Monday, October 3, 2011

Amazing Allie and the boys

We were very prepared going to the adoption that Allie may have some minor special needs, most adoptive kids do. So we are just amazed by her; not only is she doing so well, but everyone continues to be just blown away by how advanced she is developmentally. She just seems older than her 15 months; she says well over 10 English words and even her first phrase "All Done." She is so mobile, climbs and jumps from one piece of furniture to the next! And her understanding of what's going on is just unbelievable. She is one smart cookie. She had her15 month checkup last week, she's 65% in weight and 95% in height! Her doctor just can't believe that not only is she on target for everything for her age, she's able to do more than what's expected. We are so proud of her!
She sleeps about 12 hours a night and takes a good afternoon nap. And the girl can EAT (as evidenced by her size!). She loves everything we give her and furiously signs "more please" if we don't get the food to her fast enough. She drinks out of a cup and just in the past couple of days has given up her bottle (we hope!). She's still somewhat clingy and fussy, and some days are much better than others. But she's making progress!
We also had an amazing discovery; tucked inside a photo album that she came home with from Korea I found 2 letters written in Korean! We're not even sure who they are from; there is an email address that we've sent an email to, and we're also working through friends to get the letters translated. We're so excited to have a connection to someone in her birth country. Will keep you posted on the translations!
The boys are doing just awesome as well. Ben has FLOURISHED in kindergarten, he absolutely loves it. His bus fears have faded and now we're having to remind him to behave on the bus, he's having such a good time! And he has developed a sudden interest in writing, drawing, reading, spelling.... be still my little teacher's heart!! He's never been into these things, so I am just thrilled he has caught the reading and writing bug. He's also full of information about what's he's learning at school. "Mommy, this is the spine of the book." "Mommy, did you know that all songs have a steady beat?" I love it!!!!
And Sam LOVES LOVES LOVES his 3 afternoons at preschool. I fully believe he could hop on the bus and go to kindergarten with Ben if he could. He is just the most enthusiastic kid and loves everything. His teacher has a real bunny, hermit crab and fish in their classroom, so he is in animal heaven there. He's such a deep thinker, lately his prayers have been so deep and well thought out, he's got such a kind kind heart. He still hates peanut butter, so we continue to try to think of new ways to get it in him. Last night he did eat some chicken with a peanut butter sauce, although he choked it down. :)
New pictures soon!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Peanut Butter at last?

A few weeks ago Sam had his annual retesting for his food allergies (eggs and peanuts). We were thrilled to learn that his blood and skin test both showed completely negative for peanuts. The peanut allergy is the most dangerous and when we discovered it 3 years ago it definitely rocked our world. He was only 6 months old when we found out about it, and since then our house has been completely free of peanuts, peanut butter, all other nuts, and anything processed around nuts. That eliminated a lot of food we used to eat! But we adapted, and really the only difficult times came when eating out or holidays came about and he became very good about asking "Is this safe for me?" before eating. However, finding out that he may be safe to eat nuts now was unexpected and so exciting.
So we took him back to the allergist on Sept. 7th for a "peanut butter challenge". We were there 2.5 hours. They began by giving him a quarter of a teaspoon of PB and waiting 15 minutes. They checked him over very well, making sure he had no rashes, hives, itching, trouble breathing, etc. He was fine, so they continued to double the amount of PB every 15 minutes. His allergist pronounced him free of his peanut allergy!!! We were so thrilled, I was crying, we called family, it was amazing. Such a weight lifted off our shoulders to not have to worry about his health and safety in that way anymore. (He's still allergic to eggs, but most kids outgrow that by age 6.)
To celebrate, we bought him his first ever M&Ms on the way home (all M&Ms are processed around nuts). While we were thrilled, Sam was pretty confused to be given all this food he was always been warned not to eat! However, when we got home, he started to not feel well, and ended up throwing up. He was so upset and kept saying that he would never eat peanuts again. The allergist thinks he just had too much PB and other sweets on his stomach. Sam isn't a sweets eater anyway, he much prefers fruits and veggies, so I think it was too much for him all at one time.
So we have continued to try to give him peanut butter at least once a week, still being careful about it and watching him carefully. However, he has developed an intense fear of it and now refuses to eat it!! We've tried PB cereal, PB cereal bars, PB M&Ms, Reese Cups, PB cookies, and other snacks that contain PB. I don't tell him if it has PB in it, but he this sixth sense and just KNOWS when something contains PB and tells me it's nasty and he won't eat it!! It's been crazy to finally have permission to feed him these things and now he won't eat it. The Dr. said he should have at least one serving a week to maintain his tolerance of it; people have been known to redevelop the allergy if they don't eat it at all. So we continue to try and hope that his fears will subside. The rest of us are definitely enjoying the freedom to have PB in the house, that's for sure!
The pics show him getting a new toy to keep him busy at the allergist, one of his first attempts at eating PB (which was REALLY weird as his mom to give him something that I used to fear could seriously make him sick), Sam keeping busy with the stirrups (he is easily amused), and his first taste of M&Ms.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ben's First Day of Kindergarten!!!

He did it!! Only tears were mine. :) He's going afternoons at Loveland, same building where I went to elementary school. Luck was on his side when his best buddy Carson was assigned to his class, they are thrilled. Here they are at the Open House together. Now to adjust to long afternoons without one of MY best buds! :(
Icing on the cake of his first day was that his cousins Ethan (5th grade!) and Izzy were there to celebrate with him when he got off the bus!

Last Minute Fun

If we haven't had enough fun yet this summer, we squeezed in a few more things before Ben started kindergarten (we were also able to finish his ambitious "to-do" list!). Kings Island, camping in our new camper (which was given to us and has turned out to be SO FUN!), and going to a Red's game. Allie has been home just over 2 months, but it seems like forever. She's still somewhat clingy/fussy, but better than she was. She's a determined little lady, not to be left out of anything! She's so smart, understands so much of what we say to her, says several English words, and the rest of the time has a running monologue of Korean babble. It's hilarious.


Our first vaca as a family of
5 was back to Lakeside, Ohio where we went last year. It's the best place on earth. It's a quiet community right on the lake where everything is laid-back and family oriented. We swam in the lake, played putt-putt, rode our bikes everywhere, played on the awesome playground and just enjoyed each other. One of our favorite things to do is take the ferry over to Kelley's Island, which has a gorgeous beach. Feels like we're on the ocean. It was a wonderful time for us to just be together. Allie did so well sleeping in a strange place, eating in restaurants for the first time, etc. It was just what we needed.

Summer Fun

We finished out July with lots of several fun outings, thanks in part to Ben's Kindergarten Countdown! We hit the museum, zoo, and Grandpa's boat. They also got to go fly RC planes with Grandpa, which is one of their absolute favorite things. We also cheered Sam on in his new tumbling class, which was special because it his turn to shine after cheering Ben on in t-ball and soccer so much. He loved it.
Also note the picture of Sam sleeping on his mattress on the floor... in our room. He can be a real stinker at night, keeping Ben awake in their room. So we decided some time apart was a good thing. He didn't seem at all to mind sleeping on our floor with the dogs! And Ben got a few weeks of peace in their room. They're back together now, but we try to put Ben to bed first since he falls asleep within seconds, then we put Sam in there and he can work out his wiggles on his own. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet Girl

Our little gal is going through a hard time right now. She seems to be fearful that we're going to leave her, so she's holding on to us with all her strength! She wants to be held quite a bit of the time, and if she gets down to play she wants us down on the floor with her. When we attempt to put her down, she'll often have a meltdown such as this one! We continue to reassure her that we're not going anywhere and hold her as much as we can. We have hopes that soon she'll relax a bit. On top of that, she had a mysterious fever last week, and now a cold and another fever! Poor baby!
However, despite her fears, she's is such a little smartie! She says 7-8 English words (ma, da, more, night-night, uh-0h...), runs skillfully, stands on her head, uses a spoon and fork with help... she has surprised the pediatricians who can't believe she's barely 13 months old! She's also hilarious and loves to be the center of attention. She shows off by blowing kisses, playing peekaboo and dancing. We're so proud of our smart, sweet little girl and continuously thankful for her foster mother's outstanding care!

Water Babies

One thing Allie loves is water. She has no fear. She loves going to Normandy to swim and doesn't flinch at having her face wet. She also loves playing with the big kids in our kiddie pools in the yard (almost as much as she loves wearing her brother's bike helmets!). She fits right into this family!

Ben's Countdown

Ben starts kindergarten in just a few weeks!! While I am approaching the day with much apprehension and sadness (it's the end of his preschool years, he's a big boy now, he's leaving me!!!), he so far seems excited. He decided to make a Countdown to Kindergarten in which we listed all the things he wants to do before school starts. I was thinking maybe we'd put 3 things on the list, but he had other ideas. It's actually been fun to working on "checking things off"! Hopefully when his teacher asks about his summer, he'll be able to think of something to say!

Sam's Garden

Our first attempt at a garden this year has been so much fun. We've all helped, but it's been largely Sam and Jeremy's project. Now that we are getting fresh veggies daily, he is just so excited. He loves to pick them and eat them right in the backyard! He's so proud of the carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, potatoes, peas, green beans, tomatoes and lettuce! We're still hoping for some zuccini and peppers, and our sunflowers are starting to open up as well! He loves food so much,
he may just be a chef one day!

A Visit from Great-Grandma Dot!

We were so excited to have Great Grandma Dot come all the way from Evansville to meet Allie! The two became fast friends over games of This Little Piggy and Patty Cake. She made Allie a sweet little stuffed Humpty Dumpty toy, which Allie carries all over the place. She also got to know Uncle Matt and Grandpa Coleman a little better!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Carrots from our garden!

5, 3 and 1

Wow, so we are in reality mode here. Most of the newness and excitement has worn off, and it feels like Allie has been here for much longer than about 6 weeks. Jeremy is working long, hard hours in the heat. The kids and I are trying to fill our summer days with a balance of fun and continued bonding. Having kids ages 5, 3 and 1 can get a big crazy!!
We continue to venture out more and more. Allie seems to do really well getting out and about for short periods of time. She loves going to the pool at Normandy, doesn't even flinch at going under! She had a playdate yesterday with a little girl her age and they were adorable together. She had her first visit to Grandpa Toodie's house and her first library storytime. She LOVED the storytime, we will be returning. I couldn't believe how social she was while we were there!
She still gets overwhelmed pretty quickly and continues to be extremely clingy to me. Extremely! Nearly every time I put her down she has a stretching fit on the floor. Sometimes we're able to distract her long enough for me to get something done, sometimes not! She definitely requires a lot of patience at this point! I continue to remind myself of all she's been through in a short period of time. However, I'm very thankful for her great sleep habits, she sleeps 8:30pm-8:30am pretty regularly. Refusing morning naps now, but usually takes about a 90 minute afternoon nap. She's also a fantastic eater!
Ben is doing GREAT with Allie. He's extremely patient with her and is a true help to me. He'll jump in to "distract" her when she's fighting a diaper change or when I need to go to the bathroom. He sings to her and keeps saying, "I just can't believe she's here Mom!". I'm so proud of him, he's truly growing up. He's riding his bike without the training wheels, it's so fun for the two of us to take long bike rides all over the neighborhood. I'm still shocked that Kindergarten starts in 5 weeks, but he's so ready.
Sam is, well, he's 3. He's struggling with not being the baby anymore. He is definitely jealous of the attention she gets, and retaliates by pushing her, taking away toys, etc. But he loves her and kisses her feet and can't wait to see her every morning. He's really growing up too, and does more and more things on his own. He's hilarious in the things he says and does!

Feels like summer is going way too fast! First week in August the boys both have a camp they get to go to each morning. The second week in August we're going on vacation to Lakeside on Lake Erie as we did last year. We're so looking forward to it! When we get back, we'll have one more week of summer before Ben gets on the big yellow bus for the first time! He'll go every afternoon to Loveland. Mid-September Sam will start back to preschool, he'll go 3 afternoons.
My time alone is over for now...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Visitors Welcome

Thanks everyone for allowing us some time and space to let Allie get acclimated! We've been living in kind of a bubble since she came home, staying home most of the time and keeping life very low key. I think it's been a very good thing for all of us, especially her. (I have to admit I've gotten used to doing less and am loving it!) She's doing so well I think in part because we are not rushing in to anything. The most we've done is a quick trip to Target or the park; it's crazy to think that Jeremy and I have been the ONLY ones to feed and change her; I think it's really helped her bond with us. We've been able to hold off on restaurants, the pool, Kings Island, etc. We'll get to these things all in good time!
While we are still taking life slow, she's definitely up for visitors in small groups for short periods of time. So for those of you who have been holding off, thank you, and let me know when you want to come meet our gal!

July 4th

It's a tradition for us to go to the Loveland 4th of July Parade. We weren't sure how Allie would react to the noise and crowd. She was a quiet observer at first, but by the end she was clapping along with everyone else. I think she's proud to be an American!

River Rascals

We took the kids to the Little Miami River at Nisbet Park on the morning of the 4th. It's something the boys LOVE to do, just hang out by the water, throw rocks, and wade around. Allie loves being outside, so she was thrilled. She climbed on big rocks, explored a bit, and of course fell in the river just like her brothers.