Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy Birthday, Kylie!!!

11 years ago today I gave birth to a beautiful 8 pound, 21 3/4" tall baby girl named Kylie Ann!!! We named her Kylie because it means "lovely."  There is a verse in the Bible that says, "Whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8) and we named all three of our girls after the adjectives in that verse. (Katie means PURE, Kylie means LOVELY, Haley means good reputation.)  Our Kylie surely is lovely inside and out!!!!  She is the sweetest, kindest, most loving & compassionate child I have ever known.  I am so honored and blessed to be her mom!!  Not only is she beautiful, but she is also smart, artistic and athletic!  Happy Birthday, my lovely Kylie!!  Follow closely and passionately after Christ all the days of your life!!  Daddy and I love you so much!

I included several pictures of our Kylie girl.  She has a lot going on in her life right now.  She's finishing up 5th grade.  Since homeschooling she has brought her grades up a great deal and we are excited for her!  She has stepped out of her comfort zone as a shy child and joined our local rec league's girls' softball league.  She also has completed her first full year of horseback riding lessons.  She has been so faithful to her passion of riding horses and learning everything her trainer has taught her.  In the coming months she will probably be in some shows and we are looking forward to that. 

We love the fact that our lovely Kylie has no problem getting muddy and having fun!

Her passion is riding

Getting ready to open presents

She asked for a photo album with lots of pictures of Brandon in it.

An alarm clock with a c.d. player and that hooks up to an ipod.

She wanted a softball bat

Camo jacket from AE. 
A glove

She wanted a Krispy Kreme doughnut cake for her birthday :)

We love you, sweet girl!

Our two 11-year-olds...LOVE THEM TO PIECES!!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

One Month Home

I cannot believe it's already been a month that I've been home with Matthew.  The past month has really flown by so quickly!  There has not been one day that I have not been thankful to God for bring us home from Ukraine safely and that God blessed us with such a great son!  I do not take advantage that He heard and answered prayer.

It has been a terrible month in the history of Ukraine.  I have spent a great deal of time praying for our friends that we met while in Ukraine who received their referral letter the same day we did for their sweet little girl, Alina.  I am SO happy they made it home safely this past week!  More answered prayer!

Matthew is doing really good.  He is SO full of life and energy.  We have all said several times this month that it is SO MUCH FUN to have an active boy around the house again.  Brandon was a very active boy and we have very much missed having the constant commotion of a boy thumping around here!    In all seriousness, please pray for my nerves.  Our firstborn son, Brandon, died in a bike accident from being "all-boy" and the constant activeness and dare-devil things that Matthew does really makes my stomach tie up in knots ALL the TIME.  I hate to be a helicopter, hovering Mama, but honestly, my nerves are shot, simply because Brandon and Matthew have a very similar activity level.

The other day I nearly had a panic attack when Matthew put his hand down the sink WHILE the garbage disposal was spinning.  When I flew across the kitchen like a rocket and grabbed his arm to jerk him back out of danger while screaming, "Matthew NO!!" he laughed at me and said, "Neecheevo (no big deal) Mama.  Neecheevo."  Little does he know that the disposal could have severed his hand!  Earlier in the month he jumped into the pool when it was only 70 degrees outside and the water was probably in the lower 60s. He lost his new contact lens while doing that.  God surely protected him from pneumonia.  He rode his bike to the outside of the neighborhood with no helmet on and without anyone knowing he was outside (which is not something we allow).  He flips and jumps all over the place on the trampoline.  He is always in motion and a very big risk taker.  Seriously, please pray for my Mama-nerves to settle.  I don't want my little boy to get hurt, but I also do not want to be over-protective and hover around him all the time.  How many times over the past two years I have wished I WAS over-protective of sweet Brandon, but at the same time, I'm glad I wasn't.  Brandon would NOT have been happy if I had restricted his activity.  He would have been so miserable.  I have decided that I am giving Matthew over to God, but my nerves still get the better of me a lot of the time and I do tend to hover.  (He hasn't seemed to notice or mind so far).

What is really neat is Matthew is really settling in well with the family.  He has jumped in and contributed to chores around the house.  He absolutely loves to help me out.  He takes initiative if something needs to be done and does it without being told.  He gets along with everyone else in the household very well.   He has a wonderful sense of humor and will tease any one of us at any given moment.  He doesn't mind being teased back either.  Brandon took about 3 months, so we are grateful that so far Matthew has settled into the family within a month of being home and absolutely no sign of RAD or any other behavior issue.

He's already growing like a weed!  He came home to us weighing 72 pounds.  The first 2 weeks of being home he lost 2 pounds.  I'm not sure if he lost weight because of his activity level or if it was because he didn't eat much as I'm sure everything tasted funny to him.  He had his U.S. physical the other day and he was up to 75 pounds and 4 foot 9 3/4 inches tall!!  He has a wonderful appetite and follows the lead of the other kids by finishing all his food and saying "thank you, Mama" for cooking the meal.

I'll close with an example of his sweetness.  A few minutes ago I asked him if he wanted to take a few cookies to eat outside on this sunny day and he said, "No thank you, Mom" then turned to run outside.  He stopped dead in his tracks and came back to say, "I love you, Mom" before he happily ran back outside.

He's such a joy to be around and such a wonderful addition to our family.  I am taken back by God's goodness in helping us find our long, lost son.  Matthew did NOT belong growing up alone in an institution and I'm humbled that God chose us to raise him.  He has so much to offer the world and we pray that God allows us to see him grow up to come to a saving faith in Him.  We pray that he grows to be a godly, pure man.  We pray he will be a hard working man, and that he one day leads his own family to love the Lord as well.  

"And whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me...See that you don't look down on one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of My Father in heaven"  Jesus (Matthew 18:5,10).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

3 Weeks Home

We've had an amazing first three weeks with Matthew home.  He's such a great little guy and so much fun to be around.  He's definitely added a spark of energy and excitement to our family!  All of the 4 other kids love their new brother and they are so glad he's part of our family.

Matthew loves to help out around the house.  This weekend Tim's grandparents came for a visit and Matthew helped move the table and chairs out of the kitchen so I could mop.  He said he loves the smell of the lemon scented cleaner I use to mop the kitchen.  He scrubbed the sink, shelf and mirror in the bathroom they would be using.  He took everything off the shelf, wiped it down and then put everything neatly back on the shelf.  Any time our trash gets full, he likes to take it out.  He enjoys vacuuming the living room.  The other night I was especially tired so I was sitting down.  Here he went around the living room picking up Wii remotes, socks, shoes from all the family members and put them all away.  He folded the blankets we use when we watch tv.  He straightened all the couch pillows perfectly. I love that he takes initiative to help out with out even being asked.  He clearly pays attention to detail and how I like things put away.  He often organizes his closet and clothing in his drawers. He says he loves all of his clothing.   This past Thursday he said he enjoyed stripping down his bed remaking it.  He always smells his newly cleaned clothing and bedding and always says "It smells so good" in Ukrainian (I remember Brandon did the same thing!).  Matthew likes taking the net and cleaning the leaves out of the pool.  He likes to feed the dog, take her for a walk and add food to the bird feeder.  There is nothing he won't do if you ask him to help, but most of the time he does things around the house just because he sees it needs to be done.

His schooling is going really well.  I am using the Abeka phonics to teach him English and reading.  I am using ACE Accelerated Christian 3rd grade math.   He came to America knowing no English letters or even any simple math like 9-1=8.  Now he knows his vowels and some blends like la, le, li, lo, lu.  He also knows how to do a little harder math like 120-19=101.  He got 100% on his first math test.

His English is coming along well.  He understands a lot more than he can speak.  We can give him basic daily sentences like "Did you sleep well?" "Go brush your teeth"  "Go put on your pajamas" "Did you eat breakfast yet?" "Can you please wash your hands for dinner?" "Did you put your contact lenses in?" "Where is Andrew?" and he can answer us.  He can also say English phrases like, "Eww stinks" "Oh my goodness" "Let's go" "Let's jump (on the trampoline)" "Good morning" "Good bye" "Thank you."  I'm always amazed at how quickly kids can learn a new language.

Friday he had his first hair cut.  He wanted one of those long hair cuts with the hair all in his eyes.  I really wanted him to wear it shorter because I hate that he was covering up his gorgeous blue eyes with hair!  We talked him in to getting his bangs cut shorter and spiking them.  He's such a beautiful boy! 

I'm thankful he seems to be a happy boy and very eager to join in and be part of our family.  It was fun having Tim's grandparents come this past weekend.  Matthew was not shy to hug them or tell them he loved them.  It was cute because Grammie needed help untying her shoe one evening.  Matthew knelt down and unlaced it and pulled off her shoe for her.  The following morning he was sitting at the table eating his breakfast and he saw Grammie coming towards the table with her cup of coffee from the other side of the kitchen and he got up and moved over so she could sit in his seat.  I thought it was just wonderful that he had such kindness and politeness to honor an elder like that without even needing to be told. We are very blessed to have Matthew in our family! We love him to pieces and we're pretty sure he loves us too!  God has been so good to our family!

Matthew with his new hair cut and new church clothes he picked out.