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.