Monday, September 15, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birthday Celebration(s)

Since Micah is now 2, I suppose it's fitting that he had 2 celebrations.  On Thursday we made a family trip and drove over to Lindsey's house.  We wanted his birth family to be able to celebrate, and it seemed like it would be a whole lot easier for us to come to them this year than to ask them to drive down to see us.  Marcus was already going to take 1/2 day off work, so it just worked better all around.  And of course, we're so glad we did.  Every time we leave their house, we wish we'd come up more often.  They are so warm and friendly and we love being with them.

 Cake #1


 
Happy Birthday dear Micah...Happy Birthday to you! 




Lindsey and Sammy are buds.  They just are.  Sammy really loves Lindsey, and Lindsey...she seems drawn to Sammy.  I'm not exactly sure why.  Perhaps it's because Lindsey so easily sees people for who they are and not what they appear to be...what their outer shells are made of.  It seems that they have a very sweet bond.

When we began our road toward adoption many years ago, before Callie was born, we knew that there would be people who saw we had a special needs child and decide that we weren't the family for their child.  We knew that for some, that would be a turn off.  Callie came very quickly, and it didn't seem to bother her birthmother at all.  Latice knew about our family as much as she could and felt peaceful that Callie would have all she needed.  Samantha's disabilities didn't seem to bother her at all and we were grateful for that  

Years later, we met Lindsey.  One day I asked Lindsey about Samantha and how she felt about her.  Lindsey told me she didn't have a problem with us having a special needs child; in fact, she thought it was a good thing...that her son would grow up with a sister who would teach him compassion, patience, service and Christ-like love.  I don't remember the exact words she said, but it was something along those lines.  I'm not sure if she understands how much that meant, and still means, to us.  I think one reason we love Lindsey so much and it's been so easy to accept her and her entire family with open arms is because she has always accepted us as we are since day 1.  Now, from day 1 she didn't know we were her family, but from the first email, there was a tenderness and humility...she is so full of love and that shows in how she so easily and readily accepts all she meets.  

And Sammy loves her for it.

Two beautiful ladies 

 Micah wasn't as interested in being with everyone else.  He just wanted to do his own thing and tried to force others to do it with him.  Of course, it's pretty easy to be weak and go along with whatever it is he wants.  I think this is around the time he was forcing his birth uncle, Jake, to play with him.  And I think it worked.  Look at him...as if he owns the place!

Callie was happy to be there with Cindy.  We're working on that smile. 

 Half the group...


aaaaand the other half.

I was so happy that Micah's birth family could celebrate with us.  And I was so happy to meet Steve's family.  See that stellar man standing behind Lindsey?  That's Steve.  And Steve has been by Lindsey's side since during her pregnancy.  As a friend (who has also been adopted), he has been there for her to answer questions from the child's point of view.  He was there...as a friend...who just wanted to help her out however he could.  And when you go through something like that, you develop this beautiful relationship -- one with a foundation of trust, faith, and selflessness.  And now....they're getting married!!!!  And I'm sooo excited!  I was so happy to be able to meet the rest of Steve's family.  They are delightful and great and I'm so over-the-moon happy for these two and hope for all the happiness in the world.  Can't wait for the wedding!  (Micah will look so handsome.)
  
 We came home with a trunk full of gifts.  That night, we got home pretty late, but I let Micah open 1 present before bedtime (because Callie insisted).  Micah was pretty thrilled about his new golf set.  So cute.  One thing that's not so cute?  Him banging the golf club against our glass sliding door!  That was loud.  And worrisome.  But I think he's learned not to do that anymore.  

I think.

 Today was round 2 of Birthday Bash.  And, this is what he did when I told him to smile.
I mean really.  This kid kills me.

 I'm not really a cake person.  But when it comes to birthdays, I believe there should be cake...of some kind.  Callie decided Micah should have a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  And baddaboom baddabing.  Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting was had by all.

I know I've been trying to be "healthy" and all, but come on, this is birthday cake.  So you better believe this was packed with cocoa powder, chocolate chips, caramel filled chocolate chips, sour cream, whipped cream...a ton of fat and sugar.  Happy Birthday Micah!  We all willingly clog our arteries for you...because we love you that much.  (And tomorrow, I start healthy again...because I want to live to see your next birthday!!!)
  
 Micah having some pre-cake strawberries.

 (no, he's not trying to burn his hand.  I assure you though it may appear he is touching the flame, he is not.)
 Callie coaching the candle-blowing-out
 He took the coaching quite well and blew the candles out like a pro.
Sammy was clearly proud of her younger brother.  Or else she's just happy she can finally eat some of that cake.  And yes, those are pink candles.  Our son is wearing a football jersey and blowing our pink candles.  We want our kids to be well rounded.

 Oh I love this boy.

 Micah kept trying to grab the little chocolate chips off the cake.  Callie kept sliding it further and further away.  He wasn't too happy about that, but he was distracted when he got his gift from Grammy and Grandpa.

 Which was...a keyboard.  Let me tell you...Micah has Lindsey's musicality.  For sure.  He LOVES pianos.  He always wants me to sing to him.  And I've caught him singing along to songs and it melts me every time.  He's been playing with the keyboard non-stop since we've gotten home.  It's been about 2 hours!  Ok, so the "non-stop" part is an exaggeration...but seriously, it's been a whole lot.



 All the kids cuddled around Grandpa watching home videos on his phone.

Back in the day when I had to walk to school in 5 feet of snow, uphill both ways...way way back...when we wanted to watch home videos, my dad had to take the HUGE video camera, dig through a shoebox of cords, connect the video camera to the tv, and we'd watch it on the screen...none of this home videos on the phone business.  My kids have life so easy!


~*~*~*~


Two years have flown by, and yet, it feels like Micah's always been here.  Always.  I guess that's what happens when a missing part of the puzzle is found and placed next to the other pieces.  It fits.  Perfectly.  It's as it should be.  As if it's been there all along.  Micah, in a very real way, is one of those puzzle pieces.  He fits.  He belongs in our crazy family puzzle.

And a word on Lindsey: Lindsey has been such a great surprise.  She was like adding a puzzle piece that we didn't even know was missing!  We didn't know what an open adoption would really be like.  We knew we were open to it.  We wanted an open relationship with Latice, but quickly lost touch with her after a few weeks with Callie in our home.  Luckily we have pictures together, but we had certainly planned on more and we sad to lose that connection.

We had ideas for openness.  We felt comfortable communicating and sharing pictures, emails, staying in contact.  We felt comfortable with visiting, etc.  We were honest when we told Lindsey we wanted to keep in touch.  We wanted those things because we felt it was the best thing for our child.  We wanted anything that was best for him.  And that meant embracing Lindsey and having her be a part of his and our lives.  BUT.  BUT BUT BUT.  Who knew that it would also be the best thing for us and for all our kids?  We had no idea that we would fall in love with her.  I quickly felt connected to her.  It was odd.  We hoped that she was the one carrying "our" baby, but we had had 3 other adoptions that didn't work out.  Those were horribly painful.  We didn't want to go through that again and tried to express to her that she had NO obligation to choose us unless she knew for sure...not to rush into it...let's just get to know each other.  We wanted her to feel really good about her choice.  Quickly, I grew to love her and who she is.  When she told us that she felt we were her son's family, there was no way we could ever shut her out.  Not only because we felt that would be harmful to Micah's future, but also because I had grown to love her so deeply, I would feel a part of me missing if we were to just go separate ways.  Lindsey's become a friend and a sister in so many ways.  A piece of our family puzzle.  And our entire family is blessed because of our relationship with her.  Sammy, Callie, and Micah all have more people in their lives who adore them because Lindsey (and her family) remains in our life.  We are blessed.  I love her and on Micah's birthday, our hearts are so full of deep gratitude and honor for this amazing woman who is an incredible example to me of faith, love, hope, charity, patience, forgiveness, and humility.

On Micah's birthday, I sent her this message.  Though I told her this on September 11, we think it everyday of the year.

Lindsey the Great. Today, we celebrate Micah's birthday. But today we honor you. We will never ever be able to express our gratitude to you. Maybe one day in the eternities when we're hanging out and chatting, I'll have a language that will be able to better express the deepest feelings of my heart. Until then, know that you are our earthly angel. You were a humble instrument in the Lord's hand and delivered (quite literally) what Heavenly Father had for us. Your faith, love, and amazing sacrifice is never lost. You are an inspiration to me and who I hope to more like. I love you...my fellow mother and friend. Gosh we sure got lucky. Who knew I'd gain another incredible sister. I love you. I love you. I love you. Happy Birthday to little Micah. Can't wait to celebrate with you and the family tonight! Wow. We gained soooo much when Micah came into our lives. I love your family! I love you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Birthday Boy

Today Micah turns two.

For two years he has filled our lives with so much joy.  Pure, complete joy.  He's one of the most delightful babies on the planet and I just can't get over how adorable he is.  Lately, if anything goes wrong, all he needs is a kiss and "it's all better."  He could be crying hysterically, and as soon as I kiss him, he stops and says, "it's all better Mommy" and continues to play.  He makes me feel like the luckiest mommy around.

Micah is sooo verbal.  People often mistake him for being much older because he speaks so often and has a large vocabulary.  I think it's largely due to Callie, actually, but the fact is that Micah has picked it up.  He's a talker.

And a singer.  At night before I put him to bed, he likes me to sing to him.  Sometimes he'll join in, and it's one of the happiest moments of my day to hear his little voice sing along.



Micah has faith.  How do I know?  He told me so.  We have a framed picture of Helaman and his stripling warriors on his bedroom wall.  It was from Marcus' room when he was a boy.  At night, sometimes I'll tell him the story of Helaman and his warriors.  I tell him how these young men had faith and were protected by God.  "Micah, do you have faith?"  "Yes.  I have faith."  I kiss him goodnight and he doses off.  A few weeks ago Micah and I were in a store.  Out of the blue, Micah says to me, "I have faith."  "You have faith?"  "Yes, I have faith."  He knows what he's talking about.



Micah is a runner.  It's not so much that he likes to run as much as he likes to take off...and be chased.  Let's just say that I have to keep a very close eye on him at the park.  And I usually get a good workout trying to keep him close by.

Micah loves sports.  Basketball is his favorite to play.  He'll dribble a ball and try to shoot over and over and over again.  And he's actually pretty good.  I'm impressed with his shots...sometimes he'll get it in on our small hoop!  BYU football is his favorite to watch.  If Marcus has it on or is looking at on a clip online, Micah is very aware of it and wants to watch.  He'll yell "touchdown" and cheer on his favorite team.  He loves baseballs and soccer balls but hasn't discovered a passion for either one of these yet.

Micah is a milk addict.  We tried an intervention, but he refused.  See, Micah also throws fantastic tantrums.  The intervention went something like this:
"Micah, we love you so much.  And because of this, we really need you to drink water instead of milk.  You can drink milk still, just not as much."
"NO!"
"Micah, no more milk.  Do you want water?"
"NO MOMMY!"
This is when he threw a pillow on the ground, then bent over and slapped the floor.  It hurt his hand so he cried.  And then he hit the refrigerator.  We're still working on his addiction.  It wouldn't be such a horrible problem except all the milk is making him constipated.  There's a juice that helps him out, but still.  I might as well buy ourselves our own cow.

Micah loves church.  When he prays, he thanks Heavenly Father for "chooch."  He loves going to nursery where there are bubbles.  He loves the kids there and is frequently talking about "Sawiah" (Sariah, his little friend).  And there is no cuter 2 year old in a shirt and tie.  And hello, when he wears his suit, watch out because he's killer cute.

Micah is a gift.  Over the past 2 years, he has brought nothing but goodness into our lives.  He brought 2 families together...ours and his birth family.  What an incredible little boy.  I think about how lucky and blessed we are to have him and I am humbled that the Lord stamped his approval and orchestrated our lives coming together so that he could be a part of our family.

I love our little man so much.  He's everything I could have dreamed of in a son.  My heart is overflowing with love today for this little boy, and for Lindsey and her family.  How grateful I am that she was brave enough to follow what she felt in her heart.  She knew what was in store for her son, and her sensitivity to the Spirit led her to us.  It's no surprise that Micah is amazing because he comes from pretty amazing genes.

Happy #2 Micah Marcus.  
Our little M&M.  
We love you.  

Gooey Popsicle Face and all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

So Little

Callie at about 2 weeks old

I came across this picture tonight, and holy smokes!  Callie was sooo little.  All 4 pounds of her, curled up with her little legs and cute toes.  She was even smaller than Sammy!  This was only a few days after she was placed in my arms.  In this picture, she's wearing some preemie clothes and bundled in a blanket that the adoption agency gave her.  It was so soft.  I loved that blanket, but it wasn't properly finished and quickly  unraveled.  It's half it's size now, while Callie is about 7x bigger than she was in this picture!

It's always amazing to me to think that each of us was once this tiny little bundle of possibility and personality...some of us tinier than others.  Times goes so quickly.  Callie will be 7 before I know it. Micah will be 2 this week.

I'm getting too old for this growing up business.  Everyone!  Just slow down and stay little already!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mexican Lettuce Wraps

My tortillas were in the freezer. I had plenty of cooked quinoa in the refrigerator.  And black beans.  Mexican Lettuce Wraps were born.

If you are just leaning into adding more grains, or eating less meat in general, use 1/2 the meat you normally would and 1/2 quinoa...or rice.  In fact, a wild rice would be really yummy in this recipe, I just had a ton of quinoa to use up and it worked out really well.

Low calorie, virtually fat-free, packed with fiber and protein.  

Kid's rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
(ate it all with no complaints, but didn't ask for seconds)


Mexican Lettuce Wraps

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
3 cups cooked black beans (or 15 oz can will work)
3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup water
1 pack of your favorite taco seasoning
1 head of lettuce 

Directions
1. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and saute chopped onion and garlic until onions are translucent
2. Add green pepper.  Cook another 2-3 minutes
3. Add corn and black beans. Cook another 4-5 minutes. Stir mixed food together every minute or so.
4. Add quinoa.  Stir together.  Add 1/2 cup of water and taco seasoning.  Mix well.  Cover and allow to cook over low heat for another 3-5 minutes.
5. Spoon mix over a leaf of lettuce. Add any toppings you'd like (cheese, tomato, olives, etc).  Roll up and enjoy.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

No Bake Granola Balls

Super easy and yummy.  What I love about this recipe I came up with is that it's packed with protein and the superfood maca!  Maca, to be honest, is nasty, but it's packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein.  Even the kids love these, though, so I'm feeling good about it.


No Bake Granola Balls

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maca powder
1/2 cup flax meal
1/4 - 3/4 cup shredded coconut
3 Tablespoons raw honey
1 cup natural nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower, etc)

Mix all ingredients together.  Place in the refridgerator for approx 20 minutes.  Take out and mold into balls.  Keep refrigerated.  They'll be good for about a week or so.  

These are a little dry.  If you don't like them as dry, add more peanut butter.

Dare Devil

We have a dare devil on our hands.


But boy is he cute.



Even with a scraped up face.







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