Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Yesterday we took Nate up to Mt. Lemmon to play in the snow. He looked like Randy in "A Christmas Story" (I can't put my arms down!). I love that movie. Nate hated the snow at first...cried and was not having fun at all. But after he saw how everything worked...the people sledding...mom and dad laughing and having fun....then he realized it was ok and WANTED to go sledding with me. The video above was before he really warmed up to the idea.
Whoops! I published this before adding the video. Will do that later today. In the meantime, I'll put some photos for you.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
1. Nate's fun (and multifunctional...even for mom & dad) Santa gift!
2. Christmas-at-home tradition...Denny's for breakfast
3. Rockin' out with my new iPod from Don
What an awesome day. Don woke up at the insane hour of 3:30am because he couldn't sleep. I on the other hand, continued to dream of sugar plums until the more reasonable hour of 7am. Poor Nate was totally zonked from staying up way past his bedtime but that wasn't about to stop us. We armed ourselves with the camcorder and woke up the boy to start Christmas! Fortunately, he woke up fairly content and we dressed him up in his Santa suit and brought him out to the tree. He couldn't get enough of his giant foam blocks and would climb up one side, slide down the other and do it all over again until he was wore out.
Then we bundled up and headed out for Denny's for breakfast. We started this tradition 3 years ago when we couldn't visit family and were really just looking for any restaurant. Denny's was the only one open and it's turned out to be a lot of fun. It's usually packed out and everyone is in a great mood, laughing and wishing each other "Merry Christmas".
This year we got our families webcams for Christmas since we couldn't fly out to see them. It really is an awesome thing to be able to see your parents through your laptop and have them get to watch their grandson open the gifts they sent him. Nate got a kick out of seeing my parents on screen and hearing them talk to him. Don's parents sent us a wonderful gift....they took Nate's red chinese outfit, his tiger shoes and a panda painting on a banyan leaf and framed them in a shadow box. It will be a special reminder of God's blessing to us, to have hanging on our wall for years to come and maybe hand down to Nate when he's an adult. Or I might not want to part with it & just keep it. ha!
Nate & I crashed after lunch for a long nap. We were planning on going to the snow but it got too late and we were too tired, so maybe tomorrow! Now we're chilling and I'm getting ready to eat some yummy pumpkin pie, while listening to Nate play with his toys. Best of all, I was visiting a friend's blog who are adopting a child from Russia. After a frustrating wait, they got their referral just 2 weeks ago and they are in Russia right now meeting their new little baby boy. What an absolutely awesome and perfect Christmas gift and blessing from God.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed every minute of friends, family and whatever traditions are special to you this time of year. Merry Christmas!
Love from The Sullivans..Don, Denise and Nathaniel.
Monday, December 24, 2007
.....and all through the home, mom & dad were conked out, while Harvard did roam. Had a good night tonight. Our usual Christmas Eve service at church was fun and relaxing. Nate was his usual squirrly 14 month old self. Hard to sit still with so much going on but it was fun to be the one with the kid running around this year. He wore his little Santa suit and did pretty well, all things considered. We sang carols, read the birth of Jesus, Nancy read "Twas the Night before Christmas" to all the kids and Don gave a message about being a light to the world....taking the message of hope that Christ offers to everyone. After that, we had lit candles and sang "Silent Night".
We stopped by some friend's house afterwards for a quick visit (as Mr. Nate was getting really tired & cranky), but he quickly changed his tune when they presented him with a fun gift for his first Christmas and he absolutely loved it. Then we hurried home, tucked the little guy into bed and brought out the "Santa" gift. We got him these gianormous foam shapes that he can climb on, slide down and carry around the house. Just the type of stuff he loves to do.
Then we turned off the lights and left the Christmas tree lights on, sparkling in the night as we waited for Christmas Day to come.
Good night everyone. See you tomorrow!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Tonight I took Nate to La Encantada Mall. They had carolers, REAL hot cocoa and snow falling. It was totally festive and fun. The sweater & hat he's wearing are what I actually got around to knitting (and actually fit). There was a yarn store that was closing, right before we got our referral. I bought a bunch of girly colored yarn and at the last minute, decided to buy some boy colors...just in case. Good thing I did!
Nate had a great time and now that he's walking, he was running around everywhere. I was trying to take his photo and keep him from getting run over by the crowd. I temporarily began contemplating those kid "leashes" that I swore I'd never get. ha! I couldn't resist walking into the Apple store while we were there. I've used my Mac so much for my art & graphic design that the letters are wearing off the keys..some of which are falling out of the keyboard. They have some pretty cool "toys" and the artsy person in me was drooling at the sight of the new MacBook Pros. I felt like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" gripping the top of the slide and rambling off to Santa as fast as he could say...."I want a MacBook Pro 2.4 ghrz duo processor, 19" display with a built-in inSight camera!" :-D
And I can just hear Santa saying, "You'll max out your credit card, kid." HO! HO! HO!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
We finally got our Christmas boxes mailed last week...but not before Nate decided the box was the best toy ever. So we decided to keep it for awhile. A friend of ours, who has 2 boys, said that when they were toddlers, he took a bunch of moving boxes and made a huge tunnel that went in & out of every room. Totally cool!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Every year, Don makes a special braided bread that we give out to different people at Christmas. It's not a sweet bread...has more of a hint of an onion roll and rich in flavor. I convinced him that one of the loaves was a little too toasty to give away. He broke off a piece and said "There's nothing wrong with this bread..it's just right! Ooops! Oh well...guess we'll have to keep it. hee hee! ;-)
This year, Nate helped make the bread and was very interested in the whole process. Although he did try to eat the dough several times. I think that was really his main motive. ha!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Tonight we took Nate to see the Zoo Lights. It was a lot of fun and I love hearing live music during the Christmas season. The Tucson High School Steel Drum band was playing and they were awesome. I love steel drums and always wanted to learn how to play one. Near the polar bear area, they had "snow" falling...meaning, a soap bubble machine that blows out snowy soap bubbles. Yes, we Arizona kids don't really understand that when you try to catch soap bubble snow on your tongue, it doesn't taste the same as the real deal.
It was cold tonight...supposed to be around 31 degrees. That's cold for us! We got our hot chocolates, bundled up Nate and I think he had a good time. Was real quiet...just taking everything in...the lights, the kids running everywhere. He liked the music too and at one point, it looked like he was keeping the beat with his hand.
Ok, this is really weird. I'm typing in Blogger and some of my letters are not showing up. So I have all these gaps in my sentences...and probably some misspelled words since I can't see all the letters that I'm typing. OOOOooooOOOO. Internet ghost.
I have a couple other posts to addand more pics so check back again soon.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Ever since the panda episode we've had several people suggest we get backups...which I think is an excellent idea. We really had no idea how much he had bonded with that bear. Just thought it was a favorite toy but not realizing it was a lifeline for him. I had a teddy bear when I was 2 that I slept with. I remember feeling like I just couldn't do without it. However, when I was 9, I started weaning myself from my bear. I'd put it at the foot of my bed & try to sleep by myself. Eventually, I was able to sleep without it but I remember feeling lonely, afraid and insecure when I didn't have it. Funny how having a child reminds you of those things.
Tonight we went out on a much needed date. We are fortunate that our jobs allow us to work from home and be flexible with our schedules to take care of Nate. Since we don't have to pay for daycare or a sitter, it also means we are with him 24/7. Don & I have 17 years of spontaneity to overcome. If we wanted to go to a movie, we just up & went...no matter what time of day or when it was playing. Now we've entered the new realm of the "P" word....PLANNING. Since we're paying for a babysitter, every minute is not to be wasted. It better be a movie worth going to, to justify the expense and the time spent PLANNING for our precious night out. Having a kid definitely makes you appreciate your night out. Before that, we didn't think twice about it. We used to go during the day for the matinee rates....not anymore...unless it's summer and the babysitters are out of school or not working. We're thankful to have a babysitter from our church who Nate likes and we feel very comfortable with. She even made her own dinner and iced tea while we were out (in our rush to clean the house, we forgot to make it). We tried taking Nate to a matinee movie once, thinking he would fall asleep in the dark theater. No such luck. He had a lot of fun wandering up & down the aisles while we (not having much fun) chased after him & tried to keep him entertained so as not to disturb everyone else.
The above photos are when I took Nate hiking. Now that the weather's cooled off during the day, it's perfect hiking weather here in AZ. However, I think he had more fun lifting these mungo rocks from one pile to the next. I have never seen a kid so bound & determined to conquer something. He'll find the biggest, heaviest thing he can and try to drag it or carry it. And he doesn't give up. He'll cry out in frustration but he will persist in trying to move the object. He's pretty strong too..be it carrying the cd case full of cds or a box twice as big as he is. He's so proud of himself when he accomplishes tasks.
I can't believe Nate is 14 months old now. He has figured out that the word "no" means he's not going to get what he wants. And he's learned that if we remove something from his hands, it means he doesn't get to play with it. Both of the above actions quickly produce a frustrated crying fit that may or may not continue for several minutes. Depends on his mood. He's also discovered that he can exhibit negative behavior in public and he doesn't get the same discipline that he does at home. The first time I corrected him for something in public, and he pushed my hand away in frustration with a cry, was an eye-opener for me. I don't care what the experts say...14 month old kids understand a heck of a lot more than people give them credit for. They learn cause & effect VERY fast.
It's fun teaching him stuff though. He knows how to give kisses now. Actually, he just opens his mouth and plants it on the side of your face...which ultimately leaves you with a sloppy wet spot on your cheek...but the smile on his face afterward is worth it.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
This is a photo of me & my first Christmas back in '68. Now, almost 40 years later, my son gets to celebrate his. And wouldn't you know it? They still make those little Santa suits. haha!
Last night was an interesting "parental training" night for us. We put Nate to bed & couldn't find his panda bear so we threw a couple of his other stuffed animals in with him. Unfortunately, that just wasn't good enough and immediately, the crying began. Now you have to understand...Nate doesn't cry when we put him to bed at night. Not since China really. Then, all of sudden, his cries turned into WAILS....deep, heart-renching sobs. Enough to make two grown adults turn the house upside down in a frenzy, searching for that silly bear. It was almost as if he was grieving for his bear...literally mourning for it. I have not heard cries like that from him since the first week he came home.
For 1/2 an hour we scoured the house. He hides things everywhere so we tore apart the cupboards, sofa, bookcase, trash cans...anywhere he might have put it. In the meantime, the wails and sobs intensify from his bedroom until FINALLY, Don spots the panda wedged between his crib & the wall. DOH! He gives the "holy grail of toys" to Nate who immediately stops crying, stuffs it in his mouth and peacefully goes to sleep.
And all is right with the world.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
This is what happens after you drive for 5-1/2 hours, hang out at Disneyland for 12 hours, sleep for 3-1/2 hours, and hang out Disneyland for another 15 hours. This is us at about 12:30am sitting on a park bench on Main Street in Disneyland.
Basically, your mind is mush. P.S. The guy on the bench...well I guess his mind was mush too because he fell asleep with his nose about an inch away from his food. We were trying to wake him up by throwing popcorn at him. Oops! Did I say that out loud?! He did wake up, took a couple bites of his food and fell back asleep. I thought for sure the singing would wake him up but he was totally out!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
PHOTO 1: HELPING MOM DECORATE THE TREE...THEN TRYING TO PULL THEM OFF LATER
PHOTO 2: NATE ON HIS WAY TO SEE SANTA
PHOTO 3: QUICK PHOTO BEFORE THE MELTDOWN
PHOTO 4: NATE RARELY SMILES FOR THE CAMERA SO I HAD TO BE QUICK TO CATCH THIS ONE.
PHOTO 5: NATE PLAYING IN THE CHURCH NURSERY. HE LIKES TO PUT PLASTIC SPOONS IN BOTTLES.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Man am I behind on things! We went up to Phoenix to spend Thanksgiving with our good friends and then I got swamped with work & meetings when we got back. I can't believe it's Dec. 1. Oh....I forgot to mention that I spent the week decorating for Christmas too, so I guess that's where all my time went. ha! Sorry about the long blog...I have a lot to catch up on.
During our 2.5 yr wait for Nate, the holidays were the hardest for me. I kept thinking, "will this be the year that we get see Christmas through the eyes of our child?" The answer was always "no" and even this year I was becoming doubtful. But let me backtrack a bit. Thanksgiving was awesome! Of course we have much to be thankful for and the biggest thing is bundled in a 23lb package. I want to take a minute and remind you how God answered your prayers for Nate:
You prayed for help when we found out we needed $15,000 in adoption fees. He answered your prayers by providing us over $16,000 in just 3 months! He went beyond that by bringing many people together during the fundraising weeks.
You prayed that our baby would be healthy. God gave us a healthy boy. He is in the 90th percentile for height, is average weight for his age and the worst he had was a little cold.
You prayed that he would adjust to his new life easily....God answered you by helping Nate bond to his dad immediately and adjust to his new home within 3 weeks. He never had night terrors or bad reactions to new food...enjoyed being with us and has slept throught the night since Day 1.
You prayed that WE would adjust to our new life as parents....God gave us an easy child...a fast learner, who helped us get into a routine quickly, professions that allowed us to be with him, and understanding/ patient friends & family who helped us during those crucial first few weeks.
Even through the long wait, Nate came to us at the right age, at the right time in our lives. Any sooner and we would not have received him. Not that we wouldn't have been happy with another baby....but we are glad that we have our son.
Nate totally enjoyed his first Thanksgiving. Actually he enjoys his food at any meal but he completely cleaned his plate of turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, & 2 types of cranberry sauce! I'm telling you, this kid has an appetite. We weren't sure how he would adjust to the change...staying with friends for 2 days...but he did great. We stuck to his routine and he warmed up to everyone quickly. Our friends 3 kids absolutely loved him. They were amazingly patient with him, helping him, & playing with him.
My friend Mary & I got up at 3:30am the next day for Black Friday shopping. Actually, her daughter (who is 9) got up at 3:15 intending to go with us but she had to stay home because Mary had to get some Christmas presents for her. I stumbled into their dark living room around 4am to see Julia sitting at the top of the stairs, pouting. I can't believe she actually got up that early! We got to Toys-R-Us at 4:30 to stand in a long line....oh...but not before heading to Starbucks for some "Go Juice". Some girl was interviewing/filming people for her school project and asked if we would volunteer. We agreed and the conversation went something like this:
(reporter girl): "So, is there something at Toys-R-Us that you're waiting in line for?"
(us): "Uhhhh....no, not really"
(reporter girl): "Soooo, you're waiting in line at 4:30am for no reason?"
(us): "Uhhh....yeah. Well actually we heard there were these $10 mp3 players"
(reporter girl): "Soooo, you're waiting in a long line at 4:30am for a $10 item?" (with an look on her face that said "are you guys insane?)
(us): "Weeeell, we do have kids. Maybe we'll find something else there."
Ok so we really are insane. Actually we did find a few things and they were very organized in the store, so we got in & out quickly. I had heard from all my friends that their little boys loved the vacuum cleaner. Maybe it's the sound or the burst of independence but I decided to get Nate a toy Dirt Devil vacuum (that really does pick up dirt). Hey I don't mind the extra help! Well, apparently it became the source of controversy later. I suppose I could've got him a toy drill or chain saw...in fact, when we gave him the vacuum, he immediately picked up a screwdriver and tried to "fix" it. We hit a few other stores before heading home with our stash.
We've decided not to get Nate a bunch of toys for Christmas. I know, I know....you can stop throwing things at your computer screen now. But c'mon you guys...he already has a TON of toys...more than he knows what to do with. Both toy boxes are filled to the brim. Plus we don't want him to become greedy at Christmas. I remember when I was a kid, my brother and I would line up our gifts to see whose "line" was the longest. I never really appreciated what I got until years later and always expected to get stuff. I remember on my 10th Christmas, I asked Santa for a Lite Brite. Instead, my brother & I got new bikes...and cool ones at that! Now you'd think I'd be thrilled but my heart was set on that Lite Brite so I pitched a pouty fit...only to open my presents later and discover the Lite Brite toy (by the way, my bike became one of my favorite toys). My parents are big givers and I'm the same way. I love giving things to people and my son is no exception. I could easily go overboard so I want to reign in my desire to shower him with stuff & teach him to appreciate what's given to him and not be like I was as a child. Of course we'll always do the "Santa Gift". As a child, every year my brother & I would ask Santa for 1 thing. And the "Santa Gift" was always displayed out in front of the tree. It was exciting every Christmas morning to run into the living room and see what Santa had left....even after we stopped believing in him. ha! When my brother was 2, Santa left a little toy farm for him, complete with animals and a tractor. He was so entranced that he just stood there and stared at it with his hands folded behind his back!
Every year we participate in Operation Christmas Child. What a great way to get kids involved in giving something to another child in another country. We used to do the Christmas Angel Tree at past churches and my favorite part of that was volunteering to help wrap the gifts. We'd also like to help out an adopting family every year to honor God and the people who helped us bring Nate home. This year, we donated to help some friends of ours who adopted from Vietnam. Yes, the very same ones many of you prayed for.
I am so excited about Christmas this year. As I was unpacking all our decorations, I came across the stocking holder that we had bought over 2 years ago for our expected child. Each year it sat up there empty, but this year, it will hold our new son's stocking of goodies. This week, Nate helped me decorate the Christmas tree and went to see Santa. He did really well...sort of shell-shocked until the 3rd photo and then he started crying. I'm excited to watch the Christmas shows I grew up with, with him and take him to see the lights. Of course, Christmas just isn't Christmas to me without watching "A Christmas Story".
We have one other new tradition that we're starting. We have a little Christmas ball that opens up and has the story of Jesus' birth. Every year, we're going to hide the ornament for our child to find and read the story of baby Jesus....the greatest gift of all...our Savior.
Monday, November 19, 2007
In 1996, my good friend Mary & I, started a yearly tradition...a girl trip to Disneyland. The first time we went we were both kid-less. Then after the kids began arriving, the purpose changed to a weekend getaway for "mom" and a bonding weekend for dad & the kiddos. For 10 years I was the only one without kids and just along for the ride. This year, I got to join in with my friends' funny stories about the things our kids do & say and go crazy buying silly souvenirs for them. Or as one of the girls put it.."It's all just more crap that'll be thrown aside after a few days"....as she plunked down another wad of bills for more of it. But it all looks so cool and those D.Land salespeople beef up the suggested selling. "Ohhh..what a cute Tigger you're getting for your child...don't you want a Pooh bear to go with it?" As if it matters to a 1-year old. But I couldn't resist a few things, including his first Mouse Ears with his name embroidered on the back (after all..he'll need it when we take him to Disneyland next year *wink, wink*)
Funny thing is when you get a few girls together, away from the kids, it's like mental freedom to break all boundaries. Conversations are allowed to get goofy and off the wall. You act about 15 years younger (except for the frequent bathroom breaks) and get even more wacky when you're running on 4 hours sleep and staying up past 1am..only to get up at 6am to do it all over again. But hey...it's totally worth it. One interesting thing that's never happened was when we were standing in line for Space Mountain. We were almost to the ride when someone being carried off the ride screamed...several employees rushed over to whisk her out a back door. Suddenly, they announced that the ride was closed and started issuing Fast Passes to any ride in the park. As we were walking out, the Disneyland police in their white brim hats were coming from everywhere into the ride. We tried to squeeze some info from the park employees but they kept giving us vague answers like, "Oh, someone must have been lost in space" or "I don't know...maybe technical difficulties". This just made us all the more curious to find out the mystery behind Space Mountain. Hmmmm.....guess we'll never know.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Did I mention Nate has an older sibling? :-D
Wow where to start.... Nate is keeping us on our toes. We find his trail of "bread crumbs" everywhere....little wooden blocks in his clothes hamper, in the sofa, under the sofa, in the bookcase, in our computer bags and Don's cowboy boots. He has to touch EVERYTHING just to see what it feels like or how it works. He totally mimicks us too. I was fixing my hair as we were getting ready to go out and I looked down to see Nate standing next to me, patting HIS hair. ha!
Lately, everything starts with the letter "G" for him. He points to the birds and says "Gurd"...then he points to his truck and says "Guk!". The other day he pointed to his giraffe and said "Gaff!" That one surprised me since it's not a word we've repeated often. Maybe he remembers his Baby Einstein Animals dvd. At his doc visit last week, he weighed in at 23lb, 11oz. Gained 1/2 a pound and I think he's taller because his head hits the top of the kitchen table now. Or maybe it was because he was wearing sandals that were an inch thick.
Well I thought I had more clever things to write but it's late and my mind is mush. I've been swamped with a ton of freelance graphic design work and I feel bad because I keep telling Nate to go play with his toys or stick him in front of a B.E. dvd. He doesn't seem to mind too much and gets back at me by wandering off into another room to throw my shoes in the bathtub or see how much toilet paper he can pull off a roll. For some reason he likes to throw clothes on the floor. Especially after I just finished folding them. I wonder if he watched one of us doing that??? Doh! Sometimes poor Harvard gets the brunt of it when I look up and see Nate laughing and squealing while chasing after Harvard and waving his toy maraca.
That's my boy.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? It's a great reminder of so many ways you can support and encourage those who have adopted or are adopting or...if you're thinking of making that amazing decision yourself. It's a reminder to us of how incredibly grateful we are for the many, MANY people who helped us raise the fees to bring our beautiful son home. It's a reminder of how God worked through many people, teaching us patience during the long wait and presented us with a little boy who was just the right age, just the right personality for our family.
Take a moment this month to write a note to family who is adopting and encourage them. Or find an adoption blog and leave a positive comment, supporting them. I can't tell you how much it means to me to read everyone's comments on our blog. If you have the means, set aside a donation to give to a family making that huge decision to adopt. Or give them a gift for the new family member they're expecting. There's so many creative ways to support adoption. My own brother was adopted 4 years after I was born so adoption was always a very personal thing for me. He fits in with our family and even though we had the normal sibling squirmishes when we were kids, we are very close now. I can't imagine life without him.
Thanks for making a difference in the life of an orphaned child.