Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dennis is Walking!

It really amazes me how much Dennis has progressed developmentally, physically, and emotionally since he has come home just 11 short days ago. Honestly, I expected him to take longer to catch up, and I was hoping that I would get to have a baby for at least a little while longer---- but alas that is not the case at all. I have a full fledged toddler!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dennis is Home Video

Now that Dennis is home, I thought it would be nice to make a video of him with all of us. He is so much a part of our family. Hope you enjoy!

This is Home music by Switchfoot

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dennis home a week

Have I told you how many times I have counted my blessings since Dennis has come home one week ago? I can't begin to tell you to make you truly understand what a blessing he has been to our family. So often I hear how lucky he is that we took him in, but oh how wrong are those that only consider our son the lucky one. It is indeed our family that has through him once again been shown that God makes no mistakes. Dennis is no mistake, and how much my kid's adore him help me to know that they feel that no one ever needs to be perfect in order for them to be wanted. Dennis is so wanted. Just take any of my children aside and ask them........... Dennis is one cool baby!

Just had to get that off my chest. :)

Here are some of my favorite pictures taken from last week.

Here is Dennis getting his first haircut. He was such a good boy while I trimmed it up. He has a couple of bald spots caused by scarring...... so that was a bit of a challenge cutting it evenly yet being sure his hair still covers them so that he has a natural looking head of hair. I think I did a pretty good job considering this was my first attempt.

He loves to brush his teeth. Doing this kept him occupied while getting his teeth clean too! What a good mom I am..... teaching my son to multi-task so young. :)

This is Jonny's first time being a big brother. He really enjoys it especially since Dennis is so much fun to play with!

Can't you see how proud Jonny is?!!!!

Dennis enjoys when I rub baby lotion on his legs and feet. I asked Jonny if I could rub some on
him after I was done with Dennis. After convincing Jonny that he wouldn't be considered a baby just because I rubbed baby lotion on him, he let me.

Here I thought that Dennis would have major eating issues, and in my opinion, he has none unless you consider needing to have his food pureed a problem. But I don't, and he eats everything and tons of it. I made around three gallons of borscht with tons of fresh veggies and froze it in bags. Come time I need it, I thaw a bag out and then puree it into a thick soup, heat it up, add a piece of crumbled up bread and two heaping tablespoons of sour cream with a pat of butter, and voila......... delicious and nutritious baby food that even I would eat!

Dennis looks like a sleeping angel, doesn't he?

Little by little, Dennis is making more direct eye contact with me, and I'm cherishing it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Mother and Her Son

This picture says a thousand words.
I am in love with my son. In my eyes he is just perfect. The new life he has breathed into me is indescribable. The joy he has brought our family is a gift that I am enjoying every second. Getting to watch his every move is such a privilege. Everyday he is blossoming into this little boy who will always be changing.... for the better....... because of love.
I want him to feel the same love for me because I am his Mama. I want him to trust and feel secure enough to be happy and love just the way my other children do.
Every day I make sure to spend some time rocking him right around the time he is going to sleep. The first night I did this, he cried for 10 minutes before drifting off to sleep. Although his adjustment has been going incredibly well, he seems to prefer to self sooth himself by sucking his hand and rubbing his neck. He would rather do this by himself. While this is not a terrible thing, I personally feel that he should be able to be soothed by me. I want him to know that he no longer needs to solely rely on himself to be comforted.
I am his Mama and I want him to know what it feels like to be rocked, cuddled, hugged......... I want him to know physical touch in the way that would actually cause him to reach out for it himself.
I look forward to the day where he leans forward to rub noses with me and then steals a little kiss just because he can.
Tonight when I got him ready for bed there was hardly a whimper when I picked him up to rock him. While he preferred to look away from me as I rocked him the prior two nights, this time I decided to hold him facing me. I wanted him to see my eyes, feel my breath, hear my heartbeat, and feel my kisses and nose rubs all over his face.
So far so good. Houston, we have made contact.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Loving Life with Dennis

I must say that I am in love with my new son more than I could have imagined. From the moment we knew of him back in March to now, he has been such a blessing to our family. Everyday he is surprising me, as are the rest of my children and I feel like a very blessed mother.

Each of Dennis' older siblings have finally got to spend some one on one time with their little brother. Not only has each of them accepted Dennis and labeled him the cutest baby in the world, but Dennis seems to approve of all of them. I am amazed at how quickly each of them have seen past his eye and into his sweet little soul. I can't count the times that I have heard one of my children say today how perfect Dennis is.

Andrew just loved letting Dennis touch him as he got to know him. Dennis quickly learned that if he threw blocks down, Andrew would quickly run to pick them up. This was very entertaining for Dennis.

I just love this picture of Andrew and Jonny lying on the floor watching Dennis.

Jonny is so happy that he is finally a big brother. After being around Dennis for a while, Jonny noticed Dennis babbling after waking up from his nap. Dennis babbled and babbled and it was quite loud. Jonny's response? "Mom, I didn't know that Dennis speaks Spanish?"

Dennis always has someone just waiting to hold and play with him. This time it was Julia.

How funny! The girls put the socks on Dennis that John got from first class on the plane ride home. But William was way more entertaining.

Look at all the girls around Dennis. I bet he is loving life!

I don't think that Dennis had ever had his teeth brushed before us. His poor little gums bled a lot the first time John brushed his teeth. Now we brush them at least twice a day and his gums bleed very little. He is such a smart little man. When he sees the brush he opens his mouth like a little bird.

Daddy took Dennis swimming. Boy, did he love it!

Thanks Mom for the baby floaty. It is perfect!

Dennis was all smiles. He just loves water!

Today I got Dennis in to see our primary care physician. They were able to move it up from Thursday, praise the Lord. That means he will get to Valley Children's all the sooner.

His visit went really well.

Here he is being a big boy in the waiting room.

Here is Dennis waiting to see the doctor.

Dennis was very good during the exam. I also found out that he is very healthy. His ears look very clear as did his nose and throat. His unspecified heart disease was unfounded (surprise, surprise), and he has already gained over a pound since his exam at the Embassy last week. He is shy just one once from 20 pounds and is 31 1/2 inches tall. His head circumference is 19 in and he is not as delayed as I thought he would be. Praise the Lord again!

He got four shots, two in each leg, and little Dennis let me comfort him afterwards. Rachel and Julia were impressed how quickly he stopped crying.

He has now been officially referred up to Valley Children's to have his cleft palate closed.

As we were driving back to Grandma's to pick up the rest of the kids, I took this picture. I think it is so sweet the way Dennis wanted to hold his sisters' hands.

Dennis loves his oldest brother Adam because he makes him laugh. What makes me love this picture so much is the way that Adam was getting Dennis to laugh and smile. I see so much of his Dad, my husband in him and I already know what an amazing father he is going to make one day.

I just had to share this picture (edited of course) of Dennis at his first bath here at home. BTW, he just loves bathes. Don't worry, I am trying my best to fatten him up, and I bet he will look completely different in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Sleeping Angel

Daddy was right about you my sweet silly boy. You do like to occasionally sleep with your eye open. Don't worry my child, just rest and trust that you can close that eye. I am glad that you chose to close it when I gently stroked your eyelid down. Now you can sleep in complete peace now that you are in loving hands.

This is what I did at nap time and he fell asleep tonight with his eye shut. I truly don't think he has a problem at all....... I think he was just waiting till he felt safe before he would shut his eye.

Doesn't he look peaceful? His little snore is very cute too.

If you are wondering why the sock is on his hand, I had to make my first big mommy decision about him. Remember how I told you that he sucks his hand? While it is incredibly cute, it is making his hand look very raw and painful. His whole hand is chapped and has cracks in the crease of his thumb and first finger. His nail on his index finger is also badly deteriorated and I think that it has a fungal infection. So today I started putting Neosporin on his hand and thought this sock might help him to stop sucking his hand. So far so good, but I do feel for the little guy who I know finds great comfort in this. I hope that I am making the right decision and that this doesn't traumatize him to much. On the flip side, we have given him a bottle, and while he cannot suck from it, he finds great comfort holding it and biting the nipple which then squirts the liquid in his mouth.

Home at last!

They got home at 2:00 am. We were outside waiting to greet them.

Julia and Rachel were so excited they could hardly stand it.

He is even more perfect than I remember.

Everyone wanted to take a turn holding Dennis before we all went to bed.

For the most part, Dennis didn't mind.

I think he remembers me from before. At least I like to think so.

Dennis and Daddy have a bedtime ritual that include playing tug-o-war with their teeth. Don't worry, it wasn't rough. :) Dennis slept with us last night. I learned that he sucks his fist for comfort and loves to have his bottom patted as he is going to sleep.

We all slept from 3:00 am to 8:15 am. Pretty good start to getting on a California baby schedule in my opinion.

For breakfast Dennis ate a whole mashed banana with 1/2 cup of rice cereal. That wasn't
enough for this champion eater so I fixed him the same amount with pears instead. He ate every last bite, and his belly button popped out to let us know he was full.

All of the kids are getting along great. Dennis seems to enjoy all of the attention, and the kids just adore him.

As for me, I couldn't ask for a more amazing son.

BTW, he is sound asleep taking his afternoon nap, and I have been asked about a million times if he could be woken up by the kids. My response..... NYET!

Friday, July 18, 2008

BIG UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!

Awesome news! The pilot announced, "Ladies and Gentlemen, just wanted to let you know that we were conducting a test and that the plane's auto pilot computer landed the plane!" Now John and Dennis are in the car driving home! Praise God.

The drive is three hours folks, but don't worry, John is running on adrenaline--- I can hear in his voice how excited he is to be in the car driving. His spirits are high, and I am just so thankful that they are on the last stretch home. Dennis did really well this last flight...... slept most of the way.... Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, we are here steadily preparing for their arrival.

The kids made welcome home banners.

And they did it with such enthusiasm!

Didn't they do a great job?!!!!!!!!!!!!

And here I am nesting like crazy.........hey wait a minute, I thought I vacuumed two days ago.

Caleb on dish duty.......... this Mama needs the kitchen to sparkle for her new arrival. I wish I could truly understand the nesting concept because I have had it with each and every child, and yet I knew back when I had my first child they don't even notice.... LOL.

I've even hung his picture.

Can you tell how excited we all are for Daddy and Dennis to just hurry up and be here?

Prayers Needed

First off, don't let this title alarm you........ John and Dennis are sitting in JFK waiting for their next flight........ Dennis is an official US citizen! But, Dennis is incredibly tired and he is running on empty, as is Daddy. Just talked to John on the phone and while he remains in good spirit, I could hear Dennis crying in the background (he is in a kangaroo pouch in Daddy's lap so I could hear his cry right into the phone). They only had one seat flying into New York and Dennis didn't want to sit anyways.......... John walked round and round with Dennis on the long flight.

Just to have more room for Dennis on this next flight John has upgraded to first class. He wonders what the people in first class are going to think with a little, grumpy, tired bear in their seating area when they probably chose to sit in first class to avoid such things in the first place. My, my, my. If your reading please say a prayer for Dennis and John for safe travels and that Dennis has a nice long needed nap or at least is able to rest peacefully for a while. If I heard right too, I think that Dennis is still running a fever here and there, so please pray for that too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On their way home!!!!!!!!!!

Just got off the phone with John. He and Dennis are at the airport waiting to board their plane. John is thrilled that Dennis had a major poopie diaper this morning............ he hopes that means that he won't have to change one on the plane. :) Don't know why I shared that with you...... just thought it was cute.

What a full day !

It started with a breakfast followed by the typical mouth-cleaning chew toy (ok water bottle) that he was just chillin' with in his new shorts.

But Inna didn't want him skinning his knees crawling around her apartment so he got to sport his new pant socks too!

But we could only explore the apartment so long before getting stir crazy so he and I decided to take a short walk to Kiev's awesome botanical gardens. Inna is really blessed with her apartment's location. Here's the main entrance.

I walked through the gates with Dennis in my "kangaroo" pouch and headed left, where we walked through beautiful rock gardens (with cool views) over to this cool bell tower.

The bells were being restored and these grounds are actually a working Monastery.

We went inside and enjoyed the reverent peace.

This is just one example of hundreds of paintings on the walls and ceilings. I was reminded of the monastery Christine and I had seen in Moscow in 2005.

Afterwards, we headed out in the opposite direction and saw many nice flower garden arrangements like this one.

The clear object in the far distance is a building you'll see later.

I saw it later too because I got tired. And since he'd fallen asleep anyway, I decided to see if I could nap on one of the "secret" garden benches protected by hedges.

Yep, was able to lie down (and reach into my tight jeans pocket) and not wake him up!

After a nap, we walked far to that building which had rooms heated to different temperatures.
A tropical room, a cactus desert room, and a building called the orchideum. He got pollen all over himself from this one.

But Christine knows why this velvet palm was MY favorite!!!
So big (and not black like mine got after a freeze) !

I then walked back to the apartment, fed him again, and then let him chill to some music. He liked the headphones!

He's asleep now (as I should be). And we head home first thing in the morning.

Thanks for all your past comments. This shall be my last blog for a long time! But it was fun.