Thursday, February 28, 2013

18 Months of Bennett

In honor of my little man turning 18 months today I'd like to tell you 18 things about him and share 18 photos of him from the past few months.

Bennett walks like a speed demon. He is starting to really pick up running, too. He's always been very physical.
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Starting to say what could be considered words, I guess. He definitely says "Mama" and "Dada". Questionable "words" include woof, please, snow, star, yeah and Gracie. He's definitely trying to say things, but they're basically incomprehensible to anyone but us.
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He pouts his bottom lip out on purpose when we tell him "no" now. It's adorable so he basically gets whatever he wants.

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This picture is classic Ben (and classic Max back there). He's brave. Always willing to branch off and not afraid to just GO. Always, always on the go.

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Bennett is an EATER. The one thing he hasn't enjoyed is brussels sprouts. Everything else gets shoveled in with determination. Because of this, he's a tank. Oh, and he often stands at the pantry grunting and pouting because he always wants to eat. We're in SO much trouble with our grocery bill when he's a teenager.
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He's still very attached to his binky. He likes to have it at all times.
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He's also obsessed with trains and anything automotive. He's usually carrying around a tractor, dump truck or train. He LOVES to watch Thomas.
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He's SUPER snuggly when he wakes up from nap. He likes to curl up on a lap (preferably mommy's) and watch Thomas and then have his snack.
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On a similar note, he's a hugger! He comes to you with a toy and holds it out stating something to the effect of, "ats is?" (we assume that would be "what's this?" it's the same sound every time) and then I'll tell him, "That's (fill in the blank)" and then he tucks it under his armpit and leans his head towards it and goes, "awwwww...." because he's hugging it. It's probably the cutest thing EVER.
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Ben is very independent. Unlike his big brother, he will play on his own for some time and doesn't hesitate to run off from me.
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However, he never wants to be left out, especially if Max is involved. He adores his big brother.
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He's very tenacious. He never gives up until either I've physically removed him from his attempt, or he accomplishes whatever it is he's set out to do. It's scary how stubborn he is. I can only hope it helps him to succeed in all of his endeavors. I do love a "can do" attitude. Just not when it applies to knocking every item off the fireplace mantel by way of climbing across the entertainment center.
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He LOVES to be read to. He brings me the same 10 books multiple times a day. Favorites are anything touch and feel, the Binky book, Ten Apples Up On Top, The Color Book, anything by Eric Carle and anything Dr. Seuss.
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He's a climber. We are forever taking him off of tables, chairs, couch edges, entertainment units, train tables, etc... if it's high, he'll climb it.
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He likes to put shoes on his hands like gloves and walk around like that. However, he doesn't enjoy hats very much.
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He's a TV lover. Whoops.
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He's always engaged and listening. We can give him multi-step directions and he'll follow them with ease. He may not say much, but he sure can listen!
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He's just a joy and a love. We're the luckiest parents in the world to get to raise him. I have a real appreciation for Ben, even with the challenges his energy presents sometimes. He's a lot like me, personality wise, so I just get him. I think we have a special connection.

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You are so loved. Max calls you "so cute" even though he doesn't like to share with you (he'll get there - so will you). Daddy always looks for you when he comes home because he can count on your excited giggle and cute little run to greet him. I love my days with you, even the days where you're teething and cranky. You're still such a ray of sunshine in our family. Your smile, your mischief, your love. It's all so wondrous and special. Thanks for being you, my sweet boy.

18 months. Pure magic.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our Adoption Journey Begins

Even as I write this, I'm a bit hesitant on what to share, what not to share. I want to document this whole journey, whatever the outcome because of the huge impact I'm sure it will make on my life. However, there's SO MUCH that factors into the adoption process (money, particularly) that I'm not sure I want to get into in such a public venue. So, where does this leave us?

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Our application packet. Yeah, it was that thick. 

I guess it leaves us with emotions and a bit of the process. How's that? I'm going to go into detail later about just how adoption came to be our path right now, but that's a whole different post. I'm going to start with where we are now.

Right now, we're waiting. We'll be doing a lot of that I suppose. We're waiting to apply (but not much longer). We're getting fingerprints done, they're checking our references, we're filling out a lot of detailed paperwork. We plan to have our application into the agency by the end of March. At that point we'll begin our home study.

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Over a later dinner, we begin filling out our application. 

Most importantly, we've completed the very initial paperwork that puts us "in line" to receive our daughter. That means in 6-12 (most likely closer to 12) months we will be matched and see a picture of our daughter. She may not even be born yet, but she has most definitely been created and is growing.

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A bit of organization is also happening... 

She is either developing or has developed something that her birth family will be unable to handle, for whatever reason. Something that will separate her from her birth parents. Something that will bring her to us. It makes me look at "disorders", "disabilities" and "diseases" in a whole new light. It's those very words that enable us to bring a sweet girl home to call our own.

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She is/will soon be considered a "waiting child". We are currently a waiting family. Waiting to be shown our daughter and learn what it is that makes her so special that she was brought to our lives. And until then... we'll just keep on waiting. Well, that and filling out a TON of paperwork, talking to social workers, etc etc :) I suppose there's still a lot that could get in our way, but the bottom line is I believe that this is right for our family and I believe it will happen.

And just like that, the next chapter of our story begins. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winter "Fun"

Being new Coloradans, I've been really excited to take part in all of the fun things our new state has to offer in the winter months. In California, we had to drive about 4 hours to get to any snowy, outdoor adventures and now they're literally in our backyard!

While my mom was visiting last weekend, we decided to take everyone ice skating. Like, on a real lake that's frozen. It's been YEARS since I put skates on and Ritchie had never been!

So, let's just take a look at how this went, shall we?

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You can't really tell, but basically Max is sobbing hysterically. Like, refusing to even TRY.

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You can tell better in this one. *Sigh* What am I going to do with this sweet, wimpy child?

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Proof he had skates on. Not once did he even attempt to stand on them. The skate wearing lasted all of 10 minutes before we gave up and just put his damn uggs back on.

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Ben didn't do a ton better, but he at least tried.

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It was fine. They just played in the snow around the rink.

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The big people (Old people? No, big people sounds better.) still had a solid 30 minutes of skating fun before we all basically collapsed and declared ice skating to be insanely challenging.

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Oh look! How romantic!

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Don't we look like we're having fun?

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Don't be fooled. Ritchie basically pulled me around the whole time whilst I yelled/whined things like, "not too fast!" and "please slow down!" and "I don't want to do this anymore!" Maybe Max gets it from me?

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Then we went inside where the real fun began! Hot chocolate and popcorn anyone?

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Look how big Ben is. Now, make it stop.

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Grandma sure does love these two.

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In general, he's SO much happier indoors OR during summer.

So, based on how splendidly this event went we naturally thought it a great idea to try sledding this weekend. Saturday and Sunday we had the biggest snow storm that we've experienced since moving to Denver. I think we got between 7-10 inches. The park nearby has a lot of hills, making it a great little stop for a quick sledding session.

We didn't even get out of the CAR before the crying began.

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He finally stopped sobbing hysterically when we told him he didn't have to sled, he could just watch.

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At least he looks cute all bundled up.

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The great thing about having a 1 year old is that he can't tell us he doesn't want to try sledding. So, he did.

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Please note Ben's face.

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Poor kid.

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It was at this point that Ritchie said, "Why don't you soothe him and stop taking pictures?"

Oh, right.

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I took a couple of turns and it was fantastic! However, I doubt we'll do it again this year. The kids just aren't ready for outdoor winter activities. We'll stick to indoor movies, coloring and hot chocolate (this weekend's other activities)

We're planning our move back to CA promptly (Just kidding).

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