Such a difference!

DSC_0680 DSC_0683 DSC_0705 DSC_0767Within a week of the last post I was amazed at how much things had changed already!  Isaiah has returned to his settled self.  {Could this actually be more than the honeymoon period?}

This next bit is more for me than you, and is more list than literature.

He takes a morning and bedtime bottle and snuggles up really well.

He plays cute little games with us.

He loves to catch our eye across a room and beam one of those famous smiles.

He hates having his diaper changed and will yell loud and clear until the SECOND the new diaper is on.

He has trouble chewing and loves soup, yogurt and noodles.  Other more solid food comes tumbling out into his bib pocket, but he’s game to try it all.  It’s up to us to catch it as it tumbles.

He uses a soft sippy spout (like a bottle nipple, but shaped like a sippy spout) for water. Sometimes he drinks from a straw.

He enjoys and can manage big knobby wooden 3 piece puzzles.

Anything that he can open and shut it a hit.

Speaking of hit… he likes to play the toy xylophone and can pick up the wooden mallet and play it himself.

He still proudly turns the pages of books but will actually pause long enough for me to read the words on his board books.

He enjoys humming along to Twinkle, Twinkle and has been caught humming bits of it to himself.

He loves peek-a-boo at nap time with his blanket thrown over first my head and then his.  He pulls it off me and I him.

He recognized and loved the green tassels on the stuffed fish he and I bought for him at the Dirt Market in Beijing.  It’s been 3 weeks exactly since he last saw it.

He is incredibly ticklish.

He LOVES cars, vans, trucks and would sit in one all day if he had the chance.  His head whips around fast when he catches sight of one driving past our front window and we have to look out his window before bed and when he wakes up so he can see them in the driveway.  He was quite concerned when Stephen took one of them to the shop last week, but was quickly comforted when he saw the courtesy car in the driveway instead.  He can say car and truck in Mandarin and differentiate between the two.

He adores his siblings.  No really.  He does.

He is quick to laugh.

He loves his Praise Baby DVDs.  So do we.  1/2 hour of quiet play in the afternoon works for us!

Swimming at Grandma and Grandpa’s is still asked for daily.  He floats in the baby inner tube and kicks his little legs.  He gets a little frown if I tell him we can’t go when he asks for “Gamma”.

{We are utterly in love.}


So here we are

After writing that last post about our visit to Samuel’s friends, we returned to the hotel and Isaiah promptly fell into a deep, dark, angry grieving rage.  It was a long and loud one.  So long in fact, that we sent my folks off to the Goodbye China Party that our agency throws all on their own.  We ended up following them after a bit, and enjoyed watching Samuel so excited over the magician, but that’s not really the point.  Actually, that rage was only the beginning.

The airplane.  The drive to Stephen’s folks.  Driving home.  At mealtime.  At bedtime.  At play.  At the doctor’s.  Never for so long that we fear for him, but definitely intense.

Isaiah had fussed and cried before.  Not long-lasting, but it spoke of what was going on underneath.  It appears to be a typical two year old type of thing, for sure.  Head clunking against ours.  Back arched and stiff.  Sharp screams and yells.  The hard part is knowing where the two year old part of it begins and the fear and grief ends.  And mix it all in with thoughts like our doctor voiced yesterday, “He’s got to be frustrated that he can’t do for himself.”

Yeah.  Not a simple thing to sort out.

He has enjoyed playing with his siblings, that’s for sure.  And honestly, I will do a post later about it, but they’ve enjoyed him too.  That is the 90% of it.  The 10% remaining is this rage.

0-60 in no time flat.

So, we hold him and remind him and love him and hold him some more.  And sometimes when the yells are too piercing we hold him and wear ear buds.  Whatever it takes.



Post swimming at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  He’d say, “WOOOOOOW!” with great enthusiasm every so often.


Samuel, showing Isaiah how to open one his birthday gifts.


Rolling, rolling, rolling…  Sure glad we kept those baby gates up!


Yes, we own desks and nice furniture.  This is James’ room.  And this is the den of Minecraft.  Isaiah was welcomed into the fold.


It looks sad, but this is the crew allowed to play, yes, you guessed it, Minecraft, together for a few minutes before we headed out for swimming at their grandparents’.  They had just finished laying all over the floor playing with Isaiah.  He was kind of like, “Huh?”  He is pretty good at swiping on the iPad.  IT’s only a matter of time….


He’s sexy and he knows it.





What do you see?


What do you see?

I see three children washing dishes.

I also see one of the children using step stool.

I see that it is not the child who measures in at 2 1/2 feet tall without his prosthetics.

LOVE it!


This is Love



Do you see what I see?

I see Love!

Most people who know Stephen in his real life, see him as serious, regimented, disciplined and driven.  They’d be right.  In his professional life and in many of his personal hobbies and habits he is “Mr. Type A”.  And trust me, it’s served us all very well.

Chore Charts? Check.

Kids to appointments on time? Check.

3 Square meals a day? Check.

He likes life orderly and in line.

OH that is SO tough for this undisciplined girl!

But I’ve learned and he’s softened, and we’ve flexed back and forth and it works.

Watching him  take 25 minutes to pull out of our driveway with Garnet and Samuel this morning made me pause.

He didn’t just pick up Samuel and carry him outside.  Nope, he made him walk.

He didn’t just boost him into his car seat.  Nope, he waited for TEN minutes while Samuel figured out how to climb up into his car seat, turn around, not catch his prosthetic feet on the seat back in front of him, position himself just so, arrange his crutches, realize that his buckle was underneath himself, haul his bottom up and wiggle around his winter coat, position his crutches, feed his arms through the straps, and then proceeded to allow Samuel to buckle himself 1, 2, 3 times in order to get it just right.

You get the idea.

And he did it with patience, kindness and a smile.

That is LOVE!



Happy Penny Day!

Samuel with his Pennies


Today, February 4th, 2013, was the final day of production for the Canadian Penny!

Take a look at what Metro News had to say in eulogy of our little treasure.

Samuel celebrated, as he does every day, by walking the length of our living room picking up pennies from one container and depositing them into another container.  This is Stephen’s genius invention to encourage longer and longer periods of walking in his prosthetics.

Just think of all the ways those little copper gems have been used in generations of parenting!

We’ll miss you little penny.  You’ve been a faithful friend!


Genuine Christmas Spirit

Like most of us, I really love the weeks leading up to Christmas.  The lights, the visiting, the anticipation – they bring out such a warmth in my spirit and in the demeanour of so many around me.  Truly, what’s not to love?

Unlike many, I try to avoid the Boxing Week sales.  The return lines in the mall, the 70% off everything signs, the bedraggled decorations – they put a damper on my glow, you know?

Today though, I decided to take James out to exchange a couple items.  And as expected, folks were a bit more down in the mouth.  And things didn’t have the sparkle that I’d noticed just a few short days before.  Until, that is, we headed over to a new prosthetics office that we haven’t been to before.

I needed to pick up some spray that helps Samuel’s prosthetic liners suction a bit better.  We go through a ton of that stuff. I ran in expecting a quick errand and stopped dead in my tracks.  Amongst the clients and professionals, there was laughter and smiling; friendly banter and joking.  I paused for a second while they waited for me to announce my reason for stopping in.  Such a contrast and in such an unlikely place, or so one would think.

But that it the secret that we have discovered over the past five years.  The key to happiness and joy has nothing to do with the packages and shiny lights and brand names and deep discounts.  It has to do with perspective.

And today I realized, not for the first time, that I am one of the privileged few who have been let in on the secret to joy and maybe even the true essence of Christmas Spirit.

It was a wonderful reminder for a brand new year.

Welcome 2013!

Santa 2012

(Don’t mind the late Santa photo – it needed a home here.)


A few of my favourite things (and people too!)

It was a very good week – full of the best!

{Hover the cursor over the individual photos to read the captions.

Click the individual photos to enlarge them.}


Is it really THAT noisy around here?

I mean, I know we like to get a tad lively now and again.

Really and truly though, I feel this may be a bit much!

Okay.  So maybe he was just cleaning out the gutters, but it made me laugh so hard when I came outside to put something in the shed and caught sight of him a way up there!

To all the Dads and those who love them,



Ahhh the memories

Just now as I was walking past Grace’s room on my way to bed, I had a sudden urge to check in on her.  You see, she hasn’t been sleeping well for the past couple weeks and normally we hear from her every so often in the couple hours between her bedtime and ours.  So, walking past I suddenly wondered if she was actually asleep.

I opened the door and saw a quick movement of the blanket, followed by a very still and motionless form lying there.  Hmmmm this looks familiar.  🙂

I quickly threw off her blanket only to find her buried underneath with her new Leap Pad from Christmas.

I hear her intake a deep breath, “Okay.  I was doing this.”

Good for you, I think to myself.  You admitted you did wrong.  (Little proud moment there.  Trust me, if you lived in this house, you’d understand.)

I took the Leap Pad.  Told her I’d be keeping it for tonight, that I loved her and good night.  And down the hall to my bedroom I go.

Once there, I explained to Stephen what had happened.  Then I followed it up with a chuckle and asked him to reminisce.

“Sooo I remember reading under the covers and hiding books, what did you do secretly in your room after bedtime?  Did you ever get caught?”

He shakes his head no and then breaks into a blush and a grin…

“Actually, my parents bought an old used black and white tv one time.  I carted it into my room and put it in the closet  where I could see it from my bed.  That night I rigged a couple of skipping ropes that I could pull from my bed in order to shut my closet doors in a hurry if they suddenly came in after it was lights out time.

Sure enough, long after bedtime, my folks came in – my room was across from theirs.  I quickly shut the closet doors and suddenly I saw the flaw in my plan.  There was a bright glow emitted from the TV screen in the closet.  The volume didn’t hurt either!”

We had a good laugh over that!  Sometimes it’s so nice when our kids just plain old behave like, well, kids!




Question: How early do you put up your Christmas decorations?

We have a tradition of putting ours up right around my birthday (mid-Nov.).   I know many of you are from the US and begin decorating right after your Thanksgiving.

I have to admit, I don’t know what it is, but for the first time in about 5 years I am itching to put them up now (actually since before Halloween.  If I really think about it, I think it is due to the fact that we have all of our family members actually home this fall.  No looming cloud of paperwork.  No wondering if they are safe.

I have to say, it’s a good great feeling!

Off to start our school day.  Have a good one!

{And no comments about my closet.  ;)}