Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A New "Twist" on Block Play

I have be corresponding by email with a family who learned about our adoption story through our blog. Layne most often keeps our blog updated, but I wanted to share a paragraph that I copied from an email I sent to her regarding bonding and attaching to an adopted older child. This was truly an idea God laid on my heart one day while playing blocks with Levi. I had been praying for a way to know him in a deeper way and for him to feel closer to me as his "momma". God was so gracious to give him this way to express himself and all that he has been through over the last 9 months.

Probably the most tender times that draw our hearts closer together has been him gradually sharing about his life and family in Ethiopia. God has given us the idea to recreate the journey of him coming to our family forever, by using wooden blocks. This only began about 2 months ago after his language was more proficient. We make circles of blocks to represent where he has lived before coming home to us. One circle is his hut in the village he was born. He carefully chooses the blocks to put within the circle, to represent his Ethiopian family members. Then we make a circle to represent the drop off site, where he stayed for a short time before traveling to Addis. Next a circle to represent the care center (Jesse gets a separate circle because he was at a different location, and finally a circle representing our home. He uses a large rectangle block to be the airplane we came on to come and get him. We use words that remind him how much God loves him, how much his family in Ethiopia loves him, and how much we love him. We remind him how he is in our family forever and how excited we are that God brought us together. We talk about how God laid him on our hearts and we couldn't wait to get on the plane to come and bring him home. This block play has been the most amazing time of bonding. He gradually shares more and more each time we "play". He usually asks to get the blocks out. He seems so excited that we are interested in all the details of his life and history. I see him trust us more as he shares and realizes we value every part of him and his history in Ethiopia. God is so good and we are thankful for this avenue He has given us to get to know our son in a more intimate way!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Meeting Great- Grandma Gladys

Today, Levi and Jesse met their Great Grandma Gladys (Layne's Grandma Henn) for the first time! She lives in a nursing home in Spirit Lake, Iowa. We took the drive up there today and had a little Christmas/Anniversary/meet the new great-grandkids celebration. It was fun and Grandma was very happy to finally meet her newest babies.
Isaac and Kaylee both wore their Heelie shoes and the people at the care center enjoyed seeing them rolling in the halls with their shoes on. Tanya and aunt Joan did manicures for Great Grandma, Grandma Barb, Kaylee and Erin. Their nails were looking great! Kaylee played her violin for people eating dinner with Meema on piano and Isaac played piano and did a duet with mommy. Uncle Bob and Aunt LaRae enjoyed snuggling Jesse and he crashed asleep under their watch.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Christmas Day

I wrote about Christmas Eve, so I should really write about the rest of our Christmas Experience 2007.
Christmas Day, we got up early (of course!!) because Santa Claus had made a visit. What a job he had at our house! He ate every cookie, all the carrots were gone and the milk glass had narry a drop left! There was a flurry of stockings and wrapping paper and all the kids were talking at once and trying to get our attention - It was soooo very exciting-- we had to say WHOOOA. (I got most of it on video ) Santa brought some very exciting stuff. I think Isaac's reaction to the Packers football uniform was the best. He jumped about 3 feet off the ground and exclaimed "YES" after just a mere peek into the box. "This is exactly what I wanted!" He shouted. I don't think I could've been smiling any bigger. Kaylee got a new American Girl Doll, Levi got Sizzlers race track and cars, Erin got a BittyBaby and Jesse got a BB gun (just kidding) Jesse got a little battery powered QuadRunner.
We then tore ourselves away from the excitement, bundled up in our coats and headed over to Bopie's for some brunch eggs and more presents! The food was DEELISH and it was so fun because cousins were there and the kids loved watching everybody open gifts and playing with all the toys.
The day continued on as we ventured over to
South Sioux City for the Matney Family Christmas. More food, more presents, music, playing, riding scooters, more food (did i mention there was food?)
However, The stimulation and excitement of the day proved a little too much for the boys, so I took Isaac, Levi and Jesse Bear home and put them to bed around 7:30 pm. Isaac wasn't feeling well and the other 2 hadn't napped, so it wasn't bad getting them down.
I worked a couple of days last week and I go back on Thurs. Today the tree came down and the house is much less Christmassy. We even have totes for most of the toys that were acquired. We know that schedules and normalcy will soon return. HAPPY NEW YEAR!