Thursday, June 27, 2013

friends, who dress alike

We headed south today for a therapy appointment.  And as usual, we stopped by to see our dear friends.  Ella knows when we go to the doctor that a visit with Yaya is next on our list. 

And since I am still processing our 3-hour therapy appointment, I will cheat and refer you to Angie’s blog to read about our super quick, but fun, pre-birthday visit!
(And yes, the matching dresses were totally intentional….)

Thanks W family for being our pit stop, lunch break, stretch our legs place before heading home!

Yaya, Eden, Ella with Noah.  Or as Ella calls him, Yaya’s big boy. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

just another weekend

Pictures from last weekend. Just a typical summer weekend, in addition to it being Fathers Day weekend.

I haven’t been using my big camera at the lake, I just don’t need another thing to tote back and forth.  And all the pics start looking the same after a while.  But I did this weekend, and I’m glad because I had fun playing around.


Will is doing amazing with his swimming lessons.  We still wear life jackets in the lake, but I am SO proud of how far he’s come!


And my nearly 3 year old takes my breath away some days.  He has some amazing eyes and eyelashes!  Plus he’s the only one that will make nice, sweet faces when I point my camera in his direction.  (Funny b/c if I whip out my camera phone he immediately gets grumpy.)




Mimi bought Wyatt a car float, thinking it would entice him to get in the water.  No such luck.  Will thought it was great fun, until he caught me taking his picture.  He said he didn’t want anyone to know he was in a baby float. Oops.


Wyatt, just happy in his tiny blue baby pool. I suspect this will be the last year for the pool.  I can’t imagine any of the kids will fit, or play, in it next year.


Everyone took a jet ski ride this weekend.  Wyatt, happily, took a ride on Saturday.  But by Sunday he claimed it scared him.  He said “You ride, I sit by Poppy.”


And a post dinner boat ride.  I had hoped one or two kids would fall asleep, but no such luck. 

Wyatt and I had fun making silly faces.  Wyatt likes you to smile really big so he can look at your teeth.


Hard to believe the summer is half over, school starts in just 6 weeks!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

ridin’ the waves

And the end of summer last year Will decided he was ready to brave the tube, but on the back of the jet ski.  This year he decided he was ready to brave the boat.

He was all smiles and quite giddy at this new adventure.


This funny face was the result of a big U-turn.  He didn’t know what to think!


And then I’m not sure what happened.  Perhaps the cold water, or the bumpy ride.  Or more than likely, the sway of the tube ride was lulling him to sleep.  At this point, I will discourage Will from pursuing a career in anything that involves moving vehicles of any sort. 

Will said he was DONE.  And he wasn’t going to do it again.  Hopefully he’ll change his mind next time.

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Trying to put a fun ending note on the tube ride I convinced Ella to take a ride with Chris.  She agreed.


And while she’s smiling, she was quickly finished.  I’m proud of her for braving the tube.  Will refused to watch, but I think he was just trying not to fall asleep.

I have zero expectations of Wyatt trying it any time soon.


What a fun moment, watching these two ride the tube for the first time. For more years than I can count, I spent my weekends doing this very thing.  Three tubes wide, usually with my cousins by my side.  Such sweet memories.  And now the kids are carrying on the tradition.  LOVE summertime!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dare I say it…..

I think our household is finished with diapers!  Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are.

Back in April I attempted to train Wyatt.  I can’t remember why I gave up so quickly (4 hours later….).  Safe to say life was too stressful. 


But we attempted it again this week, with success! Let me back up, since the torturous training of Will I swore I’d never train Wyatt.  My plan was to wait until he woke up one day and said “undies please”.  Obviously, that never happened.  Instead he started doing some private business in the potty daily.  <ahem>  It definitely was nice not having to change stinky diapers anymore.  And then he started randomly asking to go a lot.  Yet I still kept my head in the sand about it.  I had no desire to sync up 3 kids bladders every time I needed to leave the house. 

But Wyatt persisted.  And then we went to the pool on Friday and he demanded to go to the potty every little bit.  And then we went to the lake, where again, he demanded to be taken up the giant hill every.single.time he had to go.

Monday rolled around and I decided if I didn’t at least attempt it then I was a fool.  So, I grabbed a few new pairs of Thomas and said here you go son.   He had 3 accidents in that morning and has been dry ever since.  I even had to take him out in public on day 2 for a four hour appointment and he was a true champ.  It has been 5 days now, and I guess I will declare him a “big boy” now. 

Praise the Lord for this slight, insignificant, but incredible gift….easy potty training. 

I’m guessing now that he’s a big boy it’s no longer appropriate to show his hiney anymore.  So here it is one last (1)

I’m suddenly feeling rich, all this diaper money in my pocket nowWinking smile

Thursday, June 20, 2013


We try to let Ella lead the way in big decisions.  Ella has been hinting for weeks that she wanted to spend the night with Mimi and Poppy.  She has seen Will’s room there and was ready to make it hers too.  So last night she said she wanted to stay and spend the night we agreed.  Chris fully prepared her by reminding her that we would not be there when she woke up in the middle of the night, it would be Mimi.  She said she knew that so we ran home and got her stuff and rushed back over.  She was excited but a bit timid when I left.  She seemed like she might cry but then carried on ready to do it. 

I expected to get a call at any point but never got one.   (so thankful to live close enough to run over if needed….).  Ella got up bright and early and was back home before I was fully awake.  She said she had a fun time and can’t wait to go back!!

Way to go big girl!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What took so long?

I’ve struggled with what to say, and how much to say, regarding our attachment process.  So much of it is Ella’s story, and not mine.  But I also don’t want to pretend things are happy and easy.  I’m trying to find a happy medium with our story.

What I have learned is that attachment is not a one-time thing.  Following the check-list doesn’t equal a perfectly attached child.  I think it’s something that comes in waves. A period of attachment followed by some bumps and turns.  We have been warned about certain ages and milestones that will cause hiccups.  But if we put in the hard work now we’ll manage those bumps easier.  That’s what I’m banking on at least. 


We are pouring all the right things into Ella.  And we are seeing some great improvements in our relationship.  And we are also seeing a few steps backward, which we were told to expect.  I have let go of any magic number of months or years that things will become “perfect” and just accepting our new normal.  Life is so much easier when you let go of expectations! 

But Ella is gaining more and more confidence every day.  And we are seeing a shift of preference from Chris to me.  We are now at an equal level of preference.  That was a lot of work, and deserves to be celebrated :) 

I’m always so busy looking ahead and anticipating her needs that I forget to look back. Most nights she will ask to talk about China during bedtime.  Usually it’s just random questions or a short version of our trip to get her.  Sometimes we look at her picture books. Sometimes she tells me random pieces of her past.  I have no idea if they are fact or fiction, but they are her stories. And I let her lead the discussion and try not to ask any leading questions.

A few nights ago she left me speechless though.  She suddenly broke down sobbing and asked why she had to wait so long for a Mommy and Daddy.  She was 2.5 when we met her in that cold, red civil affairs office!!! Yet she KNEW that she was missing out on a Mommy and Daddy.  That sweet girl knew she needed a family and didn’t know why she had to wait. The tears that she cried that night were unlike ones I’d seen before (and if you’ve spent any time with Ella you’ve seen more than a few tears). These were grown up tears that slowly fell down her cheeks.  She quickly wiped them away as if she was embarrassed and tried to hold it together.  She wanted to know why WE didn’t get there sooner.  There wasn’t much more I could say other than we got there as quick as we could.  We just had to wait on God to make the time right.  But now I have to wonder if it’s taken her 18 months to verbalize/ask us that question.  I cannot imagine what all she’s been thinking all this time. 

A friend mentioned that their son thought for the longest time that they would eventually take him back to China and leave him.  He was terrified for months!  (I made sure to tell Ella tonight that we would never take her back there and leave her.)


There’s no neat wrap up to this story.  I guess it’s truly a “to-be continued” story.  But that is where we are at 18 months after meeting Miss Ella Wei.  We have come SO far, and have even further to go.

Monday, June 17, 2013

As a father, God has blessed me in three entirely unique ways, with three entirely unique and wonderful children. Yes, it gets chaotic at times, with three children so close in age, each one going in their own direction, each one having their own unique needs to be met. You walk through our house on any given day, and there's no telling what you might find the kids doing from one room to the next. Some would call this chaos, turn quickly and run for the door. As most people know, Julie and I prayed for children for quite some time. I still clearly recall one night years ago, when we were both feeling completely broken, praying with Julie, asking God to 'fill our empty arms'. While our prayers weren't answered right away, they definitely were answered. I know people might say we have our hands full, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father’s Day

We celebrated with all of the best dads this weekend!


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Friday, June 14, 2013

phone friday

Time to clean off the phone again…

Will convinced Ella to take a spin on his Hog.


Which means Wyatt finally got a turn on a bike.  Don’t worry about him, he hasn’t been waiting with envy all these months. He normally is not a fan of the bikes.  But this time, for at least 5 minutes, he decided he liked it.  And then promptly returned to not liking it.  Go figure.


After months of Will begging to go back to the library, we finally made it.  (For the record, it costs $$$ to join our library so that is why we haven’t been…..But we jumped at the chance to join at summer rates.)


We picked the perfect day to go to story time, this weeks theme was dinosaurs!  The bigs loved it, Wyatt tolerated it.


W and E came home and immediately dug into their book choices.  And we have already met our first goal for the summer reading program!


Ella got a Dora hair kit.  Will quickly snatched it up and helped her out.  He took his role very seriously.


Just a random day at the store.  I no longer have kidlets willing to ride in the buggy.  So my job just got harder!  The sweet moments of hand holding almost made up for the trouble they caused….


These two ended up back in the buggy when at one point I lost them.  I didn’t really lose them...  But I turned my back to reach for chips and they disappeared.  Luckily, I heard them giggling.  They had found an opening behind a few missing cases of Coke and quickly disappeared WAY behind there, giggling all the way.  I had to move cases out of the way to recover them.  You can imagine my pleasure at that experience ;)


This just makes me laugh….Ella was singing her ABC’s and Wyatt did not want her to sing.  He told her he did not like her song but she wouldn’t stop so I told him to cover his ears.  He covered his ears AND closed his eyes.  It didn’t help though, she kept on singing.


And an attempt at a family picture…… Not sure why Ella and Will have their tongues hanging out, but this is pretty normal these days.


Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

“I don’t care”

SONY DSC                       Last Saturday morning I had the rare opportunity to lay in bed and slowly wake up (which is the most glorious thing…).  The kids were running around, as usual, and out of no where I heard Ella say “I don’t care”.  Not in a mean way, just a matter of fact way.  Will was working on something and wanting her to tag along, which is pretty typical.  And even more typical is for Ella to be on board with anything Will offers up.

But this morning she decided what she was doing was way more important than copying her brother.  While this may not seem like a big deal, it’s HUGE in our house.  2013-06-03 (75)

Since coming home, Ella has almost always deferred to what her brothers are doing.  There is a rare occasion where she goes her own way but if one of them calls her over, she’s there in an instant, regardless if she was happy doing her own thing.  It was so extreme I have asked our counselor about it several times.  (It’s typical given her background….) But it just kills me to watch her ditch something she loves to do for something she doesn’t really care about.  But I think this “I don’t care” is the sign that we are turning a page in the Ella book.  I can’t wait to discover what it is that truly makes her happy!

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

say what? {Mister Wilson}

Will was retelling that day’s lesson at church about Samson.  He was talking about his hair and we asked what happened to it.  He said “a Philistine woman named Alaska cut his hair off”.  The next time he retold the story it was Delilah. Not sure how he confused the two but it gave us a good laugh.

Will has been obsessed with the nature show, North America. While watching with Chris one night they talked about storms.  Will offered this up: "hurricanes are like an elephant, with 50 friends.  you just can't stop 'em."


Making a lunch request, “cheese sandwich without the bread please”.  After further questioning it turns out he wanted different bread than I was holding.  But it was a long few minutes as we argued about how he could not just have cheese for lunch.