Monday, November 18, 2013

Augustana's Kick Off Kid 11/16/2013.....

....was Aiden! Because Aiden is seen at Sanford Children's Hospital, and because Troy and I know the person at Sanford who works with Augie to arrange said kid, Aiden was chosen. To be honest, Aiden was terrified. All the "job" entailed, really, was walking out to the coin toss at mid-field. Even though the Augie captains were painfully sweet (and would probably be mortified to be described that way), and they all came over to say hi to Aiden and got down on his level -- physically -- he refused to go alone, so Dad had to accompany him. Troy said Aiden was so scared, he was physically shaking the entire time. Out he did go, though, brave kid. When it was all said and done, he loved it! Now, had Ethan been chosen, he would have led those captains out onto the field. Those two are an exercise in contrasts to be sure. Be that as it may, they're getting to be very close, and today they played together ALL DAY without one fight. It is sweet to watch their relationship develop. Now, if we could just get two days in a row. Haahaha! Ah well, we'll take what we can get. And it just gets better every day!

One of the captains talking to Aiden. So sweet!
Aiden and Dad at midfield

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wanted, Prayed for, Chosen, LOVED!

Today is orphan Sunday. There is a oft-used saying in the adoption community -- especially when we get the comment, "You know, you can't save them all!" It is then when we lucky adoptive parents can say,

~Adopting one child WON'T change the world, BUT
for that child, the world WILL change
Author Unknown

That only tells half the story, though. It should continue,

~And for those fortunate enough to adopt,
THEIR world will be changed, too, for the better!~

So much better.

November is adoption month. Today is orphan Sunday. Please take a few minutes to think of and pray for those who still await their forever families. Maybe, just maybe, even ask yourself is your son or daughter out their waiting to meet you through the gift of adoption.

Orphans no more:
:( I can't seem to load Aiden's baby picture from the orphanage, but you get the idea!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Ok, so I know it has been a while since I last posted, and too much has transpired to even contemplate trying to relay it all. Therefore, I will merely make this a Halloween post. Suffice it to say, the boys had a blast! They filled their little jack-o-laterns to the brim (thanks to Dad being a trooper and schleping them around for over an hour) and came home excited, giddy, and -- if I am to be honest -- wild! They were exhausted both having been awake since about 5:15 that morning.

Aiden is already asking about when he gets to trick-or-treat again. He is NOT on board with the idea that it will be a long, long, long time. He did, however, make his peace with it when he asked me as he lay his head down, "Mom. Pete coming to our house?" See, Pete is our Elf on the Shelf. I assured him it would not be long before Pete returned. This seemed to placate him, and he quickly fell asleep -- only to wake up at 5:30 this morning. Sigh.....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Three Years Ago Today-- 10/10/10

It is almost beyond comprehension, well, for me anyway. Three years ago, we were on our way from Beijing to Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. We had thought we were going to be given the most amazing gift God ever grants anybody -- a child. I was to be crushed to find that I was going to have to wait yet another torturous day to meet my sweet baby boy. Little did I know, yet I should have trusted, that God had a plan. There was a reason we didn't receive our beautiful first son that October 10. It was because our second beautiful boy, elsewhere in the same wonderous country on that same exact day, was being born, and God knew that neither boy should have to share his "Gotcha" or his birthday. He doesn't make mistakes! :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What We Were Doing One Year Ago Today....

We were headed to China to go get our little guy. One year ago today, our family of three started our journey half way around the world to get our son and brother and become a family of four. What an amazing, wonderful, beautiful journey!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Starting Summer 2013

It has been brought to my attention that my blogging has been, well, somewhat lacking in the last few months. I will admit, I got a little caught up in life and, maybe as importantly, got a little lazy. Anyway, it has been since Easter since I did an update, and that is simply too much boring ole everyday life to catch up on. I think it significant to mention though that yesterday was the TEN MONTH ANNIVERSARY of bringing home Ethan, (how is that possible?) and tomorrow is Troy's and my SEVENTEEN YEAR anniversary (again, how is that even possible?).

It may seem hard to imagine, but after close to a year, we are just finding our comfort zone. Ethan is bonding, feeling safe and comfortable, and therefore he is starting to show some, how do I say this? Attitude. A lot of it at that. Aiden, the exemplary big brother in China, decided at some point that having a sibling is not all it's cracked up to be. Don't get me wrong, a majority of the time I think they love each other. Some of the times they like each other. They still make it a challenge most of the time! It is, though, a wonderful, fun, interesting, albeit exhausting challenge.

Take, for example, the simple task of family pictures. Ok, I just snorted at the adjective "simple." That word is misleading if not an outright lie. God bless Sara Sandbulte. She did an amazing job and did it with a servant's heart. I guess that should be no surprise. Here's how this photo session came to be; here's the message I received on facebook shortly after New Year's.

"Hey Diane! I'm not sure if you follow my photography page or not but the past couple weeks I have been receiving nominations for a free family session and CD of those photos from people who know of a family that would appreciate a gift like this.
This is what I had posted on my photography page:
'The Olivia Act, named after one of the children killed in Newtown, Ct., was started by a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous. Olivia’s family had family pictures taken a short time before she was killed. Those pictures are precious and now priceless to them. Upon hearing this, this photographer was moved to give away a 30 minute family photo shoot and has challenged other photographers to do the same. We go about our daily lives and sometimes we don’t take the time or have the resources to have family photos taken.'
Your family has been nominated and I am writing you this message because you have been chosen..."

What an amazing blessing. So, not only does she display a servant's heart, she also displays amazing talent! We've only seen one picture, but the fact that she got one is nothing short of miraculous. Between the distractions of the geese and ducks, the throwing of the rocks, Aiden's forced smile, the inability to sit still.....You get the idea. These two were a handful. And then some! Here is the sneak peak we got though.

We can't wait to see the rest. Even if we only got this one, though, we'd be happy. SO CUTE!

Next up on the Sturgeon Blogosphere -- my anticipation of my trip to NYC -- or rather, probably an a look back. I'm not so good at the timliness anymore. Suffice it to say, in all my tiredness, crabbiness, whininess about the craziness of my life with my boys, I am stressing / crying about leaving them for four days. From the day we have been blessed with their arrival in our life, I have not spent a night separated from them. I am freaking out! In brief: my generous-to-a-fault husband told me to go ahead and use my frequent flier miles; my well-contected friend is getting us tickets to one of the hottest Broadway plays, The Book of Mormon; and a dear, and might I add BRAVE, high school classmate friend is boarding us for the duration of our stay; therefore, I essentially get to go to my favorite city in the world for the cost of food!!!! Oh. My. GOODNESS! How could I pass that up? More later...!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Easter 2013 -- Ethan's First

Recently I was told that I have been remiss in my blogging. Well, I will try to remedy that tomorrow on our THIRD day off school this week. It IS Spring, isn't it? Would somebody remind Mother Nature of that? Ugh. This ice and impending 8" of snow and 40+ mph wind is for the birds. I just pray everybody stays safe even as the trees are falling around us.

Before I get around to updating the goings-on in our lives, I will simply put some pictures from Easter and say that we had a beautiful holiday and experiencing this first with Ethan was heart-warming! (And a side note? The kid is a rock star egg finder! Seriously. He was incredible. He is so observant, that he found them in record time!) Both he and Aiden loved all things Easter -- including church -- and we are so blessed to be able to share it all with them.

Without further ado:

Let the Easter egg coloring begin!

Yes, I was wearing gloves in an attempt to avoid stained fingers. It failed by the way....

You want me to do WHAT with this egg?

Ooooh....I see!!!

This is fun stuff!

The old pro

Up early and ready to hunt for eggs


Found one happy dance!

Easter is fun

The Easter Bunny is AWESOME!

Yes he is!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Six Month Anniversary

Tomorrow marks the SIX MONTH anniversary of Ethan coming into our lives -- into our forever family.

Ethan the week we came home

As cliched as it will sound, sometimes I find myself thinking, "Oh my goodness! Where has the time gone?!" At other times, it feels like Ethan has always been with us. I'm pretty sure there are times when he is thinking, "How did I ever get stuck in this crazy family?" Meanwhile, I know Aiden is wondering what happened to his world and what he did to deserve a little brother who follows him everywhere and copies everything he does. I can say with certainty, though, that Aiden would be absolutely lost without Ethan. As much as Aiden likes to boss Ethan around (dare I even say tries to bully him), Ethan has turned into Aiden's best buddy -- his partner in crime! I could do without the tatteling (Ethan can now CLEARLY say, "MOOOOM! Aiden hit me!), the monotony of the word mine, the fighting, and the whining over who gets Mommy time; however, I simply can't imagine it any other way now. And 'things' are improving. They fight less often, the *tantrums are fewer, and sharing, although usually a foreign concept still, is starting to improve. In short, they're brothers!

Ethan wasn't feeling well....

*As a caveat, overall the tantrums are fewer; however, Ethan is starting to assure us that he is comfortable with us and KNOWS he is HOME. He has taken to stomping his feet when he gets scolded, and in time-out, he will stare me down and hit the wall. He's started to stick out his tongue and blow "raspberries" at Aiden. Don't worry. EVERY time this happens, Aiden is sure to come running and tell me. Sigh!

Now, I do have pictures to post of Chinese New Year which entailed eating out not once but twice (UNHEARD OF!), the boys getting toys and "money" in red envelopes, and "shooting off fireworks" which amounted to snaps and pull-string confetti. I also have photos of our Changchun buddies visiting and Aiden's new hearing aid I should get on here, but I have been so remiss in posting / updating, that I figured I'd throw together a quick post with a few pictures (which for *us* is important because this is how I scrapbook. :-/ This is our memory book of sorts) before the 1/2 year anniversary got away from me. So, here goes.....

Some of our most recent pictures of our sweet, gentle, smart lil' guy from Chinese New Year's Eves Day. We are proud and blessed to get to call him son and brother.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How Vastly Different.....

It dawned on my recently that Ethan is about 27 months old. That, in and of itself, is nothing particularly noteworthy. It was the realization that followed. We adopted Aiden when he was 27 months old. It is an understatement to say the two are vastly different at that same age. I am fully aware that this can be the case with biological children with the same two parents brought up in the same environment. However, I think there is something to be said for orphans who come from a Half the Sky program and are in foster care -- Ethan -- versus children who spend 2+ years in an orphanage as Aiden did, even if the orphanage is doing the best they can (which we pray is the case). Aiden was wearing 12 - 18 months clothes when we brought him home.

Aiden wearing his 2T Adidas jacket at 27 months

Ethan wearing the same Adidas jacket at 27 months

I think it's safe to say there is a marked difference between the two!

We are happy to announce, though, that Aiden, now 4 1/2, is wearing 4T clothes, and some of those are starting to get a bit too short. It is amazing what good nutrition and oodles of unconditional love can do for a little one!

All we can say is that we are humbled and will be eternally grateful that God chose us to be these two beautiful boys' parents, to watch them grow and thrive. They are such a blessing!