We experience God's grace when we see Him go beyond what He has promised, to give us gifts that we could never have created, earned, or deserved. Our children are two of those gifts of grace.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fun quotes from Meredith

Here are a few fun things I've been hearing lately.


One weekend morning we were still in bed and Meredith climbed in to join us. She cuddled right up to me and said, "I like snugglin' with you, Mom! Thanks, Mom!" That joy will last me a LONG time :)


The other morning Meredith and I walked into the living room and found the sunshine streaming through the window. Her expression: "Oooh! What a shiny place it is!"


We were praying before bed, and I asked Meredith what she was thankful for. Here is the conversation as I try to "help" her be thankful for the wonderful people in her life:

Mommy: What are you thankful to God for?

Meredith: Banjoes, bass violins, guitars, cellos, violins - oh, we already said that. Pianos. Bass guitars.

Mommy: How about Lucas?

Meredith: Badpipes. Badpipes are broken.

Mommy: (confused) They are?

Meredith: No (as if I am silly to think so). They are instruments.

Mommy: How about Daddy?

Meredith: Yes. And harmonicas.


Hope you enjoyed the Meredith update. Meanwhile, Lucas is keeping us on our toes by almost crawling and being very curious about anything we don't want him to get into :)

I will post Halloween photos soon...thanks for following us!

Monday, September 27, 2010

videos -- one for each kid!

I am finally getting some videos posted!

The one of Lucas is just a little bit of his personality - a very happy little guy! His sister is the best one to get him giggling!

This second one is my new favorite video of Meredith, singing a song from church ("Blessed Be the Name of the Lord", or in her case, "Blessed be Your Name of the Lord"). This video is over 2 minutes but it is worth going all the way to the end to get the full drama -- at one point she backs into an almost-whisper, and then she pulls out all the stops again. She finally remembers some additional lyrics toward the end as well, rather than repeating the same little parts over and over again :)

Hope you enjoyed seeing our little treasures :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

a couple of photos

This will just be a quick post, but I wanted to share a couple of photos that we got done at JCPenney. We had the kids dressed in outfits representing their origins -- so Meredith is in a Russian dress, and Lucas is in a "Shands Jacksonville" onesie (the hospital where he was born). I think they turned out SO cute!

Hard to believe Lucas is now 6 months old! He had his checkup yesterday and measured in at about the same size Meredith was when we adopted her after she had just turned 1! He's not large -- she was just small! Lucas is a long lean guy...about 90th percentile for height and 20th percentile for weight. Some might say he takes after Rob :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Meredith tells us how it is

Meredith has become a little chatterbox! We have been trying to jot down things when she says something particularly funny or interesting, or just cute. These things are sometimes made more cute by her use of the "N" sound instead of "L" in words that start with "L" -- such as her brother's name (Nucas). It's actually just starting to fix itself, but when I wrote these down she was still doing it that way, so I'll write it that way for you. Here is a sampling of her gabbing:

She sees Lucas happy on his blanket:

"Hi Nucas! Hi Nucas Buddy! He's waking up! He's not crying! I nuv babies." (kisses him on the tummy)


She sees a picture of a girl in a book who looks apprehensive. It's not just "she's scared", it's:

"But she's a little bit too scared."


She is playing a game of hide-and-seek:

"Peekaboo! I found me!"

She is still working on pronouns and cracks us up regularly.


She sees Lucas just hanging out peacefully:

"Hi Stinkie Winkie Nucas!"

Where did she get that? I found out that a friend of ours was helping out once, and while changing Meredith's diaper she responded to Meredith's feet in her face by calling her a "stinkie winkers" -- which Meredith apparently thought would be a fun thing to call Lucas. She loves these kinds of phrases. She's also known to call herself a "silly billy willy dilly".


Meredith came along with me a few times to pick up a seminar speaker at a local airport. It turned into a meltdown everytime -- my efforts to prep her always involved saying that the person was really nice and she had nothing to worry about, but to no avail. However, the words did stick with her. At any given point, she might bring me a stuffed animal and tell me:

"He's a nice guy."


Meredith has always been good with letters. She has recognized all of them for a while, and is working on learning some of their sounds. We talk sometimes by repeating the first sound of a word before the word and asking her what it starts with. Here was Rob in conversation with her:

Meredith: "Buh-buh-buh-Book"
Rob: "What does book start with?"
Meredith: "M"
Rob: "No, B. Buh-buh-buh-B."
Meredith: "Buh-buh-buh-Baby"
Rob: "Yeah, what does baby start with?"
Meredith: "M"

Can you tell someone knows the first letter of her name? She really does get these right sometimes, I promise!


Finally, Meredith has been enjoying her children's Bible (The Jesus Storybook Bible - by far the best I've ever seen). The other day she came over to me and announced: "The Story of the Bible". I asked her what that story is. Here it is:

"Jesus died on the cross. He said 'ouch ouch!'. Then he camed alive again. He was happy."

Not bad at all. I was really encouraged that with all the different stories we've read, she knows what is central.


Hope you enjoyed the tidbits! Have a great holiday.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Little Brother and Big Sister

Meredith and Lucas are so cute together! I posted a couple of pictures of their first few days together earlier, but now I've gotten some super cute ones as they've started interacting more.

Here are a few from April that I love:

I love this big smile!

Part of our job lately has been helping Lucas in his quest to stalk his sister. If she is playing her new ukelele (photos to come) we try to get her to play it where he can see her, or we bring him to where she is. He is just fascinated by his big sister and loves her performances! Happily, she is eager to give them...but is not so eager to stay in one place. So we follow her with Lucas, or try to get her to come back, as our wandering minstrel makes her way around the house. She has recently perfected a full rendition of "Leavin' on a Jet Plane," which she has heard before bed (at her request) almost every night for the last several months. Lucas just can't get enough.

Last week we went to JCPenney for some photos. The photographer did a good job, but sadly our children's attention span was more limited. We wanted to be sure to get individual photos of Lucas (his first professional ones) and of Meredith (for her 3rd birthday) and of our whole family. By the time we did those, the kids simply refused to get a photo of the two of them together :( Lucas starting melting down a bit first, and then when Meredith lost it there was simply no recovery. We will have to go back for some additional pictures later. Why am I telling you all this? Because I am not terribly upset, due to an amazing photo shoot I had with them earlier in June. The 8 pictures, in order, are posted below. They are priceless! (Thanks to my Mom for the Big Sis pajamas and Aunt Jaynie for Lucas's elephant onesie.)

I wonder if two kids could ever adore each other more. Maybe this happens often with siblings, but it seems like a miracle to me every time. God placed these two children in a family, and they love each other. It is glorious.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

so much to celebrate!

We've had a lot to celebrate lately. We remembered the middle of May when we first met Meredith two years ago. We celebrated Meredith and Lucas being baptized on May 16. We finalized Lucas' adoption in front of a judge in Jacksonville on June 2 (also my mom's and Rob's sister's birthday!). Then June 11 was the second anniversary of Meredith's court date. And to finish it off, next week (June 16) will be her 3rd birthday. Wow! When I feel overwhelmed (which is most of the time) it helps to be reminded that two years ago today, we still did not have a child in our custody. It has been a CRAZY two years. Wouldn't trade it for anything though. God is so good.

I have a smattering of photos for you. Next time I post I will focus on Meredith and Lucas together as I have some really cute ones, but several aren't loaded onto the computer yet and I do not have the camera with me right now.

So for now, here you go!

Lucas is starting to enjoy a blanket with hanging toys.

Lucas loves daddy -- and I love this outfit :)

Isn't Lucas the cutest thing with his little hat?

One evening Rob had to work late and I could not seem to get Lucas happy. I needed to try to get Meredith to bed and ended up calling my dear friend Jenee (why must you be moving away?) to come over and help me. Here is what she found when she arrived -- I had finally got Lucas calmed down, but he still maintained his grumpy face!

So you've seen grumpy. But this is our little man's winning smile! Who could ever resist?

Here are some photos at the kids' baptism. Lucas is wearing the same baptismal gown that Rob wore at his baptism! The second photo has Rob's parents in it.

And just so that you don't miss out on Meredith's "progress"...the other day she was playing with some little playmobil figures. I found her in the kitchen admiring her hat in the oven door. She is all about trying to keep the tiny hat on her head as long as possible!

The next post will give more details on some new developments with Meredith -- mostly a bunch of funny things she has said. Just as preparation, here's one to get you started. We were talking at dinner once - maybe about day and night, I'm not sure - and she said the word "honeymoon". She seemed to like the sound of the word (not sure where she heard it). I clarified that a honeymoon isn't actually a moon, it is a vacation after you get married. In all seriousness, she stated:

"When I am done honeymooning, I'm gonna come home and play the kazoo."

Well, alrighty then! Hope that special man is prepared for all the excitement.

Hope you have enjoyed the update and as always, we love your comments!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Two Months!

Can you believe it has been 2 months since Lucas was born? I know some of you can, since you feel like you've been waiting forever for me to update this blog. I wanted to let you in on a bit of what has happened in these two months, in no particular order...

* I finished teaching a class, including grading 51 course papers and exams
* My parents came for 3 weeks to facilitate the above, and we SORELY miss them!
* Rob worked on a big project at work requiring some overtime
* Meredith stayed home from school for a week right AFTER her spring break with a cold
* Rob, my dad, and our friend Nate built an awesome swingset in the backyard
* Meredith began using words like "anyways" and "but" to start sentences
* Lucas moved from "angel baby" to "angel baby except from 9-11pm" to "angel baby most of the time with unpredictable outbursts"
* Lucas established that his favorite song for Mommy to sing while holding and bouncing him is "You're the One that I Want" from the Grease soundtrack (the "hoo hoo hoo" seems to hit on something that makes him stop crying, at least temporarily)
* I had my second ever Mother's Day with children! (Note that on Mother's Day 2008 we were in Russia on Trip # 1 meeting Meredith - but had not yet gotten to adopt her)
* Lucas went from "up once or twice per night" to "up once or twice per night"....hmmm...
* Meredith went bowling for the first time!
* Lucas smiled!
* Lucas demonstrated an ability to scoot on his tummy, a couple of feet, in quite a short period of time. Yikes!

Those are just a few tidbits. Here are some photos to keep you going as well...

The first set are a little photo shoot (all of 2 minutes) that I did to capture some of Lucas's expressions...he was about 3 weeks old here.

The other set helps you keep up with Meredith:

* she caught the bouquet at Chris and Amber's wedding!

* she loved bowling and its associated snacks

* she adjusted her musical image (and apparently handedness)

These require a bit more explanation. Here is a photo from January, soon after she got her guitar. This was a Sunday morning before church. Instead of a more typical church outfit, she insisted on wearing the "Tweetheart" shirt that Grandma gave her for Christmas. Which was fine except it was chilly out, so she needed something under it. I did the best I could to pick out decent pants and some matching socks. Then she insisted on wearing her white church shoes with the ensemble, and proceeded to rock out on her guitar. This is one of my favorite pictures of her ever :) I consider it her grunge phase.

This picture was taken in April after Holli had given Meredith some awesome french braids. I invite you to comment on what you would call this musical style/image...is it pop, or something more?

* Finally, she found she couldn't get enough of her brother, so she brought a stepstool in by his crib to take a peek :)

Well folks, let me close with this. It is important to be honest. This is what our living room looked like a little over an hour ago when I started working on this blog entry:

And of course, this is what it still looks like, because I have been working on this blog! We are learning to prioritize the important things and leave other things for an undefined "later"....but that said, please leave a comment if you're reading this blog and want me to keep it up! I need the encouragement to make time for it to happen.

Thanks, and hope you enjoyed the update!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Onesies for Lucas!

My friend Holli helped organize a baby shower for me at the end of February. She posted some photos on her blog that show the very fun project we did! Next time I host a baby shower, I will definitely use this idea.


The rest of Holli's blog is great too, so feel free to add it to your reading list! She has, for instance, a post I like about post-birth doulas and the role they serve in a family with a newborn. Although I did not give birth, Holli served in modified version of this role for us over the past few weeks. In our case, she came over 2-3 times a week, for 2-3 hours, just to answer our questions, help us with some things that were new to us (bathing a newborn and filing down his fingernails, for instance!) and to help us stay caught up on things or run out to the grocery store or something. We also had her "on deck" to possibly help with some nights/early morning to allow us some sleep, but Lucas has turned out to be pretty manageable in that department. (Though he's decided it's OK to be wide awake and grumpy from about 9pm to midnight the last few nights...). It is a real comfort to have someone you can trust with your baby when he is only a week or two old.

That's all for tonight - Lucas is wide awake so I'm going to hang out with him for a while :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A few photos to keep you reading...

I haven't put together the time for a long written post tonight, but I want to keep my devoted followers happy, so here are a few visual tidbits...

The Swaddle Escapee

The Obligatory Tiny Baby Foot!

A Welcome Home Cake! (lots of interest there)

(fun sidenote: I got the pants Lucas is wearing out of my old Cabbage Patch Kid suitcase -- washed them up and they fit great! I think my Aunt Lynne made them about 25 years ago.)

A Welcome Home Cake! (this time there really IS some interest from someone! I love the perspective in this shot - Meredith looks enormous and Lucas looks tiny, which is just how it feels for us!)

Comfy With Daddy -- the floor

Comfy with Daddy - the chair

and finally...

A New Approach to Bouncy Seat Comfort (thanks Holli for the pose and Breanna for the seat!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"I'm a Big Sister Now!"

Many people have asked us how Meredith has responded to Lucas. In a personal sense, she doesn't mind him and seems to like him all right -- she gives him a little pat on the tummy or on the head sometimes, and even a little kiss now and then. The issues she has with him are more indirect - she does not like it when he cries, and is gradually learning not to burst into tears herself every time he does. And when one of us is holding him - especially feeding him - she wants to also sit in the chair or in our lap so as not to lose out on our attention. In general, she has also been acting up some, but this had started before Lucas arrived....the terrible 2s have come late, or the terrible 3s have come early!

Meredith has a "big sister" book that a friend gave us, and it has a page where the big sister helps with feeding her brother and states "I can help. I'm a big sister now!". Yesterday, Meredith wanted to help hold the bottle for Lucas while I fed him. Great! Then as soon as she had her hand on the bottle she looked at me and said, "I can help. I'm a big sister now! Like in the book! 'I can help! I'm a big sister now!' 'I can help! I'm a big sister now!' " She said it probably 8 times in a row, very impressed with the connection she had made. I'm so glad the book has managed to help her understand reality with a brother!

Here are a few pictures featuring both kids....we'll start with their first meeting in person (not counting through the nursery windows). When Lucas was discharged, according to hospital protocol, we needed to be wheeled out of the hospital. How do I look for a woman with a 3 day old baby? Got rid of that baby bump real quick, eh?

Meredith was already in her carseat, so I put Lucas in his and then managed to squeeze in between the two of them, anticipating that the ride home could be a little rough.

Little did I know how excited the kids would be to meet each other. Within about 5 minutes here's what I had next to me:

When we got home, Meredith was awake again and now ready to really meet Lucas. She gave him a gift and we think he liked it (he also gave her a little duckie that she enjoys).

Then she got a chance to hold him!

What a proud big sister!

The next day, we went out for a family stroll, with Lucas in his new (read: used) Cadillac stroller. Don't worry, we kept him more shaded after the photo op.

Hope you enjoyed these pics!

As a bonus, I need to post a few pics that I hadn't yet gotten to on Meredith's blog, that I can't bear for you to miss. I did not yet post the photos from Sunday Feb 28, at which time I was at our baby shower and Rob and Meredith were...well....you get the picture.

You can now find her waving her little Canadian flag (thanks, Kyle and Robin!) and saying "A Canada flag! Not a American flag, a Canada flag!", and then, in the tune of the national anthem, she will sing, "O Canada!" We still have to figure out if she is technically a Canadian citizen (as well as American and Russian), but either way it's pretty clear that she is Canadian at heart.