Sunday, July 31, 2005

Today, Scott was sick with a cold, so I brought the kids to church myself and met my mom there. The service was about how we can be "stolen by success". One of the bible quotes really struck me - I think it might have been from the Message translation - I should really see if I can find it again. It was about how to truly be a success in God's eyes, and one of the lines was something like "Do not be impressed with yourself". What a convicting message! It's so hard to keep God at the center of everything and not want praise - not want to feel like you did a really good job. I am always looking for things that make me feel good about myself. I should only be looking for things that make God look good - after all, anything I do is because of Him.

Besides church, not much happened today. I noticed today how attached Danielle is to the little stuffed lion and monkey. She carries them both around and cuddles them. I decided to put them in bed with her, since she seems to get so much comfort from them. It's really sweet. It's amazing how much she's walking now, too. She really never crawls anymore, unless she's trying to escape me or catch Sota or something. She's getting to be a big girl!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I've decided that Jaden has an amazing memory. He is really good at the Memory game - maybe better than I am, and I always felt like I was pretty good at that stuff. Plus, I just think it's amazing how he never forgets about anything. Today, he wanted to watch a movie, but I wanted to save his two hours of TV watching time for when my mom was here. So, I told him that he could watch when she got here. A couple of hours later, she came over - the first words out of his mouth were, "Grandma! I want you to watch a movie with me!"

The same thing happened a few days ago, when Tom and Elaine were here. We had told him that he could play the Memory game with them after his nap. When I went to go get him up from his nap (over two hours later), he said "Now I can play the Memory game with Grandma." It's like his mind keeps that fact in focus and nothing else pushes it aside. There is no such thing as telling him that he can do something later and hoping he'll forget about it. He never forgets!

So, today my mom came over. Scott and I finished the paperwork for the homestudy and then went grocery shopping in the evening. We had "taco lacos" for dinner (tacos made with fried flour tortillas, beef - with extra seasoning -, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and cheese.

Friday, July 29, 2005

This day is a bit of a blur. I already don't really remember much about it, which is a shame because I remember that Jaden and Danielle did some cute things.

Oh, yeah - Danielle was kissing her leg again and was snuggling with and kissing her little stuffed lion. That was really cute.

Jaden wore his underwear today, but unfortunately had two accidents (he had been doing really well when he was wearing underwear previously, but I haven't been consistent enough with it.

This evening, Scott and I mowed the lawn and then organized the house a bit. Then, we worked on our paperwork for the homestudy.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Today we went to playgroup at Mary's house. It was nice to see Jan and Marcia again - I hadn't seen them in awhile. I told everyone about little Louis and they all seemed supportive and happy to hear the news. It seems more real the more people we tell.

Danielle woke up before Jaden today and she was being so cute! She managed to climb up onto the couch by herself and then she proceeded to start kissing her leg. She would lean over and "mmmmmmppwaaaaahhh!" Really cute!! I even managed to get a few pictures of her doing it. Of course, once she saw that it amused me, she did it with even more flourish.

This evening, Jaden and I went to the bookmobile. They had three books on adoption on hold for me. I was very excited to get them. I've already read 60 pages of one of the books, which is on the issues of trans-racial adoption. It's been a really eye-opening book to read. It's interesting how I've managed to live such a color-blind life. I never really thought about the fact that the reason I am able to do that is because I'm white. African American people don't have the luxury of being color-blind because, no matter how the world has changed, there is always someone out there who will treat them badly because they are African American. It also never really occurred to me that, although our child will in many ways be growing up as a typical white American, when he is not with us, he will be seen as a typical African American. It's definitely good to read these things and to try to get a handle on the special needs that our child will have simply based on the fact that he is black.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Not much to say about today. Jaden was being cute this evening. He was pretending that a coaster was a DVD and he would put it into the "DVD player" (sofa) and we would watch movies. He would then talk about what was happening on the movie, "Dash is running! The bad superhero put Mr. Incredible in the balls like this!" (and he would then demonstrate how Mr. Incredible was bound with balls of energy). It was pretty cute.

I found out today that there is a deaf magnet school just about 2 miles from our house. What are the chances of that! This is the deaf school for all of Lake County and it just happens to be practically in our backyard. Guess God knew why we should be here!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Today, I spent a long time looking through the library catalog (online) and finding books on adoption. I was really happy to see how many great books they have. I put three of them on hold.

Other than that, there's not much to say about today. I had to run to the bank and so we also stopped at McDonalds. I was hoping to find one with a play area, but no luck. The McDonalds in Libertyville was interesting, though - it was a really old-fashioned looking building with one arch on either side. It almost didn't look like a McDonalds at all and I wasn't sure if it really was one until I saw the name. Kind of interesting.

They started laying down asphalt on our street today. When we got back from McDonalds, they were just dumping the asphalt and it smelled kind of bad. Jaden said "Eeewwww!" and I must have laughed or something because for the rest of the day he kept saying, "I said eeewwww!" He thought he was so cute! He thought that the asphalt had fire in it because it was steaming so much. It was raining and the rain on the hot asphalt made for a lot of steam. I took a few pictures of it - it was pretty funny to see the guys huddled under an umbrella on top of a moving truck. Jaden was cute though - he kept saying, "Look at the fire on the car road!".

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tonight, Scott and I did another Secret Shop - this time at Bennigans. We were really happy with both the food and the service.

I took the kids in the pool earlier in the day. Jaden swam around with just his water wings for the second time. We're so happy that he's now willing to do that. We were worried he was going to spend all of our pool time floating around in a boat!

I didn't end up getting any pictures today. My mom tried to take some while Scott and I were gone, but the batteries in the camera were dead. She thought that she got some of Jaden wearing Danielle's dress! (She would take one picture and then it would turn off). But, I didn't see them on the camera when I went into review mode, so I don't think it worked. Too bad, those pictures probably would have been cute - but Scott wouldn't have liked them!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Today, Scott's parents came over and we hung out with them in the pool. Then, we went out to dinner together to a salad buffet place called Sweet Tomatoes. It was a nice relaxing day, and it was nice to see Scott's parents again, since the kids really hadn't gotten to see them in about three weeks. Jaden was very excited that they were coming over. Unfortunately, a lot of the time they were here was during his nap time. We didn't want him to skip his nap today because he still has that darn cold! And, of course, Danielle now has it too. But, he loved the time he got to spend with them.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Today was a relatively lazy day. Scott was tired from his trip and mainly wanted to veg out in front of the TV.

The one exciting thing about today was that our packet from the homestudy agency came! Wow! There is a lot of information that we need to fill out! I think we decided that we want to travel to Haiti ahead of time, just so we don't have to worry about becoming a licensed foster home and readopting - whatever we can do to make the process less arduous. Even without the foster care paperwork, we have to fill out a bunch of questionaires which ask for very detailed information on our lives. We each have to fill out a family history, a marriage report and a discipline form (describing our views on proper discipline). Then, together we have to fill out an adoption questionaire, asking questions about why we want to adopt, what we think it will be like, etc. These questions are very detailed - For example, we have to talk about jobs that we've had, going all the way back to high school! It took me many hours to fill out the first one (which I did today).

I guess the paperwork fun begins!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Today, we went to Great America. Scott got home from Las Vegas very late last night, so he slept in. We went to Great America at around 11:30.

Jaden absolutely loved going on the rides. He went on the Whizzer for the first time and loved it! As soon as the ride was over, he said "I want to ride again!" So, my mom and I went on it with him again (Scott and I rode it with him the first time). I thought he was going to ride with my mom, so I sat in the very first seat. But, Jaden insisted on riding with me - he rode in the first car of a rollercoaster and loved it! He just laughed the whole ride. When we were done, he once again said, "I want to ride again!" I said that we had to give other people a chance to ride and he said, "You're right. We have to share. We have to wait and then go on the rollercoaster again in a few minutes."

It was hot, so we also enjoyed going on the water rides. Jaden had fun, but hid under my arms after he got hit with a big wave. He still wanted to go again, of course!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Not much to say about today. Scott was still in Las Vegas, so my mom came over. She is spending the night tonight so that she will be here in the morning and we can all go to Great America together.

I took a few pictures of Jaden playing with his sequencing book and his matching game. It really amazes me how good he is at these games - especially the Memory game. He can almost always remember where a card is once he's seen it once - he's almost better at the game than I am! I honestly wonder if he's got an above average memory for things like this.

One funny thing - My mom and I decided to watch a movie that I had gotten from Netflix. It ended up being about people who had encephalitis! At first, I thought, "I don't know if I want to see this." The people in the movie had become catatonic years after their illness. But, by the end of the movie, I really was struck by the feeling that those people deserved love as much as anyone else. When they "awoke" from their catatonia, they knew that people had come to visit them - they knew they were loved. Of course, I was also relieved to find that the type of encephalitis that they had was an epidemic that happened in the 20's and doesn't happen anymore.

Another interesting "coincidence" - Scott found out today that his boss, Doug was adopted and that he had encephalitis as a child. Doug said that he was really happy that his parents had adopted him, since they knew that he had many severe food allergies, which would be difficult to deal with. All of this just strengthened Scott's conviction that we are doing the right thing - Which I'm sure was God's plan!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Jaden woke up with a cold today. He probably got it from Promiseland, but what can you do? Hopefully, he'll feel well enough for us to go to Great America on Friday.

I wrote an email to Robin today and sent it to Scott to see if it sounded okay. I basically said that we had found out further information about encephalitis and that we didn't think that we were equipped to deal with the issues that could come from it. I took Deb's advice to heart and decided that I needed to assume that if Scott wasn't feeling right about this that perhaps it was me that wanted this adoption and not God.

But, when Scott wrote me back, he asked if I was convinced that this was the right thing to do - he said that he was having a hard time closing the door on Louis.

Scott came home from lunch to bring me a new cord for my laptop. We discovered that Danielle had bitten through my old one when it started flaming yesterday! Luckily, we were sitting right next to it when it happened, because otherwise we could have had an actual fire! I was pretty upset at the fact that Danielle had bitten the cord, but Scott said that it's really low voltage and wouldn't have hurt her. Still pretty scary.

Anyway, when Scott came home, we discussed Louis some more. Surprisingly, Scott said that he didn't want to say no quite yet. He suggested that we email Robin and try to find out some more about the type of encephalitis he had, how he is developing and whether or not he has ever had any seizures, etc.

I did email Robin, and got a response back from her. She didn't have much more information to give, but she did say that he had one seizure the day he got sick and hasn't had one since. She also said that he is developing completely on track for a child in Haiti.

I talked to Scott on the phone while he was waiting at the airport. He is flying to Las Vegas for work tonight and his flight has been delayed. I was expecting him to say that he didn't feel like the email gave us much more information, but instead he said that the email gave him a much greater sense of peace about the adoption. We talked about it and agreed that Louis is a normal little boy developmentally right now. As far as the future, we have no guarantees, but for now we are going to continue moving forward with the homestudy. We're just going to have to trust that God is with us through all of this and that He is not out to sabotage us. Things might be hard, but I think we can handle it.

I took some pictures of the kids playing with the soccer ball today. It's so cute to see them playing together now. The three of us were rolling the ball back and forth, having a grand old time!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

John and Deb and Hailey came over this evening. They were here for a Cummins-Allison meeting and to meet their new little nephew. It was so great to see them again! We really miss hanging out with them. Hailey and Jaden had a great time playing, too.

We talked to them about the adoption with them and they were very encouraging. Deb told me that they have been praying for us and that they truly believe that this is what God wants for us. But, she reminded me that I need to put God's will above my own and that if this is the child for us, God will put Scott's heart at peace with it. She said that, maybe, if Scott is feeling uncertain, this child is not the child God has planned for our family. It was really good to get her perspective on this. I had been so focused on the fact that it seemed like God did want this to happen, that I never considered the fact that perhaps Scott's feelings were due to the fact that God was giving him a different message. At the same time, Deb told us that the fear we were feeling was not coming from God and that we shouldn't make a decision based on fear, but based on prayer and what it seems that God is telling us. I'm trying hard to do that, but sometimes it's hard to hear what God is truly saying. I know that I felt so strongly a year ago that this was what God wanted. Our Christian friends really seem to support us in this and believe that it is a true leading. It's just hard to figure out moment by moment if we're still being true to his will.

I am praying now that God will give us the answers we need. I pray that He will either give us a sense of peace about this adoption or that He will show us that this is not the child for us and that He has another plan for us. Please, God, show us your will.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Tonight was a rough night. My mom came over and mentioned that my dad said that there are lots of problems that can go with encephalitis. I decided to look on the internet again and this time found a couple of sites with extensive information about encephalitis. These sites said that children who have had encephalitis can develop seizures, lack of short-term memory, behavior issues, balance problems, vision problems... the list goes on. And, many of these things you just wouldn't be able to detect in a child as young as Louis is - we just don't know if he will have these problems in the future.

This freaked us out quite a bit. Scott and I talked about it and Scott basically said, "I don't think that I can handle that."

I was so sad - even though I'm scared about what could happen, I'm already pretty attached to little Louis. And things felt like they were moving along so well - like they were meant to be. It just made me start to question all over again what it is that God wants from us.

I felt somewhat reassured when I read more and more stories of children with encephalitis. It seemed that in the worst cases, the children were pretty bad right from the start - couldn't eat, couldn't drink from a bottle, couldn't roll over, had seizures. It seemed that kids who were developing on target (like Louis is supposedly doing - for a child in Haiti) or a bit behind weren't that bad. Also, I found several instances of children who were left deaf by encephalitis, but didn't have any other major problems.

But, Scott didn't think that he wanted to risk it. I spent much of the night just crying, wondering what was supposed to happen.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Another day spent in the pool. Well, first we went to church. Today's service was about how we often define ourselves by our relationships and we try to fill our "God shaped hole" with other people. It was a really good service. After it was over, I gave the letter that I wrote to Mike Breaux. Well, technically, I gave it to the woman who was standing next to Mike. I saw someone else hand him a card, and he gave it to her to hold for him, so I just went over and gave her the letter. I could hardly believe how nervous I was just to give him the letter. Luckily, I was able to get it to him and still avoid talking to him about it ahead of time. I'm such a wimp!!

So, the rest of the day was spent in the pool. It was hot out!!

In the evening, we put the back storm door up. We had wanted to do it earlier, but it was just too hot - we couldn't manage to stay out of the pool!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Today, was part-busy, part-lazy. We spent the first part of the day lounging in the pool. I decided to bake a cake, just for the heck of it and Danielle was really cute - she managed to spread the chocolate all over her face and then she would yell "Yaaaaa!" with this huge smile on her face. Oh boy!

Scott and I made a run to the grocery store, then went to the HOBO (Home Owners Bargain Outlet) store. Then we went to Ponderosa and did a secret shop there. The dinner was alright, but not that great. Luckily, we got it for free since it was for a secret shop.

After dinner, Scott and I went to Menards and bought new storm doors for the front and back. I can't believe how hard it was to pick out just a couple of storm doors. We stressed so much just over what color to get. Oh well.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Today the kids and I went to visit Linda and the girls in New Berlin. Jaden loved Krista and Molly's new swingset! I was pretty darn impressed myself. It's really almost like having a little park in their backyard. There is a 30x30 area sectioned off with railroad ties and the whole area has woodchips in it. It has their swingset, teeter totter, playhouse and sandbox in it. Pretty nifty! Of course, it also cost quite a bit - apparently the gravel and woodchips cost more than twice the swingset! But, it sure turned out neat!

While we were there, I told Linda about the fact that we are pursuing the adoption of little Louis. She seemed really excited and wanted to hear all of the details. I even showed her his picture on the website.

Then, tonight, I called Scott's mom to tell her about everything. She and Linda are driving to St. Louis tomorrow to see little Baby Spencer. I didn't want Linda to feel weird and not be able to say anything to Elaine about it, so I wanted to make sure to call and tell her myself tonight.

Other than that, not much to say about today. I called a homestudy agency and they are sending us a packet with information and an application. We went in the pool after Scott got home from work. That's about it.

I couldn't sleep tonight, so I ended up staying up till 12:30 AM, writing a letter to Mike Breaux. I really hope that Willow can do something to raise awareness about adoption and possibly even raise money to go toward adopting families. It breaks my heart to see so many children waiting.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Wow! On the surface, today could have seemed like a very uneventful day. I took Jaden in the pool during Danielle's nap. And I also went in the pool when the kids were napping. And then we all went in the pool once Scott got home from work. Gee, what a tough day! In the evening, we went to the Bookmobile with the kids, which was kind of neat. The bookmobile is a little library on wheels that comes to our neighborhood once a week - it's part of the local library that we've been to, so we could return our books there.

One funny thing that happened today, though - Jaden said he needed to go potty and then he said "I want to go all by myself." Wanting to give him a little independence and confidence, I said "Ok, you can go by yourself." A minute or later, I hear him calling out from the bathroom, "I'm standing up and going pee pee!" Immediately, I was a bit worried. I knew that the stool was not in front of the toilet and that the seat was down, with the Dora potty seat on top of it. I went into the bathroom to see Jaden standing on the stool, which was next to the toilet, peeing. Most of the pee was arcing completely over the toilet - onto the wall and the floor next to it. Oops! I explained to Jaden that he needs to have Mommy or Daddy help if he wants to pee standing up. He agreed. "It's hard to do," he said. Yep, I guess that about sums it up.

So, not much happened today, right? Wrong! As of tonight, it looks like we're adopting a little boy! We got some more information from Robin about Louis and the more that Scott and I talked about it, the more we felt that this orphanage and this boy sounded great. I wrote back to Robin and told her that we would like her to go ahead and send us the list of paperwork that we would need to file. Later, I was talking to my mom and she said that she didn't see Louis in the list of children (on the page that I sent her a link to). I thought at first that she must be crazy, but when I went to the page, his name wasn't there. So, I decided to take a look at their "Our Babies" page, which lists all of their kids, even those that already have families waiting for them. Sure enough, there was Louis with a blue border around his picture - to quote the site, "The babies that are highlighted Blue already have a family." Wow! I couldn't believe it when I saw that. We hadn't even started our homestudy yet. I had no idea that she was going to put him on hold for us! Was it really happening? Did Louis have a family? The thought of it now makes me cry. There's a part of me that thinks it still won't work out and that it's not real, but then there's another part of me that feels like God is purposely making this happen quickly so that we can't overanalyze and back out. I prayed that he would let us know if this is meant to be - put a stumbling block in our way early on if this was not the path he wanted for us. And here we are -not a stumbling block in sight. The fact that the people from Children of the Promise are such strong Christians is also reassuring to me. I know that they are also praying about what is best for Louis and they obviously feeling led toward us as well. I'm really excited (and a little bit scared) about this whole prospect!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Today would have been a relatively unremarkable day, if it weren't for the fact that we got information about little Louis. I found out that he is still available and found more information on him on the website for Children of the Promise (the orphanage where he is living). Scott and I read about Children of the Promise and were really impressed with how wonderful this place seems to be. What a blessing to have this kind of resource in Haiti. We also looked up a bit more about Haiti. We're both so incredibly sheltered - we knew nothing about this country - not even where it is located. It turns out that Haiti is just south of Cuba, near the Dominican Republic. They speak French there (thus, Louis full name - Louines Pierre). I have also heard the language called Creole, but I need to look into that further to see if it is a French dialect or if it is its own language. It seems that there has been a bit of unrest in Haiti recently, so it's not the most stable country to adopt from, but we really feel good about the orphanage and about this little boy. At the end of the day, Scott and I decided to fill out a preliminary application to adopt from Children of the Promise.

Other than learning about Louis, not much happened today. Jaden, Danielle and I went to the library to return the Veggie Tales movie and Jaden played at the park behind the library. The park is really cute - it's has a castle theme. Wish I would have brought my camera there.

I did take some pictures of Jaden "writing" his thank-you notes from his birthday. He colored them and then I wrote them. Pretty cute.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Really not much to say about the day today. I was pretty tired most of the day because I got so little sleep last night. Took a nap during the kids' nap.

They are working on our street now and they poured cement, but didn't tell anyone - so now everyone drove through it and there's cement marks everywhere. Seems like they would have closed off the road and told people to park someplace else. Oh well! (Got a picture of the cement and Scott's tires). Oops! Scott just informed me that I was being silly about the concrete. Apparently, they just cut a groove in the concrete that is already there. When they cut it, it creates dust which then gets wet. So, I thought that they had poured concrete when really they had just cut the road! Silly me!

I noticed today that Danielle is able to stand up without holding onto anything now. It amazes me how much she chooses to walk instead of crawl now.

Scott helped Jaden ride his bike to the park today! He rode all the way there. I got a distant shot of them going. I was going to get a picture of him riding back, but instead I got a picture of Scott carrying Jaden and the bike back! It was pretty cute. Scott said that Jaden did a great job riding all the way to the park, though.

When Jaden and Scott got back, we all stayed outside for a little while. Jaden's newest thing is that he wants to pull Danielle in the wagon. He actually does amazingly well.

This evening, I sent an email to a woman from Until All Have Homes, which is a group that helps find homes for special needs children. I wanted to know if a child that I had heard about on the Deaf Adoption Yahoo group was still available. He is a little boy named Louis, who is in Haiti. He had encephalitis, and because of this, is now deaf.

Things I love about you...

I love holding hands and taking a walk with you
I love snuggling on the couch with you and watching a movie
I love it when you read to me
I love practicing sign language with you
I love the fact that you let me teach you things that you have absolutely no interest in; but you let me do it anyway because you know I like it
I love the fact that you're writing this journal so we can read about the kids when we're old and remember what they were like when they were young
I love talking to you
I love our adventures
I love playing games with you
I love watching you when you don't know I'm watching
I love you

I love Honey!


I wanted to make a special entry for notes on the kids. I thought that if I separated out these notes, I will be able to find them more easily later.

So, here are some things about the kids that I don't want to forget:

The way that Jaden says "tr" as "f". He talks about trucks a lot, so this leads to some embarrassment around other people. But, it's still pretty funny. Oh, and he doesn't say "gl" at all, so don't ask him about his glass. An update on this - Just a week or so after I wrote this, Jaden is doing much better on saying these letter combinations! He now usually says "trrruck" and "g-lass". It's cute how he has to emphasize the second letter in order to say words like this.

I love Danielle's laugh and her little buck-teeth. Her smile is so adorable! I love the gap between her two front teeth.

I love Danielle's birthmark. I don't know why, but I think that it is the sweetest little thing! One of my favorite things about the pictures of Danielle that I recently got at Flash Photography is the fact that I can see her little birthmark on her back.

I love watching Danielle copy Jaden. Lately, I've seen her doing things that I know she picked up from Jaden. One of those things is that she crawls around with shoes on her hands. He loves to put shoes on his hands and feet and crawl around on the floor playing "dinosaur". Now, I see her putting shoes on her hands the same way. She's also constantly roaring like a dinosaur. I also love seeing her push little cars around on the floor because I know that that's what she sees her brother do all the time.

I love going in and kissing Jaden goodnight right before I go to bed. Often, he wakes up just a little bit and we are able to tell him we love him and get a kiss from him. He's so cute in this half-asleep state. For awhile, he went through a stage where he took his clothes off every night, so we would have to put them back on him when we went in. He would drowsily help us dress him - lifting an arm for us, sitting up when we asked him to - and then he would flop back down and immediately go back to sleep. I'm so glad that he's not a light sleeper (like Danielle is)!

Jaden always has to be right. Often, after he says something, just any little thing, he'll say "Mommy, say 'You're right.'" Even if he's wrong, he insists that I tell him he's right. Oh boy! Guess he got that from Daddy! :-)

Some cute things that Jaden says lately:
"I so sawee Danielle, I never mean to do that." (after pushing her over or something, of course)

Differences between Jaden & Danielle:
Danielle seems like so much more of a baby than Jaden did at one-year-old! I saw a picture of Jaden at his one year birthday and wow! did he look like such a big boy!!
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he had so much more hair than her. I think he had his first haircut at about 9 months old and she (at over 13 months old) still has just barely a wisp of hair.
He also had such a round little face and big huge eyes. She is generally much leaner than him.
He was also always such an active little boy. She is much calmer. She is content to come and sit with us or to play quietly with a toy. He was always so rambunctious - Constantly on the move. He was walking at 9 1/2 months and climbing up onto things very soon after that. She is just now starting to walk and loves to just stand and check things out.
Overall, I think that she is much more even-tempered than Jaden. She has her moments when she gets upset, and she certainly gets whiny sometimes (especially when it comes to meals), but in general she is very calm and happy. She is almost always smiling. She is such a wonderful little sweet girl. Jaden was wonderful and sweet too, but in a much more energetic way.
As far as language goes, I think that Danielle is probably pretty much in the same place that Jaden was. She doesn't really say much of anything real, and I don't think that he did at this age either. But I seem to remember that by this time he was already "talking" like crazy - having these elaborate conversations in his own language, using inflection and everything. I could be wrong on that though - he could have started that later. At any rate, I think this would just be one more example of him being in "high gear" - just more energetic.

Monday, July 11, 2005

First thing this morning, we got a call from Joel - Sharon is in labor!! Apparently, she started having contractions at 1 AM and went into the hospital at 3:30 AM. When I told Jaden that Auntie Sharon was having a baby and that he was going to have a new cousin, he said "Can we go see them?" It was so cute.

Spencer Cameron Harris was born at 1:25 PM and weighed 7 lbs. 12 ounces. Sounds like everyone's doing great!

Not much to tell about today (besides the new baby, of course). My mom came over like she always does on Mondays. The biggest thing that happened today is that Jaden wore underwear the whole day and didn't have an accident! Yay for Jaden!

Oh, and I suppose I should mention that Scott and I worked until 3:30 in the morning (technically on the 12th). We needed to deploy C-A's new site, and all sorts of things went wrong. By the time we finished, my brain was really fried! And then, of course, I couldn't fall asleep. The last time I looked at the clock it was 5 AM. After that, I fell asleep, but I also saw the clock at 6:30 AM, so I obviously didn't get much sleep.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Today at church, Mike Breaux interviewed a 15-year-old girl who lost her arm when she was bitten by a shark two years ago. It was amazing and inspirational to hear about this girl's journey. Just four weeks after her attack, she was back in the ocean, surfing. The thing that really amazed me about her is that it seemed like she never had a moment of "why me?" pity. She said that she and her mother had been praying that she could have more of an impact for God and that when the attack happened, they felt like it must somehow be an answer to prayer. How much faith she must have to immediately jump to that conclusion! I couldn't imagine that that would be my first thought. Obviously, since her attack, she has been an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people, so it was an answer to her prayer. Certainly not the one she had been expecting, I'm sure!

After we got home from church, Linda and Chris and Krista and Molly came over to visit with us and to go swimming. Everyone had lots of fun playing with the new pool toys we got for Jaden's birthday.

When they left and the kids were napping, Scott and I ended up hanging out in the pool together and having a conversation about adopting. I felt like we had kind of avoided the issue lately and I wanted to get a good understanding of how Scott felt about it. I feel so strongly that God was leading us toward adopting a deaf child. I won't go into the details of why that is now - I will leave that for a separate post - but, suffice it to say that I felt like God had made it clear that this was what he wanted for us. Because of this, I feel that if we don't do it, we are basically saying, "Sorry, God, I know what you want me to do, but I don't want to do it." After talking to Scott more, I realize that he has fears about how adding a deaf child to our family would affect us, but that he also feels called toward it - perhaps in different ways than I do. He says that whenever we have a conversation about it, he feels encouraged. He made a joke that now I just need to get him to sign on the dotted line soon after one of those conversations. :-)

When the kids woke up, we decided to watch the Veggie Tales movie "Jonah." Interestingly, the story, of course, is about how Jonah tried to run away from what God told him to do. The moral is that we need to follow God's commands, even when it's not something that's easy for us to do. Neither Scott nor I failed to see the parallels with the conversation that we had earlier today.

Tonight, I went out to dinner at Ruby Tuesdays with Martha and Mary. It was really nice to sit and talk to them for a couple of hours without any children interrupting. I'm really glad that we went.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Today, I went and did a music survey for K-Love and Scott went to Chris and Linda's to help them put together a swingset for the girls. The music survey went well, but the best thing was that I met a girl named Kori who lives in Mundelein. We really hit it off and we ended up exchanging e-mail addresses. So, hopefully, we can get together some time. I would really like to have a friend who lives nearby.

Later, my mom and I took the kids for ice cream. Jaden is so cute when he eats ice cream! I got some great pictures of him with ice cream all over his face. Everyone who came in, commented on how adorabled he looked.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Today, Jaden, Danielle and I went to the park for awhile. Boy, does Jaden love playing in the sand!

Scott came home for lunch - it's so nice to see him during the day!

Then, in the evening, we all went swimming in the pool for awhile. After the kids were in bed, Scott and I watched a movie called "The Sea Inside". It was about a man who was a quadriplegic who basically fought his whole life for the right to to assisted suicide. It was a good movie, but I couldn't help but feel conflicted about the main character. He obviously touched some people in very real ways, but it seemed like he had really wasted his life just because he didn't think that it was good enough to bother living. He didn't want to use a wheelchair because he thought that it wouldn't help him enough, so he just basically laid in his bed for 28 years. It was interesting to imagine how someone could be stubborn enough to spend 28 years fighting to die and refusing to live.

The highlight of the day so far has been going to the park with the kids. Jaden had lots of fun playing in the sand - making sand castles and "pizzas". Danielle just looked so cute checking out the wood chips - content to sit under a tree and watch.

Scott came home for lunch today, which always makes for a good day. It was nice for him to be able to sit with me and the kids for a little while.

So, I have a feeling this isn't going to be a particularly eventful day, but I think it will be nice and relaxing, anyway.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

So, today was playgroup day. We went to Mary and Dana's house. Jaden SO looks forward to playing with his friends. I love how excited he gets about seeing them. He is so cute and eager and he plays so well with them now. It just really makes playgroup a great experience. Plus, now that the kids can keep themselves occupied without fighting over toys, us moms are able to talk a lot more.

I put Jaden down for his nap at 1 PM today, and he went to sleep almost right away. Guess I need to be putting him down earlier.

Tonight, Scott and I went to a Mundelein neighborhood Willow Creek meeting. At first, we weren't sure how much we were going to connect with the people there. Most of them were much older than us - many had grandchildren. There was only one other couple that seemed close to our age. But, the further into the meeting that we got, the more we felt at ease and realized that we really do share something with these people, simply by living near them. We were both excited at the prospect of getting involved in some "compassion" activities right here in Mundelein. In October, Willow is going to be celebrating its 30 year anniversary and 30 days of compassion. We are definitely looking forward to doing something for that.

We were also inspired by the "Love your neighbor" theme of the meeting. We both agree that we should try harder to reach out to our new neighbors here - Maybe have a barbeque or something. At the very least, we should open up and try to meet people a bit more often.

So, overall, I think we're excited about this new group of people. Hopefully we can continue to participate in the monthly meetings. Luckily, a couple of the people said that they could hook us up with a babysitter!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The big event for today was going to the library. It was the first time that we had gone since we moved here and maybe the first time since Danielle was born, so I was excited to do something different and fun.

Unfortunately, the trip didn't turn out to be as fun as I was hoping. It's so hard to go anywhere because Danielle generally wakes up from her nap at around 11:30 AM and then the kids usually go down for their afternoon nap at around 1 PM. Often, I put them down later, but sometimes if I try to push the afternoon nap back, I get a very cranky Buddy. Such was the case today.

There was a train table at the library, and Jaden was not being very good at sharing. When he started pushing Danielle out of the way, I decided it was time to go home. Unfortunately, at the thought of going home, he had a MAJOR meltdown. He started crying and trying to push the wooden bench over onto me. At that point, I told him that pushing the bench over would get him a spanking and he started yelling "No spankings, Mommy! No spankings!" I'm sure that everyone in the library thought that I was this horrible child-abusing mother. He would not be calmed down no matter what I did - I was, of course, trying to talk to him as calmly as possible and to reason with him, but it was not working at all. And, of course, I couldn't just pick him up and walk out with him because I had to carry Danielle (who was also fussing at this point). Finally, we somehow managed to get out of the library (with a few books), but by that point, I was pretty much frazzled beyond belief.

Ah well - we came home and Jaden went to bed, but of course, didn't sleep. He didn't go to sleep until after 3:30! I don't know how to manage his nap anymore. Lately, he gets crabby by 2:00 if he isn't in bed by then, but then he doesn't fall asleep until 3 or later. I can't let him sleep past 5 or he'd never go to bed at night. It's very annoying. Oh well. Guess that's just life for now.

When everything was said and done, Jaden loved the dinosaur books that I got for him. So, I guess the trip to the library was a success after all. From now on, we'll use the bookmobile, which comes to our neighborhood every week - How cool!

Well, I guess that's it for today.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The highlight of today for Jaden was getting the tent out. I took some pictures of it. I got this new idea in my head that I want to take some pictures every day that represent the "special" thing that happened that day. I guess I figure that something special happens every day, even if it's just some little cute thing that Jaden or Danielle did. I thought this journal would help me document the thing that I took pictures of that day, especially if it's just a small moment.

So, today, Jaden said - "I want you to put up the tent that's in the tent box." It was so cute - I have no idea when he saw the tent box up in his closet, but he must have seen it recently. So, I got the tent out and put it together. Jaden had a ball in it - He took every "camping accessory" out of the box and brought it in the tent with him, including a flashlight. Danielle liked the tent too - from the outside. She seemed to have no desire to get in. So, she just stood on the outside while he was inside. He would push out at her and she would giggle and push right back. They had lots of fun.

The bad thing about today is that Scott found a tick on Sota's ear. It was huge - it had obviously been there for awhile. I was all freaked out because I was so afraid that he could have had another tick that already fell off. According to the dog book, once a tick has eaten enough, he falls off and then has 5000 larva!! I was so freaked out at the possibility of having 5000 ticks in the house. I'm still a bit nervous that the kids could get bitten by a tick and get lyme disease or something. Urgh!

Of course, the tick incident occurred just before I needed to leave to meet Mary to go see the Star Wars movie. I was really excited about actually going to a movie with a friend. I was hoping that it would make me feel more connected to someone - lately, I don't feel like I really have any true friends. It's hard for me to feel like I don't have any substantial relationships with people who aren't in my family.

So, I went to the movie, and it was good - Unfortunately, a movie is not a particularly bonding event because you don't end up talking much to the person you go with. But, it was still a nice thing to do. I had actually just watched the second Star Wars movie during the day today, since I hadn't seen it yet. So, today was a very Star Wars-ful day!

Monday, July 04, 2005

The big event for today is that my mom and I painted Danielle's room. It turned out so pretty! I was a bit worried that the shade of purple was going to be too dark, but it turned out to be such a beautiful, deep shade. It was so nice to get it done. Now, I just have to plan out how to do the rest of the decorating in her room.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sunday was Krista and Molly's birthday, so we went to Chris' parents' house in the afternoon. We didn't do much of anything during the day because Scott wasn't feeling well. He was having stomach problems all day.

The girls' party was nice. It was nice to see the Paras' new house - very beautiful! One of the highlights of the party for me was that Danielle started really walking a lot more! Before Sunday, she just took a few steps and then fell or decided to crawl. Sunday was the first day that she really tried to walk to get from place to place. It was so sweet to see.

Jaden had fun playing with the girls at the party. It was a bit difficult to get him to sit still while they opened their presents (he wanted to play with their toys!), but overall, we had a very nice evening.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I am actually writing this entry on July 5th, but I want to start my journal with an entry for July 2nd - Jaden's 3rd birthday.

The morning was spent cleaning, preparing for they party to start. Luckily, my mom came over at about 9:00, so she could help us get ready. We're such procrastinators - we were getting ready at the last minuts, as always. Of course, it didn't help that I got a last minute project for Encapsolution on Thursday afternoon, so I spent 6 hours on Friday working on it.

People started arriving at 11 AM. Who came: Grandma and Grandpa Hewitt; Grandma and Grandpa Weddle; Auntie Linda, Uncle Chris, Krista & Molly; Uncle Erin, Auntie Lisa, Kyle & Ryan; Martha, Michael, Elizabeth &Anna Stock; and Laura, Ian, Iana & Heather Howieson.

I was a bit worried that the weather wasn't going to be warm enough to swim - Linda said that it was only supposed to get up to 76 degrees. But the weather turned out perfect. I think it got up to eighty or so, which was warm enough to swim, but not so hot that people who weren't swimming weren't comfortable. The pool turned out to be a highlight of the party. We were really happy with the way that it worked out. Having the pool atttached directly to the deck, is perfect - The people who are in the pool aren't cut off from the rest of the party.

The kids all seemed to really enjoy the pool. Jaden seemed to like it more since his friends were in it too. Normally, Jaden doesn't like to really go in the pool much. Mostly, he just likes to sit on the raft - we have one that dips into the water so he at least gets wet. We try to get him to swim with his water wings or with his tube, but he will usually only do that for a few minutes at a time. He doesn't like for his face to get wet.

Anyway, getting back to the party - all of the kids had lots of fun. Elizabeth, especially, REALLY loved the pool.

I let Jaden pick out the theme for his party. We went to the party store, and I showed him several different themes that he could choose from. He barely glanced at anything but the dinosaurs - He loves dinosaurs! So, we got some dinosaur plates, cups, napkins, etc. and my mom ordered a cake decorated with dinosaurs. Jaden was very excited to eat his cake!

After cake, Jaden opened his presents. He had LOTS of presents, and he got a bit restless opening them. After he opened a few, he just wanted to play with them. He didn't want to keep opening. It was frustrating for him to get so many presents and not be able to play with them right away. He got lots of toys for the pool. Some of the other gifts he got: an Incredibles RC car, a computer game (he loves playing games on the internet - he plays Sesame Street and Playhouse Disney for hours), two Rescue Heroes, a truck that holds matchbox cars, a bat & ball, a memory game, a matching book, and a bicycle (from Mom & Dad).

It was a long party. Scott's parents were the last to leave at about 5 PM. Jaden didn't get a nap that day, so by the time everyone left, he was getting pretty crabby. He spent the last hour before going to bed pretty much crying because his toys wouldn't do what he wanted them to or because something else wasn't going his way. Guess the day was just a little too long and full of excitement for him. But overall, it was a great day!

Scott, my mom and I ended the day by watching a movie. It was called "Rabbit Proof Fence" and was a true story about three half-caste girls in 1930's Australia who were taken from their Aboriginal mothers and brought to an orphanage. Apparently, back then, the white people thought that they were doing them a favor by bringing them up in a more civilized environment. I couldn't believe that they would just take children from their families like that. It was really heartbreaking. Anyway, these children walked for nine straight weeks - over 1200 miles, to get back home - all the while being chased by a tracker. Two of the girls did eventually make it back home, although you found out at the end of the movie that they got caught again (after the oldest girl had already gotten married and had two children) and walked back home again. Apparently, they were able to stay away from the authorities for awhile, but the oldest girls' daughter eventually was taken away and she never saw her again. It was a really heartbreaking story. Hard to believe that people really do such things out of ignorance and trying to "help".

Anyway, that was pretty much the day. Pretty eventful!