Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Welcome May and occasional nice weather!  Having V at our house has definitely kicked things into high gear.  She has been staying with us for almost 4 months now!  She is really part of the family!  Each day has struggles of it's own as far as Kepler and V getting along and getting out the door to school on time.  Two kids bathed, dressed, fed and out the door by 7:00AM is harder than it sounds!  I guess my point is, life is difficult and busy but beautiful.
Kepler continues to grow, make us laugh and make us crazy:)  He still loves school and people in general!  Focusing on his work at school is challenging because he wants to be watching and doing what other kids are doing.  I really love that he really loves people.  What a beautiful gift to have. 
He's been in swimming lessons for about 5 months now and we've seen HUGE improvement in listening to directions, challenging himself and being brave.  I watch kids reach milestones every day for a living.  It never gets old.  HOWEVER, watching your OWN child push themselves and overcome fears and become confident and proud of themselves is the most amazing thing in the world.  The little boy who shook his head 'no' to instructors and wouldn't hardly get wet is now raising his hand to go first, jumping in the pool, dunking his head and encouraging the other kids.  I give him 'thumbs up' from the bleachers and he beams back at me and sometimes does it back.  It's awesome!  Last week I was telling him how proud of him I was for various reasons and he responded with a huge smile and asked, "Are you going to tell Jesus that you're proud of me?!". 
I love that he is starting to understand a little about Jesus and the idea of God.  We saw coffins for sale in Costco the other day and he asked what they were.  I explained that they hold your body when you die and that they get buried.  He related it to Jesus dying and he asked if a big rock was put in front of it.  Then he get really excited and said, "And then the stone was rolled away!!!".  Easter is starting to click too:)
It's been fun to talk to him about lots of stuff but our faith is one on my favorites.  He has a place mat with all his school friends pictures on it.  Each night he chooses a friend to pray for.  It's the sweetest thing.  We don't talk about Jesus that often and usually it's Kepler who brings it up.  But when he does, he's so curious and wants to know far more than I can explain.  It feels like such a natural thing.  Quite beautiful. It's a great reminder for me personally that amidst my busy life, there is a God watching over us and waiting patiently for me to acknowledge him.  Kepler is good for my faith...
He plays so nicely.  He has so much fun with V and also plays well by himself.  It's great to see his play get more imaginative.

We had a Bike-a-thon at school last Friday to raise money for a well in Haiti.  He called Grandmas, family friends and Uncle Jeremy and told them, "I'm riding my bike to get money for my school friends in Haiti to get clean water.  Will you sponsor me?".  He alone raised over $400 for the cause!  He rode his little legs off completing 6 laps around the track!  We are so proud of his big heart!

We also traveled to Atlanta last month to meet Uncle Jeremy, Aunt Mary and cousins, Savannah and Peyton for the first time!  We had so much fun.  It ripped my heart out to say goodbye knowing it will be a long time before seeing them again:(

Our dossier for Baby Sister has been in Ethiopia for 8 months!  The timeline for a referral is 6-12 months.  It could be longer and we are prepared for that because things have once again slowed down.  The good news is that things are moving steadily.  Our agency referred 5 kids to families in April.  We are still pretty far down on the list but we are hoping to be matched by Christmas.  It's exciting to think that there is a little girl, perhaps even a baby out there that will join our family!


Friday, February 22, 2013

February 2013

Welcome winter!  Thanksgiving and Christmas is passed!  Time is flying! 

Here's a shot of Kepler in his fancy clothes for his Christmas Eve performance at church.  He sang Go Tell It On The Mountain.  It's February and he's still singing it:) We are still in awe of how cute he is.
We are still getting out and enjoying walks when we have time and the weather is nice.  Kepler is doing so great on his bike! 

We signed him up for swimming lessons too and it's the best thing!  Taking him twice a week has been so good for helping him feel more comfortable in the water.  Washing/conditioning his hair is easier and going swimming as a family is so much more fun when he isn't acting like a barnacle! The first lesson consisted of lots of tears but it was a great chance for us to talk about being brave and listening to a teacher that isn't mommy.  He LOVES them now and has grown in so many ways besides just swimming!

Amos is getting lots of practice doing photo shoots with Kepler.  These are some of the results of our sessions.  You want to know a secret?  Kids that do what daddy asks for photo shoots get Scoobie Snacks:)

My ever faithful, cleaner upper is always up for chores.  He unloads the silverware from the dishwasher and of course, he vacuums the school!Another favorite lately is Starfall.  It's a game on the computer that teaches basic computer skills as well as phonics and counting.  He's getting really good at it!  He's very interested in telling me and asking me what different words start with.  He'll say "P-p-p-pumpkin starts with P mama!" or "L-l-l-l- elephant!  L starts with elephant!"...uh....very close!  I can see the reasoning:)

We have a little girl staying with us through Safe Families.  This has been a HUGE adjustment for Kepler.  V is not quite 2.5 and Kepler has had to share all his toys, our time and affection, learn how to get along, be flexible and be a good leader on less sleep (because they share a room!).  It's been so good for him but he has been a huge blessing in her life as well.  They have so much fun.  Our house is a loud, messy ball of action lately.  I like it:)  It's been tough but so rewarding. One thing I hope is that our family will live out what we hope to impress on Kepler.  I want to be a Christian that really does help others.  This placement has been tough and messy but I really do think this is the sort of "Love" Jesus talked about.  I pray that Kepler will learn this growing up in our home.
We all went to Seabrook last weekend and had a blast!  Kepler and V ran from the waves, got soaking wet and dug in the sand.  We swam in the pool and went for walks under the cold, clear skies on the coast.  It was so much fun. I'm not allowed to show pictures of V, so these will have to do...

Lastly, we get to adoption #2.  We have been waiting to be matched with Baby Sister for 5 months.  We got word this week that our agency was closing and that our dossier would need to be transferred to another agency if we wished to continue.  After much calling around, we learned that we would need to start over and pay thousands to submit another dossier and get at the back of a two+ year wait.  Our hearts have taken a beating this week.  Then, just last night, we got word that a donor had come forth and offered to finance our agency's expenses so they can stay open long enough to finish all in-process adoptions.  We were elated!!!  We were seriously considering giving up on this Ethiopian adoption.  There are a couple things in our life that are kind of up in the air lately but this dramatic change for the good has made our hearts soar.  We are so grateful.  So, after a week long heart attack, we are back up on the horse waiting again.   It's so crazy how adopting can be exciting, heart wrenching, boring, wonderful, hopeful and so difficult all at once.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Oops! It's December!

We had so much fun in October with Halloween! Kepler was the cutest Elmo in the world and he got to experience his first trick or treat experience!  He got the hang of it and couldn't wait for the next house!


I just returned from a trip to Haiti.  Amos was AWESOME and played Mama and Daddy for a whole week!  It was nice to feel so loved and appreciated when I returned:)  Amos and Kepler seemed relieved to slip back into their normal role of Daddy= big, evening playmate rather than caretaker.  I was very happy to resume my role as Mama:)
Kepler is 3 years old now!  We celebrated with a few of his closest little friends at school.  They played, did a couple glittery crafts and ran around with flash lights.  It was a lot of fun! He also enjoyed opening packages from the family in AK as they arrived!

Kepler is also LOVING the Christmas season!  Christmas cheer is kind of Kepler's year long motto so it makes sense...He gets up each morning and looks around to see what our naughty Buddy Elf was up to during the night.  The first night Buddy popped all of his balloons.  Kepler found him on the bookcase with scissors in hand next to a popped balloon!  The nerve! The second night the elf got Mama's flour down and played in the "snow" all over the floor!  Last night he filled up a tub with marshmallows and took a marshmallow bubble bath with two snowmen.  What will he think of next?!
He also gets the idea of Santa now, which is very fun.  He wants a doggie vacuum cleaner.  He played with one of these at Lucy's birthday party and it left an impression.  We shall see....
Kepler has also been preparing for his church Christmas Eve performance.  He sings ALL DAY LONG, "Go tell it on the Mountain!  Over the hills and everywhere!" and encourages Amos and I to join him.  He asks for music in the car and can't ever get enough youtube music videos.  However, when the children's church woman asks the kids to stand and practice their songs, Kepler is the only one sitting down, staring ahead, silent as a church mouse.  We shall see how the performance goes!  It's going to be at 8:00pm (an hour PAST bed time!) so it could get interesting:)
On adoption #2:
We were informed in early October than our dossier was hand delivered to the new orphanage our agency is working with.  We are in month 2 of our 6-10 month wait estimate. We hear nothing but good things about this new orphanage.  Kepler knows about "Baby Sister".  He knows she is still in Ethiopia and that Mommy will go get her just like I went and got Kepler.  The time thing is hard to explain though.  He talks about how she will be little and need a bottle.  It's very sweet.  I think he'll make the BEST big brother!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


We have started another school year!  Kepler is now 2 years and 10 months old.  I can't believe it.  He continues to bring us SO MUCH joy.
He absolutely loves school.  After our morning class, he naps in the closet:)  When he wakes up he pops up and runs out into the classroom hoping to play with kids in the afternoon program.  It's like it's never enough:) 

Water colors
Shaving creme exploration

Kepler during Yoga with Ms. Andrea
Kepler's family.  That's him in the middle.  I'm the light one on the left and Daddy is quite tan.

He is dressing himself fully now.  He fights every new stage as it comes but then once it's clear that this new thing is going to be his responsibility, he loves the independence. Now that getting dressed is his deal he proudly gets up in the morning, uses the bathroom and then picks out his own clothes.  Of course boots were a favorite in August and now that it's mid September, the shorts are a hit:)
"What's that?  That's a telephone?"

He has been fully potty trained for a long time.  I'm not sure if I mentioned before that he now sleeps in his underwear as well. 
Daddy likes to start the sentence, "Cause he's a BIG...." and Kepler finishes, "boy!".  And it's true. 
His balance bike has been a huge hit lately.  He's cruising FAST and started lifting his feet up as he goes down hills!  No joke! It's so weird to see such a little kid balancing!  He took one good spill with Daddy the other day and has toned it down a little but he's still doing amazing on it.  I like to ride my bike next to him.  He looks up at me and says, "You have a big bike Mommy."

He's talking up a storm as usual.  It's fun to have full on conversations with him and explain things.  Other times (like 7AM in the car on the way to work) the chatter is not as fun.  It never, ever ends.  He wakes up rattling on, says everything he sees and thinks during the day and then as he gets tired he ramps it up to 5th gear to help keep him awake.  If it's time for a nap in the car we simply stop responding to him and he falls asleep:)

Today we went to the zoo with Daddy.  I've taken a lot of kids to the zoo over the years and none of them have enjoyed it as much as Kepler.  Going with him is SO FUN!  He wants to see all the animals and after each one he says, "What else we going to see?!".

 We are excited to announce that our dossier for baby girl is at our agency!  They are waiting on something to be authenticated and then it's on it's way to Ethiopia!  Now the REAL wait begins.  They are predicting a 6-10 month wait before we are matched.  It's a long time but we are really enjoying life right now so the wait isn't unbearable yet.  We shall see how I feel when we get her photo!
Life is officially in full swing.  I had a moment in the car today on the way to the zoo.  I looked at Amos and commented on our happiness as a family.  He agreed.  We feel so blessed to have Kepler in our lives.  We love each other, we love our little boy and we feel like we are living the life that was intended for us.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Holy cow.  It's August.  I've been doing school summer camps way more than I wanted to.  The good thing is that Kepler loves going to school/camp.  He's pretty quiet at school.  It's like he watches and saves up all his words for his time with me.  Today was rough.  I don't think he paused once today.  Constant questions and commentary!  It's great that his language is progressing but it's exhausting at the same time.  He's speaking in complete sentences...
"Where we going today, Mommy?  Where we going?  We going to school today, Mommy?"
"That's a potato.  Potato up there, Mommy?  Yep.  That's a potato."
"Going to summer camp today, Mommy? Play with my kids at summer camp?  Go to the park, Mommy?"....You get the idea!
It's been really hard to get him to bed on time with all the light and nice weather!  We've been having so much fun visiting parks, hosting Grandma and Grandpa, going to the farmers market with Andrea and Isaac Cerretani, going on the church camping trip and going out for ice cream.  There are just not enough hours in the day!
Amos had to travel out of town twice in the last 3 weeks.  Kepler was pretty bummed that Daddy was gone but he started chatting with him on the phone.  He and Daddy would talk for about 5 minutes about what they had done that day.  I sit in the drivers seat and yell back a translation if Amos can't catch what Kepler's saying.  It's pretty cute.
Kepler seems to be learning that we come back too.  We left him at the Cerretani's for a few hours and went on a date.  He did great and we had absolutely no strange behavior afterwards, which has happened in the past:) We might make that a regular thing!  We are so lucky to have good people in our lives that are willing to take him in a heartbeat.  We are so thankful.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Approaching June

I can't believe May is almost over already!  We just got back from a two night camping trip at Lake Roosevelt.  We had so much fun!  It took 6 hours to get there and Kepler didn't complain once!  He just sat there reading his book, playing with his toy or watching the world go by outside his window. His favorite thing to see while in eastern Washington were the massive "round and rounds".  Any guesses as to what they were?!  Windmills!  It was like a dream come true for him!  We do fast food on road trips and he was very excited to get "chicken nuggles" for dinner!  We call snuggles "nuggles" in our family and for some reason, this was so cute to me.  He was relating nuggets to something that sounded familiar:)  Away from our normal eating routines, we asked him, "Kepler, are you hungry?  Do you need to eat?"  He replied, "Yes. My hungry.  Eat food."  Daddy said, "Oh.  You need some food in your belly huh?"  Kepler looked at him like he was crazy and said, "No!  Not in belly!  In mouf (mouth)!". 
One exciting part of our camping trip was that he got his new balance bike!  He loves it!  He mostly walks it around but they say that's how it starts out.  He's rode it so much this weekend already that he is getting more confident at maneuvering it around already!  I love it because it is powered by him.  It's not mommy pushing him on a trike while he thrashes the handle bars back and forth making the walk the most annoying exercise I've ever had while he just sits there:) He also loves his "helmount" (helmet).
We did our second major (for us!) hike as a family this weekend!  We hiked up to the top of Steam Boat rock again.  It was better but more difficult this year.  He is more sure footed and able to walk further than he could last September but he is HEAVIER!  I had to carry him in the Eurgo up and down the rock!  We had to have a stern discussion about him throwing himself to one side to point out birds and such because he almost sent us both down the side of the rock!  He did fantastic hiking though!  He hiked all the way up to the rock and the entire time we hiked up on top of it!  When we got back down he said, "We did it!". 

He did so well sleeping in the tent as well.  He slept soundly both nights.  This is much improved since last fall.  I think his little brain is more sure that we'll be around when he wakes up.  His sleep used to be so fitful and full of violent wake ups and screams.  We are approaching our Home One Year mark and this makes me so happy.  He deserves the peace.
We were surprised that he slept so well despite our noisy, foul mouthed neighbors camping 10 feet away.  Amos said, "He might have some new words after this trip."  So far, so good.  We'll probably hear him use them in context sometime and be shocked:)
All in all, we had a great, adventurous yet relaxing trip.  We are looking forward to the summer ahead!

Lately he's been asking himself something so he can answer it. Like on our trip we heard him say, "You hungry? Yes. Eat food." Today he said, "Want to go to park? Yeah! Take bike to park!". We have been practicing good manners as always but it's funny to hear them come out. People will ask him his name and he'll proudly hold up his pinkie and ring finger and say, "I'm two!". Sometimes people get his name when they ask how old he is:) My favorite is "Mice" to meet you. Do I ever have to correct that?! I don't want to!

An adoption #2 update:
While in Grand Coulee, we mailed off our I-600A to USCIS:)  We are now waiting on our fingerprint appointments!  Moving right along!
However, right before we left we got a letter from the IRS stating that our refund is in review.  They are investigating our refund.  I've heard from a few people that your adoption credit refund is tricky to get.  You have to fight a bit.  If they are hoping that we just give up, they are wrong.  We NEED that money for this next adoption and I'll fight for it:)  I won't be forgetting!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Post Vacation Blues

We enjoyed seeing Amos' family so much in California last month!  His sister's wedding was beautiful and seeing his brother and his family was great.  Kepler got to meet his cousin for the first time! 
I'm going to be brutally honest here.  Most of my posts are pretty positive so I think I deserve some grace with this post being a bit less than "puppy dogs and rainbows".
We were prepared for Kepler to have a hard time on the plane.  He doesn't like loud noises or elevators and a plane taking off resembles those two horrors in one scary ride.  We prepped him ahead as much as we could and he seemed great up until boarding.  We did carry on luggage only so Amos and I both had our arms full of luggage.  Kepler was bopping along until we entered the plane.  As soon as he saw the row of seats ahead of him he freaked out and tried to turn around.  It was like something triggered his brain that this scene means a change in life!  He was sandwiched in-between Amos and I, thank goodness, so he didn't get far.  We told him, "It's okay, follow mommy."  He made it back to our seats with a LOT of coaxing and then after throwing our luggage in it's place I scooped him up, held him tight and calmed him down.  I'm sure people watching think I was a bit harsh but they don't know Kepler.  Gentle is often NOT the way to comfort him when he's reached his "point of no return". He responds very well to someone being in charge and letting him know what is expected and that he is safe when he's scared or has gone overboard.  Maybe other adoptive parents can relate? I don't know.  I've tried it both ways and he seems to take comfort in the more 'no nonsense' approach even when he is scared.
Anyway, this began our journey.  He made it through the plane ride pretty well. 
He did great riding in an unfamiliar rental car as well. We explained things as we went and he seemed to be fine.  He conked out before reaching the hotel.  However, the combo of him getting a bad cold/cough, us being in an unfamiliar place with no set schedule was A LOT more difficult for him than I thought it would be.  He is so flexible at home and I really thought he would just roll with it because we were with him.  NO SO.  He freaked out and did strange crying/yelling behavior every time we met up with Amos' family.  It was so embarrassing.   I felt so bad that they didn't really get to know the real, sweet, easy going, people loving Kepler.  Every transition was a struggle.  To make it worse I had NO patience left because he wasn't sleeping hardly at all, thus we weren't either.  He woke up every hour crying and thrashing and kicking during the night.  It was an angry, fitful restless night every night.  It was AWFUL.  I am used to getting sleep.  At home he sleeps in his own bed for 11-12 hours every night with no interruptions.  This was horrible.  I'm guessing it was a perfect storm of him being sick, therefore not sleeping soundly and waking up in an unfamiliar place with new people around.  I honestly think he thought we were dropping him off with a new family.  Amos' family was so gracious with his horrible behavior (Thank you Jimmy and Alexis!) but our dreams of them getting to know him and having fun with him were crushed.  I was horrified every time we met up with them and he screamed and cried/whined.  It was so unlike our Kepler.  After a couple days of no sleep, my patience was nonexistant and I'd had enough.  I wasn't as understanding as I should have been for sure but Amos was there to take over when I'd had enough.  This was the hardest week with Kepler that I've had. 
We had some good times sprinkled in there with the ocean and sand and Cousin Cora and the play ground and the zoo but every single transition was so bad.  He was so stressed out with the unknown and I think he was just terrified the whole time that we was going to be handed over again. 
Okay, I'll stop whining:)
He was great once we got home again.  When we entered our house he ran inside his room and played with every toy he owns.  He was so glad to be back.  He had made a comment while gone about his boots being in the "garbage".  He thought we were gone from our home forever.  You should have seen his face when we came back!
Since being back, his cough has gone away but a nasty cold took root a week later.  His good ear starting oozing and I took him into the doctor the next day.  They saw a hole in his good ear drum:(  Appointments at Children's Hospital are in the works to figure out how this is effecting his hearing. Holes in both your ear drums is not good for hearing thus language development.  So sad. 
On top of all that, the last day we were in California Amos got a high fever.  We got home to find out he has pneumonia, again.  He was hospitalized for 3 days but is home now.  It's been a roller coaster to say the least.  Last week I thought I was going to loose my mind.  Thankfully, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Kepler's language is exploding lately!  Here are some of our favorites:
                       "Pet-a-pony pizza"- Pepperoni pizza
                       "Teemawmow!"- Time to eat (dinner time)
                       "Umpty Umpty"- Humpty Dumpty
                       "With you"- I want to come with you
                       "Nummy"- Yummy
                       "Need it"- I need it (for anything he wants)
                       "Bama and Bampa"- Grandma and Grandpa
He has been such a joy since being home.  I taught in Kids Church today and couldn't believe how great he was.  He is used to me being busy with kids while he is around.  He has had to learn to be patient and share me.  This is HARD to do for a 2 year old and he has come so far! 
Today was a landmark day in the social world.  We took him to a park and he actually made a friend on his own!  He was interacting with another little boy.  They were climbing up the slide and sliding down on their tummies while laughing at each other.  It was so cool for Amos and I to witness this!
Here Are some pictures for you to enjoy!
Cousin Cora and Kepler running from the waves!

Kepler with Auntie Anesia on her Big Day

Cousin Cora, Kepler and Bama Audrey
Big "peanut" on the elephant!
Kepler and Johannes Kepler, whom he is named after.
Kepler and Mommy RUNNING!

Daddy and Kepler

Mama and Kepler getting some giggles in on the beach.