Friday, June 21, 2013

An Unexpected Blessing!

     Today was Levi’s one month check up since having his new shoes/dobbs bar.  The doctor was very happy with how his feet look and when I mentioned that Levi stands with them and tries to “walk” he immediately said……Levi can just wear them to bed now!!!!  Two months early!  He said that because of his age and being so motivated to go, it’s not really good for him to be up on his feet with the bar on.  He also said that his feet look wonderful, there are absolutely no concerns, his feet are flattening out well, and that he will be just fine if he wears them for naps and at night since he sleeps for quite a few hours altogether. 

      I have been seriously giddy over this, and Levi has been quite happy too, although I don’t think he’s full aware of the fact that he wasn’t just getting an extra couple hours of freedom today.  My mind was racing with all of the things he’ll be able to do now….we won’t have to swim for 45 minutes and rush to put the shoes back on, or really push the limits taking him to the beach….he can ride on the swings again at the park and go down the slide without the bar causing him to get stuck!  I can put him in the front of the shopping cart again!  All things I totally took for granted with Caleb….such a blessing and I’m so thankful!!

     As soon as we got home I went in the attic to find all of Caleb's old shoes that he'd outgrown so I could see what size Levi will be and what we have for him!  I put on a cute pair of sandals and Caleb started to ask a million questions.  Can he walk now?  Well, can you teach him?  Daddy, daddy, daddy, teach Levi how to walk!!! We tried to explain that it takes longer than 5 minutes.  Yes, yes we will be teaching him, now let’s go upstairs (it was already past nap time)!  Total meltdown because apparently we had to teach him right then and there.  It really was sweet how excited he was, so we took a few minutes to practice…..and he of course had to help….not so sure if you can call it that….

Thrilled to be up and walking...with real shoes!

You can see the joy in Caleb's face too....

Helping his brother!

Or not?

It was starting to resemble dragging at this point, but Levi was still giggling!

Thank you God!!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


     Today we took Levi on his first trip to the beach.  Just as I suspected, he LOVED it.  As soon as I set him down he was throwing the sand around, digging his feet in and seemed right at home.  I know he loved the freedom from his shoes/bar and it was so fun to see a glimpse of how things will be once he is truly free of them!  He loves his bath, so the ocean was like heaven and he couldn't get enough of splashing around.  I had to ruin the fun at one point when he was shaking, chattering and his lips were turning purple and he was not happy with me!  (His caregivers would have been appalled!!)

It's such a blessing watching this little boy continue to experience life to the fullest.  I love to see him encounter things for the first watch the wonder in his face, and the excitement he shows.  Basically we've just been busy enjoying life, especially the joys of spring/summer weather!  Feeding the ducks, dinners outdoors, playgrounds, farms, strawberry picking, the zoo, pony rides, ice cream, and now the beach!  Sometimes I stop and consider what he would be doing if he was still back at the baby home.  I do believe he was blessed to be in a good place and he did get to play outside....but to miss out on all of this?  It just makes me so sad for all of the sweet children missing out on truly experiencing life.....  

   We were just talking yesterday about how it's been just about 5 months since Levi has come home and how that sounds so short!  We can't really remember life without him and he has grown and learned so much in that short time, it's hard to believe!  It's interesting because we are starting to see some new behaviors that we feel show he is really starting to understand that he has a voice...that we hear him and are listening and that we care what he has to say!  In some ways parenting Levi is similar to parenting Caleb...but in other ways, it's very different.  In the past whenever I would leave the room to dry my hair or get ready, Levi would come crawling to where I was, face plant and cry for me to pick him up.  It made things a bit challenging, but I knew he just needed me...needed to know I was there and to feel secure.  As of recently, he'll come to where I am, play near me for a second and then crawl back to wherever he was and continue playing.  The first time he did it, I peaked out wondering what was going on....he just crawled happily away. So precious.....just needs to check in.....and then he's okay.  

      Almost from day one, Levi was fairly comfortable going to anyone who held out their arms for him.  He's pretty easy going and usually assumed he would get a little closer to whatever he wanted if he went to the next person : )  If the person had glasses, or fun jewelry, he was even more apt to go!  Just recently, however, he has started to pick and choose when he wants to leave my arms.  I was surprised at first, but it coincides with so many other signs that he is realizing he has the option of saying no.  Honestly, I love that he sometimes chooses to stay with me, holds on a little tighter or leans in towards me and wants his mommy.  Such progress.  

        Then there's the not quite as exciting sign that this little boy knows what he wants and doesn't want!  He has recently decided that there are just certain bites of his food that he would prefer to spit out....okay more rollllll out of his mouth, then flail around to be sure they get in every crevice around.  The first time he did it, about 6 bites into a meal he has always enjoyed, I thought he must be sick.  This tiny little boy can EAT!  He eats and eats and eats some more and sometimes I wonder if we'll finish breakfast in time for lunch!  So spitting out food six bites in was a huge red flag.  Then it continued.....sometimes the first bites of a meal, sometimes in the middle.....sometimes he'd spit out one thing, then eat the rest of it, spitting out another part of the meal. No rhyme or reason.....just deciding he wanted to...or didn't want to.  I'm not sure Luke's too keen on this one, but I've started to smile when he does it.....I hear you little one!!

    As much as the ladies through Early Intervention love their time with Levi, they've cut back their hours with him since...well...he's just so smart!  I can say that without being boastful because it is no reflection on me!!  We all just watch him in amazement and get excited about everything he does....see that? Oh wow look at how he just ___!  It's been fun and I'm glad I took advantage of it....but he didn't really need it : )

Some of our adventures.......Loving living life together!!!  

Feeding the ducks......they were there, I promise.

Ice cream!!!!!

First trip to the beach : )

Splashing around like a crazy man!

Pony rides....serious business!

Strawberry picking!

Hugs, kisses, hugs...more hugs, more kisses......(this is likely why our sweet son kisses everything, including rocks, toys etc. : )

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Box

    Okay slight adoption deviation, but I couldn't resist.....
       Today we were presented with the opportunity to put together something for a little boy stuck in the hospital.  I explained to Caleb as best I could about this little boy, the same age as him, who wouldn't be able to go outside and play, or be home to play with his toys etc. for a while.  I suggested we paint some pictures and put together a box for him.  At this point he was all in.  That is until he realized we were giving his things away.  I started looking around and found some brand new coloring books and crayons and suggested we put them in the box.  He disagreed.  I opened the sticker box and asked him what he thought the little boy would like.  Apparently he knew this little boy did NOT like stickers, especially the ones we have.  Okay so it was not going well.  Actually that's an understatement.  I had to sit him down, calm him down and start again.  We talked about this little boy and I tried to help Caleb imagine that he was in the hospital.  I think he started to understand......

      In went the coloring book...the crayons....some stickers....some playdough....and then, Caleb decided he needed a horse and went off to pick out one of his own horses to give.  Small victory!  Then I added a toy I had bought just because it was a good deal, but had never needed to give as a gift.  This addition was too much and Caleb lost it again.  He just had to have it.  Had to play with it.  Had to open it.  I know he's only three, but my heart was breaking for the state of his heart....that these things meant so much and that I haven't really given him any opportunities to learn what it means to give, to sacrifice, to have compassion and really do unto others (his favorite song mind you!).  After that final tantrum, he was fully on board.  Suddenly everything was going into the box....even...yes...his dinosaurs!!  I was shocked.  And now I was a little hesitant.  Umm, really? Are you surreee?? You love your dinosaurs and play with them all the time.  You'll never see them you really understand?  I took them out and put them on the couch (yes, really....ugh).  He protested.....they were for the little boy!  Back into the box they went.

        I sealed the box and off it went this afternoon.  Seriously how many times have we been given this opportunity and just wrote it off.  But what a blessing it became in the lesson that was learned....and the heart that was beginning to change.  Priceless.  I also realized how easy it was for me to ask him to give away his things.....but what about me?  And why did I start to hesitate when he wanted to give away his most treasured toys?  His isn't the only heart that needs changing.....

       We prayed for this little boy and then the boys went down for their naps.  When Caleb woke up he instantly declared he wanted his surprise.  And did I have a dinosaur for him?  Um what?!  I was a little disappointed thinking he wanted his toys back.....but he just had this strange idea that I had some sort of surprise for him.  Nope, just mommy here!  He was persistent but eventually let it go.....we played Boggle Jr. instead (Thank you Morzella's!!).  We were still playing together when my neighbor came to the back door.  She had a bag.  She asked if Caleb had been a good big brother and I thought of today.  Levi loves to do what his big brother is doing.  Loves to play what he's playing, copy what he's doing, and definitely learns so much from him.  Soon he will be able to understand what it means to give, to sacrifice, to love others.....and Caleb will be a good teacher.  She gave Caleb the bag and inside were five....dinosaurs!!  Seriously?!  Just because...just because she saw them and thought of Caleb.  Wow Caleb!  You gave away one of your dinosaurs today and now Miss Karen just brought you FIVE new dinosaurs!  How about that : )  Of course I don't want him to think that every time he does something nice, he'll get something in return.  But really, what a sweet blessing.  And then I remember, for the thousandth time, all of the times that God has blessed us so abundantly just for being a teeny tiny bit obedient.  When He doesn't have to....when He could require us to just be obedient because we're His children and we belong to Him.  But no.....he constantly blesses us, offers us grace, goodness...mercy.

      And I feel a little anxious already when I think of what He may be asking of us next.  But why?  How many times does He have to show me his heart before I fully trust, fully surrender.  I wish I could just learn something once and get it!  Today I was thinking how grateful I was for this opportunity to teach my boys (and for the things I've been reading and learning lately that have brought me to a place where I am seeing it this way!), but at the same time thinking how it's hard work!  I can just see the look on God's face as I say that.....really?  Yikes! It is such a different perspective when I put myself in the position of the child with God as my father.  I whine about having to say the same thing over and over to toddlers....and yet I'm having to hear the same thing over and over....and over.....and over....and I'm an adult!

      So while I'm being so honest, I'll admit that I've started to get a bit comfortable.  This two toddlers business is exhausting, sure, but life has settled into a routine and we're all enjoying life together....maybe a little too comfortably?  Really, already?  I feel like Caleb protesting...wanting to hold on to what I have now, the way things are now.  And yet I know know know that when I do what God is asking life is so much more we're listening.....we're praying.....and at the end of the day we are really excited for whatever comes next!  What a day!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Donations in Abundance

          For those who don't know me well, I'm a HUGE bargain shopper.  I rarely buy something without a coupon (although I don't go to stores with piles of them!), and typically head right for the clearance racks.  I've never been a huge consignment person since I find things brand new just as cheap most of the time.  BUT since I've started participating in the local sales as a way to fund-raise for adoption, I've certainly enjoyed finding some great deals this way as well!  Shopping is fun, finding great deals is wonderful....but I think this has become the most exciting.....

Collecting and sorting the AMAZINGLY overwhelming number of donations that continue to pour in.  This is one of my fun new kids-are-napping-so-i'll-go-enjoy-a-few-minutes-of-___ pastimes!  It's truly been mind blowing how ready people are to give away their things.  And equally as shocking how productive this has been!  These are the bags and piles we brought home from the past couple of weeks.....they are just the beginning! I get so excited as I sort them and think of all the people they will help! Those who will be able to purchase them for a great deal, those who will receive them free through the Providence Rescue Mission, the family that will receive the profits towards their adoption, and ultimately the precious child that will be one step closer to their forever family!

I bought this portable closet thinking it could hold the donations until the following sale.  Apparently there's a weight limit and whatever it is, I've exceeded it.  It's already toppled over once and is now being held up by miscellaneous items in the garage. Here it is only June and we've already surpassed any amount of items we've had at the past sales....and the next one isn't until September!  We're brainstorming a new system, but I'd say this is a good problem to have! : )  

So thank you so much to all who continue to so willingly donate your belongings.  With the drop off box at church I often don't know where they've come from and wish that I could personally thank you.  So if you are reading this, please know how much you are appreciated!

UPDATE: It turns out they will not be holding the women's sale this coming fall......while I was a bit disappointed about this since 95% of the donations we've received are for this sale, there are still plans to hold the sale next spring.  So....we will just have a LOT to bring next spring : )  Perhaps the sale will double in size!
   The kids sale will still take place this September so there is still an opportunity to raise more!