Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Butter - It's Not!"

Jack has been home with us for 3 months now, and oh what a 3 months it has been! As far as Bill and I are concerned, our lives have totally changed. We have moved, changed jobs, changed roles, and completely changed our way of living. For example, we now use coupons more often, shop at the Dollar Store, and look for bargains in bulk. We have gone from buying "I can't believe its not butter" to buying "Butter, It's Not!",a cheap knockoff version. When I travel, I bring home toilet paper, soap and tissues from the hotel. I have also gone from having my hair done once every 6 weeks to once every 3 months and am officially letting my grey slowly grow out (ouch!). Instead of Bill going to get a professional haircut, he gets a wife haircut. His hair is so thick I just buzz it now! Jack has had a couple Mommy haircuts too! Is all this worth it? Oh my gosh yes! This is why....

Jack had 3 appointments last week. 1 appointment with his Pediatrician for his 18 month follow up. 1 appointment with his Speech Therapist, and 1 appointment with the play group through Early Infant and Toddler Intervention. His Pediatrician is pleased with his growth and development. Here are some stats:

Jackson is 75% in height for his age
Jackson is 3% in weight for his age
Jackson is 10% in head circumference for his age

When we first brought him home, he was not on the chart for head/weight. Just look what proper nutrition can do. Jackson has gone from not saying anything to constant babble. He also knows several different words in sign language. He picks up on things after the 1st time of showing him, rarely does he have to be shown twice. We are really proud of him.

For Jackson, we will eat 'Butter, It's Not!' happily!

Also, today we had our first snow day with Jackson. So far today we have gotten about 6 inches of snow which is a rarity for our area. We are known more for surf boards than sleds around here. Anyway, Jack loved making his first snowman. He would have stayed out and played all day if we would have let him. When we were dressing him we were reminded of how he was always dressed in Russia with 3 or 4 layers of clothing (never mind the fact that we put 4 layers on him to play in the snow and they put 4 layers on him to play in an 85 degree gymnasium in the middle of summer!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy 1.5 to Jack!

The pictures of Jack above are from the week we first met him, and then today. He was 11 months old when we travelled to Vladivostok for Trip One, and he turned 18 Months today. It's pretty easy to see the change in him huh? He wasn't walking around with drums on his head back in Vlad! They frown on allowing your children to wear musical instruments as hats over there.

To celebrate Jacks big 1-8 (months) we made a nice breakfast of bacon and eggs. Actually it was turkey bacon which is okay, but definitely a disappointment compared to the real thing. I think bacon is one of those things that was meant to be enjoyed in it's original form. I feel the same way about turkey bacon as I do about "grilled" chicken wings. Enough about my food preferences though, I should be on a diet anyway.

After a nice walk around the neighborhood where we took advantage of a nice 60+ degree day here, we went to the mall for a little lunch and a stroll to the puppy store. Michelle liked the Jack Russells (maybe because of their first names?), I liked the two chows, and Jack liked all of them! He is definitely an animal lover and we can't wait to take him to a zoo in the spring or summer. He will love seeing more animals than just dogs and cats like he sees at our weekly pet store visits, though I'm fairly sure one of the chows we saw today was actually a black bear cub.

Tonight we dropped Michelle off at the airport for a week long business trip, then Jack and I settled in for a little football watching (congrats to Peyton Manning, a UT Volunteer in case you didn't know), dinner, bath, and bedtime. We will miss Mommy this week, but we are busy with three appointments of our own (a play group tomorrow, his 18 month doctors appointment on Tuesday and speech therapy on Thursday). The speech therapy class will actually be our second one of those. We had one this past Friday but it was largely just an introductory meeting where we discussed goals and things. I think we will start to get into more learning stuff this week. Maybe we'll have a good story or two for you out of our busy week!

Friday, January 22, 2010


We are watching the Hope for Haiti Now concert tonight. They are doing a bunch of stories about Haitian orphans. Wow, we had a lot of worries during our adoption process, but it's safe to say that an earthquake was not one of them. Jack is safe and warm in his crib right now, fast asleep after a full day of playing with his parents and pets and just enjoying life. We hope the little boys and girls affected by the earthquake someday feel the love and warmth of their own homes. When you hit your knees tonight to say your prayers, please send one up for the little kids in Haiti. We'll do the same.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thoughts of a SAHD..

I thought the University of Tennessee could use a positive image after how Lane Kiffin treated us this week, so here is Jack in a Vols jersey!

As Michelle posted yesterday, I am now officially a Stay At Home Dad or "SAHD" for short. (Michelle had to explain to me what the acronym SAHD stands for, I had no idea)

First of all, none of this would be possible if Michelle wasn't working her rear end off for us at her job. She puts in long hours, travels, and brings work home with her just to allow us to have a parent at home with Jack during these first crucial months at home. None of that is lost on me, but it can't be said enough..... THANK YOU MICHELLE!!!!

So far, things are going pretty much as you would expect with the daily routines. Jack and I play a lot, cook, eat, clean, take walks, take naps, play with our dogs and cats, and wait anxiously by the door for Mommy to come home each night. When we hear the garage door go up each night, it's hard to tell who is more excited; Jack, me or the dogs. For the most part our days go pretty smoothly and we manage to keep the destruction of our house to a minimum before Mommy gets home, though we have heard the following on occasion when she gets home: "My gosh, what the heck happened in here". Jack and I just smile at her and try to look cute. At least he succeeds in that area!

For me, it's been a bit of an adjustment going from working an 8-5 job to being a SAHD which is anything but an 8-5'er. Here are just a few of the things that come along with being a SAHD

- I have been called "Betty Crocker". (my brother laid that one on me when a game we were playing recently got heated).

- I now know the pain of hurt feelings when I try out a new recipe and Michelle makes a face like she was just punched in the stomach when she tastes it.

- I have learned how to fend off Jack with one leg while I balance on the other leg to remove something from the oven (this has led to numerous burns for me, but none for him which is what I am shooting for)

- I have learned that a day at home is extremely full of stuff that we do, yet none of it comes to mind when Michelle asks "what did you do all day?"

- I googled "breakfast casserole recipes" yesterday. That wasn't the disappointing part. The disappointing part was realizing that we didn't have the ingredients for the recipes I found.

- I may soon be on a first name basis with the people at Petsmart. This is a free way to kill 45 minutes or an hour when you have a cranky toddler on your hands, and we have been there a few times this week alone. (interestingly enough, they had a Russian Tortoise for sale for $109.99 - not including home study fees when you go to adopt it)

- Michelle asked me if I wanted a cookbook for my birthday (she was serious, which I probably should have been offended at but actually I wouldn't mind having one)

Anyway, I'm sure we will have more anecdotes for you as we move forward. For now, all three Currans are adjusting nicely to their new roles.

By the way, if anyone has any good raspberry tart recipes, send them my way!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SAHD stands for??

Stay at home Dad! I always see "SAHM" on blogs/adoption chats, etc - but SAHD? Well it's official, Bill resigned his position in finance to take care of Jackson full time. This was a long decision in the making - but we feel it is the best decision for our family at this time. I will continue to work outside the home. Bill will teach Jack how to bake cookies, and I will teach Jack a little about construction! Ha!

We also moved! We sold our house in TN and moved out of state! Lots of changes in the Curran household!!!

Jack is worth all the sacrifices we are making right now.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Formal Announcement of Jackson!

We wanted to share Jack's announcement with everyone. He has a little mischievous look on his face that tells the whole story!

We have had a busy, busy week! The Early Infant and Toddler program brought a team of specialist's out on Tuesday evening to further evaluate Jack. He qualified for speech therapy. Therapy will be 1 day a week in our home for 1 hour to start out with, then we will probably ramp up to more than one session a week when Jack is comfortable with things. As of now, Jack only says 1 word ("mama"), but does say other syllables. We are hopeful that this will jump start his speech.

We also had a post-op appointment with the Opthamologist this week. Jack's eyes began to intermittently turn in last Friday, but the doctor didn't seem too concerned. There is a chance that he will eventually need surgery again, but it may just be his brain trying to decide what to do. We began to patch his right eye again this week for 3 hours each day (up from 2 hrs daily). This should make his left eye stronger over time.

Today, we were also finally able to apply for Jack's Social Security #. Apparently, the SS office wants to have someone local translate the Russian documents even though the translation was provided. Long story short, this process will take about a month and then they will officially process the request. On a side note, there was a pretty wide range of people at the social security office. The cast of characters there ranged from nice, pleasant older people to people whom have probably been on America's Most Wanted or Cops. Nobody was smiling, and I was fairly worried that gunfire would erupt at any moment. Anyway, Jack lightened the mood when he let out a happy shriek at one point. Everyone from the psychopath looking guy in the corner of the room to the security guard let out a chuckle. Our little guy can melt the heart of any person!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Katie, Emily, Amanda, Jack and Megan.

Jack in his new boots from Grandpa Tony. His buddy Mike is in the background.
The famous Dirt Devil upright!
The Curran clan at the beach house in SC!

We hope everyone had a great holiday! We have been busy, busy lately.

Jack did fairly well after his surgery. He had some swelling/bruising/redness for the last week, but that has subsided. His eyes were straight until Friday morning, and then they began to cross intermittently again. With that said, we do not have any idea if this is due to his brain trying to figure out what to do, or if the surgery will have to be repeated. The doctor did say that his eyes were extremely crossed and tight and he was surprised they were more extreme then he had originally thought. He has also been running a temp since the surgery, but it was due to an ear infection and not related to his eyes. He is on an antibiotic for the ear infection.

Now on to other topics! Christmas went well. Jack liked the boxes and wrapping paper the best. He really didn't understand what to do initially, but quickly caught on. His favorite gift from Mama and Daddy was a vacuum cleaner. He LOVES to vacuum! Ha! He also received a lot of gifts from our family that he loves. Thanks to everyone!

For New Years, we met the Curran family at Myrtle Beach. He finally met his Aunt Chris, Uncle Scott, Uncle Jim and Jim's girlfriend Rita. He also met his other 3 cousins - Megan, Katie and Amanda. He was a little shy at first, but did warm up to them. Nana and Papa, and Aunt Carolyn, Uncle Jeff and Emily were also there. He seemed to fit in just like he had always been a part of the family.

This week Jack has a post-op eye appointment and also a team of specialists from the Infant & Toddler program are coming to our home to evaluate him for services. We hope to also get to the Social Security office to apply for his SS#. It is so cold right now, we won't get him out unless he is feeling better.