Gotcha Day – 9th Anniversary

I reminisce every year when I do our annual Gotcha Day posting. Looking back at all the stair photo comparisons, it’s hard to believe that this is the same child. He is turning into a Tween and his legs look a mile long in the photo this year. Looks aren’t deceiving – we have been through 3 sizes of pants in the last 6-8 months keeping up with his growth spurts.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what his future will be like this time next year when he has started Middle school. I am so worried about the transition but he can’t wait. That’s my boy, fearless and ready to meet the world head on! I’m so proud of my little man!

9th Gotcha Day stairs

Gotcha Day – 8 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 7 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 6 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 5 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 4 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 3 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 2 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 1 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 8th Anniversary

Well it looks like it has been a year since I last blogged! The ease of FaceBook posts are slowly killing off my blog postings but I’m not quite ready to give it up yet. Our 2Dolphins blog has a lot of sentimental value and was very theraputic during our adoption journey so it must go on!

We celebrated our 8th Gotcha Day this year and I hadn’t realized how much Liam had grown until I just saw his last year’s photo again. That boy is going to be taller than me soon!

One of our annual Gotcha Day traditions is to create the stairwell photo comparison from the day he left his baby home to now. It’s always a challenge to find the right stairs for him to pose on and this year’s stairwell is from the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium.

Every day I think I could not love this boy any more than I do right now but every day I love him a little bit more! I’m so thankful that Rob and I are lucky enough to be his parents.

Liam's 8th Gotcha Day

Gotcha Day – 7 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 6 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 5 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 4 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 3 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 2 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 1 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 7th Anniversary

Gotcha Day is here again and it continues to amaze us how quickly a year passes. Our little guy is growing up so fast and we are so proud of him. He is such a sweet and intelligent guy that has a tender heart that is full of compassion. I hope he never loses these qualities.

Below is our annual stairwell photo comparison of then and now with links below it to past years. Happy Gotcha Day Liam, we love you!

Gotcha Day – 6 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 5 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 4 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 3 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 2 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 1 year anniversary photo

Third Grade

Hard to believe but Liam started 3rd Grade today. These school years are going by quickly and we will have a teenager on our hands before we know it. For now, I am happy that he is still in the somewhat innocent years of elementary school.

It seems like kids are growing up so fast now and the things on his mind were never thought of until we were much older. Over the summer he began questioning his purpose in life. What 8 year old does that or even cares? Maybe it came from the influence of The Lego Movie and Emmet’s dilemma; who knows? He is such a deep thinker. He also worries about having friends (which he has never had a lack of) and it makes me sad that he thinks he doesn’t have friends or doesn’t fit in. In the past, his teachers have assured me that he has lots of friends at school and does just fine so I hope that’s true.

We ran into his new teacher last week and she was very excited to see him and seems like she is going to be a good one. He had a great year last year and we are hoping that trend will continue!

Below is a picture of my baby this morning all ready to conquer another year of school!

Camp Arcadia

We just returned from a weeklong vacation in Arcadia, Michigan. The majority of our time was spent at Camp Arcadia. Even though we didn’t actually get to stay at the camp (there are a limited number of rooms and it’s a lottery system), we were fortunate enough to get to spend our days there. The camp sits on the waterfront of Lake Michigan and is just beautiful. There are daily activities for the kids and lots of adult activities as well (i.e. wine and beer tasting events)! There are nature walks through woodlands, people bicycling everywhere, and the cool summer climate can’t be beat (think: San Diego on a budget).

Thanks to my good friend Gretchen’s hospitality, we stayed about 2 blocks from the camp at her Mother’s cottage along with some of her family. The cottage was a hub of activity with people arriving from all corners; Gretchen came in from Bangkok, others came from Chicago, St. Louis, Eastern Michigan, Texas and there was even an Aussie in the house! All the kids were piled up in one room and Liam finally fulfilled his dream of having a sleepover and sacking out in the top of a bunk bed.

Gretchen graciously allowed us to tag along on her daughter’s annual fishing charter trip. We caught the boat at 5:30 AM and watched the sun rise over the lake with our hooks already in the water. I’m definitely not a morning person but the sunrise was beautiful and worth losing my beauty sleep for. The kids loved reeling in the fish and my biggest kid enjoyed it too!

The sunsets reflecting over Lake Michigan sure give our West Texas sunsets a run for the money. I could sit by the water and watch those every night and never tire of them. I had to keep reminding myself that in just a few months winter would descend and the lake would be iced over.

Click on the image below if you would like to see some of the photo highlights of our trip.

Gotcha Day – 6th Anniversary

It’s February 1st so that means that Gotcha Day has rolled back around again. I can’t believe how quickly 6 years has passed. It seems like only yesterday we were in Russia to bring our little guy home and now our little guy is not so little anymore. Below is our annual stairwell photo comparison of then and now with links below it to past years. Happy Gotcha Day Liam, we love you!

Gotcha Day – 5 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 4 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 3 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 2 year anniversary photo

Gotcha Day – 1 year anniversary photo

Virginia Beach 2013

We just returned from a fantastic 10 day vacation to Virginia Beach! We flew into Washington DC and stayed a couple of days with our friends Chris & Teresa and then we all drove to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. It was very hot and humid but the park was not crowded at all. Liam rode all the rides they would let him on, including the Loch Ness Monster (his first roller coaster).

The next day we drove to Virginia Beach and spent the next 5 days there. Our hotel was right on the beach and Liam loved playing in the ocean! We visited the Virginia Aquarium and took a ride on The Lost Pearl. Those pirates really work at entertaining the kids!

On our last day at the beach, Troy and Rachel drove down to meet us. We’ve been following each other’s blogs for years, but had never met in person. Their son Daniel and Liam hit it off famously just like we both had predicted they would. It was so nice to finally meet. Thanks again for making the drive down!

What wonderful memories and it was so nice to spend time with Chris, Teresa and Anna again!
Click the link below the picture to view more pics of our vacation.

Liam on the beach

End of First Grade

First grade is officially over!

There were a few bumps along the way but for the most part it was a great year. It was Liam’s first year at a private school and the transition took some time but after he learned the ways of his new school it all worked out. I’m so proud of how far he has come this year. I can’t believe all the things they teach in first grade! It is so fast-paced compared to when I was in school. He is an excellent reader and speller. His reading vocabulary tested at almost 6th grade level! I think that’s pretty incredible for a kid who didn’t even speak English his first 2 years! Below is a picture from the award ceremony, where he received an “A” Honor Roll award and a picture with his first grade teacher and his extended day teacher.

I’m sad that my little guy is growing up so fast but I look forward to 2nd grade and new adventures. For now, however, he will be chillaxin by the pool for the summer!

Award for

His 1st grade teacher Mrs. McDoniel

Extended Day teacher Mrs. Ford

Liam chillaxin by the pool

Soccer 2013

This year Liam played soccer for the first time. The jury is still out on whether he liked it enough to play again. I enjoyed it much more than T-Ball because it is faster paced and the season ends just as our temperatures start hitting triple digits! Yesterday was the final game for the season and the kids were very excited about getting trophies. Liam is so proud that he carries his trophy all around the house with him.

Liam’s 7th Birthday

We celebrated Liam’s highly-anticipated 7th birthday this year by doing something different and having his birthday party at a private gymnastics facility. We thought it was an original idea but now it seems like everyone else is doing the same thing this year. It’s a welcome relief from the jumper/arcade/pizza parties and I sure do prefer the private parties to being mixed in with the crowds at the public facilities.

Liam’s chosen theme for this year’s party was Batman, which made it pretty easy for us to put together. Instead of the traditional 1/2 sheet cake, we did a cupcake cake (a bunch of cupcakes iced together to look like a cake). I made the mistake of not asking what color the icing was going to be so we ended up with lots of blue faces at the end of the party. Note to self: only do white icing from now on!

The kids (and a few of the adults) had lots of fun jumping on the trampolines, walking the balance beams and tumbling on the mats. It’s definitely something I would do again!

I can’t believe my baby is now 7 years old. The last 5 years have just flown by so quickly that I know I’m going to wake up one of these days with a teenager on my hands and I’m just not ready for that! Until then, here is my sweet baby boy having fun at his birthday party.

Liam jumping off of the balance beam
Liam on a trampoline
Batman cupcake cake