Sunday, August 16, 2015

Home

We had to wake the kids up around 2:30 am. The kids jump right out of bed with no issues. We arrived at the airport three hours early just in case there was an problem due to our kids passports not matching the plane tickets. I have heard this has caused other families to have some issues. When we walk up to the counter I noticed right away that the person was the same one that handled our issues on trip one.  She actually remember us. I was not sure if that was good or bad. The problem was 6 months ago and she see millions of people and yet she remembers me. So she just stamped our stuff and said we all have seats. I thanked her and was glad to be moving on to security check point. I know I was upset and crying at some points. I never did my "business voice" with her but she did hear me talking to United that way. Yikes!

Our first flight was very short, only 2 hours or so. Once in Germany we had to check in again. It really was not a big deal we maybe took 15 minutes total. I decided i needed some humor so when the German custom guy asked if we had anything to declare I said "Well we just spent $50,000 on three kids do we need to claim that?"  He laughed it off and then checked the pass ports and realized that we were adopting and started laughing at us saying he thought we were just kidding around with him. 

We get on the big plane for the long flight. Everything went most uneventful besides Spencer got locked in the bathroom this time! He freaked out. Screaming on the top of his lungs. People came running. I had to talk him into opening it. At first he just wanted to curl up in the corner to calm himself down but in the end he wanted me to hold him and calm him down. I kept saying "Mommy is here and all will be good." He is starting to come to us when he hurt or scared. It will take more time of proving to him over and over again that we are there and we will protect him. After that issue I had to hold the door wide open for him to use the bathroom. I blocked the door so no one could see in.

We finally land in Toronto, Canada.  We had no troubles going through customs, just showed them the adoption paperwork.  We jumped back into our car and started the 5 hour drive back home, the kids immediately crashed. We get to the US Boarder after two hours. I was very nervous about this. Our agency, support groups, Latvian Lawyer and the US Embassy have never heard of anyone from the US driving to Canada to fly to Latvia.  The reason being that we have to give a huge stack of sealed documents to the US customs agent and that individual would place a special stamp on each of the kids passports which basically stated the kids were now US citizens.  Everyone does this when they land at the US airports but since we were not landing at a US airport no one could tell us the proceedure.  

We go to the first boarder guard and tell him we need to see a immigration officer. So they flagged our car and pulled us over and we had to wait in the room. It was around 8:15 when we were flagged. We waited in the room for 30 minutes and our name was called. The lady was very nice and excited for the adoption. She took the giant package that we had to keep enclosed. We sat back down and talk to a few other people around us. The kids were passed out and very tired. She called us back up and said it was all done. I did ask her if they do this often and she said it was not as common as in the airports but they do a fair amount of these.  I plan on passing that message on to other people adopting as well. The total amount of time was one hour and 20 minutes.  So at the end of the process she placed the special stamp on each of their passports.  They are Americans!!! We told them and Jeff and I were clapping and dancing. The kids just stared at us and Hunter asked for his bed. HA.

We finally get home around 1:30am. We open the garage door and someone that was watching our house locked the door to our house from the garage. We did not bring our keys so we ran around the house hoping we missed locking a window. We were lucky somehow we did miss the skinny bay side window. It was small and a really tight fit but thankfully one of us fit through. We get the kids in and immediately Jeff and I noticed a change in the kids. The kids have been freaking out about this trip to Latvia. Honestly it has been horrible leading up to it. Even when we were over there the kids were freaking out all the time. Yes you can see random shot where they were smiling but there is a lot of time between those picture that were really tough. We kept reminding ourselves that the kids are scared and that their acting out behavior was probably due to a combination of them being scared, not on a normal routine and lack of sleep as none of the kids slept very well at all.  

The next day we are home the kids were tired but again they were back to normal, a little cranky but normal. Elliana did not have any more nightmares. Spencer has not had a single tantrum in two days, of being home!! Hunter is not clinging to me like before. That trip scared them more then I think it even did. Today is day two home and Spencer stress bumps are going down even more.

These kids mean everything to us. This adoption journey took us over 3 years total. Before that we did try for kids and were never successful. In the end God put us with the kids we were meant to have. They were born to another mother and then put in a place where they were not given the kind of love they needed. Before I was matched up with our kids, I used to at night wonder if our kids were wishing for a family, or if someone tucked them in for bed, or if they were given hugs, kiss and told how special they were.  I now know the answer to those questions and it breaks my heart. I can't fix their past. I can only help them heal from it and have as best of a future as possible. They are home. Home where they have food, shelter, love, hugs, kisses, and family. It is our families fairy tale ending.

I may randomly continue to blog. There is a spot on the right side where you can put in your email address and it will email you when I update again. Our adoption paperwork is not 100% completed, we just have the follow up citizen paperwork like SSM cards etc..and the two post adoption reports due one year from July and the second one the following year.  Thank you to everyone who made this happen. I can't express in words what the support means to us.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

How things change

Since we already had our final documents we had today free. Jeff and I talked about different possibilities. We decided to go to central market in Riga and feeding the ducks in the park. We wanted a low key day because tomorrow we fly home very early.

While we were walking to meet up with another family on trip three to feed the ducks, we talked about each of our kids and how they have changed. I can't get over the changes each of them have done in just 6 months. We picked them up on 2-17-2015 and it is 8-13-2015 today.

Elliana when we got her could hardly walk to the park just 5.5 blocks away. Today she walked to central market which is over 2 miles away. No she is not perfect but her feet don't turn in as much as when we picked her up. She feet are also half the size they used to be. She is also building muscle we have a ways to go but is far better then where we started. Today in the park we did wheelbarrows. It was a great way to get her to build her left arm strength up. Additionally, her personality has not changed but it is starting to come more to the surface. Prior, she was pretending to be someone she was not. I don't believe she was acting that way purposefully but rather her prior environment was forcing her to be someone she did not want to be. Elliana is a very caring person. If you get in a argument with her, later she will want to make sure you are happy and apologize. She cares about animals and people. She is very kind and sweet.

Spencer is the one Grandpa Holub even says has changed the most. He is our most emotionally detach child. He has suffered the most rejection and I don't believe ever had a good bond with anyone. We have been following "The connected Child" by Kelly Purvis method with him and it has really worked. I know it helps a lot that we did not method from day one. It is not a easy method for the parents but it is most successful one of the child. Highly recommend it with biological or adopted children that have emotional issues. Spencer now does trust that we will meet his needs in our normal daily routine. This trip three has shatter some of what we have build. He does not like change of the routine. He counts on it and trusts it. We timeline his entire day and go over it often with him to avoid quick transitions or unknown activities/events. He will randomly come up to me and tell me the routine. He has been opening up more about what he remembers from being in Latvia. I encourage it because he needs to talk about it in order to heal. Yes at first I had a ping of jealous when they talked about their Latvian Mom but he has to in order to move on. Now we talk freely and I ask questions about his stories. I want him to know he can tell me anything that is on his mind.  I look forwards to our next step together in this healing process.

Hunter physically changed the most. When we got him he was just a little pudgy boy. It did not take long of playing on the playground and just running around to turn that baby fat into muscle. He is the fastest and strongest of the three. He is definitely the most strong willed at times. I sometimes smile because he reminds me of myself. When we first got him he acted about 2 years old now he acts like most 5 year old's maybe 4 year old every now and then. He is starting to problem solve on his own which is great. We encourage them to be more self sufficient as in cutting up their own food, filling their own glass of water, putting away toys, picking out clothes to wear, and starting to wash themselves. Our goal for all three is to have them become good healthy and happy adults so that is what we are teaching them, life skills for their age.

OK, back to today, we meet with with a mother and her adopted son and feed the ducks. The kids really enjoyed spending the day together. They played around like kids, rolling down the hill, chasing each other, wheel barrow rides, hand stands, and summer-salts.  So much for wanting to take nice pictures....When they had to leave for their Embassy appointment we walked over to the central market. This is a giant four building indoor and outdoor place where you can buy anything. It is used mainly by locals for food and clothes. Yes you can buy trinkets and some souvenirs but really it is food. It reminded me of our Westside Market in Cleveland just five times bigger. We did not buy anything just walked around. Had our kids been able to walk that far on trip one we could have tried different local foods. The bread makers had some interesting treats to try. Even the fruits and vegetable stores had different things that look interesting.  I really enjoyed myself.

We walked back to the apartment to watch movies and sleep. Spencer and Hunter were starting to act out so we called it a night early. I think its a combination of being tired and maybe a bit scared again because we packed. Yes we say we are going home but it is another change for them and they mentally have to adjust back more so for Spencer then Hunter. Hunter is excited and Elliana wants to have a picnic in our backyard. I am excited because this is hopefully the last night I sleep on a couch. My back is not liking this at all.

Wish is luck as we drive across from Canada to US, let us hope nothing goes wrong. If it does Dad you will get a phone call from me saying "I am in some boarder crossing holding house come get us out!!" :)




Such a cutie!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

US Embassy Visit

The kids are getting better and better with sleeping. Only had been woke up once for all three kids.  I felt great today with all the sleep I got!  The kids received more sleep but they did not behavior any better, sadly. 

We let them sleep in this morning so they received 10 to 11 hours of sleep! We went down stairs and Zinta was waiting to pick us up. We went to the US Embassy. The boys of course were acting out really bad. Even Elliana did not want to listen. They had us check in and wait for 30 minutes. It felt like hours. You are in a large room with chairs and a guard. The kids were bored so we had them race back and forth in this one 20 foot strip. Well that did not last long. Hunter and Spencer started to get into big trouble playing with the metal detector then attempting to touch any computer they could find...ARGGG. They were also yelling non stop. We finally were called and had to go into a small room. You talk to the Embassy worker through a intercom and they sit behind a bullet proof glass. With the boys making so much noise she had to keep repeating herself. Jeff finally threatened them with no movie and that finally shut the boys up for 10 minutes which was enough time to complete the business at hand. 

We asked the question of how do we cross the boarder into American by means of driving from Canada. She looked at us and said "I have never heard of anyone doing that before."  She said that she does not see why it can't be done, just that it has not been done. I started to freak out a bit. We also received instructions on exactly what needs to happen at the US Boarder. So there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be handed to a immigration officer. I don't know what is in the paperwork for it is sealed and we are not allowed to open it. If we do then the deal is off. The immigrations stop will be around 2 hours possibly longer because US Immigration officers boarding Canada are probably not used to dealing with this type of situation. The kids after the immigration officers signs/stamps off will automatically become US citizens. We get social security numbers 2 to 3 months later, that is due to a backlog. Surprise...surprise

Normally it takes them another day to complete the paperwork however, they finished our paperwork for the kids today (same day)! When Zinta dropped off the paperwork with the new Latvian passports for the kids I started to get all teary eyed. The kids are finally legally ours!! There is no way Latvia or American can cancel this adoption it is final. I started to cry then Zinta started to cry. Jeff just stood there looking at me. He was happy but he really doesn't show the emotion of crying.


Afterwards, we meet with another family adopting a younger brother to their already adopted two older siblings. We went to eat at Lido's, feed the ducks, then back to our place to watch a movie and ice cream. Our three were getting tired so we put them to bed right after the movie. They keep asking when we can go home. Hunter is now asking for the pet fish we talked about getting. He also asked for American Mommy food. Elliana wants her picnic outside. Spencer wants the airplane ride and swimming.

Since our documents got done today we are free again tomorrow to do what we want. Jeff and I have not fully decided what to do yet.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Day Off

Last night was better then the night before.  Elliana only cried about 3 times and Hunter only woke up twice. I did end up sleeping with Elliana but she fell asleep when I was laying next to her. I did not complain too much because it did get me off the couch.  Later today we did ask Elliana why she was crying and could not sleep. Today she told us it was bad dreams. Yesterday she was scared about being back here in Latvia. I hope after today she will be more comfortable. She has been crying a lot more during the day then normal and she always wants kisses and keeps saying I love you to us. Even Jeff is getting showered with Elliana attention. I wish I could say we were really happy about it but we know it is coming because of insecurity. We are kissing her and hugging her back. There are times when we are checking out of a grocery store where she does have to wait and she does not like to wait for a kiss at all. It leads to crying. We are working on building that solid bridge back up. Jeff says it is like we took a step back with them.

Today since we had a day off we became Tourist of Latvia. Now if you know me well I can sometimes be very sentimental. Latvia has a locking bridge in Bastejkalns Park. I purchased a lock back home and engraved it with "Holub, family promise".  I found a very unusual lock and put it on top of it. We made the promise to always be a family through thick and thin. The kids did not understand but Jeff and I did. I think it would be cool when we take the kids back 15 years from now that we try to find this lock.  If you are ever in Latvia this park was breath taking. WOW. The flowers, bridges, benches, status, layout, waterfalls, and even the side streams were amazing.

I also really wanted to take a boat ride on the Daugava River which run through this park. When we asked the price the lady told us that our kids were free. Spencer loves anything that moves and it did really boost his spirits up. I think the other two became bored on the boat ride. We ended up with another couple from England. Jeff and I enjoyed the political conversation. 
Since it was only lunch time when we finished this and the kids were misbehaving some but not too much. We decided to go to Jurmala beach. We wanted to take the kids there since they are very well known beaches and we don't know when we will come back. We were told of this pizza place called Red Bus right by the beach. The pizza there was very good and a fair price. Jeff and I really liked it a lot. The kids keep saying they want American food. It cracks me up. When we first picked up the kids they loved the food I fixed here in Latvia because it was better then what they had before. Then we get to America and they went crazy for the food we fix. Now that we are back and I don't have all my spices or tools they don't want to eat.  I even packed pancake mix but I did not pack nutmeg or cinnamon or vanilla extract so the pancakes are just OK for them.



So playing tourist in Latvia we had to visit the Baltic beaches.  The beach was so much fun for these guys. We were there for five to six hours. You could walk 80 feet out and still be only 2 - 3 feet deep. That was perfect for them since they can't swim yet. There was no crying or whining or bad behavior while we were there. It was a complete melt down when we left but it was a nice time there. Lots of people are on the beach but since you could walk so far out it was not too crowded in the water. I just had to keep in mind I was on a European Beach, there were several times I thought more material or material period is needed.  Hunter wanted me to build him a dinosaur out of the sand. I told him I was really good at lopsided soccer balls. He did not go for that at all. So I did do a dinosaur. I was happy that it looked like one too.  The boys wanted to be buried in the sand. It was so funny.  Elliana wanted nothing to do with the sand. She wanted to only be in the water. That girl loves water.


The kids did have a lot of fun today. They did keep saying that they did as well. They do all miss home their dogs, grandparents, and church. They keep singing only two lines of "Our god is a great big god." I need to learn the dance to that song. Elliana wants me to show her but I only know what she knows. HA.

Oh almost forgot. Spencer lost his second tooth today! He was really proud of it. He pulled it out and not Hunter this time.  PS the ice cream here is still amazing!!!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Post Travel / Travel

We told the kids we were going back to Latvia about a month ago. They all took it well at first. Then this past week they all freaked out differently about the trip. Spencer has been taken it the hardest or at least from the outside. He will grab me, scream, jump, yell, and thrash around. Sometimes I have to pin him down so he does not hurt himself or me. He started by only doing that with the five of us then he started to do it public. I told the daycare if they have issues they can call us. They only had issues with Spencer the last two days before the trip. He started not wanting to listen to anyone and just stand in the corner. We kept telling him that he was coming home but he is right at the age where he just does not understand.  Hunter was just clinging more to us then normal. Elliana, I originally thought was taking it really well. We talked about it. She wanted to see this one friend but she did not know the girls last name. I was not sure where the girl came from so we were not able to make a connection. We talked about the girl and Elliana said she was nervous but we kept talking. Only when we were days away did she start to cry about it. She was scared she would not be coming back. I told her over and over again but she just kept on crying. I finally ended up holding her and one night I slept with her. I honestly wish we did not have to take the kids back. Being 7, 6, and 5 they don't understand and they really are stressing out about it.

My father came up with an idea to have the kids bring back pressed flowers so they would know they are coming back home.  I did help calm Elliana down a few times. I brought some wax paper with us so we can press the flowers.

Travel...
Well we decided to drive to Toronto and fly over to Latvia by means of Canada. No one in our agency has done that before. I also reached out on the two support groups and no one has done that either. In fact some people said they found cheaper flights but decided not to.  We are saving over $2,000 by flying in and out of Canada so we are going to find out how easy it is to get back in the Country or we will be living on the border until we figure it out.

Well the drive was long to Toronto but no delays with the flight. Hunter slept the most with about 2 hours. Elliana had close to that. Spencer did not sleep at all. He really liked to watch out the window the entire time. The flight went surprisingly smooth.  One big thing that made it easier was that the kids now understand English better and could pay attention to the movies they had.  The only issue we had was the fact our luggage did not show up. Jeff and I are light packers so the fact that one of three pieces of luggage was lost was horrible especially being the one with all our clothes, 110V to 220V converter for plugging in the cell phones, computer etc. We had packed a change of clothes in one of the carry-on so that helped the first night and of course we carry all our important documents. However, I was so worried about a change of clothes for the kids and Jeff, I did not pack myself a change of clothes. Luckily the luggage showed up late the following day (today), I was starting smell ripe. For Spencer he was jumping up and down not because he got his favorite car shirts back but because we can now make pancakes (we had packed some Hungry Jack pancake mix in the lost luggage).

We are staying in the same Riga Apartments. We just got a different smaller one to stay in. We asked for three cots for the kids to sleep and ended up with a pack - n - play and a bed. So Jeff and I took the couch and put the kids in the bed. That lasted only about a hour. Elliana was scared and wanted me and cried and cried. Hunter could not sleep and wanted only to be held. Spencer was the only one who actually slept and it was 12 hours. I really hope the kids are better tonight.

Doctor...
Today we had to visit the U.S. Embassy doctor. It went really well. They checked how the kids were progressing. We did have to do a urine test. So make sure if you are adopting that you don't have the kids to go to the bathroom before the visit. It was very interesting trying to help the kids go to a bathroom in a cup. It was not an experience I really want to do again. However, in the end all kids passed.  We also stopped by the passport place to get updated pass ports.

Tomorrow we have the day free. Hoping that the kids will be more stable we are going to try the beach. Tonight has been hard so maybe tomorrow they will be better.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Airlines!! / Deep meaning


I am accustom to flying. I fly for business and pleasure. I have never had as many issues as we have had with flying to and from Latvia.  We have been trying to find flights that were close to $1200 a person. We were finding $1500 to $2200.  Someone from our church told us about flying out of Canada. I know that is not ideal but last night they posted flights for $1100 a person. We jumped all over it. I was feeling really good about it until this morning. We received a call from Expedia this morning. They listed the price incorrect and wanted another $1,500!!! I started off talking to them but due to my job I could not continue. Jeff talked to them for hours and finally they caved. They kept saying we did not put in the kids birth dates. Which anyone that booked any airline ticket knows you can’t even get to the page to pay without that information loaded on the screen. So they were just flat out telling us lies. They had already cancelled our flights and had to book us all new ones. The outgoing was fine but the flight home will be tough. It is about a 5 hour drive to the airport in Canada and we now land around 7pm. Our kids will be a mess for days. I can’t wait until all the adoption paperwork, fees, and travel are over. I normally stay calm but this started to put me on the edge.

 

The kids are adjusting and feeling more comfortable however, they sometimes act out trying to tell us a message. The message sometimes is really deep and the action is repeated several times before we finally get the message.  For example, Hunter for a while would get upset when we talk about him growing or if we made a comment like “Wow you are getting big.” I honestly had no idea until finally I put some pieces together. In their foster place when they got big they moved to another fostercare or an orphanage. He feels if he gets too big he will have to move to the next home.  I started telling him he can grow as big as Daddy and he will always be with us. It is starting to calm him down but it may takes a few times to explain this. Hunter also hates everything with going to school this fall. In Latvia he went to a boarding school. Luckily during one of his crying melt downs over school I got him calm enough to explain that he will always come home to sleep and will not be sleeping at school. He actually stopped crying, hug me, and went to bed.  Another example, Spencer has been digging in our trash a lot and we keep yelling at him. This has been going on since we got him. Finally on July 3rd, he told me that in Latvia he would go to trash pull food out, hide by the cars and eat.  Also, that one time he found cake and it was good. He told me several stories. After he went to go play, I had to go cry in the bathroom. So every time he goes to the trash I pull out a snack and have him say “Mommy I am hungry.” Also, with Spencer after 5 min time in, he would sit and whine or pout. One day last week after 5min time in I was calming down Hunter and I started doing “I love you when you are mad.” “I love you when you are happy.” “I love you when you are good.” “I love you when you act bad.” Spencer walked over to me and asked “Even during 5 minute time in?”  I answered yes. His next 5 minute time in after it was done he went to play no whining or crying or self-hitting, nothing.

 

Elliana is the one that I have not figured the puzzle pieces out yet. We got into the biggest argument we have had last Sunday a few hours before church.  She wanted to get into an argument. I could tell it had nothing to do with the actual thing. E “I want to wear a dress.” Me “Then pick one of your dresses out.” E “ I want to wear a dress.” Me “Yes you can wear one.” E “I want to wear a dress.” Me “Yes you are a young lady you can wear a dress.”  E “ I don’t want to be a lady.” Me “You are a girl you will end up being a lady one day.” E “I want to wear a dress and no lady.” Me “ Go pick out a dress and don’t worry about being a lady be my sweet little girl.” E” I want to wear a dress.” Me “What is wrong and what do you need.”  E “I want to wear a dress.” It went one for hours during my entire laundry. She stood outside my shower to continue this.  Then while I dressed. Finally I lost it. I did not yell but I said “Elliana please go away if all you want to do with argue about nothing.” She replied “I hate America and I hate it here.” She screamed and yelled went to her room. Jeff came running to see what was going on. This went on for about an hour. I tagged out with Jeff and he handled Elliana and I took the boys. We arrive at church on time which was amazing. After church service she comes to me and said “Mommy you got mad at me.” I told her I don’t know why she wanted to argue and be mean this morning. If something is wrong you need to tell Mommy what the issue is so I can fix it. She hugged me and said I love you Mom and I am sorry. I felt so much better after that little conversation. I know she did not mean her comments about America but I don’t know why we even had this argument. I wondered if she was testing me to see how much I love her? If someone else knows maybe why please let me know.

 

We are still trying to work on the kids with playing. Elliana and Spencer both will not play with other kids. They will play near them but never actually with the other kids. Hunter still has to be introduced but then he will play. He is a little rough with his hands and we are working on that. We love these kids but we do have to remember they have a past that created their since of logic, reasoning, and behaviors. The behaviors we don’t like we need to adjust but it will take time. It takes 21 times of doing something a new way before you start to create the behavior change. That statistic is for adults. I can’t imagine how many times a kid needs to do it. We are trying to give everything to these kids. I know it is hard with working full time. Sometimes work takes so much out,  and when I get home I just want to relax but I still find strength down deep to give more to my kids.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Trip Three Dates!

We received our trip three dates! I am so happy about this. We'll be going back during the second week of August. This means we can enroll them into school on time. We did find out that trip three has more appointments then we thought. They want us to stay for a full week. I was under a different impression that we only needed to be there one full day. So we will be gone for about 7 days. I am trying to see if we can stay in the same place as before. I thought that might be easier for the kids but I am not sure. We told the kids a few weeks ago that we had to go back and it did not go over very well with Spencer. He has been asking non stop about flying to Latvia.  In hind site we definitely should have waited a bit longer. We are going to wait until a week before we go before we bring it up again. I want them to be mentally prepared but not freak them out. I hope a week is the right time frame, we will find out in a few weeks. 

I was thinking that Elliana was understanding more about family. She wants to read the Berenstain Bears "We are a family" book almost every night.  We were hanging out with one of my friends and Elliana pulled me aside and asked if I was still going to be her mother. She thought my friend was going to be taking her. It broke me up. I tell them and read them books but I am not sure what else I can do. This may be one of those things that just takes a lot of time. She got in an argument with Spencer and said he told Elliana that he never wanted to be hir friend again. Elliana cried and cried. I told her that Spencer is your brother and no matter how mad we get with each other we will always be family. If we say unkind words to each other, we need to work through that and make up. She felt better. That night after dinner Spencer did say to Elliana "We are friends." then hugged her.

We have been working really hard on sitting at the table correctly. Spencer has the biggest problem in this area. Well last night he wanted to look under the table to see who was correct. Dad quickly fix his feet and in the process kicked me. I was laughing because I thought Dad was caught by Spencer but Elliana told Dad he better apologize to me and give me a hug.  Jeff hugged and kiss me. Elliana when we finished said "Oh that was so nice." It was such a cute thing to say.

Spencer has been cracking Jeff and I up. The biggest number in the world to him is 45. If he only knew how close to that age one of this parents was. HA.  He says it all the time. He wants to eat 45 beans. When I say I will be done in a while, he will reply " in 45 minutes?"  I was doing the "I love you this much". He replied I love you that much 45 times.  Last week he wanted to do the alphabet 45 times plus 10. He did it once and said no more. Smart boy.

Spencer also has been talking about his teeth hurting. I thought he just wanted attention because of what Hunter just went through. I kept saying you are fine until about day 4. Then I looked in his mouth and found out he has a loose tooth! He is excited because he gets to go to the store with just Mom and pick out stuff for his tooth fairy pillow.  He wants a dinosaur and tractor pillow. If you have any ideas on how to pull that one off please let me know. I was thinking about a pillow that has one side dinosaur and the other tractor. I have never made a pillow from scratch so this will be interesting.

Jeff and I keep forgetting about Hunter's teeth or lack there of. You would think we should know by now but a few nights ago we made BBQ ribs. The poor guy could not eat it and just mouthed it. When Jeff finally noticed Hunter still gnawing on the same one for 10 min he asked Hunter if he would like daddy to cut the meat off the bone.  He was not OK with us cutting it off and pursued to gum it off.  Additionally, cherries are on sale now and I really want the kids to try all different kinds of food. I never thought about him and how hard it would be to eat. He can manage it but until that gum toughens up it is hard for him to eat certain foods.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Building Trust

Everyday we are still building trust. That is the kind of trust that the parents will love them and take care of them every day. It is also the trust that the kids will not burn the house down or destroy things while the parents are in the other room. HA. Yes we have been together for almost 5 months but the kids still question if Jeff and I are always going to be there. I have heard it can take over a year to four years until the kids completely trust. Each of our kids have different levels of trust in us. They do test this trust. They just always want reassurance that we do love them. For example Elliana was very upset for several days in a row and after she would finish crying she asked if I loved her. Of course I'd give her that reassurance and then pull out the book "I love you because you are you." I added her name to each page. She has heard me say it a thousand times but I am sure she will need it said another thousand times and see it in my actions over and over again. Overall Jeff and I are really happy at how well the bonding is going. The kids do come to us for their needs, they look to us and cling to us when we are out with strangers. We still have work in this area but we have already come so far in just 5 months!

A few nights ago Hunter was a little insecure and ask if I would lay down with him for a bit. Jeff and I don't sleep with the kids but we will let them climb in our bed if it is close to waking up time. Well I said I would lay down with him. I had to use the toilet first and when I came back, he went to the closet and pulled out a pillow. He patted the pillow and said "I got for you Mommy."  It was just the sweetest little jester that melted me. He had no pillow case on it but he thought about my comfort and pulled me a pillow.

For Fathers day, I had the kids all draw Daddy a card. Spencer decided to draw our family. He drew five figures with belly buttons and all. It was cute. Daddy was so happy when he saw that. The picture/card now is a proud piece of art work that hangs on our refrigerator.

Yesterday we had another couple over that is also adopting a sibling set of 3-4 from Latvia. It was great to talking with them. It reminds me of how I was feeling only 8 months ago. Wow have our lives changes since then. They brought our kids each a gift. They hit the nail on the head for Elliana. She loves this microphone toy. She has been signing frozen songs at the top of her lungs now amplified non-stop. HA. We love it well maybe not Jeff so much but he is coping. :-) We are going to add songs to it so we don't hear Frozen all the time. She is sharing with the boys and counting how many minutes they are allowed to have it.  The boys are singing all the bed times songs that I sing to them every night. Spencer sings "You are my sunshine."  Hunter signs "Baby Beluga."  The dogs are hiding upstairs while all this happens. Jeff and I are just laughing at it all. They are signing while I am typing this up.

Coming up the kids have a swimming trip with their daycare. I am very nervous about that. Our kids can't swim. We have been trying to get them swimming every chance we have. Last weekend we went to Grandma and Grandpa Holub's house. We swam in their pond. The kids at first were nervous but then they jumped right in. They need a noodle or boogie board to stay afloat. Once they know English better we will sing them up for swimming classes.

We still have not heard word on our trip three yet. We are really hoping for early August. We want to get them into school and start with everyone else. Hopefully we will know in the next week or two. We finally got our DS 260 filed! The embassy website has been down and were to have this filed before trip two what a pain. I was getting nervous so I am glad it finally worked. 

I had a really hard time picking what pictures to add since I had so many good ones. So here are a few.
We let each kids have the controls for bit. They loved it!

Our little fishes.

Spencer says right from left, Mom, Dad, Hunter, Spencer, and Elliana. Spencer really likes big bellies so he gets the biggest one. HA.
Elliana and Spencer went for a walk around the pound. They held hands the entire time. Sibling Love.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hunter's Surgery

When Jeff and I were in Latvia we were told that Hunter's teeth were not an issue. For those of you that have seen the inside of Hunter's mouth you would have thought something different. We went to a special dentist to have them checked out. Our dentist told us we need to get him in to remove several teeth, cap others which includes drilling and filling, root canals, and check into a possible infection. They could not get us in until September for the surgery but they put us on the cancellation waiting list. This past Tuesday we received a call for Hunter to come in that Friday. We jumped on it. This poor brave little guy had to be put under for a surgery/teeth extractions that lasted 70 minutes. The dentist came out and said it was worse then he thought. There was a nasty infection in there. The doctor was able to scrap it all out however, it reached his adult teeth. We are going to have permanent discoloration to his adult teeth. That was not what we wanted to hear but now a days you can do a lot with teeth color.  We are just so glad we got the infection out when we did.

Jeff spent all day Friday with him. Hunter when he woke up from his surgery did freak out with the IV in his arm. Jeff was saying he would come in and out and wave his arms around to get the IV off. He is only getting soft foods for a while due to the four holes in his mouth and the four brand new silver caps. At dinner he told me that his mouth feels so much better. It made Jeff and I wonder if he was always in mouth pain but did not say anything to us. Today being the first day after the surgery he was extremely clingy.  The other kids took his surgery harder then I thought they would. Elliana Thursday night before his surgery kept telling him that she loved him and it would be ok. She hugged and kissed him several times. She was very worried about him.

There has been something that I have been noticing for a while now but could not understand. Sometimes and buy all means less than 40% of the time when you are holding one of these kids they would rub my back or pat me like you would a baby.  They were all doing this over the past week and I told Jeff this means something. Well sure enough we looked into it and these are signs of neglect. People are made to be touched and loved. It is common in baby orphanages that the kids will reach through the wood slats to touch another baby. They may rub or pat them. It is a way of getting that human touch. When our kids do this now, I will hold them close and I don't pull away until they initiate the  pull away.  I am also trying to make sure I give them extra loving when possible. Elliana and Hunter both were doing this to me as soon as they found out about Hunter's Surgery.

We did have Hunter's birthday! It was a dinosaur theme and it was so much fun.  He had so much fun! We got a ton of dinosaur gifts.  All the nieces and nephews got to play with water balloons and run in the water sprinkler. Elliana saw Macie's bathing suit and she realized she had the same one so we had to go up stairs and change into the same one. It was really cute. The kids all had a blast. We also got to do another camping night. Elliana gets the most excited about sleeping outside.  She was still running around the tent screaming and laughing, 



Friday, June 12, 2015

Trip Two!!



Jeff just came back from trip two! We found out two weeks before he had to be back in country.  We pulled together the fees and paperwork just in time.  He left early Friday morning and flew home late on a Tuesday.  He had a court appointment. Now we heard that Latvia court was hard but all of our experiences were great.  Jeff said this court was hard. They (the prosecutor and judge) questioned him for 1.5 hours!! The major topics were our finances, everyday life schedule, improvements, communication, schooling, home arrangements and Jeff and I’s adjustments.  Jeff was glad that he took 22 pictures this was a big deal to have, he probably should have taken more.  It was a one day ordeal and that was all.  Jeff decided to fly Aeroflot (the Russian airline) which went from JFK airport to Moscow then to Riga.  Aeroflot only flies out of JFK but is about $400 cheaper.   

All we have left is just one more trip to Latvia and the expensive part of the adoption is over!! I can't wait. We hear we might go the 1st or 2nd week of August. Perfect time so we can get the kids into school.

Life has kept us moving. The kids are learning so much English it is great. Jeff and I now have to talk after the kids go to bed. HA. The two older ones have gone into a different class at daycare. They are now with the school age kids. Hunter is by himself but he is doing well. He asks where Elliana and Spencer are but he is learning so much by not having them around.

While Jeff was gone I took the kids swimming. They loved it. They must have been in the water before. They can’t swim but they were not scared. Hunter was very close to floating. Elliana loved to go underwater and hold her breath. Spencer could splash around on a noodle. They want to go again soon. We are definitely going to set them up with swimming lesson this fall at an indoor pool if not sooner.  

The kids’ rooms are almost done. Elliana has flowers painted on her room. Her Aunt Robin did an amazing job. Elliana even got to paint a flower. She loved it!  We are adding the butterflies to them tonight. Elliana has been saying she likes the blue flowers. We finally got her to say that she likes the color blue. Aunt Robin said that her favorite color was blue. Elliana had to think for a minute. She understood that a girl can like another color besides pink. It was great that she is getting comfortably enough to finally say what she feels and likes.  Of the three kids Elliana is picking up English the quickest.

Spencer is starting to come into his own as well. We have very small steps but they are steps. He always says he likes what everyone else does. Hunter loves dinosaurs. So Spencer says he does as well. I got another poster for the boys room and I showed them before I put it up. Hunter was kissing this T-Rex and Spencer looked up gave a fake big smile and went back to playing. I wanted until he was alone and asked him if he liked cars or airplanes. He got really excited when I said airplanes. Just like Elliana he always gets happy when we talk about any “machine”.  So I happened to have two planes pictures. I pulled them out and Spencer said I like those planes Mom.  I painted the picture frames to make them more for kids. It was a hit! So the boys room has planes and dinosaurs. 

I really want the kids to be able to tell me what they like without being afraid of my reaction.  So we let them pick out there clothes. Regardless of how they look that is how they dress. I don’t want to limit them because it is the one thing that they can pick out without me pulling teeth to get them too. Hunter by far is the most adjusted. He will tell me what he likes and does not like. Luckily he like almost every type of food and is very easy going. 

I want to share with you a video of Spencer feeding Mia. These poor dogs have to listen to “Happy Birthday” song before they are feed. Mia is licking her lips and sitting really pretty. It cracks me up!  You can hear Hunter crying in the background. He sometimes does not wake up well.  These dogs do love these kids back. Mia carried Spencer’s blanket to the coach and slept on it while Spencer was at daycare. 





Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Counting Kisses

How many times in life do we take kisses from loves ones for granted?  A few nights ago, Elliana came up to me and said three kisses Mom. So I gave her three kisses. She said "No, Mom this morning you gave me three kisses."  I normally only give one when they leave but that morning I gave her three.  She said "Mom more kisses."  So I did not just give her three kisses, I kisses her from her head to her toes. She loved it. She then went on to tell me that Latvian Foster Mom only gave hugs no kisses. She then says that she likes kisses from me. Ever since then she keeps coming up to me and says "kisses Mom".  She has the biggest smile on her face.  My heart melts every time.

Our kids have a special bond that I can't really put in words. Last weekend they were all out side and Hunter was wrapped in a blanket.  Elliana said I am cold. Hunter moves over and covers them both in the blanket.  We went out for ice cream and Spencer finished his first. He was asking for more. Elliana goes over and scoop him some of hers. I pass out vitamins in the morning for the kids if I don't have one of them in the room the other two point out to me that the one kid did not get there's. They will not stop until the other kid received there vitamins.  Hunter is continually getting hurt at day care. Every time he does Spencer and Elliana tell me Hunter is hurt and gives him lots of hugs. We love that these kids have a bond and we want to keep that going strong.  I just want them to realize that we are here too and that everyone's needs will be taken care of. Of course a few wants will be taken care of too.

The kids had a graduation from the preschool.  We went because the kids were talking about it.  During the graduation each kid had to stand on a platform and were asked "what do you wanted to be when you grew older."  I freaked, they know English but no way do they know that.  So the program goes one kid wantd to be teachers, another a police officer, then a firefighters, and other similar careers.  Well they called Elliana's name. I was in the ready position to run on stage to spare her from people all starting at her.  However, she answered right away and said "Mom." She wanted to be a Mom. I don't know if she knew or if any of the kids knew what they were being asked.  Hunter was next, I was not as worried for him. He wants to be a Dinosaur. Yes, no mistake there loud and clean and confident "DINOSAUR" The place when up laughing.  Then Spencer took the stage. He said "Dad".  It was so cute. We now have a Mom, Dad, and yes a Dinosaur in our family.  So how do we rank as parents????  There was finally 10 kids later one little girl who wanted to be a princess then a boy who wanted to be a transformer...so I guess our kids are not entirely crazy.  At lease we don't have to worry about them being conformists.

We decided it was time to decorate the kids room. They currently only have one solid color on the walls. The boys room is getting dinosaurs. We have a small mural on one wall and we are making dinosaur hooks up from toys to hang on the wall.  The rest will have to wait until we get more financially stable. Elliana wants flowers. We asked my step sister to help paint since she is really good at it. She said yes!!  We are going to paint flowers all over her room.  We picked out the colors already!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Starting to Trust

So this week has been full of fun, cute, and reality checks.  The kids are adjusting so well that even I forget sometimes where they came from.  I don't want anyone including myself to be sorry for my kids or sad because of their past. I want everyone to be excited about their future.  Elliana just this past Friday started telling that she knows she is different.  When she bring it up I tell her that yes you have a sleepy leg but it is ok we will make it better.  Well tonight when I put her to sleep she again said "This leg ok, this leg is not ok"  I told her that we are working on making it better. I was thinking why is she telling me this and waiting for a reaction.  It was all in how she was saying this. She then asked me in some broken English if Mommy is ok with her not having a good leg. At first I did not know what to say. I told her Mommy loves her with a good leg and without a good leg. No matter what I will love you. I then went through all of the emotions she knows to try to get my point across that I'm not going to abandon her. I said I love you when you are mad, sad, happy, and sleepy.  She got a big smile and she kept hugging me. Daddy read a book to all of us and she had to keep her hand on mine. She also randomly hugged me throughout the book reading.  I thought Elliana would have been to young to remember her birth mom's visit with her.  Her birth mother basically was not ok with her leg and told that to Elliana.  I am telling her I will always love her but now I need to find a way for her to understand or a way to prove to her that I will always love her.

Some people have songs stuck in there head and other may have a rhyme stuck in there head.  Not me. I have playing in my head Hunter saying the color "Blue."  The word "Blue" is one of my favorite things he says. I am not even sure why. It is just a four letter word but when he says it my heart melts.  I always point to something blue and say what is the color.  He says " Um.. Aww.. Blue." So cute.

This weekend was awesome!!  Jeff and I kept singing the song"Everything is awesome" from the Lego movie.  The kids also jump in and sang it too. We went to a couple community events, Touch A Truck and Jr. Firefighter Challenge.  All three did amazing.  Touch a Truck was a blast.  They had diggers, police cars, mail trucks, SWAT tanks, and so much more.  The kids got to climb in them.  The one trash truck the owner was not around and of course my kid figured out how to turn on the CB radio and started changing the channels.  Jeff and I looked at each other and Jeff jumped in to stop them from talking into it. Luckily they only got it tuned to the CB weather station which they got blasting on the loudest setting.  I was laughing once it was all under control.

I was nervous about the Jr. firefighter challenge. It was for kids 10 and younger. However you had to listen and follow directions. The firefighter does not demonstrate but just verbally tells them what to do.  My kids know a lot of English but lets face it they heard their first English words less than 3 months ago.  They did so well. They did everything they were instructed to do. What impressed us even more was that they were not in a group but one on one and they couldn't see other kids to visually copy. So they understood what they were being told!! They had to climb a latter and ring a bell, crawl through two tunnels, get a baby out of house, use a hammer to hit an X on a door, stretch out a fire hose, and spray it on the mock house and then check the chimney. When they were done we got to play in the water. The Fire department had their ladder truck out with a hose and they sprayed it down over a 30 foot area.  They absolutely loved it. We did not bring a swimsuits so we did what any parent would do. Strip to your short well, Elliana kept her shirt on. I think two of our kids maybe in the newspaper coming out this week.  The stow century got their information and asked if they can put their picture in the paper. That would be super cool.

This was a great week. I can't wait to see what the next one brings.






Monday, May 4, 2015

Another Fast Week

What a fast full week.  We had our social visit and that went well. Our social worker said that normally when she goes to a house that adopted more then 2 kids the parents are freaking out.  She was shocked at how well we were doing and the kids. I just replied we have a 7 year old, 6 year old, and 4 year old, adopted or not, they are going to push you to your limits. You just have to deal with it. I did not bring up the special needs question.  Not sure if I should have or not.

We had our first physical therapy with Elliana. I called several different local places and decided on this one. WOW was I wrong. I paid a copay of $60.00 and I walked out knowing nothing more then going in. Over the phone they said they worked with CP kids well they may work with them but they do not have any experience with them. We would have been the second one with CP and this place really doesn't work very much with kids. I asked what I can do to build up her muscles and he showed me stretches and said you need to adjust them for kids. I asked how and he replied well you lay her down. Ok show me please.  The one good thing that came out was he confirmed she can do all the motions separately for walking straight we just have to build up the muscle and get her mind set on doing it. Not sure what else to do we are trying a new doctor tomorrow.  A friend from my church is also helping me get with a physical therapist. One way or another we will get her the help that she needs.  Every night we do exercises to help build her muscles. Tonight was the first night I saw improvements. She is starting to get more muscle on her left leg. She can almost stand on one leg now. Elliana did say yesterday her legs hurt so I believe she really has soar muscles. :-)

This week we also had another bad fall. The unlucky person was Hunter. He was messing around with Spencer and fell on our fireplace hearth.  It was a huge goose egg. We found him crying and I picked him up and held him. It was like a cartoon the bump kept growing. We put ice on it and he hated that. Right before the third round of ice he said "No more Ouchie."  Meaning his head didn't hurt anymore because he didn't want another round of icing.  Sorry kiddo, we did give him some pain medication. The next morning which was today he woke up and pointed to his head and said ouch.  It did looked better. I kept calling the day care place checking in on him. I wanted to make sure he was doing well. They told me that he never even touched it or mentioned it to them.  He lost some hair due to the fall.

Spencer is doing well. He is our slowest to adjust out of the three. Hunter definitely is adjusting the fastest. Elliana does some days and other days not so much. She got a large stuff animal this weekend and she was telling me that the stuff animal was sad. I could not understand why.  Spencer had a hard day today with us. There were lots of no's and whining. This morning he wanted to wear his Latvian wool underpants under his jeans. I had to take them away because it would be to hot well 70's and for Ohio that's hot. He loves T-shirts and I told him he could wear one but he picked up a heavy sweatshirt. Maybe with Hunter getting hurt he misses Latvia? He did not improve this afternoon either. I tried to cuddle with him on the couch and he was happy, then pushed me away, then climbed up me to cuddle again. It was so hot and cold. I am not sure why.  Yesterday he was awesome, he even helped up mulch the flower beds, although we had to pay close attention to him as he liked to bury mommy's flowers.  We've always been told it would be a roller coaster with ups and downs. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lost our first Tooth!

Today Elliana lost her first tooth! She has been saying it is loose for a while  Today after church she came home and ripped it out.  Jeff and I were both shocked at the fact she was ripping it out. She did not even freak out with the blood.  I will spare everyone the bloody pictures, in truth I don't really like the blood.  Weeks ago I took Elliana to JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby to get supplies to make her tooth fairy pillow.  I took our ring bearer pillow from our wedding and made it into Elliana's pillow.  We put her name on it and she picked out a patch and fabric for the pocket.  It was really cute. Once she had the tooth out she put it right into the pillow. Well Jeff washed it first.  She keeps showing me another one in her mouth that is loose. I told her that one tooth needs some time.  I just hope no one tells her about attaching a string to her tooth and slamming the door.  I know she will try it.

We are working more and more with the boys on toys.  Tonight they were very interested in the hot wheels car holder which is a car loading semi.  They kept putting them in and out of the holder. It is a start.  However, they still find our dog Mia the most entertaining thing in our house.  Not sure really if Mia is enjoying the attention or not.  She never leaves so I think she does not mind. The boys keep dressing her up.  She is finally starting to understand that no matter what you do they will not stop. She finally threw up the white flag one day and let the boy dress her without moving.  

Tomorrow is a big day for us. It is the first American social worker visit.  I have no idea what to expect. There is only one possible issue that may come up.  One of our kid is labeled special needs.  It is an extremely mild case but the label is there.  Our original paperwork we submitted says  2 - 3 kids with mild or minor correctable needs.  Our one child will never be corrected. Yes we can do lots of things to make them have a better life and not have so many issues but it will never be 100% cured.  I did not keep a copy of another form we filled out, which now I wish I had. This form listed several potential issues. I mean over 300 different potential issues. That form freaked me out.  We had to say yes or no to each issue. There was no maybe at all.  I really think we said no to the special needs label we have.  Only the US government has that form. We filled it out and sent it directly to them.  We asked our agency if we needed to file a addendum to our paperwork and they said no however I think they might be wrong.  We will see what comes out of it. Worse case we have to file the addendum and pay some money. It will prolong our adoption process but I have no idea how long. Hopefully not too long or their vista will expire.  So we will find out tomorrow what exactly will happen.



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bruises

So during bath time I was noticing how many bruises all the kids have.  They are covered.  Then I took a shower that night and realized I had 5 bruises too. I have no idea where they came from. Maybe the toys I trip over or crawling on the floor with the kids. I do not plan on wearing any skirts for a while. HA.
So there are several different kinds of adjustments going on here.  Here is a list of some of the small ones that make me smile or laugh.
-       .   1. When I go to the grocery store I no longer read the expiration date for milk. Expiring in 3 days… no problem, I will take two.
-           2. Check Jeff for sparkles on his shirts before he leaves for work.
-          3. Folding laundry and finding Spiderman or cars underwear. Boy’s underwear is too cute.
-          4. Checking the toilet seat before you sit down, no matter what bathroom you go to. (ok I may not laugh or smile when it happens to me but it is hilarious when it happens to JeffJ)
        5. You are never alone. Going to the bathroom..."Mom can I have cheerios?"  Taking a shower... "Mom I want my stuff dinosaur." Cooking dinner... "Mom can you carry me upstairs."

We have learned a lot more about the kid’s likes and interest over the past few weeks. Hunter loves dinosaurs. He would like to wear only dinosaur’s shirts. He will enter the room sometimes roaring like a dinosaur. It is so funny.  Kohls had their stuff dinosaurs on sale for $3.50/ea so I grab one for Hunter. It is the same one Spencer has but neither seemed to mind.  Spencer loves being outside. I swear he would live outside if possible. It does not matter what you are doing as long as he can be outside. Every time we go inside he asks when he can go back out again. He also really likes dinosaurs and cars, however he is not as picky as Hunter when it comes to what is on the shirt, thankfully. Elliana still is holding some things back. She is a fashion queen.  We got the kids all sunglasses and she only wears her on top of her head. She also has to place her hair with a little swoosh in the front. She would only wear dresses every day if we let her.  We save the dresses for church so that has become her favorite thing currently.  She also has me paint her toe nails and finger nails every few days. Personally I hardly remember to paint mine until I have one toe with the color left. She does like Barbies and bubbles. There really is not one thing yet that she always wants to play with. I need to spend some more time with her.

I know people talk about how Mom's are tuned into their kids and Dads are hardly aware of the small people in the house. Well... this past weekend Elliana comes in the room at 2am and crawls into bed.  She moves a lot when she sleeps. I have no idea how she slept in a tiny pull out bed before and did not fall off. I couldn't fall asleep with the flailing, so I crawl over Jeff and went into her bedroom to sleep. Mia our dog wakes up around 3am for some reason and needs to go outside. She is wining in the bedroom where Jeff and Elliana are sleeping. I go and take her out cause neither of them heard her.  Then the alarm goes off at 5am. I wait thinking Jeff will turn it off. I wait and wait. Finally I hear Jeff move.  Then I hear "What are you doing in our bed?  KRISTEN!"  I just started laughing so hard.  Next night when anyone furry or not furry moved I woke Jeff up and said your turn. HA. 

We had our Both Hands Event this past Saturday.  The event was spectacular.  We were very bless at the amount of folks who showed up to help (66 people, we were expecting 35).  Those 66 people don't include all the behind the scenes who were watching kids, or preparing the food. In a nut shell we cleared enough brush for 2 ½ chipped up dump trucks, we painted 2/3 of the inside of the house and had a wonderful time.  The generosity of folks helping us was beyond expectations.  We had enough donated to us to almost pay for our last two trips.  Any ways towards the end of the event we brought the kids to say “hi” to everyone.  Spencer saw Jeff carrying his chain saw and he completely lit up and started making chain saw sounds.  I have no idea where he learned about chain saws.  He then asked daddy if it was his and his smile grew when Jeff said “Yes.”  That is one tool that will be well hid from now on.  Well a family from our church gave Spencer and Hunter a toy chainsaws and weed-wacker about 20 minutes later.  He absolutely flipped out.  They both love the toys and now Spencer gets mad…I mean really mad when he can’t go outside to play with them.


I have really wanted to decorate the kid’s rooms to make them look like a kid’s room. Currently there is nothing on the walls really and nothing that says, three kids sleep here.  I feel like I need to hold off more for Elliana since I can’t figure her out as easily.  The boys will be a dinosaur theme, which was a no brainer. I am not going to paint the rooms yet but maybe hang a poster or find some wall decals.