then wanted to get a bath to warm up).

Our toddler bed situation has been much better over the last month. We aren't totally sure why but one tactic we started was to put Kai in charge of making sure Sierra stayed in bed and having Sierra make sure Kai stayed in bed. We're not sure if that did it or the time change but so far, it's been better (we have a couple of chaotic nights but we just separate them until they fall asleep and then put them back in their beds - much more manageable than our first 6 weeks). Below (on the left) is a picture of how they start off at bed time (when we tuck them in) and what we often see when we check in on them a few hours later (picture on the right).

Our other big feat this fall was potty training. They caught on surprisingly well. Sierra was pretty good from day 2 on. Kai took about a week to get it down. Mom and Dad have also adjusted to going into every bathroom in town to avoid accidents. When we're at home, they announce their "potty need" and then self service themselves (we just occasionally have to remind Sierra to put her underwear back on instead of streaking around the house). We still have the occasional accident and haven't tackled any nap or nighttime training but we're making good progress. Below is a picture of our dueling potties.

Here area a few highlights for each of them (in no particular order)

Kai Highlights   Sierra Highlights

Kai is stringing several words together. We've made great strides on the verbal front so it's never quiet. Here are a few samples:

  • Kai calls everyone (including himself) a pig. It's an endearing term to him (since he likes reading the 3 little pigs over and over again.
  • When it's bed time, Kai likes to ask for "one more kiss" and "one more ug" (hug).
  • He calls Sierra "Yawya"
  • He "rats her out" when she does something she's not supposed to or if she did something to him "Yawya hit arm, boo boo, right, der" (there).
  • They both like ordering us around ("sit der" "read, mommy, read, mommy, read mommy")
  • He pronounces Jim "Bim"
  • When we had the blow up pumpkin for Halloween, Kai would want to "wake up punkin" in the morning and when we'd leave, he would say "bye bye punkin, be back"



Sierra is a real talker and every day seems to be adding more words together Some of them are:

  • Sierra has started periodically calling Mom by her first name, which she pronounces "Cala." Sometimes she might elaborate by saying Mommy Cala. But other times, it's just "Cala, wait up" or "Cala, juice please" or "Cala read book." Strangely, she doesn't do this to Daddy.
  • She has really started expressing emotions verbally (and sometimes adds the sign language and/or facial expression to go along with them). Here are some key phrases: "I like it" (pronounced with a long I which she picked up from mom's accent), "I love it" or one of our favorites "I excited" (again with the long I sound).
  • The order of things is another area that Sierra verbalizes. She likes to dictate which order we should do things in, for example: "Park first" or "Kerrigan first" because she wants to go see Kerrigan before our errands. One of her favorites is "Era first" - she drops the "Si" when pronouncing her name.
  • She climbs a lot of things and is used to hearing mom and dad say "be careful" so now she tells herself that "Careful mommy see"

Kai and Sierra both like pretending to be other people (i.e., Kai is Diego, Sierra is Dora, Daddy is Boots, Mommy is Isa - all characters from Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go). Then they proceed to tell us that Dora is in trouble. When you ask why, they may say, "Dora bit Kai, trouble, timeout, not nice." Real people get interjected in this type of pretending all the time (i.e., our neighbors entire family, Memaw/PawPaw etc. It wouldn't sound as funny to someone else when they're plugging in real people's names in the context of hitting/biting etc. They think it's hysterical.


Sierra is a great procrastinator about going to bed. She will request "one more hug" "one more kiss" "one more hug" etc.... it could go on for hours if we let it. They get to take one animal to bed (in addition to their favorite sleeping item - hers is the big Shamu Paw Paw won for her at SeaWorld). She sometimes uses this as an excuse ("nother animal" for another animal" or "one more"). When we cut the back/forth off and leave, she starts bucking into a nice tantrum that lasts about 30 seconds before the world becomes "right" again.

During naps or in the morning, it's not uncommon to see her standing in the windowsill looking for us (while we're taking the dog out). She waves and very happily says "Hi Daddy" or "Hi Mommy."

Kai makes references to witches and monsters all the time. He sees the "bad guy" in some children's movies and calls them all either a monster or witch. He doesn't seem afraid but always wants to point them out and tell you they are "not nice."


Any card that comes in the mail is a prompt for Sierra to break out singing "Happy earthday to you" (she plugs in names of family members or her favorite characters while singing).

He does not like a mess and insists on it being cleaned up or doing it himself (i.e., Daddy brought firewood in the other night and Kai helped. AFter they brought it in, he went and got Sierra's little vacuum and started cleaning up the pieces that dropped on the carpet - unfortunately, his little vacuum doesn't have suction) .


We're officially calling Kerrigan, Sierra's first best friend - she thinks Kerrigan hung the moon - it's like the big sister she doesn't have. She likes to talk to her on the phone when she can't see her. She loves going up to her and tickling her while saying "tickle, tickle" in a somewhat high pitched voice.

Kai and Sierra get along most of the time but like any normal siblings, they have their battles. Sierra usually whacks Kai if he's doing something she doesn't like, whereas he gets her in a seemingly greco roman wrestling move. He pulls her shirt from behind, wraps his arms around her from behind and rolls back bringing her down with him. It doesn't happen often but he's finally figured out that he's bigger and heavier and can "hold his own." Sierra liked the days better when Kai thought of himself as a "victim."

  Sierra could take a bath all day if we'd let her. Now that it's too cold to swim in the pool, she still always wants to be in the water, so that's the next best thing..
Kai goes outside and if their is slightest chill, he quickly comes back in and requesting a coat (he does the sign for cold and makes sure you not only zip up the jacket but put the hood on as well).   She likes mom's makeup drawer. To this point, she has adopted what she calls "Era's lipstick" (a tube of chapstick). She insists on "do self" and proceeds to get the lid off, apply and put the lid back on (usually using her teeth for all phases).
Kai is very polite, often saying "No Dankdu" or "Yes Peese". However, he does this even when not being asked a question (i.e., it's time for nap - No Dankdu; you need to go potty - No Dankdu; make sure you eat your vegetables too - No Dankdu) or if he wants something "Some Peese" "Off, Peese" "Chip, Peese"   Sierra likes her "Era book." When Kai and Sierra turned two, Mom and Dad gave her a life book documented where she came from, how we became a family etc. We keep it up to date and she loves flipping through and looking at all the pictures.


Here are some pictures from the last few months...


We were able to swim into November. Kai was perfecting his one-foot balance act.

Sierra preferred the two-leg balance with a clap thrown in.



Jim had tough duty pushing Kai, Cora and Sierra.


Kai loves older women. Grace was a favorite for the day (luckily she lives close, so we may get to see her periodically).


Cautious Kai with the turtle.


Sierra loves all creatures... who knows where his shell has been (she doesn't care) - ha ha.


Kai taking a ride on Daddy.


Higgins' and Richardsons

"Yikes... Sponge Bob is getting me."


Sierra will hug anything big and furry.


Kai has a good "poker face." He was having a big time on the horse even though we couldn't get him to smile.

We had to hold Sierra back when she saw the horses (Horsies). She wanted to run up and hug them.

Elmo was a favorite. Kai and Sierra are both more interested in leaning in for a hug than being near mom and dad.


This Dora is a little "off" from the real one but Kai and Sierra knew right away who she was. Sierra kept going around behind her to look at her backpack.


We tried face painting and both Kai and Sierra stayed surprisingly still. When asked, Kai asked to be a cat. Sierra didn't have any suggestions so they gave her a lady bug (and later she came back and got a pink heart on her other cheek).


Where's Kai? Meow.



"Look how high I can go!"


"Can we get one of these things in our backyard?"

"Weeeee..... Can we do it again?"


We got one picture with PawPaw. He is always behind the camera but we got him out for one picture and a kiss.


The Higgins' have another fun reunion.


"I can scream louder than you can Hulk..." Sierra has no fear - even with the Hulk's scary mask. Kai was a little leery but eventually went up to him (but we heard for weeks "Hulk not nice."



Picking out our pumpkin.


Kai and Sierra showing PawPaw their dueling potties.


See any resemblance.


Meet Nemo and Dory


Halloween night by the big pumpkin (it ended up being a little warm for the costumes so they left the hoods off most of the night).


Our first house. Nemo and Dory carried the Elmo buckets MeMaw and PawPaw bought them. They got the hang of tricker-treating right away. Although when Sierra was finished ("Era home"), Kai wanted to go to more houses ("Kai more candy"). They were only allowed one piece of candy (the rest was a gift to folks at work), but they enjoyed collecting it all.


Did we mention Sierra had no fear? She even gave the Grim Reaper a big Halloween hug before trying to go in the haunted house (we diverted her attention to a nice blow-up Halloween character).


Sierra sharing her candy with Forrest who played the role as Bruce the Shark.


Our little devil.



Sierra and Avery at the petting zoo.

"I love this duck. Can we take him home?"


The Pig Whisperer.

"I could use this guy as a pillow."



Kai and Sierra had an impromptu hug - luckily mom had the camera around her neck to capture the moment.





We didn't even see Shamu several yards away but Sierra did and ran away from us towards him. She wouldn't even turn around for a picture - she was too busy hugging and kissing him/her.


Mom, Kai and Sierra on the "little people teacups."


Our friends Dan/Karen took us to Universal for a day and we got to meet Shrek and Donkey.

"How about some love?"


Horsing around with Chip and Dale. Chip and Dale are synonymous with Disney. As soon as you mention one the other comes out. It's great for mom and dad because it's the least popular character line to wait in for pictures. Chip actually put Kai's shoe on right before this picture because he'd kicked it off (one of his favorite things to do).

More love for Donald. For some reason Sierra is incapable of saying Donald Duck without turning the volume up.


Kai on the big teacups (he's good at making it spin fast). Mom was a little green after taking pictures while spinning.


"Faster, faster."


"Can we take him home?"


"Say cheese Mickey." Kai and Sierra can both "read" the word Disney. They recognize the logo when they see it. The brainwashing has begun.

We stumbled upon Buzz Lightyear - we don't watch Toy Story much but they still recognized him and wanted to "see him" "hug first"

More kisses.


We see Rafiki all the time and of course always have to give him a hug.

One day when we were on our way out of the park, we happened to follow the parade out (you can vaguely see the marching band in red). As we walked along the road, there were still tons of people sitting on the curbs watching the parade. They were all waving so Sierra decided to join in. She has the "beauty queen wave" down pat. she was waving at everyone on the way out - it was really funny.



We participated in the annual Breast Cancer walk again with several other Censeo folks.


Kai and Sierra - Happy Turkey Day!


One of our craft projects was to make this turkey by tracing Kai and Sierra's shoes and hands. Mom let them glue their "feathers" where they wanted to. It was interested how they did things differently. Sierra's is above. She randomly spread the colors out and put them at various "depths."


Kai on the other hand was very symettrical (the yellows are in the same place on each side, the oranges are in the same place on each side etc.). He also pasted them in about the same place so they stuck out the same distance on each side.

Sierra and her friend Kerrigan in the hot tub after Thanksgiving dinner. Bill and Kathy had us over and the kids were happy to "swim again" in the hot pool.


Kai and Sierra's new backpacks for school (they start pre-school in January).


We opened our present from MeMaw and PawPaw early and tried a campout in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom. It was our first try and only lasted an hour. We'll probably ease into an all-nighter.


<< Previous Post   Next Post >>


  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004