Saturday, November 29, 2008

Snapperbowl Game 2

I didn't post any photos from game two of the big boys so my mom and dad thought I was crazy talking about how big the boys were. The photos I posted were from Game ONE, not Game TWO, so here are some photos of the big boys. Note it took TWO of our boys to hold ONE of theirs. One of our boys got his knee sprained and a broken finger. Most of our kids are bruised and sore. Josh has bruises all over his arms and chest. Poor things!!

Happy 8 Month Birthday Ellie!!

Six months ago today, Kevin, Josh and I were sitting in an orphanage on the other side of the world in Tokmok singing Happy Birthday to our two month old pumpkin, Ellie. Today, what a contrast, we are sitting in a condo on the beach with the doors open and the ocean rushing up to the shore. Ellie is sitting up in her Bumpo sitting laughing with her brother -- fatter and (I hope) happier. She is "talking" to him in baby talk and he's kissing her.

Kevin and I spent this morning in the bed with her after she woke up talking about all she had experienced in the five weeks since she's been home and seven weeks since she's been with me.

She is now sitting on her own, laughing, blowing raspberries (her favorite thing right now!!), notices everything (and I mean that head is swirling constantly taking it all in). She has been in four states and two countries. She has travelled all the way around the world and made an eight hour car ride and did very well on both. She's been to football games, basketball games, school, Kevin's work, to church, to Wal-mart, attended a baby shower in her honor, and several other "first" places. She has gained at least two pounds and is eating solids better and has gone from drinking 4-6 ounces every four hours to drinking 8 ounces about every 6 hours. She has gone from waking up A WHOLE LOT in the night to sleeping 6-7 hours (just happened here in Florida). She has gone from back arching and screaming at bedtime to cuddling up and laying her head on our shoulders and just going to sleep. She has gone from not knowing how to play to playing with everything she can get her hands on. She cackles laughing now and she's ticklish under her neck and in her tummy. Her hair has begun to grow and her "bald spot" in the back is about half filled back in. She LOVES people and will smile and laugh at almost everyone. She is attaching well as when someone else holds her she constantly looks for us and then eventually, if they hold her too long, she cries and reaches for us. She has just begun to stick her hands out to be picked up or to go from one person to another. She seems to love her grandparents and nana a whole lot, too! We are certain she is still saying, "HI!" I'll have to get this on video so the readers can vote. She's gone from 0-3 months clothes being a little big to 3-6 months fitting pretty well. She is just happy pretty much all the time.

The changes are phenomenal for such a short period of time. I can't wait to see the changes in the next few month. We are so blessed to have her -- she was certainly worth the wait!!

As we sang to her today, she got the biggest grin and cackled happily. Happy Birthday Ellie!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving - Snapperbowl

We are currently in Florida. Isn't this a lovely place??

Several members of Joshua's football team have travelled to Florida to play in the annual Thanksgiving Day Snapperbowl. We brought our friends, Braiden and Kirstin with us. They had not been to the ocean before, so that has been a lot of fun -- getting to experience the ocean with them for the first time. Many of the kids go to school with Braiden and Kirstin has a friend from school who came with her grandparents so everyone has someone to play with which is great.

All the kids have been a great help with Ellie and she is just in love with Kirstin. She lights up like a Christmas tree when she sees her. She has really enjoyed having lots of kids around.

Ellie got her first trip to the ocean as well and she pretty much had the same reaction as Josh did when he was her age and first went to the beach. She doesn't care for the sand and the ocean scares her. She did, however, LOVE the spa. She has been sporting her bikini, and I'm proud to report, she has gained enough weight that her tummy sticks out on her bathing suit. Considering how small she was and is, this is a GOOD thing.

We had Thanksgiving as a team yesterday. Everyone brought a dish and we had LOTS of food. And while it was nice, I really missed being at home with family on Thanksgiving. It was nice to do it once -- we'd promised Josh for two year that we'd let him go one year -- but I doubt we'll do it again. I want to be home for the holidays. We are VERY THANKFUL this year, to have Ellie HOME with us. She is certainly one of our many blessings. We are thankful that we can share Joshua's excitement as he comes to Florida to pursue his passion. We are thankful for so many things. It has been a hard, but very rewarding year.

The boys lost both games they played in. The first team was really good, and the second team was NOT made up of 10 year old boys -- they were the biggest kids I've ever seen. One of the kids on the team came off the field and told the coach, "Coach, that kid was shaving while I was trying to tackle him." They were also a team that showed very poor sportsmanship, threatening at one point to "kill" the quarterback -- resulting in a 10 (or 15, I can't remember) yard penalty and a stern warning from the referees. Why that kid wasn't taken out, I don't know. The boys literally got beaten all over the field. There was no possible way our boys could have held this team off. I'm not kidding at all when I say some of them were at least 7th or 8th graders. They were MUCH taller than our kids and our boys reported they had deep voices -- like someone older. They never took a knee when a boy got hurt. They earned a flag on at least 95% of their plays, making the game go longer and longer because they kept getting penalized. It was a horrible experience for all involved.

This is the trophy we got for "showing up". Mr. Poss called it the "trophy for the team whose members didn't shave."
This is Josh after the really hard game. He had trouble bringing down these kids and THIS boy is strong.
We are glad to have tomorrow (Saturday) off to just enjoy the pools and beaches. We'll then start home on Sunday.
The kids have all had a great time playing in the ocean.

These are some of my favorite photos of the sunset.

Ellie (and her mom) have discovered some type of "cookie" called "Mum Mums" that sort of dissolve in baby's mouth. Ellie is pretty fond of them as you can see. I've not seen these back home so I got a couple of boxes to take home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary - to Me!!

Kevin and I have celebrated our 14th Anniversary -- driving eight hours to Florida with four children in a mini-van for Josh to play in a football tournament.

Our special breakfast was at the drive-thru of McDonalds, followed by a lovely lunch at KFC and an elegant dinner of take-out Burger King (because we forgot the diaper bag in the room and Ellie had a blow-out as soon as we ordered). Yay.

However, we are thankful that we have not become a statistic representative of a failed marriage. We are committed to one another and our family and love one another. That's more than enough for us and doesn't require special meals, fancy presents or anything. We have been blessed with a happy (most of the time *smile*) home and with each other -- although some days Kevin probably doesn't think he's got such a blessing and some days, as is normal I guess, I'm ready to throw Kevin out with the trash. *big smiles* But, down deep, we know that we will do everything humanly possible to make our marriage work -- while relying on God and our faith to make to truly work.

Love you, Kevin!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday KEVIN!!!

I'm a day behind. I'm sorry. Life just sneaks up on you some days.

Saturday was my Kevin's birthday. Wonderful hubby that he is, he didn't even complain that I haven't had time to go out to get him a birthday card or cake. I sent him to Wal-mart to GET HIS OWN CAKE -- can you BELIEVE that???? He LOVE LOVE LOVES ice-cream cakes and he got a fantastic one there that we've all been enjoying.

I hope he understands that it wasn't lack of love, but lack of energy and time that made me be so very lax on his birthday this year. I'm normally a phenomenal birthday girl -- breakfast in bed, cards, gifts, etc. Not this year. I'm still working on "finding my groove" (Stella, could you send me an email telling me how you got yours back???) after little one's arrival. Slowly, but surely, it's getting there, but with the holidays and such, I suspect it will be 2009 before I find myself again (if I ever do).

BUT... the wishes are still there. Kevin, even though I complain (a lot, I'm sorry), I know that I could never function without you. You are so helpful and kind and are always helping out. You try to help everyone in any way you can and are generous with your time and talents to many. You are a GREAT father and I appreciate how you don't mind the middle of the night feedings, changing poopy diapers, doing laundry and dishes and taking Ellie with you so I can get quiet time to get things done. You are a good man, a good husband, a good Christian, a good father. I am blessed to have you as a husband. Happy Birthday!!!

As an update, I forgot a funny about his birthday. Only a few people will REALLY appreciate this (Elizabeth, Marleen, Allison). When we went to Kyrg, we were supposed to bring all these gifts for these various people. I went out and bought the requisite number, including a nice desk set for the judge. When it came packing time and we were within 1/2 pound of being over on all our luggage, something had to go. Because the desk set was in a fairly large box, I just took it out and figured I could get something there. Turns out, I didn't even NEED a gift for him. Kevin had told me he'd like to have set like that one, so ... for his birthday, he got the Judge's present. :-0 Granted, he knew who it was originally for, and he didn't care, but it's just pretty funny (and pretty lazy on my part too, I suppose). But, he got a present and one he liked, and that's all that really matters.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

McJoyful Christmas -- Can YOU Help?

I have, on average 250 hits a day to this site -- approximately 1500 hits per week, probably not 1500 unique hits, but nonetheless a significant enough number that I think that my wonderful blog readers might be willing to help a great cause -- to change lives.

Last year, while we were contemplating adopting from Kyrgyzstan and while I was researching, I came across a story about an organization that provides a trip to McDonald's at Christmas for children. I remember being SO MOVED by this story because it was the only time these children had EVER been to McDonald's -- a trip we make all too frequently. These children were so excited about this trip, they took home the Happy Meal boxes, wrappers and all. Stop for a minute and imagine that kind of excitement and happiness. When was the last time you felt that kind of appreciation for something?

There is no McDonald's in Kyrgyzstan. However, apparently there is a place that is very similar that John Wright knows of and is trying to make a "Simple Dream" come true for 65 kids in Kyrgyzstan. $1000 would provide transportation, a meal and a small gift for these children for Christmas. I read on Cindy LaJoy's blog, that her son Kenny asked why Santa doesn't come to Kyrgyzstan? Why not indeed? Stop again for a minute and think about how we take for granted that on Christmas Day we will have a gift of some kind. Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday and Kyrgyzstan is typically not a Christian country, but does that mean we should not show them the love of Christ by giving? I don't think so. Cindy has issued a challenge to her blog readers to give enough for this dream and her sons will give her a pie in the face. How fun!!

At our house this year, there will not be a lot of gift giving to others -- simply because we have just returned home with our most special gift and the financial aspects surrounding the adoption this year have been large. We knew that, and we are ok with it. However, we are going to help make this dream happen. Do you think that your small $5 or $10 won't help? Definitely not true.

If I may be presumptuous and say: if you have plans for a gift for The Lathams this year, please consider making a donation to this project instead. There is a link to the upper right saying, "Donate Now". Click that link and you will be taken to a site for Canada Helps. Under "fund designation", choose "The Wright Stuff" and you can write in "McJoyful Christmas". We are blessed beyond any gift -- we have our daughter home, thanks to the help of so many others. We'd like to "pay it forward" and help children who are still there who don't know that Jesus exists. I've provided links throughout this post to direct you to the place where you can give online. If you don't feel comfortable giving online and still want to support this cause, email me at and we'll figure a way to make it work.

While I was writing this, I went over to the Simple Dreams website that John has set up to allow folks to give to specific projects. I should not have done this while I should be sleeping (it's 3 a.m. -- just after a feeding) because I may not be able to sleep now. So many of the "dreams" he has listed for sponsorship have broken my heart: a birthday party for children who have NEVER had one $25; a trip to the dentist, $20; handmade blankets for the winter, $18.75; a "Dump Run" (taking soup and bread to those rummaging through the dump for food), $25; socks, underwear and toothbrush for the elderly living in what constitutes a nursing home, $9.75; photo albums for children to have pictures of themselves, $7.35 per album and $75 for a batch of photos to be processed -- how many photos do you take a day or week or month? Can you imagine having NONE of yourself? These are SIMPLE ways to change a life. These are INEXPENSIVE ways to change a life. Shouldn't Christmas be about MORE than just getting more "stuff" that will end up in the trash?

Visit the site, read the stories, see the photos -- let your heart speak to you. You can donate directly from this site and a tax deductible receipt can be provided. I hope I can sleep ... I suspect I won't be able to, because I have been there; I have seen these images first hand; I know the need. I know money is tight all around. I stop to think what I can sacrifice -- and how small it would be and probably never missed (a few sodas, eating out once, a magazine or two, generic instead of name brand, skipping ONE movie) -- to help make a change that will be HUGE in the lives of children and elderly. We are helping -- will you help too?

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Birthday Photos and "Me Do It Myself"

Here are a couple of photos from Josh's birthday. He came home early from school today -- still not feeling quite up to par. He had birthday cake and didn't even finish a whole piece, so I knew he didn't feel well. We did pretty much NOTHING all day (except that I worked on paperwork). I wonder what he wished for . . .

On another front, Ellie has decided she WILL eat, but as I told Kevin she has a "Me Do It Myself" attitude. She MUST have her own spoon (in addition to the one you will actually feed her with) and you have to work around that spoon to put the food in. She will then work her spoon around in her mouth (and all over her face) "doing it herself". It's a huge mess, but she seems to enjoy it a lot and she's eating a lot better this way. We have also found that she prefers foods with a thicker consistency. Today she had mac and cheese and chicken noodle dinner with some peaches and apple juice. We started her Zan*tac today so we'll see if that helps with her reflux. I certainly hope so. The jury is out about sleep tonight. Hopefully a fully tummy, going to bed a bit later and her reflux medicine might mean she'll sleep longer than four hour stretches. Fingers are crossed.