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Friday, May 25, 2012

School's Out! (and more)

Another year is behind us, in terms of school years. This year, the boys attended a Mother's Day Out program, rather than a "preschool". What's the difference? I'm not really sure. This MDO program used the same ciriculum as our last "preschool". Plus it was much more flexible for our schedule, in that it was one of the only in our area that allowed us to do 1 day per week, rather than 2 or 3. And it was quite a bit less expensive, which is always music to my ears. I really wasn't crazy about switching schools. Holden had been to the other school for 3 semesters and all had been great there. But it was a change we were forced into since we just wanted and needed a 1 day program. But oh my goodness, our experience with this new program has been nothing short of amazing. The teachers have been so nurturing, so loving and so good for my boys. Honestly, this past year with my sweet, first born has nearly done me in.  It's made me question every decision I make about parenting.  It's made me rethink my strategy and think deeply about what I'm really trying to accomplish here. It's challenged me. But more importantly, it's kept me on my knees in front of guide begging him to guide us through this parenting gig. Because we DON'T have it figured out.  It's been a humbling year in my role as mommy.  One Thursday afternoon I actually stood in the hallway and cried to one of his teachers as she encouraged me and also shared all the wonderful things about my boy that I needed to hear. It's been a comfortable place for me to have an emotional breakdown. ;)  I'm going to miss these ladies as much as Holden will. They've been more special that I can even put to words.  And they did some amazing work, because apparently he was their little star student every single week. I begged for bad behavior reports. But apparently for those sweet teachers, he was an angel. I'm thankful for that.
Here is Holden with Mrs. Mindy right before we left school yesterday. Mrs. Laura had to head out early and so I'm so sad that I don't have her included in this picture. But can you see the love here? Let me tell you, I got to see it every Thursday. I've never felt more confident leaving my kiddo with someone else.  Goodness, he loves her!
And here is Pax with his sweet teachers. One of them said "I love you Pax" as she hugged him bye.  There is something that tugs at my heart when I get a sense in the genuineness of that statement. And obviously when it's directed to my boys. These 2 ladies were not the original teachers of his classroom back in August but it didn't take long for him to win over their hearts.
After I picked up the boys, we sat in the car and I got a little teary-eyed reading the notes from their teachers.  Also, each child was sent home with a small Shutter Fly book of pictures of the child in their classroom from the year. Amazing!  Then to celebrate our official start to summer, I treated the boys (and myself) to fro-yo. Yum yum!
I briefly mentioned this in my last post, but Jeremy and I will be kicking off our summer very soon.  Actually, tomorrow our trip will begin. We are taking a week long childless vacation.  A Carribean crusie.  Our 10th anniversary will be in November, so we're calling it an early celebration for that.  I'm giddy with excitement about a week alone with Jeremy. And all of the fun in store. Staying up late, and then sleeping in , sticking our toes in the white sand and crystal blue ocean.  There is so much to look forward to. We haven't done anything close to this in 5 years. But I'm nervous, anxious and emotional about leaving the boys. I've never gotten on a plane without my kids. Now I will be flying and then hopping on a boat where there will be no land in sight. Cruises don't scare me. They are my preferred way to vacation. But I have kiddos now and that adds a different dimension to things. But here we go. We need this week for us. And I begged for this trip. So here we go. Here we go. There's no turning back. I can do this. Giving myself a pep talk here.
So I've been trying to make the most of my time with the boys this past week.
Letting them run around in their skivvies as they blow messy, purple bubbles all over the yard.
 More skivvies as they finger painted this week.
We found these cute super hero tees with attaching capes.  So they were our little heros for a day.  Pax is obssessed with super heros right now, especially Super Man.
Inspired by my friend, we've been making these homemade popsicles that are practically just fresh fruit. You add 1 Caprisun pouch among 4 popsicle molds after you've shoved in all the fresh fruit that the mold can handle. The boys think they are getting quite a treat and they are basically eating frozen fruit. Sneaky, sneaky. But I had to admit, they are pretty tasty on a hot, Texas day.
And this afternoon we pulled out the summer pool. :)  I've never known anyone who loves the water as much as Holden.  They are having a ball in the cool water. Now I'm off to enjoy my family for a few more hours.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

A special day indeed. These boys and their daddy know how to make me feel loved and appreciated. 
Flowers from their daddy.
Dinner at BJ's with my sweet family.
Some sweet cards and a gift certificate for a mani-pedi to use before Jeremy and I make a week long getaway. Just the 2 of us! :) I like the picture above because it's a perfect look at our life. They are oblivious to what is going on and acting like a couple of wild animals on the couch. At least one of them is...Thankful for these wild boys that call me mommy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Holden's interview about mommy.

Typing that title just reminded me . . . I really need to do an interview with my little 4 year old. Somehow that slipped by this birthday. Well, at school Holden's teachers interviewed him about me.  A little early Mother's Day surprise, I guess.  And honestly, I'm not sure what's in store for us tomorrow, but this little interview is a keeper as far as Mother's Day memories.  It had me in tears. And it wasn't even sappy. Holden doesn't know how to do that yet. It was just cute and funny and interesting. Interesting to see his perception on some things. And maybe a good reminder of how I should be spending more time playing with my little loves and less time picking up the toys.

Here is how the interview went down.
What is something Mommy always says?
go night night, tee-tee in the potty, shut the door
(Hello son. What about I love you! I say that at least 20 times a day!)

What makes Mommy happy?
when I clean up and when Aunt Kara comes over
(I think there may have been a misunderstanding. Kara is our first choice babysitter. Holden doesn't call her aunt. And I think that makes Holden the happy one. He LOVES that girl!)

How does Mommy make you laugh?
tickles me

What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?
clean up toys
(What? How do I give off that impression.)

What is Mommy really good at?
making coffee
(Surely I have some other spectacular skills he is just overlooking, right?)

What's your favorite thing you and Mommy do together?
play outside

How are you and Mommy the same?
we both like to watch movies

How are you and Mommy different?
she's kinda peachy
(Sweet boy! He notices. We talk about it.)

How does Mommy show you she loves you?
This much! (stretched his arms :) ) (We do this alot around here.)

Did that make you cry? :) It did me. I'm not sure why. Maybe for the mere fact that God graciously chose me to be his mommy!  Mother's Day will never be just any other day to me. For the past 4 years it's been a day full of emotions for me. Sometimes I just can't even grasp the goodness of God in all that he has done to bring us to this point.  I had been Holden's mommy for only 2 days when we celebrated my first Mother's Day. God's timing could not have been more perfect, as it always is. God has done so much for me that I could never earn. And becoming a mommy to these sweet boys has been the icing on my cake. I'll never stop giving Him praise and thankfulness for his work in our family.
On Thursday I also got to take home the little handprinted plate that Pax made and the flower pens that Holden made. Just some cute little things from my cute little boys. Wishing all the mommy's a Happy Mother's Day tomorrow. I hope you are celebrated by your family and have a full and thankful heart to the One that has entrusted you with new life.  And to those that are waiting to become a mommy. . . I remember. And I know it's a painful, difficult wait. But I hope my story can offer hope and encouragement to you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

the partAy!

When I asked Holden a few months ago what type of birthday party he wanted, without hesitation he told me diggers! He has been obssessed with all construction-type vehicles for several months. He loves seeing them when we are out and about. Most of the time he asks me to stop the car or turn around so he can watch them move along and work. And all of the time I have to explain that I can't do that. So in my head, I thought he wanted a construction party. A few weeks later I showed him a cake I had found online that I planned to copy. It included a dump truck. I thought he would be so excited when he laid eyes on it. Instead he looked disappointed and asked why there wasn't a digger. So I tried really hard to make it all about the digger, but I just could do it. Dump trucks are easier and little more popular. So eventually I got him warmed up to the idea of combining the two. Goodness, this boy LOVES diggers right now!
He really wanted his own copy of the invitation. He has slept with this copy in his room since I had them printed. His copy is still in his room, just a little worn at this point. KMThomasDesigns did a great job on our cute little invite. I know it's so easy and cheap to do Evite's these days. I just can't let go of the physical invitations. Not yet, at least.
I had a little fun with the theme...
And if the food wasn't orange, yellow or brown, it wasn't invited to the party. :)
Jeremy organized some dump truck races. I didn't know if the kiddos would be into the organized fun, but it went really well. They all seemed to enjoy it. And it was pretty cute for the adults to watch.
Holden had lots of fun tearing into the gifts.
He got a little silly/shy when everyone sang Happy Birthday.
This boy! I just can't believe he is actually 4!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 1, 2012

Holden typically wakes bright and early but has to stay quietly in his room until his special light goes from blue to orange at 7:30am. But on his birthday, Jeremy and I headed to his room right before 7am. He was playing quietly on his bed when we kissed him good morning and quietly sang Happy Birthday. We didn't want to wake Pax next door.  Then we told him to get dressed because daddy was taking him out for donuts before work. Right before heading out the door for breakfast. One on one time with the boys is always so special for them, but also for the parents.
Holden called most of the shots on this day. And I'm grateful for his simplicity. I did give him a few ideas of things we could do. But he wanted to go to the nearby park. (The one with the merry-go-round.) And the boys were even excited to ride in the jogger to get there, so I even worked in a little exercise.
Holden requested pizza at home for dinner that night. So we picked up a Papa Murphy's before lunch and stuck it in the fridge until right before Jeremy made it home. You know, Papa Murphy's is the kind they create specifically for you and then you bake at home when you're ready to eat it. Is this kid easy or what!? And I was happy to take the evening off from cooking dinner. He even got to use the special plate for his birthday!
And next were the pink, strawberry cupcakes he requested the week before. This boy likes pink!
And a few presents to open.

And one big surprise...
And then a little ride around the neighborhood.
It was a fun day of celebrating our big 4 year old. A party post is coming soon!

I took Holden to Dr D the very next day for his 4 year check-up. He had to get shots. :( But the nurse did tell that would not need any more shots until he turns 11. That sounded very good to me because he freaked out so badly that he bent the needle and ended up with a huge scratch down his leg. Poor fella. The nurse just wasn't prepared for him. But for my own documentation, at 4 years old Holden is 44inches tall (99%) and 40lbs (81%). Such a big boy! Which has been the theme for most of his life. :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Now he's 4.

Today this handome fella turns 4. It's hard to believe that 4 years ago today I didn't know my child was on this earth yet. I was just waiting. Don't worry I'm not going to repeat our story for the fourth year in a row. But I have to say, I think about it constantly. Not just on his birthday. And I tell him about it often. How he was sought after, prayed and wished for and wanted so so so much by his daddy and I. And I think that maybe he's starting to get it.
Last night I was scurrying around trying to find the few pictures that I have of K that our social worker took of her at the hospital. God knew I needed to find them to share with Holden. And I did find them. Jeremy and I sat together late last night and looked at those photos. Those moments we only have captured by photos because it was before we ever knew he existed. It's hard to believe there was a short period in his life where we weren't included. There is a special picture of K holding her newborn baby as she wears a huge smile on her face. We both just stared at that one in silence and couldn't move on from it. And as we began to talk to one another, we were wondering the same things. Is that beautiful smile for real? How was she feeling in this particular moment? One of the only times she would ever hold this boy. How is she now? Does she remember the significance of May 1st? I wish I could tell her how much I think about her. How much I love her so deeply. . .this woman I've never met. How much I respect each and every decision she has made concerning our son. I have to. I can't fully understand her side of this adoption. But also, how much I wish she could know Holden. How she could see his fun and passionate personality. How she could see his beautiful face. How she could know the way God used her to change our faith, create our family and give us a new vision and passion. I hope we can meet her one day and share some of these thoughts. I read something a few years ago that said adoptees think of their birth families each and every day. At the time, I questioned it and honestly didn't see how that was really possible. Four years later, I believe it. The reason being is that I think of K and M close to every day. If my mind is always thinking of those 2 ladies, I have to believe my boys will daily be thinking of them also as they grow and understand more.
What can I tell you about Holden at the ripe old age of 4!? I've mentioned he's passionate. Oh-so-passionate. I can love it and hate it all in the same day. He truly soaks in whatever it is that he's doing, which is fun for us to watch. It can be having fun in the bathtub, eating a bowl of icecream, playing with his cars, enjoying the park or running circles around the couch with daddy. He's focussed on the task at hand and is 100% in the moment and loving it. But sometimes he gets a little bent out of shape when the said event is over. This has been the case since he was around 12 months old. Luckily it has improved as he has gotten older. But it's amazing how those little pieces of personality can come out so early and for the most part STICK. Blows my mind!
He loves to learn and do crafts at the kitchen table.
He loves to play outside in the dirt but doesn't like it when food is on his hands or face.
He's a speedy runner.
He is still obsessed with most anything on wheels: cars, trucks, contruction vehicles, motorcycles, bikes. And those things are normally his first choice when playing with toys.
He loves to be read to and now has many of our children's books memorized. I think we will soon start our first chapter book. Maybe 1 chapter a night before bed. He really enjoys the longer storybooks we have. He's over the board books that are one sentence per page. But he will sit with me for an hour while we read. It's one of our calming activities. When it's getting too crazy at this house, I quickly run to the book shelves. :)
He loves his brother Pax. They normally play really good together. Though they are brothers, so at times they fight and boss each other around. But Holden is begging for the day that he and Pax share a room.
He's a really social boy. He loves to be around other people - kids his age, big kids and adults. He loves when we have company at our house and he attempts to be the center of attention.
His teachers at school love him. They tell me that he is their biggest helper. I'm told that he uses his manners and is sweet addition to the classroom. They've also told me they wish he came both days (since we only attend one day per week). I love that they sincerely enjoy his presence!
He loves my cuddles and affection and his daddy's rough and boyish playtime.
He loves music and singing along.
He loves to be active and run around.
He loves to be outside.
He still loves to play in the water more than anything! Just seeing a fountain somewhere captivates his attention.
He's a really great eater but anything including sugar is his absolute favorite.
His smile can light up the room. And his sweet giggle is truly contagious.
And that, in a nutshell, is all about our 4 year old. He is a blessing and we will forever be grateful!