Sunday, August 23, 2015

Levi's Turn...Four is Fun!


This little guy has watched each member of our family have a birthday this year..."Me!!" he'd say and we'd remind him that it wasn't his day yet.  This is the first year he's really understood what is going on when it comes to birthdays...and what he's missing out on :)  A day all about celebrating me?!  Sign me up!  Waiting to be the last person's birthday celebrated?  Not so fun.  Well Friday was HIS day, and it was so fun to watch him enjoy it....to say "Yes, You!" when he patted his hand against his chest and exclaimed "Me! My!"


It was serious business opening his presents.....


LOVE the goggles...SO Levi....


His new, real toolkit....now he's really going to be helping daddy.....or destroying furniture...


And then more arrived....because my kids are beyond spoiled...


           We had a crazy day with a million appointments, but we eventually returned to celebration mode and picked up some dinner.  This little guy loves KFC, so he got his own box and was very proud.


And when you're a mom of four, you get creative because you probably don't have any cake mix or frosting in the house, nor time to make one.  This was yummier anyway!


"Mama, (insert blowing)" he said, patting me.  He was so happy we were going to sing to him so he could blow out his candles...okay candle. 



One more present from Meme and Pops.....


                         Signing thank you to them.....they know what their boy loves!


And he has enjoyed it thoroughly ever since!


(And here's what the princess did during the "party")


So we didn't do a big party for Levi like we did for the big kids this year....we're splitting it up because I just may go insane doing a party four months in a row, and I'm sure everyone would unfriend/family us for having so many parties.  We figure we'll pick special years and do a party, but otherwise we'll just do something special as a family.  So I found that they were doing "Touch A Truck" at a nearby town two days after his birthday....with diggers and dump trucks that he could actually sit on!  Almost too good to be true...the timing wasn't the best so we only had about an hour, but he enjoyed himself!  And a great bonus with great friends joining us!


He didn't want to take his eyes away from all the cool features long enough to look at the camera!



I wonder if I'll have a picture of him like this in 20 years....


Beeping the horn of course!


Telling the firefighter to close the door.....he's so bossy! 


The door closed and he said "BYE!"


Sweet friends!



How cute is he?!!


Train ride!  Levi's other newest love!


(and the princess slept...)



It's amazing how big he seems this year...maybe just because his new little sister makes him seem like a giant...but I think it's even more than that.  He's growing in so many ways and turning into quite the big boy.  It's a strange thing, your children growing....always somewhat bittersweet as you want to bottle up their little-ness, while at the same time encouraging and enjoying watching them grow and accomplish new things.  Levi works so hard for each milestone...and the process has been slower...so in many ways I feel like we get to savor his growth a little more, and for that I am thankful.  
And yet, it sometimes feels like we aren't making enough progress....like maybe we need to do something different or could do more...and I can only imagine the frustration this little one feels....but really when we stop and look back it brings me to tears to think of how much he just keeps pushing, all the while with a smile and so full of life and love.  Something I need to dwell on more often.  Something I could learn a lot from.  
We're hearing more and more of his voice...and often throughout the day, one or more of us will excitedly say "did you hear that?! Levi said __!"  It's precious to hear his siblings getting so excited as he copies something they've said, or says a new word clear as day.  
And he's opened our eyes to a whole new world.....a world of diggers and dump trucks and construction work.  It's exciting!  But ya know, every time I'm driving through construction (which is about every five seconds around here), I'm either thinking of Levi and how much he'd love it, or he's in the back seat pointing each one out with excitement.  Funny how kids teach you to look on the positive side of things :)

Happy 4th Birthday Levi!  We love you so much...you have come so far and taught us so much....we hope you felt at least a fraction of how special you are. <3




Friday, August 7, 2015

Celebrating Twelve!


  I cannot believe we have a 12 year old!  She was only ten when we met her, turned 11 a couple weeks later, and now is already 12...crazy!  We've gone through so many stages in these past (almost) eleven months home together that it truly feels like years rather than months.  She has grown up so very much in so many ways, and we are so proud of her.  I think I was equally as excited as she was about this birthday....so eager to give her the special day of her dreams.  


She was the first one up that day....I wonder why ; )  When I came downstairs, she kept trying to help....make breakfast....do the dishes...and I kept stopping her.  Nope, no working...I'm serving you today.  She'd just beam at me.  She finally found a way around it and held her crying sister, putting her to sleep soon after.  When everyone was finally awake, we gave her her presents...she carefully opened each one and read the cards purposefully...savoring everything.  


                                  And she wasted no time in trying out one of her gifts!


                                     And of course then helped her little brother give it a try...


           Since it was so hot, we took the kids for a swim - one of Keira's all time favorite things to do.  And to her surprise there were flippers waiting for her to try...so fun!  We enjoyed some family time together, watching each of their tricks and new found capabilities.....

       
                        All decked out in her birthday shirt, admiring some of her gifts  :)


          It just so happened that some of her favorite people arrived on her birthday to visit...so we all went to the mall together to get her ears pierced (something we'd talked about doing on her 12th birthday from early on) and the dinner of her choice....



And a ride on the carousel...why not?!


            It was a fun day....I think one that she will remember forever.  She reveled in the special attention, surprises and events of the day.  And though she was sad to see it end, she knew there was one more special day to come.....

   
    Her birthday was during the week, so we had her party the following Saturday.  We rented a field at a local park along with a bouncy house to make it extra special....a first birthday party at age 12 requires special treatment :)  And in case you have somehow not been told, her favorite color is yellow, and she loves elephants...hence the yellow everything with some elephants thrown in here and there!


It was such a whirlwind, I didn't have the opportunity to take any great photos...but I don't doubt that the memories will be etched in our minds forever...there are some things you just can't forget....


So many friends and family came....showering her with love, attention, cards and gifts....reminders of how special she is...how loved.....


She pretty much beamed like this the entire time.....


I'd say it was a success :)  I just kept thinking of the many conversations we'd had about friends....the hardest change for her was leaving her closest friends who meant everything to her.  And she struggled with not having those close relationships here....and seemed to doubt that she ever would.  Time, I'd remind her...it takes time.....but here we are only ten months later, and she already has some wonderful close friends.  Friends who came and showed her that she is loved and cared for.....that those relationships are possible again.....


               And as the day came to a close, we headed home and she tried out her new gifts....sad to see it all end, but so overflowing from the love showered on her.


Thank you so much to everyone who made this day so special....we couldn't have done it without all of you!


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Twelve year photos by the water.....











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      I posted just recently about Keira's best friend in Ukraine....who we have been praying for daily..that a family would adopt her.  It's been on my heart to advocate for her more intensely, to fundraise and to see her home.  Some have inquired about her and in the meantime we received some information.  She is currently in a foster home in Ukraine, which makes her ineligible for adoption.  While I really cannot judge this situation, our prayer will continue to be for a forever family.  I know it seems impossible right now, but I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that with God anything is possible and that he loves that little girl more than we could possibly fathom.  And so, if you would...I would ask that you pray with us.....that she is safe and loved and that she would have a forever family however that may look and wherever it may be.