Archive for December, 2011

December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011 Recap

The days are just going by too quickly!   Is Christmas really over?!   Is it really almost 2012?  Ahhh!

We had a great, busy, fun and exhausting Christmas.   The morning didn’t go quite as I’d envisioned, waking up to a baby covered in vomit isn’t fun, but after a quick bath we were able to get back on track and the kids had a blast opening gifts here at home in the morning.   Well, Mayer opened most of the gifts and handed them out since J & B weren’t able/willing to do much unwrapping yet.    :)

After breakfast and getting dressed we headed next door to my parents house to continue the tradition of watching them open their gifts on Christmas morning.

We went from my parents house to Keith’s moms house where we had lunch and another gift exchange.   I forgot to take pictures at his moms house but the kids had so much fun playing with their many cousins and Jovia of course, was very happy to be eating.  :)

After lunch at Keith’s moms house we came home for a quick nap for everyone and to bake rolls for dinner.   We were dragging by 430 when we went to my grandfathers house for our families Christmas dinner but we were quickly revived and ready for the next round of food and fun.  We had a yummy dinner, the kids all had a blast and we exchanged “family gifts” this year, a gift to be used by the whole family.   That was fun.   By 630 we headed home, got everyone ready for bed and collapsed soon after.   It was a whirlwind but I’m so grateful for such an amazing, close and loving family!

December 15, 2011

She can do it!

We are constantly amazed at how quickly Jovie is learning to do new things!

She can now pick up her own cup and drink without assistance. This has been the BEST cup for her so far. It is the Dr. Brown soft spout cup with handles.

December 12, 2011

My little bakers…

These guys did some serious baking.  Sugar cookies everywhere!  

December 11, 2011


December 9, 2011

Years past….

I have been thinking about the last few Christmas celebrations in our family…

Christmas 2007 was our first Christmas in our current home, as well as our first Christmas as a family of three. Our precious Schnider was with us and it is a Christmas I will never forget.

Christmas 2008 was a difficult year. We were still grieving Schnider’s return to his first family and missing him so much. Our home and all of the activities felt so empty without him.

Christmas 2009 we had hoped to be in Uganda to get our new son and I was frustrated with how slow the process was going.   We were excited to know we had a precious child waiting for us but it was hard knowing he was across the world, still in an orphanage. We were so anxious to go get him!

Christmas 2010 was amazing – we were rejoicing that our son Mayer was finally home and would be spending his first Christmas with his forever family. We were also thinking and worrying about Benjamin – praying that we’d be given the opportunity to adopt him.

Little did we know that two months later we would first see the picture of a little girl who would later be our daughter and I hatched the idea of trying to adopt two special needs babies at once. I didn’t dare mention it to anyone…it was just too crazy. :)

This has been an absolutely exhausting year. It has been stressful but it has also been so incredibly full of joy.

Now I wonder what next Christmas will look like…. :)


Christmas 2007 – Schnider.  Love. 

No pictures from 2008.  

In 2009 we stared at this little face and anxiously prayed for the news that we could go get him.  

In 2010, we rejoiced that he was HOME. 

And now, in 2011 these little people blessed our lives. 

December 8, 2011

Back again

We were back at the hospital this morning for one of Benja’s clinics. Love this hospital and love this team!
Benja is growing well – up to 26lbs today! He was 19lbs when he came home two months ago. That is just incredible!
Everyone is excited about how much progress he’s making in a short amount of time. We still have some continued concerns that haven’t yet been addressed (we’re working on it!) but he’s doing so great.

One more appointment at the hospital this month (that we know about now) then hopefully a break until after the new year. Whew!

This is how we all feel…. :)

December 6, 2011

Self Stimulating Behaviors

Self stimulating behaviors.

Doesn’t sound so great does it?


I’ve been researching this lately because of our sweet Benja.

It’s something we’ll be talking to his early intervention team about at our next meeting.

Benja’s behaviors are head banging and rocking. When he’s tired he shakes his head, sometimes very hard. He will often (thought not as often as he used to) bang (sometimes quite hard) his head on things. He also often rocks rhythmically in place while staring off into space. These “sessions” of rocking/head-banging seem to have decreased over the past two months but regardless, its something I worry about.

I know that this is often seen in severely neglected/institutionalized children but Benja was in a “good” orphanage where he got a lot of stimulation and attention. So I’m not convinced it is just post-institutionalization behaviors.

Anyone have experience in this with their adopted child?

Here is a video where you can see Benja rocking slowly in the background. This is a mild example but you can see what I mean.

December 3, 2011

Did you know?

Did you know that December is AIDS Awareness Month?

I missed posting this for World AIDS Day yesterday but better late than never!

If you haven’t educated yourself lately about HIV…please do.

Two of my favorite HIV related websites (both are encouraging the adoption of HIV+ children but have great facts for everyone, not just prospective adoptive families) are Project Hopeful and Positively Adopted.

There are so many HIV+ orphans out there waiting for families. Positively Orphaned lists children waiting for families, as does Reece’s Rainbow. Project Hopeful also has a photolisting on their website.

Please share the above links/video with your family and friends. Let’s help educate as many folks as we can.

December 3, 2011

Dance Party

What could be better than a basement dance part after Thanksgiving dinner?!

Yes, my children are in there.  Mayer thought it was the greatest thing ever.  Jovie is a dancing queen – even without limbs, she really gets into it.  Her whole body wiggles and it is so hard to hold onto her!  Benja wasn’t impressed but he is hard to impress in general.  :)  The big kids had a blast of course.   Fun times!