Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Card Alternative

Well, we didn't exactly get around to ordering our Christmas cards and at this point you might get them in time for the new year! So we decided to wish you all a Merry Christmas online and donate the money we would have paid for cards/stamps to Compassion International instead. So...

Merry Christmas from the Sullivans!
Picture taken by the AMAZING Allison Lewis and while you're at it, check out the 2014 Faces of Adoption Calendar (and order one!)

And since I have lots of space here, I thought I'd cover some of our highlights from the year.
 The kids had snow on their 5th birthday in January! They were so excited, ate lots of snow and now think it should snow on their birthday every year!!

 GiGi and Grandpa came to visit for their birthday!

 
 Easter


 Performing (in some sense of the word)

 Pre-school graduation



Made our first trip to the ER, thankfully everyone was fine

The kids were in a wedding that Wes officiated!


Lost lots of baby teeth (Malakai: 6/ Amiya: 5)

 We took a trip to Washington D.C.
  Thought it was pretty awesome these states were next to each other at the World War II Memorial
Went to the beach and there was great celebration

First day of Kindergarten!

 We dressed up and chaperoned a Homecoming dance


Trick or Treat...it's great to be an Auburn Tiger in 2013
 

Visited the Peanut Capitol of the World (and had zero peanuts while we were there!)

 Visited family for Thanksgiving

Getting ready for our 3rd Christmas together!!







Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kindergarten

We're still here, livin' the dream one day at a time and trying to navigate new waters called... KINDERGARTEN!

Beginning of the year was...well...exhausting. Waking up earlier (5am is an actual time!?!?), lots of learning and fewer toys to Malakai's disappointment, new friends, new routines, buying "hot" lunches at school, walking down the school hallways by themselves! While I looked forward to many of the changes and challenges, it rocked my world to realize how independent these precious kids are getting.

In addition to all the new, we decided to sign the kids up for soccer too...you know, just in case they weren't tired enough after a long day of learning. I'm glad we did it but we definitely learned some things about our kids...like who should play soccer again and who needs to just go to gymnastics!
 This gem (missed kick) gets me every time...


We're seeing and understanding so many more of their interests & personalities. Amiya really enjoys coloring and drawing, a little artist! Many of her pictures of people are so much better than I could ever draw! Malakai on the other hand has very little interest in coloring, he's too busy figuring out how things work or tackling something, someone or some animal! He's a sweet talker, a clown and still just as loving as always.  Amiya keeps up with the rules and organization. Sounds like their parents!!

With lots of new, we've been thankful to be surrounded by so many families with lots of children! Lots of children means lots of different personalities, learning styles and awesome parents who roll with the punches! These families have willingly and a lovingly listened to various struggles or situations and always relate to at least 1 of their children and pass on some helpful insights!

With the new school environment being removed from our "adoptive world bubble" and with the natural curiosity and maturing of children, we've had a lot more questions about the difference of our skin colors "not matching." The questions are curious and innocent and I feel like inquiring minds and listening ears deserve answers. I know I shouldn't be surprised by the number of comments we've gotten, it's inevitable, but each one catches me off guard. I know my kids are listening to the response, they hear everything anyway, and I know one day they will start answering this question. I hope they do it with grace and love. I hope it's an opportunity for them to share what God has done in our family. For now, I try to just point out the similarities (nose, fingers, hair etc.) while reminding them that God makes everyone unique, different and perfectly in his image.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV)


Here's a few pictures of the things we've been doing! 
First day of Kindergarten

one of the many faces of Malakai
Flower girl and Ring Bearer (now Amiya thinks she's a wedding professional)


Homecoming Chaperones!


"blue day" at school...how could they NOT wear those awesome shirts!?

cool cat

Trick or Treat

Monday, May 27, 2013

First ER trip

Not all firsts are fun, exciting & full of warm fuzzies.  Saturday we made our first ER visit. Malakai ran flat into the truck. He hit it with so much force it knocked him off his feet & hit the back of his head too! This was obviously followed with the most harrowing screams parents could hear.
the bump on his forehead

Within seconds of scooping him up His forehead blew up like a balloon and his nose was bleeding inside & out! I've never seen anything like it and panic set in. Wes was holding him, I was looking at his back when I noticed the back of his head was also quickly swelling. We knew we'd have to head to the ER. I ran inside to get my purse, told Amiya to get her shoes on we had to go to the hospital. She got her shoes on so quick & ran downstairs, put her buckle on in the truck quicker than the rest of us got in. Don't know if it was twin intuition or she could just tell something was wrong. I don't think she saw Malakai's "boo boo's" yet.
huge bump on forehead and the swelling had gone down some

On our way to the hospital I was texting with Becca, one of the many 'professional' mom friends in our lives, she was giving great information, call pediatrician after hours service, is he vomiting and a slew of other helpful/re-assuring things. Wes was driving, talking to another friend who's a MD, emergency lights flashing and trying to keep Malakai awake. Everytime Wes would tell him to stay awake, he'd answer with a soft & sweet "yes sir." Suddenly we see flashing blue lights pull up next to us. Initial thought "oh no, not now!" The unmarked vehicle asked where we were headed and escorted us downtown. Thank you God for reminders of your presence even in blue lights! And thank you sir with your blue Super Hero Squad shirt on, you're our hero! Shortly after, the aftercare nurse called back. We told her we were already headed downtown to Children's. She asked where we were and that she would call ahead for us.

bump on the back of his head



Once back in a room and initial paperwork (insurance) completed, one of the Dr's came in to start asking questions. I know it's a necessity to check for child abuse but oh my, I quickly felt like we were being re-evaluated by every entity domestic & international that signed off on our adoption paperwork! She was great and we know she was just doing her job but that was hard! The first Dr. wanted a second opinion since he hit both front and back. As the 2nd Dr. walked in, we felt so much comfort, she said "Thankfully God created our heads to be the toughest where we hit them the most." She checked out all his bumps & cuts, compared his bumps to some others she'd seen and discussed a possible CT scan if he was showing certain signs but said they prefer not to do CT scans because of the radiation and possibly causing cancer in a child later in life. Malakai wasn't showing any of those signs so they decided it would be best for us to stay just a couple more hours to be observed (for any worsening signs) since most of those appear within 4 hours. Thankfully for us, Wes grabbed the BBQ wings & legs he had been smoking right before this all happened and threw it in the truck. So, while we waited for those 4 hours to be up, we at least had some delicious food!







taking a picture of himself

We got home LATE with 2 of the sleepiest kids ever. Amiya was the biggest champ. She never once complained about being hungry or tired although she was getting real tempted around 11pm. We both affirmed her at separate times for acting quickly and behaving so well while Malakai was being taken care of. What's funny ironic is 2 days before this happened, Malakai told Amiya that  he bonks his head better than she does. And that was true before this happened!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A very Mickey 5th birthday!

The kids turned 5 years old this week. It's so hard to believe how quickly they're growing up! It's their 2nd birthday with us and I feel like they still need to be little snuggle bugs but never the less, those arms and legs are growing quickly!

I'm a little bit of a fan of Mickey Mouse, love Disney World and if Wes would let me, the kids room or bathroom would be Mickey themed. However we both decided against going in that direction for more logical reasons. Somehow I managed to talk Wes into a Mickey and Minnie themed birthday party. I guess you could say themed, I'm not a very creative person and all those posts on Pinterest are amazingly intimidating. But, what's a better boy/girl twin themed birthday party than Mickey/Minnie Mouse!!

Mickey Mouse cupcakes



We filled their room with Red, White, Yellow & Black balloons while they were asleep, they were a little confused when they woke up!
A sign a friend made for her daughter's party!

a basket someone gave me one time. Red & White polka-dot napkins I found at Walmart!

a Banner I downloaded from here



snow globes a friend gave me a looong time ago!



Mickey breakfast
puffy Mickey stickers
don't forget ears!!


Best of all, it snowed on their birthday! They got out of school a little early allowing us to go home and play in the small amount of snow that my friends back home are making fun of us for! Never the less, they thought it was great and said "Jesus gave us a surprise on our birthday! He made it snow!" 

They had a great birthday and got to spend some time quality time with one set of grandparents!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A year.5 in review

With the busy-ness of life, full-time work, making school lunches & trying to sleep I've done a pretty bad job of blogging. There's been a lot of things I've thought about that I'd like to write about but by the end of the day, I just want to hit the sack. So, with a few days off for the Holiday's I thought I would attempt to start back by hitting some of the highlights of the things I've learned/figured out over the past year [and a half].

1. Despite coming home and fearing that we'll never understand each other, it is now very difficult to get 5 minutes of silence. Amiya is certainly keeping up with the statistic that an average female uses 20,000 words a day (most of hers are questions).

2. Boys will be boys: Malakai loves all things trucks, trains, planes and we've recently added super heros to that list. We're currently working on not throwing away plates and silverware in the trash (only the leftover food)! We think he's going to be left-handed, he highly favors it but is trying to do things with his right hand. He's also the biggest love bug!

3. We had a lot of people tell us we were crazy for adopting 2 at once/twins. Yes there's times things are a little extra crazy but they are best friends, help each other out (most of the time), can play together while I wash dishes, fold clothes etc. And, if 1 gets in trouble, the other works extra hard in that moment to not get into trouble...unless we're at the grocery store past a meal/nap time but I'm sure no-one else gets cranky in those situations ;)

4. Children who were knit together in the same womb (Psalms 139:14) can have VERY different symptoms when getting sick.  

5. I've been a bit bothered by the number of blogs I've ready about "annoying things people say to adoptive families." I'm a  quiet person so these have encouraged me all the more to stick to my introverted ways! I have this fear of being blogged about. I feel like our journey has clearly been orchestrated by God and I'm happy to share or answer questions; we had a lot of questions and are thankful for those who were honest with us. With this in mind, a fellow adoptive mommy put together a great informative blog post touching on some key points/tips on how to help adoptive families adjust/bond and why we sometimes have some odd requests. I especially appreciated how she addressed the last point.

6. It's amazing how well they're ears work when you use the words: chocolate, sweets, snack or candy, even at the lowest whisper. I'm almost convinced they can hear when I'm just thinking about it!

7. Understanding the [difference of the] words "in" and "on" will make a huge difference in where your artwork ends up!

8. Adopting gives you no more control over how "girly" your little girl is going to be...it's just in their DNA! She has loved sparkly things and bags from the git-go!

9. Milestones that have changed my life: putting their (child seat) buckle on all by themselves, ability to reach the toilet and some sinks without a lift, open closed doors, feeding the animals, letting dog outside (now if only they could bathe the dog).

10. Working full time still means there's 40 less hours I'm able to clean, +2 additional bodies in our house  = God made dirt and dirt don't hurt...don't judge