Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Mayor

At the end of Mass on Sunday, a very kind man--with a chuckle--said to me, "He walks around like he's the Mayor--shaking hands and kissing babies!"

I was so relieved to here this.

Because from my perspective, Charlie seemed more like the chief organizer of some extremist political protest. He was boisterous (at all the wrong times), and he was definitely a "stand out" in the crowd.

I had been very busy in the pew that morning trying to keep him occupied while he grabbed at his sister's crayons and incessantly cried out, "Choo Choo, Choo Choo"  when I pulled his Thomas book from our bag 'o tricks. Big mistake.

Unfortunately, that was all I saw. That is, until the kind man pointed out all "the good" in Charlie's actions.

He actually did deliver his sippy cup to a crying baby. He did shake hands and wave at people around him (including Father Ridore), he did pucker up for anyone who looked willing to kiss him back, and he did strut down the aisle as if he were "well-connected."

I love how the Holy Spirit sends messengers to "keep it real," and I'm grateful for it.

Perhaps Charlie will be Mayor someday...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tree Angel

The angel atop our Christmas tree has a new look this year. She's holding a Chinese Love Knot in her arms.

The Chinese knot has come to be the symbol of reunion, luck, harmony, and love. Traditionally, a Chinese knot must be bent, tied and crafted from a single red rope, to express the endless circle of happy life and its red-color represents beauty, happiness and wishes.

This love knot was given to us in China when we brought Daniel home.

It will stay in her arms forever now, on our tree, and will serve as a sweet reminder that Daniel's with us at Christmas time.

It was a busy weekend of preparing our home for the holidays. We put up our tree yesterday, and Madi put on all of the breakable ornaments while Charlie was napping.

What a sight for him when he woke up. He came into the living room and said, "Woooowwww!"  I'm sure he's not seen anything like it! He jumped right in and helped to decorate the tree while we danced around to Christmas music.

Yesterday marked the beginning of Advent season in our Catholic faith, and we are focused on the coming of Christ and preparing, in joyful anticipation, of His coming.

Friday, November 25, 2011


There are some things that could make my heart stop.  
This is one of them.

They asked me to come outside and photograph their "Kodak moments."

I reluctantly agreed.

And managed to get some great shots for her to remember.

Then I had to leave, because I couldn't stand it anymore.
She's such a daredevil...unlike her mother.

Madi's down now. 
Mommy's all better.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So much to be thankful for...

This morning, as I reflect upon how fortunate we are to have been born in this country, in this day and age, I feel so very blessed. 

We know nothing of the struggles of our forefathers.

Or of those in other countries who suffer from hunger, illness, and poverty each day. 

How did we get so fortunate?

These thoughts remind me just how thankful I am for:

my God - my husband - my children - my parents - my relatives - my friends - my angels - my health

For each and every blessing I've been given in my life, I am so thankful.

Wishing you a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Big Boy

I think I'm in trouble here.

Baby boy, as we speak, is napping in his "big boy bed" for the first time.

What in the world did I just do?  Oh my, how I think this will bite me in the you-know-what.

When we went in for his nap, he grabbed his blanket (which he's become quite attached to) and climbed up into the bed.

I put his jammies on him, and then prodded him to get into his crib.

He made sounds of displeasure at the very idea, and I...well...I caved.
I'm such a sucker...

I gave him a kiss and closed his door. When I went back to check on him 15 minutes later, he was sound asleep.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. The thought of my two-year old out of his crib makes me crazy.

I wonder if I can warm him up to the idea of napping in the bed and sleeping in the crib at night?

Oh, Dear Lord I hope so!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Evolution of a Kiss

When we brought Charlie home 8 months ago, he didn't seem to know what a kiss was.

For the next couple of months that followed, he began to "accept" our kisses by leaning in.

At month four or so, he began to kiss back by pursing his little lips ever-so-slightly.

And now...he's finally at full pucker:)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turned the corner

Just one day after Charlie made it perfectly clear that he wants more Mommy time, he made huge strides at Mommy & Me class this morning.

For months, he has chosen not to participate preferring to sit on my lap as an observer. It was almost comical because we would get home and I would catch him practicing some of the moves.

I started to believe that Charlie thought it was my class, not his.

But this morning, he turned the corner. Different kid altogether.

Charlie did everything. He participated in every song and every movement. He was vocal, and he was engaging.  This morning, Charlie Murphy emerged from his shell at the YMCA, and it made me very happy.

So happy that I didn't expect to react the way I did. I couldn't have suppressed the tears if I'd tried.

It was just so very rewarding to witness such a transformation...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Totally not worth it.

I posted in July, after my knee injury, about how I took Charlie to the baby room at the YMCA, and he was absolutely fine with it. In fact, he seemed to enjoy it.

Charlie has had quite the opposite reaction the last two times I've taken him back to the playroom.

Absolute meltdown.

I mean, he can't catch his breath meltdown.

Totally. Not. Worth. It.

Not for this Mama, anyway.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not judging those who leave their children in a playroom. I'm just fessin' up that I'm a bit weak in this department. I'm all for a good workout, but not at the expense of my son's emotional state. I'm not willing to put Charlie back into an "institutional" setting with lots of kids and a few caretakers when (just my opinion) I believe it's an all-too-familiar setting for him.

And it's obviously way too close for comfort.

Maybe I'm over-analyzing, which I'm famous for 'round here. But I don't think I am.

So it's back to taking nice, quiet strolls in the morning for us, and I will embrace every moment of his attachment process.

Until Bubba gets here on 12/1, that is. Then maybe I'll get to sneak out for an hour or two a week while Bubba and Grandpa enjoy some quality bonding time with their Grandson...

With flying colors...

...Charlie passed his Early Steps evaluation last week.  It's an amazing program in Florida (and other states) for early developmental intervention, and we've suspected for a while that Charlie has delays in speech (for various reasons). So I made an appointment and took him in.

While the therapists acknowledged delays in the speech department, they believe the delays are totally expected given his background and the short time he's been home with us. They want him to have at least a year to catch up before considering intervention services.

Charlie passed in every other area, too. He was so cute during the evaluation, and I loved watching him interact with four therapists at once. He knows how to work the room!  They had bubbles in their possession, so he was pretty thrilled to play with them.

There were a couple of times when Charlie became uncomfortable and began to cry, so I scooped him up on my lap, kissed him a hundred times, and gave him the reassurance he needed. After that, he was fine and resumed his evaluation. I was a very proud Mommy.

Even though Charlie was denied services, I am so glad that I took him in. It definitely gave us some peace of mind about his development, especially his speech. And we were given some great tips for helping him use words. One of them is the "delayed response" technique in which I need to hold out on what he wants until he stops crying/screaming and actually uses a word. Yikes. That's usually when I cave!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Strawberry Patch

Last weekend we took the kids to the strawberry patch,
a local country store with much to see. 

The berries aren't in season for picking yet,
but it is still a really neat place for kids.

They house swans, donkeys, tortoises, and a plethora
of wild birds that have been rescued. 

Charlie was totally fascinated by all of it. Especially the ice cream.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chasing dust

I love how children are drawn to the simplest things. Bubbles, of course, are a continued "big hit" in our household.

And we've made two new discoveries: 

Much like a kitten, Charlie is mesmerized by the beam of light produced by a flashlight. I think he could chase it for hours. He had a ball with the neighbor kids on Halloween running around our driveway and chasing the light.

This morning, he's discovered dust. Yes, dust. And there is plenty to be found in this house. But he is particularly drawn to the dust particles that float in the air and are only visible in a certain light. I caught him turning himself in circles pretending to be a speck of dust himself.

Hopefully he won't land on a piece of our furniture;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A beautiful morning

Most mornings are pretty crazy 'round here. Dropping Madi off at school. Hustling to the YMCA for Mommy and Me class or a scheduled playdate. Or just running errands in our "spare" time. Added to my (self-inflicted) distractions of modern technology, it hasn't given us much down time.

Class was cancelled today for renovations in the kiddie room at the Y.  What a blessing.

After drop-off, Charlie and I came home and ate breakfast (quietly) together. I made a bowl of grits for each of us. He insisted on pulling up his chair to the table, like a "big boy." Then, after I fed him a bite--he returned the favor. As we took feeding each other bites, I saw a familiar gleam in his eye. It  reminded me so much of Daniel.  And it brought back moments with Daniel that I'd forgotten. Lo and behold, we'd done the same thing together.

After breakfast, Charlie and I took a stroll around the neighborhood. The weather here today is simply amazing. Cool (high seventies, maybe?)  and breezy. Just a taste of what we should soon feel on a more regular basis.

When we came home, we went out in the backyard to play. We started rolling a ball to each other, but then Charlie wasn't thrilled with the feel of the grass on his legs (again...much like Daniel), so he ambled over and plopped on my lap.

As I sat criss-cross applesauce, and he was perched in the middle (facing me), I held him against my chest and we hugged each other. For about five minutes--in total silence--we held each other tightly and listened to the beautiful sounds around us. We watched butterflies flutter, and large birds soar in the blue sky.

It was perfect.

Then, of course, Charlie became squirmy, so I picked him up and carried him over to see Daniel's plaque. He proceeded to kiss his hand probably ten times and touch Daniel's face. It still amazes me how connected those two boys seem to be...