Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Week

We had some very special guests for Thanksgiving.  We did lots of....

Cooking (for 18 people all week!)...

Outdoor time (soccer, kickball, yoga, etc)...

scavenger hunting...

beach combing...

friend finding...

Sister time...

family time....

It was a great week, can't wait to do it again!  Thanks to all our guests for making our holiday much less lonely!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our Explosive Week

This week we took a break from the book work, and explored this amazing globe we call home.  It's been a while since we did a unit study, and some real hands on learning.  Owen has been a little bored with his current routine, so I thought we should spice things up with something a little more exciting.  We used this:

We really enjoyed our week.  Our days were full.  We cleaned out the library on everything volcano related and had lot's activities to choose from in this down load and go packet.

To wrap up our week, the kids woke up to Volcano pancakes.  We opted for the syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon vs. cheese option, yum!

The fun continued after Jim got home, with a volcano model.

Owen had been waiting for this all week!

Our dinner menu consisted of:

something spicy seemed appropriate.


Volcano cake for dessert!  We rarely have dessert, so this was a real treat.

In honor of Marney's announcement that she wants to be an oceanographer (I'm sure this has something to do with her current obsession with mermaids and the fact that she is spending roughly half her life in the pool with her swim team these days) our next unit study will be "Oceans."  Owen suggested a huge wave cake at the end on that week, yikes!  What have I started?  

We have a busy weekend planned.  The fall foliage is in full bloom and the weather has been beautiful.  Perfect setting for a family photo, I think!  First one in forever, I can't wait.  Also scheduled is acolyte training at church for the girls, quite a long "honey-do" list for Jim, and some fun preparations for some very special guests coming in just over a week.   A productive and fun weekend ahead, hope yours is wonderful too!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Year To Remember

A year ago today, we stepped off a plane and introduced Ben to his new family.


This has been a year of getting to know each other.  There were more changes in our family during Ben's first year home than I had hoped.  I specifically remember asking for a quiet year!  But, it is what it is.  Ben has rolled with the punches, and has adjusted amazingly well.  

When we started this journey to Ben, we didn't know exactly what to expect.  What will it really be like, day to day?  Are we really, truly crazy for doing this?  Books can only prepare you so much.  

FAITH=Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him

  I can honestly say that having him home has put all of our fears to rest.  He felt like one of the family right away, and I just feel like his Mom.  A very lucky Mom.  My love for him vs. each of our biological children is no different.   Well, maybe I love them all differently.  They are, after all different  people, with different needs.  But, you can be sure they are all loved with the same intensity, the same ache in my heart.   He is not loved any more or any less because he was adopted.  

Now, I don't want to build him, or our experience up unrealistically.  Of course, there are times, days even, that are more challenging than others.  It's meant a lot of hard work for all of us, and been a daily practice in patience.  He is often loud, squirmy, and uncooperative.  I haven't always handled it with grace.  We are no longer an inconspicuous family.  For better or worse, we make a lasting impression where ever we go. :) Ben has received more than his "fair" share of our parental attention at times.  Despite all this, adopting Ben has exceeded our expectations by a mile.  The amount of joy he brings to our lives is beyond measure.  

Watching Madeline, Marney, and Owen welcome Ben into our lives with open arms has been a gift to all of us.  They are learning that we make adjustments for the special people in our lives.  It's not a sacrifice or an imposition, it's what we do for people that we love.  It's what we do for everyone at times when we all have special needs or concerns.  We all fall and need help getting back up.  They love him more that I could have ever hoped.  They do not resent his presence in our lives.  This little guy has no clue how deeply he has penetrated our hearts, and changed us all forever.

So, what has this little wonder been up to?

Gross motor-  Ben was crawling when he came home, now he is running, climbing, kicking a ball, and trying to jump!

Fine motor-  Still not using a pincer grasp, this is a goal for the next few months.  Doing great at stacking, shape sorting, and the like.  He loves to learn and be challenged.

Self care-  Self feeding, making good progress here.  Not completely independent, but progressing nicely.  He is biting and chewing well.  He can remove all his clothes independently :/  working on redressing!  Loves to "help" brush his teeth, learning to sit still for this process.  Loves the bath tub and everything that goes with it, does not love to get out!

Speech-  Since we started working on learning his ABC's and starting sight words and numbers, he is attempting to say lots of new words.  He uses about 10 signs regularly and appropriately.  His receptive language is better than he would like us to believe.  He understands everything!   

Social-  Does not need any encouragement in this area!  He is our little ambassador, making friends out of strangers where ever we go!  Sometimes needs a reminder to be gentle, and use a quiet voice.  Also working on, hugs are for family, high fives or hand shakes are for friends

Education-  Working on learning his ABC's and sight words.  Lot's of flash cards!  Lot's of reading and play time going on here too.


Ignore my closed eyes, I just love this shot of Ben!

Friday, November 4, 2011