Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Major Breakthrough

Ty and I often have some cuddle time when he wakes up and we head to the swivel rocker downstairs to watch the birds outside. This is one of my favorite times of the day as Ty has LEARNED this behavior and routine. He may have experienced it in China, but I strongly doubt it as it has taken him a while to get to this point. Anyway, I was contemplating with Ty what I should fix for dinner. I would ask him, "Should I fix _____?" (fill in the blank with your favorite food) and he would repeat all that I said! Of course it didn't come out clear, but that can be perfected later. Tears started welling up in my eyes as this huge discovery happened. Of course I told our speech therapist about it today and she too almost got teary eyed as Ty said: ball, up, hammer, zip, duck, eye, all done, frog, write, mama, eat, no, now, more, out and whoa. That is 16 words! This is incredible coming from the little boy who plays very well for the developmental and speech therapist, but is silent for them. This in incredible coming for our little guy who only truly said "Mama", "No" and "Elmo"!

Another huge breakthrough, Ty requested milk this morning. I have tried all types of milk from cows milk (skim, whole, 2%, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, organic) to soy milk, to goats milk, etc., but gave up after no success. Ty even refused the milk they gave us in China that is SOOO much sweeter then ours and one that I even liked and I am not a milk drinker. We have supplemented Ty's calcium intake with cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt. At our 2 year old check-up, our pediatrician. sent us home with some Pediasure and wanted us to try milk again. I have been filling up Ty's cup with a small amount each day and he has tolerated it. I was floored when he gave me the sign for milk. Speaking of signs, Ty is now using over 50 signs and combines 2 and 3 at a time. For example, he signed, "Dad, please play" this afternoon.

I had a feeling we were going to have some sort of major development happen. As I have studied and witnessed with my clients children, children usually regress or have a period of "disorganization" prior to a milestone. Ty did not eat as well last week and seemed out of sorts. He wasn't his happy go lucky self and seemed really serious at times and gave us scowls. He would cling to my legs and want me to play with him at all times. While it can be frustrating, I have to remind myself (a lot) that something great is about to happen!

Monday, May 25, 2009

My New Addiction...Toys!

I told myself that I would not buy toys for Ty. In fact, the majority of our toys have been given to us as gifts or recycled from friends and neighbors. But...TJ MAX has become my new resource for toys. Our speech and developmental therapist have the coolest toys which Ty loves. I refuse to duplicate their toys because I want them to be exciting for Ty during his sessions with them..but they have told me about TJ MAX. Our store carries a lot of Melissa and Doug toys which a friend told me about. Her son was born with CL/CP and said their toys are often used by therapists. I found this picnic set by Melissa and Doug and Ty has spent hours playing with it. Each piece of food has Velcro attached and you use the knife and cutting board to cut. It is great for fine motor skills which Ty obviously has no problem with.

Our Backyard Camping Expedition

Troy and I have been talking about taking a camping trip with Ty in the near future. Camping is something we have both done in the past, but have not experienced as a couple. Troy took the youth from his youth ministry days camping and I grew up "car camping" (everything you need fits in your car) with my family during deer season and backpacking for the first time (everything fits in your backpack) in college. My first backpacking trip was a 5 day/4 night to Big Bend in West Texas with some co-workers from the YMCA. We carried along a backpacking tent, but slept under the stars most nights. Later on in college, I worked at the Outdoor Center and led moonlight kayak trips on the San Marcos River along with a trip to the Grand Canyon my senior year. My friends and co-workers from the OC took backpacking road trips to Colorado and New Mexico and camped along the way. Once again, at least one of us carried a backpacking tent, but usually slept underneath the stars. Troy and I purchased a 4 person "car camping" tent this past Friday night on our first date night since bringing home Ty. Troy set up the tent Saturday afternoon and Ty was enthralled by it. After grilling out on the deck, we settled down for the evening in our tent. We read books and sang songs under candlelight from my candle lantern hung from the ceiling of our tent. 8:00 is Ty's normal bedtime and he was too wound up to even think about it. He explored every corner of the tent and played with my camera, head lamp, sleeping bag, toggles on the name it. Finally at 9:52 p.m., Ty crashed. Troy and I decided that we would go inside at 10:00 if he was not asleep, but he beat the time limit...but at 11:00, he woke up and there was no consoling him. It was a hot night and the temptation of a cool house and soft bed was too near. This was a great reminder of why I prefer to sleep underneath the stars, but Ty is not ready for it just yet. So we went inside and left our tent to idle with our sleeping bags until we broke it down the next afternoon.

My boys in our new tent. Troy says, "It matches our house." Not exactly the purpose, but he likes everything to have its perfect place. Actually, it complements our house with University of Texas burnt orange.

Ty studying the rain flap of our tent.

"I am ready for a night of fun!"

"Peek-A-Boo!" We unzipped the window flaps for some air circulation and Ty enjoyed playing with the material before we rolled it up and secured it to the toggles.

Ty looking a little mischevious.

"Can I see into my eye with this head lamp?"

My Steal

The May 2009 issue of Parents magazine had a feature on birthday parties that "WOW". I modified the Andy Warhol banner idea and created my own version with pictures of Ty from the first 2 years of his life since we celebrated both at his birthday party. We are so grateful for Love Without Boundaries and the ability they provided us to have pictures of Ty early in his life. I think we will continue to this tradition of the photo montage.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Sunday Stroll

We spent a glorious and cool Sunday morning (the beauty of organic/house church on Saturday evening) at a local conservation area that has various trails and a paved bike path that connects another park. This was my first time to explore the area and it was a true beauty. Due to recent rains and flooding, the bike path was our only avenue to explore. We did off-road in the stroller on a trail that led to the river, but had to stop due to the path being underwater. The picture above is a piece of our hike.

My boys enjoying their stroll.
And he is off! Ty and I had a little run to get out some wiggles.

The beloved walnut we found that Ty would not give up. It continues to ride with us in both of our strollers.

The aftermath of rain.

The little guy was ready to get out and push the stroller himself. I love this shot.

Ty found a stick that became a drumstick.

A pond that we came upon with lots of fish being caught.

This is a retired Christmas tree farm at the conservation area. We had a lot of fun picking up pine cones, play in the needles and enjoying the smells. It brought back so many memories of my time spent in Colorado and made me want to go back....NOW!

My little guy rocking on a log.

Sunshine Madness

The weather has been so beautiful this past week, especially without any wicked thunderstorms as per the previous week. Ty and I had some outdoor fun snuggling in the deck chairs post nap and playing in his water tub. He looked too cute in his swim attire with the new sunglasses that it was definitely picture time. Ty is fascinated with the camera and must see each picture after it is taken. He especially likes it when I try to take pictures of the two of us with my arm extended. We end up with silly pictures that bring lots of laughs.

Monday, May 18, 2009

2 Years Ago

Two years ago today, our little guy was abandoned at a children's orthopedic hospital. My heart aches more today then ever as I think about his biological parents and what they have been through the past 2 years. I wonder if they are ever provided counseling to deal with their loss. I want to let them know their son is alive and well in America. His lip and palate have been repaired and he is beginning to talk. That he has great rhythm for a 2 year old and loves to figure out how things work. That he has no fear of animals, is incredibly flexible and wants to do gymnastics on our floor at 2! God had a hand on his life from the very beginning. He was sponsored by Love Without Boundaries for his lip repair, with one of their foster families and then at Swallows Nest the last couple of months of his time in China. Who gave him the name which means "Heaven Sent"? I pray that God will grant them peace and somehow, someway they know all is well. We are honored God chose us to parent our little Mu Shi Tian.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Little Paco

Troy has a myriad of names for Ty, but when it comes time to eating Mexican food, Ty becomes little Paco. He gets his own dish of salsa and dips his chips just like the rest of us do. The heat hasn't bothered him yet, but this salsa is fairly mild since we are in the Midwest. Here are more pictures from his birthday encounter with the sombrero and fried ice cream! I was dying laughing while I took the pictures. He just stood still and went along with the gig, but moved his eyes to communicate. I am surprised they didn't come back shaky.
"What just happened to me?"

"Mom, Dad. What am I to do?"

"I am patiently waiting. What is going on here?"

"Why do you keep taking pictures of me Mama?"

"And what am I to do with this?"

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Duece Day Revisited

Round 1 of Ty's birthday started off with opening the package from Aunt Becca, Uncle Travis and Baby Porter in Alaska.
Like father like son? Not in this case. Try "like dog like child". Ty and Jackson have a special bond.

Ty and his new set of golf clubs. He also got some play dough (a favorite of his), a beach ball perfect for soccer, a rubber duck and wooden blocks to through according to him. Ty is into throwing anything in his hand these days. Thanks Becca, Travis and Porter! You did great!

After his 2 year old check-up at the doctor (all is well), we went to the mall to play and pick up some balloons. Ty adores Elmo and I had to pry these balloons out of his hand. He was determined to have them in his crib at nap time. I instead convinced him that Elmo was going to watch him sleep from his dresser.

After nap, Ty opened up his presents from Mom and Dad. Yes, we decided to recycle and use the days newspaper. Ty still didn't understand what the day was all about despite our efforts to talk it up all week. It was more of a celebration for us!

Ty got a recorder, bug catcher (Ty is into bugs) , Melissa and Doug magnetic bug puzzle (we love M&D toys) and a Discovery Toys peg board.

Ty and Dad catching bugs.

Check out that arch and concentration on his face.

We ended the day visiting our neighborhood Mexican restaurant where Ty is known by first name. I love this shot as he was not sure what to do when they put on the sombrero, smudged him with ice cream and then sang to him. Look at that face. "What am I to do Mommy and Daddy?"

"Yeah, it is all over. Happy birthday to me!"

We ended the day with a visit to his favorite playground. I wish I had video to record his excitement as we pulled into the parking lot. Ty is OBSESSED with playgrounds!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Duece Day

Our baby turns 2 today! We are celebrating throughout the day and will have the party next weekend as this weekend is CRAZY! Look for pictures and details in the day to come! I must go now and wrap his presents for him to unwrap once he wakes up from his nap!

The Party Invite. Ready to monkey around?