Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shep Says

Shep has started giving me the play-by-play while we watch TV (such a man).

Here is my favorite paraphrase from tonight's episode of Walking with Dinosaurs...

National Geographic Narrator: "The spider's legs have tiny hairs which pick up vibrations from the trip lines which lead outside of her hole."

Shep's Paraphrase: "The spider has decorations for the pumpkin to decorate with." (In case you're wondering, no, there is no pumpkin in the show)

I love this age.  I love this boy.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Liam's Adoption Lifebook

In case you were thinking, "Wow, you hardly focused on Liam's adoption at all in that 2011 Family Photo Album you posted!"

Have no fear!  Below you can view the album specifically dedicated to Liam's adoption.  You might want to have tissues on hand, though.

I ordered it in a mini-version (4x6) so he can easily hold it and it will always go with him wherever life takes him - just like Shep's birth album.  Do you feel better now? *wink*

| Learn About Mixbook Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Friday, January 27, 2012

[Not] What Every Mama Wants To Hear

3 different comments on 3 different days...
Shep: "Mama, you're getting bigger!"
Shep: "You're such a good boy!"
And, last but not least, as I was inspecting the dry skin on my big toe...
Shep: "What's that?"
Me: "Just some dry skin.  It looks weird doesn't it?"
Shep: "It looks like an alligator.  Are you an alligator?"
If you consider the source, you have to assume these are all meant as compliments.  After all, every little boy likes to hear he is getting bigger, is a good boy, and is fierce enough to be mistaken for an alligator.  So I'll take what I can get!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turning the Corner

Yes, folks, he's walking around the corner of the table - officially "turning the corner" in every sense of the word.  Cruising is serious business around here these days and we are all quite proud.  Shep is now playing on top of the dining room table and halfway up the stairs to keep from having his toys "taken" buy THE CRUISER.  And we are being more careful about leaving full coffee cups on the coffee table (whoops).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Liam's Birthday Party!

A Winter Themed Pajama Party 
Snowman Donuts
Liam with Aunt Laine
All Our Littles
Ready for Fun!
He got into opening presents more than at Christmas
Clearly this was his favorite part.  He ate every last morsel.

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Sensory Bin

White stuffing I poached from a torn stuffed animal, Winter-themed rubber placemat, tin Snowman, penguin number puppets, feather duster, Winter-themed finger puppets, blue ball, tinsel, small wooden snowflakes from Michaels, snowflake confetti, snowman box, snowflake tin.

Everything I either had around the house from Christmastime, bought at Michael's, or made - very easy & cheap, yet provides hours of imaginative play!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Liam!!!

Today you turn TWO! 
You are truly a remarkable child.
You have the purest heart.
The softest skin.
The most affectionate way of loving.

Daddy is your hands down favorite.  That early bonding experience on the plane will not be forgotten.
Mama runs a close second.  I don't mind, I can share.
And, Shep - you love him so fiercely it sometimes turns into biting, pulling, or tackling.  You just want him to play with you SO badly!  (sometimes he does)

You are still squishy like a baby.
You give the best hugs in the world.
You still give open-mouthed kisses.
Your cheeks are oh-so-kissable - especially where that long dimple has formed on your right cheek.
You have the best curls and your hair smells so yummy I could eat it.

You work incredibly hard at everything your therapists ask of you.
You are determined to walk.
You are eager to please.
You are growing stronger and more capable each and every day!
We are so proud of you.

You struggle with chronic ear infections and still have to deal with eye-patching (although your upcoming eye surgery will hopefully put an end to the patching) and you get sick A LOT.
But you are such a trooper.
You take your medicine like a champ and everyone comments on how well you tolerate the patching.
In fact, people often say you are the happiest baby they have ever seen!

You really like eating, balls, music, rough-housing, swinging, bubbles, water play, and people-watching.
You love it when I sing the "Liam, Liam, Bo-Biam" Song to you.
You love to be tickled and to show off your bellybutton.

We love you, William Nebiyu Clark!  Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Smoothie Recipe

We enjoy these several times a week.  So easy and so good for us!

Layered top to bottom:  Spinach, strawberries, protein powder, oranges, banana, blueberries, yogurt.  

I always do the yogurt & protein powder.  Other than that, I just throw in whatever fresh or frozen fruits (or spinach) we have - no exact measurements.

* As long as you don't put too much spinach in, I promise you can't taste it - although your smoothies may turn out green if you don't have colorful fruit (like berries) in with it.  

Voila!  Yummy Purple Smoothies.  See, no one would believe there's spinach in there!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Occupational Therapy

Liam's Occupational Therapist, Ms. Alycia
She works with Liam on his everyday life skills like self-feeding, "purposeful play," and fine motor skills.
Shep says, "Go, Liam!" (Not really.  But it looks like he could be, doesn't it?)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

At the Children's Museum

Shep's favorite exhibit - the "floating" ball.
Playing at the Water Table
Shep's still got Liam buy a few inches - 
probably not for long, though!
Check out our new wheels!  Our last double stroller bit the dust, but I'm honestly kind of glad because I would not otherwise have acquired this one, which I truly LOVE.  Fits through doorways, has 6 (yes, SIX) cupholders, huge storage basket, place to hang diaper bag, Shep can easily climb in & out by himself.  Thank you, Craigslist.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dinosaur Sensory Bin

Shep's Dinosaur Land Sensory Bin: homemade PlayDo made to look like prehistoric earth, paper shavings for dino egg nest, water with blue food coloring for ocean, hershey kisses for dino poo (if you think that's odd, you must not be trying to potty-train your 3-yr-old), Easter eggs for dino eggs, and, of course, toy dinos & trees.
He promptly put all the dinosaurs, trees, and eggs into the water.  Buy the end of his playtime, the water was everywhere in the tub.  But he had a lot of fun so it was well worth the messy clean-up.
Liam trying to get in on the action (I would let him, but he's still very oral so everything would have gone straight in the mouth).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Liam "Signs"!

Liam signing "Mama."  
He can now sign "More," "Mama," & "Daddy."
We are currently working on waving "Hello" & Goodbye," as well as "Please".

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Resolution: 2012

This year, I have resolved to take the boys outside for at least 10 minutes a day every day.  Obviously, some days we will stay out longer, but 10 minutes is the absolute minimum.  This will be a true test on cold, rainy days and hot, buggy days (I have an irrational fear of West Nile Disease via mosquito bite), but I am determined!  

Why you might ask?  It occurred to me the other day as our family strolled the trail around a nearby lake that our 3-year-old with strong, young legs was far too lazy & unimpressed with the outdoors.  He threw a huge tantrum half the time around the lake because I would not carry him the whole way.  And I thought, "Whoa.  Something is seriously wrong here.  A 3-year-old boy who is not delighted to run around in the woods, wielding a stick, exploring?!  We have to do something about this right now."  

So, there you have it.  The boys need to be outside more.  To experience the beauty of nature.  To feel God's presence there.  To get fresh air & sunshine.  To expend energy.  So that is what we'll do.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Year of Stripping It Down [Part II]

Continued from The Year of Stripping It Down [Part I]...

Three weeks after we moved, we welcomed our child home from Ethiopia.
A child we barely knew.
A child who had been through the loss of his parents, two orphanages, illness, and multiple caretakers by the time he got to us.
A child who arrived physically ill.
A child who was emotionally scarred by the kinds of loss no one should ever have to face.
A child who was unsure of us or this very different place.

To say we felt unprepared to parent Liam would be the understatement of the year.
We were in pure survival mode for several months.
We were fighting emotions we thought we shouldn't have, rather than accepting them and moving forward.
We were trying to patch everything together and wrap it up in a beautiful bow, rather than embracing the fact that there is nothing neat and tidy about a family like our's.

Liam may not have been knit together in my womb, but God is certainly knitting our family together, day by day, moment by moment, little by little.  We are a patchwork quilt being sewn together through time spent and memories made.  Sometimes the pricks are painful, but they are necessary.  Just like a quilt, we will grow softer toward one another and more precious to one another in time.

And we will never "Arrive."  Not until Jesus takes us home.  On this Earth, there is no such thing as a Perfect Family or a Perfect Child or A Perfect Home.  And that's OK.

These expectations had to be Stripped Away before we could receive the Joys God had in store for us.  Joys that have surprised us - 
Joy in being together.  
Joy in seeing Liam learn and grow.  
Joy in feeling God's presence even in the midst of shame, sorrow and pain.  
Joy in finding that our marriage is strong enough to withstand tough times.  
Joy in seeing how much others love Liam -  
Grandparents and cousins, aunts and uncles, therapists and preschool teachers.  
There is Joy in experiencing what it means that it takes a village to raise a child.  Because we could not do this on our own.

So Thank You.  If you are reading this, you must be a part of our village.  And you have carried us through this year with your support.  We love you and are glad you are a part of our lives.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Year of Stripping It Down [Part I]

We started 2011 preparing our old house for the market and moving into our new house as fast as we could before our second child arrived.  

Our family was growing, yet we were going from 2300 square feet to 1400 square feet.  

We had gotten married, had a baby, and received the news of our second child in our 4 years on East Orchard Lane.  So many precious memories.  

We had a lot of garage sales and made multiple Goodwill trips to be able to fit our possessions into the new house.  We let go of a lot of things.  I shed tears over some, never think about most.

Old House

We knew God was calling us to Strip It Down.  To simplify.  To travel light through this world because it is not our home.   

So we did.
And found that less truly is more.
That there is freedom in simplicity.
We are now more free to go where God leads.  To be who He wants us to be.  To hire help when we need it.  To store up treasures in Heaven.
And it is good.

New House

To Be Continued...