Friday, December 25, 2009

Connor's First Christmas 2009

So much for trying to upload pictures of the last two days in order. Oh well! I do have to say, this was a wonderful and most memorable day. Both boys were absolute angels and made the day even more meaningful and special for our whole family. We weren't too sure how Travis would handle sharing the gift unwrapping, etc. Something seemed to happen to him overnight. I think Santa must have spread around some magic because it was like he woke up a different child. Even if it only lasts for one day, we'll take it! All joking aside, he was such a fabulous big brother today. I had no expectations for the day, which is always a good thing anyway. Travis was wonderful in every way. Connor of course was just a bit overwhelmed by it all, but he had a wonderful day too. It is so amazing how one more member in the family can make the day that much more joyful. I just kept thinking about what he was doing last year ( he was in the hospital under evaluation we think) and I kept thinking how wonderful that he is here with us this year. This is where he was meant to be. Now for my out of order pictures from the last few days.
Since Connor loves music so much, yes, we got him an instrument set! I'll tell you, it was a hit! He picked up those drum sticks and played that drum like he has been doing it his whole life. The two of them together made a nice little band!

Yes, Santa delivered Travis the kitchen set he so desired! He has been "cooking" and taking orders all day long. We also got him a cash register so he has been "selling" his items. He sold grandpa a $30 hamburger... seems like he is going by Russian prices! LOL Actually, the kitchen is a hit with both boys, and Travis has been sharing nicely.
Now we back up to Christmas Eve. Here are the cookies Travis decorated and left for Santa. They must have been good because he ate all of them!
Here are the boys with Great-Grandma at dinner. Yummy Mexican food!
Daryle and his dad at dinner. At least they were behaving in this picture!
Here are Travis and I with my dad.
My boys at dinner. Once again, both boys were so well behaved. Kind of surprising for Connor since he didn't take a nap and sat so nicely through church before we even got to dinner. No wonder Santa was so good to them!
Our family all together this year for Christmas Eve dinner.
Backing up a few days, here we are making sugar cookies. With Travis standing on that chair he looks so darned grown up! I am having flashes of "teenagerhood" just looking at this picture. My baby is growing up so fast!!
After the cookies we made a gingerbread train. We departed from the annual gingerbread house and did a train. It was lots of fun. It will be fun when Connor can help out. This year we did it while he took a nap!
Travis all dressed up before church on Christmas Eve. Where is Connor? Still asleep in his bed. After over an hour of NOT sleeping he finally decides to fall asleep ten minutes before we need to head off to church!
Fast forward back to Christmas morning. Here are the boys with their kitchen posing in their cute Christmas jammies.
We looked at these smiling boys all day. Such joy they bring us!
I guess that sums up our holidays. Merry Christmas to all of you, we hope you all had a day of fun with family and friends. May you all find joy and hope during this blessed holiday season.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Long Awaited Pictures

Finally, after a few computer glitches I finally was able to upload some pictures of what the boys have been up to over the last few weeks.

Travis is enjoying cooking right now. Who knows, we may have a future chef on our hands! He even asked Santa for a kitchen. He has his own apron and enjoyed getting to take the cookies off of the cookie sheet.
Here is the "little elf helper" himself, all smiles! (That is what he named himself when he wears his apron that Grammy got him.)
Connor, smiling as usual.
Look at those muscles!!!!!!!!!!!!
Connor loves books, especially ones that make noise!
This is where Connor gets his bottle before nap or bedtime. He loves this chair. Grandpa got this one of him while he was babysitting. He looks so cute in that big chair! All you have to do is say, "Time for you bottle," and he runs to his chair. He is such a sweetheart, I love snuggling with him!
This week it was six months since Connor has been with us. We have all come a long way, here's to many more days, weeks, months and years to come! We are so excited to be celebrating Christmas this year with both of our children. Last year we celebrated knowing that one of our children was in Russia somewhere while he was totally unaware of the family that was anxiously waiting for his arrival. Finally, that day is here. We are all so blessed to have each other.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just in case you were wondering...

Connor is doing well after his "circumcision revision" and his eye exam. Everything seems to be back to normal, judging by the way Connor runs around the house you would never know anything was done to him today! His eye exam went very well. As the dr said, "His eyes are perfect... for now anyway!" That was really good news for him, and us too! As far as the other end of his little body, I am staying home with him another day to make sure things are looking all right. If anything looks the least bit concerning, I am calling the dr right away. This little guy has been through enough.

Tomorrow Grandpa is going to bring me the cord for his camera and I will be able to put up some new pics. There are some cute ones on there!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


This week has been a bit crazy around here. Truthfully, just about every week is crazy but this week was crazy with me actually getting things done. Here is what I am proud of:

  • I finished my 7th class towards my Master's Degree. This one had A LOT of work, I have a lot of sweat and tears rolled into this one! (only 5 more! I graduate in one year, Woohoo!)

  • I finished my report cards. Normally that isn't too big of a deal. However, we have a new system this year. The first quarter was a disaster for all. After I input all of my grades for this quarter I was informed that I forgot to check a certain box. Ok, I thought. I will go in and check the box. The problem with that is the minute you click the box all of the grades are erased. Great. Add 2-3 more hours on top of my report card chore. Good thing is that now they are D.O.N.E. done!!
  • I went to my first jury duty on Friday. I didn't get selected, thank goodness, but it was interesting. I was there for about 2 hours and I did have to get up and answer questions in front of everybody. When I sat down I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest. For some reason I was so nervous that I would forget to answer one of the questions. You would think that two times in a Russian court would have prepared me for that! LOL

I still have more things to do this week like address and mail my Christmas cards, do some Christmas shopping, wrap gifts, get through this last week of school before break and on Tuesday Connor has to go in for an out-patient surgery. I am taking off Tuesday and possibly Wednesday to be home with him. I hope it all goes well. Nothing serious, just a problem stemming from a procedure that was done in August. I am praying that the dr gets it right this time. He is also being put under to have a more thorough eye exam. When we are in the office he is a spit-fire beyond belief! This way they can get an accurate look. Since he has that birthmark over his eye he is at risk for glaucoma. This will let us know if we need to be concerned about anything at this time.

Grandpa has been here and has been taking lots of pictures. I hope to get some up soon. ;-) Have a great weekend, I know I am having one!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Tree + Santa + Parades = LOTS of Family Time

Last weekend we put up all of our Christmas decorations. Connor thinks they are all pretty neat! He woke up from his nap and Travis and I had just about finished. He looked around the house with wide eyes and then a huge smile spread across his face. It was so cute! He loves the lights on the tree and he has been pretty good about being careful. He has pulled off a few ornaments, but I didn't put any breakables at the bottom anyway. As he takes them off I just move them up higher. I figure that by Christmas morning there will be no ornaments on the bottom half of the tree! Oh well!
Here is Connor looking at the lights, before we decorated the tree.

Mommy's little helper. Travis really is a great helper and did a super job helping me out with the tree. I love how kids decorate, it makes the tree more unique.
I took a peek around the back of the tree to find he hung these three candy canes right on top of each other! Too funny!! They really are 3 different ornaments! LOL
Admiring all of our hard work!
Travis is showing off his decorating talents. He likes to put them all at the bottom. I guess he can see them better that way!
On Friday night our town had a tree lighting celebration. The elementary school choirs all sang so we went to hear our school. Santa was also there, so we had our first Santa Experience for Connor. He cried of course! I love living in a small town, when we go to these functions we see so many people we know. Now that we have lived here for 5 years I even see some of my old students. It is amazing how they are growing up, sometimes it is hard for me to recognize them!
As you can see Travis is all smiles, Connor is crying and not too sure! I LOVE these types of pictures!
Connor is enjoying his first candy cane! Yummy! (Don't worry, he just licked it for a few minutes until I could transition him to a graham cracker without him throwing a fit in public!!)
If I hadn't already done my Christmas cards, this would have been perfect! It amazes us how Connor lets Travis pick him up and carry him around. They really are bonding as brothers, it is such an amazing process to watch unfold.
As if the excitement on Friday wasn't enough, our town had the Christmas Parade on Saturday morning. Even though I have a million and one things to do, we decided it could all wait so we could take Connor to his first parade. It wasn't Travis' first parade but it was the first time we all were able to go together. Last year Daryle and Travis went, I have no idea why I couldn't go. Anyway, it was chilly out and it started almost an hour late, but in the end we all had a great time. We saw lots of horses, marching bands, cheerleaders, tractors, military vehicles and even Native American dancers in full headdress! It was awesome, I love our small town! We saw lots of people we know in the parade, which makes it even more fun and entertaining.
The boys waiting for the parade to start. Yes, it was cold. No, Connor does not have on his slippers. It is a challenge to keep shoes on this kid!
Wearing mommy's glasses was a source of good entertainment during our wait.

The good thing about having a little brother is that there is always a seat around when you get tired of standing!
Still no shoes. Sigh. It wasn't for a lack of trying though!
Isn't this the cutest little guy? He is wearing his reindeer slippers. My grandma had bought them for Travis years ago, but he didn't like how they felt on his feet. Good thing I saved them because Connor likes running around the house in them! He is such a cutie!! So far Connor's first Christmas experience seems to be going well and flying by way too fast. I can't wait for Christmas morning, we have much to celebrate!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week Travis' First Grade class put on their annual performance. They were all so cute up there dressed in "farming attire". Here is Travis after he was done. He was so proud, he got to play the sticks in the final performance. He did a great job! Of course the grandparents, parents and baby brother were all there to cheer him on!
Yesterday was Daryle's birthday. For our celebration we took Travis on the Polar Express ride. For those of you unfamiliar, The Polar Express is an awesome book that was turned into a movie a few years ago. (If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend it!!) I have had a Polar Express Day in my classroom for years, the current movie has made it more fun to teach since the kids are so familiar with it. There is a place here in AZ where you can actually ride on the train and it takes you to the North Pole! It is just like the book, you drink hot chocolate and eat cookies on your way to the North Pole. The kids even wear their pajamas, just like in the story. (Some adults even wear them too.... not us though!)Then Santa comes on board and gives each child a bell. On the way back everybody sings Christmas carols. It is an awesome ride! People come from far and wide for this one hour "trip". It was our first time and I am sure it won't be our last. One year we will get Connor on there too. It was a four hour ride up for us and the train ride was at 8:00, way past Connor's bedtime. Although we missed him, we had a great time and didn't have the worry of dealing with a fussy baby who doesn't want to sit still!
This is Travis with Buster (he is visiting with us for the weekend from Travis' classroom, he got to come along for the ride too!) on the train.
Travis and Mommy. Poor Travis has had trouble keeping his eyes open for pictures, so that is why his eyes are so wide open.
"The birthday boy" and Travis awaiting the night's adventure.
Travis got to wear the chef hat, he felt so special!
Santa gave Travis a bell from his sleigh!!
It was SOOOO cold!!! We got a little family pic after the ride (well, minus Connor... he stayed with the grandparents for the night. His first night away from us!)
Here is our little family on Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for and we feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Life Is Flying By

I can hardly believe that Connor has been home with us for five months now. Amazing. It seems like we waited a lifetime for Travis to get home. With Connor it was such a faster process, sometimes I feel like I blinked and he was here. Now it seems like he has always been here. Just today I was talking to my mom about last Thanksgiving and I said, "Remember it was Travis and Connor..." Oops. It just felt like he must have been there! He was there in spirit though. We are so blessed to have both of these boys in our family. I count my blessings every day that we were led to our boys through the miracle of adoption. Even though some days we have our rough patches, in the end we know they were both destined to be part of our family. Who doesn't have rough days and challenges??

We are all getting excited to be celebrating Connor's first holidays here at home. I know at this age they don't remember much, but we know and we remember. I hope the first Santa picture goes better than Travis' did. He screamed and carried on so much that I am in the picture too!! Connor is the opposite of Travis in just about everything, so it will be interesting to say the least.

Right now the weather here is GORGEOUS! This is why we live here. Connor LOVES his swing out back, he could stay there all day if you let him. I am so glad we have the swing set in the backyard, they love to be out there every afternoon when we get home from school.
This picture is cute, if only that darn rope wasn't in the way!
Here is Connor in his swing eating a cookie. (He still eats anything!)
Love the look on his face!! He is sucking all of the chocolate out of the middle of his cookie. We can't waste anything around here!
LOVE this little face! Life is pretty good for this little dude. ;-)
Travis enjoys his "clubhouse". Here he is peeking out through the slots.
We have been lucky enough to have Grandpa be in town since Halloween. I just love this picture I got of the two of them. Can't you just hear the laughter??
I heard Travis laughing this morning, I turned to see what it was and Connor was riding around on this firetruck! It was so cute, but of course by the time I got the camera out he started to get off. I sure hope Santa brings this child a ride on toy to scoot around on for Christmas!
On Saturdays my mom picks up my grandma and they go to lunch and do some little errands. Today they stopped by our house to pick up some cookie dough my mom bought. It was so nice spending some time visiting with my Grandma, we don't get to do it nearly enough! Whenever we are together there is so much going on that I don't have much time to sit and just visit with her. It sure brings back lots of fond memories! (Life was so different before I had kids of my own! I wouldn't have it any other way though!) Travis and Daryle were at a baseball game, so it was just Connor and I at home. Here is a picture of Connor with his Grammy and Great-Grandma. My camera is so slow I couldn't capture Connor's smile. He was full of smiles, my camera is just a bit slow! We had a lovely afternoon together.
I have much so be thankful for, even though there are days when I want to bury my head in the sand. I have two beautiful children, a great husband who helps me out around here (with minimal prodding anyway, wink, wink!), parents who love us and their grandchildren even more, our faith, our health, a house, and our jobs. (I could go on and on, but you get the picture.) I am so blessed that each day I see smiles and hear the laughter of children in my house. It doesn't get much better than that. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!