Firsts and Seconds


I know, it has been awhile. Life here has been crazy. So we will try to go in order so you know what has happened.

Saturday (Aug 18)- You attended your first birthday party!!!! We headed up north so you could attend your friend A's first birthday party. You highly enjoyed it, the bouncy house and the cupcakes were your favorites. You also clapped at the end of singing to A.
 After leaving the party, we remembered we hadn't changed your diaper, so we called up Aunt Kim to see if we could stop by her house to visit and change your diaper, she said we could stop by and we got invited to dinner. (Note: We had no clue how close Aunt Kim and Uncle Keith lived to where A's party was until we saw the sign that said their town was 6 miles away.) As a bonus, your cousins J and L came by as well. Your Aunt Meg, Uncle Alex, and L just happened to be spending the night with Aunt Kim so they could go to the zoo the next day. While at Aunt Kim's, you enjoyed playing with J's playhouse.

OH! You also got to snuggle with your Aunt Meg. L didn't really want anything to do with you. Once she walked in the door, she went up to the playhouse to claim it as her own.

Sunday- You developed a fever.  You were also wheezing, so we did your first trip to the local prompt care. They didn't hear the wheezing. . .

Monday- Mama stayed home with you because of the fever. We talked to the doctor's office and they were not concerned about the fever since it was going down at times. We did your first trip to the ER. We left the house with a fever of 105.6 and you were no longer keeping fluids down. We spent some time in the ER and they got your fever to 101.6 when they released us.

Tuesday- Dada stayed home with you and you spent a larger part of the day playing. You also rocked in your new PJs. (Thank you Mick and Elaine!!!!!) Now when you ride Sheldon you sometimes will use your right hand to pat his backside like you are telling him "Giddy Up, Sheldon!" I haven't been able to check this with a camera yet, but it is my mission.

{Truth time: You being sick has been hard on Mama. If Dada isn't around, you are fine if you have Mama. You snuggle, hug, give kisses, and seem to enjoy your Mom. However, if you know Dada is in the house, you have to have Dada. Mama will not do. Mama cannot touch you without you screaming, crying, pushing her, and/or yelling. You scream when he moves away from you, even when it is only a couple of feet. You scream when he sets you down right next to him, so he can wash your hands. We heard the screams we haven't heard since Ethiopia. It has been difficult. I get it, rationally, but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. We are still struggling with this behavior today, Sunday.}

Wednesday- So we didn't follow the 24 hour rule exactly. Your fever broke mid-morning on Tuesday, but we have been waiting for today since the beginning of July. . . Today you had your OT evaluation and IFSP meeting at Easter Seals. Two weeks ago you had your PT evaluation, which you qualified for, but we couldn't start until we had the IFSP meeting. So we did the OT eval before the 24 hours were up. It was ugly at times when it came to wanting to cling to Dada, but what we saw was pretty consistent to everyday skills. So you qualified for OT services as well, which wasn't a surprise. So Charlie, you will now have OT, PT, DT, and Speech therapy.

So the shirt you wore on Wednesday got A LOT of comments. It has a cape that says "Star Wars." Yep. You have a shirt with a cape. You got many comments on this while at Easter Seals and later while at lunch. Unfortunately, a large portion of your lunch found its way to your shirt so you didn't get to wear it as we watched Star Wars. (You watched Star Wars: A New Hope for the first time. We pointed out the scenes that had been added to the movie. Let's be honest, you played during larger portions of the movie. At the same time, you did laugh at the action scenes.)

Friday- We found out you eat peanut butter and jelly at Gina's. You now have a jar or strawberry jelly at home. (LOVE this!!!!)

Saturday- Looking back, since we are having behavior problems, we shouldn't have made the trip, but we did. We went to see your Great-Grandparents!!!!!  Here you are checking out Great-Grandma Willie.

Sunday- (Same thing as Saturday in regards to this.) Today you went to your second birthday party, this one was for E. We didn't stay long, you made it a half hour. I like to think you had fun painting though. When we got home you had dinner and a bath then Mama ran to the store and brought back fried chicken for her and Dada. We let you try some of the chicken (not the breading) of Mama's chicken. You really liked it. You were playing in the living room, so Mama was eating on the sofa. You would come have a bite, then go play and come back when you wanted more. You wanted more a lot. When you were told it was all gone, you shouted, "Nooooooo!" (I thought it was really cute.)

So Charlie that was our week. Tomorrow you and Dada are hanging out and Mama has Meet the Teacher Night after school.


Some pictures from today's party


1st day of "school"


So Mama went to school for a meeting today and you had your first day of "school" at Gina's. I so enjoyed the hug and kiss I got when I picked you up. So here you are on the way home, I didn't think to take the picture until then. You are holding your "three picture story" photo.



couple of pics


Have I told you lately how cute you are? I know you know this, but I still need to tell you. How do I know you know you are cute? Well, often during a meal I use a modified sign for "beautiful" with you. It is modified since I do the sign touching your face. As we got home tonight from going to your first baseball game, as Dada held you in the kitchen, you did the sign on yourself. Yep, you have a bit of an ego. You also tend to smile and say "yeah" when someone talks to you about how cute you are.

Tonight we spent a little over an hour at the local baseball game. You probably could have lasted longer, but not by much. Plus, after over an hour of baseball, they were only in the bottom of the third. As usual you heard music and had to dance and/or clap your hands. (Proud moment: Your Mama over heard a couple of the students from the high school band who played the national anthem comment on your ability to change the speed of your clapping as the rhythm changed.) You also made "new friends" with the couple in front of us by pointing, smiling, and saying "hi."

So when we first came home sometimes we were at a loss on how to calm you. We found you highly enjoyed looking at pictures of people. So we would look at the photos around the house and talk about the people in them. You loved the photos of yourself, but also those of your cousins or friends' children. We would point to the person, say their name, and something about the person, event, location, or relationship. One of your favorites is on the refrigerator and is your "three picture story" with the earliest picture we have of you, a picture of the three of us with your favorite care giver at HH, and one of just the three of us- your family. It is your story and we point to the different parts of it and discuss your story. Sometimes we do this multiple times while looking at the frig pictures, since you keep pointing to it.

Another favorite is of you and Dada our last day in Ethiopia on our first trip, it was when he finally got you to smile. It sits on an end table, but recently the picture next to it has become a favorite. We can be playing on the floor and you will crawl over to it and slowly point to the different people in it. You are usually jabbering at it and "talk" to each person in the picture. Sometimes you laugh between "talking" to the different people, at times you "shout" at the different people. I find it funny. Other times, you point to it and then make an indication of wanting me to come join you and tell you about the picture. So here you are, talking to some of the members of your family at Aunt Meg and Uncle Alex's wedding. You are pointing to Dada and will actually say "Dada" and "Mama" when you point to us. This reminds me I need to be sure you have a picture of the three of us when you start at the sitter's on Monday. (Yep, Mama goes back to school this past week.)



Children's Museum


So this morning we finally had our PT evaluation, over 4 weeks after it was requested. Well, you qualified for services and after our IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) meeting, following the OT eval (which isn't for another 2 weeks), you will begin services. So following the PT eval, we had DT and then lunch and nap.

The best part of the day? Well, Dada was home with us so he could be there for the evaluation. . . I think though you enjoyed the Children's Museum more. It was our first time going to the museum and there were lots of smiles and asking for more. Our Dada and I also took a chance and after the museum we went two doors down and we had dinner at a pizza place. We were the only ones there at first and I think it was our best restaurant experience yet.


PS- You are watching your first Bears preseason game with Dada!!!!! 

Going down the slide. There really were smiles Charlie, I promise. I only took pictures during the first time down and then had to put the camera down to catch you.

The awesome water table. Multiple people told us you were adorable. 

Yep. that's steam.

The mat area.

Making a super hero puppet and ID card.
Playing the pipes with a flip flop.

So the first two are of a floor that plays music and does a light thing. The third one projects your image in a 70s style light thing on the wall. Charlie and Dada are on the left.

"Uncle Justin or Uncle Jim, I wanna drive the combine this harvest!"

Climbing thing.

TRAINS!!!!!! You are now making train noises. I am sure Papa will be impressed when he hears them. You really enjoyed popping out of the table cutouts. I am thinking you need a train table. Hint, hint Papa.

Rain. That's right, rain. Two days in a row. Crazy.
Back to the water table.


home for 5 months


Today you have been home for 5 months. 5 months!!!!!! It is incredible to us to think it has been that long, but it also seems so short.

When we landed in Chicago and went through customs, immigration, rechecked our bags, found a ticket booth and stood in line to get your Dada a boarding pass (He wasn't given one in Ethiopia for this leg of the flight and they were only able to give him a gate pass at that point. He got his ticket, but for some reason you had a seat, while he had a lap ticket. . .), went through security, and got in the right terminal it was dinner time. (BTW- We had landed in Chicago around lunch time.)

We went to your first "restaurant" that wasn't at a hotel. You had rice cereal, I know big surprise. Your Dada and I had what felt like the best burgers ever at the time. From the picture you can also see we took the time to stop at a Garrett Popcorn shop within O'Hare to get a Chicago Mix. (Okay, we also got Coke and Diet Coke. They were cold and awesome.)

So today we decided we needed to celebrate having you home for 5 months. It required something special. Something grand. We had gift cards. So we went to Olive Garden. To show the difference 5 months makes, here is what you ate: 1/2 a bread stick, 1/3 of your Mac and Cheese, some of your garlic mashed potatoes, and 1/2 of your strawberry and white chocolate dolcini. (In the picture, Dada is helping you get the bread stick in your mouth.) Following dinner we went across the parking lot to Barnes and Noble and you picked out a new book to celebrate. Stop Snoring, Bernard! I think will be a book we will enjoy for awhile.

Love you Charlie!!!!



5 and a day


First time eating a cake pop.
Saturday marked 5 months and day since you were placed in my arms at Hannah's Hope. We have had five months and a day of love, laughter, love, yelling (by you), love, smiles, love, tears, love, firsts, love, screaming, love, music time, love, and love.

Yesterday we watched the Olympics and you cheered on the Bekele brothers from Ethiopia in the 10,000 meters. You were cheering along with the crowd and clapped when they were done. You also enjoyed the swimming. We have ruled out tennis as a sport you enjoy watching, but you highly enjoy watching the Sox with your Dada.
As you know, I highly believe in exploring careers early. I am thinking we can rule out train conductor. You kept throwing the conductor off your toy train today, but you did keep the elephant and monkey in the train. So maybe you just wanted to be the conductor. . . A little worried though about you not wanting the train on the tracks. 





So you might be questioning why you have an "awesome" sticker on your forehead. (At the same time, you might be asking, "Why don't I ALWAYS have an 'awesome' sticker on my forehead?".) It is because yesterday you were dismissed from feeding therapy!!!! You still have speech and developmental therapy and an upcoming PT and OT evaluation, but you are down a therapy. 

We are so proud of you!!!