Wednesday, July 1, 2009

First Trip to the Beach!

We like to make an annual stop at the beach to unwind, and Gulf Shores is one of our favorite stops. I tried to prepare Jack, who has never seen the ocean, by checking out some books at the library. My efforts were in vain, however, because he was convinced that the beach was a building! Every so often he would point at a building and ask, "Is that beach?"

When we finally hit the strip that runs parallel to the ocean and he got a good look, he said, "Jack no lika that big water." Have I said that he sounds a little Italian at times? :0) He got over that fear very quickly and loved his time at the beach. He especially loved digging in the sand. He loves to dig at our house, and this provided him the opportunity of endless digging .... and with no restrictions!! Could life be any grander?

We are delighted to follow along with some friends of ours who are currently in flight to China right now to get their little boy in their first adoption. We will be checking on them for the next couple of weeks as they make the journey that is so familiar to our family. Hold on, Jacob, your family is on their way!!

Jack's English is coming along just fine. He is still working on his fine motor skills and, as we suspected, has a little "catching up" to do developmentally, but we have a plan in place for him to assist with that. He will attend preschool in the fall and has a weekly "play class" with an occupational therapist. We've already witnessed progress from his play dates with Miss Karen. His need for sensory input has become more controlled.

We really do take so many things for granted sometimes. I've watched as Jack looked curiously at his cupcake trying to figure out what to do with the paper liner and how he didn't have a clue just how to walk in his new flip flops. What resulted was mighty funny. Little things like these he must be shown how to do. He didn't even know how to crawl - we're speculating that there never was an opportunity to do so since he probably went from a crib to a walker. Can he learn how to do these things? You betcha. He's as smart as a whip and catches onto things quickly; he simply was never exposed to them before. BTW, he's doing just fine in his flip flops and wears them every chance he gets!

His eating, I think, is finally beginning to slow down. He was forever eating 3 servings at dinner until his little belly would stick out. He also wanted to eat really fast, which probably contributed to the amount he wanted to eat. Would you believe that for the longest he didn't gain any weight? Gosh, I wish I could do that? Apparently, he, as many orphans do, had some nutritional deficits that needed to be filled before his body could even begin to think about growing. I remember that with Jenna - all of a sudden, boom, up she grew. Jenna, who was always shorter than Jack in China, now "towers" over him by 2 inches. He can't stand it and insists that he is bigger. Just like a man.

Anyway, enjoy the photos! (BTW, we do have 2 other children, but one of them is a teenage girl and avoids the camera like the plague. Sam is the one graciously allowing Jack and Jenna to bury him in the sand! And, if you look carefully at Jenna's legs, you can see the scars from her hip surgeries. It looks pretty ouchy, but all I see are 2 very strong and able legs that belong to a very determined little girl - our Peanut.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

One Surgery Down ...

Jack had the first of his corrective surgeries for hypospadia repair in February and came through like a trooper! We were sent home with heavy-duty pain meds, but he only needed two doses of regular Tylenol. He was so ready to go home (we had to spend the night) and would ask the nurse each time she came in, "All done?" We're really pleased with the doctor, too. Jack's next surgery is tentatively scheduled for August.

His English is snowballing - he's using sentences. We can understand him, but I can tell that sometimes those outside our family have a harder time interpreting what he is trying to say - much like a toddler's speech. We've learned alot about his personality: he wants to please; he has a mischeivous side; he does NOT want to get in trouble to such a degree that he will quickly point to the person nearest him (which is usually an indignant Jenna); he LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to play outside; he goes totally nuts over candy, and tries to convince me that candy will "make Jack big and strong"; he is very territorial about his food and can eat quite a bit for someone so small; and, sadly, he does a little hoarding. I've found stashes in a couple of places in his room. Surprisingly, he does not hoard food, but his belongings that he does not want anyone to touch or take. But what we can plainly see above all else is his love for life - he wants to participate and try everything with such enthusiasm.

We truly feel as if we have twins, having Jack and Jenna together. They color together, dig in the dirt together, and sometimes ask to sleep together. Jenna is enjoying the role of "big" sister, even though she is really the little sister. She just has the advantage of knowing the ropes. She has started asking some questions about her background, her birth mother, and the adoption. I try to answer, giving only just what is needed to satisfy her, but the topic just seems to make her feel anxious and insecure. I just emphasize what we have told her before in that God put her in our hearts and we searched for her the world over until God brought us together. She loves that.

Jack was baptized last month at our church, and I wondered just how much he understood - not much I'm sure. We've read Bible stories and Jenna has taught him some songs from church. I've talked to him about our Father in heaven, and he nods as if he understands. I know that it is just a matter of time. But I got a surprise when Jack asked to say the blessing this week (we sing one from the preschool that Jenna had attended). We all looked at each other with raised eyebrows. He began, "God, our Father. God, our Father, once again ..." and he finished with some mumbled phrases that left us all smiling. I can just imagine that God was smiling, too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

At Home

I thought you might like to hear a little update on Jack and the rest of us. Jack has settled in quite nicely. He's so full of joy and affection that he amazes us. He has grasped the words, "I love you," and uses them in the correct context. He is stringing words together to make baby sentences like, "Mama drive van. Go home." He is learning the letters to his name, his colors, and can already count objects to 10. And, boy, does he have a sense of humor! He likes to purposely give me the wrong answers to questions, but his face gives him away each time. He can't help but crack a goofy smile at me. He is learning that he can eat until he is full, and that candy does not really count as a food. ;0) Now, if Jenna would just understand this! He sings his heart out to the all-time Barney classic, "I love you, you love me ..." and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." He really dislikes cheese ... even macaroni and cheese. Go figure.

Jenna is getting used to having another brother, as long as he doesn't touch her stuff! The two of them are very territorial about their belongings. I wonder if it is because of the environment that they came from, or simply because of their age. Maybe both? Jenna likes the role of instructor - instructor of English, instructor of puzzles, instructor of Legos, instructor of ... I think you get the picture. But, Jack is quick to call Jenna to task if she steps out of line. He wags his finger at her while calling her name. She loves that, of course (typed in the font of sarcasm).

Sam is enjoying being the big brother to a brother, and finally getting his wish of getting bunk beds. I think that sleeping in the top bunk will cure him of sleepwalking, don't you? And Lane, who is now affectionately called "Nina" by Jack, is wrapped around this little boy's finger. He is just about the only one who can get a smile out of her in the morning (she's not a morning person-comes with adolescence, I think).

I'm posting a couple pictures taken since we have been home. But before I go, I wanted to leave you with one of those stories that makes you say, "Aww." Jenna fell and hurt herself. Jack, who was busy at the table cutting confetti, dropped everything when he heard her cry. He ran into the bathroom to get her a tissue and proceeded to wipe her tears. He was saying what sounded like comforting words (in Chinese) while stroking her cheeks. Then, he gave her a kiss. O.K., now you can say, "Aww" because we all did!