Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year in Review

Merry Christmas and New Year: From our hearts and home to yours, we wish you God’s greatest blessings and peace this Christmas and New Year’s Holiday Season! The following are our brief reflections on the amazing journey God gave us in 2009. Enjoy!

January: Twelve months ago, we started our 2009 journey by traveling north for Ty’s palate surgery at Shriner’s Hospital in Chicago. We love Chicago! After the surgery, we had the longest two weeks of our lives with daily syringe feedings and arm restraints. A huge thank you goes out to Amy’s mom, Audrey, (you rock!) who lovingly flew up from Austin to help get all of us through this challenging time.

February: We rejoiced that Ty’s palate surgery was a huge success with a return trip to Chicago! His mouth had healed beautifully and he celebrated by beginning to consume everything! - especially broccoli, peas, cauliflower, brussell sprouts and asparagus!

March: We had a great time with Amy’s family from Texas during their early Spring visit. We travelled to Arthur, IL to see “everything Amish” in this local community and eat at the famous, local restaurant – Yoder’s Kitchen.

April: We celebrated Easter with Troy’s dad from Iowa, Dan. Dan was a huge help as usual with some new house upgrades during his visit! Thanks Dad! You’re the greatest!

May: We celebrated Ty’s Second Birthday (May 01) with a 2-in-1 Birthday Party on May 10. The first part of the party celebrated his First Birthday that we missed while he was still and orphan in China. The second part celebrated his Second Year of Life that he now enjoys with his forever family. We thank Troy’s mom, Sharen, our family and friends that came to party with us!

June: We travelled for vacation to Mo Ranch in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. We enjoyed time with our extended family, the sunshine, pool and Guadalupe River during our visit. Troy conquered his fear of heights by walking over the big catwalk bridge pushing Ty in his stroller and we witnessed the ranch maintenance workers catch a big rattlesnake on the road near our cabin.

July: We celebrated the Fourth of July with Troy’s Dad, Dan on this annual summer visit and golf outing in Central Illinois. Troy completed his third Lakeside Triathlon on the shores of Lake Decatur on July 5th.

August: We travelled on back-to-back weekends to Kentucky (regional thriathlon competition)and Ohio (organic church conference). We shopped at a huge international market called Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati and Troy swam a mile down the Ohio River completing his first Olympic distance triathlon with his friend, Scott in Maysville, KY - the hometown of Rosemary and George Clooney.

September: We celebrated the 1st Anniversary of our “Gotcha Day” on Sept 16th, the day we received Ty from Chinese orphanage officials at Mama Mia’s Italian Restaurant inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel located in Downtown Zhengzhou, Henan, China. We capped the month by traveling with Amy’s parents to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL so Ty could pick out his annual Halloween pumpkin.

October: We had a great time as a family during “Boo at the Zoo” Night at Scovill Zoo in Decatur. Also, Ty had a fantastic evening with his neighborhood friend, John Brevin, trick-or-treating on Halloween Night. Ty was dressed as a Train Engineer and made us crack up by saying “Choo Choo!” when people answered their doors.

November: We celebrated Thanksgiving by travelling to see both of our families on back to back weekends in Texas and Iowa.

December: Ty now has two new girlfriends – Dora the Explorer and Ni Hao Kai-Lan. He is especially fond of Kai-Lan and the Mandarin Chinese that she is teaching him. We had a great Christmas with Ty. He enjoyed seeing that Santa drank all the milk he poured, eaten the cookies he baked and taken the carrots for his reindeer. We rounded the day off by starting the new tradition of having an Open House from 3-6PM for all our neighbors and friends. It was a great day!

The Reason for the Season: Finally, as the year draws to a close and 2010 is about to begin, we would like to thank our Lord, Savior and King, Jesus Christ for all our blessings these past 52 weeks. We thank Him for being born in manger as a common human being so he could relate to common people like us. We thank Him for growing up to be our Savior, dying on the Cross, taking away the debts we could never pay ourselves and opening the door of the Kingdom of Heaven to us forever. We thank Him for being our King who lives, reigns and gives us victory over any circumstance in life, especially hard economic times. This is the true reason for the season and foundation for celebration! Peace and Love to all of you!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Evening With Baby Aaron

Go back to the early 1980's when Cabbage Patch Kids were the rage. I highly desired a black, bald boy CPK, but my grandfather refused to buy me one, so hence, Baby Aaron Michael. His name was Skip Barnaby, but by the power of adoption, he was renamed, Aaron Michael. Now fast forward to 2009, Aaron Michael is my son's new friend. Ty is fabulous Daddy full of hugs, kisses and stroller rides. These picture came from the "Calgon...Take Me Away" day. After a day that truly tested my patience, I thought an evening walk to see the neighborhood lights was a great remedy. Obviously....NOT! Who knows what was going on in the little guys mind and body, but we couldn't do anything right. He cried the entire time....from getting our coats on to our evening walk. It was a gorgeous evening and I was sure it was the fix to a crazy day, but....he proved me wrong.

Just playing with my camera settings. It doesn't exactly capture the image I was wanting to get, but I still like the results.

And another image that was striking.

My boy and his baby.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

May your day be filled with much joy and peace from Him, Jesus Christ. We are enjoying a light snowfall and getting ready for an afternoon open house with drinks and desserts for anyone who wants to stop by. More pictures to follow of this brilliant day and season!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Calgon...Take Me Away!"

I LOVE my son, but he truly pushed me to the limit today. My training/education/job is in child development , especially prenatal-3, but theory and practice where put to the test. I know through disorganization comes organization and we are experiencing a major "touchpoint" . Something great is about to happen, but....everything else falls apart. We have regressed in potty training and Ty wants to be a "baby" this week and wear diapers, he is waking up at night and wants to sleep with us, he is whining constantly after being told, "Mommy only likes to drink wine, not hear it!". AAAAGGGHHHHH! At 7:30 this morning, I was saying, "I know it has to be 12:00 somewhere in this world. Give me my pinot grigio!" After putting him back to bed and sleeping another 2 hours, the day didn't get any better. His world was falling apart. Any tips on how to deal with whining? While making dinner, I sent Ty and dad to the basement to paint a picture. I am going to create a "No Whining Zone" sign using his artwork. The little guy is a Picasso these days!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Our Rock Star

We knew Ty was musically inclined when we saw him tapping his fingers to the beat on the radio while in his car seat just days after arriving in the USA. We enrolled him in Kindermusik last winter (We are going to do it again in January!) when he was 19 months old and he was in love. He will turn any surface into a piano and pretend to sing and play. Praise God we had a friend who gave us a keyboard and drum pad her child out grew. Luckily I came across a garage sale that had kid musical instruments for sale and was told "all they need is new batteries". Well, only 1 out of the 3 worked with new batteries and thankfully it was the guitar. Ty has seen others play and he took to it like he knew what to do all along. This little guitar plays ~4 songs and has a laser in the opening to strum to continue playing the song. I am REALLY tired on the songs, but it brings him great joy. In fact, he will bring out his guitar to play during house church while we sing. His music doesn't exactly go with ours, but he is bringing his contribution to the group.

Pure joy!

Look at that stance!

Taking a seat on the fireplace for a little finger picking slow song.

I hope you enjoy this little ditty!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Rocking Cousins

We flew down to Texas for a long weekend before Thanksgiving for my parents annual Thanksgiving celebration. It is has been a family tradition bringing my mom and dad's side of the family together, in addition to friends, for approximately 26 years. We were trying to determine the number of years we have been doing this , but determined it was usually so my uncle who is now a retired pilot could join us with his wife and dogs, since he usually had to fly over Thanksgiving.

We have not been down to this celebration in several years and made the point to go this year, especially since we had a few relatives and friends who had not met Ty. In addition, Bryan (my brothers son) and Ty got to spend a little extra time together. It has been fun to watch the two of them develop a relationship and play together beyond parallel play. The rocking chairs were a great hit as they shared snacks and rocked back and forth together in unison.

Bryan is sitting in my chair that I had growing up and Ty is in my grandfathers chair.

Many memories were had in my rocking chair. I remember watching Mr. Rogers at 4:00 each afternoon as I walked in from school on our Curtis Mathis T.V. that you had to manually turn the knob with great strength to change the channel.

I wanted Ty to be able to have my rocking chair here in IL, but the likelihood of anybody driving to/from Texas to bring it was rare. Plus, it is nice for my parents to have extra for the grand kids. Now Ty has his own that can be a new heirloom.

Missing Glasses

Mr. Potato Head seems to have lost his glasses, but they have now have been claimed by silly Ty. Despite being on the small side, Ty pushes through to enjoy all the new sights to be seen.

Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa in Texas, Ty has been enjoying his early Christmas present, an Amish made rocking chair.