About Me

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My husband and I, the Dynamic Duo, have been married since 2003. We've weathered the storm of chronic disease (diagnosis 2006), infertility (diagnosis 2007), turning 30 (2006/2007 respectively) a first adoption (2009) of a tender hearted, compassionate Ukrainian BIG boy (born 2006), who has told us he'd like a baby sister, baby brother, big brother, and REALLY big sister. We recently completed our second Ukrainian adoption journey, which brought us a daughter (born 2005). We'll see what else God brings our way!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas 2009

Eli was pretty excited to hear that his Aunt Wendy, Uncle Tony and cousins were coming to visit!

Here, Papa and Eli are playing their favorite game...Slipper Theft!

You'll notice that I'm not in any of the Christmas pictures. And you'll assume that's because I was taking all the pics. Nope. I was in my room sleeping because I had SWINE FLU! I'm still taking anti nausea meds so I can get something in my system, but I'm doing much, much better! But I missed Eli's first Christmas morning. Later that day, the gang went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks in the theater...Eli's first theater experience!

Eli tearing in to his gifts. I hear he had a great time.

A very serious game of checkers

Come on Papa! Beat him!

My sister in law and her family. We love when they visit!

Eli enjoying one of his new toys

Dave with his nephews

Aunt Wendy and Eli. I love this piture!

New Badges on my Mom vest

Thanksgiving was spent at my parents house in Indiana. I gorged myself on turkey and stuffing I didn't make, slept in and rested. I enjoyed hearing my son playing with some of my dad's old metal toys, and some of Alex's old toys. He was pretty worn out by the time we got home! While we were there, Dave and I were able to go out. Alone. For hours. Whoa! We really needed to reconnect, and it was fun to hang out at the mall and window shop a little.

Badge #1 First ER Visit: Dave's birthday came around on December 7th. I'd like to say I baked a nice dinner, we ate cake and ice cream while running through a meadow, but that's just not reality. Eli and I went to the store to buy some cupcakes and ice cream to celebrate (Eli insisted). Everything was fine until we were on our way out the door. Eli fell backwards on a shopping cart and cut his head open. Sigh. I didn't freak out and the employees were really sweet to me. They offered to call an ambulance, which I declined. It didn't seem all that bad, but I preferred to go to the urgent care center near my house just to make sure. So we went, and they said we'd need to go to the ER because he needed a couple stitches and they don't do stitches on kids this young. So off to the ER we went. I called Dave, who was on his way home by then, and said "Happy Birthday! We're going to the ER, wanna join us?" Eli ended up getting one staple in his head, which didn't require any anesthetic. As we were walking out of the ER, I saw a teenager, a child, and a toddler in line for assistance. And, guess what...they were all boys! The funny thing is that Eli had no clue he was supposed to be in any pain at all. He screamed at the staple being put in and at me applying pressure to stop the bleeding afterward, but as soon as my hand came off he was fine, and trying to twirl around the bed.

Badge #2 Christmas Potty Training: Let me tell you, Christmas is the perfect time to potty train. I bribed him with gifts that came in, which helped with the training and not overwhelming his senses with all his gifts at once. I started by giving him 4 M&M's if he'd pee in the potty and I made a really big deal about it when he finally went for the first time. But then he started going potty every 10 minutes and was at risk of getting a really big sugar high! So then I set the timer for 20mins. After each beep, we went to the potty and he got an M&M if he was dry. Over then next few days I increased it to an hour. For the most part he's really good. He stays dry for his naps and when we go out anywhere, which is nice. I have a box with some small things in it, tools mostly, and he gets several opportunities to earn a gift throughout the day, if he's dry at lunch, after his nap, when we get home from somewhere.

Monday, November 30, 2009

32 Reasons

During the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought a lot about being thankful. I came up with my pat answers for the table go round. But since I've been on the earth for 32 years now, I decided I would come up with 32 things to thank God for this year...here's my list:

1. Of course I'm thankful for my life in Christ. How freeing it is to know I have eternal security and a life in heaven with my creator, saviour, friend, redeemer. My confidence and esteem comes from Him only, because without my Creator, I have no life.

2. I'm thankful for the man God gave me to live out my life on earth. He's a calming factor for me (most of the time!) and he's a great partner in this crazy thing called life. He's a wise financial manager, and a dedicated, hard working family man.

3. I'm thankful for my son. Wow, what an amazing child. He has brought so much laughter in to my life, and keeps me on my toes, that's for sure!

4. I'm thankful for my friends, the one's that have worked through my struggle with keeping in touch. Malisa, (I miss you!) who I haven't seen in about 10 years, although I know if we ever see each other again it will be like we've never left each other's side. Lorena, Shannon and Lindsay, my playful, encouraging women of faith who have kept me from going under these past 6 months!

5. I'm thankful for my parents and my relationship with them. I talk to my mom every other day or so (no less than once a week) for advice and encouragment. What a change from 10 years ago!

6. I'm thankful for my brother, Alex, who is quite a hoot. And he's introduced me to things like X-games, skateboarding, and crazy music. He's also quite the writer and drawer...very creative.

7. I'm thankful for my other brother, Mike, and his wife Katie, who have given me a brand new nephew this year. Dylan Michael, I'm storing up lots of kisses for our first meeting, so beware!

8. I'm thankful for my mother-in-law, Deborah, who is very supportive and sticks up for me when her son is overly obnoxious ;) She has also been very supportive of our adoption and how we are raising Eli. She also does a lot of gardening for us when she comes to visit.

9. I'm thankful for my sister in law who takes the teasing Dave would normally reserve for me when she's around. She's a pleasant, friendly gal who doesn't know a stranger or enemy. She's a great example to me of giving of yourself to others. She also happens to be the mother of my darling two nephews, CJ and Sam. And she's married to the best Italian cook you'll ever meet!

10. I'm thankful for my house. Although it isn't a mansion, or even all that big, I'm thankful that God has plopped us down in a great neighborhood with great neighbors. And it doesn't take all week to keep it clean!

11. I'm thankful for being a stay at home mom. This, folks, is my dream job. And for a while, it looked like it would never happen because we would never have kids. But now I have the priveledge of cleaning up poopy diapers, stepping on toys with small, sharp parts, and giving all the kisses and hugs a boy could dream of!

12. I'm thankful for extended family. My grandmother, aunts and uncles, along with Dave's extended family, have supported our adoption this year, too. Not many have families with open arms like ours.

13. I'm thankful for our health. Although Dave has some health issues, we are relatively healthy and able to be active and productive citizens. Not everyone can say that.

14. Speaking of being citizens, I'm thankful for my country. Although much is going on that isn't good for us as a society, God has placed me in a country that still allows me to worship Him openly, without fear of persecution (like jail, beatings, or even death).

15. And speaking of worshipping, I'm thankful for a solid, Bible teaching, preaching church that doesn't allow what's going on around them to sway their teaching or preaching. Our society shouldn't dictate what in the Word we believe. We should stand strong and true to The Truth.

16. And speaking of Bible teaching, I'm thankful for BSF, which has lead me in to a deeper relationship with the One True God, and a deeper understanding of who God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit is and what their relationship to each other and me is.

17. I'm thankful for service. I love to give my time and energy to others, and being involved in a vibrant church allows me to serve others for Christ.

18. I'm thankful for our Drama ministry, which is focused on how to glorify God through the arts. I've grown a lot in my abilities and confidence through Christ, and being in the Drama programs is a testamint to that.

19. I'm thankful for my dog, who is very therapudic. He's a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too.

20. (This one's for Dave) I'm thankful for our cars. We have two newer, almost paid of vehicles that are wonderful. In this economy, we are truly blessed.

21. I'm thankful for Dave's job, which allows me to stay at home with Eli. He's in a new position, which is fullfilling for him, and makes him a more fullfilled man.

22. I'm thankful for games. I love to play games that involve words, like Guestures, Catch Phrase, and Taboo. And I'm glad God gave me fun people to play with since my husband only likes things like Checkers (because it's the only game he can beat me at!!)

23. I'm thankful for the traveling I've done in my life. I've been to France, Germany, Ecuador, Canada, Mexico, and Ukraine, which was phenominal. I've traveled by car down the east coast, the SE, Montana and New Mexico, and by plane to CA and Nevada. Boy, I've been lots of places.

24. I'm thankful for seasons. I love the weather here in Michigan. Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather cools down, and the leaves pop with color. Winter is fun because it gets even colder...and SNOWS! The snow around here is just enough to get your feet wet, but not so much that you can't leave your house. And then comes Spring. Just when you've had enough of the cold, God melts the snow, and color resumes as the norm. The grass is green, the flowers bloom in every shade of every color. And then the heat goes in to overtime! Our summers are short. Just the way I like it! The weather turns warm just long enough for you to get sick of it and then fall comes creeping in again!

25. I'm thankful for those serving our country, the men/women overseas in our military, who keep me safe from foreign harm. The men/women in the military here, who gather information for those overseas. And for those in public service, like firefighters and police officers, who risk their lives at minimal pay to keep me safe in my cozy little house with my sweet Eli and handsome husband.

26. I'm thankful for the opportunity to go to Ukraine and experience the culture for 6 weeks. What a dream come true! And the fact that everything went so smoothly is another thanks in and of itself!

27. I'm thankful for music. I love to belt it out in the car rocking my head to the beat, clapping while sitting with Eli, or just closing my eyes to hear people praise the one and only God. Sometimes in church, when the band stops playing and it's just voices, I feel like I'm in the crowd at Jericho and the walls of the church are about to come down because our praises are so powerful!

28. I'm thankful for digital pictures. Technology has made it a lot easier to get pictures back and forth to family.

29. I'm thankful for rest. I don't get nearly as much as I used to, so it's much more appreciated now!

30. I'm thankful for food. Boy, do I love food! If you're a chef and you want to try out some new recipes on me, come on over! I enjoy tasting new foods, but I don't always enjoy the new foods I taste!

31. I'm thankful for the Bible. Many people wonder what it would be like to experience all the miracles Jesus did while He was on Earth, not to mention the crazy miracles recorded in the Old Tesiment. But I'm not sure I'd just jump right in. Now we are blessed with God's written word, His love letter to us that shows us His character, immense love for His creation, and desire that all come to know His Son.

32. Ta da! What did I save for last? I'm thankful for BLOGS that challenge me to do things like this! I thought it would be much harder than this, but I could go on and on about things I'm thankful for. So, I guess I'm also thankful I have so much to be thankful for!

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Pictures

Eli put this together all by himself about a month ago! I left the room to do something and came back to him sitting there very proud. He uses his train tracks as a road for his cars.

Grandma Karl and Eli picking up sticks while we were visiting a few weeks ago. I'm not sure what he saw, but he's so darling!

Picking up leaves with cousin Sammy and Grandma Karl. They had so much fun playing together.

Sammy chilling by himself...or is he?

AH! Eli, you scared me hiding in the leaves :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

6 Months and 1 Week

I know, I know. I'm getting pretty bad at updating this blog now. I have some pictures I'll try to put up soon. How time flies!

I survived the week without Dave, thanks to my mom who wore Eli out! We had a blast while she was here, but it went by so fast! Each week has had it's own struggles and challenges and we've risen to them, at times just barely!

My son. What can I say about my sweet little boy? He's amazing. And he's all boy, that's for sure. He climbs, jumps, crashes his cars on anything. He "falls" on purpose and his knees are pretty scratched up from it. He loves to be tickled and tickle back. And to be startled. And loud noises. And being loud. And he's fascinated by cars. Just today he watched part of the NASCAR race with Papa.

He's been wearing his braces everyday for the past couple of weeks up to 10 hours a day. And his night braces all night. I feel bad for him, but I know it's for his best. We went to see his physiatrist last week. He was very impressed with how much Eli has improved both with and without his braces and told me he suspects Eli's recovery will be a 3 year ordeal. Next step is orthodics that go up to his ankles, then slowly down to just inserts in his shoes, which are for the long haul. He commented on how much Eli has grown and how his language skills are really developing. Truly amazing to me, too.

We had a few weeks that Eli wouldn't go outside...not sure what that was all about! He would say "Momma, cold outside. Stay inside." Then he would fight me to go outside. Until one day, the leaves fell off the tree and Papa went outside to gather them. We threw him (not literally) in a pile of leaves once and that was all it took to keep him outside! He's still a great big help in every area that I let him. I try to include him in as much as I can because he really seems to thrive off of being a big boy helper. He even helps Papa at night with his night braces!

I'd say the funniest thing that's happened in the past few weeks involves an oil change. Eli LOVES to be with Papa in the garage in the evenings...I'm already loosing him to cars! Papa let Eli help him change the oil in our Astra. Apparently Eli watched the whole thing, and Dave pointed out the oil pan, and showed him the oil draining. They came inside and Dave said "Eli learned that oil is hot." I kind of cringed a little inside, but knew Dave wouldn't let Eli hurt himself. Dave had dipped his finger in the oil and "Ouched" so Eli knew not to touch it. Then Eli proceeds to dig out the car that looks like Papa's and show me where the oil pan was located. He loves his Papa, what can I say!

Six months. Can you believe it's been 6 MONTHS since we've been home? Boy, oh boy. I can't believe how much he's changed both physically and emotionally in that time. When someone else picks him up, he looks for me and holds his arms out for me (that even happened with my mom!). We still cuddle every morning, and after every rest is over, although that's starting to go by the wayside (Eli's doing). He remembers his family (Bop, Grandpa Stobie, Grammy Karl, Sammy, CJ, and Aunt Wendy, Uncle Tony, and, of course, Uncle Alex) and his friends...well really Ben and Jake who have become known as Ben and Ben ;)

We've had our "growing pains" as a family in the past few weeks, too. There have been a lot of changes in our lives. First of all, I've moved in to a children's leadership position with BSF. It's taking a lot more of my energy and time than I had anticipated, but God has provided all I've needed each week, so I'm sticking to it. It also involves a change for Eli. He stays later with me on Monday and Tuesday mornings. It was a real challenge at first. Secondly, I've secured a role in our church's Christmas production, which will start taking more of my time later this month and in to the next month. Because of this, my cleaning schedule, grocery schedule, etc has been changing...I can't do it all on Fridays anymore! So that means Eli's schedule has been changing. The last change is that Eli really hasn't been napping. I put him down every day for an hour and call it a rest. I let him take several of his cars in bed with him, and sometimes he doesn't sleep. We're in the transition of him not needing a nap, but I will still insist on a rest until he's in school full time. That means that he's a bit of a grouch in the afternoons, which means I don't get much accomplished because I'm directing a grumpy child.

Our challenge has been to balance Dave's need for alone time with my need for social time. Motherhood can be a very lonely place, especially when we don't have family here to help out. I became really frustrated with this a few weeks ago and turned to a friend for help. Her words to me were the same that my mom has been saying to me for years, just in a different way. She said to me "Natalie, remember that your ministry is to your husband first, then your child. You don't want to be sitting across from a stranger 20 years from now, do you?" No, that doesn't mean I neglect Eli in any way in which he needs me, but instead I must prioritize my husband's needs.

I guess that hit home with a lesson we'd been studying in BSF. We're studying the book of John this year. One of the stories I've heard a million times is Jesus at the well talking to the Samaritan woman. He and the disciples had been walking for a while in the desert and they were hungry and thirsty (probably tired, too). The disciples went to the town for food while Jesus rested. Yet when this outcast, this sinful and immoral woman came to the well, He made time for her and was satisfied not by this earthly water, but by doing the work God had sent Him to do. This is a really hard lesson for me to learn because, even in the Christian circle, there are all sorts of books that talk about taking care of yourself and getting what you need and setting boundaries (all good things in and of themselves). But I've learned that my sole (and soul) satisfaction should be in Jesus, doing the work He has called me to with excellence, not in people or socializing. Right now, in this time, God is challenging me to give up my social life, which isn't easy!! And I'm still struggling with it. But, with time, I'm getting better at shedding some of the selfish, unnecessary stuff I think I need, but really don't.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Eli got his casts off on Thursday and was fitted for his braces. They came in the mail yesterday :( Now I have to get him used to them a little bit at a time.
At the same time, Dave left for Germany and won't be back until Friday. It's going to be an interesting week! My mom is coming Tues-Thurs, so I'll get some help, which will be nice. And the weeks tend to be pretty packed full of activities so I'm sure the week will fly by.

This video shows what Eli has been doing since Thursday. Running. And running, and running some more. He's so funny!

Eli LOVES to help. Here he is helping me peel potatoes. Well, he handed me the potatoes and I peeled them. But he loved being a part of it.

Here's the picture from a while ago. Notice the letters on the magnet. Eli did that. He's earned more letters, so the magnet is quite crowded now.

Here's a twofer. You get to see his casts#3 Purple. He had jenga blocks under his toes to get more of a stretch. And you'll notice his face is covered with Cars stickers from Grandma Karl. He put them on me, on him, on the couch, on his chair, on the floor, and would drive cars on them. Oh, to get inside his head just once!

I love this picture. It shows a little boy who loves his Papa. I couldn't get him to eat, so Dave let him sit on his lap and fed him soup and toast.

Grandma and Granpa Stobie got Eli this HUGE Elmo, which now sits on his chair next to his bed. I think this would freak me out a bit, but he doesn't seem to mind. Crazy kid!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Celebrate Good Times...and survive the bad!

Today is an exciting day. It marks the LAST cast Eli will wear, at least for his toe walking. I'm sooooo excited to get these things off him! There are so many things he can't do because of them, and since it's been raining a lot this year, it's hard just to get to the grocery store. I've also started to notice the looks...you know, the "how did he break his legs" look. I was actually stopped by a Meijer employee, putting a cart and herself between us and the door, and asked what happened. Quite honestly, I don't get offended by this type of thing. I see it as a good sign that people are really looking out for our children. Child abuse has been prevalent in our news for quite a while now, so people are a little more on edge.

Our next step is getting his braces fitted. These are removable, so he can have a bath each night. And I don't have to fight with his pants...the casts are so big that we only have a few pairs of pants that will fit over them. It's really tempting just to put him in shorts. Oh, and Aunt Wendy, Eli LOVES his belts and insists on wearing them every day!

The past month has been exhausting for us. Let's just say Eli REALLY loves his Momma. The terrible threes have hit us hard. My poor mom has gotten call after call with me almost in tears. He spent an hour in his room screaming because I wouldn't let him watch Cars until Papa came home. Sigh. I'm sure my neighbors are wondering what in the world is going on with him. And he threw his second tantrum while at lunch with some girlfriends. They couldn't believe my sweet angelic child would ever do something like that. But there he was, whining and slamming his hand in his potato chips. Because it has been happening so much, I just kept my calm, told him he could either shape up, or we would go home and he would go straight down for a nap. I finished my lunch and we went home and he slept for 3.5 hours.

I have to give him some leeway, though because he's been constipated for almost 3 weeks now. I read somewhere that once you have children your conversations tend to revolve around your children's poop cycles...Sigh. We've been giving him an enema to get the poop out every 3-4 days. At first I think he was holding it, but now that he has the incentive of M&M's, he's been trying and just can't get anything out. God has blessed me with a friend who's son has gone through something similar and she's helping me sort out what's going on. We have an appointment with a GI on Wednesday and I can't wait. (By the way, this is very common in adopted children. They don't give kids anything to help them when they get constipated so they tend to hold it in, associating pain with pooping.)

I'm doing a Bible study with a friend about motherhood. And I have to say it's been so encouraging. One of my favorite quotes so far has been "Let the Holy Spirit do His job." My job is to teach him the ways of the Lord, love him and provide food and shelter for him. My job is NOT to create the next rocket scientist or pastor, I am not to indulge his every whim, nor am I to expect myself to be perfect (not easy for me to accept).

One of the things I'm most thankful for is my supportive husband. Now, Dave, don't get a big head :) I have some of the greatest friends in the world. They are encouraging and supportive and have really helped my through some tough times just by being there. But my husband gives me the opportunity to get out and relax with my amazing friends. Many times he's come home and I've taken off. And I come back energized and ready for the next challenge. And Dave is so amazing with Eli. Sometimes Dave's patience surprises me. He's so calm and matter of fact with Eli, which is exactly what he should be. And I heard him say to Eli the other day "Eli, you need to respect Momma. Momma said No." Wow! How many dads know to say that to their children?!

We're having a great day today. His casts were changed today and they're hurting him. So we're watching Cars for perhaps the millionth time. Maybe I can convince him to let me take him for a walk even though he thinks it's too cold out right now. It's going to be a LONNNNGGG winter!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Pics

This was taken while Grandma Karl and Aunt Wendy came to visit...he was zonked! Those casts weigh about as much as he does, so he gets tired pretty fast, although all the excitement and entertainment by Grandma Karl and Aunt Wendy were the reason for this nap.

Papa let Eli help him reorganize the shed. Eli loved it!

We can't get water in the casts because it can cause some damage to his skin, so Papa put plastic bags with tape over them and Eli watered the flowers for us. He's such a good helper!

This week marks the start up of all our activities, so it's been an adjustment. Eli is doing great and loves hanging out with all the kids. I may pull him out of the AWANA program because he isn't potty trained, and he won't be able to memorize verses this year so he'll be the only kid without a vest and handbook. I really think he'll be affected by this, but I might give it one more week. We'll see.

Today Eli was fitted for his night splints and his braces. They'll come in before he's done with his serial casting so we're ahead of schedule for that, which is good. We also changed his casts today, which was heartbreaking for me. This poor kid was so excited to wear shoes and have those things off that he flipped out at the therapists office when they started the casting process. He was rewarded with some M&M's because of his bravery. But I could tell they were still hurting him because he woke up 2X while napping. After the second time, I wrapped him up in his blanket and took him to the couch where I craddled him for about 10mins and let him wake up a little more. Poor kid! And to add to everything I think he might be coming down with something. I can't tell for sure, though. Maybe it's just allergies.

The good news is that he gained 2 degrees on his right, and 5 degrees on his left ankles. Woohoo!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I can't believe it's been two months since I added pictures last!! Sorry about that. Time kind of slips away from me sometimes.

Here are a few pictures from our visit to Buffalo. Eli spent a lot of time at the beach. He was terrified of the ATV at first, but ended up crying when we left because he wanted to get back on the ATV. The second picture is at dinner. Can you tell he's a little tired?

This is Eli with his adorable cousin, Ethan. They did pretty good playing together. We celebrated my Grandma Stobie's birthday...I won't mention her age :)

This is Eli's favorite toy at the playground at the mall. We've been working on sharing this with other children. He's gotten a LOT better and even moves over so other kids can "drive" the car.

Lovin' life in the tub. Isn't he funny?

Eli and his new car slippers.

This is one of my favorite moments. Dave and Eli working on the race car ;)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Eli had his botox apptmt on Monday. It went really well, apart from the screaming. By the time we walked out of the office, he was just fine. I can already tell he's walking more on his heels, which is great. In a week he gets fitted for his serial casts, which will hopefully only be on for a month.

I'm pretty exhausted trying to keep Eli occupied right now. His toys are old news, and so am I! He gets so excited when Papa comes home so he has someone new to play with. I'm trying to arrange play dates for the next week or so until our activities start up. Monday and Tuesday we'll be in BSF, Thursdays we'll be volunteering with Mom to Mom, and hopefully he'll be involved in AWANA. A great break for Momma and more kids to play with for Eli!

Eli is transitioning out of a nap, which hasn't been fun...he's quite a handful now. He tells me he's tired, but when I put him down for his rest, he throws out his car, then his oof, and then asks to get down. I say no, I love you, give him a kiss and walk out the door. Then he either cries, calls out my name or has conversations with himself (loudly) until I come in and in a very firm voice tell him it's rest time and he needs to be quiet. Then he falls asleep for about an hour. Not a fun process! Maybe I need to go outside for that time.

I've been counting Eli's words...he has more than 60 already! And every day he seems to be adding more words. He's even telling me stories using several words at once (not quite complete sentences, but you can tell he's trying). Here are the words I've counted so far:

Belly Button
M & M
Yeah, Baby!
Come on
Oh Yeah, Momma

He can almost count to three, and can recognize the letters RVIT and Y.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Hey everyone. I found a great song on someone else's blog, so I added it to my page. It makes me cry everytime I hear it. It's called Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks and it really relates to adoption, at least I think so.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Growing Boy

Well, my boy is growing! He got weighed and measured today. 38.25 inches tall and 28.2 lbs. Wow! I've told him several times he needs to stop growing so fast, but, darn it, he isn't listening!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

12 week mark

Our adoption contact, Larissa, told me when we got back that the first 3 months would be difficult, then it becomes easier at 6 months, and then at 1 year it feels like you've always been a part of each other's lives. This is true so far! I feel much more comfortable with Eli, knowing what he can/can't do, understanding his Russian English, and understanding his personality. He's really not a defiant child; he just wants to experience everything and help. For example, when my parents were here a few weeks ago, Eli was playing with the fence. I went to stop him, but instead of unlocking the fence, he was locking it because he'd noticed it unlocked. We need to work on his attitude...he throws himself on the floor and cries when I tell him no. However, he knows that if he gets frustrated, he needs to go in his room and let it out, coming out only when he's calm. Works for me!

I've found that my selfishness has been chipped away little by little by this miracle child and his needs. He wants to play with Momma and help me out. So, even though it takes twice as long and I have a million more things I need to get done, I let him help me put laundry away (even hang up clothes!), change the sheets, put dirty laundry in the hamper, unload the dishwasher, etc. There's so much he'll do with me! I figure I'll teach him as much as I can while he's in to it, so that when he grows out of this phase I'll know he knows how to do everything!

For me, this is a time to slow down and really rely on God to plan my day. I can't do nearly as much as fast these days (and not because I'm getting older, either!). A trip to the grocery store for milk is a whole ordeal of getting shoes on (and many times clothes), letting Eli get in and out of the Jeep Commander by himself, buckling him in, getting him in to a cart, phew! Just thinking about it wears me out!

Part of my attitude was changed while rocking with Eli one night. We have a night time routine of reading two books, a Jesus story, praying and then rocking while I recap our day together. He let's me know when he's ready to lay down by pointing to his bed and whispering "pie", which is supposed to be spie, which in Russian means lay down or sleep. This particular night I was really enjoying our time together when he pointed and spoke. I realized at that moment how fast he's going to grow up and want to be out on his own and I decided at that moment to purposely stop and enjoy him. Since then things seem to be going much smoother for nap/bedtime, as well as other transitions.

I'm sure you're all wondering about the MRI results, too. I got those back a while ago, and everything looks relatively good. There is some minor damage leading to his balance issues, but nothing so significant that will cause him any problems and nothing that will inhibit his intellectual capacity. His major issue now is to get the muscles in his legs to stretch out so he can walk on his heels instead of his toes. He also has a few toes growing curved toward the big toe, but we're hoping with time and heel walking this will not cause any problems or discomfort. Right now, his OT will be ending soon because he's caught up to a normal 3 year old already, and his PT will swing in to high gear. We're going to look in to Botox for his muscle tension, braces for his legs to increase his range of motion in his ankles, and some stretching exercises. Everyone seems to think he's going to walk pretty normal :)

I also put him in the nursery at church for the first time this past Sunday. I was really going back and forth about it because Dave wasn't with me...and I really enjoy Eli being in the service with me. But in the end I decided it was time to rip the bandaid off. When we got to his room I explained that he was going to play and Momma was going to go to service and then come back for him in one hour. Before I had the words out, he was running in to the room! He didn't even look back to see if I was following him. No tears, no anxiety. What an amazing kid! And when I came back to get him he was excited to see me and gave me lots of hugs :) I may like this nursery thing after all :)

Life is good, and motherhood rocks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eli's First Dip in the Pool

I know, I know. I have a lot of updates coming, but trying to form complete, lucid sentences is somewhat not happening right now. Lots and lots to update you on, but for now here's my little ball of sunshine in his first experience with a pool. It took him about 30 mins to warm up to the idea, but we were patient and let him tell us when he was ready. And once he hit the water, he never looked back!

Friday, July 24, 2009


(L)Eating a salad like a cow...Moooo! (R)My parents and brother got Eli this shirt...it says "Am I cute, or what!"

(L)Getting ready for Mrs. Kocher's university themed rehersal dinner...he was representin'! (R)Isn't he absolutely adorable :)

He's as tall as the tire, er, um, wheel he's cleaning. Papa is teaching him car terms, like tire, wheel, exhaust, and axle. He can point to them all on a real or toy car.

(L)At the zoo he decided he'd pull his two friends for a while...what a silly boy! (R) Driving his pace car

(L)Oh, that theraputty is tough, but my Eli is tougher! (R)Playing puzzles in his diaper