Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Today is the last day of 2013.  Katie has been home for nearly a year and a half.  She is two and a half years old.  This year has been very busy with lots of exciting developments.  Katie started going to a montessori based preschool program, which has been very helpful in her speech development.  Though she continues to be delayed, she is working weekly with a speech therapist and I can tell that all of our efforts are paying off.  She is starting to say our names and ask for help, as well as saying yes, no, and thank you.  It's pretty funny how she will say thank you several times in a row.  :)

Attachment and bonding has also improved.  Katie is a very spirited toddler, and there are times I feel like I am at my wit's end with chasing her around the house and pulling her off her brother or sister.  This is the first child I have had with this type of temperament and it makes me feel like a newbie parent as I try to figure out the best way to manage.  But the last few months have brought a lot more cuddles, hugs, and kisses along the way that help make us realize that we have a very special and very smart little girl.  As she continues to improve in her speech, we believe it will get even better.

So how is the family doing?  We have done a lot of fun stuff this year such as going to Orlando for spring break, spending a long weekend at the water park, playing in the pool all summer, and having quality time together and with our extended family.  The kids have taken on more chores in the house (who hoo!) and just finished another season of basketball.  Next is more basketball along with guitar lessons and the continuation of 4H, children's church choir, and cub scouts.  I'm sure I am forgetting something.  As you can surmise, we keep everyone very busy around here!  We have started a new tradition of weekly family meetings to keep up with everything and talk about what we can to accomplish as a team.  We just started this about a month ago and it has been useful to stop once a week for 30 minutes and take an opportunity to educate our kids as well as get feedback from them.  

We are keeping busy at work as well.  Mike got a new job this year and it has been a blessing for him, as it is a job he has had a goal to achieve one day, and he did.  We are all very proud of him.  I continue to chug along and have traveled a lot for business this year - Houston, Chicago, Ohio, Kentucky, and Georgia are all states I have visited this year, as well as Ontario.  I hate being away from the kids but it is nice once in a while to get out and see some other places.

Wishing all of our loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Celebrating Gotcha Day!

This month, we celebrated our one year anniversary of gotcha day with a cake! The last year has flown by so quickly. Traveling to Poland is starting to feel like a distant memory. Katie has grown and developed so much. Her fine and gross motor skills are on target and she is eating well. Her biggest challenge is speech at this point. Katie is babbling and we can make out some words, but we are starting speech therapy services through our county early on services since she is behind on both expressive and receptive speech. As a mom I worry but we have faith that more speech will come. Right now we are working on kissing. I am trying to teach her how to make a "kissy face" with her lips puckered up so I can kiss her. More ways to bond. :)

Katie is a very smart little girl. She knows how to undress herself, so after a mishap in the crib that resulted in a wet mess during nap time, she sleeps in a onesie! She loves to imitate her brother and sister so she likes to read (or at least flip) through books and color and plays with Legos (with supervision, of course).

She is also fearless! I am amazed at how fine she is to jump in a pool and go underwater, popping right up like it is no big deal! I can see her becoming quite the athlete.

Bonding is going well. The kids all blend together so naturally. It feels like adding Katie to the family had no negative impact - it was a very fluid transition. I'm not sure what to attribute that too but I am so grateful for it. My oldest regularly states how glad she is that we adopted Katie. It warms my heart to hear her say that.

The biggest challenge we have these days is juggling 3 kids at one time. We certainly have our exhausted days from chasing, chauffeuring, and care taking. I know some people wonder why we would add to our family when we already had 2 kids who are older and getting more independent. I get the comment that our life was just getting easy, why make it hard. Maybe we are crazy but I honestly can't see us having it any other way now. It is hard to remember life before this little one was in it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Katie is 2!

It is hard to believe, but today we celebrated Katie's second birthday.  For us, it was our first time celebrating a birthday with her.  I cannot believe how fast time is going.  It has been nearly a year since we met, and 9 months since we have been together.  Right now Katie is hitting those "terrible 2's".  If something does not go her way, it is a full blown tantrum!  The other struggle now are the constant illnesses that she has been suffering from.  I'm not sure if it is the climate change or there are more germs around, but this cold and flu season has been tough on her with a grand total of 3 stomach flus and several cold/fevers.  She is having a hard time again with sleep and general crabbiness because of the illnesses, and I think combined with her difficulty to communicate (still babbling, we have no idea what she is saying) I can tell she is getting frustrated that we don't understand what she wants.  We hope summer brings a change for the better so we can have our happy Katie back!

We celebrated Katie's birthday today with a small party and what I was most excited to share with her was the American tradition that is normally part of a 1st birthday party celebration.  I'm talking about when the birthday child gets their own cake to go nuts on with their hands!  Of course, Katie wound up being so dainty with touching her frosting, but nonetheless, it was fun to be able to celebrate this milestone as a complete family.

The other fun tradition I have started is a reenactment of pictures.  I noticed that I had a picture from the day Katie and I met, as well as a picture from gotcha day, that look nearly identical.  I am holding Katie in the exact same position and I am wearing the exact same top in both pictures.  So I have decided to take the same picture every year on Katie's birthday.  I wore the same top this morning and we completed our reenactment.  It will be so neat to take these pictures every year and watch our ages progress.
The day that we met, in June 2012.
Gotcha day, September 2012.

Our 1 year picture!  May 2013.

Happy birthday Katie!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy New Year

It has been busy but I wanted to post some pictures and share the latest on Katie. It has been 5 months since we have been home and nearly 6 months since gotcha day. I feel like Katie is finally very comfortable with us at home. She is developmentally on track with doing everything a typical 21 month old would be doing. We have her on a good schedule. Some days she can be quite sassy but for the most part, she is a very happy little toddler. Her brother and sister are so good with her. It warms my heart to watch them interact so well together. Katie got to meet a lot of family during Christmas holidays and we finally got her first haircut, which she sat so well for. I still cannot believe that Katie is with us. I know we are so blessed. Life is very hectic but in a good way. I will be sad the day our house is quiet! Here are some pictures of her out and about.