Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Little Monkeys

Here is a series of pictures that I took with my iPhone on the only nice Fall-ish weekend we've had here so far (it's 95 degrees right now!). I had just sewed Britton his first longsleeve football shirt for the year and he seemed pretty excited about it...

The kiddos were being silly little monkeys that morning ...

And then it happened ...

The head lock.

It's usually the manner in which all happy moments around here come to an end. Have I mentioned that Britton is all boy?

Oh yes ... yes he is.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hot Dog

Remember when I said "hot dog" and "happy" were Lia Kate's favorite words? Well, I was scrolling through the videos I've taken on my iPhone recently and realized why...

Even if I have ingrained those word in her head, she goes around all the time saying "hot dog" and swinging her little arm. Too cute, she is.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Life These Days

Life is a whirlwind, which is why you don't see me writing on the blog too much lately! But I wanted to write a post on what our life is like these days.

* We've been home with Lia Kate for over eight months now! When we first came home and times were hard, I would say to myself, "if we can just make it through the first six months ... if we can just make it through the first six months..." And, we made it, and then some. And things are SO much better! She has turned from a sad, little, insecure babe into a happy, spunky girl! The difference is dramatic. For example, in January, she was the size of a U.S. nine-month-old and now she is looking more and more like the two-year-old that she is. Sleep-wise, in January, nighttime and naps were a battle and she was sleeping in our bed. And now, she is sleeping in her own room and goes down fairly easily most nights. She even sleeps all the way through the night on her own most nights now. This is a HUGE accomplishment. Even after she moved to her own room a few months ago she would still wake up once or twice during the night. But it looks like we've turned a corner in the last month. And, boy, are we grateful! She still has lots of insecurity (understandably) and this is normal for a previously institutionalized child, and we are working through it and reminding her that we are aren't going anywhere ... that she is stuck with us ... forever. ;o)

* She is taking baby steps on independence. She still prefers to be in the same room as me nearly all the time, but she is also very comfortable with Danny taking her somewhere. She'll gladly say "bye bye" to me and walk out the door with him. She has definitely attached to him, but for the most part prefers me ... and I am usually the one who has to hold her when she's upset or when she goes to sleep. That evens things out around here, since Britton has always preferred Danny! Truly, though, she has definitely formed great attachments with both of us, and we are so very thankful.

* As of July 31, we've had 2 crazy two-year-olds running around here! Danny was asked recently if our kids were twins (????!!!!!). Danny responded, "I guess you could call them Irish twins." ;o) Um ... yeah ... something like that.

My two little chowhounds eating their "2" cookies.

* In other news, both kiddos started two-year-old preschool a few weeks ago (just two mornings a week), and they are doing great! Lia Kate loves going to school and uses the words "school" "fun" and "play" together all the time. She has two sweet teachers who have made the adjustment for her very easy. She hasn't even shed a tear yet when I've dropped her off. This is another HUGE accomplishment. A few months ago this would have resulted in a major meltdown. Britton loves school as well, and is doing great! His teachers say he always has a smile on his face. They told us a sweet story about him the other day. The kiddos were doing a handprint craft and Britton was the first to go. After he was done, he stood by the teacher and "helped" each child as they came up and told them "good" when they were done. Melt. My. Heart. Another cute story ... Britton and Lia Kate's classes bump into each other on the playground. On one of the first days of school, Lia Kate came running up to him yelling, "Britty! Britty!" And very nonchalantly, he said "hey."

Another first-day-of-preschool picture. They were a little unsure of what this lunchbox-photo-op business was all about.

* Speaking of having 2 two-year-olds, Britton and Lia Kate get along well ... some days. ;o) We've learned that virtual twinning (when you have children 7 months or less apart in age) is not easy ... especially when you bring a walking, talking, active child into the life of a previously only child. But it's part of adoption ... and we wouldn't have it any other way ... so we are working through it. Some days are great and some days not so great. I know a lot of the issues just boil down to sibling rivalry ... and you would probably find this same behavior in a million different households.

A typical Lia Kate face. She has so many funny expressions.

* Part of the beauty of having two kids nearly the same age is that we are learning how well these kids even each other out. For example, in the areas that Britton is difficult (i.e. getting along with his sister, behavior in public, at times), Lia Kate is a breeze. And the areas that Lia Kate is more difficult (sleep and independence), Britton is a breeze. Lia Kate is also doing really well with her language development (lately her favorite things to say are "i love it" and "happy" and "hot dog!"), and she is pushing Britton with his speech development, too. He has come a long way since we've had her.

I have lots of videos and pictures to post from the past few weeks. Hoping to get to that in the next week or so. Check back in...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Life With Two

Saturday, September 11, 2010


For those of you who liked Lia Kate's kitchen playset, I thought I'd pass along the links my sister-in-law sent me when she first came up with the idea. Click here and here for some other adorable homemade kitchen playsets and how to's. I'm so impressed by all of this craftiness!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And Preschool Begins...

My two little ones both started two-year-old preschool this morning! Lia Kate looks thrilled doesn't she? ;o) Actually, she was very excited about "school." Whenever I say the word "school" she says the word "play" or "fun." She got to go a little bit to Mother's Day Out this summer, so she has a taste of what "school" is. They had a great first day and are already home now and napping in their beds. These two will be going to "school" on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9 to 1. Lia Kate is in the transitional two's class, for the kiddos with summer birthdays, and Britton is in a regular two's class. One of Lia Kate's teachers is Miss Leslie, and she loves to say the name "Leslie" now. It is so cute to see her practicing her L's. When I picked her up, she ran to me, as she always does, yelling "mommy, mommy". Her teachers said she had a great day and that she didn't cry a bit. Go girl. When I picked Britton up, he excitedly showed me the stamp on his hand and all the new toys in his room. They said he had a great day and always had a smile on his face. Sweet thing.

We are looking forward to a wonderful first year of preschool!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

GiGi and her Grandboys

Those two kiddos sure do know how to operate an iPhone. ;o)

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Talented Sis In Law

My talented sister-in-law, Danica, made our kiddos some special gifts for their birthdays this year! For Britton's birthday in January, she made him this awesome bookshelf...

We have loved it. And we totally didn't expect that her next big project would be...

...the most adorable kitchen playset for Lia Kate's birthday!

And it's pink!

Made from an end table, it has an oven, burners, a sink, and knobs that turn.

And hooks on the side for her tiny potholder and little apron.

And LeeLee got right down to "cooking."

Thanks, Aunt Danica, for the amazing gifts! Love, love them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Birthday

Besides Lia Kate's little friend party, we had a couple of family parties to celebrate too.

The three birthday girls on July 31 ... our first joint birthday.

Me and my sweet girl...

...who is chock full of personality.

And then we celebrated with the Giffen side of the family...

The kiddos opened presents...

... and Lia Kate got a doll bed for her "beebee"s. She also got a really special gift that I'm going to write about in a separate post.

Lots of celebrating for a little girl, but she sure didn't seem to mind all of the attention!