Thursday, January 7, 2016

some thoughts

new year, new goals, new mindset. i love a fresh start each year. taking a good look at everything and making adjustments or just planning some fun adventures for the upcoming year. clean house with more decluttering on the horizon. 

i'm excited about this year and what it holds for our family. i have some personal goals i want to work on. mostly internal stuff i'm figuring out at 36. but for our family i think a simple more, less list is best.

more fun, less stress
more adventures, less plans
more fun, less to-do's
more in the moment, less in the past
more veggies, less pizza (but not a lot less)
more joy, less tantrums
more experiences, less purchases
more decluttering, less stuff

this blog is part of that cleaning out. i began it during the beginning of our adoption process for our first son and it has been a way to capture that process of becoming a family, connecting with others going through adoption, keeping friends updated on our life, and finally as we grew again by adding a little brother. 

for now i'm not sure where it fits in. my boys are getting older and i'm feeling the need to document our lives more privately. whether that's digital albums or a blog with a password just for our family, i'm not sure. i may keep posting random photos here that make me happy for awhile or we may adopt again and document that process. or i'll change my mind completely and come back to this spot next week or next month. who knows.

i'm just excited and ready for a new phase in life. this last year has been hard. our second adoption challenged us in so many ways. our first adoption was love at first sight and but i can tell you that was not how it went the second time. bonding has been hard for him and us. we love him so very much took time. he had to learn to trust us and the crappy hand he was dealt in life. we had to learn new ways to parent. to figure out what he needed. we haven't always made the right choices. we are still learning. but we are getting there. 

it's been an interesting learning experience. i'm thankful for the adoptive community that i've become a part of. because some days this gig is lonely. like when your 18 month old is struggling because he's spent half his life in a baby home, the other half with a loving foster family and then all of a sudden he's taken from all he knows and handed to you. and he doesn't process it well. and then well meaning people tell you it's "typical toddler behavior". or you've spent the last year of your life bouncing from such lovely emotions as what the hell have we done and did we make a mistake to i love him and we are so lucky and those emotions change daily. when you cry every night because you can't make it work. when you fantasize about getting in your car and driving away, alone. when you give up on wondering about love and just focus on like. when you start worrying about attachment disorders and research family therapists in your area. or when you have little successes followed by huge setbacks followed by little successes. until finally, slowly, you realize you've become a family. and you're proud, and tired, and amazed. and then someone tells you that you deserve him because you're first was so easy. and then you feel the need to punch something. like i said, it's been an experience. 

these boys are our everything. they make me want to be a better person. they are incredible and deserve the moon. we've learned from our struggles not only how to help elliot adjust but how to be better parents to elliot. because it's really not him, it's us. we have to be what he needs. it's our job. he's stubborn, cranky at times, but also full of life, brave, in complete adoration of his brother, and the best snuggler. mason has seen our family under huge amounts of stress (and increasing noise levels) but he's also grown into an amazingly kind and patient big brother. he understands adoption far better after seeing it first hand. and although i worry about all the changes he's had to endure over the last year he still asks all the time for a sister too. a little girl who's asian and tiny with tiny little socks, to be exact. and would like to fill all of our minivan's seats with siblings. so maybe we're doing better than i thought.

adoption is not easy, like parenthood itself, it's the hardest thing and the best thing i have ever experienced.

but back to 2016, we're so excited about it. we plan on doing some traveling including some disney fun. mason is soaring through kindergarten and elliot has done far better than anticipated in preschool and has had a language explosion of late. life here is full, for now. (do you hear that, mr. mason... full). and how i will continue to document that is up in the air. i couldn't be happier for this little blog and all the connections it opened up for us. it's been quite a ride. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

"Tis the Season for Fun

i love fall and pumpkins and halloween but who can deny the allure of twinkling lights and the wonderful smell of christmas trees? with two excited little boys it's hard not to get caught up in all the holiday cheer. travis and i couldn't help but celebrate making it to the end of 2015 and enjoying a holiday season much different than last year. and much less stressful and a touch quieter. but let's not focus on attachment and adoption stress and forming a family in a short amount of time, or screaming rages that we still don't know how to properly handle, let's focus on some christmas cheer ;)

we knocked out some great memories with trips to see Santa, decorating our tree, making cookies, looking at lights, the city parade, enjoying our festive downtown and lots of christmas movies and music. mason practiced his speech for santa repeatedly. (he wanted a telescope and nerf gun). elliot discovered rudolph and charlie brown. there was lots of singing of jingle bells with a dash of darth vader's theme. 

mason and i opted to decorate christmas cookies while elliot napped. i think it was a wise choice. the first batch was gingerbread men, a request from mason. none of us like gingerbread but we fulfilled a christmas fantasy for mason. the second batch was a mix of traditional shapes and star wars shapes.

we crafted over christmas break. something both the boys and i enjoyed.

we made s'mores at the roper mountain lights. this was a really fun night for everyone and i think something that will become a tradition for us. 

christmas eve the cousins came over.

christmas eve and all jammied up in new star wars jammies!

mason woke up first, of course. we told him to get us before going in the living room so we could film their reaction. he snuck a quick peak first and then came and told me that "santa came and he brought a soccer goal". we went upstairs to get elliot and began our christmas morning. both boys ran in excited and elliot screamed a big "yay" before the excitement did him in. he immediately started backing up and saying "no, no, no". he gets overwhelmed easily. i just calmly put my arm around him and told him everything was okay, he'd be alright. he calmed fairly quickly and then got into the business of opening gifts. (we are progressing around here).

not surprisingly, it was a very star wars themed christmas.

once the presents were done the boys gobbled up cinnamon rolls and played with their legos. so much more peaceful than last year.

mason has been focusing hard on his new scooter and really catching on.

it took a few days to have a clear night to try out the new telescope. travis had been outside and came hurrying in telling me to go wake up mason so we can look at the moon. i pulled a pajama clad boy out of bed and we all oohhed and aahhhed over the beautiful moon. the moon and space are favorite subjects of our boy and it was so sweet pointing out the craters to our happy kid.

after christmas my oldest nephew came and sat for us (while elliot slept) and we ducked out with mason for a late (8pm!) viewing of star wars. mason held onto his little x-wing and flew it along with the x-wings in the movie. travis and i kept smiling at each other as we watched our boy take it all in. it was kind of amazing.

we ended the month with a bit of blue skies. rain is wearing on me, i must admit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

autumn fun, with a side of rain

it's been such a wet, gray autumn. no october sunshine and blue skies. weeks and weeks of rain, fog and gray. i have a new appreciation for life in the pnw. no matter, fall is still my favorite. the leaves are still pretty (although they stand out a little less with a cloudy background) and we still made plenty of memories. september and october are the busiest months of the year for us. between, football games, soccer games, apple picking, pumpkin picking, halloween and everything else we do our weekends are packed. i normally hate busy but this is the one time a year that i go with it. we keep it low key in december so that makes up for it.

the boys are doing great in school. mason is still adjusting somewhat but he seems a lot less exhausted than those first couple of months. elliot went from hating school to walking in on his own throwing me a wave or blowing a kiss. 

after school we do homework first and elliot loves to do his "homework" next to big brother. also, i'm not a fan of homework in kindergarten.

mason had so much fun playing soccer. we are so proud of him. he learned so much and it gave him a lot of confidence.

these two have been playing so well together. mason has always been patient with him but as elliot gets older they are really having fun together.

mason wanted to take the training wheels off his bike. he tried it. they are back on for now. we'll try again soon.

i'm so happy how this guy has taken to school. and life in general. we are days away from our one year anniversary of being a family. he has come a really long way. it has been a very difficult transition for everyone but we're here. we made it. and it keeps getting better.

a little date night to see the broadway version of dirty dancing. we need more date nights.

rain, rain, rain.

a few warm sunny days snuck their way in.

he's not a veggie lover and more of a meat eater. and most definitely, a spaghetti lover.

these two braved cold and rain to see the tigers play. 

greenville's fall festival is always fun. elliot had a chance to try out a few rides. he likes it more than it looks ;)

travis went as a helper on mason's class trip apple picking. travis tries to be as involved as he can with the boys and their schools. it's tricky because he technically has three different jobs and on certain days can be in four or five locations. but he loves it and who wouldn't rather be apple picking with this guy than at work?

we had our good friends come stay with us for a weekend. always a fun, relaxing time.

amy and i were once middle schoolers playing basketball in her driveway. now, our babies play together.

look how much he's grown!! but now there are two!!

oh yes i did.

we are in real trouble here. way too many gamers in this house.

elliot isn't one for mommy and me classes, or crowded playgrounds, and most especially the children's museum. he does love our walks.

elliot was fussy and mason was not so sure about getting his hands dirty but we carved two pumpkins. one was a cat and elliot loved pointing it out every time we went outside. he loved pumpkins in general and looked for them everywhere. (he has quite a few elsa and anna socks. they are his favorite)

these two dress up all the time so halloween is a huge hit. mason was miles from the disney cartoon miles from tomorrowland. and elliot was our little stormtrooper. the stormtroopers and darth vader are his favorite star wars characters, not surprisingly. elliot caught on to trick or treating pretty quickly and happily announced chick or cheet at every door.

i try to have "dates" with mason since elliot came home. so i got us tickets to wild kratts live. a show on pbs that mason is obsessed with. we had a great time and it was good for us to sneak out on a school night for some fun.

there hasn't been a lot of time for hikes but we did discover a new to us park and we will definitely be back to this one. 

the sun has made a return and i'm so happy to end fall on a brighter note.

wet or not, i do love fall. and this family of four that finally feels like it's coming together.