Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Day 2013

Enjoy a post of pics from church today.  Lauren loves her church and especially likes the homemade donut holes that Kuluba's wife makes every single week!  The kids all love them :)   Happy Easter from our house to yours!

 With Nanna

Momma, Daddy, Joshua, and Lauren

Silly faces......

Like sister....

I'm going with him, but just checking to make sure you are coming too :)

posing by the car -- I wish I could say something spiritual - like, "my kids were cheering Jesus' victorious rise from the grave"....but in reality - they were just doing a silly pose :)


Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Life with Lauren update - and Easter 2013

Time with Friends:
A few weeks ago, Lauren, Joshua and I went to Cincinatti to visit some other adoption friends.  We got to meet Munni, who just came home from India.... she's a cutie!  And we also got to meet four other mommas - of which one is Munni's mom and the other three are waiting for their child to come home still.  We all had a great time in the hotel and out to eat!  Kristen (Munni's mom) took us to all the best restaurants, including an amazing Indian restaurant, and Colista had the best home made cookies for the hotel room.... so we were set! We talked until wee hours in the morning - mostly about adoption....adoption....adoption!  But we also shared things of the Lord and prayed for these children to come home soon.  It was a really nice time....for anyone in the adoption process, I encourage you to engage in friendship building through blogs - it's truly a beautiful thing.  The other thing I've noticed is --- families in the adoption process talk a similar language - that quite frankly people not in it - don't always understand.... so it is awesome to have close friends that "get it".  I am so very blessed to have met these awesome ladies.... that I know I can say are my friends.... and when we meet again, we will pick up right where we left off!!
When we went to eat at this pizza place - the kids got entertained for a good long time just watching the guys make pizzas including throwing the dough in the air - which I couldn't seem to catch on camera.  :)

Lauren experienced her first swimming in a hotel pool (well, really second...but a pool in India coupled with two seconds and terror screaming doesn't really count).  Lauren absolutely LOVED swimming in the pool - and wanted to be free to swim on her own - which I wasn't about to allow.  Since we've been home - Brad has taken her twice to the YMCA pool - and she is just nuts over it!  Today she got to swim with a life jacket on - so was a bit free - and Brad said she paddled herself around and really enjoyed it.  I see swimming lessons in her future real soon!

Deeper Bonding:
One thing that happended while we were in Cincinatti was when the kids and I went to the hotel for nap time - all the other girls went off for a pedicure - so we were in our hotel room with the living room center and their attached room all alone.  We had been leaving all the connecting doors open - so guess what happened??  Lauren - while trying to avoid a nap - went wandering around - and slipped into their room before I could stop her and SHUT the connecting door.  Well as you know, from the other side of the door (my side) the door doesn't have a door knob.  So Lauren tried to get the door open - but it was either locked or too hard for her to turn -- so yep - she was locked into the adjoining room (of which I did not have a key for!).... Joshua and I tried to talk her through opening the door - but she was clearly struggling.  I went to the living room area to call the front desk -- and unbeknownst to me - Joshua went into the hallway to talk to Lauren at the exterior door -- as I was on the phone - my little 7 year old Joshua talked Lauren through the process of opening the exterior door and got her out safely (as Joshua puts it.... I rescued her... while momma was freaking out)... yep - I guess he's right. He even remember to swing the top safety lock on our door so he could get back into our room!! (Ok, you know... we think our boy is pretty smart!!)  They ran into the living room area - Joshua dropped to his knees and Lauren came up to hug him and sit on his lap as he rocked her and patted her back.  I hung up from the front desk thanking them and reporting "never mind".... and totally enjoyed the moment between brother and sister.  And I thought - yep - this is why we adopted .... because one day when Brad and I are either old -- or even passed on -- they will have each other.  God is so very good.   This also has helped Joshua grow up tremendously -- right before our Cinci trip - we went to one session of Play Therapy - where our counselor said to Joshua as we all stood by, "Joshua, your job in the family is to play with Lauren - but also to keep her SAFE during play"... "so, while you like to wrestle, etc... is that keeping her safe?" - he paused to think - and replied, "yes", knowing full well that it wasn't.... she corrected him - and we reminded him periodically about what Joan said.  We love Joan - she has studied under Dr. Karyn Purvis - so of course, we are sold out on her techiniques... it's really been great so far for our family dynamics!.... Back to the locked door -- so when Joshua "rescued" Lauren - I went nuts with praise on him and told him several times, "that is awesome!! that is just what Joan was talking about - taking care of Lauren and loving her - looking out for her safety" -- since then, he's told the story several times to our friends - and even took Lauren to show-n-tell at his school to tell the story -- I think he's passed a major milestone as Big brother.

Newport Acquarium:
On our way out of town - Joshua, Lauren and I went to Newport Acquarium.  Lauren loved most of it -- but especially the "gucks" AKA ducks, which were really penguins.  Joshua has been there before - but also loves the penguins.

Easter Egg Hunt:
Roll the days and weeks forward -- and now we're ready to celebrate Easter.  Lauren finally got the idea of picking up Easter Eggs at our hunt today -- especially when she discovered chocolate inside each one.  It was funny, she was inspecting the inside of each one she picked up - before putting in her bag.  She's something else!  And tomorrow is Easter! 

Waiting for the egg hunt to begin

                    Lauren needed daddy's help,  Joshua was a pro

Tradition is to recyle the eggs - so all the families go empty the candy so the church has eggs for next year.  Kids don't mind leaving the eggs behind - because hello... the chocolate is the best part!  I totally hate that I missed getting a picture of the field before the kids got out there.  I know if I were Mer or Kristen - I would have thought of that beautiful picture. :)  - It was a huge field full of eggs - and Mrs. Brenda separates by age group with orange cones :)

 Then inside for crafts and the puppet show with Mrs. Brenda - the children's pastor -- of course they tell the real Easter story and the kids love it!  We love our intentional church! 

Lauren with her Wed. night small group leader :) Love Mrs. Shannon

Lauren and Brenda - Lauren asked Mrs. Brenda about the "woo - woo" which means dog to Lauren, so Mrs. Brenda got the puppet back out and played on the floor... kids loved it.

Joshua and Lauren trying to feed the dog sweet tarts - Lauren could not figure out why this dog could not swallow his snack!  pssst... I think she thought he was real :)

Well, six months home with Lauren and our only struggles are these:  1.) I am the only one that can put Lauren to bed - why this is a problem??....well in about a month I leave for a 4 day business trip - over night - by myself - and Brad and Joshua will have Lauren at home by themselves....well, I think my mom may come over too - for a female in the house  - but boy am I worried about this! As Brad puts it, "Renae, you are her oxygen"... so my heart hurts thinking about it.  We began practicing with Brad puttig Lauren to bed last night....didn't go so well..... and 2.) This girl still isn't potty trained - and I think isn't all that interested in it at the moment.  I think really she's regressing -- she was so much better earlier on when she first started potty training, but I think it's gone on too long - she's not that crazy for the chocolate M&S's because she gets other chocolate at other times.... and frankly the pull ups are too absorbant - so being wet doesn't seem to bother her.  She's gotten lazy about potty training, for sure.  I REALLY want her potty trained before summer.... but who knows. 

We are all well, kids love school and each other, we have a great summer planned of camps and fun, and Lauren's English is really picking up through speech therapy and just living life at home :)  So thankful for our church.  As we left the egg hunt, both Brad and I said, how lucky we are to have a church that brings in seekers - but isn't pushy, recognizes that egg hunts (even though are "of the world") can also incorporate the REAL Easter story -- and a church that constantly reminds our kiddos how much God loves them -- and how they also love each other through example.... we are blessed.  But what is greatest of all, is that Lauren feels right at home there -- the teenage girls come to her and want to hug her - hold her - say hello.  Lauren roams around saying hi to people and making herself at home -- and I know I can always find her in the large room for kids at the end of any event, with Joshua shooting basketball hoops! I pray both our kids remain connected to this church - because through attendance and intentional work --- PLUS us at home, we pray they will know Jesus for themselves.  Pouring into the soul.....let the grace overflow!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quick check in

So my blogging has taken a bit of downturn.... we've just been so busy and most of the time when I'm at the computer - Lauren wants to come and look at pictures, play, color, etc... so it's hard to ignore that sweet face :)  But yep - it's 5 am and I'm up - can't get back to sleep -- so what to do??? BLOG!!

On our girl - she's still sleeping in her bed - although does wake up about 1/3 of the time and needs comforted (put back to sleep)....hence why I'm up at 5 right now :)  - usually I can go right back to sleep, but after being sick and sleeping for 9 hours after church yesterday.....not tonight.

She's getting speech therapy at her school - this along with the Leappad2 - Alphabet Factory video is really enhancing her English skills.  She said "poop" the other day and we were all very proud :)  - of course at first we laughed because it came out of no where - so now, when we have company and she wants to show off, she just spurts it out....thankfully everyone understands and just accepts her the way she is.

I was sick recently and as I was laying in bed with a vomit bowel....roaring vomit -- she came to visit me up on the bed to inform me, "mommy.....stinky"...but then proceeded to take a kleenex and wipe my face and ask me, "ok??" - I assured her I was fine and she was happy to accept that, got up... closed the bedroom door and off to the park she went with daddy and Joshua.  I do have to say, she was particularly good these days when I was sick... kids are so intune, aren't they?  Well today I was more on the mend and she was silly goose tonight at bedtime... taunting us... wanting us to chase her and tickle her :)  Happy to have mommy back, no doubt.

She's a good girl, sweet and loving.... growing and learning.  She's about 30 lbs now! Ranging around 29 to 29.5 lbs most days, she loves to weigh herself and we cheer how big she's getting.  She's 3 1/2 - and is already wearing 3T and some 4T clothes!  Her 2T jeans used to fall below her tennis shoes (or close to the floor) and now it seems they are just over her tennis shoes - so we think she's grown in height maybe 1/2 inch to 1 inch - along with her belly growing (which pulls up those pants) :)   Those elastic waist draw thingys are awesome for these kiddos - because they can wear age appropriate clothes even when they are tiny - just suck in that waist elastic and you are good to go!  When you pick her up - she feels like a brick!  She's a solid girl, and it seems like muscle is abounding in her.  (she loves to help carry in groceries - which is so funny, because even when I give her light bags - she insists on taking several in one trip -- so this is GREAT weight bearing therapy!!)  ...and she drops the bags on the kitchen floor, like the rest of us with a, "whew".  Too funny.   

Eating has become a bit of a challenge - our great eater of all things chicken and veggie - has turned a bit into a selective eater....her new favorite thing is crunchy cheetos.  I'm thankful she still eats apples and tons of fruit cups too....of course her rice, and now also mac and cheese. 

She LOVES to play basketball, seriously.... Brad takes her to the YMCA and when it's open gym night and all the big kids are playing ball in 1/2 of the gym (usually volleyball on the other half)... they pull out on the basketball side a small lower to the ground basketball hoop - well she proceeds to get her ball from the rack, like all the big boys do it -- and just dribble right to her little hoop with daddy... it's really a sight to be seen.  She's the only girl on the court - and when her ball bounces away, she has no problem running through the big guys to retrieve her ball -- occasionally one of their balls will hit her (in the back, on the head, whatever)...and she turns to give them a look --- the look on their face is priceless, like..."SOORRRY, little one".... Brad and I are amazed at how well she can dribble -- we don't have the heart to tell her she's going to be short more than likely, so unless she's a really talented guard, B-ball is likely not in the cards for her.  But who knows.  You ask, can she make a basket??  Well, not yet -- it takes daddy putting her on his shoulders to do that.... she's still just too short and doesn't have the strength to really get the ball high enough even for the little basket hoop, but she certainly tries....and tries...she's a determined little one.

It occurred to me HOW she's getting so good at dribbling..... one day, I picked her up early from school and because it is winter, her school doesn't go outside for recess / gross motor time when it's real cold or wet -- but instead has a full gym (her school is in an old elementary school)... and guess what, 1/2 of the gym is full of basketballs and a little hoop for kiddos -- and the other 1/2 of the gym is for kids that want to ride on little plastic cars, etc.... push trucks around, etc.  Well, guess where I found her.  Her teacher says that is her favorite spot and she plays basketball every day!  No wonder she knows how to dribble!!   Well....she is in the Blue Nation, after all -- although our Wildcats are having a "building year" - this year.  It's ok, we still love our cats!  Can't wait til little miss is old enough to maybe even take her to a game. 

On Joshua - he and Lauren continue to be great friends - wrestling on the floor - tickling, chasing each other.  Lauren does all things Joshua!  He is accepting of her constant loving and hanging on him - sharing the recliner for cartoons, etc.  He does love her - but like all little sisters - does get annoyed some times...but hey, he wouldn't be normal if he didn't.  When he plays with the neighbor boys and Lauren has to stay home -- she cries for him...always wanting her "bye-ah" near here after school, etc.  When he leaves it breaks her heart - as if she's wondering if she will ever see him again, then when he runs in the back door - she greets him with open arms and a hug and all is well.  She does calm down when he leaves, but it is hard right at first.  She loves him doubt.  It's interesting about these kiddos, I'm curious, do any of your adopted children really attach to a toy, doll, blanket or stuffed animal?  Lauren seems to play with things..and really enjoy them, loves her books etc., but it's people she's attached to?  She doesn't look to her stuffed Elmo, for example for comfort...or her blanket (although she likes her blanket)... it's almost as if these things have a purpose, but in her mind they are not for bonding or comfort.  Wondered if that is "normal".  I know Joshua had a favorite kitty and his blanket that he was attached to at night time in particular.  oh well, for now ... I will be her teddy bear :)