Monday, December 17, 2012

New Lessons.

I can remember walking through the early lessons of patience like it was yesterday.

I remember the torment of endless waiting.

The helplessness of no control.

The pain of learning to trust Him completely.

And I can remember the heartache of pursuit.

Losing the dream of having a child--we'd grown to love--ever be ours in the flesh

Asking ourselves if we could handle it if the Unthinkable happened again.

Learning that even though This wasn't about us--He?  was always For us.

Determining to pursue despite heartache and grief.

So many lessons learned. So many thorns along the path that led to such a beautiful reward.

Pain that taught me empathy.  Heartache that brought me to surrender.  Waiting that made me patient.

But, I'm a smart gal.

I knew that even with all those lessons... I certainly hadn't *arrived* yet.

And I knew that despite all my brilliant understanding of the costs of choosing this journey again?

God wasn't through teaching me.

His lessons are rarely easy.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things unseen"  Hebrew 11:1

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us" Romans 8:16-18

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ JesusPhilippians 4:6-7

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" Luke 12:6-7

If I truly believe that God has directed our steps, then my lesson today is to learn how to have faith in Him to carry us to the finish line.

He is not concerned about the things that concerns man. Money is no deterrent to God's plans.

He hasn't forgotten us. He hasn't left us.

He is in control.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012



It feels wrong not to acknowledge such a momentous occasion and with my recent "phone-burned-up-by-battery" incident, I have to forgo all the Instagram fun....

So here are 12 things you didn't know you didn't know about the number 12:

1.  Football team fans are often called "The 12th Man"

2.  The Beatles released a total of 12 studio albums

3.  According to the book of Joshua, there are 12 tribes of Israel

4.  There are 12 cranial nerves in the human body

5.  Only 12 men have ever walked on the moon

6.  In English, 12 is the largest number to have just one syllable

7.  Under British law, when you turn 12 you can buy a pet

8.  A group of 12 things is called a Duodecad

9.  In ten-pin bowling, you need to throw 12 strikes to play a perfect game

10.  There are 12 pairs of ribs in the human body

11.  There are 12 basic hues in the standard color wheel

12.   In UFO Conspiracy Theories, The Majestic 12 is a secret committee (allegedly) set up by President Truman to investigate and cover up extraterrestrial contacts

And in honor of 12 years together, here's a gem from mine and the Husband's earlier days :

Look at those skinny arms and so long gone......

So there you have it!

Visiting WAGI today!

When I think about Christmas and all that is wrapped up into this one day of celebration.





I am not only overwhelmed that God himself chose to take human-form in the greatest redemption plan ever..

But I am also humbled by the excruciating commitment of Mary and Joseph. The heart-wrenching uncertainty Mary must have faced before sharing the news with Joseph. The confusion and heartbreak of Joseph which was ultimately replaced by compelling commitment and love.

The threads of adoption interwoven into the very fabric of our salvation.

Our adoption into the Kingdom.

Joseph's adoption of Jesus.

It fills me with gratitude...

Today? I'm over at We Are Grafted In talking more about that!  Go show me some love and check it out!!
(And if you're visiting for WAGI, Welcome! I hope you stick around a while!) :)

Don't forget about the awesome Giveaway that ends today! Go HERE to make your donations before midnight tonight and Stay Tuned!

Winner will be announced tomorrow!! Yay!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Birthday Boy!

Don't you LOVE our family pics? If you live in NWA, please contact my friend @ Heartfelt!

Letters to my Son: You turned 5 on me.

Dearest Marvel,

You have this amazing capacity to brighten the world around you in a way few of us have.  I've had friends ask me "Is he always as happy as he looks in pictures?" and the answer is, "Yes, most of the time!"  You're a child full of happiness and joy and love and I am always in awe of how different you are today than you were in those first days we met at The Big House.  I can only imagine that somehow you were trying to protect the person you were and the walls were built to keep your joy and happiness safe for a while.

When I think of all the things you are and all the things I see you becoming, I am constantly overwhelmed with this feeling that I am so completely undeserving. You have this amazing moral compass and desire to do the right thing.  You strive to be kind and good. You hate getting in trouble (who doesn't) or hearing that you didn't do something as well as we know you can.  You rarely forget anything we say and often times you'll come up to me with your "better" try and I have to dig in my brain a little to remember what it was you didn't do as well the first time!

You have a passion for music that rivals your daddy's. We are so lucky to have met people who know where this love comes from and I am often brought to tears thinking that there are people looking down on you from Heaven enjoying every minute of your songs.  We love them here, too.  I love to hear you sing songs and the fact that you will sing anywhere (even the grocery store) and I am confident that you bring joy to every person who passes us!

I can remember being so worried that a boy of 4 1/2 would probably be out of the cuddle with Mommy phase of life but I am so blessed to have you! Because you are the kind of kid who reaches out to hold hands, jumps in for "family hugs", and wants to cuddle to fall asleep each night. One night as we were getting you ready for bed, you said you wanted to cuddle with Mommy afterwards and when I asked you "why?", you said "because....because I LOVE Mommy."   That moment will be forever engraved on my heart.

I am torn as a Mother...wanting to hold on to these first moments forever. Knowing that with each day you grow up a little more...becoming more and more independent and I know that the time will eventually come when spending time with Mommy might feel more like punishment than fun.  And yet, at the same time, I can see glimpses of the person God is creating in you. The kindness. The joy. The desire to do right.  How fully you work to be good at something (swimming and soccer come to mind). And my goodness, you are SO smart! I don't want to miss a single moment of that either...of you growing up and becoming the Man of God you were destined to become!  I am so blessed to be your Mommy and I love you so much more than I could ever put in words.

I love you Telleck to the Moon,


Heartfelt by Trinity Ridge

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Party Planning...

Check out Heartfelt by Trinity Ridge for all your photography needs: Especially you, NWA!

The M-man turns the big 0-5 this weekend..

I have my sweet "Where has the time gone..LOL" post coming soon.

It will probably blow your mind and force you to submit me for Mom of the Year (or not)

But today? I'm making my list and checking it twice:

Cake mix
Food coloring
White Chocolate flavoring
Cupcake liners
Superhero scrapbook paper for Cupcake wrappers
Picks for cupcake toppers
Mini waterbottles
Tape. Lots of tape.
Those cute little mini ice-cream thingys
My Party Pants.

That about covers it ;-)

Don't forget! Your $5 (or more) donations get you entered into our Awesome Basket of Kitchen Love Giveaway! Only 14 days left!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

31 Families of Hope!

Today you can find me over at Reaching Hearts for their "31 Families of HOPE" series as I talk a little about our adoption journey!


If you are joining us from 31 Nuggets, Welcome!!!  Feel free to look around and while you're here please check out our Giveaway going on right now and consider partnering with us as we journey to our next child...and if that isn't incentive enough? The prize isn't too bad either ;-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big-Fun-Amazing Announcement!

That's right!!

We are ready to announce some amazing news!

We are officially working on our SECOND adoption!

I wish I could sit down over coffee with you and go back and start at the very beginning.

Sitting in the orphanage where we were thanking the caretakers for so fully loving our son.

Feeling those pangs in our spirit.

Trying to brush them off--yet recognizing that God was doing something in those moments...

You see, we hadn't been thinking about a second adoption so quickly.

Frankly?  Our finances don't currently line up....

But we came home and inquired anyways... As it would turn out, there were children WAITING for families.


We were a family who had chosen to adopt older for that very reason. We believed a child was WAITING for us at that moment.

And so we prayed. And worried (okay, that was just me). And contemplated. And talked to our Social Worker. And were told we'd have to wait... Then told we wouldn't...

And before long?

Every door had opened up for us to jump back in!

I can't divulge too much more than that right now...only to say that we anticipate this second adoption might go significantly faster than the first.

I'm filled with joy and excitement. Anticipation and worry. All those things I remember from those first days.. years ago.

But this time around, I've got a few lesson in Patience and Pursuit under my belt. I'm no expert (for sure) but I'm a few lessons closer than I was before!

We would love your prayers and partnership (as our village) as we re-join this crazy world.

  • We are believing for miracles in our finances and in this journey to our SECOND baby!!

  • We are believing that God is going before us and preparing us (and our children) for this new "real"

  • We are believing that we have what it takes to withstand the roller-coaster-like-journey that we know adoption can be...

  • We are trusting that God has impressed on us to jump in and therefore He will make us ready!

Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement as we venture into the [slightly less] unknown!

P.S. If you're wondering, Marvel prefers a brother. Or another dog. (because of course he does)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Different Kind of Sunday Share!

Today I have a special edition of Sunday Share!

I am so excited to be featured on The R House in their Blessed by Adoption series!

Go show me some love over there and stay around! The R House is an awesome website and Mrs. R honors all the important points in the triad (birthfamily, children, adoptive family), speaks openly about the beauty of open adoptions and celebrates adoption and all it's blessings!  I am so inspired by all the stories I have read and am so excited to be part of that series today!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mommy Guilt

I knew it was coming.

I mean, it was unlikely that I was going to be the exception to the rule....

The truth is?

I work full-time.

Sometimes I have to travel (though not often--and not far).

And even with a flexible schedule, there are things that I just. can't. get. out. of.

So what does that mean?

It means that I missed Marvel's first field trip.

It means that Marvel is part of the exclusive "after-care" crew whose parents aren't waiting in the pick-up lane at 3pm.

It means that I can't volunteer in his classroom like some moms can.

Or help decorate the bulletin boards (??).

And it often means that I am the last mom signing up for food for the Thanksgiving Feast, or Grandparents Day (don't even get me started on the guilt they smooshed all over me for that one...) or their Israel song celebration (again. ?)

But all of that? I could deal with.

I could hold my head high when picking Marvel up 10 minutes before the $1/minute after-after care starts.

I could smile on my way out the door as I pass the volunteering mommas on their way in.

I could even sleep at night knowing I didn't sign-up to bring anything for Israel-song-grandparent-thanksgiving-feast-day.

But missing a school production?

With all the costumes? The song and dance? The smiling faces as kids see their parents in the crowds?

That has almost destroyed me.

I'm swimming in Mommy-guilt, ya'll.

You see, I have a commitment with work at an event 2 hours away.

And Marvel's production? Is at 9:30 in the morning (why do they keep doing this to me??)...

The Husband has graciously offered to go in my place, video the whole thing, cheer and even bring a dish for the celebration afterwards...

And I'll take him up on all of the above.

But?  I should be there.

Tearing up because my baby is singing some ridiculous song on stage.

Laughing and visiting with all the other moms during the refreshments after.

Hugging and cheering when the announce Marvel's name and he comes running down to me.

Because I'm the momma.

And that's what we do.

And even though I knew I would --at some point-- suffer the wrath of mommy guilt?

It doesn't make it any easier.....

Tell me this won't scar my child forever please??

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Share

I read some amazing blogs.

Some that I agree with, Some that I don't.

But regardless their perspectives are important and valid and every week let's be honest periodically on Sunday Share, I want to point you in the direction of those blogs that I was gripped by during the week!

If you need a good "shake your head" adoption moment, you should head over to Rage Against The Minivan and watch the video posted here!  While it made me laugh, the truth is that I would hope that in the midst of the humor it brings to reality some of the insensitive things that are often chunked at transracial familes.  She also has a couple links to posts about things you can say as alternatives ;-)  Good stuff here, friends!

Next is an awesome post from One Thankful Mom about the special sleep needs of our children from hard places. This one hit me in the gut since it has been our greatest area of need since bringing Marvel home! Great thoughts!

Finally Kelly over at My Overthinking wrote a post that had me thinking all week about opportunities I might be missing in my life....Ya'll should check out The Word In Mandarin  

Over here? We're gearing up for a busy week of swim lessons, birthday parties, soccer games and a quick family trip.  Whew!! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tools of Transition: The Schedule

For the introduction to this series, click Here!

As many of you know, Marvel is our first little one.

Needless to say, these were unchartered waters.

We were are a little green when it comes to the whole "parenting" thing. And then, the icing on the cake?

We jumped into the pool in the deep end.

By adopting an older child and taking the poor thing halfway around the world to navigate everything from language to cultural norms to family....Nice.

But, after reading so much literature and speaking with so many people who had been 'there', I knew that structure would be key. 

Flexible. Adjustable. Compromising.

And yet... Unchanging. Solid. And Dependable.


For us? It was important that Marvel have some control over the schedule and be able to refer back to it often.  There was a season, right after we got home, when I was able to stay home with him so this schedule became quickly integrated into our lives. We started the day off by looking at the schedule to see "what was first" and it wasn't long before several times a day, Marvel would come running into the room say "First this, then this, then this!" 

It was obvious that structure gave him peace and helped him feel in control of what was happening.

We used laminated pictures with velcro backs to indicate individual items.

There are two velcro strips on the board that the pictures can adhere to and a variety of activities to put on the board!

Many of Marvel's favorite things on the schedule included tv (go figure), book time, and learning time.

As you can see, below the schedule there are folders for each day (except Friday when we did field trips) with workbooks in them. During those first few months, we were strategic in what we learned each day and each learning time was rewarded with a sticker!  

Now? Marvel is in school all day and rarely desires additional learning time in the evenings. But when he does (usually on the weekends) he will go through his folders and pick out a workbook to go through on his own!

I think that the best part of our calendar/learning time system was the foundation it laid for Marvel. Now, when he's bored on a Sunday afternoon (and is out of tv minutes) he often goes to look at the calendar to see what comes next and will fill any empty minutes with things like puzzles, books, and learning time!


The other piece of structure that-- we realized very quickly-- would be important to Marvel is the Responsibility Chart

Marvel came from a living situation in which chores were obviously part of his reality. He very quickly began taking on little bits of responsibility each day without us even prompting.

The first was his desire to care for Moses, our dog.

Marvel really wanted to take care of Moses, thus his daily chore became feeding and watering Moses and letting him in/out as needed. The rest of the days had rotating "chores" like helping with laundry, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning his room, and cleaning the backyard.  

The chart was built for longterm use and the idea of adding additional chores as well as additional children to the mix. We really only use the top week and rotate there as necessary but I am hopeful this Responsibility Chart has a long life in our family!!

Finally talking about surprised and changes to the schedule were and still are really important for Marvel to be able to process and deal with what happened next.

One example of a [really recent] time this was made completely evident was when school was out of session one day but they had an optional child-care. I hadn't really prepared Marvel for the fact that his teacher, classroom routine and basically everything "normal" was going to be different. 

That was a big big big mistake. 

It reminded me that even though Marvel seems so well-adapted at times, we have to be consistent in the way we handle new situations because his little mind and body are still processing so much!!

In our world, structure has been a glue that has held us together at times!!! Definitely an important tool!!

Stay tuned for the next edition of Tools of Transition!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I couldn't fix it

I think the hardest thing for me to accept in life is that there are things I simply can't fix.

Choices that others make that --agree or not-- I just don't get a vote on.

Hurts, struggles, grief that I see people walk through--and yet, there is nothing I can do to make it better.

As a "do-er" by nature, these things have always been hard for me to accept.

But last night? As my sweet baby boy told me he was sad, but didn't have the words to explain it in any greater detail?

That was the first point in my life, in which I would have moved Heaven and Earth to "fix it".


I think so many times we do our very best to prepare for grief.

We see it in their coping mechanisms.

We acknowledge that it's the root cause of their behavioral issues.

Their sleep issues.

Their meltdowns.

We have tools to help our children regulate their emotions.

Tips and tricks to teach them new behavior patterns.

Entire libraries full of books to remind us that connection must be the foundation of correction.

And yet, at the end of the day?

Looking into eyes filled with sadness and words trapped behind a language barrier?

I didn't have any tools in mind. No tricks up my sleeve.

I just wanted to fix it.

And I couldn't.


I can't change the fact that he misses people he loves dearly in Africa.

I can't remove the hurts and loss he's suffered. Some he may not even recall exactly, but he know's he's sad...

I can't tell him when or if it will all go away. That the pain and grief will magically disappear and all of the sudden, he'll be completely free of those early scars.

But I would.  If there was any way in this world that I could heal him, I would do it.

I think that's at the very core of the heart of a parent. And as I sit here swallowing down the lumps in my throat even just recalling the sadness in his eyes..I'm reminded that we are not his only "parents". He has a Heavenly Father who loves him with even more fierceness than I do.

He has a Father who IS capable of bringing his heart healing and filling voids that I simply can't fill.

He is a child of the Most High and his Father will move Heaven and Earth to bring him healing.

I am confident in this.


And while I know that Marvel struggles between the joy, love and trust he is building with us and the sadness, grief and sorrow at what he's left behind, I am made more and more aware that healing isn't an overnight process.

That joy and grief aren't mutually exclusive.

That walking this path of healing isn't going to be an easy or short journey.

But that, through it all,  we can hold fast to these truths:

That "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds" (Psalm 147:3)

That He promised he could give rest to all those who labor and are heavy laden. That if we would take His yoke upon us and learn from him, we would see that He is gently and lowly in heart and we would find rest for our souls. For His yoke is easy and his burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)

That sorrow may last for the night...but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)

I don't know what the future will look like. I can make my sweet boy no guarantees about how he will feel in one year...Or 10...Or 20. 

But I can promise him, with every fiber of my being, that we will walk this path with him. That he is NEVER going to be alone. That it is ALWAYS okay to be sad or angry or happy. That how he feels is valid and that we are never going to leave. That we will be right there with him. In the times when he doesn't want to dig deep into the well of emotions. And in those times when he feels his loss the deepest.

And I can Guarantee to him that our God is faithful and has promised him healing and wholeness in ways we could never offer him.

I once heard it said that sorrow may last through the night, but joy WILL come in the morning. And that, if joy isn't there, then it isn't morning yet. 

Hold fast.

Because it WILL come.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I've been wanting to link up somewhere with my Wordless Wednesdays....ya'll have any suggestions?

Welcoming home some dear friends this weekend. My heart is full.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saying Yes.

Sometimes when you say "Yes" to God, you have to fight every fleshly instinct you have.

Oftentimes it's not about what you can see but rather what you CAN'T see.

When you say "Yes" to God, you are saying, "We want to walk the path YOU have set for us".

When you say "Yes" to God, you are saying, "I'm trusting more in You than in what I see around me"

When you say "Yes" to God, you are saying,"I will walk this path even though I have no idea where it leads"

Saying Yes to God is rarely as convenient as saying Yes to the world.

And the return is beautiful and hard, mighty and weakening, filled of joy and pain.

But it's worth it. All of it.

I remind myself every time the enemy starts throwing stability, money, risk, and comfort in my face that, though I can't see where this path leads, I am confident that my God is taking me to land of milk and honey--if only I won't stop to wallow in the desert.

Because this path? Is worth it.

We are in a season of prayer, trusting, and hope and we would love it if you would stand with us praying:

* That God would open/close doors that need to be

* That we would be receptive and quick to respond

* That we would have a Kingdom understanding that the "finances" of it have no ownership when our God is the Provider.

* That we would make decisions carefully and only after seeking His will

* And that  God would protect and direct our family

Our God is Good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Because there aren't any to describe this....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tools of Transition: The Introduction

For most families in Adoption-Land, transition is the Big Unknown after the airport.

Here you are with this child that stepped off that plane with a suitcase full of needs, desires, hurts, secrets, anger, disappointment, longing, and fears.

It's not that transitioning with ANY new child at home isn't a big unknown.

But to ignore the differences would be to disadvantage our children's healing. So this isn't the place to make those comparisons...

While at this point I am guarded about how much to share about Marvel's homecoming and transition (note: We still reside at 123 This Is Hard Lane sometimes); I did want to share some specific tools we made sure to keep in our belt at all times.

These aren't magic fix-it-all pills. But they are tools that might help back someone off the ledge and away from the downward spiral.  And believe me, there are days you need a lifeline or two...

So for my first installment, I thought I would list some of the resources that have helped me establish what I would call the Tools of Transition.  I know not all families have the freedom we had. Marvel is--for now--our only kiddo so not only can the world revolve around him sometimes? but we also had no preconceived notions about the right way to parent. 2 point advantage for being a blank slate =)

1. The Connected Child: I personally think there are practical tips and ideas in this book that are beneficial for even the most secure and attached children. But especially for those of us diving into a Great Unknown, this book is as useful as knowing how to communicate "Do you need to go potty?". In other words, it can be critical to your very survival!

2. Empowered to This website is a compilation of webinars, articles, clips of Dr. Purvis addressing specific needs and issues, and has by-far been my greatest Go-To resource in the transition season.

3. Empowered to Connect conferences: I had already read The Connected Child when we made the decision to go to the ETC conference so I was wary that there would be anything NEW to learn. Friends, let me tell you....there is ALWAYS something new to learn..... This conference has been my greatest "pat yourself on the back for doing something proactive while in adoption purgatory" moment. I was so proud that we made the commitment to go because the tools and information we gleaned from this have proven to be INVALUABLE. We are trying to work it out to go again sometime in the next year! If you ever get the opportunity to go, you must. I insist.

3.  Blogs: I wish I could list all the blogs that have given me ideas, hope, or even just made me feel a little understood on this journey but I know I would miss one. Regardless of what your journey in life is, I would encourage you to find a few people (or their blogs) who have climbed that mountain before you. Because if you choose to do it alone, you will miss all the stories of triumph and defeat, the tips and tricks for traversing the forests and --let's be honest--you might hit a few unnecessary bumps along the way.  Get a village, ya'll.

4.  Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care:  I didn't go the easier route when it came to boy hair-care. As soon as I laid eyes on Marvel's beautiful curls, I knew I couldn't cut them off. I wanted to see what amazingness might come from nurturing and caring for those locks and I have been blown away by the beauty of my sweet boy's curly hair.  I for real could not have done it without this one particular resource. There are many sites for AA hair care (and I will list some in a future post) but CHVH understood that I needed the very very very starting point to be spelled out.... even after 3 months home and countless hours perusing the information here, I was back on this site LAST NIGHT because I needed some additional help. I'm here often. =)

So there you have it, the beginning of our journey home. As I think back to how unprepared I felt, I realize that, while I was NEVER going to feel be prepared, we had taken enough proactive steps to have the tools we needed to not panic *as much* in the moment.

Most of all, as you read this, I hope you remember this solid truth. There is nothing we are going through now that is harder than what our child has already gone through. When I look at the resilience and bravery of my son, I think to myself  "You can be better than you are. You have to be better. Because if, after everything he's been through, he can look at you with love in his eyes, then you can read one more book or try one more new thing to help bring him his healing".  

There is nothing more important than helping our child see the redemption that God has brought our entire family and grab hold of the healing that He has promised. It's not an easy or quick road and I make no claims that we are  out of the forest yet....Heck, These tools I talk about may be completely obsolete in a month. But I am giving my whole heart and will to this amazing boy's healing and hope.

And I am confident that I will see it.

Stay Tuned...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

3 Months Home!

I realized this morning at church that today was 3 months home exactly!

There are times when it feels like he's been in our family forever and there was no "life" before him.

And other times I hear words like "I have to go pick up my son from school" or "Why are you holding your bottom, do you need to go potty?" and I think.......Wow....That sounds....really... weird.

Okay so potty talk might always sound weird, but you get my drift, ya'll!

3 months home and I am continually amazed by Marvel. I feel immensely blessed to hold him each night as he falls asleep or have him confirm (after I've said it) that I love him or I'm proud of him. He is truly an amazing. Amazing. child.

In the past few weeks, we've had a lot of firsts:

*  Marvel started going to school ALL DAY last week and made the transition like it was no big thing at all and we were all crazy for watching him so carefully! I shouldn't have been surprised. Ya'll all remember how well he did on the First Day of School afterall!

*  The temps dropped to the 30s and 40s (Fahrenheit) this week for the first time. Based on our experiences and what we've read, this is probably the coldest temperatures Marvel has ever experiences. And, of course,that sparked another "first"...

*  Emphasis! Marvel has started telling us things with Emphasis!. For example, today he told me his hands were "very very VERY cold" and last night, as Moses was about to knock something over, I heard a quick repetition of "nononono NO!" followed by an "Oh nooooo" ;-)  It's been awesome to watch him determine whether or not something deserves emphasis and it's so exciting to see him adding this to his repertoire of language (which is growing by leaps and bounds daily)

* Complete sentences. Used to, when Marvel wanted to talk in long sentences (like most people do) we would get a series of repeated phrases..."Mommy, daddy-where is it? I don't know. daddy where?" or "Moses, outside. let moses out, Moses backyard?"  It was obviously quite hilarious to hear and a lot of fun to copy ;-)   Of course, we knew that season was going to be short, especially with his language building at supernatural speeds.... and much to my funny-bone's dismay, this week, Marvel came up to me in the kitchen and said "Mommy, I need some water please."  The Husband has also started calling Marvel by a nickname and Marvel often responds "[Nickname] is not my name! My name is [Marvel]!". Most recently, we've even heard  "I'm", "It's" and "don't" a few times! It may not seem like anything unusual for children who learn a language in the normal way but for later-English-learners, it's a pretty big deal when they start using words like "I" "You" and "And" when they begin using contractions? Break out the confetti! Because that is HUGE!!  

*  Marvel has decided he LOVES Pizza. This makes life a lot easier because after he decided he no longer liked eggs (who would after eating 2-3 a day for 2 1/2 months?!) and before pizza, I had no idea what to send in his lunchbox when he finally went full-day! Most parents might scoff at sending mini pizzas each day with their child but I know for sure he will choose not to eat if the food hasn't been approved. We've chosen to give him control in the food department (since we single-handedly took away any control he had before when we picked him up and flew him halfway around the world and required him to learn a new  language) and I want to know he ate SOMETHING during the day, so pizza and corn-on-the-cob it is!!!  This week he has said he would try corn dogs and hot dogs and has asked for cucumbers in his lunchbox which encourages me that we are continuing to make great strides in the food department!!

*  Association: We've been trying since we brough Marvel home to get him to make associations with people/relationships by asking "who are your friends at school?" then listing several names we recall from the first days or showing pictures of his ET friends with their families/siblings. He picked up the parental association quickly "Marvel's mommy vs. Orange's mommy" but he's recently started telling us the names of friends at school and remembering his teacher's name when I ask him a generic "who is your teacher?". This week, he's started pointing at strangers in the store and saying "Mommy, baby, I don't know?" to which I respond, "That's right, Marvel, you don't know that baby!" =)

Genius Child, I tell ya!! =)

* He loves Moses more and more each day and showers the dog with hugs and kisses! He was so excited to celebrate Moses' first birthday this week and buy him a new bone and, as I type, they are sharing the kid-couch with Marvel laying across Moses. Best Friends, he would tell ya!

All in all, we're making great strides in language, food and trust-building and hopefully building the foundation of safety for him to begin working through everything he's been through. I've made a story book of the adoption to give him some opportunities to open up about how he felt during certain shared experiences.

We are always reminded that we may never know where these amazing traits we watch blossom come from but we reverently remember from whom they come....

Favorite Food(s): cupcakes, pizza, strawberry milk, cucumbers, apples, carrots and pancakes/bacon; french fries; butternut squash soup; 
Favorite Person: Moses (our dog). He also loved spending the weekend with his cousin K1 and told me they were "best friends" as well =)
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Show(s): Jimmy Neutron, Avengers, Iron Man, Dora and Diego
Favorite Phrase(s): "Aww Man", "Mommy, I love you!", "Moses, Move!", "It's Dinner-time!", "What is it?", "I see it!", "Mommy, crazy?", "I think so"
Favorite Sport: Soccer
Favorite Thing(s) To Do: Help cook in the kitchen; do puzzles (currently doing 24 piece puzzles!); play Memory; dress up like superheroes; play soccer

First time riding a horse!

First Fair rides!!!

First time sleeping all night in his own room (with cousin K1)