Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter Fun

We were so busy last weekend that I think it took me all week to recover!  Even though we had Friday off the three days were just not quite enough to cram in all that we had going on.  Saturday evening we colored some eggs.  I didn't realize how many colors came in the package I bought, of course we had to use them all (even though we only hard boiled 18 eggs!).

The week before Easter a friend of mine posted this cute idea on Facebook. At first I thought it looked hard but when I read the directions I thought, "I can do that!"  I was in such a rush after church on Sunday that I forgot to take a picture of the final product but here is the bunny that I made from bread dough.
 I put this guy on a platter, cut out the tummy, put some lettuce in there and filled it with veggie dip. Then I put veggies all around it. It was cute, and I got lots of compliments on it! Plus it was all super yummy too!
 Connor and Travis found some eggs that the Easter Bunny hid around the house.

Finally, Travis found the Easter baskets hiding in the castle.  Connor found his in there too! Once again, the Easter  bunny was way too generous!  lol 
Here are the boys in our backyard.  Since Easter was so late this year our tree was actually blooming! After church we went over to my aunt and uncle's house for an Easter celebration with our family.  Most of my cousins all have kids now and they are all pretty close in age.  The ages range from 12 to 1 with the majority of them 3-8. Needless to say we had a really fun time this year!  All of them had so much fun hunting eggs, playing games and doing some crafts. Not to mention they heated the pool so that the kids could go swimming and not freeze to death in the process!  Connor spent most of his time in the pool, he wouldn't even come out to play the games.  I was afraid I was never going to get him out, finally he started to get cold and I was able to get him out of there before his skin was completely wrinkled!  LOL  Here are some pictures from all of the fun.  (Ok, I have no idea why this is all in white... there are some new things on here and I am trying to figure it all out!)

 Can you tell these two are the same age?  Just about 6 weeks apart.... and two peas in a pod!  They are two funny little guys, I enjoyed watching them play together.
 Travis enjoyed the water slide while Connor just swam and swam and then he would run and jump in on off the side. He would be a perfect candidate for the show Fear Factor!
 Travis got to play pin the tail on the bunny. He was a little bit off!  lol
 Next came the spoon race.  You can see the fierce competition between these two!  LOL  (Once again, these two are close in age as well!)
Here are the boys waiting to do the egg roll.  I finally got Connor out of the pool by this time. He was so tired it was pretty easy for him to sit and watch for a bit!
 Finally it was time to do some crafts. 
 Boy was it a fun yet exhausting day! Here are how my two angels looked on the way home.

Once again we had a wonderful holiday with our boys.  We are so incredibly blessed to have them both in our lives.  They keep us busy and on our toes, but we wouldn't have it any other way.  Happy belated Easter to you!

Friday, April 22, 2011

And the birthday lingers on....

Last Saturday when Daryle was mowing the lawn I heard him hollering for me to come quick. I wondered what in the world was wrong! He wanted to know if I had a jar. What? Then he told me he found a gecko and he thought the kids would like to look at it and check it out. Well, I didn't have a jar but I did have a bug/critter catcher in the closet. The boys were so excited! Travis figured he had a new pet. I was worried as he carried it around, turning it this way and that way. All I could think of is that this gecko didn't have much more time left on this earth. When he left for the Diamondback's game I looked and looked for the thing. I figured he let it go. I was wrong. I went in his bedroom and there it was sitting on his dresser in its cute cage. When he got home that night, after hauling the poor little guy around a little longer, he finally realized that this was not a pet and needed to be let back into the backyard to catch all of the bugs. It was a nice pet while it lasted!He didn't want him to be lonely, so he put in a rubber frog and lizard. I am not quite sure how the gecko felt about this!

Connor's hair is a lot of fun. This is what happened at bath time the other night. When you look at this picture just imagine him laughing and laughing!! (And yes, he has a tan line!)

Just when you think the birthday is over Uncle Billy comes along and sends his gift. His gifts are always a hit. This year he sent two super sized flying monkeys and this new addition to our house.

Yes, that is a castle! As you see from the thumbs up it was a hit!

Here is a view from the inside.

They wasted no time at all in getting the blankets and pillowpets to get "cozy" in the "castle".

Oh, and don't forget the mountain of Webkinz that also joined in the party! The gift came on the perfect day. Travis has been sick again and it is so hard to keep him inside so that he can rest and relax. This gift kept him busy and entertained so he could take it easy! When I say Travis has an incredibly high tolerance for pain I am NOT kidding. He never says he is not feeling well, never cries when he is hurt (he fights those tears like nobodies business) and when he is sick he acts like he isn't and wants to continue at his pace of 150 mph. Take for instance this past week. I knew on Saturday that his asthma was beginning to act up. He refused to do any breathing treatments. Against my better judgement I let it slide, mostly because he is getting old enough that he needs to start being able to listen to his body. On Monday evening I finally told him he needed to get going on the treatments, and he obliged. For the first time EVER he woke up at 3 am calling for us and said he needed a breathing treatment. Holy cow, he must be in bad shape if he is asking for this in the middle of the night! I could tell from his cough/breathing that he was going to be needing a doctor visit the next day. So, the following morning I had planned to call grandpa and see if he could stay with Travis while I went to work in the morning, called in for a half day sub so I could take him in to the doctor in the early afternoon. He insisted he could go to school for the half day. So, I let him. He lives with this constantly, so he is used to nothing getting him down. I knew he had a sinus infection and he was wheezing but I was surprised that he also had an ear infection. Evidently the whole left side was infected from the ears to the sinuses. He was still insisting that he go back to school AND go to the baseball game that night! Oh for pete's sake! Thankfully the doctor backed me up and he went home that day, no game and grandpa came and stayed with him the next day. (Poor grandpa said to me that afternoon, boy it sure is hard to keep him down! Yes, I know! Can you imagine if I had sent him to school??) Thank goodness we have a three day weekend, it forces him to take it easy. I can tell you this is not a simple task!

I won't even begin to go into the long 7 year drama of Travis' health issues. I will say that two weeks ago his ENT decided he was having sinus headaches and not sinus infections. Ok, I figured I would let that play out. Two weeks after that appointment and we have an ear infection, sinus infection, and wheezing issues that have made me decide she doesn't know what she is talking about. What a shame, we have been with her since the beginning. I always liked her, but now I think we need to part ways. This is hard, it's like losing a family member. Oh well. We now have an appointment with another doctor (he is highly recommended and considered the best pediatric ENT around here) for a second opinion. Hopefully he will have a fresh perspective and we can get somewhere with all of this craziness of being on constant antibiotics. He is now getting resistant to one of them. Not cool.

And finally after ten tries I was able to get a cute picture of these Three Musketeers. Oh, and I can't forget... Travis got his first hit last night, he stole second, third and then home! We were so proud of him! (No picture, it is hard for me to even sit and watch the game with my other little tornado running all around the place! Thankfully I did see his hit and steals!) Of course if it had been up to me I would have made him stay home because he is still sick, but when dad is the coach there is an extra obstacle in the way! LOL I am glad he went because he did so well and had a great time. Now if I can just get him healthy by Monday we will be on the right track!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

He was mustard....

This afternoon Daryle took Travis to a Diamondback's game. Evidently as soon as they walked in somebody approached Travis to ask if he would like to participate in the Hot Dog Race that happens during the game. It took some coaxing but eventually Travis agreed to do it! (A few years ago when Travis was 5 he was asked but he was too chicken to try it! I am glad he has matured since then! Ha!) Daryle called me right way to tell me about it. I was sad I wasn't there. I was even sadder that I looked at the counter and there sat the camera. Sometimes he brings it, today he left it behind! Thank goodness for camera phones. These aren't the best but at least we can capture the memory. Here he is getting ready to run onto the field. The next message I got was that he came in second. At least he wasn't last! The third message I got said that Travis was walking around like he was a local celebrity. I guess he needs to start practicing early! LOL I can't wait to hear all about it when they come home.
And he even gets this cute t-shirt as proof! Isn't technology amazing??? I mean, I have this post published with pictures and they aren't even home yet!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Miracle of Adoption

This symbol is the adoption triad. One side of the triangle represents the birth parents, the other side represents the adoptive family and the third side represents the adoptee. Of course the heart represents the love shared by all three. I love this symbol and how it shows just how adoptive and birth families are connected forever. This week I had a life experience that has made an impact on me. I would like to share my thoughts about it here.

Adoption sure is a crazy, fascinating, and miraculous thing. Pretty much everybody we know sees first hand how my family has been affected by adoption. Anybody who knows us also sees the miracle as to how well both of our boys have fit into our family seamlessly. Parents just "know" who their kids are. I have read so many blogs, books, and articles not to mention I know many adoptive parents and pretty much everybody says that when they first met their child or saw the first picture they just "knew" they belonged with them. Many people also have received referrals and known that these children were not "the ones" for whatever reason. I know that with Connor's adoption I knew he was my son the minute I laid my eyes on him. There was not a shred of doubt in my mind that he was "the one" we were searching for. Daryle told me he had felt the same way. Travis' story was a bit different. We carried around a 6 month photo of a chubby cheeked baby boy for 10 1/2 months so when we were presented with a malnourished 16 month old I was a little shocked the first moment I saw him. Yes, I went back to the hotel and wondered for a moment if this was really my son. We had gone through hell and back so my heart knew he was mine. I think my head was just trying to guard my heart at the time. However, by the second visit later that afternoon I overcame the shock of his appearance and I knew in my heart this little baby boy was meant to be our son. Like I said before, you just "know" and a sense of peace comes over you about these things.

However, there is also another side of adoption that I don't seem to relate to or discuss as much. That is the side of the birth family. It is interesting to me that at this stage in my life I have been affected by this side of adoption to a certain degree. 25 or so years ago my uncle and his now ex-wife had two children that they gave up for adoption during the course of their marriage. My parents were upfront with me about this when it happened as I was old enough to understand what was going on at the time. Over the years I have thought about the fact that I have two cousins out there in the big wide world. Sometimes I would wonder if I had actually met them somewhere and didn't even know it. Or would I if I did? I would say a prayer for them now and then and hoped that they were in loving families and that they had a good life. Well, imagine our families' shock and excitement when about a year ago the older son called my uncle to make contact. After a year of phone calls, emails and facebook with various family members he came out here this past week to meet his birth father and his extended family. To say he is an amazing young man is an understatement! It is obvious that he was raised in a very loving family. He once told my mom during a phone call that he had a good life. Answered prayers! As for his mother, she is an amazing woman. I can just look at her and relate to her on so many levels. (She also adopted two sons. Bryan is her younger son.) Even when she was telling the story about how they got the call about their son before he was born she had a look and smile on her face as if she was re-living the moment. It was as if it were yesterday. (I know I remember those days for myself as if they were yesterday too!) From hearing her story you can tell that for her, the way things happened, that Bryan was meant to be their son. I can completely relate to that feeling. Of course I am sure it wasn't a shock to anybody that of all people I was the one who got teary eyed and choked up the minute I looked at Bryan and then saw his proud mother sitting right next to him. It was a moment where I was not prepared for my reaction, that's for sure! It was so interesting to find out different characteristics and interests he has... such as he likes to cook and create recipes.... this is a thread that runs through just about all of the men on my dad's side of the family. Plus, he looks just like my uncle as well as my uncle's oldest son (whom he raised and we all know). I continue to be in awe at the power of adoption. Obviously Bryan was meant to be in the family he was raised in. It was evident by the fact that 9 members of his family came to meet all of us too that he is so incredibly loved by many, many people. It is so nice to have met him and to know that he turned out so well and most of all that he is happy. He is a very special person for sure.

Every day when I look at my boys I am amazed at how we have changed the course of life for them. If it weren't for the gift of adoption they would not be here with us now. Who knows where they would be. I don't even like to think about that. I do know that it takes an incredibly strong and unselfish person to give their child up for adoption. To know and acknowledge that this child will have a better life with another family must be the most heart wrenching decision a parent can make. I can't even imagine having to make such a life altering decision. As I watched my uncle get to know Bryan last night I was touched again by a different side of adoption. I was once again reminded how God works in mysterious ways and how our lives take us down so many different winding paths. I am glad Bryan's mom encouraged him to find out about his birth family. It's been an interesting week. Like I said, adoption is a miracle, it truly is a gift of life.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's Great to be 8!

This week we celebrated Travis' birthday, I can hardly believe he is 8 years old. It seems just like yesterday that we saw this cute, chubby cheeked 6 month old picture of this baby turned big kid! Time just flies. As Daryle had to say to me the other day, "Well, he is halfway to driving now!" What??!!?? I think he had a really good day. Actually he got to spread the fun out to three days. He had a baseball game on his birthday so we had to celebrate on Monday. (I pointed out to Travis, hey, it's your birthday in Russia so why not celebrate early??) My dad had to go out of town on Monday so my mom and dad took him on Sunday and they did their own celebration. They went to Applebee's for lunch (where Travis insisted they sing to him... oh it is not a birthday unless the whole restaurant sings to you!) and then they did some birthday shopping. These pictures are from our Monday night celebration. We all went to dinner at Olive Garden (and yes, they sang to him!) and then came home for cake and presents. Of course on his actual day he brought in cupcakes to school and he got to celebrate with the class. Plus I brought cupcakes to the game that night so the team wouldn't be left out. Geesh. It was the birthday that would never end! I can guarantee he loved every minute of it! Travis with his "loot". Those are from mom, dad, Connor, Rock and the other stack is from the grandparents. Nope. Not spoiled at all around here, is he??
How did Rock know Travis had a thing for RV's? Are these two planning an early escape??
Looks like mom and dad came through on the Lego set he was looking at!
Wow Grandpa and Grandma! That set is double Awesome!!
His godmother Stephanie sent a few things from her family. Among them was this basketball hoop for the door. To say this was a hit with BOTH boys is a complete understatement! They even take it down to grandpas to hook on doors down there!
Travis helped decorate his cake. It was delicious!
Here are my two best presents ever!! Happy Birthday Travis, we love you!!!

More Spring Break Memories

Over Spring Break the boys were very excited to see Grandpa come back to town. And guess what he brought with him?? His BIG RED TRUCK! The boys just love riding in that thing. Can you see how excited Connor was to see him here? Along with Grandpa and his truck came his nice camera that I love using! Here were some pictures I took from St. Patrick's Day when we went to the Bounze House to have some fun.

They love going here because they can run and jump and have tons of fun. I love it because it is close and it tires them out!