Saturday, September 27, 2014

July Gems

This is quite a random posts of pictures from July.  I decided that since I already have 8 yes EIGHT blog posts in the works I needed to lump some photos together.  Enjoy this post and check back often as I hope to get back into posting now that all the photos have been uploaded to blogger!

This summer has been a summer of construction. While there have been many hassles associated with the roadwork and many naps ending early due to loud noises, there is something magical for little boys about construction.  Our neighborhood is full of little boys who are very much enjoying all of this action.  I should say that little girls like T enjoy it too, though her attention span for watching is very small compared to M.  She just has so many other things to do. M was lucky enough to sit in an excavator a couple of times.  This post shows one of this opportunities. 
I can't believe I am really in a real excavator. 

Daddy and I are very impressed. 

Brandon's Uncle Rick and Aunt Claudia spent a week in our area this summer and they decided to stop by and visit us.  The kids were so excited to tour them around and spend time with them.  In case you didn't figure it out, Rick is Grandpa Tom's brother.  I think T was a bit confused at first since their appearance is so similar. 

Grandpa Tom's brother is nice!

A little higher Uncle Rick

I missed the "wear red" memo!

Everyone look, I am higher than Uncle Rick, and he is really tall.

Our little T is so creative and such a little lady.  She enjoys pretending to cook with all of the pots and pans.  She sings away as she stirs.  She also gave me the opportunity to wipe out a couple shelves without having to move anything aside. 

"Mommy, I make you some soup.  OK?"
She loves to dress up and go "shopping" in a different room of the house.  Usually her outfits are hard to walk in and don't stay on for long, but she sure enjoys putting them on.  Note the headband, she truly believes they are meant to go over eyes.  I have no idea why, but she is convinced!
"Bye, see you later.  I going shopping."

One beautiful Sunday afternoon we decided to go to a local county park and take the kids on a hike and enjoy the Lake.  It was a beautiful day and the kids did quite a bit of walking.

Umm T, we really need to get going.

M: Yeah, good running T. T: OK.

T: I found one.  M: Watch how far I can throw mom! 

Hmm which rocks should we throw next?

So sweet!

I can throw really far!

M: "Look what I just pulled out of your ear."  This game lasted quite some time!

This summer Brandon took the kids on many Monday bike rides.  They always stop at a park to play before the return trip.  Both kids enjoy the "wooden park" and all of the fun play things there.  All the photos in this section are from the same day.  You might have noticed T's wardrobe change... Sometime dirty diapers happen...

M: It feels like I am climbing a mountain.

M: T we need to work together to drive this thing.  T:  What? OK. 

T: Keep spinning!  M: Actually, I am good with this dad!

M:  Look, we are finding a way to play together!

T: I wondering if I should jump off this.

Simple every day moments that fill my heart with joy.  Brandon and the kids reading, T "sleeping" and reading in her baby's crib, M eating his first every bun, T riding in M's new school back pack... such sweet children.

Heart warming!

T: Drinking fake juice out of a toy bottle is so relaxing!

T: Babies!  My favit!

M: Mom, I am seriously going to eat this.  Are you sure I can eat this?

M: Can you help me put this on?  T: I go to school too?  (Is this a sign that I "wear" my children a lot?)

I am so thankful that my  "two sweet boys" from my nanny days and their incredible mom Katie were able to come and visit this summer.  They stayed over night and the kids LOVED playing with them.  M loved playing sports and T loved doing whatever they were doing.  I so enjoyed seeing the boys, who still seem so tiny in my mind, as big boys.  They were willing to help and eager to play with my kids.  It was a surreal thing to see them all together.  It was a blessing to be able to chat with Katie and of course eat lovely food too.  I am so thankful that we continue to stay connected to this special family. 

T: A is good at pushing me.

M: Wow, that is high!

M: I am so glad that E and A like to play baseball!

Everyone is ready!


T: My fend E, my favit!  Block towahs, my favit!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A BIG step for our big boy!

Today was a very big day for our family.  M had is very first day of "school." It went so very well.  He was excited and nervous when he woke up this morning at 4am.  He couldn't go back to sleep.  A bit rough on mama since I was up until 1am last night preparing things for today and being excited and nervous myself.

He was eager and willing to take a bath early this morning.  This is a huge praise because he usually isn't too excited to take baths.  He put on a new sporty shirt and was ready.  I read him several books about school and of course "The Kissing Hand" and he was getting excited.  He wasn't super hungry, but I reassured him that I usually ate a light breakfast my first day of school too.

It seemed like forever for him to wait for the bus... well of course, it was over FOUR hours since he woke up so early haha.  We got everything ready and took some pictures and then went outside to wait for the bus.  It was quite chilly at 8:00am so I think we will wait inside from now on.

M hopped right into the bus requesting a window seat.  There were two other kids on the bus.  That is the total number of riders.  The bus is just for the early childhood program so he almost has the bus to himself.  He is the last picked up and the first dropped off so he doesn't have to ride the bus anymore than he would riding in the van to school.  The blessing for me is that T is still sleeping and I don't have to wake her.  The blessing for M is that he gets to ride the bus.  He LOVES it.  He was so very excited to ride it!  One more blessing, busing for early childhood is FREE!

It was so surreal for me to watch the bus drive away.  I had such an empty feeling.  I knew this was the best option for our family, but I also couldn't believe I was sending him with a stranger to a new place.  I am so thankful for peace poured over me.  Brandon and I came inside and spent some time praying for our sweet son and for our sweet daughter.

The morning went quickly for me as I was at church working on some exciting things.  I kept wondering what M was doing.  When the bus came back down the street I couldn't wait to see the look on his face.  I didn't expect him to be SO EXCITED!  He was just glowing as he bounced off the bus.  He was so proud and so happy.

He teacher wrote a note saying that he had a great morning.  YAY M!!!!  We are so proud of him.  Through a series of open ended questions and a note home from the teacher we were able to learn much about the books he read, the art project he did, center time (which he thought was called "enter" time), and snack time.

He talked to three grandparents today and was so excited to share his joy with them.  Each one did a great job acting surprised to hear he started school and asking great questions to get him talking.  He is excited to go back tomorrow and we are excited with him.

T missed M this morning asking several times where he was.  Hopefully she will soon come to love this special time with mommy each morning.

So... that was the summary of M's first day, but I imagine you have a few questions.   Last year you might remember from THIS POST that we were doing Classical Conversations and you might wonder what led us to this big move.  So here is the rest of the story...

If you have followed this blog for the last year, you know about the trauma that entered about a year ago and never really left.  You know about our big trip to Colorado. You can read about what we took away from it HERE. One of the take away points I mentioned with early intervention. We knew that we needed some help.  Through prayer and godly wisdom we truly felt led to look into the early childhood program offered through the local school district.  We knew that the class was small (7 children and two teachers), that it was sort of its own program (housed in an elementary school, but following its own schedule), the teachers were incredible (lead teacher is a trans-racial adoptive mom), and the services (like sensory OT) could really help M to function in a classroom of any sort (home/CC/or school). 

 We quickly learned that the time to pursue early intervention is during the school year, not during the summer.  Our school district doesn't have any year around early childhood staff, so even though I made the initial call in early June, it took many weeks of talking to secretaries to even begin the referral process.  Once the referral process began we went through rounds of paperwork and interviews and then finally an IEP and the news that M was enrolled in the early childhood program.  This is week three for his peers, but week one for M.

M has a great team of school officials who truly support us as parents.  The district even ordered several Heather Forbes books!  Awesome!

Every child in the program is there for a reason.  M qualified under the emotional/behavioral umbrella.  Yes, they did need to give him a label, but to us he is just M.  A label does not define my incredible son, it just allows him access to services!  Even though the label doesn't define M, the definition of the label fits his current reality quite well. 

M will attend school 2.5 hours a day four days a week.  This time will be special for him and for T and me at home.  The trauma that T has experienced from M is not small at all.  She has many emotional wounds and physical fears.  She truly needs respite to become more emotionally stable.  We are praying that school for M will also bring healing for T.

This program ends at age 6 so this is a one year commitment.  Next year a LONG way off and we are confident that the Lord will guide us to the perfect option for M next year.  Our children are worth fighting for.  We will do everything we can to help them both to feel safe and loved and to learn how to be safe with their bodies.  I would be so happy to answer any questions you might have about all of this and to fill in the gaps on things I really don't want to write about here.

We are so very thrilled for this opportunity for our family and we thank God for M's teachers and therapists and the team of people who cares about our son and wants to see him succeed.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by such a grace filled loving community.  We pray that the school transition honeymoon is long and that M will learn much about following direction, taking turns, kind words, gentle touch,  grown ups coming back, and working in a team... and so much more. 

We were so proud of you today M.  We love you so much and we want you to know that Love Never Fails!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finding her voice

Our sweet baby T is now officially 2.5 years old... yes two AND A HALF!  She is reminding me daily that she is no longer a baby, but a growing big girl with all of her own ideas and with an ever growing vocabulary.  I can't believe how much she has grown in every way since turning two.

T is a talker!  Seriously, she loves to tell us exactly what she is thinking most of the time.  While in the van I might here something like, "There go bus, bye bye bus, look I see a dog, someone is running, convert-ble, my favit convert-ble,  a car carrier, BIG car carrier, my favorit."  This would be a one minute look into our car rides.  Some would call it annoying, but I call it lovely.  T has never been a car sleeper and now that she can talk it is obvious why.  She is taking it ALL in and probably wanted to tell us about everything.  She can finally use her voice to say all that she is seeing.  Every day we see her vocabulary grow.  After months of saying "guun" for "Thank You" the real words are finally coming.  A couple of weeks ago she transitioned from saying "Wa-we-ay" to "Wader"  almost "Water!"

This summer she went from calling herself "Tay-Tay" to "Ti-yah" which I am actually not sure is better since she says it in a way that often sounds like how she says her brother's name causing me much confusion  They are "Ti-yah" and "Ki-yah".  I didn't know our children has such similar names.  :) This week she transitioned to "Kias" for M some of the time which really helps.

I made a list of a few things she was saying on July 2nd and I am now blown away because she has come so far in her expressions from just two months ago.  In July she was saying "Okey-Dokey" "Gom-ma and Gompa" (she can now say both grandparents names perfectly), "How bout?"  (This was her way of suggesting something new to do and she said it all the time.), "Maybe?"  (another way to suggest something she wants), "Tay-Tay do" and "Did It!!!"  (She loves to do things all by herself)

She loves to say "Fine?" or That Fine?"  when she is asking if it is OK to do something, but what she REALLY loves to do is tell me, "Daddy told fine" and tell Brandon "Mommy told fine."  Sometimes we actually really did tell her something was fine, but usually she is just making this up.

She likes to use big words and fun words.  "Act-chea" (actually) and "Mem-ba" (remember) are used all the time.  She also says many many things each day are "my favit."  Sometimes when they fit, something when they don't.  So cute.

She repeats phrases which can sometimes be darling and sometimes be embarrassing.  M would love nothing more than to get her to say "icky words" and he does his best... sigh.  Sometimes she can say the sweetest things, like after my grandpa died she said, "Ti-yah sad.  Great Grandpa ______ died.  Nice man. Good man."    

It is such a joy to hear all the things she has been thinking about for so long. 

Since we are talking about T I might as well tell you a bit more other parts of her growth!
She is getting taller and stronger.  Her 18 months pants will most likely be too small for her this winter.  She will be wearing 2T while still being two years old.  Wow!  She runs everywhere, but also jumps and spins all the time.  She can easily go up and down stairs.  What a huge blessing this is, to not have to worry about her on the stairs like I once did. 

She likes to color and mainly draws "big ovals."  She has gotten much better at coloring on paper rather than walls and floors!  She loves to be read to.  She likes to put herself in every page of every story.  She points to a girl and says "Ti-yah" and then points to every item on the page calling it hers.  This is sweet when it is just T and I reading, but you can imagine how big brother feels about this behavior.  She enjoying playing outside and being barefoot as much as possible.  No surface is painful for her tough little toes.  She doesn't mind dirt and pretends to swim in the sandbox getting sand all over.  On the other hand, she adores pretty dresses and fancy shoes.  She is a good mix of ultra girly and messy dirty.

She is a little mama for sure!!!  She can always be seen holding and caring for a baby.  She is so sweet with her pretend babies.  She also likes putting her stuffed bunny "Hoppy" (she named him) in her shirt.  We are not sure if she is pretending to be pregnant or if she just likes the feel.  She gives her babies bottles, rocks them, sings to them, puts them in their bed, takes them on walks, cooks them food etc.   She has a special doll "Baby" that she truly loves.  "Baby" and "Tired" (the tag blanket that she can't be without and that she also named" are essential for every activity.  This means there is nothing pretty about either of them, but they are perfectly lovely to T.  I feel they are a part of our family.  I was up half the night last week when we thought we lost Baby on a walk.  It turns out she was here all along.  I was so worried she would end up in someone trash because, well friends, she doesn't look to pretty these days. 

She likes to sing, though it sounds more chant-link than musical at this point. Tickles send her into fits of giggles.  She has an incredible laugh.  She appreciates humor and laughs a lot.  She enjoys being cuddled and rocked, but still NEEDS to be alone to fall asleep.  She likes her "T time" before falling asleep and lines up her crib animals and dolls (she is all about lining things up) and reads and plays until she falls asleep.  Her quality of sleep goes in cycles, and we celebrate the good seasons!

Her middle name is Grace and it fits her so well.  I have never known a child to extend grace in the way she does.  She is abounding in grace, esp for her brother.  She continues to have a deep empathy for anyone in need.  She will sprint across the playground to comfort a child who she thinks is sad.

*edited to add this paragraph and decided to add it here*  T says "Why?" many times a day.  We always make it a point to explain the reason for whatever she asks because she is learning all the time.  The funny thing is if you ask her "Why?" about something she will say, "cuz" and if you ask for more of an answer she will say, "Be-cuz."  I don't know where she got this idea, but it cracks me up... and sort of frustrates me because she often doesn't tell me why she is sad, or happy, or sticky :)

*another addition*  Did I forget to write about T's love for weeding?  She truly LOVES to weed. She is so delighted to go to a park with many weeds and pick for an hour.  She knows the difference between weeds and flowers and only picks weeds.  I am not joking about this friends.  She truly loves to weed.  Bless her heart!

She appreciates animals and doesn't have any fear of them.  Actually, she continues to have a deep adventure streak in her and she has very little fear of most things.  I am not sure if I have shared this here, but I once caught her winding up to jump down an entire flight of stairs.  What a little thrill seeker.

Just in case you wondered, she isn't an angel.  She has developed some bad habits.  She has a hard time keeping the sand in the sandbox.  Her favorite alternate spot is on her friend's heads... whole buckets of sand...  She likes to get her way!  She likes to SCREAM... LOUD!!!  She also has learned through big brother to hurt those who pose a threat.  Well, if it was a true threat this would actually be good practice... like if her life is in danger... BUT she actually will hit children invading her space, taking her toys, or just overwhelming her.  This makes it pretty hard for me to not watch her like a hawk in public.  Sadly at home when we have playdates with our best buds I get a little too relaxed.  Today our 11 month old buddy was it by a toy car and a flip flop.  I really hope this is a short phase.  

T, I am so glad to be your mom!  You are an incredible little girl!  You make me smile every day.  I can't wait to see what new thing you will learn tomorrow!  I love you!