I think it is number 11! Our neighbor was nice enough to tow Ryan out yesterday. I think my dad is coming over to pick us up (the boys and I). We'll hike to the top of the hill. It will be nice to be somewhere other than home sweet home today.
In January of 2005, Alex was born somewhere in the Shaanxi Province. Three years later, we started thinking of adopting again. In March of 2008, we asked our family coordinator if we could start the process. In June, we saw Alex's picture and started finding out more about him. We learned he was extroverted with a ready smile and likes to slide. We also learned he is energetic and fond of playing games.
We finally got to bring him home in July 2009. It was a long time to wait and wonder what life was like for a 4 year old in an institution. We are so thankful for him. He has become so loving and affectionate. He is very smart and loves to tease. He has made a lot of friends at school this year but his best friend is his brother Nick. And I have been so surprised to see how good Alex is with his baby cousins- Tyson and Brock and our friend Zane.
I was really hoping the birthday would get here soon so Alex would calm down a little. We had a great night at Incredible Pizza and the boys won lots of tickets! Then we spent the weekend at Lake of the Ozarks. I got to play for Festus Intermediate Honor Choir at the MMEA conference. Ryan went with me and took the boys. We stayed at a Baymont Hotel with an indoor pool. Next weekend, Alex will celebrate his birthday with Grandma and Grandpa Pruett. And last Thursday after school, we celebrated with Grandma and Grandpa Bradley and Jackie, Logan, and Tyson. Logan could not wait for the boys to get out of school so he could eat some cake!
Alex got erector sets from my parents so we have been working on building a fork lift today since the boys got an early out due to ice. Looks like more snow days are on the way this week.
Well, I'll admit. This is all my pictures for Christmas this year. Pretty sad, huh? But it was a wonderful Christmas- I think our best yet. I was just too busy to take pictures. Both boys were old enough to understand what was going on and nobody had recently come home from China. That helped a lot. We had no break-downs. Nick and Alex played together so great and just had a blast being together. We spent time with grandparents and uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.
We decided to let the boys open a present the night before Christmas eve. They opened their little spiders. It was hilarious. Alex was kind-of scared of them but thought they were cool. The spiders kind-of scurry around all over the floor and you can control them with their "leashes".
Christmas eve was spent with the Pruett family. We went down to Grandma and Grandpa Pruett's house after Ryan got off work. Uncle Nathan and Aunt Charlene were there along with the boys little cousin. Nick and Alex got a lot of good practice opening presents. And Grandma Pruett said she decided not to give them everything she had bought because it was too much. They got remote control skate board guys and a remote control cave man. They also got a V-reader with two games.
Christmas day we got up around 7 and the boys opened all their presents. They really like their Leapster Explorers. They have played with them a ton since Christmas- well worth the investment. They liked the dinosaur train characters that all talk to each other. And had a lot of fun opening lots of other things and playing with them.
Around two, we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa Bradley's house. Of course, Aunt Jackie and Uncle Greg were there along with Logan and Tyson. The boys had a lot of fun all playing together. Nick and Alex got really nice skateboards which can also be scooters. So once it warms up outside, we'll get some helmets and start riding. They have been riding them in the basement a little but it is hard on our carpeting.
The day after Christmas was a Sunday this year, so we headed to church. I think it is really exciting to get to see all your friends on Christmas weekend at church and celebrate the birth of Jesus. After church, we headed back to Farmington to get together with Ryan's extended family. We stayed a few hours and then came back to Festus so we could see our friends. We met Michael and Kerry at cowboy pizza. They had more presents for the boys and we had movies for Kaitlyn and Hannah. Since Zane was only four months old, we decided not to get him a movie.
It was a busy, busy weekend but wonderful and truly a blessing to be together as a family. Oh, and it was a white Christmas this year. It was beautiful! (and I got a Nook from Ryan!!!!)
We had a fun day off with Ryan the Wednesday after Christmas. We went to the Mills Mall in St. Louis and did a little shopping. The boys had a lot of fun riding the train. It goes through the entire mall. We were a little overwhelmed by the crowds at the playground and decided we wouldn't let them play but they did get to do the carousel and eat chinese noodles. Plus, we found the Nascar Race Park and nobody else was in there. There was a little playground that they had all to themselves. They played a long time. There were actually all kinds of things to do- arcade games and rides.
This was one of the songs the boys sang during their Christmas program at school. It was very cute! They were both very excited about singing in the Christmas program, but Alex didn't seem to have a clue that we were watching him while he was jumping all over the bleachers and playing games with his friend. All of the other kids were sitting very nicely, so I finally went up and told Alex he had to sit still with his hands in his lap. That seemed to work and didn't seem to embarrass him too much- I think Ryan might have been a little embarrassed. Nick and Alex also performed in the children's musical at church. They sang a duet together. It was kind-of a disaster but of course, the program is always cute when it involves your own kid! And at Grandma Pruett's church, Nick got to be the little drummer boy and sing a solo. Alex got to be a shepherd and also help Grandma lead music at a church service. We didn't get to see them perform at her church because it was the same nights as our program at church. We sang in the Living Christmas Tree. Ryan sang a solo called "The Star still shines". He did a great job. I stood close to the very top of the Christmas tree. I also had an older children's choir sing four songs. They did an awesome job and were so much fun to work with. Of course, Alex and Nick knew the songs for that too but they were still a little young to sing with my choir. In a few years, they will be ready to join us.
Snow Days... although we have had enough!!!!! So far this year, we have had eight snow days. And more may be on the way. The boys haven't even played in the snow that much, but they've enjoyed the time at home to watch movies and play with their Christmas toys, and climb all over Ryan!
At the last swimming lesson in December, the boys were the only ones who showed up. They are both making a lot of progress and I think the hour a week that Nick spends at the Y in the pool is his most favorite hour of the week. I need to take them more often just to swim. As of right now, Nick has no interest in other sports, but I think swimming could be his thing. Nick can swim the length of the Y pool with no flotation devices. Alex is doing great, too. Alex is very interested in signing up for other sports- mainly basketball or baseball so we are going to try to work on those this spring and summer- at home!
We spent our Halloween evening at church and had a great time! Nick and Alex really enjoyed all the games- especially doing the cake walk with Grandma and Grandpa Bradley. Halfway through the evening, the boys went with Grandma and Grandpa to trick or treat in their neighborhood and Ryan and I stayed at church to take over the cake walk. We discovered we had a lot of cakes left so we were choosing two or three winners each time. And some of the kids kept winning over and over. I'm not sure their parents were thrilled about taking home three or four whole cakes or plates of cookies or cupcakes. Nick and Alex were both thrilled with all their treats from the evening and spent a long time that evening sorting and counting!
I love to teach piano and am always researching new ideas, games, activities, and music to make piano fun!
I am blessed with a loving and supportive husband and three amazing kids. We have traveled to China three times now to bring home Nick, Alex, and Rylie!