Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Day Jerry (Almost) Died

So Jerry is a friend of Luke's.  Kind of.  Jerry is Luke's imaginary friend. 

Jerry gets Luke in trouble.  "Luke, let's go, you need to hurry up or you're going to miss the bus!"  "But mom, Jerry won't stop talking to me.  It's all his fault!"

Jerry is always there for Luke.  "Mom, _____ wouldn't talk to me in school today, but Jerry said not to worry about it."

Jerry lives with us.  Sometimes.  Jerry is usually here first thing in the mornings, and is sometimes in the car with us, but other times Luke will say Jerry lives by Target. 

I never make a big deal about Jerry.  I had an imaginary friend, so I get it.  My only sibling is my brother who is almost 7 years younger than me.  I grew up way out in the country without many neighbor kids to play with.  So I needed an imaginary friend.

Joe and Emma don't get it.  When Luke starts talking about Jerry, they'll giggle.  I guess they aren't creative enough to understand :)

One day not too long ago, I thought I'd find out a little more about Jerry.  Luke was talking about him and I said, "Luke, where did you meet Jerry?"  His answer:  "Duh, Jerry came home with me from Russia!"

I sat in stunned silence.  Of course.  Why hadn't I thought of that before??!! 

My son was once a 3 year old, scared little boy who left his orphanage in Russia and everything he had ever known. 

Saying goodbye to one of his caretakers as he left the orphanage - forever.

He went with 2 nice grownups who loved to play and smile and hug but didn't speak his language.  At least not very well. 

In Russia, right before coming home to the US.

They took him on an airplane - but he had no idea what it was.  On a long flight - and he had no idea where he was going.  Finally came to an airport where there were more strangers gushing over him.  Then they went to this place called home that had 2 dogs (what on earth are THEY?!?) and no other kids. 

His world was turned upside down.

What do you people do here in this place called America? 

Oh, THAT'S what this is!

Many kids who have spent time in orphanages use coping mechanisms:  rocking, swaying, food hoarding.  Luke chose to create an imaginary friend. 

Fast forward 7 years.  Luke is acclimated.  Doing great.  Used to life in a family, used to life in the US.  Doesn't speak any Russian, doesn't really remember Russia. 

But Jerry is still around. 

Until today.  Luke had a look of worry on his face.  "What's the matter, baby?"  I asked him.  "Um.  Um....  Jerry is in the hospital."
Me:  "He is?"
Joe and Emma:  giggle giggle
Luke:  "Yeah.  He has ammonia." 
Joe:  "Oh I hate it when I get ammonia."
Me:  "Stop it."  I turn to Luke:  "Jerry has pneumonia, huh?"
Luke:  "Yeah, the doctors said it's pretty bad.  He's getting all kinds of medical stuff done.  He's supposed to text me later and let me know how he is."
(Luke doesn't text...)
Luke:  "I think the phone just rang."  (It didn't.  He picks it up anyway.)
Luke:  "Hello.  Oh.  Oh.  Okay.  Thanks for calling."
Me:  "Who was it?"
Luke:  "The hospital.  Jerry died."
Luke runs to the bathroom and starts to cry.
I follow him in.  "Are you sure?
Luke:  "Yes, that's what they said."
Me:  "No, Luke, I mean are you sure you're ready to let Jerry go?"
Luke:  "What do you mean, I'm 10 now."
Me:  "I know, but you have the power to keep Jerry. If you still want him, I mean.  It's okay, even though you're 10."
Luke:  silence
Luke:  "I meant to say that the doctors said he almost died.  He's going to be okay!"

I'm sure there's something psychological here.  Not sure what.  Not sure if I handled it the right way or not.  But I do know that Jerry has gotten Luke through some of the toughest times of his life. 

Maybe Jerry won't come around as much.  Maybe Luke will realize he doesn't need Jerry anymore.  Or maybe, just maybe I wasn't quite ready to let Jerry go yet.  For as crazy as that sounds....  Afterall, he helped Luke adjust to life outside of an orphanage....

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Movie Night Birthday Party

This year, Luke decided he wanted to have his birthday party here.  He decided on Movie Night and a Sleepover with 8 other boys.  Our first sleepover.  Wasn't sure if I was ready for that!!

After heavily drinking getting a good night's sleep the night before, we were ready!

First I had to decorate.  Joe told me that was unnecessary - "They're boys, they won't care!" he informed me.  Well, humph. Doesn't he know me better than that by now?!?  What is a party without theme decorations??!!

View looking into our family room. 

Plastic black tablecloths turned into curtains.  Stars hanging from the ceiling and movie night cutouts from Oriental Trading. Gold cords to tie back curtains from JoAnn Fabric, $1 for a yard of gold rope trim.

I tried to get a panaromic view of the entire room.
Notice cute kid hiding behind couch :) 

 Yes, I knew the balloons were asking for trouble...  but what kind of party is it without balloons?!

Kind of a backwards view, this was before you walked into the family room but I couldn't get a good picture of it from the other side.  So this is the inside looking out.

The Movie Night Ropes were also from Oriental Trading and held up really well throughout the night!

The movie screen.

We have an outdoor movie theater that we use in the summer.  I was intending on using that screen but because I put the projector on top of the computer desk (which was across the room from the screen), it was too small.  So I took the flat (white) sheet off of Emma's bed and taped it to the wall.  I had this red fabric already (left over from a project many years ago) so I cut it to size and taped (yes, taped) it to the wall over the sheet.  We had like a 100" screen!!  It was AWESOME!  It was almost like a real movie theater :)

And yes, Joe, the kids cared about the decorations.  When they saw the room (especially those who have been here before) they were like, "This room is awesome!"  So there. 

The concession stand. 

When the kids saw the concession stand, I heard lots of, "Oh yeah, I could get used to this!" and "AWESOME!" and "I'll trade you candy for your cotton candy!"  The water had labels with their names on it.  Otherwise, I probably would've had 9 half-opened bottles.

The pretzel stand was a jewelry holder I got for 50% off at Michael's.  The boxes for the candy and water were boxes I got at a grocery store that I taped white paper on.  Popcorn tubs from Oriental Trading.  Cotton Candy from the dollar store. 

I also bought candy boxes for 20 or 30 cents a piece at the local cake & candy store.  I cut the lids off and put their names on the bottom.  Then they all had their own personal concession stand carry-alls.

Let me back up....  Before the boys were allowed to enter the "theater", we had pizza, cupcakes and root beer floats.

How cute are these cupcakes?  

Saw this idea online, I had to try it!  It was so simple.  I made the cupcakes.  Got mini marshmallows, ripped them in half and then stuck them back together kind of sideways to make it look like popcorn kernels.  Got a little bit of yellow food coloring in water, and used a toothpick to put the "butter" on the "popcorn".  Some of the boys did not believe it wasn't real popcorn!   Found the wrapper template online, I taped these right over the cupcake liners.

 I had to stick with the black and red theme, even for the root beer floats!

Birthday boy making funny faces while his friends sing Happy Birthday.

Take home treat bags were simple, a box of theater candy and a bag of popcorn - in a popcorn bag of course!

The one thing I was not expecting was the STINK that would fill my house with 9 boys.  Oh. My.  Every window in my house was foggy.  Febreeze was my best friend the next morning.

They never stopped moving!  No wonder the stink filled my house!

2 second break for a quick photo.  Notice a few are still blurry.  Ha!

6 of the 8 boys stayed over.  The next morning was a bit calmer.  Just a bit.  

All in all, a pretty good party.  When we first started the movie, one of Luke's friends said, "Wait a minute, everybody.  I just have to ask.  Is this one of the best days of your life or what?!!"

I'll take it :)

I did the whole party for under $100 - food and decorations and the movie and - well, everything.  Nothing got broken.  And Joe and I didn't lose our sanity either!  Always a bonus.

And another bonus - we realized we like having big screen movies.  It might just become a permanent fixture around here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Double Digits

How did time go by so quickly??!!  I remember when you were 3, just barely to my mid-thigh, holding onto my knee and hiding behind my leg.  You could speak very little English, you had just come home from Russia - but somehow you knew every word I spoke.  They never taught you English there.  They say it was more my tone than my words.  I disagree.  Love is the universal language where you need no translators.

We have been through so much since then.  You have grown - and grown! - into my handsome little man.  You have learned so much, laughed so hard, cried at your sorrows and jumped at your joys.  You have experienced victories as well as losses, friendships and crazy school trials.   

SO much more awaits you.  You will have many more ups and downs as you continue to grow.  But I cannot wait to see the person you will grow up to be.  I know God has BIG plans for you!!

I am so proud to call you my son.  I love you more than words.  Happy Birthday, Baby!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Snow Day

We've had a LOT of snow lately.  Today the weather was nice, considering it's still white.  And wet.  And cold. 

But the kids don't mind!

Now if I can just figure out how to get them to get along this well all the time.....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Who Shot the Dog?! - and - Hidden Treasures!

Puppy nap time.  Unbelievable.  What a spoiled rotten dog! 

Why is the cushion backwards you ask?  Well.  I did a little investigating.  Does this explain it?!?!

How can all that fit under a couch cushion?  There was even more under the teddy.  Amazingly, I couldn't even tell when I sat on it.  Now that's a good couch.  HA!

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