Sunday, December 16, 2007

THREE years old, THREE parties!

Celebrating Elias' 3rd birthday has been a ton of fun! He had his first party when we first arrived in Texas with all his cousins since not all of them would be in town for his real birthday party.


His next party was on his actual birthday in Austin at Aunt Meg's house. While he was sleeping we worked hard on making these little car cakes. They were awesome and he loved it! Best of all though, Elias could actually eat these cakes since they were wheat, egg, and dairy free! The neighbor kids came over and we stuffed ourselves, then jumped in the car for Dallas, which was an extra long drive (6 hours!) b/c of bad weather.




Finally, we celebrated in Dallas at Nani's house with grandparents, cousins, friends, and aunts and uncles. This time he had a Lightning McQueen cake that Lulo (Chase's mom) did and it turned out perfect!




A boy's best friend

Elias really loves dogs! He always tries to go right next to Checkers or Brio and mimic whatever they are doing.

Nothin' Like a Texas Hill Country Sunset

A wonderful welcome on our first night back in Texas.



Moving Pictures

Playing in the empty moving trailer was lots of fun for two-year-old boys!




PACKING THE HOUSE
Before


During


After

UNLOADING IN AUSTIN
All of this...


Had to fit into here....

Chase is a master at life-size Tetras. It all fit, with room for more!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lessons I've Learned

It's been a whirlwind the past 6 weeks and this poor little blog has suffered terribly. But I'm happy to say that we survived our cross-country move, and while we are not necessarily settled in yet, it does feel good to have that all behind us. Here are the biggest lessons I've learned:

1. Never, ever agree to your husband packing just his tools and then leaving for his new job while you stay behind to take care of the kid, pack the whole house, negotiate sale contracts on the house, sell the car (and then not have one for a whole week), say goodbye to friends and also continue working in your own job up until the very last week.
2. You should always buy triple the rolls of tape that you think you need.
3. You will absolutely use all the boxes that are piled on your front porch.
4. No matter how much stuff you get rid of, you will still have a million more boxes to pack.
5. Basements are really just black holes for tossing and storing things that you will never, ever use.
6. Going back to the house for one last time to pack just two more boxes will really turn into FIVE more times and FIFTY more boxes.
7. When every item is finally packed and loaded, the truck will drive away and you will silently hope that a fireball from heaven will crash into the trailer and destroy your stuff so that you don't ever have to see it again.
8. I will always offer to help every friend in their moving process and I will stay by their side when they are delirious and crying and walking in circles. (Thank you Jayana!)
9. It's terribly heart breaking to say goodbye to best friends that you love so much.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Twuck-o-Tweeeeeeet!

Candy candy candy. We got a LOT of it tonight. And such a shame that Elias is allergic to chocolate. :-)

Our tradition is to take our two little friends from Somalia along with us for trick-or-treating. This was our fourth year, and maybe the best one yet!

We went to a few of our neighbor's houses where Elias would yell "TWUCK O TWEEEET" multiple times and then as soon as the candy dropped in his bucket he'd say "Let's go to another house!" Then drove to where a group of our friends from church were handing out candy. Along the way the kids were really quiet in the car, so I asked if they were tired. This was Elias' exact response...

Tired? Who's tired? We're not tired. We're HAAAAPPY!

Ha!
Elmo, Mermaid, and Princess Fiona


Sweet Pea Eli and Elmo

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Knee

Chase and Danielle, the Physical Therapist, decided that Elias is finally ready for a knee on his leg. This requires a lot more strength and skill and we've tried it once before a couple months ago for half a day and it just didn't go well. But lately Elias has been asking for a knee on his leg and we've been talking a lot about how it will be hard and he will fall sometimes, but that he is real strong now and we will help him. So he's been really psyched about getting this knee.

He's had the knee now for a couple of days. He's taken some pretty hard falls, but wipes those tears away and keeps on trying!




First Prayer

We sat down today for lunch and I asked Elias if he would like to pray. Surprisingly, he said yes! (Usually he says no). This was his sweet prayer:



Thank you Jesus for this food.

Thank you for my sandwhich.

Thank you for my new knee.

Thank you for my exercise.

Amen.



What an awesome sound it is to hear my son's prayer to Jesus!

Brown Like Me

Chase and I are hoping to start the adoption process again soon, but really don't have a timeline yet since we're in the process of moving out of state. Regardless, we've started to bring up the idea with Elias. When we ask him if he wants a brother or a sister, he always responds, "No. I want a new Levi." You see, Levi is his best little friend here and Elias just can't imagine having anyone other than Levi as a brother. So, a NEW Levi is what he wants. He must have been thinking about this a bit b/c this is what he told me the other day...

"Mom, I want a new Levi. I want another Levi. A brown Levi. Brown like me."

I was so touched by this on many levels. And it was interesting to me that he has this awareness already of his race. We talk a lot about his pretty brown skin. But the fact that he identified that he specifically wants a brown brother (or a brown Levi) was so sweet to me.

Here a picture of Elias and Levi:



Born to be a Rock Star

Elias loves to sing. He has tons of songs memorized -a product from many, many sleepless nights in the beginning when we sang him all the songs we know, over and over again. As soon as he gets in the car he starts requesting songs from CDs as if I am a DJ. I almost always comply with his requests, even if we hear the same song 10 times in one short car trip. His favorite song is Chris Tomlin's How Great is Our God. I just love that Elias has latched on to this song, because the words really testify to Elias' life and how awesome God is.

So anyway, we captured him on video the other night singing a few of his favorites. Well, it's a cross between singing and shouting. The image is a little dark, but I think you'll be able to hear quite clearly. :-) Oh, and check out his sweet air guitar.









Monday, October 1, 2007

Mopping

The other day Elias was rubbing his eyes for a long time. Finally, Chase asked him what he was doing.

Elias' response: "I'm mopping my eyeballs. "

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Video of Elias Walking

Elias is getting an MRI done right now so I'm trying to find things to keep me busy while in the waiting room... I found this video taken about a month ago of Elias walking down the driveway and then putting on his brakes (high squeaky sound) when he stops. I haven't posted any video of him walking in a while so I thought I'd update everyone with how well he is doing!


video

Best Friend

I just couldn't resist posting about this cute conversation between Elias and Chase....

************************
Scene: Chase and Elias are in the car and Chase has just finished talking with me on the phone.

Chase: That was Mommy on the phone.

Elias: Yeah. I like Mommy.

Then after thinking a little bit, he adds... "She's my best friend. "
************************

Ah! My heart is melting...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ethiopian Buddies

A couple weekends ago we went to a picnic with the Ethiopian community in our area. It was great to meet so many Ethiopian families. Best of all, our other friends who have adopted Ethiopian kiddos the age of Elias came as well. It was our first time for all three families to be together. Our kids' birthdays are all within two weeks of each other so it was fun to see how similar they all are. The kids had a blast playing!





Friday, August 24, 2007

Vacation to Florida Beach

Vero Beach was awesome! Thanks Sack family for letting us stay at your beautiful condo with you!

I took advantage of Elias' early rising (6:30am, no matter what time he went to bed) to get on the beach at sunrise. It was awesome.


Elias and his (Great) Aunt Meg.
As long as Elias has a dump truck, he's happy!


Vacation in the Adirondacks and Montreal, Canada

We've had a wonderfully busy month with trips and visitors and all kinds of fun! Here are some pics of our recent adventures.



View of Lake Placid from the top of Whiteface Mountians (where the Olympics were held).
Roastin' weenies.

Sweet coon hat! Are these the new thing or something? We saw them everywhere!



Up close and personal with a penguin at the Bio Dome in Montreal, Canada.
Cute penguins.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hand-Powered Trike

It's been just way too long since we've posted anything. What can I say? We're busy, busy, enjoying summer to its fullest!

Elias has a great new toy! A few months ago, we found out about the Marine Corps League in Troy, NY giving away hand-powered tricycles to children. Apparently they raise funds and give these trikes to 3 lucky children each year. I contacted them right away and after lots of paperwork and phone calls back and forth, they picked Elias to receive the trike! This past weekend, the Marine Corps League was having a state-wide convention and they thought it'd be a good time for us to come and pick up the tricycle. So Elias and I drove to Syracuse (about 1.5 hours drive). I didn't really know what to expect and was surprised at what a big deal they made out of it. Two marines met us out front and showed me where to park then ushered me into the conference area. They called out for everyone to make room for us as we walked down the crowded hallway. The next thing I know, double doors swing open, our names are being announced, and 200 people give a standing ovation!

Now, this is TOTALLY Elias' kind of thing and he just ate it up. He took the hands of the marine and walked down the center aisle, just beaming at everyone. His red, shiny trike was at the end of the aisle and he kept saying, "It's my new bike! It's my new bike!" They put him in the seat and got him all buckled in then stepped back. And he started to pedal! He went up and down the center aisle a few times, just giddy with excitement. Because his leg doesn't have a knee, he isn't able to bend his leg and pedal any riding toys. His other friends are just now getting into these toys, and so now Elias has one of his own!

They asked me to speak so I got behind the podium and I almost got choked up. I mean, it's just a tricycle... but this is no ordinary tricycle! And just looking at all these retired marines and how proud they were to give this to Elias meant so much to me. I also couldn't help but think that not too long ago, his Ethiopian family would have never dreamed that Elias would have opportunities like this.

Elias drove his trike all the way out of the hotel, down a ramp and right to the back of the car. He didn't want to get off! On the way home I put down the passenger side visor and adjusted the mirror so that he could see the trike behind him. He kept an eye on it the whole way home!

Here are a few pictures of when he received the trike and then a short video of him learning how to ride it at home (in our neighbor's driveway).





Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Elias' Dedication

Elias was dedicated at church a few weeks ago. Since we don't have any family living here, we invited our closest Ethiopian and Eritrean friends. We were so honored to have them join us that day. Not everyone was around for the picture, but at least we got most of them. The women standing to my right and slightly behind me is Elias' babysitter. We are so blessed to have her come each week. Her presence in our lives, and especially Elias' life, has been a huge answer to prayer. We love you Tadi!