Day Trip Weekend!

We had a last Hoorah! a few weekends ago to say goodbye to the end of the summer. On the Saturday we took the girls and E, a little girl I do some behavior intervention with, to Science World! The older two girls had a blast, Sofie was very over stimulated, and Jon and I were hyper vigilant for fear of losing a child. I think we did okay though 🙂 There is so much to see there!

The prettiest Mona Lisa I’ve ever seen 🙂
Sofie loved the water table, of course.

The Monday of the same weekend we went to the PNE! SO MUCH FUN! It was really an awesome day. Both girls did awesome. Sofie was still a few inches too short for the rides but Livi was VERY excited to go on her first roller coaster. She was convinced she was going to go on the upside down coaster, despite us telling her she was too little. “I’ll ask the worker” she told us. She pointed out every upside down ride there, asking to ride it. I think we will be going to Playland next year and getting her an all day riding pass.

On her first Roller Coaster. She was nearly in tears of happiness getting off it. 
“THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN! I WAS SO BRAVE!”

There was a fountain area beside one of the stages that the girls got to cool off in. I think this was one of the highlights. Livi kept running up and down the stream screaming “This is the best day ever!” Both girls got soaked but I had a change for each of them.

She was also screaming at one point “It’s fun to get wet and make mistakes!” 

Sofie trying to see the dancers on the stage.
Chowing down on some mini donuts! A PNE must 🙂
We all had a lot of fun. Even with so many people around I don’t think any of us got too over stimulated. We just had a really awesome family day. I love my family. I am so blessed. We had an end of the year BBQ/Open house for family and friends too. We have so many things to celebrate in August we thought we’d just have a big celebration evening and show everyone our new digs. It turned out really well and was nice and laid back, just the way I like it. 
Now we are looking towards September! I can’t believe I just registered my girls for kindergarten next year! It’s early for us because I want them to go to a fine arts public school that fills up really quick. They are going to three half days of preschool a week starting Sept 10. I’m so nervous. Livi is very excited. I should probably make another post for that though 🙂 I’m also meal planning again. I really need to stay on top of this. We save so much money when I do it properly. Sept 1 is the start date!
Enjoy your last few days of summer! 
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Livi’s 4!

My baby is 4 years old! How did that happen? I feel so lucky to be her mom. She is truly an awesome kid. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a smart, confident, fearless, imaginative, vivacious, funny, dramatic, articulate little girl. She keeps us on our toes! I love being a mom to my Goober. She is such a gift.
Good Morning Birthday Girl!
How old are you?

Livi is knows all her letters and she knows most of the sounds for the letters too. She recognizes some words like ‘Stop’ and ‘Happy Birthday’ (surprisingly). She is starting to sound out a few small two and three letter words too, like Mom, No, and Dad. Livi can count to 30. She does skip a few of the numbers in the teens though. She has begun to add and subtract too! It started with bites at dinner but now she is playing math games online with Curious George!

Livi has a amazing imagination and actually has an imaginary friend named Monster. He is blue and a good monster. He does, however, have friends, some of which are bad. Monster protects her and teaches her things… like Spanish. Not sure if he is the best teacher but I like his effort 🙂 

Livi is a sponge. She can tell you about things like how it rains, echolocation, camouflage, and how to grow things. Her memory is amazing too. She finds things better than us. She remembers things vividly from over a year ago. While at Metrotown for the second time in her life she told her Marmee all about how she went to Build-A-Bear to make bunnies for herself and Sofie, then had a tea party with them that Mrs. Jenn took pictures of. That was last July and September… how did she remember that? 
Livi is officially night trained now too! Day training was so easy over two years ago I expected night training to be just as simple. It has been a bit of a process but no more diapers for her! She rarely wakes up herself to go pee but we just take her to the bathroom before we go to sleep and she is good until morning. I’m still a little scared to remove the soaker pad that I have under her sheet though. She does have the odd accident, usually before we go to sleep though. 
Livi is now 40.5 inches tall and weighs 39 pounds. We switched her to a booster seat just a few months before she turned 4, which was a little early but she was tall enough for it and it is just so much more convenient! She didn’t like it at first but I let her choose a princess one and that helped with the process. She is a healthy, active little girl sitting nicely in a large size 4T or very small size 5T. I keep thinking it is time to take out her size 5 stuff but it is all just swimming on her. 
Livi is rather controlling and bossy which we are working on it. I think she comes by it naturally with me as her mom though and her being the big sister. She doesn’t like to admit that she is wrong and covers it by saying “It’s my choice to do (it) my way.” Cheeky little smart ass… who I love to bits. I think we’ve given her too many choices! She has also taken to not liking her picture taken. I think this is common for this ago though because I’ve noticed a few of her friends being the same way occasionally. There was a lot of bribing needed for her 4th year photo shoot.
She comes out with some awesome sayings too… which of course I can’t remember half of them right now. I need to write them all down! 
After getting her hair cut in to a short little bob she spent the evening walking around with a little head turn saying, “I’m so fashionable.”
While being allowed to play in the water fountain at the PNE she ran around screaming “This is the best day ever! It is fun to get wet and make mistakes!”

The doll house we had been given broke a few weeks before her birthday. 
Since both girl played with it EVERY day we had to get them another one 🙂 
Good thing it fell under as a birthday gift!

Things Livi Likes:
Kraft Dinner with peas in it – I am thankful she likes vegetables.
Conquering new accomplishments – She just beams. I love it. 
Dirt – She loves to play hard and doesn’t mind getting dirtty.
Imagination – Livi loves making up stories and tells us tales of mermaids, monsters, pirates, caterpillars and giants. It is kind of awesome.
Cartoons – She loves her veg time. I love it too because then I get a break 🙂
Collecting – Livi likes to have little bowls, teapots and jars of her collections consisting of bobby pins, coins, and random little things she finds.
Roller coasters! – Her new favorite thing.

Things Livi Doesn’t Like:
Being told “No” – She is vary articulate and can make very compelling arguments for why the answer should be yes. 
Sofie taking her toys – Oh the hardships of a first child.
Being pushed in to things – Livi is generally a daredevil, but the odd time she doesn’t want to try something she needs her own space and time to figure it out or she will bunker down and freak on you.
Tomatoes – This is pretty much the one food Livi consistently doesn’t like. I’m fine with that since she is such a good eater. Not generally picky at all.

On her actual birthday Gramma and Marmee came over for some cake. She was very excited 🙂 I don’t have the cake making skills of my sister but I think Livi was just as impressed with my number 4 as with her aunties Hello Kitty cake 🙂

We had a little party for her a few days later. Just a few friends with some games. I had read some where that Pin the Tail on the Donkey and musical chairs was a good game for 4 year olds. Musical Chairs worked well, but Pin the Tail on the Donkey didn’t go over so well. Only one boy was willing to put the blindfold on. We also decorated cupcakes which was fun with four year olds. I completely understand why people hire business or entertainers to host their kids birthday parties!

One Year Home!

I know I’m late with this post! Sorry! I’m sure that some how makes me a bad mother and a horrible person… Oh well, I’ve been accused of worse. It has been a truly busy month and even crazier two weeks.

Any ways…
August 14 was Sofie’s one year home anniversary! We got home late that night one year ago, so I kind of count the morning we woke up as a family and crawled in to bed together for snuggles as our real day to celebrate! Really the whole first two weeks of August are a celebration of thankfulness with Sofie.
August 1 is the day we met Sofie for the first time! August 4th is Gotchya Day when we took Sofie out of the orphanage forever! August 14 is when we got home to Canada and our beds! August 15th is when we woke up for our first family snuggles. It was such an incredible, humbling, stressful, thankful two weeks. And now looking back at the past year is so much has happened this year! I can’t even imagine where our family would be if we had not adopted Sofie when we did.
I tried to think of some profound post to commemorate today but I can’t. I think Sofie is profound enough. Adoption is amazing. Seriously. Before I go in to all the updates on Sofie I do want to encourage any and all of you readers to seriously consider adoption. There are so many innocent children in every country that need a family. Why not yours? Truly. Why not? Money, birth children, hardships, etc…, just aren’t good enough reasons not to adopt to me anymore. I’ve looked in to the eyes of children who are waiting. They wanted to be held and played with. They were broken. Children under 3, broken. Ignored. Dying. Forgotten. Can you imagine?
I don’t think that I usually get on my soap box about adoption but it really is something that is very close to my heart. There is no reason to have a handful of birth children anymore. The world is overpopulated. There is birth control options. There are over a million orphans waiting, available, needing families. And don’t even get me started on the idea that it is more important and special to have a birth child “of your own”… That is crap and a damaging view to hold. 
Back to my own amazing daughter!
She is flourishing! She is a different kid from a year ago. She is alive now! We literally got to see Sofie break out of her shell. I didn’t really know what that statement really meant until I got to walk along with Sofie as she broke free.
One year ago Sofie was a shadow. She cried and complained so quietly. She rocked (self-stimulated) ALL THE TIME! She woke up crying numerous times a week and was inconsolable. Truly inconsolable and writhing. She barely drank. Her eyes had dark circles under them. Her hair was life less and mousy. She had a bald spot on the back of head from rocking. She was 19 lbs and just under 32 inches tall. She was skin and bones. She had a terrible rash on her bum that was raw and open.
When she got home she pulled hair. It hurt and even made me cry. She hit. She threw everything and held nothing. She didn’t know how to play… at all. She just didn’t explore her surroundings but just sat and watched. She couldn’t handle new experiences like grass and large groups.
Now? Wow. She jumps in to new surroundings, unless there are tons of people, then she stays close to Mommy or Daddy, which is awesome by the way! She is fully attached to us, but still fearless. She doesn’t pull hair anymore although I am still watching for it. She still hits a lot but it is more behavioural than instinctive. She still throws a lot but not as much. She holds things now, examines them and plays with things! She has even lined her toys up in a row… which is huge! She doesn’t really play with other kids but she will play beside them and parallel play, which if I remember right is pretty on par for the 18 month developmental level I think she is at. She still doesn’t love grass and large groups but doesn’t let that stop her from exploring and doing what she wants.
She cries now, loudly, and makes her frustration known… to everyone! She rocks rarely, only when she has had an extremely overstimulating day, like spending all day at the PNE, and even then only for a few seconds. It used to be hours at a time. No more dark circles, unless she ids really tired. Her hair is full, shiny and perfect! She has chubby cheeks and squishy thighs. She is still hanging around 27 lbs but she did grow! She is 34 inches now!!!! 
Sofie has many new accomplishments too. She now sings along with songs regularly. She does somersaults. She tells me she loves me, even unprompted! She can close doors from the outside now and is getting dangerously close to opening them. I am not looking forward to when she masters this! She has begun throwing temper tantrums which may not be a desirable accomplishment but it is a developmental one that is very noteworthy. She is SO close to jumping. Sofie babbles and talks so much now too. I’m sure she thinks she is talking English to us and sometimes I’m sure she actually is… I just can’t always understand it. She still uses some signs but words are definitely replacing them rapidly.
Things Sofie Likes:
Music!Particularly fast and loud!
So You Think You Can Dance and her play list on YouTube. Sofie will sit and watch these over and over if I let her.
Dancing. This kid is so touched by music.
Wiping things. She likes to wipe her mouth while she eats and is great at cleaning my shower doors and bath tub!
Water!Sofie is a water baby. She dunks herself and plays under water with out a second thought. Splashing is one of her favourite pastimes too.
Cuddles. She loves to sit with Mommy on the arm of the couch or with Daddy in bed under the covers and just cuddle. 
Being able to keep up with her sister. This does frequently lead to frustration if she can’t keep up with Livi but when she can she is in heaven.
Things Sofie Hates:
Not getting her way. She is very controlling and demands things the way she likes. We are working on this.
Fruit. She doesn’t like the wet texture of fresh fruit. I have to cook them or hide them well. 
Bedtime. She isn’t terribly difficult to get to put to bed she just fights us the whole way.
Below is a comparison of “then and now” pictures almost exactly one year apart. I am so amazed how much healthier and alive she looks….

Sofie – You are incredible. You have already impacted so many peoples lives and are going to continue to amaze everyone. You have crashed down walls and broken stereotypes just by being you. Never stop being you! We are so thankful to be your parents. You inspire us. You are beautiful. You are perfect and we love you. 

A year in pictures 🙂