Monday, September 28, 2009

Family Visit

Doug's Mom and niece, Marissa came down to visit and meet Avery for the first time. We had a great time swimming and just hanging out and visiting.

It was neat to see Avery warm to Grandma so quickly.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lego Birthday Party

Today we had nine of Camden's buddies over to celebrate his 8th birthday.

Camden has been all about Lego's for quite awhile now so it made perfect sense for that to be the theme for his party. Following is a photo of Cam and one of his creations. He calls it a futuristic bus station. It was so cute...he wanted us to take a picture so we could send it in to Brickmaster magazine as sometimes they put the photos in the magazine. We did just that but have yet to see it in the magazine but we did use it as the front of the birthday invitation.

Here is my attempt at a Lego birthday cake. Actually it's kind of a cross between regular Lego's and Lego Star Wars. Even though Camden has yet to see the last Star Wars movie he knows all about the battle between Annikan and Obiwan and asked if that could be on the cake. This cake didn't turn out quite as I had planned. I really didn't leave myself enough time (as usual) to do it properly but at least it resembled Lego bricks or at least Duplos! :)

The birthday boy:

An attempt at decorations and for the record those rectangles are supposed to look like Lego bricks:

Camden created some Lego centerpieces for the party:
We had only three planned games at the party. I find that boys (or at least my boy) enjoy being able to make their own fun and this time was no exception. As the boys waited for everyone to arrive, they played good guys and bad guys. At one point every boy had some kind of weapon in their hand. I'm embarrassed to say that we had enough weapons for every boy to have at least one.
The first game we had was guess how many bricks are in the jar. The other two games were timed Lego building games. The first one was who could build the tallest freestanding tower in 10 minutes and the last game was see how creative you can be in 15 minutes.
Lego candy...and amazingly they actually stack!

The boys hard at work on their creations:

The boys and their creations:

Here's me and my first attempt at a Pinata. It was fun creating it and the smell of the paper mache brought me back to Second Grade. Camden asked if the pinata brick could be gold as "Gold is a REALLY rare brick Mom!" :)

A party at our place isn't complete without a little swimming. Here's the boys enjoying our floating volcano.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Birthday Fun

We had a great day celebrating with Camden. Avery and I brought his treat of choice, ice cream bars to have with his class and then Doug brought McDonald's (Camden's lunch choice) to school and we all had lunch together. Late in the afternoon we met good Friends, the Lowell's at Chuck E Cheese for dinner and some over stimulation.
Here's the birthday boy with his class. Sadly 31 in all!

As his class filed out and took a seat at the table, Camden went right over to Avery to greet her. He then announced that he wanted to sit by his sister so everybody scooted down so he could have the seat next to her. He then preceded to feed her. This was a big step for Cam and it melted my heart to see it.

Camden with his best buddies, Rob & Ted.
This was Avery's first visit to such a place. I was a little nervous about how she would react but she did great and wasn't even scared of the dancing, singing characters. In fact, she really seemed to have a great time!

After Chuck's we gave Camden the gifts we had for him. Here's Camden doing a great job sharing his new (cheap) keyboard with his sister. Avery LOVES music and couldn't be kept away.

My baby is 8!!!

I can't believe that 8 years ago today (after 27 hours of labor I would like to mention) God blessed us with a beautiful baby boy. You are such a joy Camden..truly a blessing from God.
Happy Birthday Sweettart! Mom & Dad (Avery too) love you so very much!

P.S. Please stop growing so fast!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shark & Duck

Ahh...aren't they cute??? Our friend, Robin makes these wonderful animal towels. Right before Camden was born 8 years ago she gave us the shark towel. He still loves it and uses it to this day even though he has nearly grown out of it. Before we brought Avery home just a few months ago she blessed us again, this time with a duck. Avery still has to grow into it a bit but we were thrilled to have another one of her creations. Thanks so much Robin!

Monday, September 14, 2009

We have a cub scout!

Camden starts Cub Scouts this year. He is so excited. Look how cute he is in his uniform...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two Months Today

I can't believe that it's been two months since this special child was placed in our arms and we became a family of four. Time sure does fly by. You have changed so much in that short time beautiful girl. We love you so very much and look forward to seeing what God has planned for you.
Camden's version of our family:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Another Soccer Season Begins

Another soccer season is underway. This is Camden's fourth season (2nd with AYSO) and he loves it more and more every year. This season he is a Scorpion and is playing for Coach Foley.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Four Years Ago ...

Four years ago today we signed officially with our adoption agency, America World to bring home our sweet Avery. We had decided in the Spring of that year (2005) that we would adopt but spent the next several months deciding between Korea and China and then what agency to work with. It is still amazing to me where this journey has taken us. Who would have thought that we would start the adoption process and begin praying for our daughter three years before she was even born? We never imagined. In fact we thought we thought we were going to bring her home years before the Olympics even took place in Beijing and that was over a year ago now. But God had a completely different plan for our family. Although I am still saddened by the age difference between Camden and Avery and honestly can't help but wonder if Camden's transition would be just a little bit easier (although not easy mind you) had he been 4 or even 5 years of age instead of the nearly 8 year old boy he is. However, I continue to choose to trust God's plan for our little family and know God will bring us through this mighty transition.

To you faithful readers (or not so faithful if we've lost you) I am sorry that I haven't posted much since returning home. Life has been busy and quite overwhelming at times. Not only are we trying to figure out life again with a young toddler (and we are old now!), this transition to a family of four has not been an easy one for us and quite frankly has brought us to our knees before the Lord (which is always a good place to be) many times. Avery continues to blossom. With the exception of teething (4 teeth have broke through since we received her 7 weeks ago), she is quite the happy baby during the day. She has such a sweet personality and smiles and laughs easily. Her belly laugh is just about the cutest thing ever. She says Dada, Mama and Baba (bottle) and seems quite close to many others. She is also a brilliant mimic and quickly learns new things. The other night we were watching Flipper and after Flipper would do his squeal, Avery would try to emulate it and squeal to. It was too funny! She loves peekaboo and to blow kisses. She is really affectionate and just loves to be played with, hugged and kissed. She is quite the fast crawler now and is pulling up and now likes to put her butt against the wall (or something else to balance herself) and stand up. She is into everything and although she still loves her stacking cups and musical toys (she loves to dance to them), she is quite enthralled with everything that is not a toy such as cabinets, power cords, electrical outlets and vents. Much to Camden and my dismay, she still abhors stuffed animals and dolls. She is somewhat intrigued by our cat but mostly just puts up with her hanging out by her. We are a big cat and stuffed animal family so hopefully she will come to love them as we do. The nights continue to be at times difficult. There are many nights that she will wake numerous times. We have tried many many different approaches to it but nothing seems to really help which leads me to believe most of it is emotional. At times they seem like perhaps night terrors but other times she seems to wake just to make sure we are still there. It breaks me heart to think that she may be scared or worried of being abandoned again. It certainly makes me wonder if she has an unconscious memory of her abandonment which took place (we believe) on the day of her birth in the middle of the night or in the very early morning. We are praying that in time she will grow more secure. On the bright side, she is out of our bed and sleeping in her crib which is in our room. She also goes to sleep pretty easily both for a nap and at night so progress is being made. :)
Camden continues to struggle with being dethroned as the only child. At times he seems to be doing better and realizes the power he posses as Avery just adores him and he can get quite the belly laugh out of her. But then there are days that are so difficult and I wonder who this child is as I never seen him act that way before. I know a lot of it is normal but it is really painful to see him struggle so much and be so unhappy. In addition, his second grade year is not off to a great start and we have been praying about whether or not to change schools. So there is much we are trying to help our sweet boy through.
Putting aside the severe sleep deprivation Doug & I are feeling at times, we are doing pretty well. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? =) Truthfully this transition has brought us closer together. We are still in a state of disbelief that we are a family of four and that Avery is actually here. We are greatly enjoying getting to know our little lady. Here 's a few pics of our sweet girl that melts our hearts with her smile and laugh.
Avery enjoying her rocking chair:

Peace sister...

It seems Avery already likes to be photographed. Although at times she will wait till after she sees the flash or hears the click to give her best smile.

She has quite the impressive tongue. She can do all sorts of things with it. It's actually pretty seems when she is really happy and content she will stick her tongue out.

Another cheesy grin:

She laughs so easily especially when you get down and crawl around with her. She just loves that!

She loves the water...bath or pool.