Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First Haircut

Gabriel has some interesting hair. He has hair all over his head, but so far, the only hair that has grown is his bangs. And they have gotten LONG! So, a few weeks ago I finally decided to give him a trim when it got below his eyes. It wasn't the easiest task in the world and I'm sure it'll only get more difficult in the months to come. I'm going to have to ask around for tips from other moms on how to keep their little ones still.

Monday, November 26, 2012

4+ months with Wedly and a happy half-birthday to Gabriel

Our little man Wedly just keeps getting bigger and bigger. He is using more sentences, some as long as 6-7 words long, which is awesome! A common sentence around here is "Mommy, Wedly do it!" and "Wedly did it!"  Although he typically doesn't say Wedly, he usually pronounces it "Ledy." The other day, Dan asked him if his name is Wedly or Ledy and Wedly said "Daddy, it's Wwwwwedly!" Then he gasped and said "Ledy did it!" One thing I love is that more and more he's been telling us what he wants and/or needs. Fits are a bit more common around here, but as our social worker has told us, this is a really good thing, because normal 3 years old throw the occasional fit when they don't get their way. They have opinions and if they are comfortable, are willing to voice their opinions. Sometimes loudly. So I try to grit my teeth and remember that his occassional fit is a good thing, even if it is frustrating.

He's been doing better eating-wise. He isn't quite as slow as he used to be (though he is still fairly slow) and is doing better with eating his vegetables. He went through a phase of getting really pouty during dinnertime until one of us would pull him into our lap. He still requests to sit in our lap at most meals, but asks for it more appropriately with his words. We try to accomodate as often as possible.

While getting ready for church on Sunday, Dan was upstairs getting Wedly some socks and he grabbed out some white socks. Wedly looked down at Dan's socks, which were black, and Wedly then asked for black socks too. He loves to mimic us in any way possible. In fact, he will no longer use his toddler toothpaste. Every night he points at our toothpaste and says "that one, daddy." So we have to be diligent to make sure he doesn't swallow it. He does a really good job, actually.

We have a little baseball bat and some really soft balls, which we have been using over the past month. He's actually pretty good at hiting it - probably hits it 50% of the time, depending on who is pitching (Dan's a little bit more accurate). What's interesting is he is definitely right handed when eating/drawing, but he typically hits the ball left-handed, though sometimes switches to his right. He also loves his blocks and color-coordinates things nicely. He loves for us to build him helicopters out of his legos and his favorite thing to build himself are semi-trucks.

About a week ago, he learned to draw a person. We got some paints and he was having me draw different people, then he picked up a paint brush, drew a circle and put two eyes and a mouth on it. He then proceeded to draw two sticks off it. When I asked him what they were, he said "hands, mommy!" His first official portrait was of his old preschool teacher Mateja. He loved her very much.

Helping Dan make Sunday morning French toast

Drawing out the Thanksgiving story

"Help mommy!" as he would say

Gabriel also has been growing like crazy. He is 28 1/4 inches long (95th percentile), 17 lbs-12 ounces (55 percentile). He is rolling and sitting really by himself pretty well, which is a development just in the last week or so. He went in for his 6 week appointment and was absolutely adorable with the pediatrician. He had big smiles for her and loved sitting on the exam table in front of the mirror.

I don't see any teeth poking through yet, but he loves chewing on anything and everything - toes, toys, you name it, he wants it in his mouth. We haven't started giving him baby food yet, but probably will in the next month since he's started showing a lot more interest in our eating. I have this feeling he's gonna love it.

He loves the sound of his voice and usually picks one word that he uses over and over for a stretch of a day or two. The last couple of days it's been "da da da da." before that he went through a period of growling,  a period of squealing, and several other different types of sounds. The sounds are getting more and more complex.

I think I need to get a few more toys for him. I only have I think 3 or 4 and he really seems to enjoy them. He plays with such intensity it makes me a little worried about the future and what his personality might be like! He still loves his Johnny Jump Up and enjoys sitting in his high chair with some toys.

His old man denture look. 

There are times where I wish I could go back and hold my little newborn Gabe, but in general, I'm finding that I enjoy my baby boy so much right now as he can interact more and is a bit more easy-going. Bath time, car rides, grocery trips, etc. are all a lot easier these days, which is wonderful!

I think his favorite person (outside of myself and Dan) is my sister. I don't know if it's because we sound and look similar, but she can almost always get some good giggles out of him. He oftentimes isn't super fond of other people, but he loves his auntie Heidi. That said, he's getting more familiar with his grandparents, as well. I left him in the nursery on Sunday and he apparently started getting fussy until his Grandma Kathy came and held him. He also usually has some sweet smiles for my mom and is almost always content with my dad holding him and walking him around.

I'm so thankful for my two little boys. They are certainly well loved by those around them!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

God knows when a sparrow falls and when a camera is lost

A week and a half ago we headed out for a few nights at the beach. It was such a fun trip (which I will post about soon), one I will probably remember forever, but it ended on a disappointing note when, on returning home, we realized we had forgotten our camera. And we were almost 100% sure we hadn't left it in the rental house, but had left it on the beach. I was so sad, I actually felt sick to my stomach. And I felt horrible because I had been the last one to take a picture on it. I had been taking pictures of Dan and Wedly wading in the ocean, had set it on the rocks close to our backpack, then had wandered to the car shortly after Dan and Wedly came up to pack things up and head back to the beach house. Dan grabbed the back pack, but didn't see the camera, so it was left.

We then headed back to the beach house where we cleaned up, packed up and headed home. At one point we noted that we weren't exactly sure where the camera was, but just figured we'd find it once we got home. Of course, that didn't happen. After realizing it was gone, I prayed that though it seemed impossible, perhaps could He help us get our camera back and if not, could he put it in the hands of someone else who could enjoy it rather than letting it end up ruined in the ocean. Getting it back seemed a long shot and Dan was such a comfort reminding me that it's just a thing and worrying about it solves nothing, so he told me over and over again, that it was okay, don't worry.

Fast forward about a week and Dan gets a call from our Pastor asking if we'd recently lost our camera. Apparently an elderly man, who has a beach home close to where we left it, had decided to head down to the beach for a quick walk. He wandered down, found our camera, and immediately upon finding it, it started to rain. He tucked it under his jacket and walked back home. He told us he really felt God led him to take that walk down to the beach. Anyway, we had no identifying information on the camera, so he spent the money to put a little blurb in the classifieds in the Oregonian, hoping that we might look there. Then he decided to dig a little deeper, asking his son to come over with his computer so they could look at our pictures on their computer. While there was no clues in the pictures as to how to contact us, strangely enough, there were two small word files on the picture card as well.  Dan isn't sure specifically where they came from, but likely from backing up some files in rebuilding a computer at church.  If you go in Microsoft Office documents you can see some details about the file.  In these files, there weren't a lot of details, but one that was filled in was "Company: Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene".  Having found this "clue", they looked up Ridgefield Nazarene Church and called our pastor asking if there was a family in his church with a little black boy and a little white baby. Well, it was pretty obvious who that was, so Pastor Brian called us and Dan was able to hook up with this couple to pick up our camera tonight!

When Dan knocked on the door, Irma (the wife) asked if he had brought his family with him. She seemed pretty disappointed when he told her he hadn't, so he pulled up Skype on his phone and called us.It took them a few minutes to figure out that they weren't looking at a video of us, but that it was live video phone call! What a joy it was to get to visit for awhile with this couple. They were super excited that after all their efforts, they were able to get the camera back to it's owners. Dave said he just wouldn't have felt right about keeping the camera and really, really was hoping to get it back to us. They were such a sweet couple, married for 59 years with 7 kids and I believe 19 grandkids, yet would love to keep in contact with us, either come to their house again in Portland, or next time we are down at the beach, give them a call to see if they are there and can get together.

It's funny how things work out sometimes. I felt sick over losing our camera, but now seeing how it all turned out, I'm so glad I got to live out this story.

And now for a few pictures... :o)

Dave and Irma

Skyping :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Happy Halloween

I can't believe that November has arrived! We've had a great October, so I thought I'd chronicle some of the festivities via pictures. But first, I thought I'd write a few of my thoughts on Halloween...I was just talking to Dan about this controversial (in some Christian circles) holiday and have been mulling it over in my mind to line up my thoughts because I enjoy the season and even the day of Halloween. I love the thought of celebrating the harvest and I imagine that as our kids get older and I actually have a garden (hopefully next year) there will be even more to celebrate in  this regard. A lot of work goes into raising a garden and then storing the harvest away for winter and I think it's awesome to set aside a day to celebrate what God has provided and all the work put into setting it aside. But as far as the actual day of Halloween goes, I really enjoy the community aspect of it. Though I didn't grow up in a typical neighborhood, we still went trick or treating and made our way down the road where we could quickly say hello and briefly catch up with neighbors that we otherwise seldom came in contact with. I love that for one night a year, you can wander from house to house and meet people you otherwise just aren't very likely to interact with. And let's face it, most people, Christians included, do a terrible job of being "neighborly" and building relationships with those who live closest to us. It's pretty sad. I also love that it's all about the kids (or it should be, anyway). There really is nothing in it for the adults, but to enjoy their children having a wonderful time. My mother-in-law, Kathy, has this massive dress-up bin (really it's almost a full room) full of dress-up clothes. This room is a favorite place of all the grandkids. They love to mix and match and come up with the craziest costume they can and then make their way downstairs to parade by the adults who ooh and ahh about their most recent selection. Halloween is a night where the kids have permission to take their favorite costume and show it off to the world. As far as the candy goes, of course it's not the greatest thing, but I figure one night of indulgence is fine. I like the idea of working out some sort of a trade with the candy (have them trade me their candy for say a new book, art supplies, or whatever might be most appealing to them), so maybe in the future I'll have that option for my kids.

Obviously the aspect I'm not fond of is the evil part (evil potentially being glorified). Next year I'll have to do a bit more research behind it all, but if I remember right, I think it does have some relation to the Christian "All Saints Day," which is November 1. With all the ghosts, goblins, vampires and witches that run around on Halloween, I'd like to hear how the current traditions came about. The nice thing is that we don't have to follow the traditions of the culture. I look forward to making our own traditions as a family...taking the good and fun cultural traditions (like pumpkin carving, fun costumes, etc) and hopefully adding a few of our own!

Okay, so first up, the pumpkin patch...We decided to head to the pumpkin farm of some of our friends from church. I was surprised to find how big of a production it was. I thought it would be a simple, head out into a muddy field and pick your pumpkin out, but they had the whole shebang with a hay maze, pumpkin sling shots, a hay ride, treats for sale, and other fun things. We had a great time there as a family. The rain poured down the entire day, except for the short time we were at the pumpkin patch when there were clear skies just above the farm. It was pretty amazing!



That night, we headed to a friends house to carve pumpkins and enjoy good company and a chili cook-off. Wedly said it best as we headed home that night..."Daddy, fun!" Thanks for the invite Nic and Mindy!

Finally, on Halloween night, we enjoyed our church's Harvest Festival. We did the cake walk and made our way to a couple of the booths, but once Wedly found the little bounce house, we stayed there the rest of the night. He was so stinkin' cute in his little giraffe costume, but he had to be HOT jumping around all night. This year, we borrowed costumes from my sister, since she had extra's lying around her house, but I imagine that in the years to come, we'll probably take on the task of making our own, either from thrift store finds or by other means. But for this year, the costumes we had for the boys were awesome! Wedly enjoyed every minute in his giraffe costume.

Trying on costumes with Auntie Heidi, Ben, Sam and Levi

The cutest little giraffe around!

A little help from daddy while miniature golfing.
Cake walk

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Officially the end of a season of my life

Earlier this week I handed in my letter of resignation at my work, so I am officially unemployed. It was harder than I thought it would be, though I know it was the right decision for us at this point. I'm still trying to process through it all. Every social worker/adoption worker we've talked to has advised us that if at all possible, I should stay home because it's such a critical time in Wedly's life as he learns that we are dependable and trustworthy and won't suddenly disappear from his life. So, while I was only working very minimally (basically one or two 12 hour shifts a week), we decided that for the next couple of years I would take a break from work altogether. I imagine that eventually I will go back to work part-time.

I've definitely never been all in one camp as far as whether a mom should work or stay home. I can see benefits to both. I look at the stay-at-home mom's and think that it's really awesome that they are able to spend this time with their kids, molding, shaping and helping their children grow into young men and women. Who else could do a better job than the one who loves them most? And there is an endless amount of 'work' to be done within a home. But then I really admire a lot of the mom's I know that work outside the home, knowing that they love their families just as much as those who are able to stay at home. And that returning to work was a difficult decision for them. While it is important for kids to feel valued and important, I don't think they should feel like the world revolves around them. I think there can be some great lessons a child can learn from watching their mom be committed to a job outside the home. All that to say, I don't think it's a black and white issue. Growing up, my mom worked as a nurse. When we were little, she worked one weekend a month. After we were in school, she worked a little more frequently, though I don't really remember how much. It was always strange to me that there was a major part of my mom's life that I wasn't a part of. But again, I think it was good for us kids to see her committment to our family in this different aspect (financially speaking) and also great for us to have the time solo with our dad. She was a GREAT role model for us!

I enjoyed my work (usually, anyway!) and I worked with some amazing women that I will miss a lot. I definitely won't miss the stress that came at times, nor the early mornings and long 12 hour shifts, often with only a 30 minute break! I was surprised to find that quitting my job was such a humbling experience. I guess I place some value on education and knowledge and being a nurse is a part of my identity, so it'll be strange to start responding to the question "What do you do?" with "I'm a mom." I'm proud of that fact and it's something I've waited for and prayed for, but it's still a change I'm going to have to get used to! As my husband so kindly reminded me, I'm still a nurse, I'm just not currently working. And of course I can always go back! But, for now, it's an honor and priviledge to get to stay home with these two li'l cuties! I don't take that lightly!