Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oh, how I love Monday mornings!

No Sarcasm, seriously!  I know the general public is not a fan of Monday mornings.  I get that.  I respect that, but the fact is, I love them!  My love for them has a couple of facets.  I know every adoptive mama has a soft spot in her heart for Mondays.  With adoption agencies closed over the weekend, Mondays always bring hope of new news.  We are not currently in the midst of an adoption process. This does not mean I do not look at waiting child profiles every day occasionally, but I digress.

Brandon's day off is Monday.  It is delightful!  It is such a blessing to have a family day, and selfishly to have some "Shelly time" every once in a while.  To clarify, "Shelly time" before kids was me watching movies and filing my nails if I felt productive.  Now, "Shelly time" is usually cleaning, prepping dinner without kids, chopping up fruit and veggies etc.  BUT in the summer, "Shelly time" gets so much better!

We have a Burley Cart.  It is incredible.  I love it.  It is my standby stroller in cold weather, but the real reason we got it was for Daddy/kiddo bike trips. Brandon took M every week last summer and this year he has started to that T and M.  Oh friends, it is incredible.  This weary mama cozies up on the couch with coffee (OK 1/2 coffee and 1/2 almond milk) and her Bible and treasures time with Jesus and a cozy beverage.  Then I do get ready and prep dinner etc, but cooking alone is like therapy for me too!  Brandon gets a great work out and the kids love the bike trips.  I heard M yelling, "Yahoo! Daddy this is amazing" when they left last time.  It is a rare thing to find something that fills every person's love tank at one time. 

Brandon bikes on a bike path and the kids enjoy seeing other bikers and runners.  They also enjoy stopping on a big bridge and waving to trucks on the highway.  They usually get a few honks which is of course a highlight! Sometimes they venture over to the home of some dear friends.  Again it is win/win as they are gone longer and I can get more done, Brandon's legs get a rest, great fellowship happens, and the kids get to run and play.

After all the fresh air, running and playing there are great naps here.  Sometimes there is rest time for the whole family.  Bliss friends, bliss! Yes, I do love Mondays!

First time wearing a helmet.  This one is a little big!

T:  OK Daddy, I am ready for the adventure.

T: You mean I have to sit right next to him?  M: Aren't you excited T?

M: Daddy, you just bike.  T is in good hands! T: I don't know about this. 
M:  Hey Big Trucks, honk your horns!

T:  Hey, this is FUN!

Snack time at our friend's house.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend!

I am BACKKKK!!!!  I will be doing several posts in the next several weeks so stay tuned. We have more company coming so I can't promise every day, but I will try.  I decided to do the newest ones first so Memorial Day pictures wouldn't post in mid-June.  I realize this means that M and T will look younger in the following posts than this one, but not by too much.

Brandon's whole family came up for Memorial Day weekend.  Our house swelled from 4 to 10 for a few days and it was wonderful.  To hear the cousins laughing together and see the smiling faces of the grandparents makes the hard work worth it.  I should clarify that having them here wasn't really hard work, but dealing with whiny kids once they left was a bit of a challenge.

We hung out and ate way too much.  We went to the beach, a street fair, and church.  With four young kiddos who all have different sleep schedules, that was plenty to accomplish. 

*The photos are a bit out of order, but after many tries I got frustrated with blogger and called it good.  Seriously, did something change with the way you add photos recently?

T and A meeting for the first time.

The first morning cousins enjoying time at the "construckin site"
T: I love my new tunnel, thanks Nikky (and Camille)!
Family Band Practice!  T was too busy to participate.

You might not be able to tell, but they are all actually happy.

And then things started to fall apart when grandpa Tom ran out of knees to sit on.
 After naps the first full day they were here we headed down to the LAKE to play at the beach.  It was T's first time.  It was quite chilly, but I think we all had fun.  M was not interested in posing for photos with the grandparents, but we managed to get a few when he didn't realize it. 

Adrienne and A hunting for shells at the beach.

Hunting for shells becomes a family project.

T: Throw me up in the air again Daddy!

T: You want me to pose with a shovel?  I would rather just eat the sand.  M: I am not looking at the camera. 

Not exactly the magical photo they were hoping for.

As good as it gets! At least one generation is smiling.

M: Grandma Judy, you should through that stick all the way out to the boat (located about a mile from shore).

M: Why do you want us to throw those little rocks into the water Grandma Judy?

M: I found a rock to throw in Grandpa Tom.

M: Yes, I am sure that this is a good skipping stone.

M: I had to settle for this little guy, but he almost made it to the water.

T: I love the beach!

T: Mommy and I have to protect our fragile ears!

T: I want some sun glasses too!  She will rip them off faster than we can put them one and I can't seem to find the strap ones around... still searching)

T: Hey guys, I am going to throw this stick in!

Here I go towards the lake! (Yes, she would have walked right in)
A backed up view of the aftermath of the above photo.  She almost threw it into the water!

The following day we went downtown to a street fair, or "festival" as M called it. He has been talking about the dog in costume for weeks and finally we got to see it...

T:  Come a little closer dog, I want to pet you and lick you!  M:  Daddy, lets get out of here NOW!  (Later, M made daddy go back to find out if the dog was a boy or girl)
A and M got to go inside a real firetruck!

M:  I bet the people think we are really fire fighters.
M:  Which seat should I choose?
After wanting to jump in the bounce house SO BADLY the boys got a little shy with the big kids around.  M had a hard time standing up.

M: A, this isn't fun.  I think we should get out.  A minute later we recruited a big kid to carry M out and A followed behind him.

M:  I will race you home Grandpa Tom.

M and A:  We are great big brothers!  (A is hiding behind sister A)

Sweet cuddles with Aunt Adrienne!  The kids love her.  T warmed up to her so very quickly. 

T: Hi there!  (Isn't she stunning?)

T: I could climb on this box all night (and she did).  T: Everyone check out my Kawaii diaper.  Posh, isn't it?

T: I am so glad you are my cousin A!

T: No way, I am 15 months old... get out of here!  (Actually T, you have been 15 months for about a week.  Sorry that we forgot to take your photo on the right day)

T: Yes, folks this is what it takes to get me to smile... hey I am only 15 months old.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Still Here

I have not forgotten about the blog and I am eager to share many new photos with you soon.  I must tell you that poor T is already feeling the plight of not being first home.  She turned 15 months on the 16th and we have failed to take her "red chair" photos... we will get them... hopefully before she turns 16 months. 
A little update to hold you over...

We are living in a crazy reality right now.  We can finally compare apples to apples with M and T.  We met M when he was 15 months and a few days old, the same age T is now.  It is so strange to think about this, but I find my mind reflecting on it a lot right now.  Their weight is about the same.  Their sounds and vocab is about the same, but that is pretty much where it stops.  M was delayed in all areas.  T is right on track or advanced.  She has learned to jump.  To me that seems young.  Then again, I could be biased.  I should add that M has caught up to his peers and is now tracking right where he should be!

We have been enjoying a few spring like days here.  Yesterday was COLD with wind chills in the 30's.  Our walk was only about 2 blocks long.  I confess, I am sort of thankful for my whiny child because I was thinking it was cold too. 

T has been sleeping on her own in her room for a couple of weeks now.  M has been on his own for a few weeks.  Overall they are doing really well.  M wakes up every night.  Sometimes only twice.  T had a perfect solo sleeping record until last night.  She got a 4:30 wake up call from someone apparently.  She an Brandon had an early morning date until 6:00.  She then slept until I woke her (we had an appointment) at 8:40.   M's night terrors are doing MUCH better.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  We are so thankful for nights without his scary screams. 

We started a new method of tracking obedience.   So far it is working VERY well.  We are of course on day 2 haha.  We are praying that we can keep this up for 21 days to make a habit out of it.  I am not going to post the method until after that time in case it falls apart.

M is screaming... MOM... that is all for now!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A view from the other side

*Note T decided to chew on the plug for our good computer.  She got it wet enough to break it so we have ordered another one.  This means no photos updates for a while... sigh.

*Note part 2 This post starts off a little deeper and darker than most of my posts, but it ends with comedy when I give an account of my Mother's Day 2013.

Today is Mother's Day.  This is the day I DREADED every year while we battled infertility.  I would mope around the house.  I wouldn't touch a computer or turn on TV lest I be reminded of the day.  I couldn't bear going to church and as the years passed I began requesting that Brandon stay home with me as well.  I will never forget driving home from a long car trip on Mother's Day 2008 listening to Casting Crown's song "Praise You In The Storm"

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Every time I hear this song I am taken right back to those hard days.  I think this was the ONLY song I listened to for about 2 months that Spring. I had a daily commute of 25 minutes each way and this is seriously it.  I just kept repeating it. I felt like the whole world was pregnant and I had been left behind.  I needed to hear this song over and over to truly believe the words it contained.  It so so powerful to be honest with God, to wish that He would have stepped in and saved the day. My heart was so torn. I treasured the fact that He held all of my tears so perfectly.  He was (and is) my Help!

Brandon and I will never forget that season of waiting and longing.  I know today there are many women who didn't go to church, who didn't go on Facebook, who cried and longed and ended the day empty.  I was there.  It is so hard.  Dear readers, if Mother's Day was a horrible day for you, I pray that the words of the song above can minister to you in some way as they did to me (and still do).  I also pray that you have incredible moms or mom figures in your life that you can honor on this day.

During that season of sadness and longing I had this view of Mother's Day.  A day of great joy and relaxation and sweet children and kisses and cuddles and awe in God for the miracle of children.  

I am now experiencing Mother's Day from a different view.  The view of a mother and an adoptive mother.

I am a mom!  Thank you Lord for bearing with me as I cried out to you all those years.  Thank you for giving me two precious gifts that are more incredible than any plans I could have made.  Thank you for showing us PLAN A for our family growth and giving us a deep passion for adoption.  M and T are incredible and to think that I have the honor of parenting them is humbling.

I am an adoptive mom!  It is no secret to anyone that has met me and my sweet family that my babies met me in exotic places.  My children have birth moms.  Mother's Day has an added dimension when you consider the women who gave birth to my children.  Two brave women chose LIFE for my children.  Much can be said about birth moms or first moms or tummy mommies, but I know I am thankful for M and T's because without them, I would not be a mom.

Much emotion leading up to this day.  On top of it all T's dedication was today. So here is a little story of our last 24ish hours to keep it real and give you a smile.

The story starts last night...
(6:45) Brandon was downstairs with T while I was giving M a bath.  He came up to tell me that T had scratched him in the eye.  At first I didn't think too much about it, because he was not reacting as badly as he did on Christmas Eve 2011.
After M's bath (7:30) M and I got into the car to get Brandon an eye patch since he lent out the last patch.  Brandon attempted to get T to sleep.  After stopping at the closest place that was already closed for the night and a grocery store with no success we headed home.  I got M to sleep and Brandon was still battling T who has been having a horrible time falling asleep.
(8:45) I head to the SuperCenter because they have everything, right?  Yes, they did have an eye patch.  They also had almost no cashiers open and long lines filled with men and boys buying last minute gifts for their moms. 
(9:13) Home with the patch and a treat for my husband who had finally gotten T to sleep 3 minutes earlier.  Poor guy still had much work to do for Sunday.
(10:50) We are praying together and M wakes up.  Trip to the bathroom and rock back to sleep.
(11:05) Say goodnight to Brandon.
(1:00ish I can't remember the exact time) Brandon hands me T.  She is wide awake.  T and I have major girl time.  I pretend to sleep.  She pretends it is day time.  We play this for hours.
(3:47) I look at the clock and see this time as I finally lay her in the crib asleep.

So the day started off a little rough.  Overall it was an OK day.  It was a hard and crazy morning, but we made it.  Poor Brandon was in pain all day.  T and M both wanted me at bedtime.  There was much whining abounding.  We had tasty steaks for dinner and the kids and Brandon made me the greatest card ever!  My day was not filled with chocolate and bubble baths and perfect kiddos, but it was lovely because I got to spend it with lovely people.

This season of small children is something I SO LONGED FOR... and it is not easy.  I longed for something Hard. But... most things in life that are amazing are also hard at times.

Tonight as I stare at the computer screen way to tired to try to write anything that makes sense I feel incredible blessed.  I have an awesome mom, two wonderful grandmas, a great mother in law, and 2 kiddos home with me.

Oh Lord I praised you in the storm of longing and now I praise you in the daily storms of mommyhood.  Thank you for being a God who never changes! Thank you for M and T!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Big Helper!

M is a huge helper at our house.  He has ever so slowly embraced his role as the big brother and the oldest.  OK, well, maybe when he is well fed and well rested he has embraced this role, but we are making progress each week.  
Recently he has come into the room with me when T wakes up from her nap.  One day he climbed into the rocker and asked to hold her.  He cuddled with her and kissed her cheek and then began to sing Amazing Grace to her ever so softly.   Man I love this little guy.  He then got upset with me for smiling too much, but the moment was so sweet that my heart will always hold it dearly.  Each day after this he has tried to hold her, but she has not been as interested as the first day.  

A few days ago I was in the bathroom (attempting to be in and out quickly as always).  I left them both in the kitchen.  T was playing with recipe books and M was eating a snack.  I heard a scream and I knew that T had pinched her fingers in the drawer and they might be stuck in there.  I yelled for him to quickly open the door so her fingers would not be pinched.  He was so fast and ran to tell me he did it within seconds.  She was still screaming and I was going as fast as I could to get out there, but I told him to sing to her and he did.  I immediately heard Amazing Grace start and the crying stop.  I got out there seconds later and he was rubbing her back and singing sweetly.  I could not have done it without him.

The photos with this post are not quite as endearing as the words, but cute none the less.  

M:  This is a big job for me to do, but I am strong so it isn't hard.

M:  Maybe some day I will be as tall as this duster.

M: Big Brother will help you eat T.

M: I will always be here to help you T.

Monday, May 6, 2013

14 months old on April 16th

I realize that by the time this posts T will almost be 15 months, but I wanted to show you all her size at 14 months.  M has a hard with with T being the center of attention for anything.  You will notice he works hard to make this photo shoot as much about him as he can.

M:  This is how big I am when T is 14 months.  I am so big, right?

M: This is how big I am and how little T is. 

T:  I like this red chair. 

T: I would like to jump off this red chair

M: I like to look super pathetic whenever T gets to do something special.