Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Angel for Leo

I have been thinking about this a lot the past couple of weeks. I look at Leo and I see so much of my Dad. I sit and think "Dad would get the biggest kick out of Leo right now". And it's hard for me to say that "Dad would love this", because I know that he DOES love Leo. Because you see, I am quite sure that Leo has a Guardian Angel watching over him right now. An Angel that whispers in his ear "just a little faster, and you COULD make it to the Dog's dish, and it will be SO much fun"; one that pokes Leo in the belly while he is sleeping, to make him laugh in his dreams; one that says "hey Leo, puppies ARE fun, you should play with all of them...", and "it's okay to torment Rosie, she needs it".

I look at my son, and I know in my heart that the same blood did not run in my Dad and Leo's veins. But I find it funny that the month my Dad passed away was the month that Leo gained 2.2 pounds in Ethiopia. And then I see Leo giving off this huge, no-holds-bar grin, from ear to ear, and I can't help but think of Dad's goofy grin. The other day I made the comment "I'm a little worried about school with Leo... I have a feeling we have a class clown on our hands", and my next thought was how much my Dad always loved to goof around and play jokes on people. And I see how much Leo chases after his sister, and gets a kick out tormenting Miss E... Now, I'm not saying that Dad loved tormenting his big sister, but he DID always love a good poke at her.

And now I can't help but wonder where else Leo's angel will lead him. Some good places I'm sure, and more often than not some mischievous places. Honestly, it makes me exhausted to think about raising a little Graydon Leo. But it puts a smile on my face, and slightly heals the place in my heart that misses my Dad so much.

Thanks for watching over him Dad, it makes us so happy to know that you are around to watch over us. But could you do me a favor? Tell him to be easy on Rosie, she needs a little break!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Little about Leo...

He's a lover, not a fighter... Unless his sister's hair is involved, then he doesn't give up the fight..

He's a talker (who knows what he is saying, but we love listening to his jabber).

He moves like a bat out of... well, you know where.

He moves at lightening speed when the gate is open to the kitchen (to get to the dog's dish), and also when the bathroom door is open (the toilet bowl brush is fascinating).

He will get up on his hands and knees, and he will rock, rock, rock... and then drop to his belly and army crawl across the floor.

He really likes baths.

He can get the entire living room rug wet when he splashes in his little bath tub.

He can no longer take baths in the living room.

He likes to explore.

He gets stuck under chairs. A lot.

He follows us all over the house.

He likes to pat your cheek.

Pat-a-cake is a GREAT game in his eyes.

If you want to hear him giggle, play peek a boo.

He has THE BEST giggle.

Sometimes he stops breathing when he giggles.

Don't continue to make him giggle when he isn't breathing anymore.

He likes to talk himself to sleep, but don't talk back because he won't go to sleep then.

He loves a good back massage (just like his Mommy).

He is stuck under my chair now.

He grunts like a boy. A lot.

His poop face is even cuter than Miss E's (and he has to go into the crawling position to poop).

He likes to look out the front door.

Trees fascinate him.

He is not afraid of grass.

Swinging was a little scary at first, but now he thinks it's kinda cool.

He LOVES food.

He finds the smallest things on the floor, and he puts them in his mouth.

He just now finally admitted to me that he was stuck under my chair (so like a man).

He has his Daddy wrapped, just like his sister does.

He doesn't like baby toys, he likes Miss E's toys.

His sister can do no wrong in his eyes.

He has already had his sister's bedroom door slammed in his face 5 times.

Doors slamming in his face make him cry.

His sister is still warming up to him. But she is very good at calming him down when he is crying.

He has a pretty cute cry, and a GREAT chin quiver.

He has the best smile.

He is the perfect little boy.

We are SO blessed! Love ya Leo!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Too good to be true!

I have two napping kids! Woo hoo! I have my Mom's computer here right now, so I'm going to post a few of my favorites from her 500+ pictures that she has taken of Leo...

I have a moment...

My Mom has Emme at the store, little Leo is sleeping, I have had my coffee, AND I have showered... I have a moment now to update you on our family!

Our trip went great. The flights were all on time, our luggage arrived with us, and we made it back to the guesthouse to unpack on Saturday night.

Sunday morning we woke up early, got ourselves ready (a little nervously, mind you), triple checked that we had everything we needed, and we headed to the bus. We took a trip 3.5 hours south of Addis. We arrived at Hosanna, and began our wait to meet an extremely important person. Finally it was our turn, my stomach was in knots, I probably didn't make much eye contact at first because I was SO nervous.

We were in a small little room with the one person that my son will have questions about for the rest of his life. What do we ask this person? We fumbled through our meeting with questions and comments for our son's birth family. About an hour after the meeting I started to think of more questions for them. I cried at the mid point of the meeting, and I was nervous wreck. I just kept thinking "how can I express what I am feeling right now". After the meeting we took our picture with them, and I just looked at those eyes (my son's eyes), and I said "Thank you" and then I remembered that they didn't understand English. So I said "AH-mah-say-guh-NAH-loh" (thank you in Amharic), then I shrugged, held up a finger and said "One word, the only word I know in Amharic". I got a small laugh from this special person, and then I said "Oh, actually it's TWO words" while holding up two fingers, "Ee-Shee" (okay in Amharic). I got a bigger laugh this time and a response of "Ee-shee, ee-shee".

Then we had the Entrustment Ceremony. This is where the Birth Family passes a candle over to the Adoptive Family, and we all pray for the child that connects us and creates our own special family unit. We then had to say good-bye. Oh boy, was this hard! We got the customary three kisses on the cheek, and then an extra hand kiss. I just wanted to grab onto that hand again and say "thank you" over and over again. But I just watched them walk out of the room, a little piece of my heart walking out of the room with them. The bus ride home was long, after such an emotional day. That night we were ready for a good nights sleep, after such a hard day.

The next day we went to go see the little man! We walked into the room and he just looked at us pretty non chalantly. Our agency tapes our first meeting, so we received this video at the end of our trip. We spent a couple of hours with him at the care center, and then we brought him back to the guest house that afternoon for a trial run. He took pictures of him, we video taped him giggling (he has an awesome giggle), and we just took him ALL in! He took a bottle right away, so we had no worries with him bottle feeding. He sure likes his food!

Tuesday morning was Embassy, and he was a champ in the waiting room. At one point we had him giggling like crazy (he had the whole waiting room watching him), and when he was done he looked around at everyone and gave this look like "what, can't a kid giggle?". He was perfect! The appointment went seamlessly, and we headed back to the Care Center to drop the kids off for the last time. We returned to the Care Center at 3 for the Farewell Ceremony. Oh, don't worry, I didn't cry AT ALL through this (just kidding), and then he was placed in our arms forever. And then he pooped through his traditional Ethiopian clothes! It was truly a special moment (ha ha). We cleaned him up, and then we headed back to the guest house.

The rest of our time was spent getting to know little Leo. He is a great kid, and we are so Blessed with such a fun little guy! Oh, and our big news on the little man front...

HE CRAWLS!! And he doesn't stop! Already he has gotten into more predicaments than Emme EVER did! Oh well, I guess that's Boys vs. Girls! We are so proud of our little boy, he has gone through SO much in his short life and we can't believe how far he has come!

Our flight home was okay, we didn't have a bassinet seat for the first 6.5 hour flight. So we struggled through bed time with him (he just wanted to stretch out), but the second and third flight went AWESOME! We arrived home, so excited to see Miss E.

Here we are the first time as a family of FOUR!

Leo loves his big siter, Emme doesn't quite know what to think. She THINKS she likes him... Until he takes her baby, or knocks over her tray, or grabs her hair. But we keep telling her that is what little brothers do. She does love to give him bottles, and feed him. I love hearing her say "It's okay baby" whenever he cries, and she loves to pat his head.

This week we have been dealing with a double ear infection (Leo), and strep (Emme, my mom, and I). So we have had illnesses and schedule changes to deal with. But all in all, it feels like we have been a family of four for a LONG time. I have tons more pictures to share, and those will come with time.

Right now, I have a baby to get back to and a little girl that needs help with her Barbie... Later!