Liam’s 5th Birthday

Liam celebrated his 5th birthday on April 28th. He wasn’t really into having a big birthday party this year. They had one for him at his Pre-K with all his friends from school so we just had a small celebration at home. I got him a pirate themed cake and decorations since he is all into the Disney show Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

For his birthday gift, he finally got a bike and he was one happy little boy!

Easter 2011

Liam had his first Easter egg hunt of the season on April 16th at the hospital’s annual Easter egg hunt. Liam did quite well, his bucket was overflowing with treat-filled eggs.

MCH Easter Egg Hunt

Next, his Pre-K class had their egg hunt on April 21st at the park across the street from their building. It was lots of fun to see the kids clear the grounds in less than 5 minutes. I noticed that one inventive little guy, finding no more eggs, starting filling his bucket with pine cones instead. 😉

Pre-K Easter Egg Hunt

We were out of town for Easter weekend. We went to Round Rock for shopping at our favorite Ikea store (more on the Ikea purchases in a separate post). Liam is such a good traveler and we are so fortunate that is he is completely content just riding in the car patiently for 6 hours. He took a few books and things to play with but mostly he just likes to ride, look out the window, ask questions, catnap, talk, and sing along the way. He was very excited about going to Ikea because he loves the Småland play area where he can dive into the giant ball pit.

After we filled the car with Ikea boxes, we headed home on Easter Sunday. We stopped off to see our friends in Brady and Liam got one last egg hunt in.

Brady Easter Egg Hunt

I hope you all had a Happy Easter!

Spring Break 2011

Since my job is now part of the education system, I had last week off for Spring Break—yay!

We went to Washington DC & Virginia to visit our friends Chris, Teresa & Anna who we met in Moscow back in 2008. Although we hadn’t seen them since we left Russia, we’ve kept in close touch with them through the years and they graciously invited us to come stay in their beautiful home for a few days.

Chris and Teresa

Liam studied the presidents in his pre-school last month and was looking forward to seeing Abe Lincoln’s statue. He and Anna had a great time playing together and we really enjoyed our time there!

Click here to view photos from our trip.

Christmas 2010

Since this is the last day of 2010, I thought I’d better get busy and get this posted! We had another wonderful Christmas this year. Liam has made our Christmases a very special time. There’s just nothing better than all the fun things we do during this time of year and the build up to and the excitement on a 4 year old’s face on Christmas morning.

Liam on Christmas Morning

My best friend Karen (or a.k.a. “Nanny Karen”) spent the week with us and it always feels like our family is complete when she is here. She convinced me to make real cookies with Liam this year instead of our traditional open the package and put on the pan kind. We all had a fun time baking and decorating and Karen enjoyed my stressing over the cookie imperfections and sprinkle mounds that Liam put on the cookies.

baking cookies

baking cookies

This was our first Christmas in our new house. We started putting up a few decorations outside but soon discovered that we’re living across the street from Clark W. Griswold! And our next door neighbor is a close second with his incredible light-wrapped trees and giant wreath, so we sort of lost interest in doing much decorating outside this year. But we were very excited to have a fireplace for Santa to come down this year—its always been a bit of a mystery how he got into our house before. Of course, the big question now is how he avoids getting burned by the fire & hot ashes on his way down.

I heard Liam wake up early on Christmas morning but never heard him come out of his room. I went to check on him and he was still in bed with the covers pulled up and said that he had to stay snuggled in his bed or Santa wouldn’t come. It was quite a relief for him to find out that Santa had already come & gone. After further discussion, we discovered that we had both heard the sleigh bells and reindeer on our roof that night.

Needless to say, he loved all of his gifts and spent most of the day unwrapping a gift or two and then playing for a while. He had asked Santa for a Henry and James train (from the Thomas collection) and a Batman car (which is really the Joker car) and Santa came through for him and also included a train table. Here are a few more pics from Christmas morning and Liam reading his new books with Nanny Karen.

Liam on Christmas morning

Liam reading new books

Liam & Nanny Karen reading

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year!

Breakfast With Santa 2010

A few weeks ago Liam met up with “The Big Guy” for his annual Breakfast With Santa. Liam went fully loaded with his wish list for Christmas but Santa is getting off pretty light this year since there were only 3 small requests: James and Henry trains (from the Thomas the Tank Engine set) and a “Shake n Go” Batman car (which is really a Joker car).

Liam

Photo compliments of Jennifer Spera Photography

I can’t believe how big he looks in Santa’s lap compared to last year. We had a great time and it gave me a chance to catch up with some of my former co-workers at MCH.

But the most exciting part of the day was after we left Santa. Liam had an opportunity to ride in a fire truck. The fire department academy’s graduating class was practicing driving the truck in the parking lot and they promised to be safe and give both my boys a ride. I’m thinking Rob might have enjoyed it as much as Liam. You be the judge. 😉

Liam & Rob riding in a fire truck.

Liam & Rob riding in a fire truck.

Liam & Rob riding in a fire truck.

Metcha Tres

Anniversaries are a way to remember, relive, reflect upon, and fully appreciate again important experiences and events in our lives. And today marks one of those major milestones for us. Words fail to paint the significance of that day, but it was life-altering to say the very least…

On our second day in Moscow, Russia, 3 years ago today, Monday, December 3rd, 2007, Dede & I met Liam for the first time!

We weren’t allowed to post or email photos of him until the adoption was finalized several weeks later, but of course we took lots of pictures on that special day. This is the first time we saw our son, being brought to see us by his kind caretaker, on that frosty morning in Podolsk:

Liam's "Metcha Day" photo

Big congrats to Melissa & Nathan who’re experiencing their own “Metcha Day” today!

Halloween 2010

We had a busy fun-filled Halloween weekend this year!

Liam was all revved up about being his favorite Toy Story character for Halloween so we pieced together a costume over the course of the Summer. The Buzz Lightyear Action Wing Pack came as an awesome birthday gift back in April from “big bro” Ryan. Rob found the jumpsuit at Wal-Mart 3 or 4 months ago. I picked up matching Toy Story 3 green socks in the dollar bin at Target, and we splurged on some lime green Converse hightop “Chucks” and some glow-in-the-dark armbands to finish the ensemble off.

Liam in his Buzz Lightyear costume

The festivities began Friday night at my Mom’s nursing home. They had a mini carnival inside and the kids got to trick or treat with the residents there. Of course, all the residents just lit up having the kids around. Liam had lots of fun playing games and even won a stuffed frog that he gave to his G-Ma as a gift. It was so sweet.

Saturday night we met up with Clems, Sophie & Siena and Martin, Ashley & Little Sophie at St. Elizabeth’s Gooberfest carnival. We love this one because it’s a lot smaller than some of the other carnivals in town and the games are geared just perfect for younger children. The kids had lots of fun just running & playing with each other and it was nice to be able to relax and visit with our friends.

Liam and Siena

Buzz Lightyear and Darth Vader

Sunday night we took Liam around the neighborhood trick-or-treating and he loved it. Last year he wasn’t that into it but this year, he was all excited and did great going up to the doors and interacting with people. When we got home, he loved passing out the candy to the trick-or-treaters who visited our house and would get all excited every time he heard the doorbell ring. He told them all “Happy Halloween” after he gave them their candy.

Liam goes "Trick or Treating."
Liam "Trick or Treating."

I was wiped out by the end of the evening but it was SO worth it! It makes me realize how precious these days are that he enjoys such simple things in life. I wish I could just freeze time and he would stay 4 forever! (He’s always quick to tell that that he can’t stop growing!)

G-Ma Turns 82

Today is my Mom’s 82nd birthday.  We celebrated with her yesterday by taking some cupcakes to the nursing home and it’s a good thing we brought extras!  Once the singing started some of the other residents decided to join in the birthday festivities.  One man got a little upset when he thought there were no more cupcakes and he was going to get left out.  He calmed down though once we got a cupcake for him.

Mom didn’t remember that it was her birthday but sure was excited when Liam gave her a gift and a hug.

It made me happy to see Mom in such good spirits.  We had a good visit and lots of fun singing and talking with the other ladies that sat at the table with us.  It’s always sad to go visit her in the nursing home but she seems content and is getting good care.

I’m not sure what the face she is making in the picture below is all about, but she had green icing all over her face by the time that cupcake was finished.  The other lady in the photo licked all the icing off her cupcake and then gave it back to me.  😉

Here are a couple of videos from the party:

I love Annie’s response in the next video:

Happy Birthday Mom, we love you!

Labor Day Weekend 2010

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that the past few months have been kind of chaotic for us so even though we have a dozen ongoing projects at the house, last weekend we decided to take a much-needed break and get out of town for a couple of days.

So we headed to Round Rock, Texas (just north of Austin). Admittedly, we also hoped to do a little shopping, but we planned the trip around a train ride for Liam. Thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine & Chuggington, he’s really crazy about trains and has been asking about riding one for quite some time now.

I found a vintage train that goes from Cedar Park suburb to the Oatmeal Festival in Bertram that was about an hour ride each way. The train was scheduled to be pulled by a restored steam engine but it was out for repairs so we had to settle for an old diesel engine. The train was named the “Oatmeal Flyer” but we’ve decided they should change the name to the “Oatmeal Crawler;” man, that train was slow! Anyway, Liam was thrilled to finally get to ride on a train and loved meeting the Conductor.

Liam and the Conductor

Liam on his first train ride

Liam looks out the window of the train

Liam gives Oatie a hugDuring our stop in Bertram, we walked down to the Oatmeal Festival parade which was really nice; they’ve got a lot of small town spirit going on there!. Liam got his first experience of racing to scoop up candy that was thrown from the parade and he loved meeting Oatie, the mascot of the Oatmeal Festival. The parade also included the local villain, The Grits Guzzler, who was apprehended by the local police during the parade and drenched with oats.

After the s-l-o-w train back to Round Rock, we headed to our favorite store, Ikea. It is also one of Liam’s favorite stores because he loves their play area. We were all set to shop and he was all set to play and then things took a turn for the worse. They had the play area closed down for renovations. That did not set well with our boy and he let the whole store know about it. There were tears throughout the departments until we reached the kid’s section of the store. Yes, he now owns a new soccer ball and wooden train set that helped soothe his disappointment of the play area renovation. We wouldn’t normally buy him something to make him stop crying, but I just felt so sorry for him since he had talked about playing at Ikea the whole 7 hour car ride there.

Things went pretty smoothly after the Ikea fiasco and we got a bit more shopping in at the Outlet Mall there. On our way home, we we stopped off in Brady. We spent a few hours there visiting with our friends who always spoil him. This time, with help from Glenda, he even got to drive a “Mule,” which of course he loved.

Liam drives a Mule

So, it was a fun-filled weekend but we were glad to get home so we could get some rest. I am so thankful that Liam is such a good traveler. He loves riding in the car and staying in hotels.

How about you, what did you do for Labor Day weekend?