Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Pics as Promised!

I mentioned on our family adoption blog that I had new pics that my mom sent me of John Paul being grandpa's little helper. :) They were building a bigger dog crate for their little dog. Sure beats buying one and John Paul and grandpa Rob looked like that had a blast! I posted the grandpa's helper pictures backward in order. The progress will start from the bottom up. He has also started feeding himself now! I had only been able to get him to do it several times, but thanks to grammy Gwen's home made banana pudding he is feeding himself now. Now why didn't I think of that? lol!

So here are the new pics of him. I have video of him eating too, but I am not sure if I can get it to load here. I have a wireless internet connection and it is downloading slowly. No complaints though! Thanks the Lord I have internet in my apartment!! I will try to tackle the video download tomorrow.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


My mom had been feeding me pictures of John Paul while we were in Ukraine to help with missing him. We had our web cams going so we could talk and see each other for a few days. But once we got to Simferopol we didn't have internet in our room and I was unable to use our laptop. That made it harder. It was so nice to get the pictures and to see him having fun! I thought I would post them so that you can all see them too. I have more pictures from Christmas but I am just going to post these for now and give people a chance to see these. There are a lot of pics and if I post them all then some of them will be on the next page probably and might get missed.

In the picture where he is eating the chocolate wafer he looks upset, but my mom said he is actually laughing. He has learned to take a bite out of softer things, like wafer cookies and cheese puffs. He still hasn't figured out how to chew with his back teeth though. Dasha will chew, bananas that I know of, so I am hoping that he will see her chewing and figure it out. We have been exaggerating our chewing so that he can see, but he just hasn't figured it out yet. Well, I think he understands the concept, but for some reason isn't ready to do it yet. When Dasha chews you can see her move her food around with her tongue and everything. I am really hoping that he will see how she is doing it and start wanting to try too. They are going to be so good for each other. I know he is going to be able to teach her a lot!

I had hoped and prayed that he would continue to progress while we were in Ukraine, and he has! He is in a great environment with my mom, but I was afraid that the change and wondering where we are might effect him. It hasn't at all though. My mom said that the first day that I was unable to call on our web cam that he walked into her office around the same time that I had been calling and pointed at the computer screen and said, "mama". That melted my heart and made me sad at the same time. He didn't get upset or cry though so that is good.

He obviously feels really comfortable with my mom and step-dad and loves them! You can tell that in the pictures. He was just starting to let me know when he had to use the potty before we left. He has taken my mom to the potty several times to let her know that he needs to go. He has been testing her some too to see what he can get away with. lol!! Don't they all do that? lol!

I am going to get the pictures on now so I can get on the road to go get him!! I had to get some sleep so that I could be awake enough to drive down to NC. I slept for 11 hours straight! Boy, I was wiped out from all of that traveling!

Here's my little sweetheart...
Isn't this the sweetest?!

He fell asleep eating.
I LOVE wagon rides at grammy's house!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Latest Accomplishments!

I haven't updated in a while so I thought I'd just list his latest accomplishments.

1. He is using the potty really well now. I have to take him and put him on the potty, but he will use it when he needs to. We are getting less and less accidents in between. And he LOVES to climb up on his little step stool to wash his hands. So much so that it has been his motivation for using the potty. I tell him to use the potty and you can wash your hands. I started rubbing his hands together when I tell him that and he will potty, then rub his hands together. Most of the time he tries to make a break for the sink with his pants around his ankles before I can get them back up. Now he stops when I say "wait". He looks so cute climbing up on his little step stool. And he immediately stepped up on it on his own before I even had a chance to show him. I thought he might need help, but he showed me real quick what a big boy he is.

2. He is becoming more vocal. The only words he is saying are mama and dada. But he is saying baba, and (as of yesterday) nana, and lala. He babbles and squeals a lot and blows LOTS of raspberries.

3. He is starting to drink some juice now. He stopped drinking vanilla soy milk. :(
He is drinking NutriPals, PediaSure, and juice. I am so thrilled about the juice!! That is a BIG accomplishment!

4. He is starting to spoon his spoon in his own mouth! He has scooped his own food up five times, but we are still in the process of getting him to do it independently. Tonight at supper he kept holding his hand out with his spoon in it for me to help him. Towards the end of his meal I ignored it to see if he would get tired of waiting and he did scoop twice. It was more of a dip, but still he helped himself and that was awesome! I helped him finish up because he was getting tired and it just wasn't the best time for it. So far I have learned that if you throw too many new things at him and expect too much faster than he feels comfortable then he shuts down and stops trying. So I do a little here and a little there and when he feels secure enough on his own he takes off. I no longer think about the fact that he is four years old and how he needs to catch up. I took that burden off of both of us! I stop and appreciate every new little thing he does without thinking about how far he still has to go. He is who he is and I love him just as he is. As long as we help him to accomplish being the person that God put him here to be then that is all that matters in this world. He's just amazing!

5. He has started to dance and spin in circles while he dances! His new favorite toy is a Leap Frog Caterpillar that plays music, says colors, and the alphabet. I started dancing for him when he would press the music button on top and he thought it was hysterical! As soon as the music would stop he would press the button again for the music to watch me dance. Yes, he made me his dancing monkey! lol! As soon as I would start dancing again he would scream and laugh. After a few rounds he decided to get up from his table and start dancing too. He was imitating me and started spinning in circles and shaking his little hands. This went on and on until we both tired out. It was good exercise for both of us though. He loves it! That's another thing he learned to do was spin circles. He had already learned that he could spin around and around to make the room spin. His coordination is getting so much better! Now he has learned to spin and dance to his favorite thing...MUSIC!

6. He signs "mama", "daddy", and as of yesterday "more". We're working on "milk" and "drink" now.

7. He has learned to put my hangers back! I have a hanger thief on my hands. I keep my hangers in a basket outside of the laundry room under my folding table because I don't have anywhere to hang them in my laudry room. Well, John Paul LOVES hangers!! He kept stealing my hangers and playing with them even though there is definitley not a toy shortage around here. He just loves them! One hanger here or there wasn't so bad, but it started to become a situation where everytime he would walk past the basket he would grab a new hanger and leave it thrown out on the playroom floor. Finally I decided it was time to crack down on it. So I caught him in the act and said, "no John Paul". This was after weeks of me taking the hangers either out of his hands or picking them up off of the floor and placing them back in the basket. He looked at me and gave me a mean look and started to whine and pout. So I told him to put it back in the basket. He spun in a circle and put it back in the basket. He was already halfway turned when I told him no, so he just turned the rest of the way around. Then he put his head down on the floor and started pouting. I said, "I'm not mad, just please don't steal my hangers". The he got up and picked up two more hangers that he had just previously hijacked and put them back in the basket. Of course this totally melted my heart. He is such a good little boy! Then he looked at me like he was sorry. He's so sensitive if he thinks he has done something wrong even when it really isn't a big deal. He'll understand though as he continues to become more secure with us. So now I am going to start working on teaching him to pick his own toys up.

8. He is interacting really well with other children! He had so much fun in NC over Thanksgiving with his cousin Ethan and my friend's two little boys. I am going to post some pictures later. I am really busy with getting ready to go back to Ukraine in 8 days!

9. He is starting to give kisses! My favorite accomplishment! :)

10. Oh, and he has learned to pet the cats GENTLY! lol! The cats appreciate that accomplishment A LOT!

11. And one more thing that is just awesome! He has learned to put his shape puzzle together correctly. It's a wooden puzzle with knobs and it has a square, triangle, circle, oval, and rectangle. He's learned to put all of the pieces in the correct place. He doesn't need my help with that one anymore. We just started a fruit puzzle now. He's already gotten the apple spot right a few times and the banana twice.

I am so bummed about leaving him, but we just can't take him for numerous reasons. He will be staying with my mom and he will be in great hands! I'm just going to miss him so much!!!! :(

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Pics & Video of John Paul

on our adoption blog. I posted it on our adoption blog because it was Rick's birthday, and more of a family thing. I might should have posted it here since the video is of John Paul. Anyway, you can check out our adoption blog if you want to see it. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Please Pray for Zoey

Please pray for this beautiful little girl. I have placed a button to the right of this post. Clicking on it will take you to her blog. Zoey was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and has just started chemo. Please pray for her parents and family as well. If you have a blog, her parents have asked and will appreciate if you put her button on your blog. Let's reach as far as we can and get as many prayers for this little girl and her family as possible. Put her on your prayer request lists at church even. Just lift them up. Thank you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Little Bee

John Paul had a fun first Halloween! He remembered from the day he got his pictures made what to do with a Dum Dum lollipop. It still had the wrapper on it though. lol! I took the wrapper off and he touched his tooth with it and then threw it on the floor. We just went around the block because he hasn't learned how to chew yet anyway. It would have just been more candy for mommy and daddy to eat. lol!

His costume had a little stinger on the back of it and it looked so funny! It was adorable on him! I couldn't get a clear picture of it though because he was moving around so fast. He looked like a streak in those pictures. I'm so glad glad that he is moving fast though! My little streak!

He had fun walking around. He got upset because he wanted to go in everyone's house. When he couldn't he cried. :( We only went to about 5 houses because he didn't understand why we couldn't go in everywhere we went. There was one house with a little girl about his age that he REALLY wanted to go inside. He already had a leg in her door! lol! She was playing in the floor with what looked like her grandpa and when we rang the doorbell she ran to the door and gave John Paul his candy. She said, "here baby". It's kind of comical because she looked to be 3 to 4 years old and he is four. He's a little guy. He has grown some though. He can wear 2T shirts now and some 24 months pants. Mostly he wears 18 months pants though. His foot has grown a half size. His hair is getting so shiny too. Nothing like some good home cooking and PediaSure. :) He has ONLY wanted to drink PediaSure since I got him home. In Ukraine he would drink juice and milk, but after I got him home I gave him PediaSure or PediaPals all the time because he was so severely underweight. Well, he got used to the taste and did not want ANYTHING else. I could get away with 1/4 milk and 3/4 PediaSure, but any more than that and he could taste the difference. I mean protesting and refusing any imposter, such as half PediaSure and half milk or water, and also vanilla and strawberry flavored milk. A friend of mine, Mandy, gave me an idea of something else to try. She gave her son (who also was becoming a PediaSure addict lol!) Silk vanilla flavored soy milk. So I bought some, and lo and behold thanks to Mandy I have successfully tricked him...finally! lol! He will drink it if I pour it out of a PediaSure bottle, but he saw me pour it out of the carton one day at lunch and he fussed and refused it! He's one smart cookie. But not too smart to be fooled by mommy. :) Now I put it in PediaSure bottles and he drinks it. The first time I tried pouring it out of the PediaSure bottle after he caught on to my trickery, I held my breath. You see he was on to me and then the drink had to pass a thorough inspection of sight, smell, and taste. If he suspects foul play he will first look down into his cup suspiciously, then lift it up and smell down in it, and then he will take a small sip. If it meets the high standards of John Paul PediaSure connoisseur, then he will turn it up and drink it. lol! If not, he will sit it back down, give you the stink eye, fuss, and slide it away from him on the highchair top. This is a far cry from the shoving it back in your face while it splashes everywhere, and at the same time having him scream and cry hysterically while kicking you that he used to do. Total meltdown! Thank goodness he has learned to tame that temper some! He's not a big fan of "time out" when he is hungry and thirsty. A few minutes of "time out" each offense cured the tantrums. It only took about 3 or four "time outs" and he figured it out and started pushing his cup softly away. He still fusses, but I'm not dodging drink splatters and kicks to my knee caps. And he doesn't have complete emotional meltdown over it. But he does express his dislike. And that's okay! :) We want him to have a voice and to express his opinion, but in a calm, my entire world isn't ending kind of way. I guess he learned to be that way in the orphanage. I saw him act like that, the only day, I observed him eating with one of the caretakers until she added porridge to his bottle of broth. I guess that was the only control the poor little guy could get over his environment, that and he is PICKY over his drink! It was obvious it was a regular thing for him because she knew adding the porridge would calm him down. So I came to the conclusion that his feeding times were the parts of the day that he would definitely get one on one attention, even if briefly, and so that must be why he was throwing so many tantrums during feeding. They allowed him to throw them and if he did, he would get more attention, and get what he wanted. When the caretakers are busy trying to get everyone fed quickly on a schedule, I guess it took a major tantrum to get attention to get his drink the way he wanted it. It worked for him though! He was working that environment! lol! But it didn't work for him here. It took me a little while to figure out why he turned into this totally different child when it was time to eat. He's fine with his meal times now, unless he realizes his drink has been tampered with. lol! Smart boy! :) But thank goodness a loving home environment with structure has helped with the tantrums. He's such a joy to have here! I'm not trying to be negative about his past behaviors, just honest. It is nice to be able to think back to how he was when he came here and how great he is doing now! I am so glad that Silk vanilla soy milk is "in"! That will sure help out our pocket books! Thanks Mandy, great idea!

Back to Halloween...He was ready for a play date with that little girl! He protested having to leave that house the most. I wish he could have gone in and played, but we don't know them. Maybe he will run into her on the playground some time and make a new friend. But, all in all he had fun and so did we.

He has been signing mama and daddy for a couple of weeks. But tonight at supper I showed him the sign for daddy and he signed it back at me and SAID, "dada". It was awesome to hear and see! I just love his sweet little voice!

Friday, October 17, 2008

John Paul's First Professional Pictures!

I love these pictures of him! It's amazing to see how far he has come and how happy he is now. He is such a huge blessing in a little package! :) He was in the process of clapping his hands in the first picture. He was so excited to have his picture taken! I am so thankful for him! We are planning on giving one of these pictures (framed) to the orphanage when we go back for Dasha. I haven't decided which one yet. What do you all think would be the best one to give them?