Sunday, November 9, 2014

First day of school

All of the paperwork was in....

The backpack was packed....

A very excited little boy went to bed signing "School!  School!" and woke up Friday morning signing it over and over again....

Breakfast was eaten (reluctantly, haha), and we loaded up the car after a quick photo op:

Soon, soon, I hope to be able to show you his beautiful face!!

He had a blast and did really well, according to his teachers.  We stuck around for awhile after getting him settled in the classroom (there are observation windows, so we were able to see him without him seeing us and getting distracted), and he seemed to be loving it.   Right now, he's only going to be going two days a week while we fill the other days in with therapy sessions, but I think he's going to love every second of those two days!!!   Eventually, the goal will be to increase him to every day of the week.

I'm so proud of this little guy for being so fearless and rocking his first day of school here in the US!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

4 months home!

I can't believe it's been four months already!   It seems like just yesterday that this little guy was walking through the airport to meet us for the first time....but at the same time, it feels like he's always been here.  The transition has been so much better than I could have ever anticipated.   I'm so grateful for the quality of care and huge amounts of love he got in his home country - what that has done for him cannot adequately be described.  So very grateful!

Things are plugging along here, just like before.   School takes up the majority of our days, now that all of the three big boys are being homeschooled.   What little "free" time I have goes mostly toward playing with the rascals...or driving.  I do a lot of driving, it seems.   We've added to our "extras" curriculum this year and now are doing gymnastics, music lessons, co-op, and French class.   My driving time has drastically increased.   Theo seems to love it.  I've been working on preschool projects with him (mostly arts and crafts based), and he LOVES being with the other kids at all of these other activities/classes.   I have to admit, watching him with other kids is one of the highlights that I wasn't anticipating when we started this adoption process.   Other kids just gravitate toward him and he brings out such a soft, compassionate, "teacher" side to them that I haven't seen before in some of the kids, especially the young boys.  They adore him, and it shows!

He has one therapy evaluation left to go, and it's scheduled for Thursday morning.   After that, we should be able to put his plan together and move forward, and the goal for a start date for school is the first week of November.  Assuming we can get all of the therapists together before then, we should be able to start him at school a couple of days a week.   Our goal for right now is to do the classroom 2 days per week, and then some extra therapy sessions on the other three days.  Eventually, we will work up to 5 days a week in the classroom, with the therapy sessions being integrated into his daily schedule.   I'm not quite ready to take him to school that many days of the week yet (I think it's going to be harder on me to drop him off at school - even harder than it was with my other kids!!), so this is a good solution, we think.   I can't wait to see how he does, but I'm already dreading dropping him off and walking away!!   

I need to get back to daily life - Rascal #1 was "teaching" an art class to his brothers and it sounds like they're wrapping it up, but here are some recent snapshots!  

Theo LOVES taking pictures, and Baby Girl is a very willing model!

He also loves to help me in the kitchen - here he is, washing the lettuce for dinner one night

It's football season, and he learned VERY quickly that when there's a touchdown for our team, we celebrate!

We visit a local library weekly, and this series has quickly become his favourite

That's it for now, folks!  Hope everyone has a great day!  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

It's been awhile!

I'm sorry, y'all.  I'm a bad blogger, apparently.  There was a time in my life where I was able to blog on a very regular basis......but that time has come and gone, I guess!  

Things have gotten pretty crazy here, when it comes to filling our days.  Add that to the fact that I downgraded my cell phone back to a "dumb" phone, and I'm finding myself online less and less recently.   That's not necessarily a bad thing, I've discovered!  I've been having a LOT more fun with the kids - fun that I didn't even realize that I was missing by wasting it staring at a tiny glowing screen.   

...but it does mean that getting online to blog is a bit harder.  It takes a more concerted effort, I guess you could say!   Right now, the house is quiet, other than the sound of the bread machine getting tomorow's picnic lunch started, and the dryer and the washing machine helping me get caught up on chores.   I've got a hot cup of peppermint tea next to the computer, and I'm determined to give you all an update.   

It has been a busy month.   I mentioned in my last post that we had started schooling again.  We're a homeschooling family, and I basically just doubled my students.  Instead of just schooling Rascals 1 and 2....Rascal 3 joined the ranks as a kindergartener, and Theo is joining in with some preschool work and activities.   My days are pretty full with moving from one kid to another, while caring for Baby Girl.   Just schooling and trying to keep on top of the daily chores of feeding, clothing, and caring for a young, larger family takes up the majority of our days.  

That being said, life is settling into our "new normal" much more quickly than we had anticipated.   A lot of that has to do with Baby Girl's temperament (she's a FANTASTIC baby - sleeps, eats, laughs.  She just loves attention and eats it up.   Considering that her big brothers are totally and completely in love with her....attention is never something that she's starving for) and Theo's adjustment into our family.   He seems to have been VERY well prepared by his foster family for the transition into our family.  I keep waiting for the "honeymoon" period to be over (as everyone has warned us would happen), but we're going on three months now, and......nothing.   He just seems to have fit seamlessly into our family, like he has always been here.   He and his siblings love each other (especially Baby Girl. She adores him), the three "big" things that I was worried about (language, bonding, and food) have all seemingly taken care of themselves.   He's picking up ASL incredibly quickly and his screaming (it's very common for kids with Down Syndrome to shout a lot - it's a very common way for them to express themselves.  Theo was/is no different) has drastically decreased.  He's starting to mimic our sounds, including very clearly saying "car" the other day, while signing it in ASL.   There are very few foods now that he turns his nose up at - he definitely has some favourites, but I'm not at all worried about his nutritional intake and diet variety.   He's less picky than some of his brothers!   Bonding is going extremely well - I (Heidi) am definitely his main source of comfort.   (I have to say, he's pretty much turning into a Mama's Boy.  I love our little man so much!).

We've started the long, busy process of doctor's appointments and therapy evaluations.   He's seen our family physician for a physical.   He's going to see a pediatric ophthalmologist this week.   He had his physical therapy evaluation last week.   Speech therapy, audiology, occupational therapy evaluations and a development evaluation are all within the next couple of weeks.  Once all of those happen and the reports are written up, we'll officially sit down and put together his education plan with the school that we have been working with.  It's a school specifically geared toward children with Down Syndrome, and we're really excited to get him started.   As hard as it will be for me to leave him at school (I think it's honestly going to be harder for me than it was for ANY of the other kids, I'm so attached to him, haha), he gets so happy and excited when we're there for appointments now that I really think he will thrive at this school.  

He seems to be growing in leaps and bounds recently.   He blows me away daily with the things he can do, or has learned to do even in the three short months that he's been home (his ASL use has really blown my mind, as well as his gross motor skills).  He's a comedian and everyone who meets him walks away with a smile on their face.    He has brought pure joy to our family in the past three months.   Watching other people interact with him (and fall in love with him) has been one of the highlights of our life recently - he brings so much laughter and love into a room.

I have to get going - the bread machine is waiting for me to finish the work (it was just doing the dough part for me....).    Here are a few snapshots from recent days:

He came home with a bunch of photo albums and picture books from various places/people in his home country.  He LOVES to get them out and look through them with us

Definitely a Mama's Boy.   Who loves to cuddle

He's definitely a comedian....and loves to play, dance, and sing.   This was a "concert" he put on in our living room the other morning
We've had to spend a bit of time at our old house over the past two weeks, meeting various contractors to complete projects before we close on the sale this coming week.  One nice thing about homeschooling - schoolwork can come with us!

Thank you all for helping to make this possible and for praying for him and us through the process.   Please keep us in your prayers as we continue transitioning into our "new normal", if you don't mind.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's the first week of school...

....and all through the house....

Okay, I was going to try and do a whole post in the rhythm of the Night Before Christmas, but,'s late and I used up all my creative energy planning and prepping for school this week!   Maybe next post.....

We did start full days of school here at the Circus this last week - we'd been doing half days (math and reading, really) for the past two weeks as a bit of a trial.  We are a homeschooling family, and with all of the changes in our home over the past few months, I wanted to kind of experiment with our schedule and routine to try and find the best fit for schooling with the new additions in the family!   By this past week, I felt confident enough to add in the rest of the subjects (to give you an idea, Rascal #1 studies 9 subjects, so there was quite a bit to work in!!) and start the school year.    It went well - even Theo had a blast with his little school routine.   I'm working with him on just preschool basics and motor skills, really.   We've got an appointment for evaluations at a local preschool that specializes in Down Syndrome, but that's not for another month, so until then, I'm doing what I can at home with him.   Our ultimate goal is to bring him home completely eventually, but for now, he needs the therapy options they can offer him integrated with his academics.  

Theo's settling in really well.  We had our first virus since he's come home (due to his medical history, illnesses will probably be a regular occurrence, although we're hoping his immune system will eventually re-build itself), so that kind of knocked us down for a few days.   He was a trooper, though, and didn't get as sick as I was expecting him to get.  Very grateful for that!  

This little boy has made our home so much happier - he's so much fun to have around.   He's picking up ASL like crazy, and communicating is really going well.  His receptive language is really good, so it's really just when he's trying to tell us something that we run into stumbling blocks.   Even then, though, as he's picking up the signs things are getting much easier.  

Bonding is still seeming to be going really well.  He's totally turning into a complete Mama's boy.  I think he knows that he melts my heart completely and is using it to his advantage, haha.  

Alright, tomorrow is a big day here with lots of things to do, so I need to sign off and get to work on preparing/packing our things!   One of these days, I'll write up all of the things I have swirling around in my brain about this experience and Theo himself, but for now.......will pictures suffice?  


It's blueberry season in Maine, so we took a field trip and picked just a few (10!!) pounds in a bout 20 minutes, haha

finger painting and enjoying the beautiful weather

He insisted that this was where his legs belonged today while we were enjoying the sunshine

Matching colours and practicing his fine motor skills (two-finger pinching/picking up)

He's decided the little dog (a puggle) is his new best friend.  The big dog (an Old English sheepdog) is still not allowed to get near him, although I caught him petting her earlier today, so we're making progress!
another school time project - he threads the pipe cleaners through the colander (and he also has large pony beads to thread on the pipe cleaner, they're just not in this picture)

Friday, August 22, 2014

A whirlwind of a week...

I mentioned in our last post that Mike had some vacation time last week - it wasn't a whole week of vacation, but two four-day weekends.   We didn't really have enough time to go do anything extravagant (and honestly, I don't think we'd want to, anyway - we're still adjusting to two new kiddos!), but summertime in Maine is an amazing time.   Every weekend, there are 2 or 3 different festivals or fairs or events going on that you can choose from.   There's a reason why it is known as "Vacationland."  ;)

Before I throw pictures of our adventures at you, I should give you a quick update of things here at home.   In a nutshell, they're great.  Busy busy busy.  But great.   Adding a toddler and a baby into the mix means that I'm pretty much on the go all day, every day, but it's a really good busy.   I'm really behind on emails and phone calls and blogging (sorry!), but I'll settle into a routine with those things soon enough.    Baby Girl is settling into a napping schedule, which will really help the way the household runs.   Theo, I've discovered, LOVES routine.   We do the same things in the same order every day, and he gets such a kick out of knowing exactly what is coming next and telling us that it needs to be done.  Little Man definitely likes being in charge!

Let's see, what other updates are there?   Theo has started mimicking my speech, so I think that as soon as we get can him into speech therapy, he's going to take off.  Last week, he pretty clearly told me "up" and "more" while signing the appropriate signs at the same time.   I was pretty happy to hear that!   Today, we had another big breakthrough when he finally used the correct ASL sign for "dog."  It doesn't sound like much, but he's not a fan of dogs and his main method of communicating with our dogs was to yell.   A lot.   Coming to me and signing "dog" was a huge step in communication!!

Alright, I need to get back to doing as many chores as possible while everyone is sleeping (ahh, the life of a mom.  Isn't it glamorous?? haha), so without any further is a Theo photo dump!

One of our stops over vacation - a hot air balloon festival.  The kids could go inside one of the balloons and play with beach balls.  Theo, our ball fanatic, LOVED it
One of the other festivals that we went to - the Maine Highland Games.   Theo seemed a bit confused, but had fun, just the same!
Another family fun night on vacation - tickets courtesy of the public library summer reading program and little boys who were VERY motivated to earn them by reading lots and lots this summer!

I caught the silly boy using the oven as a mirror and styling his hair with a comb while making dinner last night

I was putting stuff away in the bathroom cupboards while Rascal #1 took a bath.  Next thing I knew, Theo had climbed into the bathtub, fully clothed.  Little sneaky boy!  haha

Enjoying the sunshine with a little water painting

Monday, August 11, 2014

Theo meets the ocean....

...the Atlantic Ocean, that is.

Mike is on vacation for part of this week, so we decided to take a quick little trip to our favourite beach for a family picnic dinner tonight after the biggest rascals finished gymnastics practice.    It was a beautiful night - cool and sunny - and an amazing sunset.

I'd taken Theo to the beach twice before this, and he'd gradually warmed up to the idea of swimming in a lake or playing on the sand over the past two trips.   Tonight, however, he was ALLLLLLL over the idea of playing in the water or digging in the sand.   Little Man had a blast!  Here's the picture proof:

Finishing up his snack and surveying the scene

Venturing out to the water with his big brother

I'd LOVE to know what he's thinking at this moment.  Such a sweetie.

I gave Rascal #1 the camera and told him to have fun....this is what he came back with.  I love it!

Things are still going really well here - it feels like Theo has always been here!    It happened twice today where he echoed the English words I was speaking to him - I was shocked.   The words ("more" and "up") aren't sounds that I've heard him babble before.  He's signed the words to me in the past couple of weeks, but today was the first time he attempted to say the word along with the sign.   This little guy is brilliant, I'm telling you!

Love this little guy so much!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our little boy....

.....loves to help his big brothers...

We started school this week, at the request of the rascals.  Here's Theo helping his big brother with his math worksheet

... loves to be goofy....

Big Brother (rascal #1) was making us peanut butter cookies, and Theo was positive that the mixing bowl was a helmet in disguise

......loves doing projects and crafts....
Rainy day crafts:  making "stained glass windows"  (we've been stuck in this rainy pattern recently, so we've been doing LOTS of crafts the past week or so!)

The finished products.  Theo's are the heart and the "T"

.....and last but not fitting in just fine.  
Another rainy day activity:  camping in the living room and settling in with popcorn and a movie

Question for parents of little ones who need glasses - Theo snapped the nose piece off of his current pair of glasses.  I've glued it back together temporarily, until we can get in to see the eye doctor (the prescription he came home with is expired, so I'm not sure I can get another pair in without a visit).   I'm leaning toward ordering a pair of Tomato glasses for him, since he has a super flat bridge to his nose, but I haven't found anyone out there yet who has used them and can offer me a review.  Any of you readers out there have experience with this brand?   I'd love to hear about it!  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One month post-homecoming update

It's been exactly one month since Theo came home.   So much has happened in that month!!  We're supposed to have our one month post-placement visit tonight, but weather might dictate otherwise.  It's crazy hot and humid here in Maine, and there are some severe storms heading our way.   Our social worker has to drive over an hour to get to us and she's hesitant about being out on the road with those storms hitting.  I don't blame her - flash flooding is nothing to laugh at!   

I was going to update after our visit, but with that being up in the air, I thought I would take this minute to go ahead and update now.   Theo is doing fantastically well.  He seems to know that Mike and I are Mommy and Daddy - coming to us for comfort and any thing else he might need.   We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to bonding, of course (we have years to make up!!), but I'm incredibly grateful for the amount of ground we've been able to cover with our relationships already so far!  He LOVES his big brothers and no longer seems hesitant around his baby sister (picture proof below).  

He came home almost fully potty trained, and I'm happy to report that he has not really regressed on that front (yay!).   He's eating and sleeping wonderfully, except for food that isn't prepared at home (we only have eaten out once so far, but he wouldn't eat at the restaurant.  I've ordered take out a couple of times, but he hasn't really liked anything that I didn't prepare myself).  That's fine with me - we probably could use an excuse to shave going out to eat out of our budget!  

Mike has gone back to work, and Theo seems to have adjusted to that change well, too.  He's VERY happy to see Mike when he gets home, but he's totally comfortable with me during those work hours, too.   We'd worked out a back up plan for an extended stay at home for Mike if Theo needed it, but he really is adjusting so very well to our family.  He's a total gem, this little man of ours!!

We're all getting better at communicating, which is great.   Theo is quickly picking up ASL signs, to the point of being able to specify just what he wants to eat and drink (as opposed to just saying he was hungry or thirsty).   He really is an amazingly smart little boy!

We toured a local school last week for Theo.  They definitely have room for him, so now we're just trying to figure out the best way to go about arranging the different therapies that he'll need at that school (OT, PT, speech, for example).   There are two different options (through the school district or through our insurance), and we're trying to figure out the definite pros/cons of each.   We'd had a general idea before Theo came home (as we'd researched all of this during our preparation for him coming home), but now that we know his exact needs and abilities, we're able to get a better sense of what a typical day would look like for him.  (his evaluations and medical charts weren't able to be shared with us until he actually came home, so we just had a general idea of his abilities before that).   He LOVED the school, and we were really impressed with it, too.   The director herself met with us and walked through the different options and services available to Theo and he just loved her.   He had so much fun that he was asleep in his car seat before we even left the parking lot!!

The baby is stirring from her nap, so I need to wrap this up, but here is another round of pictures to enjoy!   Thank you for continuing to pray for us!!

He LOVES playing with water.  We go through about 4 clothing changes a day because he's constantly getting wet! 

Exploring the ocean with Papa and big brother

Playing with plastic cups while I make dinner

Giving baby sister a kiss

dueling cameras

Exploring the ocean with cousins and brothers

Family photo from last weekend at Church

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


We tried painting with water colours today while the baby was napping and the big boys were at gymnastics practice.  

To say he enjoyed it would be a bit of an understatement.  He LOVED it.   I had a whole other project prepped in case this one didn't work, and we never got to it.   That'll be tomorrow's fun!

Love this little guy so much!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

We scheduled our one month post-placement visit...'s in a little over a week.  And it's exactly one month from the date we picked Mike, Rascal #1, and Theo up at the airport.

I can't believe it will have been a month at that point!  It seems like time has gone by so quickly since Theo came home.  And yet, I honestly have a hard time believing it's "only" been a month - it feels like he's been here for years.   He seems to be adjusting really well and has bonded pretty quickly to me (Heidi) the most, it seems.   He's stopped preferring Mike and will go to us both pretty equally, at times turning to me more frequently, even.   I'm thinking he's more comfortable with females?   For a good chunk of his life (while he was in a hospital setting), his primary care givers were all female.  Even after that time, his school teachers (where he spent all day, 5 days a week) were female.   It's been an interesting process to watch.

Life has been hectic and absolutely crazy the past three weeks.  In addition to Theo's homecoming (which fell shortly on the heels of Little Girl's birth, remember.  She was exactly 1 month old on his "coming home" day), we moved into our new house.   We've been spending a lot of time unpacking and getting settled, more slowly than we've ever done before during a move.  My goal is to unpack two or three boxes a day during naptime, but to focus on the kids (especially Theo) during the rest of the day.   It's meant that things have been getting unpacked and homes found for them MUCH more slowly than ever before.   It also means that I haven't really had a chance to get on the computer to update you guys, or even respond to messages or emails.  I'm trying, but I'm embarrassingly behind!   The new house has been fantastic for us.  It's a ranch style house (there is a loft, but it's not part of the main house), so it's more accessible for Theo than our old house - there are very little stairs that he needs to climb on a regular basis.   The pool has been great for him - he loves it and it's a fun bonding experience for all of us.   It's an open floor plan for the main part of the house, so he can pretty much see all of us, no matter where he is.   We're also in a neighbourhood instead of in the middle of the woods, so we've been able to take lots of walks and play outside quite a bit (hardly any bugs!  Yay!).

We did take Theo (well, all the kids!) to our favourite lake for a "beach day" this week.  It's one of our favourite things to do during the summers, and since we live in Maine, there is no shortage of amazing lakes/oceans and beaches to go to!   He was a bit overwhelmed, and stuck pretty close to me in the sun tent, but did venture out to play in the sand and wade in the water briefly.    He didn't hate it, so I'm hoping that later this summer, we'll have a few more beach days to enjoy as a family!

We're also all picking up more and more ASL to help with communication.   This ASL browser is open on the computer pretty much all of the time, and we all have been going to look up more and more signs as we come across things that we want to express more easily.   Last night, Theo learned "ice cream," haha.   He thoroughly enjoyed it, too!  

As I said in this blog post, my three biggest concerns (food, language, bonding) seem to be progressing MUCH better than anticipated.   Honestly, our biggest struggle has been with the adjustment for the older three rascals.   I think while they *knew* that it would be different with basically a toddler in the house, it's been a bit of a shock to them as they realize just what that means.  Their biggest struggle has really been with playtime.   They're being pushed outside of their comfort zone with patience and communication as they try to adjust to having a little boy who wants to play with them but can't quite grasp the rules of the game that's being played, or a little boy who wants to "help" with the Lego building and accidentally breaks the creation in the process, or a little boy who wants to do everything that they do, but can't quite do it yet.   It's different than gradually adjusting to a new sibling - one who gradually gets into things and slowly starts wanting to play.   This was a "pulling-off-the-bandaid" kind of adjustment, and it's taking the older kids a bit of time to adjust.   They're already finding a balance (Legos are for Theo's naptime, for example), but the first few days that Theo really started to interact and not just shadow Mommy and/or Daddy were frustrating for the rascals.  It's good for them, though.  It's forcing them to think creatively ("How can I adjust this game so that Theo can also play?") and work on their patience.   These are skills that will drastically help them as adults, well, as kids even, really.

I need to get some chores done while both Theo and Little Girl are sleeping, so I should sign off now, but I'll leave you with some fun pictures from the past few days.   

Thank you holding us in prayer - please continue to as we continue our adjustment as a family of 7!

Fort building with moving boxes

goofing off

dry erase markers + sliding glass door = lots of fun!

Playdoh with big brother as we wait for dinner to cook

Music class with Mommy  ;)

Thinking about going in the lake - not quite sure yet

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy first Fourth of July, Little Man!

(I can't wait until his face can be shown to you guys!   Maybe next year...and maybe then Baby Girl won't sleep through the photo shoot!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Theo's been home for 10 days now...

....and we love him more than ever.   Little man is truly and completely awesome.   He's a fireball of energy, which means he fits right in with his big brothers.   We're having a lot of fun getting to know him (and him us), and the transition home has been smoother than we ever anticipated.   

My biggest fears when preparing to bring Theo home were food (would he eat what we normally eat?  If not, what WOULD he eat?!?), communication (was the language barrier going to be a huge hurdle?   Would we be able to know what was wrong or what he needed?), and bonding (more so for me - Heidi - than Mike, since I wasn't traveling to pick him up and would be starting a bit behind when he did finally get home).   I can honestly say that all three of these have been so much easier than I expected.

Food-wise, little man loves to eat.   Especially sweet things (mostly fruit, since we don't really keep any processed foods in the house.   Fresh fruits, though?  We have a lot of those, and he LOVES them).    We've only had him turn his nose up at things that are more of a "Mexican" flavour - anything with a taco/fajita seasoning to it he hasn't liked.    Everything else though?   He's loved it.   Some consistencies he's not a big fan of, but the times are few and far between when he turns his nose up at something that we are serving.

Language?   Let's just say Theo has no problems expressing himself, haha.   He signs some, which has been super helpful (I took ASL in college, and we've been able to piece together enough common signs or rudimentary signs to communicate pretty easily).   He's a VERY smart little boy, too, and I usually only have to show him a new sign once before he'll start using it on a regular basis.  (Today, I taught him "coffee" at breakfast.  I couldn't help myself, haha.   When I made a second cup after lunch to enjoy during his nap (my routine - drinking a second cup of coffee during naptime/quiet time), he pointed to my cup and repeated the coffee sign to me, unprovoked.   I'm telling you, this boy is SMART!).  

Bonding is going so much better than I expected.  For the first week, he pretty much stuck like glue to Mike (or Rascal #1 if he was around).   I worried that he wasn't going to trust me, or really bond to me.   This week, though, we've purposefully made it so that he and I are alone together quite a bit (we have a babysitter this summer who is coming and taking the other kids on field trips and doing things like the beach or the library or gymnastics....basically, places that we would do in normal circumstances), and he has to rely on me to meet his basic needs (food, comfort, things like that).    I can honestly say that I think I'm enjoying our one-on-one time as much as he appears to be.   I forgot how much fun it was to play with a toddler!   It's been a long time since I've had a little one that's Theo's age/ability, and I am thoroughly enjoying the simple things:  building block towers, playing with cars, playing dress up (he LOVES dress up...especially if I take pictures and then show him so he can see what he looks like!), singing goofy songs, playing with bubbles or with a water table.    Yesterday, he gave me a kiss, unprovoked, for the first time as I put him down for his afternoon nap.  It was a great moment!   Tonight, I ran out to the store to get a few things, and he greeted me at the back door (where the garage is), with a huge grin and a "HI!", and then followed me around, smiling and babbling, and literally holding on to my skirt as I put the groceries away.   I'm a happy mommy.  :)  He's very definitely warming up to me and recognizing me as Mommy, it feels like.    

This weekend is Theo's first Fourth of July in the United States.   The weather is supposed to be perfect.    I think we might take our whole gang to a parade and celebrate, finally, as a family of 7. 

God is so good.

He LOVES putting anything on his head.  Hat?  Yep.  Puzzle bucket?  Yep.  Mommy's hat?  Definitely yep.  A bedsheet, to wear as a cape?  Yep.   A toy storage basket?   Apparently yep.
Helping his big brothers put together a bird house to hang on our window.   His job was to read us the directions, and he took it VERY seriously,  haha

He was teaching me how to draw.  ;)
Playing "drums" with his big brother

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Checking in

Good morning, y'all.

Baby girl had me up at 5:30 this morning, so I thought I'd take the chance to update you while everyone is sleeping still.  It's been a bit tricky to get to a computer over the past week, so I figure I should probably take advantage of the opportunity - who knows when another one will arise!

Theo made it home (with Mike and Rascal #1) on Monday afternoon - we were pulling into our driveway at 2 pm.   He had a blast playing with his brothers that afternoon, showing us what toys he'd brought home and goofing off.

The next day, the circus began.   We were moving into our new house, about 20 minutes away.   At 9 am, the moving truck arrived, and we got to work.    A babysitter took the oldest kids to their gymnastics practice, and then came back to help me with the three younger ones (rascal #3, baby girl, and Theo).   We locked ourselves into the playroom while Mike and the movers loaded everything onto the moving truck - we thought about leaving and completely getting out of the way, but I wanted Theo to be able to "check in" with Mike as much as he needed to, since he'd already bonded quite a bit to Mike at this point.  

So, now we're in the new house and are slowly getting settled and unpacked.  Trying to take it easy and focus more on the kids and family than the moving boxes - that's hard for us!  Normally, we're completely (and I mean COMPLETELY - no boxes left at all) unpacked within days of moving.   Not so, this time.   Our focus has been playing and cuddling with the rascals, especially Theo.  

Settling in with Theo seems to be going well.  He had an amazing foster family in his country, so I'm expecting we'll hit a grieving period where he will be missing them and life with them.  This week, though, has been wonderful.   Poor little guy has been fighting off a cold, but other than that, he's happy and eating/drinking/sleeping/playing wonderfully.   He LOVES his big brothers, and has thoroughly enjoyed playing in our pool with all of them.  He's got a special bond to Rascal #1, but seems to be bonding with the other two just fine.

He is definitely more attached to Mike than to me, but I expected that after not traveling to his country to bring him home.  He prefers Mike over me, BUT he doesn't refuse me.   He'll let me care for him, play with him, and we've even had quite a few cuddling sessions.   I was worried about how he'd respond to me once coming home, and I can honestly say it's gone better than I anticipated.   We will get there....

Yesterday was our 11th wedding anniversary, and so we all went out for our first "family of 7" outing - ice cream at a local ice cream parlour.   I can honestly say that it may have been one of the most enjoyable anniversary celebrations ever - saying Theo "liked" ice cream might just be an understatement.   Every single bite was accompanied with a "MMMMMMM!!!" and a *huge* giggle and smile.   The rest of us could hardly finish our own ice creams because of all of the laughter.  

We are truly blessed.
Playing with water while Mommy makes dinner

Colouring at the ice cream parlour

A little early-morning tower building with brothers

Colouring during moving day

Enjoying the pool with Daddy