Friday, September 28, 2012

Visiting the PNP and the Library

Wednesday we had a really quick visit to the nurse practitioner for Gabe's 4 month check-up. His official stats are: 15 pounds - 6 ounces (58th percentile) and 27 inches, which is "off the charts" which basically means above the 95th percentile...I think he's somewhere around the 97th or 98th percentile. He certainly takes after his daddy. He's a healthy and strong little boy and we're so thankful for that.

After leaving the doctor's office, we headed to Costco. We passed by the toy's section and Wedly spotted a Mr. Potato Head. "Look Mommy! Mashed Potatoes!" he said. I'm pretty sure I walked around Costco for awhile with a goofy grin on my face. Kids are just too funny!

Today we made our first trip to the library (the Woodland branch). You gotta love the library. What a great thing for a community to have. It reminds me of a book I read this summer called "Gifted Hands," which is an auto-biography on Ben Carson (a neurosurgeon). He was raised in inner-city Detroit by his single-mother who worked multiple jobs to keep he and his brother clothed, fed and sheltered. At one point in his childhood, his mom told Ben and his brother that they could no longer watch TV, that instead they would visit the library on a weekly basis and read two books each week. She also required them to give her a book report on both those books. Through this he discovered that learning could be fun and he went from pretty much failing all of his classes, to eventually being at the top of his class. This love for learning eventually lead him to be one of the leading neurosurgeons in the world. (There's also a documentary on Netflix on Ben Carson, which is good!) It's pretty neat that books are available and free for basically anyone's use. And Wedly really seemed to enjoy his time there. After an hour and a half, he still didn't want to leave. And we just happened to go at the time they have their storybook reading with the kids, so we joined in on the fun. Our friends Laurie and Angelika showed up too, so it was fun to see them. Along with having a few books read to them, they also had singing and did a craft. We picked up probably a dozen books, which wasn't quite enough, since we read through all but two of them as soon as we got home. I guess we'll have to head back there next week (oh darn!).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gabriel - 4 months

Today this little guy turned 4 months old.

Here's what going on with him.
-He is 15.6 pounds and 26 inches long.
-He continues to love to eat and is a very social eater, which slows the process down considerably, but I love it. He loves to smile at me and gets distracted very easily.
-Sleeping could be better for him, but we are working on it! Since labor day weekend, he has tended to sleep for 3 hours, then 2 hours, then wakes up every hour for the rest of the night. So usually he's asleep around 9, up at 12, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. I can't believe I'm not more tired than I am considering. I have the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and had started reading it back when he was first born, but the book basically said that until the baby is 3-4 months old, he'll pretty much sleep when he needs to sleep. So I put it down in favor of reading some adoption books. This past week I picked it back up and have been learning a lot. I'm not so much concerned for myself (thankfully I've been doing great despite all the interrupted sleep!), but I am wanting him to be getting the sleep he needs. The book states that one thing that can help a baby sleep better through the night is by making sure they sleep enough during the day. So, that's been our first plan of action. He's been doing pretty well with that. Because I've been having him sleep so much more during the day, I'm trying to be a lot more intentional when he is awake to spend good quality time with him. The advantage to him sleeping so much is that I have a lot more one-on-one time with Wedly.
-He has found his feet and loves to pull on them. They haven't made it into his mouth yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time. In general he's gotten much better with his hands. When I read, he is always trying to grab at the book
-He also loves to stand and has pretty strong legs.
-We always know when he's starting to get upset because he starts to cough. He has done this since he was a day old.
-We recently put up a Johnny Jump Up and he seems to enjoy it. He is pretty cute running around in circles. I'll have to post a video of it sometime. He also enjoys our stroller rides down the road.

-He definitely does not like to be left alone. Of course he loves being held, but on occasion does okay being laid down, so long as I am within his field of vision. If I walk away, it's not long before he's crying.
-He almost always wakes up happy. In the morning I'll hear him start to kick and will look over at him and am almost always rewarded with a big grin. Melts my heart every time and it makes waking up a joy.
-He is super vocal at times, but he has to be in just the right mood for it. Sometimes he'll talk tons, then he'll go a few days without "talking" at all. I love it when he does. You can just see him working so hard to get the different sounds out.
-He is starting to get a little bit ticklish on the ribs
-I've just pulled out some 6 month sized clothes, though he's got pretty short legs. Just today he wore some 0-3 month jeans.
-He likes to suck on his thumb.

That's all I can think of for now. He sure does bring a lot of joy into our lives. We love you Gabriel and are so grateful God gave us you!

Can you guess what I'm doing here, ha ha!

I had originally placed him in tummy-time on the little boppy, but he somehow he managed to make his way out of it and squirmed his way quite a distance. Sure look uncomfortable.

Reading with gramma.

A true Northwesterner

I think my little Haitian just became a true Northwesterner...I found him today with flip flops and socks. Oh my...

And who dressed this kid? We were headed on a walk down our road, so I grabbed a sweatshirt for him (which happened to be plaid). Then I noticed his shorts were also plaid. And he insisted on wearing his plaid hat. I had to grab a picture of his outfit. I must say, he makes it look good.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Preparing for the rainy season

We have been busy here at the Stuart household and life has been so good. It has been great being in our new home this past year, but there are tons of projects still to be done. Many of these projects are outdoor projects that are better done in nice weather, so we've been scrambling. I've been doing what I can with landscaping, which I love and Dan has mostly been working on filling up our woodshed with wood to keep us warm this winter. He's also been busy doing other smaller tasks like cleaning our chimney, putting a protecting sealer on the ends of the logs on our house, helping me with some of the bigger landscaping projects (like moving boulders) and many other things. It's been fun work, but we've definitely felt the pressure that the rains should be here soon and then some of these projects will be a lot more challenging. There is something satisfying about putting in a long day of hard work. To do lists can be depressing when nothing gets checked off, but oh-so-satisfying when they do.

working on the woodpile

The other project taking up my time has been canning applesauce. We have friends that have a small orchard. They are in the movie industry, so they are out of town right now down in LA and offered for us to come pick apples. We took them up on their offer and I've spent several days working on taking care of the apples.

This picture almost makes me tear up. Growing up my grandparents had several apple trees that I loved to climb. I'd grab the book I was currently reading, headout to their yard, climb a tree and get lost in my book. Those were great times. It was fun climbing in the branches of an apple tree again.

The loot.

Mom lended her expertise and helped out for a day. It was such fun.

Our friends also have a pear tree, so I picked a few to dry. My wonderful friend, Wendy, introduced me to dried pears (which happen to be best when just barely dried). I can't wait to take these on my next hiking trip! So, this picture is for my friend Wendy, who happens to be in Russia for the next year. Wish you were home, my friend, so we could go on a hike and enjoy this treat! Making these made me miss you all the more!


Boy was Sunday's sermon just perfect for me. We've been learning about complaining, which is something that has been on my heart this past year. I do not want to be a complainer...especially in regards to my kiddos. They are a huge blessing from God and the answer of many, many prayers. I don't want to follow in the Israelites footsteps and grumble all the way to the promised land. Based on the truth that God is always the same and never changes, grumbling in fact, angers him. So, as I've entered into parenthood, I've tried to be very conscious of not complaining, even though pregnancy and then taking care of an infant and toddler can occassionally be trying. Mostly I've done an okay job at not having a spirit of grumbling, but there is something else I need to be careful of now...not becoming self-righteous.

Sunday's sermon linked here: (from 9/16/12 entitled "Crying out Loud") was on what to do with the complainers in our life. Of course everybody complains some, but it would seem that some make it a lifestyle. As I've had a bit of a complainer in my life, I've wondered what I should do? Do I ignore it, avoid the person, do I approach the person and talk to them about it? It's easy to look down my nose and think that I'd never be like that. The scripture that the sermon was on was taken from Exodus 17 and was on those grumbling Israelites (tsk, tsk). The Israelites were constantly complaining as they wandered the desert and as I've read the account many times through my life, I always wonder why they never learned...why they always fell back into their old habit of complaining, of unbelief and desiring to go back to the good ol' days, the days when they were enslaved in Egypt. In this scripture we have a great example from Moses on what to do with those grumblers in our lives...we intercede for them and bring them to the Lord. Sounds pretty obvious, but when you see someone wasting their life away and hindering their friendships b/c of their attitude, it's hard to not do anything else. And of course, it's tempting to grumble about the grumbler! I need to do better at praying and trusting that the Lord can and will handle it. I also need to be ready to be a tool in God's hands, should he lead me to do something more. Our pastor also had us look at the situation from the Israelite's standpoint. Would I complain should I have to eat manna for 40 years? Yes, I'm sure I would. :( It never hurts to try and view things from someone else's perspective!

And here's a rabbit trail...the other thing I've been thinking about was the song we sang after the sermon, which was the Third Day song "Cry Out to Jesus". One of the lines of that song says "For the children around the world without a home, say a prayer tonight." There are so many children around the world that need a home, that need a family. I know personally how scary it can be to step out in faith to take in a child that needed a family and make them your own. These kids tend to have baggage and a lot of things they need to work through. They can be a lot of work and a huge challenge to care for. Yet, they need homes. If anyone has a reason to grumble, it's these abandoned children. Is adoption easy? Even in the best circumstance, it's not a cake walk (which in our case, really is about the best circumstance...he's awesome! But God never promised an easy life to those who follow him. And he did call ALL Christians to care for the fatherless. This doesn't mean adoption is for everyone, but I do believe that more Christians than do, should step out in faith to bring a child into their homes to love and care for.

Anyway, this is just something that's been on my heart this week. It's was a good sermon and if you have a grumbler in your life, you should listen to the sermon too! I promise you'll be blessed by it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our li'l Conan O'Brien

Gabe was born with really long hair that naturally parts on the side (just measured it tonight and it's about 3.5 inches long!). Most days he gets a wave that reminds us of the Conan O'Brien hairstyle. I try to tame it down, but then he just looks like a grade school kid on picture day with a part and it slicked over to one side. Actually, after a good afternoon nap, tonight he looks like a mad professor with super crazy hair. I adore his hair, but it's getting long enough that I'm wondering if I should cut it soon. I just can't get myself to do it just yet, though.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kids Bible recommendation

We got this children's Bible for the boys and have just finished going through it as a family. For anyone looking for a good little kid's Bible, this one is amazing! There are two things I really love about it. First and most important, every story ends up talking about Jesus - from the account of creation, to the first century church and everything in between, it's all about Jesus. Second, even though it's meant for small kids, I as an adult thoroughly enjoyed it and was blessed by it. I found myself getting choked up with tears at times reading it. If you have small kids and are looking for a great book to go through together as a family, I highly recommend this one. I have a feeling we will read through it many, many times.

Friday, September 14, 2012

2 months with our little Wedly

This past weekend we hit our two month mark with Wedly. It seemed that during this second month, there were more emotional highs and lows than the first for both Wedly and I. Perhaps because Dan headed back to work, or maybe reality is setting in that this is our new normal, or maybe because he's getting comfortable enough to express how he is feeling, but whatever the reason, we've definitely seen a more emotional little boy this past month, which in turn makes me a bit more emotional. I'd still say he's doing extremely well, but considering all that he's gone through during his short life, he's got a lot of baggage to work through. When I look at all the changes he went through, it's hard to imagine how he can begin to trust that we will be there for him the rest of his life. He started out his life with his mom and dad, then after his mom passed away, his dad cared for him along with another relative while his dad was working. After his dad lost his job, he was sent to COTP where he lived in the orphanage. Then a little less than a year later he moved in with Nick and Nikki where he stayed for a little over a year before coming to us. That is a lot of changes in just 3 short years.

I think his favorite past-time is playing in the kitchen sink. I'd be willing to bet that he'd spend the majority of his day there washing dishes and playing in the water if I let him. I actually have to be sneaky about washing dishes, if I want to get them done quickly and without a mess b/c otherwise if he sees me there, he wants to be right there helping. For the most part, I enjoy the company, even if it really makes the job a little longer and harder, it's really fun to see him enjoying himself.

More and more I hear him at the piano playing and singing. If not the piano, he'll find a couple of sticks and start drumming while singing. He's picked up on a few of the worship songs we sing regularly and on our walk the other day it was pretty sweet hearing his voice sing "hallelujah." In the car he requests for music and if we turn it down so we can hear each other better, Wedly will yell out "more music, please!" Probably his favorite song is "We Like to Move it, Move it," from one of his favorite movies Madagascar. Dan will pull it up from the internet and he'll request it over and over again.

This might be typical for any three year old, but sometimes he's super independent and will say "Wedly do it!" when we try to help him with something, then a minute later he's asking for help with something we've seen him do by himself many times before. I think under normal circumstances, the goal is to get your child to become more and more independent, but we need to teach Wedly to depend on us, before he becomes independent. Sometimes this is hard to remember, though. It's just instinctual to want your child to grow and learn to do things on their own.

Language-wise, his vocabulary is really starting to sky-rocket, which is awesome. The only problem is, I was finally getting used to a lot of the words he'd use and was feeling like I could understand him, but all of a sudden I feel like I'm having to tell him fairly often, "I'm sorry, Wedly, but I just don't know what you are asking." after having him repeat himself a dozen times. I just have to tell myself that it'll come.

I try to go on walks with the kids several times a week. While I don't think Wedly loves our trips down the road, he tolerates them just fine and I've found the hour walk to be a great time for teaching Wedly. He spends the majority of the time singing, with his favorite songs being "ABC's" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children." We also work on counting, and other silly little things like the fact that Wedly, Daddy and Gabriel are boys and Mommy is a girl. We also work on memory verses, with our most recent being "Let us not grow tired of doing good" (though that's just part of a verse - I think he's finally got that one down, which is a big deal, since he really doesn't speak in sentences very often, especially longer sentences).

Here are a few cute things Wedly's done/said...
-Wedly was pretending to give me shots with our turkey baster. I said to him "Thank you, Dr. Wedly." He adamately said "No Doctor!" I said, "oh, Sorry!" To which he replied "Wedly Stuart!"
-Wedly was admiring my earrings. I told him "those are mommy's earrings," to which he replied "Wedly earings." Apparently he'd like his own!
-Wedly found his stuffed moose and said "Hi Moose! Hi Moose! How you doing, sweetie?" I guess I do call him Sweetie a lot. :)

That's all I can think of for now, on how our little man is doing. We sure are enjoying him...he brings a TON of laughter to our home.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Labor Day Weekend with the church

Every year since I was 5 years old, I've headed out to Fort Canby (now Cape Disappointment) to camp with our church. It is one of my favorite weekends of the whole year - I love the time spent with our friends from church. We were a little unsure how this year would go, since it would be our first time spending the night away from home with our boys, but it went GREAT! I was particularly concerned with how Wedly would do, but he is a pretty easy-going little guy and really seems to do well with whatever so long as Dan or I are there, so we decided to go ahead and give it a try, knowing we could bail early if needed. I think his favorite part of the weekend was riding his tricycle. He put some miles on that little bike and the enjoyment wasn't his alone...I think all our friends got a lot of amusement watching him pedal like mad in an effort to keep up with some of the other kids. It was pretty cute.

His first time in the Pacific Ocean...he got his feet wet, but wasn't interested in getting any further in. He much preferred playing in the sand.

And we got to celebrate Shaylee's birthday while there, which was fun!


Aliyah and Gabe!
This year I wasn't able to join in on the fun out in the ocean, but it was still fun watching everyone else. This is the second year in a row of awesome weather (Thank you God!) and last year we also were able to boogie board every day. I was a little sad to miss out, but was glad Dan was able to join in for one of the days of fun.

Wedly playing with a few of his new friends!


I am already looking forward to next year!