After a very long wait, I am finally a lucky mommy to a little blessing from China. This blog was created to keep family, friends, and our wonderful China travel group from September 2009, up-to-date on our sweet little boy. (Gotcha 9-20-09)
"THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO CREATE IT."
Collin with his new Christmas train which he named "The Polar Express."
He really likes his train!
December has proved to be very busy already and we are not even two weeks into it. Collin VERY MUCH understands what Christmas is this year and is anticipating Santa's arrival..he can't come soon enough! It is hard for a four year old to understand time but we do the best we can in helping him to understand it will be a little while yet until Christmas morning.
He helped decorate the Christmas tree, which he loved doing. He enjoyed pulling out each ornament to see what it was and find a special place on the tree for it. He has his own "little" tree that only has HIS ornaments on it. So far he has 6 ornaments from family and one that he picked out this year for his tree..a Tonka dump truck.
We baked some of daddy's favorite cookies the other day and danced in the kitchen to Christmas music while making them. Collin loves to dance and he's a funny little monkey when he does!
The other day Collin came home from school with a homemade Nativity scene. He very proudly assembled all the pieces, which were stored in a plastic bag for the ride home, and told the Christmas story while he worked...well, it was his version of the story anyway. It was really cute and I'm glad I captured it on video. First he placed the "hay" very neatly into the scene and then carefully added each person one by one. Baby Jesus has to stay behind the scenes until Christmas morning, he said.
This week is our Christmas program at school and I am hoping to get some good pictures of Collin singing with his class. It's hard to believe Christmas is coming so soon. It seems like we were just at the pool enjoying a nice day of swimming!
What Collin is doing now: winding down with an episode of WonderPets.
Collin was seen at Cardinal Glennon today for his annual cardiology check-up. He joked around with the nurses and was cooperative for all his tests. He had an EKG done as well as an Echocardiogram. He did wonderfully for both tests, helping take the stickers off when the EKG was done, and lying still for 30 minutes for the Echo. The nice technician put on Toy Story for him to watch while he layed there. He was very patient and when all was done he got to pick out stickers and airplanes from the prize box. He received a great report from the doctor, and he doesn't need to be seen for another year! We are extremely blessed!!!!
Collin at the K-8 Halloween parade at school. The prek students made "cat hats" to wear.
Farmer Collin at his preschool Halloween party. He had taken off his straw hat so he could dive into his chocolate cupcake.
Collin's preschool Halloween party was this week. He loved getting his costume ready. He chose to be a farmer, and he carried a green tractor because every farmer has a tractor! He said he had a lot of fun at his party and he brought home a lot of treats. His preschool class paraded through each classroom at school, and there were a lot of very cute costumes. Collin really got a kick out of the fact that one of his preschool teachers dressed up as a vampire and had purple teeth!
I had my first parent/teacher conference with Collin's teacher. I was not used to being on the "parent" side of it. Collin received a great report from his teacher. He mastered all of the concepts for the first quarter assessment, and is proficient in his cutting skills, writing his name, and drawing circles without lifting his pencil. We are very proud of him!
I will post more pictures from Trick-or-Treating when we'll get the full effect as Collin plans to go do-to-door on his pedal tractor. Stay tuned!
What Collin is doing now: eating a snack and watching Wonder Pets.
Collin helped me make pumpkin shaped sugar cookies. He put in the egg after I cracked it, stirred the dough up, helped roll out the dough with the rolling pin, and pressed the cookie cutter into the dough. When the cookies were cool, I iced them and Collin's job was to put on the sprinkles. This was the step he had been looking forward to all day! Why is it that kids like to dump all of the sprinkles into one pile in the center of the cookie? After a little "sprinkling" lesson, he worked those sprinkles like a pro. The cookies turned out very yummy, and Collin has decided that we are going to make more for his friends at school for the Halloween party.
Grandma brought over a Halloween book for Collin. He loves The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything. It has a lot of repetition in it, which he really enjoys. We had to read it two times in a row as soon as we finished the cookies. Thanks, mamaw and papa!
What Collin is doing now: playing outside with daddy.
Poor Ella could only watch..but she looked cute doing it!
This afternoon Collin and I met Mamaw, Papa, Aunty Jen, and cousins Chloe and Ella at the lake for boat rides and a picnic. It was a beautiful, sunny, Fall day. The weather was gorgeous and everyone had a good time. The kids enjoyed the boat rides on the lake and running around in the leaves back on shore. We had a nice picnic supper and then the kids were off on another boat ride. I think we will have three good sleepers tonight. The best part of it all...no school tomorrow thanks to Mr. Columbus!
What Collin is doing now: crashed out on the couch watching Dora.
He wasn't a tiny, pink newborn wrapped in a blanket and new to the world. He was a 3 year-old little boy wearing orphanage-issued sandals too big for his little toddler feet. Familiar with the world, but in surroundings unknown to him, he met two strangers whom he was told were his "baba (daddy) and mama". He ran into daddy's arms and let mommy hug him. He accepted us instantly, and we loved him at first sight. When I looked into the eyes of this little boy, I instantly knew this was the little soul I was always meant to meet. The little soul always meant to speak the word that was reserved only for him, and one I'd been longing to hear: "mommy". Celebrating Gotcha Day today..and rejoicing in our happiness. What a magical year it has truly been, and what a brave resiliant little boy we are blessed to call our own!
Don't worry, the "homework" was no big deal. He had to practice his name by copying it 4 times. It almost became an issue, though, when I asked him to sit down at the kitchen table to do it and "Wonder Pets" was coming on. He asked to do his homework in the living room so he could see the beginning of the show. No way, Jose'! Luckily, he came to the table without a fuss and did his work, but, when he heard the opening song of the show he busted out into a panic! He quickly put his name on the top of the homework sheet, jumped off of the chair, and ran into the living room. Good thing he was done with it!
What Collin is doing now: watching Wonder Pets save the beaver!
Once a month we have what is called "Birthday Mass" at school. Today was August birthday Mass. Each student with a birthday in the month of August, which included Collin this year since he is in preschool, participates at Mass. Collin's job was to carry up the box which contained donuts for all of the August birthday friends. He did a great job carrying that big box! He also did very well sitting with the other big kids instead of his preschool class. He proudly went up to the front of church when he name was called, and enjoyed everyone singing "happy birthday" to him and his friends.
Collin was excited to see mamaw and papaw attend Mass on his special day!
What Collin is doing now: playing tractors on the living room floor.
Collin receiving his pedal tractor...love the smile on his face!
He loves to ride his red tractor any chance he gets.
New bike from mamaw and papaw!
His letter blanket from mamaw and papaw.
Dutifully waiting until the end of "Happy Birthday" to blow out his candles.
Collin had a WONDERFUL first "American" birthday. I think it was everything he wished for..at least I hope it was. He looked forward to it for so long! His birthday was on August 20th, which was a Friday so he got to take treats to school to share with his preschool class. He also received a huge bouquet of balloons at school from his buddies, cousins Chloe and Ella. He was so proud of those balloons, he had to show everyone!
The following night, Saturday, he got to go to a tractor pull, which he loved. Sunday evening was his birthday party. He loved having everyone at the house, and got so excited when people starting arriving. Collin received a lot of nice gifts, and when it came time to sing "Happy Birthday", he stood and listened very dutifully until the song was over, gave a little nod, as if to put a 'period' on the end of the last line, and blew out his candles. I was so happy for him, I couldn't help but tear up. It was finally HIS day!
We had Collin's FINAL post-placement report for the Chinese adoption officials this past week. We are very glad to have all of Collin's adoption paperwork finalized. Now we can focus on just enjoying having him as our son!
What Collin is doing now: shelling corn in the combine with daddy!
There's a new sherrif in town and his name's grandpa!
Yummy chicken dinner in the condo.
Strolling Branson Landing.
Watch where you're aiming, son!
Collin enjoying the playground with Chloe.
Getting golf pointers from daddy.
Collin is still asking where the tea was!
Unwinding after a long day.
Think I'm spoiled?
I love my baby Ella.
Ready to race!
We returned a few days ago from our annual vacation spot - Branson, Mo. with the family. Collin had a good time and relaxed once he figured out that, 1. we were not in China again, and 2. that we would eventually be going home to all of his toys and his room. We know what "vacation" means, but to a little 3 year old whose never taken one, the concept was a bit strange. The last time he packed a bag and went somewhere it was to a new family, so I think some fears arose.
We had so much fun swimming, shopping, go-karting, riding rides, mini-golfing, eating out, and goofing around back at the condo. Collin had a great time with cousin Chloe, and cousin "baby" Ella was present, but too young yet to join in the festivities although she was awesomely good! Poor baby had to sit back and watch the older two running around and causing fun commotion. She can join in a bit next year, although I can predict the adults will be saying a lot of "not so rough around Ella" and "be careful, don't hurt Ella" since she will only be a little over a year old. But, it's something to look forward to. We know Collin had a good time because the day after we got home he asked us when we were going to vacation and he wanted to go right then!
Enjoy the pictures from this trip.
What Collin is doing now: sitting with me and helping pick out pictures to post.
Today Collin, Grandma, and I attended our international adoption agency's reunion picnic. It was held in St. Louis and, living in Southern Illinois, I have been to the city too many times to count. But, I have not always been the one driving when going into the city. It makes me a little nervous. I got the directions for where we were going off of the internet and they seemed pretty simple. Thank goodness, they were! My mother-in-law was along to help out, which I was thankful for. We arrived at the reunion and signed in. Collin spotted a book at a stand that was set up and it was, of course, a tractor book. We made the purchase and headed into the craft area where Collin made a cute little puppet and played hopscotch and ring toss. While all of this was going on, we were reuniting with families that we traveled to China with almost 9 months ago. It was neat to see them again, especially the girls and Jackson, the other little boy in our travel group. They have all blossomed from receiving the love and attention their families give them. Collin loved the parachute toss, especially when he got to run underneath it! After lunch, a kids' music due set up on stage and entertained the kids. It was really neat, and the kids enjoyed singing and dancing along. Collin was tired by then and enjoyed listening on either mine or grandma's lap. Overall, I am glad we attended and hope to attend next year!
What Collin is doing now: playing with his tractors and waiting to go to his first demolition derby!
Collin had a great time with friends at our local county fair tonight. First, we found one of his school projects which won a ribbon! Then, he competed in the kiddie tractor pull. He was so excited to pedal that tractor, and we were proud of him for getting on it in front of a big group of strangers to do it! He's pretty little yet, so we will try again next year for a trophy. Grandma, grandpa, aunty Jen, and Chloe came down to cheer him on! /Next we were off to buy an armband to ride the amusement rides with a group of friends and cousin Chloe. They all had a great time riding until the fair closed! A corndog and a bag of cotton candy completed the night. Oh, and we can't forget the racecar he won playing the "duck game" thanks to papa! Collin had a blast!!
What Collin is doing now: sleeping from his big night out!
I found this rug at a yard sale a week ago and Collin has had a blast playing with it. If you notice in the picture, he has all his NASCAR racecars lined up and ready to race! I hope to have 4th of July and swimming lesson pics up soon. Collin's doing great with lessons and really enjoyed his first 4th of July fireworks!
What Collin is doing now: watching Diego while squeezing his new Thomas pillow (and he's tired because he didn't take a nap)!
Today was a busy day. Collin helped mommy take care of cousin Ella by entertaining her. She really enjoyed Collin pushing her in the swing! We didn't have enough "C" batteries for the swing, so Collin scrounged through his trains and found enough of them to get it going. When Ella was done with the swing, he grabbbed the screwdriver and got them back out himself..he wanted to make sure they got back into his choo-choos! Collin also helped make peanut butter cookies. They are very yummy and it was the easiest recipe I have seen for them yet. Here it is:
Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
1 C smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1C sugar (and sugar to roll dough in)
Mix ingredients together and roll into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Press down with a fork in a criss-cross style. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are golden brown.
What Collin is doing now: playing with his choo-choos!