Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Christmas Season home in photos!

Hope you enjoy M's thoughts on many special things he is experiencing this first Christmas season!

Me with my BFF "L" on Thanksgiving Eve. I am the pilgrim since I came to a new world and L is a Native American because he was born here. We know we don't look the parts, but we are toddlers and not trying to make a statement :)

So excited to set up the Christmas tree... until we started setting it up. It is much more fun to talk about than actually do!

Not really sure about this one, but mommy thinks I am cute so yea... where are my socks anyway?

Mommy's side of the family at Thanksgiving.

I am thinking of entering a chair lifting contest so I have to practice frequently.

This is what Christmas is all about, right?

This is the Christmas tree forest at my church. Cool huh?

This is me with my friends. We are waiting for the parade to begin. The girls sang carols to me while we waited!

I loved the hot air balloon float and had to call my grandparents when I got home to tell them about the "Fire, hot, scary, parade" and about the reindeer!

Check out this cool boat in the parade!

This is me with one of my bestbuds! She is so good to me and plays with me at home and at church. I really love her!

I like to eat popcorn (paw-torn) every chance I get. Mommy and I make it on the stove. I get out the bowl and help sprinkle on the salt. Yummy!

I love to share popcorn with my sheep friend!

Mixing up the dough for my favorite peanut butter cookies is so much fun. Mommy is so glad I am there to help her. (Note from mom: The cookies are made with 1 cup natural PB, 1/3 cup honey, and one egg. They are great and HIGH is protein!)

I love watching the cookies bake, just like mommy did when she was little.

They are almost ready to eat.

I love opening a "door" every night with mommy and daddy. I scream DOOR as soon as I am done eating to make sure they don't forget, because, you never know... they might!
Just hanging out with my very own Christmas tree!

This is my advent tree. I decorated it myself. I add another ornament (O-ment) each day. Isn't it beautiful?

The 3rd verse is finally US!!!!!

I have posted a you-tube link to this song by Third Day the last two years, well actually I think three years. This song has caused me to shed SO MANY tears in the last years... but this year he is HOME!!!! This is M's third Christmas, but his very first in a home with a family. We are so blessed to have him home with us. Our tears of sorrow have turned to tears of joy. The Lord has turned our mourning into dancing! Thanks be to God!

Here are the words to the 3rd verse!

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

I need to end this post by saying that I know many of you are not to the final verse of the song yet... it is so hard to feel that emptiness of celebrating while you know they are alone without your love. So thankful that our Father is a father to the fatherless. Also, we continue to feel this ache wondering if we have other children not yet in our family who are alive this Christmas. Our hearts do think of them, but we are so filled with joy for our first Christmas with M!!!

The boy who cried “push” and other tales from toilet training... the good, the bad, and the funny!

*warning, this post will contain much discussion of toilets, pee and poo.

The Good!

Monday December 5th started like most Mondays in our home. I needed to use the bathroom and of course my little shadow followed me. M said something about the toilet and I asked him if he would like to go on it. He said yes. Being the ever prepared mom that I (rarely) am I got the child’s toilet seat out from under the sink and sat M on it. Much to my amazement he went! I was very excited and of course M was too. He wanted to sit on it a long while and actually peed and pooed on it. I was so proud of my little man. He loved being clapped for and esp. having his name chanted! We sang and read and drank a lot... it was great!

With M on the toilet, I ran upstairs and got a large stack of underwear. M got off the toilet and into underwear. After helping train a few little guys in my nanny days I decided that the underwear method (where they wet and wet until they get it) was what I was going to try. The only thing was... I was going to wait until the New Year. I was going to have candy (which M has never had) and sticker charts, and all sorts of incentives. It turns out M had other plans. He did have 2 accidents in underwear very early on and has been perfect since then. I really can’t believe it. I guess he was just ready. He was just shy of 2 years 4 months when we began training.

The first few days we stayed at home all day. The first 1.5 days we gated off the carpeted areas and had blankets, toys, and books in the kitchen. M also got to experience juice, which he really enjoyed. He only drank juice for a few days and then really hasn’t asked for it since. We do feel very blessed to have a big boy son. We are so proud of him. He has done so well even
when we are out and about. It is amazing really. He has been dry during naps and badtime quite frequently. We are planning on packing up the cloth diapers very soon which will be a welcome blessing for everyone, though we loved them of course.

The Bad!

Before you think a jealous thought, life has not been all fun and games at our house. Not only are we running to the toilet ALL.THE.TIME, but the nights are long, hard and even brutal at times. It is not a surprise to you that M is a light sleeper. Well, a light sleeper who now knows what the urge to pee feels like is a deadly combination. The first night at bedtime left this mommy pleading with God for mercy after at least 30 (literal) trips to the bathroom. M cried PUSH and off we went. Yes, he was in a diaper. Yes, he refused to use it. After I had turned into a mess of tears I finally held M in the rocking chair and hummed him to sleep while he cried PUSH (“put” as he says it) over and over again.

I thought things couldn’t get worse than that. I VERY quickly decided he would not be drinking anything any where near bedtime and that we would be fine the next day. Well, a few days went by with some wake ups and night, but in general he wet while he slept and we were both OK with that. Then came the dreaded 1:00 am wake-up call. My son went to the bathroom and then proceeded to stay up for the day... yes, FOR THE DAY starting at 1:00am. To make matters worse he took a dreaded 20 minute “car nap” in the morning and didn’t take a real nap until 2:00pm. So, while he did train quickly we have still had to earn our potty training badge like the rest of the parents out there. Last night we were up from 3-4:30, which compared to some nights isn’t that bad... I guess.

The Funny!

~In M language poo means he has to pee and push means he has to poo. I have no clue how this happened, but it leads to some laughter.

~M has yelled POO in church, grocery stores, restaurants, other stores, nursing home, car, bus, friends houses... everywhere really.

~M LOVES to pull down his pants and doesn’t really understand that it isn’t OK to do this everywhere.

~M NEEDS (according to him) an audience to watch is bathroom progress. At home we have a photo of Brandon’s aunt and uncle’s dogs on the lookout. “Jo” (who I guess is his favorite) is the main bathroom observer.

~When we are not at home finding an audience is harder, esp in public bathrooms. He truly wants everyone in the bathroom to come in our stall and listen and clap for him. This is not happening so we are creative. He has had the plunger watch him and more frequently the toilet paper holder. Hey, if it works... it works!

~After one day who no poo we decided to give him a little bit of fruit leather for a poo or rather a “put” :) He now thinks he needs a “big piece” and tries to negotiate with us at times. Most times he forgets about the treats which we are thankful for.

~ M loves to run around the house in only a shirt... typical boy... so if you come knocking at our door, be prepared.

Home in Heaven

December 1st our wonderful friend Jack Keller finished the race on earth and was welcomed Home to Heaven by our King Jesus! I have wondered what to say in this post for a long time. Nothing has come to me, so I think it is best to share links for you. Click HERE to go to the Keller blog posts. Click HERE to view the memorial message.

I beg of you praying friends to lift up dear Sarah and the Keller family in these hard days... and hard hours. If you don’t know what to pray just as the Holy Spirit to intercede for you. May God continue to receive Glory through the legacy of Jack Keller!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

post surgery

M had surgery a few weeks ago. He is recovering well now. The first 24 hours after the surgery were very rough. This is NOT a stellar photo of me, but it really does capture the day well. Well, OK it captures the best part (napping) of the day well. We didn't take any photos of him screaming etc. :)

This photo could be entitled: Who are this child's parents? I find it almost comical how many crazy things are happening in this photo. 1. Our child's diaper has drawings on it. To humor our sad little man post-op we drew cute pics on his diapers. 2. He is in PJ's in the middle of the day... again a post-op treat. 3. He is 2.25 and giving himself a what? Yep, a bottle. While I am not ashamed to admit we do still do bottles. We recognize they are for the attachment process and M does not often give himself a bottle while being changed. Usually we are cozy in the rocker. 4. I am sure there are many more that all of you notice. Please know that we are NOT perfect parents. We love our son deeply.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time in the City!

After moving north 2 years ago, we were thrilled when we were given the opportunity to speak at a Gift of Adoption breakfast in downtown Chicago. An added amazing blessing to our time there was getting to stay at the Hotel Intercontinental on Michigan Ave. for free! M LOVED looking out the window and watching the buses stop across the street. We all enjoyed our time there, though we realized that for better or worse we have gotten very comfortable in our small town and we were pretty happy to return. We were also able to spend some sweet time with "two sweet boys" and their family on our trip home. Such special memories! Here are some photos of our fun!

I wasn't that into taking photos. I wanted to see buses and eat Lara Bars. I was quite excited to see my first Christmas tree! I could see my face in the balls on the tree. The balls are not for playing, just for looking!

I still love me Ergo... and Mommy too!

Mommy and I were so tiny next to this tall building. Even Daddy looked tiny next to it!

This photo is a tribute to some of my special girls who love American Girl dolls. We did go in the store. Mommy and Daddy were very glad I am a boy when they saw the prices!

So they took tiny things (Legos) and made the "skyline" (a word he learned when we were there). It was pretty cool!

I had to reach back really far to get my favorite pieces. Obviously I was only interested in wheels. I am not really sure what all the other thing were in the bins.

Double BUS!!!!! (Some people informed is that the other side of the hotel faces the Lake. I am so thankful we didn't get that view. 1. Because now that it is winter we can see the Lake out our upstairs windows and 2. because clearly the buses are way cooler)

So this is what it looks like when...

So, this is what it looks like when I stick the cover of my water bottle in my mouth!

So this is what it looks like when I pose for a 2.25 year photo in the special photo chair!

So this is what it looks like when mommy tells me to do something (sit down for a photo) and I flash her a smile I know she can't refuse.

So this is what it looks like when mommy gives me a book to read so that I will sit for the photo shoot! That Lulu is so great isn't she?!

So this is what it looks like when I stand "upside down" and put a hat on my "bottom" :)

So this is what it looks like when I run around with hat over my eyes and I make mommy say "Where's my little boy?" (Check out the smile in this one, so beautiful)

So this it looks like when mommy wants to take a sentimental photo of me and daddy raking on the anniversary of when they first met me in Ethiopia!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Funny Man Photos

One night in our home M decided to turn his pants into a hat. We snapped several photos and wanted to share them with you because they capture his funny personality so well. He was laughing SO HARD during this episode. Such a sweet time!

Do you like my blue hat? Do you want one just like it?

I thought so!

Would you like to see a side angle?

I can fluff it up for you.

It provides full face coverage!

It is a winner!

And then it happened again...

The brown pants make a great hat too.

I feel like I look a little feminine here.

My Lion

An Actual Smile!

What we got when we told our lion to smile!

I know Halloween is a hotly debated topic among some Christians. I know and love people on both sides to the issue. I respect both camps as well. Check out this blog HERE and the corresponding links to see a bit of our perspective about Redeeming Halloween. Brandon and I did hand out candy to the kids that came to our door. M did trick or treat at 3 of our neighbor’s homes.

Our community holds trick-or treating on a Saturday afternoon so this happened 2 days before Halloween. It goes from 4:00-7:00 so no kids are out late at night. We turned our light off at 5:30 to eat dinner and wind down for the evening.

Trick-or-treating is the only night of the year when people who may never set foot in a church come to OUR door! When we greet them and talk with them and smile and share candy and our sweet son’s conversation with them we become real people to them.

M is waiting with the stash for the first guest. No, he didn't raid it. He is actually eating a Lara Bar.

Watching and waiting for friends to stop over.

Taking our son across the street to trick-or-treat was very special. We were able to meet neighbors that keep to themselves and really don’t want to have anything to do with us. When they saw our cute little lion I am pretty sure he melted hearts. We now know more of our neighbors names and they know ours. They know that we are not scary... and we know that they are friendly as well. What a blessing and gift.

The first of the 3 houses we visited. M gave the candy right back to the banana woman :) He eventually took it and daddy enjoyed it!

Fargo/Farm Fotos

Here are some photos of our short visit to Fargo. While we spent most of the time with the Kellers we were able to do some other fun things as the photos show. I didn't get any photos of Mexican Village which is quite sad since their food is so delightful and their salsa is the best in the world. Enjoy!

These are my special friends Chuck and Ellen. I like to call Chuck "Gary" and mommy finally figured out why. He looks like my friend Gary who makes sure mommy's car is working. Chuck and Ellen are so much fun. I hope I get to see them again real soon. They run Old 52 General Store. It is SUPER cool so you all should check it out :)

This is my new buddy Dan. He was mommy's first little man. She learned a lot about little boys from her dates with Dan. I don't think Dan was ever as little as me.

This is Sarah and Dan. Sarah came home on an airplane just like me, but her airplane started in Guatemala and mine started in Ethiopia.

Sarah's hair had a fun handle to play with... so I did!

This is my buddy Aaron. He calls me Zachary, but that is cool. I don't mind.

There is one other brother at the Sabin Farm. For some reason we didn't get a photo of me with him. His name is Josh and he is so fun. He really likes me, I can tell. He played a special "up" and "down" game with the whole time we were there.

I love to praise the Lord at Salem E-Free Church in Fargo.

Climbing up the stairs at Salem Church was so much fun. Mommy got emotional because this is the spot where she married daddy. Also, under this platform is a HUGE bathtub and that is where mommy and daddy got baptized. I don't know what that means, but I think it is something good.

Mommy says I should say... I can't wait to go to Concordia College one day... GO Cobbers!

Mommy brought me to the store at her school...I got to wear this corn hat. Honestly, I was less than impressed.