Friday, August 31, 2012

Will’s book list

Here is the much-anticipated conclusion to my book list.  Seriously, I know you have been anxiously awaiting the finale in the series.  (ha, ha, ha).

Here are Will’s favorite books at almost 4.5 years old!  Notice a theme….all animal related!

First, he loves almost any and all Dr Seuss books. 

Will loves all things related to animals so Giraffes Can’t Dance is great.  Lots of animals. It’s silly and involves dancing.  And most importantly, it rhymes.  And has a good lesson about how it’s okay to be different.

Giraffes Can't Dance

I think I have mentioned this one before but we are still in love with Wild About Books.  It’s about a librarian who moves into the zoo.  It is truly brilliant (and funny and rhymes).  I think this is my all-time favorite book.

Wild About Books (Irma S and James H Black Honor for Excellence in Children's Literature (Awards))

If All the Animals Came Inside is another funny one.  Will laughs at all the funny things the animals do.  And the pictures are great too.If All the Animals Came Inside

The rest of the books came from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  LOVE this organization!  They send out a book each month to kids from the time they are born until they enter kindergarten.  So each month we receive 3 books in the mail for the kids.  And some of our favorite books have been discovered this way.  Go see if this is offered in your state and register your kids…it’s free!

Will loves My Lucky Day.   Though I don’t think he really gets what’s going on…the fox is going to cook the pig for dinner but the pig keeps distracting him.  The pig does every day for an easy bath and dinner.  But he loves all the silly things the fox does and can almost recite the book by memory. 

My Lucky Day

Read to Tiger is silly and has lots of sound effects. And Will always ends the book with “that silly Tiger”.  I just discovered there is a second book so I need to track that down.

Read to Tiger

And Will loves Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy.  They pretend to be super heroes and that is Will’s current love these days.  It’s a really good book.  And I am now seeing Ladybug Girl has an entire series of books!  Poor Bumblebee Boy only has one book, I guess we’ll add that to our collection soon.

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wyatt’s book list

Despite our rough start introducing Wyatt to books we are finally making some progress!  It does need to be his idea or it’s a lost cause but he does have a few favorites  (funny how he likes NONE of the same books Will likes).  So, here are Wyatt’s favorite books at age 2.

Wyatt loves all things trains, so this one is a hit.  Will loved the tugboat book by the same author (and I think it’s better) but Wyatt loves Chugga Chugga Choo Choo.

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

These next two are basic picture books, but he loves them and will look at them over and over again.  Things that Go covers all his favorite things!

Lift the Flap: Things that Go

The fact that he likes the Baby Animals kinda surprises me, but he will look at this one over and over too.  (I think both of these books came from the Schwabe family, they have excellent taste in books!)

Baby's World Board Book: Baby Animals

And lately Wyatt has decided he likes Thomas books.  We have three in this series and he loves them all.  They are a bit long, compared to his other books, but he happily sits back and listens.  (YAY!)

A Crack in the Track (Thomas & Friends)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ella’s book list

Pretty genius blog title, but no surprises here.
I’ve always posted Will’s favorite books so now it’s Ella’s turn.
So here are Ella’s favorite books at age 3!

Where is Baby’s Belly Button?  had been one we have read at bedtime/naptime for awhile now.  Yes, it’s for babies but she LOVES it.
Where Is Baby's Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes - I love that this book has babies from all over the world.  And it has a nice rhyme, which is a bonus.  Ella calls this the baby book.
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes lap board book
We have read Goodnight Moon at bedtime/naptime ever since Ella came home.  This is part of our sleep routine (though we are slowly moving away from it).  We chose it because it’s short and we already had it memorized.  Personally, I’m not really a fan of the book but it has been a favorite around here since Will was little.
Goodnight Moon
I Love You Through and Through was also a favorite of Will’s and now Ella loves it too.  I love that it taught her important words when we first came home (silly, mad, cry, top, bottom, inside, outside, etc).  She asks for it often.

I Love You Through And Through
And we received this as a gift this weekend and it is already a favorite.  Given that all three kids LOVE pancakes it was an instant hit!  We have read it countless times in the last week!  (Thank you Ms. Schwabe!)
If You Give a Pig a Pancake Big Book

Monday, August 27, 2012

Random Monday

  • I made my first-ever PB&J sandwich today.  Yes, I said first-ever.  I do not like PB or J so no need to make one.  And the boys do not like them either.  Chris, however, loves them…but he makes his own.  He made E one this weekend and she loved it so much she requested one on Monday.  Lucky me.  They are not as easy to make as they appear to be on TV.  It was a mess.  Somehow Wyatt ended up with a PB&J triangle and seemed to like it too.  Crazy new things going on here!
  • Our friends from CA, Daniel and Suzanne, paid us a visit this weekend.  The kids were so excited to have new people around to drag all over the house and to hold them.  They’ve only been gone a few hours and they are already asking where they are and when are they coming back.
  • I smashed my ring finger in the garage door Friday. It’s noteworthy in the fact that I am still whining about it, it looks awful and my finger is 3 times the size of the others.  I’d post a picture but Chris said it was a bad idea.
  • Ella seeing my black finger said “oh man”.  Then she saw the band-aid on my other hand from from another accident and said “oh man too”.  I’m not sure if she meant “also” or “two” but either was appropriate and kinda funny.
  • Will was talking about the USA flag and went on to tell me that he was born in the United States of America, and that Wyatt was too but that Ella was born in the United States of China.  Close enough I guess.
  • Wyatt recently learned that if he plugs his ears he cannot hear anything and proceeds to talk really loud.  It’s pretty funny to watch the light bulb go off in his head each time.
  • Will told me all about a skunks “predator response system” (their spray).  I’d like to take credit for that genius but I’m pretty sure he just watches too much TV, specifically Wild Kratts.

I tried to get on the other side of the camera for a change….no one would cooperate!

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Saturday, August 25, 2012


A few weeks ago the kids were reunited with their playset.  Will has been missing it terribly!  Thankfully the weather has been nice and we have used it often.  So thankful to have it here in time for fall!

Daddy spent the weekend mulching it and we are back in action!  Thanks Poppy for making the big move for us!

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

rainbows and unicorns

I started a very long post about how things on the home front are going but, well, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns.  It was the not-so-pretty truth.  I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just telling it how it is. I get the impression that some people want to adopt because we “make it look so easy”.  We got that a lot after Will’s adoption too. We often hear “I would love to adopt too…”.  I never know what that means.  I try to dig a bit deeper but when you are passing someone in the hallway it’s kind of hard to feel them out.  And I worry that I’m innocently leading all these people astray!

What I want to say is that this is the hardest thing we have ever done.  Yes we are blessed by this and we would do it again in a heart beat but IT.IS.HARD.

Then this week I ran across a post that sums up our journey perfectly and it is said beautifully.  So I scrapped my super long post and am sending you to Jen’s blog instead.  (And no, I do not know Jen, she is just a super popular blogger/author.)

So, if you are considering adoption this is a MUST-read.  (I actually think social workers should hand this out during home studies….)
If you are curious about what we’ve been going thru feel free to read too.  Click HERE to read her blog
(And if you are super curious, we are between phase 2 and phase 3)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

“I’m a Preschooler”

Tuesday was Will’s “phase-in” day at preschool.

He had a GREAT time.  And can’t wait to go back.  Those were his words!!

Praying he is this excited when Thursday comes around.

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Not sure why he is posing with 4 fingers but he did it for several pictures….

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

training? really?

Sunday we pick Wyatt up from nursery and he is sporting a lovely yellow sticker. “Training” it says, followed by “I went potty". 


We are not potty training Wyatt.  I want to keep my sanity for a bit longer.  We do have the potty out for Ella.  I believe she could be trained easily if she wasn’t so stubborn ;) So we practice pottying occasionally.  And Wyatt will randomly sit on there fully clothed.  Once when I thought he was doing some business behind the couch I put him on there to see what would happen.  And he peed.  Big surprise to all of us.  We sang and danced and clapped and broke out the M&M’s and moved on. 

Sunday at church all the other kids were pottying and Wyatt asked to go, and he went.  For real.

I’m not ready to do this.  But we may at least start talking it up.  I guess the big question is who will be trained first….Wyatt or Ella?

Monday, August 20, 2012

cloud dough!

Trying to work thru my Pinterest pins.  We tried out Cloud Dough today.  A cross between play doh and sand.  I think it’s better than play doh b/c I didn’t have to roll out everyone’s play doh for them and basically play with it for them.  They made sand castles and scooped and dumped for hours.  The kids LOVED it.  The boys played almost an hour.  Ella played for two….the difference between boys and girls I guess.

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I wish I had 3 big bins but we made do with gladware.  (I made a double batch.)

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Yes, it’s messy.  Thankfully we did it outside.  But it dusted off them very easily.  And no one got hurt or tried to eat it!  And it wasn’t as floury feeling as I thought it would be.  (I’m not much of a fan of getting dirty and….yes, I have 2 boys….I see the irony.)

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Will realized he could put his feet in it and stomp it all down.  He said it felt great!

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And Ella scooped and poured and dumped for hours.

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The downside was when the boys were done and decided to ride cars down the porch and tracked it all over the porch. At least it smelled good and I’m pretty sure it helped keep the bugs away.

Good HERE to find the recipe.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I now understand why some parents choose not to tell their kids when their pet goldfish dies.

Last night when I went to feed Wilson’s pet tadpole, I noticed right away that he had died. It’s a shame, since the little guy had finally shed his tail in exchange for four perfectly good legs. After a few minutes of debating with Julie on how to handle the situation (Should we or shouldn’t we tell him?) we decided not to keep Mr. Wilson in the dark. After all, you can’t just run out and buy a tadpole at a moment’s notice like you can a goldfish.

I asked Will to come into the kitchen where Julie and I were, and I explained to him what had happened. Our poor little guy immediately began to cry, and cry, and cry. He was truly upset, sobbing, so I carried him to the couch and held him. When he woke up this morning he was crying again about his lost little pet. It’s a rare occurrence to see him upset in that kind of way, and we truly hate to see it.

We explained to him how tadpoles weren’t meant to be kept very long, and if we ever get one again we will just set him free in a pond after a couple days . He seemed to understand and sounded okay with that plan, so we’ll see. It may be some time before we get him another pet of his own, but perhaps this experience will help prepare him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

it’s a boy thing

If you have a boy you probably have seen this before.  Will did it briefly but cars/trucks just weren’t his thing.  They are Wyatt’s thing though.  And all day long he has a line of cars, trucks and various other things with wheels.  It makes him happy.   And we all want Wyatt happy.

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He likes to line them up and say “Push!”.  And when they are all lined up perfectly he declares them a train and makes all the appropriate noises.

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And remember when I said anything with wheels….”one of these things is not like the other”. 

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I was vacuuming and wondered where the roller disappeared too….Wyatt had carried it off and added it to his lineup.

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So I stopped cleaning and took pictures. 

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Wyatt is just now learning to play alone and I love seeing his little imagination come to life! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

what do you remember?

We get asked often if we think Ella remembers her time in the orphanage.  Some days it takes all I have for me to not laugh when I answer “Yes”.  I have no doubt that she remembers.

Chris remembers when his family moved at age 2.  Sure the details are fuzzy now but he remembers it.  Mister Wilson reminds us regularly about that time at (cousin) Cash’s birthday party when we forgot to buckle him in his carseat.  That was 2 years ago!  When he was 2!  Will remembers it with great detail and can tell you all about the pool party too (no worries we did not get out of the driveway before he got buckled in).  So I have no doubt that Ella remembers China. 

I showed Ella this picture once, it’s from Love Manor (sometime before we traveled).  I do not know if she is in this picture but she said with words and actions that she is in it (or at least has experienced this scene before).  She told me they were dancing and it was cold.  I can tell you it looks cold, but can a 3 year decipher that from this picture?  Probably not unless she has experienced it.

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But more impressive is that one of her referral pictures includes 2 other girls and she names them whenever we look at that picture.  So when Angie and I met and later discovered that Hope and Ella were from the same place at the same time we hoped that they were friends.  I confirmed my suspicions when we looked at a baby pic of Hope and Ella instantly called her “YaYa”, her Chinese nickname. 

Hope was only a year old when she and Ella were separated at Love Manor so I’m not sure if Hope really remembers much of Ella.  But after our meeting Monday I have no doubt that Ella remembers Hope. 

We drove a few hours south Monday for an all-day play date with Hope and her family.  The entire way down Ella kept her China book open to Hope’s picture and repeatedly said “see Yaya?”.

Here is Ella pointing to the YaYa in the book and to the real YaYa, like she couldn’t believe they were the same person.
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When we arrived at Hope’s house and she was giddy in the car at the idea of seeing Hope.  We walked in, and well, there was little reaction.  I was secretly hoping for a Hallmark moment where a 2 and 3 year old frantically embrace.  But they eyed each other and then quickly got down to business playing.  And playing and playing and playing.  Ella was quickly at ease with Hope’s brother and sister too!  That alone surprised me.  Ella wasn’t clingy or whiny or anything else that I feared she would be.  She was absolutely comfortable!  And every 20-30 minutes she would say “YaYa” in a high pitched voice like she couldn’t believe her luck.  A few times Hope left the room and I could tell that Ella was not okay with that, one time she even went to look for her when she heard crying.  Given how she likes to take care of Wyatt this didn’t surprise me. 

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When we left there weren’t any big hugs, just a wave or two.  And then Hope insisted on coming out to say goodbye to us in the car.  Ella waved and smiled and by the time we reached the end of their street she was saying “I see YaYa!” almost like she couldn’t believe it.  She slept the whole way home and when Daddy picked her up and carried her inside she woke up long enough to tell him “I see YaYa!”. 

This morning the first words out of her mouth were “See YaYa again?”.  Later she added “China again, see YaYa?”.  I clarified that YaYa was not in China and that we definitely could see her again soon. 

In the meantime I need to print this picture out for her room!  She has asked to look at it over and over this morning.

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So yes, I know she remembers China. 

And she definitely remembers Hope/YaYa.  And we cannot wait to see them together again soon.  So thankful that we live close enough to do that often!

Sunday, August 12, 2012



We had church pictures this weekend.  Based on this picture you can take a guess how the real ones turned out.  So good that the woman did not even try to sell us pictures!  She actually said “I’m sure you don’t want any of these….”.  At least I didn’t have to tell her no ten times. 
(Ella did not wear green shoes in our pictures)

I still have a lot to say but am so drained at night that I cannot put into words what all needs to be said/shared.  There have been some good days, some GREAT days, and some awful and dark days too.  And you never know which child is going to be in which mood.  I believe it is all temporary and this season will soon pass.  Not that it takes the sting out of it while you are in the midst of it. 

I will say that Ella has come a LONG way in the last month.  Night and day.  And we are so thankful! 

This week includes a short day trip to reunite Ella with her friend Hope (aka YaYa).  I cannot wait!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

busy days

We are spending our summer days fighting crime.  And spending way too many hours watching the Olympics. Today we watched diving and it was the longest Wyatt has ever sat and watched TV, we will not be erasing that any time soon.

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Summer is ending.  Will starts preschool in a few weeks. 

Lots of updates to share on all 3 kiddos.  There is never a dull moment around here!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

daddy day-care

This is what happens when Daddy is in charge….

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He finds bad hair funny…..

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Good thing Sister finds it funny too…..2012-08-06 (41)



Monday, August 06, 2012

Before & After {Wyatt’s room}

This is the only before picture of Wyatt’s room.  Just a plain ole room that is very hard to photograph.

Each of the kids rooms has a dormer window.  I haven’t decided what fun thing I can do with the dormer area yet so for now, it’s just where the window is.  But I hope to do something creative in each of their rooms when they get a bit older.

wyatt's room

I had already decided one of the boys rooms would be the same blue that was in Will’s old room. For one, blue is my favorite color and two, it was the perfect shade of light blue and three, it looks great with navy.  It’s Ben Moore’s Silver Cloud. So we asked Will if he wanted his new room to be blue and he said he wanted green (my least fave color).  So by default Wyatt gets the blue room.  Along with the blue art work, accessories and later big boy (twin) bedding.  Which I am happy about since I love it all anyway.

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The blue doesn’t show up well, but it’s a very light blue with a hint of gray.  I have plans to put his name up on the wall above the changing table but am waiting until he gets a big boy bed first (since it will go where the changing table is instead).  We also need to paint his dresser.

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And the newest addition to Wyatt’s room….the train.  Yes, this was a gift to Will for Christmas one year but he never loved the train like Wyatt does.  Wyatt doesn’t want an elaborate track (yet), or buildings, or extras….just the train in a circle.  He happily watches it go around and around.  Wyatt can burn thru some batteries (something Will didn’t do very often). 

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So while Wyatt is getting a few all hand-me-downs, they are all things he loves.  Hopefully he won’t hold that against us.