Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We've got a walker!

Miss Amelia has reached another milestone-her first steps! After her birthday party on Sunday (pictures tomorrow, I promise!) while Jeff and I felt like crashing from exhaustion, Amelia apparently got an energy surge and took her first steps! She stood up on her own and just started walking towards Graham who just so happened to be holding one of her birthday gifts. She's up to about 10 steps on her own before she falls to the ground with a giant smile. We've been trying to capture this on camera since Sunday, and this afternoon we were finally able to do it. I will say, that I'm seeing a stubborn side of Amelia for the first time. Heaven forbid we actually suggest she walk, or try to entice probably won't happen. She likes to surprise us and walk towards us when we least expect it!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Just hanging out...

After the crazy, but fun, past week we've had, I'm looking forward to the coming days and a low key schedule. We had a last minute park play date and picnic with our friends Maddie and Kelly today. Maddie is exactly 6 months older than Amelia...this scares me a bit. Maddie seems like such a big girl with her large vocabulary and toddler determination. I'm just not ready for my little Amelia to be such a big girl! These two kids seem to have very similar dispositions-gentle girls who appear to be rule followers (YES!) and love to be near their Mommies. I'm sure they'll end up becoming great friends!

Amelia's first teeter totter ride. That's Graham the mini-van driver in the background!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Party Day

Today, we had Amelia's 1st Birthday party. We incorporated some Korean traditions (Dol table and hanbok for Amelia) as well as typical American traditions such as allowing the birthday girl to dig into her own cake. The party was a great success, and I hope all of our guests had fun helping us celebrate Amelia's first year. Party day and all the preparations leading up to today have left me exhausted, so tonight our readers will just be getting a sneak peak at the photo's. I promise a longer blog entry in the next day or two complete with pictures galore and an explanation of the Korean traditions. If anyone who attended the party today has pictures they'd be willing to share, feel free to email them to me!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Amelia!!!

One year ago today, our sweet Amelia was born in Korea. One year ago today, on the other side of the world, I was breathing a sigh of relief knowing that our home study was done and that we were three days into our official wait to be matched with our daughter. After being told we'd be waiting a "good solid year", never in a million years did I imagine that just three days after being put back on the infamous waiting list, that our daughter would be born. Amelia is truly a gift to our family, and although she hasn't even been home with us for 90 days yet, it's nearly impossible to remember what life was like before she joined us. She's a complete joy to have around, loves to cuddle, give hugs and kisses, and doesn't mind hair bows. :) Does it get any better than that?!?!?

I am so thankful that Amelia's birth mother made the selfless and loving decisions that she did and that Amelia's foster mother loved her unconditionally like she did. At only a year old, Amelia has people from one end of the globe to the other that love her and are thinking of her today. Although I will probably never have the privilege to meet Amelia's birth mother, it's humbling to me, that today, on the first anniversary of her birth, our thoughts are connected by sweet Amelia. We love you Amelia, Happy 1st Birthday!

Absolutely thrilled to be at the museum!

Enjoying crawling through the tunnels

Playing in the water with Big Brother Graham

And finally, no 1st Birthday would be complete without opening at least a few presents! I'll admit to being a bit worried that Graham was going to have a fit while he watched Amelia tear into her gifts, but he did great! Once the gifts were unwrapped, I can't say that he didn't want to take the toys, but he did sit back and allow Amelia to open her presents alone.
Amelia tore into her gifts like she's been doing this for years!

Becoming acquainted with her new baby

Amelia was THRILLED with her dollhouse. She was trying to climb onto the box...notice Graham's little finger? He was scolding her since we have a 'feet stay on the floor' rule at our house!

Setting up her doll house

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lots of Visitors!

The past few days have been an absolute whirlwind of activity for our family. We've had the opportunity to visit and catch up with both friends and family who are visiting from out of town. Earlier this week, Amelia got to meet her friend Benjamin for the first time. Krisanna, Benjamin's mom, and I were friends way back in elementary school so it's especially fun that we now have babies just two weeks apart in age! When I met Benjamin for the first time last fall, I distinctly remember holding him and wondering how old my little girl was. We didn't know about Amelia at the time, but as I held Benjamin I just had a feeling that my little princess was just about his size. Imagine my surprise when we learned of Amelia and discovered that her birthday is just two weeks before Benjamin's!

Benjamin and Amelia (getting a good picture of these two active kids was quite the challenge!)

We were also lucky enough to get to spend some time with Uncle Jon (Dada Jeff's brother) and his wife Auntie Catherine who are in town visiting for the week. They were both great sports as we braved the hottest, most humid day of the year to let Amelia and Graham play at the park and have a picnic lunch.
Some day, I think Amelia will kill me for making her wear this bonnet with a big pink doesn't get any more girly than that! Thankfully, as long as she's on a swing though, she doesn't care what she's got on her head!

Enjoying a ride compliments of Uncle Jon

And finally, but probably most exciting for Miss Amelia, is her new 'trick'. This evening, just in time for her 1st birthday later this week, Amelia decided that the best way to eat her animal crackers was in the upright position. It's now official, Amelia can stand on her own, for as long as she wants. She's very steady and I've got a feeling she'll be walking before we know it.
Hooray for Amelia!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the wonderful guy Graham affectionately refers to as 'Dada Jeff'! Amelia and Graham are still too young to fully comprehend how lucky they are to have such a wonderful father as a role model, so until they are old enough to understand, I'll just continue to remind them what a great Daddy they have! Thank you, Dada Jeff, for everything you do! You are dearly loved and appreciated by your entire family!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our Giggling Girl

Amelia was in an extremely goofy mood when I was able to capture her laughing. Her laughter was contagious...Graham, who usually doesn't like to admit that his sister can be funny, was observing from behind the table with a giant grin on his face. Who doesn't like to hear a baby laugh, right?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

'Round and Round'

Graham calls this activity 'round and round' and I have absolutely no idea how he got Amelia to join in on his fun. I wish I understood the appeal of spinning on the floor, but since it's keeping both kids happy, entertained, and they're not fighting I guess I don't have to understand it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

General Mills Picnic

Tonight we attended a family picnic for Dada Jeff's (Graham ALWAYS refers to his Daddy as 'Dada Jeff') group at work. It was a beautiful evening to be outside near the river in Minneapolis and both kids enjoyed watching all the action. Amelia and Graham were just a bit too young to participate in the organized fun for children, but they entertained themselves with picnic treats (cookies and chips), footballs, a bean bag toss game, and finally, we ended the evening with an ice cream treat. Summer BBQ's are the best!
Discussing strategy for their intense game of 'Bean Bag Toss'

Just being cute...for some reason, Amelia looks older to me in this picture...I still can't believe she'll be turning 1 in just over a week!

The best part of the evening...cooling off with an ice cream treat! This was Amelia's first taste of a fudgeicle. We thought she's be content with 'just a taste' but once she realized how sweet it was, she whined constantly until we let her eat nearly half of it. I promise, a post dedicated to her adult sized appetite will come soon...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Water Weekend

We spent the entire weekend outside. Since we planned to stay in town and get done some much needed yard work, we were lucky enough to have sunny skies and warm temperatures. Amelia and Graham loved the fact that our outside to-do list was very long which meant hours and hours of playing in the yard. And, since Amelia is still completely obsessed with her sunglasses, outside in the sun was the perfect place to be!

Sunglasses with pajama's are an absolute must!

Even after coming inside to eat lunch, the sunglasses had to be perched on Amelia's face.

This afternoon, when Jeff and I decided we were done with yard work for the day, we got out the kiddie pool. The water was a bit on the cool side, but neither of the kids gave a moments hesitation. We definitely have two water babies in our family! Neither of them were too happy when it was time to leave the pool behind and head inside for something as boring as dinner. Hopefully, this fantastic weather continues and Amelia and Graham can be back in the pool in the next few days.
How cute is her bikini?? And yes, according to Miss Amelia, the sunglasses are still a required accessory.

Happy Amelia!

Yay for swimming!

Big brothers are supposed to dump water over their little sisters head, right?!!?

Amelia's glasses fell off at one point and she was struggling to get them back on. Without a single word of prompting, Graham leaned over to help her. It was such a cute interaction between the two of them!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cool Kids in the Tub

Both kiddos are sporting new shades these days and both kiddos are addicted to them. Removing the sunglasses will result in a meltdown....times two! So, because Jeff and I are working to choose our battles with regards to parenting, bathing with sunglasses on doesn't really seem like a big deal. Amelia and Graham were THRILLED to be allowed a few extra minutes with their glasses, and both of them giggled for the entire bath. It almost seemed as though they thought they were getting away with their silly parents didn't even notice the glasses!

Amelia feeling pretty cool! Notice the growing rolls on Amelia's arms? I'll save my commentary on her adult sized appetite for another post. :)

Glasses in the tub is so much fun!

Lots of love! (Please don't let this outpouring of affection fool you....we have very normal kids who spend half the day trying to get at each other out of frustration, a quarter of the day ignoring each other, and the remaining quarter of the day, never all at once though, is spent enjoying the others company!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Happy Girl

I don't have much to report on today so I'll just share a picture of our happy girl. Amelia was beyond thrilled to finally get her hands onto Graham's toy steering wheel in the car today. No worries, I wasn't multi-tasking with the camera while driving-I was waiting in world's longest line at the Starbucks drive-thru.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Day of Art....

The above picture gives you a glimpse into what kind of morning we had at our house! I took the blue tummy as a sign that Graham was feeling the need to be artistic and decided that we needed to paint. Of course Amelia would want in on the fun so I had to be creative and come up with an art project that would not only entertain Graham but would also be safe for the Princess who puts EVERYTHING into her mouth. So, finger painting with chocolate pudding it was! As you can tell by the smiles and gigantic mess, the project was a hit with both of the kids!

Just getting started...

What fun!

Amelia loves chocolate!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Beep! Beep!

Much to Graham's dismay, Amelia figured out the logistics of moving her car across the room. As you can tell from the pictures, Graham did his best to get as far away from her as he possibly could, but unfortunately, he came to a wall and Miss Amelia was proudly able to catch up to her big brother! And the best part of all of this-it happened well before 7:30 am this morning. Yes, our house is in full swing bright and early each and every day!

Putting real effort into her mission

Amelia was very proud of herself and continually turned around to make sure I was watching

She did it!

Amelia's biggest accomplishment of the morning??? Walking behind her car! It won't be long before she's able to do this unassisted!
So proud of herself!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Playgroup at the Park

The school year is over for Graham, but that doesn't mean we don't get to see our friends anymore. Many of the children in Graham's class this year were also in his class last year which means they've all known each other since they were just babies. The Mom's have all gotten to know each other as well, and we decided to meet at a different park each Thursday during the summer. What's been really fun about this arrangement, is that most of Graham's friends have siblings all within a few months of age of Amelia! The weather was perfect today and neither Amelia or Graham wasted any time getting dirty in the sand. The amount of sand they brought home in their clothes, shoes, and yes, even hair was almost unbelievable. But, at least they had fun!

This was the first, and last time Graham threw sand at Amelia today. After a quick threat that we'd leave the park if it happened again, he was on his best behavior!

Amelia loved the sand table that was just the perfect height for her!

Sand does NOT taste good!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two Months

Exactly two months ago, a brave little girl waited at Incheon International Airport to board a plane and fly home. Two months ago, Amelia left behind everything familiar to her and she wasn't even old enough to understand that she was leaving. As we slowly made our way through the jetway and onto the plane, I wondered what Amelia was looking at and would she have any memory of her last few moments in Korea. Sure, she'll be back someday, but never as a Korean citizen and never without the understanding of why she left the country of her birth only to start over with her with her family in the United States. Jeff and I have vowed to be the bridge to Korea for both Amelia and Graham. Years from now, when they're old enough to process the complexities of international adoption, social stigma's that still exist in modern Korean culture, and we as parents are confident that both of them are confident in their own self-worth, we'll be there to take them back to Korea and show them with pride the country that allowed our family to be united.

April 2, 2009 Incheon International Airport

So here we are, two months after Amelia started over, and her adjustment has been nothing short of amazing! Sure, she had some serious sleep issues after coming home, but in the grand scheme of things those few weeks are so minor. We now have an amazingly happy, affectionate, SMILEY girl who loves her big brother Graham, Mommy, Daddy, and even Annie the dog. When Graham first came home I often found myself marveling at the miracle of adoption. It seemed like a true miracle to me that we were united with our son from the other side of the world. Now, after having gone through the process a second time, I am again in awe. Although it's only been two months since Amelia joined our family, it's hard to remember life without her. She acts as if she's been with us forever! We are so lucky to have the privilege to call Amelia our daughter!

June 2, 2009 - HOME!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Amelia and Graham

As I look back on our day, I am so excited to report that I didn't have to break up a single fight! That may not sound like a big deal, but normally by 7 am, our house is in full swing and I'm playing referee between the two little ones. I'm not sure what happened today, but things seemed to click with Amelia and Graham. Not once, did Graham try to ride Amelia like a pony, not once did Amelia try to rip a toy away from Graham, and not once was there a melt down when one child was picked up and the other left on the floor. Wow!

Instead of the usual interactions, I observed Graham holding Amelia's hands and attempting to dance with her (I'm kicking myself for not having a camera for this because it was too cute!), Amelia looking a book that Graham held in his lap (usually books are ripped out of each others hand almost immediately), and in my opinion, the cutest thing ever-Graham and Amelia sharing a kiss. I PROMISE that their little kiss wasn't staged! As you can see in the video, Graham pushed his stool up to Amelia's highchair and started to feed her the last of her lunch. He finished, and only because I had been taping him feeding her, was I ready to capture with the camera him leaning over to kiss her. It's moments like this, that make me forget all about the tears and tantrums that normally go along with having such young siblings only 17 months apart!

This picture melts my heart!

This video is out of order-sorry! We have discovered that Amelia does not like to crawl in the grass. Rough, hot pavement, sure! But grass, no way! Jeff and I get a good laugh out of watching how she 'crawls' when she's outside. Jeff thinks she looks like some sort of dinosaur and I'm just not sure what type of animal she resembles. I've got a feeling Amelia will be walking soon...just so she doesn't have to deal with the grass.
This is the video of Graham feeding Amelia her lunch. Both of them seemed very pleased with this arrangement. Perhaps, I should start enjoying my lunch at a normal pace and let Graham take over for a while!