Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I keep thinking of things I have forgotten to blog about over the past several weeks. So I am going to put all of those things into one big post. Here goes:

A couple weeks ago we went with our good friends, the Moerers, to our favorite dinner spot, Clay's. It is the best place for kids. They have pony rides, a big sandbox, animals you can feed, and a giant deck for the moms and dads to sit on and relax while the kids run around.
Ace loved riding the pony, but we couldn't get Archie to do it.
That evening we found the rainbow that Ace had been talking about. Before Archie came home she told me, "Mom, when Archie gets home, I think there's gonna be a rainbow." There it was! Our little "Pot of Gold".

Archie LOVES Carson.

Hammin it up as usual
Towards the end of the night, the rain started to come down. Our kids were of course the only ones still in the sand box, which had turned into more of a mud pit.

Archie quickly lost his shirt

And Ace figured she could be just like the boys....

All ready for church

At first when it finally rained, Archie was SCARED. He cried and cried and said the rain hurt him if it got on him. Until Ace showed him how much fun playing in the rain was...after that I couldn't get him out of it!

Loving that big, growing belly

Family Dinner!

Typical day- Playing at the mall castle

It was all fun and games until some little kid came barreling through the castle, just as I was about to sit back down. He clipped my knee from the side, and my kneecap dislocated. (These stupid, bad knees run in my family. My dad and sister have had to have surgery on theirs...I have had trouble with mine since 8th grade). So anyway, I will spare you the painful details. But long story short, my knee goes out, I fall onto this man's lap who had been sitting next to me playing Angry Birds on his Ipad. I couldn't talk, I just screamed in agony. And I couldn't move, so I just laid in his lap. I heard a lady ask what had happened and he just said "I have no idea, I didn't see it." Well, HELLO, I don't care if you saw it or not, HELP ME. He was so weirded out. Joey was with me, but he was chasing some random kids around...and while he swears he was there right away, it felt like forever until he came and pulled me out of this stranger's lap. And don't get me wrong, I didn't want any attention- But nobody cared! I was literally lying on this bench screaming. And this man was sitting six inches away from me still playing Angry Birds.
The kids were so worried. Ace was fake crying and Archie was just telling me, "it's okay, mommy, it's okay, mommy." Over and Over and Over.
I hobbled out of the mall and they took very good care of me when we got home...

Never leaving my side. And I milked it a bit too....

My knee healed. And Archie lost a tooth. This was his first one to lose since he has been home- his third ever. He was pretty excited!

He put his tooth in his special pillow....and went to bed waiting for the Tooth Fairy. Who faithfully came through, leaving him a bunch of jelly beans- his favorite. Ace told me the next day that the Tooth Fairy had come into her room that night and talked to her. And she hugged her.

This is a special little sweater that was made by our sweet friend, Villi, in Bulgaria. Villi was with us on our first trip, and during that trip-- in just 5 short days-- she made this sweater for Ace. We love her very much!

Here we are in Bulgaria with Villi.
It finally got cool enough for Archie to wear his new sweatshirt one day. He thinks he is really cool in it. And he looks pretty cute too!

Being goofy at the MHS Homecoming game

Archie just waved from a safe distance and screamed, "no kank you, horsey. Bye bye horsey!!"

Woody and Jessie are ready for Halloween!! We had a carnival at church this past weekend. They had a blast!

Loving the poses.

Ace and Jack. True Love.

I am one blessed mama!

Lots of Love!

I am the Church- By Ace and Archie

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This past Sunday at Preschool Worship, Archie was a part of the choir. He did awesome and had so much fun. I was so mad at myself because I didn't have my camera on me to catch his performance on video. And I ALWAYS have my camera on me. They do this one song every week, "I am the Church". He was so cute, imitating all the hand motions just right, and trying his best to get the words.

So today I asked Ace if she would do a reenactment with Archie. Here is their version. She didn't get all the words exactly right, but she was close. It also doesn't normally go on for as long as she went. I just love how Archie smiles at her and says, "Yeah!" They were cracking us up. Watch it all the way through- at the very end Ace does a really sweet move on the word "people".

Lots of Love!

Questions and Answers

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The most common question that Joey and I are asked is, "What made you decide to adopt?" The next most popular one is, "How did you find Archie?" So I thought that I would share the whole (possibly really long) story.

So what made us decide to adopt? I like this question because it gives me an opportunity to share my heart for orphans and adoption.
Adoption is something that Joey and I talked about long before marriage. I personally knew from a very young age that I would one day be an adoptive mother. Passion for orphans has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. In fifth grade, we were asked to write down on a paper star what we wanted to be when we grew up. Each of us then had our picture taken holding up our star, with our future job written on it, and the pictures were put into a slideshow that was played at our graduation. Among the veteranarians, athletes, doctors and lawyers, I stood proud with my star- "Foster Care Mother". Weird. At ten years old, I couldn't really explain it to my friends when they questioned my choice. And it seemed super strange to everyone. But I knew it was right. It was simply who I was.

After Ace turned two, we started talking about giving her a brother or sister. We didn't immediately know that this would happen through adoption, but it was definitely something we talked about. Of course, I had always pictured that we would have a few biological kids first, then later when our kids were grown, we would adopt. That was really our vision. Aside from trying to live the life we had imagined (silly us), I also knew that adoption would be a lot of hard work, would completely drain any money we had in savings, would force us to face a lot of opposition. We would endure pain, we would face trials that we never imagined existed. So I very quickly and intentionally pushed the idea of adoption out of my mind. I mean, we were comfortable. Why would we put ourselves through all of those hardships?

Well, that lasted about a minute. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't think about anything else. And there was a reason. This was not
our plan for our life, but this was however God's plan. And it was now. Not in ten years, not when we had our dream house and were through having biological kids, but now. It hit me pretty hard and I knew I needed to quit fighting it. I knew in that moment that we would be adopting. But I still had to share it with my other half. Knowing his heart as well as I do, I was certain that he would be on board.

I am so blessed to be married to a man who shares my passions. Joey did have some apprehension, a lot of questions, and uncertainty at first. But before long, he was confident in our decision. And so the journey to our second child officially began. I spent a lot of time researching. Different agencies, what country would be best for us. I had known of and LOVED Reece's Rainbow for a long time, but I didn't think that a special needs adoption was the direction we would be going...at least not this time around. So I started making a list of the countries that would work for us-countries from which we could adopt a healthy infant. But why, why, why was I every single day coming back to Reece's Rainbow. I would literally talk out loud to myself, listing every reason why we were not going to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. It was around that time that I came across this quote by Joseph Campbell- "We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

We stared at those faces. Those precious children whose fate would likely be death (sooner than later) if no one were to come for them. I emailed the director of Reece's Rainbow, and just told her what we had been thinking. I told her that if we decided to adopt, we would need to find a country that didn't require long stays in-country, and didn't require both parents to travel. She responded very quickly, and told me to look into Bulgaria.

She then sent me the link to a specific little boy. One who had been waiting a very long time. The kids on Reece's Rainbow are grouped by age, and I immediately read on his link that he was listed with the "older boys" (6+). I almost didn't even click on the link- seriously. "Nope, we are looking to adopt a baby", I said. I didn't want to click on it, I didn't want to see a face that I was going to fall in love with. But, thank God, I clicked on the link. And there he was.
I knew that face. It was not the first time I had seen him. About a year earlier, I saw his picture on Reece's Rainbow. And I loved him from that very moment. I just had no idea he was mine. The picture below is the first picture that I ever saw of him. The picture above was the picture I saw of him...when I finally realized he was ours.

That night I shared everything with Joey, and the same thing happened with him. We smiled at each other and we knew then and there that we would do whatever it took to bring him home. With us- his family. Where he belonged.

Lots of Love!

Special Message from Archie

Monday, October 10, 2011

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
So I thought I should let you know.....

My extra chromosomes........

Help me fly!

Lots of Love!

Life Lately- Bullet Style

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

  • Archie is continuing to pick up English very quickly. He speaks English most of the time and only reverts back to Bulgarian if he is upset and wants to really rant, is pretending to tell a story, or is talking on the phone. Other than that he is speaking English- often in complete sentences. His vocabulary is expanding every day. (Signs and words). He always asks, "May I have" (whatever it is he wants....most often cheese or cookie). Today Ace was with my mom when I picked him up from school and the entire car ride home he begged, "Mommy, may I please have Ace!?!"

  • Ace is my little interpreter. Archie will often really be trying to tell me something and I cannot understand him, but somehow Ace does, and she tells me exactly what he is trying to say. He is so happy when I finally get it.

  • Archie LOVES to hug. He is quite touchy feely and often rubs people's bellies, and I am constantly having to pull his hands down. At school, he was doing that to his friends, so the teachers started telling him "no touch friends". So we are focusing on that a whole lot right now. Everywhere we go, he walks with his hands out, just trying to touch everyone. It is getting better and better every day. Yesterday, we were at the mall playground, and a little boy came up and put his hand on Archie's chest, and Archie just nicely moved his hand down, looked the boy in the eye and said to him, "No touch friends". I was so proud, and cracking up on the inside. The kid just looked at him funny and moved on.

  • Ace and Archie both have a tremendous amount of patience for each other.

  • The times that Ace and Archie bond the most are when they are being a little mischievous. Ace usually instigates it. I will hear her whispering something to him like, "Archie, come on, lets go get everything out of the fridgerator". (I'm not kidding). He gets the biggest smile on his face and they sneak off to the kitchen, truly believing that they are pulling a fast one on me. So I let them do some "naughty" things (within reason) and I just listen to them crack each other up.

  • Archie talks an insane amount. He is pretty much never not talking.
    • We are so lucky that Archie is a good sleeper. He is down around 8 (and falls asleep within 5ish minutes) on most nights and sleeps until 7 or 7:30. He does crazy flipping around and ends up in really weird positions every night. We often hear loud banging into the wall coming from his room. But he stays asleep. Ace on the other hand takes FOREEEEVVVER to fall asleep. I thought I had found the magical trick. I started laying next to her in bed and rubbing her back and singing Kenny Loggins, "Danny's Song" (You know, "Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey....") to her at night. And she was falling asleep by the end of the song- this happened for a couple of weeks. Until she had the lyrics memorized, and now she sings along with me, and thus does not fall asleep. I desperately need a new song that I think I sound as good singing as I do that one.

    • You literally cannot take your eyes off of Archie for a split second. Talk about exhausting.

    • Ace has a serious addiction to Apple Juice. It is bad. She cries for it. Like serious tears. Archie wakes up in the morning, goes to get her sippy cup to bring it to me and says, "Mommy, Ace Dawble Joos please". It is hysterical. He is so concerned about her getting her Apple Juice fix. I am thinking we may go cold turkey and not keep Apple Juice in the house anymore. It will be a ROUGH few days- but the kid's teeth are going to rot right out if this doesn't stop.

    • Archie is doing so amazingly well with playing soft and sweet. Ace is actually the one who starts playing rough and wanting to wrestle, and he just kind of lets her hang and climb on him, but doesn't wrestle back. He has become so much more aware of his strength and how to play nicely. He still has his moments of roughness, but they are few and far between.

    • Archie is just as scared of mascots or anyone dressed in a costume as Ace is. He cried the other night at the MHS football game when he saw the Mustang. (From a far distance). He also gets scared of loud noises- like at the game when we were walking through a big crowd and they scored a touchdown and everyone screamed- he clung to my neck and cried and cried. Other than that he loves going to the football games.
      • I am constantly getting asked how far apart Ace and Archie are in age. Several people have even asked me "how many months apart are they?" Of course they are shocked when I tell them she is 3 and he is 7. Sometimes I explain. Sometimes I let them wonder.
      • Ace is very protective of Archie. When at the playground she tells any kids that she meets and starts to play with, "This is my brother. His name is Archie. He will play with us."
      • A few weeks ago, I took Ace to her first little preschool choir practice at church. I wasn't planning on Archie participating, but he really wanted to- so I sat in the corner of the class and watched to make sure he would be okay. He did fantastic and they both loved it. So the next week, we tried it again...this time with me outside of the room (of course peering in the window like a complete freak the whole time, ready to pounce in there at any second). But he has done really, really well. He has also been participating in Preschool Worship at our church on Sunday Mornings. Of course he is glued to Ace's hip the entire time, but he pays attention and sits still and quiet for the most part.

      Alright, Archie is currently yanking my arm in panic mode telling me, "Mommy, Ace hungy, Ace hungy". He is her little messenger.- so concerned about her well being. So I better go!

      Lots of Love!

      My Big Girl

      Sunday, October 2, 2011

      I was so proud of my girl this morning. At our church, they have Preschool Worship. The cutest thing in the entire world. It is a mini Church service for the preschoolers. They take an offering (and the kids are the ushers), have a little choir, listen to a Bible Story, say the Lord's Prayer. They also have a part where a little one gets up to talk about the cross. They say the same thing each time. "Jesus died, on the cross, to forgive us, of our sins." Normally, the teacher whispers the lines into the kid's ear.

      Ace just last night when we were talking about Preschool Worship, told me that she wanted to talk about the cross. So I asked her if she knew what to say. She sort of had it.....so I told her exactly what to say and we practiced it over and over until she had it down. She isn't usually one to get up in front of a group and do something like this. She recently cried her eyes out over the idea of having to do show-and-tell at school, so I was pretty surprised that she wanted to do this. But this morning, she still wanted to. She rocked it. And I was so proud.

      I am so mad that the video is a little blurry while she is up there-- but her little voice is really what makes it.

      Lots of Love!

      Sunday Morning Dancing

      Typical morning in our house. The little monsters are working on a new routine. Here is a sneak peak into a rehearsal.

      Lots of Love!