Wednesday, September 30, 2015

National Night Out

Each August our county has a National Night Out in a neighboring community.  Our kids really enjoy going.  Everything there is free which is an added bonus.  There are bounce houses, emergency vehicles, kettle cars, rescue dogs, and free food!  We always run in to lots of friends.  This year was our first year without a stroller and boy did we miss it.  We stored all the free goods in it.  T insisted on wearing a full back pack and carrying an Easter basket.  This meant that in about two minutes we had to carry it for the night.  Live and learn!  Next year we are bringing a reusable grocery bag and not letting T carry anything in!  

T: I am ready for fun!  I have everything I could ever need... "just  and case." 

T: I love costume dogs!!!

T: Sure, I will sit in a rescue vehicle!

M: So, I think I could really be a police officer!

T: I loved the climbing things.  (They double as great OT)

T: Wheeeeeee!

T: This is a REAL fire fighter hat!

M: It was heavier than my fire hats!

T: Hey Doggie, I love you!  M: Are you sure this is a nice dog? 

T: Awww, he wants to sniff my hand. 

M: Yes, this is a very nice dog after all! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Future Fashionista T and more!

It feels like summer vacation was a long time ago.  In reality Summer ended just last week.  I guess that means this post is quite timely :)  All of these photos are from the four weeks of summer vacation after our MN trip.  The each really tell their own story. 

Just for fun, take a second look at this post and only focus on T's fancy wardrobe choices.  She has a fashion sense that is so far beyond my solid T-shirts and tennis shoes!  Oh how I love my daughter! 

Once Summer School was over the afternoons got pretty long for M.  M gave up naps (95% of the time) and T still needs naps.  This left us homebound.  We read at first, but I kept falling asleep.  Games and puzzles can be stressful.  M doesn't like Legos or really "playing" in general.  He loves sports and books!  I made a mistake and told M about TV.  Actually, I only told him about PBS.  It took one hot minute to create a TV addict.  Wow!  Thankfully now that he is in school, he watches no TV and very minimal video.  The photo below was going to be to capture them both staring at the TV.  M decided to add something to it that really fits perfectly with how screens affect him.

M: Maybe now she won't take my picture.  (haha, guess again!)

I mentioned making a big Plant Therapy order in my MN road trip post.  It was such an exciting day when all of the oils and the new diffuser arrived!  I must say that of the oils I got that day, the Kid Safe one for oder has gotten the most use!  We have some stinky shoe issues and the oil with baking soda really helps!

This is what a happy mail day looks like for Mommy!

Enough with the dramatic and boring, time to get to some more fun pictures.  M loves to bike.  T loves danger and adventure.  My heart soared when cautious M decided to bike down our stairs.  I knew it was safe and he did it so well.  I love that he sought this thrill for himself and mastered it without help!  Way to go M!

M: Going down stairs is fun! 

M: Almost down the stair!

M: Look at this action shot!
Sweet T is my little hoarder and my "project" queen.  She LOVES projects.  We recently set up some desks for each of the kids to do projects, but I am not surprised a bit that she prefers the floor in every room of the house instead.  She loves to cut scrap paper into 100's of pieces and leave it all over.  She loves to draw on paper, walls, floors, tables etc.  She loves stickers! One day she made something that was pretty creative.

T: Look Dad, I made a bus! 

We love getting together with other adoptive families.  We were able to get together with this family twice this summer.  What a blessing for the moms to talk and the kids to play!  My kids thrive around big boys, so these kids are a recipe for joy for each of them! The photo below is the only one in the post where T is wearing an actual outfit of real clothes!

M and T:  Our friends came!!!!

T thinks garden snacking is the best.  Some kids might snack on cherry tomatoes, but not my T!  T loves chives and green onions.  Most days you can find her standing by the plants munching.  Sometimes she is sneaky, but her breath always gives her away!

T: These chives would be just the thing!
T: Sure I will smile for you! 

T: Now I really must get back to eating! 

One night our dear friends and neighbors came over for dinner.  The brought some amazing food to share, and some very special after dinner entertainment.  They got a fun rocket launcher thing and the kids were thrilled to try it!  T had a hard time getting enough power to launch the  rocket off the stand.  She got some help and figured it out.  So much fun!

T: Hey, nothing is happening! 

T: Wade had to help me a little. 

M:  I am powerful!!!
M: It was just a blur in the air! 
This summer we had to say good-bye to some great neighbors.  M and T really really loved playing with twins M and L.  They lived very close to us and were the topic of much conversation, thought and play.  The boys were so much fun for both of our kids to play with.  We are excited for their new adventures, but our kids sure do miss them.

M: M and L are great buddies!!! 

We got another bag of wonderfulness (hand me downs) this summer.  T could not contain her joy.  She tried on about half the contents of the bag in the first hour.  The swimming suit in the photo is currently one of her favorite clothing items.  I would guess she is wearing it in her bed right now.  She loves the ruffles.  She loves the material.  She loves the amount of exposed skin.  This girl...

T: Thanks for the awesome clothes C!
I decided to take a picture of a somewhat typical family room by mid-day in the summer.  M loves order and structure.  T LOVES messes, hoarding, dumping, noise, and clutter.  She wins most days.   I am so thankful for baskets and organization so that everything can be very quickly picked up!

Any day in our home! 

T thrives on wearing random clothes that don't match at all.  This picture looks sort of like a "That's Funny" page in the High Five magazine.  She is wearing a fire fighter suit without pants (probably has the swimming suit on under it), two non-matching dress-up shoes, one adult glove and her tutu doggie purse!
T: I am ready to go to the park! 

The tomatoes are looking good!  

I saved the best for last! One Sunday morning this is what T insisted on wearing/bringing to church.  She is wearing a tutu, infant sun hat and non matching dress-up shoes. She is bringing a picnic cooler filled with things she "needs," her doggie purse and a big stuffed cat!  I am so glad Brandon was right by the door to capture this photo.  I am also thankful for the amazing nursery staff that playfully got her to put on real clothes before the service was over!

T: I am ready for church mom! 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Celebrating Six!

After celebrating M's Birthday in Missouri and Minnesota AND having a Birthday trip to an amusement park you might have thought we were were "Birthday-ed out."  If you thought this, you would be wrong!  We still saved some very special things for the actual Birthday!  This year M's Birthday was on a Saturday.  That meant that Brandon was home in the morning so we could all spend time together.  

M opened his presents first thing in the morning.  Actually he opened six gifts.  He and T also got to open small gifts (because it was her half Birthday) later in the morning.  We have learned that separating the kids during the gift opening is crucial to the Birthday kid having joy and the non-Birthday kid not having a total break down.  Because our kids are six months apart we do some small half Birthday gifts for the sibling which usually match up with a few smaller Birthday gifts for the other.  They open them together so they get the feeling of seeing the other person open gifts and they get to be excited for the other person.  

M was up early for days before his Birthday.  We were all glad when the day was finally here! I didn't include pictures of every gift because you all get the idea, right?

M: Is is finally time to open the presents? 

Brandon's parents sent a gift in the mail.  M continues to love this gift and his teeth look better than ever!  I am not joking, they really do!
M: A race car automatic tooth brush!  Yes!!!

M: Can I try it right now? 
I am a pretty practical gift giver so there were new shorts and pants for school to be opened.  I guess the 5T pants are a bit long!  What are we going to do when winter comes?  The 4T pants are looking pretty short.  I guess he will be rolling the waist line.

M:  Mom, these are sporty, but they are SO BIG! 
I remember when I was about M's age I received a tape player of my very own.  I was so excited about it.  This summer while we were visiting Brandon's family we got to look through some of Grandma R's things.  We saw the CD player and knew that M would love it!  We hid it until his Birthday and he was SO THRILLED to open it!

M: Is it really for ME? 
Grandma R was the biggest Cardinal's fan I know!  She listened to many games on that very CD player.  We found it funny and special that M was wearing his Cards shirt and holding the CD player!
M: Can I try it out? 
M: How many pictures are you going to take? 

Why yes, he did stop opening presents to check it out.  Even though he had a big one to open!

M: It really works.  I can listen to the radio too! 

Those who know me know that most of my children's gifts double as some sort of therapy or bonding tool.  This was the case with M's big gift this year.  We got him a punching bag and real boxing gloves.  We need to rig something up to hang it.  We are currently using the same hook as the platform swing and the kids want/need the swing more and I can't lift the bag to hang it so it really hasn't been used much at all.  We wanted to provide an opportunity for M to get out some aggression.  Brandon has gloves too so it doubles as a bonding opportunity for them.

M: What is it? 

M: Whoa, there are big! 

M: I feel like a tough guy now! 

And then the presents were over and T was not yet awake.  M knew just what he wanted to do, sit and listen to his music.  It was so sweet and very therapeutic for him.

M: This is so cool!

M: I have a lot to think about now, since I am six! 
Finally T woke up an I went to the car to get the second stash of gifts!  First they opened cards!

M and T: What does it say? 

Then they opened gifts.  They both received Animal Crackers.  This was the first time M had them and he was so very excited to try them!

M: I can't believe I can eat these!

M: Hey, these are really good! 

Silly String wrapped in bubble wrap!!!
T needed a larger back pack for school.  I spotted this one and knew my little Princess would love it!  I was correct!!

T: Thank you Mommy and Daddy!  I LOVE IT!!!!!
After gifts it was time for the Big Day silly string war.  This has become a Birthday and Christmas tradition... and I am sad to report the tradition is going to die.  It is such a mess to clean up on clothes and really every where so these photos were the final hurrah!

M: I am finally starting to figure this out! 

T: Thanks for helping me Mommy! 

M: I am going to get you!

After the silly string battle M went upstairs to change clothes.  Yes, his special outfit he saved for his Birthday only lasted until 9:00am.  I will say it washed well and all is fine now! We were pretty surprised to see what M came down in!

M: Thanks for my new Ethiopian outfit!  I love it! 

They needed one last swing before the punching bag could be tried!

M decided that he better not get his special clothes dirty so he went upstairs for wardrobe number three!  He opted for another Ethiopian outfit.  We have friends who were missionaries in ET and brought home lots of clothes for us to give to M through the years.  He was thrilled with this sporty shirt.  He has already outgrown it, but it looked great on him that day!

M: Here I go!

M: This is pretty hard to it. 

We heard a knock at the back door and were excited to see that one of M's best friends came over with a card!
So sweet!

Great buddies! 

The kids received fun band-aids as a gift.  M will make his supply last a long time, T, not so much.  She decided the door needed a pretty band-aid shortly after opening them.  The package is now hidden from T so we can use it on real or fake ouches on her actual skin.

T: I have my back pack ready for school and the door is all fixed up too! 

Each year at our Adoption fundraiser we bid on a family pass to a local Children's Museum.  This year we saved our pass all year to be used for M's Birthday.  The kids and I have gone a few times before, but this was Brandon's first time.  The kids were both very excited to show him around.  There were some new things there this time.  I was a little freaked out by the bees, but it was fascinating.

M: It was cool to watch the bees at work!

T: That will be $47 please! 
Each time we go we are given a little reflective card that allows different things to work/move in the museum.  The kids have never been that into it, but now that M turned six he was very into the card! The circus/carnival thing is very impressive!

M: This is really something for a six year old! 
M couldn't wait to get all the way up to the 4th floor to show Brandon the firetruck!

M: Let me turn on the flashing lights! 

M: Fire Fighter M at your service!

M: It take a lot of concentration to drive this big guy! 

M: Hey Dad, I got a big one! 

M: I don't think I want to try a real tight rope! 

T: I need just a few more things for my cart!

T: Hmm, is this on sale? 

T: Daddy, I caught it!  (She was really trying to catch them)

T: I can drive this fire truck too! 

T: The hat didn't want to stay on.  

The cutest fire fighter around! 


A Birthday boy and his dad! 

T: Aww man, I can't catch anything. 

M: I am really up high! 

At the end of our time in the museum the kids both got to choose a special prize since it was M's Birthday.  They both wanted the prize M chose.  T wasn't happy!

T: I wanted a puppy too!  WAHHHHHH!!!!

When we got home M decided to share another one of his dogs with T.  W were very impressed.  The both wanted omelets for lunch.  The helped make them and decided to wear their aprons.

Super Cute Kitchen Helpers!

Two egg crackers, very different techniques!
Brandon had to work in the afternoon, but M was in his glory.  I introduced him to TWO movies.  He watched and loved Sandlot and Mighty Ducks.  It turns out some behaviors were learned from MD that led to it being hidden.  M and I both enjoyed the cuddles and watching movies that I enjoyed as a little girl.  M loves all things sporty so he was happy!

We went to dinner at our favorite restaurant.  We didn't tell the kids we invited Curt and Deb their "local grand parents" to join us.  They spotted them as we were parking and invited them to join us!  It was so cute!  We feel so blessed to have Curt and Deb in our lives.  We were so glad they were able to celebrate with us!
M: Curt is eating here too! 

T: Deb loves my new (full) back pack! 

After dinner we all went back to our house for cake.  Curt and Deb brought presents for the kids which were quite a hit!

M: I love musical cards! 

T: I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE my new princess dress!!!!  (She wore it 36 hours straight)

T: It twirls really well! 

M: Hmmm, what could be in here? 

M: New shoes!  Let me test them out! 
M: They make me jump really high! 

I frosted the cake and M showed everyone his boxing moves!

M: This is fun! 

Two boxers! 
M wanted to two layer square cake with white frosting.  It isn't fancy, but it met his exact request!

Happy Boy! 

I sure love this boy!

We both love him! 

M: I really sucked in...

M: And then I BLEEEWWWW!
It was a lovely Birthday.  We stuck to a schedule.  We said yes a lot.  We were relaxed.  We kept surprises.  We are so very thankful for our dear M and it was a joy to celebrate his Birth with him.  I am so blessed to be the one he calls "mom!"

I will be writing a longer update post about M's life as a big six year old!  Stay tuned!