Wednesday, October 30, 2013

15 months

Naomi hit 15 months a few days ago. Thought I would tell you a little bit about her these days!

::  She just started cruising along furniture and stepping when you walk with her. Her physical therapist is going to discharge her after her next visit which is strangely bittersweet.
::  She is an effective pointer and can communicate a lot with her finger and by lunging her body in the direction she wants to go.
:: Her top 2 words are probably "No" and "Uh Oh" (or sometimes just "Oh") and she can sign "Please" and occasionally "More".
::  She started speech therapy (which I have mixed feelings about). Our hope is that it will decrease the amount of screeching she does to get our attention and increase her words.
::  You cannot eat dessert or give the other girls a treat in front of her and not include her. She knows and wants in.
:: She likes to feed herself with a spoon or fork. This is of course rather messy, but she loves it.
:: She likes spicy foods.
:: She has had a cold for over 2 weeks and is cutting some molars. This means we have seen more snot than I thought was possible in the last 2 weeks.
:: She laughs when someone else is crying and cries when Andrew rough houses with the other girls.
:: She is obsessed with the coupe car whenever we play outside.
:: If she sees her shoes, she wants you to put them on her.

Here is a series of her feeding herself. I love the progression...



Sunday, October 27, 2013

O is for Ocean

Thanks to some everlasting colds in our house, Ocean week was pretty simple and drew mostly on what we already had around.

The girls explored our Ocean sensory bin.

They painted shells that we brought back from our trip to the ocean.

We stamped fish after reading the book Swimmy.

Here are a few books we looked at.

 And here is the MFW badge for the week.

In addition to this, we looked at the 5 oceans (did you know there are 5 now?) on a map and repeated their names over and over throughout the week.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cat in the Hat

Malia continues to enjoy the Atelier Art Program that we have. She did a Cat in the Hat picture with oil pastel crayons about a month ago...


 Right before we left for Florida, Davey noticed Malia's drawing and said she wanted to make one. I asked her if she wanted to watch the art video and she said yes.


Here is Davey's version. She really enjoyed using the oil pastel crayons and making her picture colorful. She is just starting to draw faces and you can see a little face up top in red.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Florida

2 weeks ago, Andrew and I got to spend 5 days kid-less in Florida. We had a great time visiting with friends, family and even getting some time at the beach to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.

I took no pictures of our time in Orlando (which is sad because we were with great people), but have a few from our time at the beach.

A highlight of our trip was a kayaking tour we took. Our guide was great and would just jump into the water and pull out sea life to show us.

We got to hold this conch...

 ... and this sea cucumber as well as sea urchins and sea stars. We saw three different kind of jelly fish, lots of different crabs, fish and birds... it was great.

We also got to kayak through the mangroves which was really neat.

You are supposed to be able to see dolphins and manatees on that kayaking tour. We saw neither while kayaking, but happened to see both from the shore. We tracked these 2 manatees for a mile down the beach and got to higher ground for a better look (not a great picture, sorry).

 We got to watch the sunset on the beach which was pretty spectacular.

October is the time of year to go to the beach. It was empty... just us and some birds walking the beach.

We are grateful to Andrew's parents who watched the girls so we could go. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What Not to Forget When You're Adopting


Andrew wrote this article about adoption for Chris (and Alli's!) blog. I thought it was worth reposting here.
--------------
Naomi sat contentedly on my lap, fingers from one hand in her mouth, fingers from the other gripping her new toy. We quietly watched her two sisters and three cousins—all between the ages of twenty months and five and half years—chase, dance, and laugh back and forth as parents and grandparents tried to corral them in the direction of the bathrooms.
The group was louder and more rambunctious than is appropriate for a courthouse (juvenile or otherwise), but, hey, some celebrating was in order. The Honorable Judge Woods had—mere minutes before—heeded the recommendations of Denver Human Services and Naomi’s Guardian Ad Litem. He’d declared Naomi to be the newest member of our family.
Adoption Day
Adoption Day
I was thrilled and exhausted and doing my best to relish the deep joy and humbling honor of officially becoming Naomi’s forever dad. Naomi was thrilled because the judge had given her a rubber ducky, exhausted because the courthouse events delayed her morning nap, and simply relishing the boisterous joy of her cousins and siblings. And so we sat quietly enjoying a Friday morning unlike any other we’ve experienced.
As the bathroom round-up continued, a young woman crested the top of the stairway across the hall. She glanced around, and then moseyed over to Naomi and my bench. Spinning and sitting, she sighed lightly.
“What are you here for?” She looked at us sideways, just her left eye visible.
I couldn’t help but smile. “We just finalized our adoption.” Nodding towards Naomi.“This is my new daughter.”
Her sideways stare broke; her gaze snapped forward. A quick nod was all the acknowledgement she gave. Well, huh.
I didn’t offer a return question, but she broke the silence. “Do you know who I am?”
I might have smirked. Did she think I had a mental roster of all that morning’s hearings? The 10.00am event in Courtroom F was the only one I’d paid any attention to.
“Nope.”
The sideways stare returned. Ignoring my reply, she went on: “I’m here to learn my program.” My expression made it clear that I wasn’t following. She continued, “I gave birth on Monday.” Strong emotion played on the half of her face that I could see. “They took her. I just want to see her. She’s with a foster family now. They’re going to tell me my rehab program…tell me what I need to do to get her back.”
This time my eyes broke away. The emotion opposite the joy Naomi, my family, and I felt sat next to me, embodied in this woman. I was stunned. Subdued.  “I…I’m…I’m sorry.”
She shared a bit more—the state’s concerns, her fears. I responded haltingly, poorly, saying not a single one of the kind phrases that have occurred to me in the weeks since. I failed to ask her name; to let her know that I’d pray for her and her daughter; to ask how I might be able to help.
Naomi’s new siblings and cousins were fleeing the restrooms. Their respective parents and grandparents followed, now corralling kids towards the elevators. I stood, shifted Naomi to my hip, and stumbled through some parting words: I hoped she could complete her rehab program; I needed to go. And then I did.
~~~
I recently read Kathryn Joyce’s Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption, a book about Christians and adoption and troubling issues that Joyce believes underlie much of the Evangelical “orphan care movement.” The book has garnered critical attention as Jedd Medefind, the President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, wrote a “frank analysis” and rebuttal while Jonathan Merritt ably reviewed the work forBooks & Culture. Like both Medefind and Merritt, I found plenty to dislike in Joyce’s book (perspectives and presentations that are unfair and ungracious) as well as much to be challenged by (stories and observations that made me uncomfortable and pushed my thinking). All told, the book was a difficult but worthwhile read for me, and—despite its weaknesses—it forced a couple of important ideas into my mind.
Chiefly, adoption is critical and important and desperately needed in situations around the world…but it’s not the only tool in the proverbial tool kit. I knew this before I read Joyce and I’ve celebrated that Christians are involved in all manner of ministry, development, and social work, but Child Catchers was a helpful reminder. At its best, adoption provides a “forever family” to a child who lacks one, but a lot of things have gone wrong—a birth family has experienced tragedy; a community has proven unable to support birth parents; etc.—for that point to be reached.
Sometimes well intentioned helping hurts. Sometimes we don’t think through the long-term impacts of our actions; sometimes the unintended consequences of our attempted good works are harmful. What is true of charity is true of adoption as well: at times it’s best for the child and the birth parents and at other times it’s not. One size does not fit all. There are situations where foundational causes can be addressed, while there are also other times where painful situations must be dealt with as best we can.
These key ideas popped up again and again through Child Catchers, and I’ll remember the most critical of them in this short-hand: Don’t forget the first mother. Don’t forget the birth families.
~~~
And so I pray for the lady who sat next to Naomi and me at the courthouse. I hope she completed her rehab program; I hope she has encouragement and support as she works to make a safe and loving home.
As jarring as it was to encounter her sad and difficult situation alongside our great joy, I’m grateful for the perspective that it provided. Naomi’s birth certificate displays Chrissy and me as her mother and father. Indeed we are, through and through and forever. But somewhere out there are a woman and a man who will always be her birth mom and her birth dad.
We don’t know much of their story. We don’t know where they are now or what their lives look like.
I hope that they have more than a stranger on a courthouse bench to share their travails with. I hope there are believers in their lives, listening, encouraging, assisting. Loving them as we’re loving their daughter.
Regardless, they’re in our prayers. Lord, have mercy. And may the church as well.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I is for Instrument

We also looked at instruments for a day during "I" week. We looked at a few books that explained an orchestra and its different sections. 

 Then we watched an orchestra online (one that played Song of Music songs!)



 We matched our mini instruments to these cards...

... and had our bin of instruments out.

 Lastly, we looked at this set of instrument cards and matched their names to the pictures. 

It was a fun and simple introduction to the orchestra. And I am excited because a mom at Malia's school told me that she is organizing a field trip to the local orchestra in the spring, so I am sure we will revisit instruments then.


Friday, October 11, 2013

I is for Insect

We looked at insects for a few days last week. We had done a study earlier this year on insects so we did not spend too much time on it.

We sorted "Insect, Not an Insect" and matched insects to cards. 
(I can't figure out where I got these from - I printed in the spring.)

Naomi playing with the insects.

Our Words to Remember sheet for this week.

Books.

One fun activity was talking about telling time with Malia after reading the Grouchy Ladybug.

We got some caterpillars through Insect Lore...

... watched them form their chrysalises...

... and then come out as butterflies. It was super cool. I think Andrew and I enjoyed watching the process as much as the girls. I highly recommend it.

And we finished out the week by playing the Ladybug Game. In these pictures the girls are laughing at their father's continual misfortune... I won the game and he was still at the start!

Unprompted, Malia drew me this sweet picture. I love it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Graham's Superhero Celebration

Several weeks ago, we celebrated G's birthday at his superhero party. Kendal made cute capes for all of the cousins and the 4 year olds dressed up as well :)

Superheros apparently still love to play rodeo...




 This superhero was more interested in calm, quiet play while his cousins ran all around bucking off their broncos.

And this superhero was just cute.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Castle Legos

About a month ago we came home from a visit to Andrew's parents with a box of Castle Legos from his childhood. My girls are pretty girly and castle legos are not, but they love them! They have spent hours upstairs at our loft table building and playing with them. Of course, they have added some feminine touches here and there by inserting pink legos and flowers :)




Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Elephant and Piggie Cartoons

I forgot to post these with our elephant stuff. I found this print out here. Malia (first one) and Davey (second one) colored them and then added words. I thought it was so funny to see what they came up with.

E: "What are you going to say on stage Piggie?" 
P: "I'm going to say a funny word."
P: "Banana!"
E: "What?"
E& P: "Ha ha ha ha ha! He he he he he!"

 E: "Hello Piggie. What should we do today?"
P: "I don't know."
P: "Let's go walk and think about what we are doing."
E: "Have you thought about anything you want to play?"
E & P: "Let's laugh and fall on the ground."



Monday, October 07, 2013

First Snow

We woke up last Friday to our first snow of the season. It was predicted, but still a little surprising! During N's morning nap, I bundled Malia and Davey up and sent them out back. 

 They immediately started a snowball fight...

 ... then moved onto eating the snow...

 ... then snow angels...

... and finished by making a snowman.