Monday, January 28, 2013

Funny Kid

The other day Wedly was sitting on my lap. He smells me and says "Mommy, you stink!" I'll admit, I was a little offended and embarrassed. So, I asked him "What do I smell like?" He replied "You smell like apples. I LIKE apples!" That made me feel better.

The next day, Wedly had a sticker of Winnie the Pooh on his hand and Dan asked him "Who's on your sticker?" To which Wedly replied, "Poop!" Seriously, whose idea was it to call him Winnie the Pooh?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

8 months!

4 months ago, I was telling my sister just how much I loved the age of 4 months. Her words were, "Just wait until 8 months (Levi was 8 months at the time)...8 months is THE best!" And here we are. Twice his lifetime later. And I must say, I have to agree with her - eight months is pretty awesome!

Gabe is now 29 1/4 inches long and 19.7 pounds. His weight gain has slowed down considerably despite starting him on solids.

He's moving around more and more. We recently got a new rug for our living room and it has really long hair (is that the right term?). Gabe really likes to grab onto the carpet to pull himself along, though sometimes he does the army crawl. He's also started pulling himself up as can be seen in this next picture. I walked into the kitchen to grab something and when I came back, he was standing at the train table. He looked stable enough for me to run back to the kitchen to grab our camera. Watch out Wedly, it won't be long before Gabe will be getting into all your possessions.

Don't mind the high-waters...It may be a common appearance on this boy!

As far as eating goes, he's tried sweet potatoes, peas, broccoli, oatmeal, rice cereal, kale (the only thing he's really NOT liked!), bananas, apples and avocado. His favorites are bananas, avocado and sweet potato. Next up to try is carrots, green beans and maybe white potatoes and squash.

It's been a nice couple of weeks with things slowing down. I've been working on a sleep schedule for him. Well, not a schedule so much as just trying to stay home where I can easily put him down for a good nap when he's tired. Today he took a 45 minute morning nap and a 3 hour afternoon nap, all in his crib! Next up is to try and work on his night sleeping. I just got the book "The No-Cry Sleep Sleep Solution" from the library. I'd like to get Gabe to sleep a little better at night, but just can't tolerate letting him cry it out. I hope that this book gives some good tips on getting him to sleep for longer stretches at night, without it ending with both of us bawling. :o)

Gabe's relationship with Wedly continues to grow. Just tonight Wedly was being goofy with Gabe, which resulted in lots of laughs from both of them. It's so fun to get Gabe to smile and laugh, but I think I might like it even more when I get to witness Wedly making him laugh.

He loves to give kisses to me. He grabs both sides of my face and comes at me with a wide open mouth. We'll just say it's something only a mother could love. If it was anyone besides him, I'd be pretty grossed out by the experience...

Happy boy!!

Hangin' with daddy in his office.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Another Christmas post.

Today I've been mulling over my last post regarding our Christmas. Specifically, I've been thinking about Wedly's response to the gift giving and my comment on how much we enjoyed his attitude towards all the gifts. I hope that didn't come off as critical towards other kids that do get wrapped up in all the excitement of receiving gifts. Part of me assumes that this is just a that Wedly just hasn't reached yet, but probably is coming. I don't think that a child's attitude toward the gifts is necessarily all selfishness. I think there is something so exciting in the anticipation towards what is hidden and unknown under the tree. I can see how easy it would be for a child to want to quickly toss aside what has been opened in anticipation for what else is under the tree. Who doesn't love a good surprise? Still, there is something so beautiful about a humble spirit - one that doesn't expect a lot and is willing to wait. So, I have a question for the those of you that read this blog. What can I do to help my children keep a humble spirit all the while knowing in their hearts just how wonderful they are?  I wonder, is Wedly’s attitude due in part to his experiences in an orphanage and foster home setting?

 This all brings to mind a conversation I had with our adoption coordinator prior to Wedly coming home about the long flight Dan would have to endure with a toddler. I had been talking to her about how I was a little nervous with how Wedly would do on such a long flight. It’s really a lot to ask of a 3 year old. She laughed and said, “Oh, Wedly will do just fine. I don’t know what we do to these kids once they come home, but if you tried to take him on a long flight 6 months after him coming home, he would probably be a terror. I don’t know what we do to our kids, but somehow our culture ruins them.” Now, I don’t think she really means “ruin.” Just that they grow a sense of entitlement that can be difficult to deal with in certain circumstances. I’ve certainly seen first hand this play out with Wedly. And it’s a good thing, even if it is frustrating at times. I want Wedly to know to the very core of his being, that his opinion counts and that he’s important. I want him to feel safe enough with us to be willing to let us know just how he feels about things. But I also want to teach him acceptable behavior. That we expect him to express his wants and needs in appropriate ways.

 Then on top of all this is the fact that above all, I want him to know the true meaning of Christmas. Sometimes I wish we could just do away with gift giving altogether, even though it is a lot of fun. It’s sad how much of the focus the gifts take. So, how do you mom’s deal with these issues? Any words of wisdom to a new mom?


Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas with the Stoeps!

As mentioned before, we celebrated with the Stuarts on the 23rd, which left us Christmas Eve to have with just our little family. Since all the Vander Stoep family would be celebrating at our house this year, we used Christmas Eve mostly to get ready for Christmas day, though we did let Wedly open one present. I loved having a day between celebrations to get rested and prepared...made for a stress-free, fun time for everyone involved. We started out the day with French toast, made by Dan. Wedly then opened his gift (a train table which we got off Craigs List). He played with it all day long, while we prepared for hosting. It turned out to be a real hit - he plays with it every single day.

Christmas Day was such a blast! We started our day with Dan and I getting up and ready before the kids woke up. Once they woke up, we had them open their stockings. 

 Most of the family showed up just before 9 am. We ate breakfast  (cinnamon rolls with yogurt/fruit/granola parfaits) and then opened presents. At the Stuart family Christmas, Wedly didn't really seem too caught up in the presents. He enjoyed opening his presents, but wasn't constantly asking for another present, which was SO nice. Then on Christmas morning, when he was opening up his stocking, almost every item he pulled out, he looked at me and said "Wedly's? That's Wedly's?" I kept telling him that yes, that toothbrush (or train, or gum, etc.) is yours! This made for a little bit of a change in him once the presents started coming out from under the tree later in the day. Whenever a new gift came out, he'd ask if it was for Wedly, though he didn't seem too worried about it when I'd tell him that no, that gift was not for him. Frankly, his attitude regarding everything made the day so much fun for Dan and I. He didn't just toss the gifts aside and ask for the next thing...he was excited about those things that he had already been given. It was such a joy to give him some new toys to play with, especially since he really doesn't have a lot of toys at this point. I hope that he is able to keep that same attitude in the years to come. 

Aunt Janis and Uncle Leroy

Oh, I love my mom!

After serenading everyone with a beautiful rendition of "Sisters." 

Auntie Charity

His first Professional haircut! It looks so much better than before!

Opening his Ukulele 

Halfway through the day, Gabe started throwing up. He got super pale (it's hard to imagine him being much more pale than he already is, but it happened!) and was so lifeless, he definitely was feeling pretty yucky. I felt pretty bad for him, though I enjoyed the extra snuggles, as this kid NEVER  just lays his head on my shoulder. He's always wiggling and moving around. 

Snuggles from gramma!

Watching Ben draw on his new easel. 

Aunt Marti showing Sam her Ukulele skills. 

Aunt Marti tells great secrets!

Nate and Heidi stayed the night on Christmas night. The boys wore themselves out playing together and Heidi and I went for a nice long walk the next morning and were able to have a legitimate lengthy, uninterrupted conversation for the first time in such a long time. She is my confidante and one I can always trust to give me good advice, even if it's not something that I want to hear...she has my very best in mind. It was so wonderful and is something that I know I will never forget. Actually, it brings to mind another Christmas back when we were in High School, when we took our 3 wheeler for a ride back on the logging roads all the way up to Davis Peak. It was one of those mornings that I will cherish always. It was a great way to end our Christmas season. 

Christmas with the Stuarts!

Christmas already seems like such a long time ago, so I need to write down what I remember before I forget. Our first Christmas as a family was so wonderful and was spread over quite a few days. First, on the Friday before Christmas, we headed out with Dan's brother, Joe and his family, to Zoo Lights. Wow, was it ever busy! Ordinarily that wouldn't have been ideal, but it turned out to be a great thing (at least in Wedly's opinion) because to accomodate the crowds, they had to use a parking lot a ways from the zoo and were running school buses as shuttles. Boy did Wedly love to ride in that school bus!! It may have been his favorite part! It was such a fun night, seeing the the Christmas lights, seeing a few animals, but mostly it was fun to hang out with Joe and Sunshine and kids. We sure do love those guys and just don't get to see them often enough. Here's a picture from the bus ride. 

We celebrated Christmas with the Stuarts on Sunday the 23rd. It was a fun, laid back kind of day with good food, good company and a few fun games of pinochle. 

Grandma kisses are the best!

We had a good laugh over our similar outfits!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A day in Portland

Playing catch-up here...Growing up, my family had a tradition of heading into Portland to do some Christmas shopping and just to enjoy the city during the holidays. This year we decided to continue on in that tradition with just our little family. We headed to the Lloyd Center where we hopped on the Max to head to the Saturday Market (I love the PSM!). We then headed to Pioneer Courthouse Square where we listened to the Tuba Christmas. It was a fun trip into town and as expected, Wedly's favorite part was riding the "train." 

Here are a few pictures from our day. 

The square was PACKED!!

Happy boy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

6 months with Wedly - My how times flies!!

6 months - half a it even possible?
While each month brings about remarkable change in Gabriel, the differences in a 3 year old are a bit more subtle, but certainly there none-the-less. Communication has continued to become more and more easy. He understands pretty much everything and comes up with new phrases all the time and his sentences are becoming longer as well. When I ask him what something is, he'll often say "I don't know what it is!" A six word sentence is HUGE for him. It was just a few months ago that he was mostly just repeating what we said to him and had a limit of 2 word phrases. He is better able to tell me what his needs are and frequently will say "I'm hungry, mommy," which is a fairly new development. And I love how expressive he is with his language. Quite often he will say things like "I LIKE it!" or "that's YUCKY!". His new one in the last day or so is "no way!".

He is also potty trained during the day!! We have been pretty relaxed in our method of potty training. We had been encouraging him to use the toilet and when we remembered, we would remind him throughout the day to try and use the toilet, but he frequently had accidents, so we kept him in pull-ups all day and didn't worry about it if they were wet. A couple of times, thinking he was ready, we switched him to underwear, but that ended up being a frustrating ordeal for everyone and since we are working extensively on bonding, we knew we shouldn't push things, thus harming how he feels about us and we about him. So on the days we found ourselves getting frustrated, we stepped back and let him take it at his own pace, knowing he wouldn't be a 17 year still wearing pull-ups...he would get potty trained at some point. And let's face it...he's had enough major life changes over the past months to have to deal with yet another one. Still, we reminded him when we remembered to and all of a sudden, we started catching him running to the bathroom on his own. He would slip away and then we'd hear a little voice calling "I'm all done!". After a couple of weeks of this, we decided to switch him over to his underwear and so far, no accidents! When we head out of the house where we might not have quick access to a bathroom, we still put him in pull-ups, but while we are here, he's in underwear and I think he feels pretty proud of that fact.

I've also been encouraged by his relationships with his peers. When he first started to interact with other kids his age, he didn't seem extremely interested in playing with them. He did some, just not as much as other kids (at least I think). As he has grown and adjusted to life here, he's become more and more interested in playing with kids, which is wonderful. I was a little worried that as we've spent more and more time with other people, that he would just want to hang out with the adults. It's fine if he wants to be with Dan and I, but we don't really want him to seek excessive attention from other adults. With Thanksgiving and Christmas, we've spent quite a bit of time with other families and when there are kid around, we've found that he's been really enjoying his time with them. He asks often about where his cousins Ben and Sam are, loves his time with his cousin Catherine at basketball (he sometimes gets to tag along when Dan heads out to play basketball), as well as his other cousins, and also frequently asks about his friend Michael. It's been so fun to see him develop friendships.

He is not a fan of clothes, as you can see in the following  picture. Sometimes when we wake up in the morning, it's pretty cold, but getting him to wear much of anything can be quite a challenge. I thought that since he was coming from such a warm climate that he'd be freezing and constantly be needing to wear lots of layers. Turns out that since he's spent the majority of his life running around in just a diaper, that clothing is a bit restricting to him. I can usually get him to wear at least a t-shirt and shorts/pants (though sometimes he prefers nothing), getting him to wear a sweatshirt is extremely difficult!

A couple funny Wedly stories
- About a week ago he witnessed falling snow for the first time during daylight hours. We told him that the white stuff falling were called snowflakes. He proceeded to call them "Corn Flakes."
-While down in Dan's office, Wedly was playing with one of Dan's extra laptops that currently isn't working. Dan asked him what he was up to, to which he replied "I'm working!" Just like his daddy.

I need to do a better job at writing down the funny things he says, cause at the moment I just can't think of them.

The silly boy loves to suck on lemons. Yuck!