Yesterday I checked my e-mail after lunch and found an e-mail from our placement agency with the subject line “2nd Physical Exam & Photos”. I thought I was going to pass out, I was so happy to see that!. Crazy thing is earlier in the day, Dave had texted me that he was feeling really emotional and bummed that Simon wouldn’t be here this Christmas. When I called to tell him to get to a computer so that we could look at pictures (!!!) together, he was astounded and oh-so-pleased.

We opened the e-mail at the same time, and just sat on the phone silently, grinning at the handsome face of our son. I’m pretty sure I could hear Dave’s grin over the phone. Then we read through the physical exam together. Simon is “cute and fine”, just like he’s been in all of his other exams. He is the same size at 13 months that his big brother was at 20 months 🙂 And he is now WALKING! Oh my. What a big boy.

It was all I could do to focus on my afternoon meetings with visions of that little man running through my head. I was trying my hardest to focus on what the doctors and nurses at work were saying, and it took lots of energy to listen to them, and not start thinking, “I wonder when we’ll travel? What will he look like by then? I wonder if he had a dol (birthday party) for his first birthday? I wonder if we’ll get pictures of that?” Meanwhile, Dave was remembering what our friend Dustin told him once about the adoption seeming more real with each update and each picture they received. Dave whole-heartedly agrees, it feels more real each time we get these awesome updates and beautiful pictures. We didn’t get updates during our wait for Ezekiel, so it feels like Christmas has arrived with each of these updates.

When we showed the pictures to Ezekiel, he was so excited. He loved that Simon was smiling big in the pictures. He is such an awesome big brother.

What's that? You like my hat?

Why thanks! I think it's pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

He makes this mama's heart go pitter-pat


My List O’ Thanks

1. Birth moms. This has been on my mind all morning. When I think of one of the top things I am grateful for, it is birth moms. My mama for bringing me into this world. The two moms who made choices to give life to two beautiful boys that we get to call our sons, and then took a huge leap of faith and chose adoption to give those sons opportunities at a (maybe) better life. I might not ever meet these women, or get to hear about what those choices were like, but I think of them often, and thank God for them and their brave choices.

2. Birth dads. Without them our sons wouldn’t be here either! I try my hardest to incorporate talk of birth dads into our conversations. I don’t want my son to one day tell his classmates, “You can be born with just a mommy!!” Or some odd rendition of that.

3. Sparkly brown eyes. And the age of 4. Ezekiel is a blast to be around right now (most of the time). He is super in love with this mama, and I am super in love with him. When he sees me peeking at him while he’s playing, or checking on him at bedtime, his eyes sparkle before he breaks out into the biggest grin. He can’t seem to get enough hugs and kisses from me, and that makes my world go round. Coming from a boy who nearly 3 years ago couldn’t stand for me to touch him (for months and months and months), I will take all of the hugs and kisses I can get! The most random things come out of his mouth:

Me: Pumpkin pie is soooo good!
Eze: Is it China good? (so random, and I have no idea what it means. But he says it all of the time for “really good”).

4. Work. As hard as it is to be away from my boys for so many hours with my stinky commute, I am so thankful to be in a job that I enjoy, with people I enjoy working with, knowing that I’m stretching myself professionally to move into more challenging roles in the future. On Monday I become a full-time employee at the hospital (I’ve been a contractor there for 3 months now). It feels weird to be an employee after 4.5 years of being a contractor.

5. Foster families. This time around, the adoption feels (way) more low-key than Ezekiel’s adoption from the Philippines, emotional rollercoaster-wise. I don’t know if it’s a been-there-done-that type feeling, or if it is because I know Simon is in such good hands with his foster family. I think it’s a mix of both. But I still can’t wait to have this little man home with us, filling our home with even more love and laughter.

6 (but should really be at the top of the list). My Dave. There really aren’t words to describe how much I love Dave. At work while I was getting to know one of my team members, she asked me, “You’ve been married for 9 years?!?!?! Is it a good marriage?” I’ve never been asked that before. But I didn’t have to hesitate. Yes, I’m in a great marriage and I do consider myself incredibly lucky and blessed to be married to the best husband and father I know. He teaches our son how to wrestle, how to build things (like puppet stages), how to clean (one of the reasons I love him so much), and how to treat women with love and respect.

7. Big family. I get to see some of my cousins this weekend, and we all get along great. I can’t wait to catch up with them, play games, eat good food and laugh a lot. Then in 3 weeks I get to see all of my siblings and their families when my uber-talented younger sister graduates from college. I’m pumped to celebrate her, and celebrate Christmas with everyone together. At Christmas we’ll spend time with Dave’s family with a new nephew added to the mix, I love that our families keep growing!

8. Friends. Especially friends who still love you, even when you turn into a pumpkin head and nearly fall asleep during the middle of an evening out. And friends who feel comfortable venting when days have been incredibly rough. And friends who you may not see or talk to for weeks or months at a time, but pick right up where we left off with comfort and trust. Sometimes I feel like I don’t give enough and/or pursue enough in my friendships, but I never get the sense that my friends feel the same way. I’m thankful for these people who fill me up (except that I just accidentally wrote “feel me up”. Thank you for not doing that, friends).

9. Hot tea, honey and milk. And Con.tigo travel mugs. Bliss in a cup. I make a cup of black tea with honey and milk every single morning. And it stays warm all through my 75-minute commute so that I can enjoy sipping it when I get to work. It makes my belly smile. And if your belly is happy, so much of the rest of life is set up to be happy.

10. God.  I’m thankful that I don’t have to have this whole God and how the church fits in with Him thing figured out right now. It’s not the point of life. The point of life is to love, and I’m learning every day what that means and what that looks like. I’m thankful that my son loves learning about Jesus and loving others, and that he gives me opportunities every day to love someone who can be stubborn and difficult. So much like his mama.

It’s What’s For (Thanksgiving) Dinner

Today at preschool, Dave went along for Parent Day. On Mondays they go to the library for story time and to pick books to check out. The librarian was reading a story about a mouse putting together a Thanksgiving meal, and she asked the kiddos, “When you think about Thanksgiving, what kind of food do you think of?”

Kid #1: Mashed Potatoes!

Kid #2: Stuffing!!

Ezekiel: BEER!!!

The librarian, other parents and teachers were all stifling laughs while Dave buried his face in his hands. He told me the story on my drive home and I was crying, I was laughing so hard. Goodness gracious, this kid keeps us on our toes.

Jobby Job

Well it’s official. I’m switching from being a contractor/consultant to being an employee on November 28th! I’ll do the same exact job I have been doing for the past 2.5 months, my paycheck will just come from a different place. Oh, and I’ll get benefits and all that good stuff. Hooray! I like the work, I like the team, I dislike the drive. However, I need to go where the work is in order to be able to pay back our adoption and pay for things like our mortgage. And food. And electricity. And a Lamborghini. Or a Subaru.

Too bad Minnesota gets so dang cold for 6 months out of the year so my amazing landscaper husband can’t work through winter. It’s a nice change of pace to have him more, though, and he and Ezekiel are learning how to be with each other without going insane. We’ll see what happens when the snow flies and they’re more house-bound than they’ve been the past few weeks.

Here are some pictures of an adventure they took a couple of weeks ago. We have some great hiking trails around our area, so they took advantage of one of those during this beautiful fall we’ve been having. We also live near a river and this hiking trail happened to go down to the water. Gus leaped right into the water and started swimming around — thanks to our friends Rick and Jon, this dog LOVES water. Dave had to call him out though, since the river can have a pretty strong current here. Poor Guggy.

Beautiful. Handsome.

You comin', Dad??

The trailhead

Ezekiel pointing out a "bear" track (according to him). Or perhaps a raccoon.

Funny Boy

A couple of weekends ago we were sitting on the floor playing a game. I may have passed a little gas. Suddenly Ezekiel plugged his nose and said, “Whatcha tryin’ to do, Mom??? Make compost or somethin’?????? You know animals are attracted to compost”. I almost died laughing. When asked where he’d heard that from, he told me “Curious .George”. Thanks PBS. Now he says it anytime anyone toots, or when he poops.

On Halloween, we were walking from house to house having a great time trick-or-treating. At one house, a college-aged girl exclaimed, “Batman!! Wow, what a scary Batman!” When Ezekiel heard that he tipped his mask up and said, “Oh no, I’m just a boy!” The girl was laughing so hard at that, and so were we. He didn’t want to scare anyone 🙂

At another house, they were completely decked out with lights, dry ice, spooky decorations, the works. The owners came to give out candy dressed as a witch and a ghoul. Ezekiel REFUSED to go up to their door after seeing them, so the witch handed some candy to me which I then gave to him. Dave and I chuckled and started walking to the next house. Ezekiel would not move from that spot and just kept staring at the guy dressed as a ghoul. We finally convinced him to walk with us, but he would not turn his back to the guy. Suddenly he yelled out, “I’ve got my eye on you, mister!!” And walked backwards until the house was out of sight. I love this boy.

Last week one night, Dave came downstairs to find Ezekiel watching a movie on tv. We didn’t realize he knew how to turn the tv on… much less order a movie off of OnDemand. Yep, he ordered Crazy,Stupid,Love off of OnDemand. At least it was a movie we’d been wanting to see, and not something *else*!

Also, he is completely obsessed with the Wild.Kratts on PBS right now. Some days he insists that we call him “Chris”, as in Chris Kratt. And then he calls Dave “Martin”. This past Saturday he spent most of the day calling me “Aviva”. Randomly he will jump up in the air and yell “What if?!?!” and tell me that he’s using his creature power to do something. The imagination on this boy is something else. I can’t get enough of listening to it.

This morning I was giving him a kiss goodbye before I left for work. He was sound asleep, but I heard him mumble, “Mommy”, so I asked him what he said. He said, “(mumble mumble) was lost so I had to show him how to get back here”. I told him he was a good friend for doing that. Then he said, “Then I got a sucker and it was SO spicy”. I asked him for a kiss, so he puckered up and starting snoring before I was even out of the room.

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