Monday, December 28, 2009

Reflecting on 2009

Wow! I cannot believe that the end of 2009 is here. It has been a very busy year. It has been full of ups and down, but mostly ups.

We were able to celebrate Michael's first birthday home this year. He turned 3 in July. He has 3 parties to match his age, one at our church with family and friends, one at daycare, and one at Gamma and Papa's house in New Hampshire.

Michael made many advancements this year in every area. At the beginning of the year he was still only saying one or two words at a time. He had surgery in August to completely close his palate. After this, he began to start saying more phrases. Now, he is making complete sentences and asking for things he want. He knows his color and shapes and can count into the double digits. He loves to read, color, sing, and play. He enjoys playing with his trains for hours on end. This year his personality has blossomed. He is a fun loving child who has more energy that the Energizer Bunny. He is a comedian and loves to make people laugh.

After Michael's surgery, we were given information on a foundation that helps parents with the medical bills of special needs children who have been adopted internationally called the

Laila Rose Foundation, After contacting them and applying for aid, they were able to help us with Michael's medical bills.

We met with our social worker Kristin in January (6 month follow-up) and July (1 year follow-up) to update her on how our life with Michael was going. We also filed for readoption here in Virginia. This makes the adoption legal in all states of the U.S. and allows us to get a birth certificate for Michael here in Virginia. When the readoption was finalized, our agency closed our case. Everything is done!

Bill and I both celebrated our 34th birthdays this year. In April, we celebrated 5 years of marriage.

I have been at my job for almost 9 years now. I made it through two rounds of lay offs at work this year. However, Bill was not as lucky. After working for his company for 12 years, he was laid off in September. Fortunately, he went out the next day with resumes in hand and was able to find a new job in a matter of hours. We think that in the long run the new company will be a much better fit for him. One other low point we had in our year was the passing of Bill's grandmother. She lived next door to us and was a wonderful woman. He health had been declining over the past few years and quickly deteriorated after a hospital stay in August.

We traveled a little less this year than last. We didn't go half way around this world this year. We spent time at Easter with Gamma, Papa, and Mamaw & Papaw Ryan. We showed them a few sites in Richmond and then toured D.C. for a day. We ended the weekend by visiting Aunt Carrie in Charlottesville for brunch. In July, we took a vacation to New Hampshire to visit Gamma and Papa. Most of the time we were there it rained. However, it allowed us to have a very low key week. Since then, Michael and I have traveled to Alabama to attend my aunt's funeral. Gamma and Papa moved to South Carolina in November. Michael and I drove to visit them just before Christmas. He is down there visiting them again for almost a whole week. Our house is going to be very quiet...... too quiet.

As I look back on this year, there is so much to be thankful for....... our friends, our family, our faith, our health, all of the doctors, nurses, and medical staff that help with Michael's surgeries and routine care, the Laila Rose Foundation, and so on.

As we go into 2010, I am hopeful and look forward to all that is to come. Have a happy and safe New Year!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Technical difficulties

It seems that I am having technical difficulties with the blog. I will be working on it and hope to have it looking right soon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Family Pictures

I will be updating a little bit more soon. However, I wanted to post this tonight. We had our family photos made on Saturday. Michael did very well and posed like the photographer asked. She was very good with him. Here are some of the pictures we ended up with:

Monday, October 5, 2009

This & That....

Okay, I admit it. I am slacking off on the blog. It has been over a month since I posted and I have been told that I must post more pictures of Michael.

It seems like time gets away from me these days. We are staying very busy and are all doing well. Michael has healed from his surgery and is able to eat anything he wants. His speech has really taken off in the last month or so. His vocabulary grows everyday.

He is also almost potty trained. He his very proud and enjoys announcing to the world.... okay maybe not the world but all of Wal-mart or any other public place that we happen to be in.... "I PEEEEEEEEED!!!!!"

Over the last month, we kept very busy. We enjoyed a trip to the zoo and celebrated the Autumn Moon Festival with Families of the China Moon at a local park. Michael also got his first big boy haircut.

Here are some pictures from the last month.

Feeding the Giraffe
(one of my favorite pics)

New Friends

They liked the animals.

But.... They loved to climb!

Here we go!

This is fun!


All Done

Big Boy

Michael & His Arch Nemesis at Peace

He loves to swing!

I bet that made you smile!


Being Crafty

Michael's First Driving Lesson
He drove from Nana's driveway to ours.
(with a little help)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Surgery and more

Michael had surgery this past Tuesday. It was an adventure. He came through surgery with flying colors. However, we were in the recovery room for 9 hours, because they were unable to find a room for him. Finally, at 9:30 p.m. we were in a room. After a long day on Wednesday, we were able to go home at 5 p.m.

Since coming home, Michael has been doing very well. He is back to his rambunctious, playful self. He is eating like an NFL linebacker.

I have found a site to upload our adoption video to. If you click on this link, you will be able to view it.

Here are a few pictures from the hospital:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Talking, Potty Training, and More

The last month has been a blur. Michael's vocabulary has taken off. He has started putting words together in small sentences. Just a couple of weeks ago, he pronounced his name for the first time. We were in the van and I said, "I'm Mommy." To my surprise, he answered with "I'm Mi-al." He has also been working on his counting and his colors. He recognizes many colors and can count by himself to 5 and sometimes higher.

Michael had pink eye, but luckily we did not get it. His nosebleeds have continued. However, we have been told that they should stop after his next surgery. He is breathing through his mouth when he sleeps, because his cleft is still partly open it is trying out his nasal passages. This is causing the nosebleeds.

We have started potty training, too. He is about 95% potty trained at home. He really enjoys wearing his big boy "unwearwear."

This past Saturday, we took Michael to Busch Gardens. We all had so much fun. Michael rode his first roller coaster, met Elmo & his friends, rode the choo choo train, drove a ladybug car, and surprised me by doing the Chicken Dance with a huge group of kids at one of the performances.

Next Tuesday (August 24), Michael has his second surgery. They will finish closing his palate, do some rhinoplasty, and insert new tubes in his ears. He will be staying in the hospital overnight again. We will update everyone as soon as we can as to how he is recovering.

Here are some pictures from the last month:


Pink Eye
Wacky Tacky Day

First Roller Coaster Ride

He Loved It!

Michael & Mommy

Michael & Elmo

Michael & Zoe


Playing int the Treehouse with Baba

Having Fun on the Slide

The Chicken Dance

Resting Before the Trip Home

Our Little Superman

Rest Well All..... Michael is on the job.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Catching up...

We have had a very hectic few weeks. I have not been able to post an update that includes pictures from out New Hampshire trip. However, you can catch all of the events of our vacation on my mom's blog at

On July 8, Michael and I flew to Alabama. My aunt Jimmie's funeral was on July 9. While we were there, we were also able to spend time with family. Michael got spoiled rotten as usual. My best friend Gennifer and her little girl MG stopped by for a visit while we were there. My birthday was July 11 and I was able to celebrate with my mom, dad, grandparents, 3 of my uncles, and some of my cousins. I cannot remember the last time I was in Alabama for my birthday. We returned home on July 12. One of Michael's favorite parts of the trip was riding the planes. Everyday since then he has told me "clouds mommy! Up Up Plane!"

Since coming home, we have been busy with work and school. This past weekend we decided to convert Michael's crib into a big boy bed. While Bill worked on that, I took Michael to the Children's Museum to meet Spiderman. At first, he wasn't quite sure of the red arachnid like creature standing on two legs. After a couple of minutes, he warmed up to him enough to get a quick picture. When we got home, we had lunch. Then, we surprised Michael with his "big boy" bed and rug. He giggled and grinned. He just loved it! We ended the day at a friend's pool. Michael is fearless and will go down the waterslide or jump off the edge. You have to keep your eye on him! That evening we had dinner and Michael was happy to go to sleep in his "big boy" bed.

Here are some new pictures:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One Year Ago...

One Year Ago

(Our First Smile)

After One Year as a Family

(1,000s of smiles later)

One year ago today, we held Michael in our arms for the first time. If anyone ever wondered if God knew what he was doing, all they need to do is look at our family and see that He has a perfect plan.

Raising Michael is an exciting adventure. He has been the perfect addition to our family. This has been a wonderful year that has really flown by.

Michael has learned and done many things this year. Michael has...

  1. traveled 1/2 way around the world.

  2. been in 7 different airports.

  3. flown on 14 planes.

  4. gained 11 pounds and grown 7 inches.

  5. seen many doctors.

  6. had palate surgery and ear tubes put in.

  7. taken speech therapy once a week.

  8. learned to count to 5.

  9. learned to identify many of his colors.

  10. started saying 100s of words.

  11. been to the beach.

  12. taken trolley tours of Boston and Washington, D.C.

  13. been to Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

  14. taken a trip to the National Zoo.

  15. celebrated his 3rd birthday with 3 parties.

  16. learned to do the Tomahawk Chop. Go Braves!

  17. learned to say "ROLL TIDE."

  18. learned many cute phrases, like "AWWWW MAN!"

  19. made it hard to go out to dinner incognito. We get told how cute he is or he stands up and gives a big "HELLO!" to the entire restaurant. We wouldn't have it any other way!

  20. had many people fall in love with him.

We have learned many things about Michael, too. Michael...

  1. is fearless. He will jump off and on almost anything. I am just waiting for the words, "Hey mom! Watch this!"

  2. loves to eat!

  3. loves music, both playing and singing.

  4. is all boy! He loves trucks, trains, planes, tractors, and construction equipment.

  5. never stops, unless he is asleep. He is like the Energizer Bunny!

  6. is a very happy, easygoing little boy whose smile can light up a room.

  7. loves to joke and laugh. His laughter is contagious.

  8. likes to figure out how things work. He will even take the keys off of your laptop if you don't watch him close enough. Just ask Papaw!

  9. enjoys dancing and turning in circles.

  10. likes to watch cartoons and other shows on the Disney Channel.

  11. likes watching "moomies" (movies) on the tv, such as Cars, Thomas the Train, Monsters Inc., and Nemo.

  12. has a favorite store. "WAL-MAR!!!"

  13. loves day care, but loves being picked up in the afternoon, too.

  14. will sleep in the buff if you do not put shorts over his diaper.

  15. enjoys being outside.

  16. loves to take a bath but does not like the shower.

  17. has an arm! Watch for flying objects!

  18. likes to cuddle and give hugs and kisses.

  19. loves playing demolition derby with his cousin "WoWo" (Joseph).

  20. knows what the word "home" means.

  21. most of all has learned that he has a family and many friends that love him more than words can explain.

There are so many other things I could list, but I will stop with these. Over the last year, Michael has not only stolen our hearts, but the hearts of so many other people. Thank you all for praying for our family, showing us your love, and being a part of Michael's first year with us and his life.

Today, we celebrate our "Familyversary."

Thanks for celebrating with us!