Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Learning Fun!

We are staying dry and warm inside! School was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. This is definitely the first time school has ever been cancelled here for a hurricane HAHA! 

I've been meaning to post these pictures of a fun learning activity I did with the girls (mostly Zoya). 

I made my own lightbox with inspiration from THIS BLOG. The girls love it and there are so many different activities you can do with a light box!

This time, we used transparent pumpkins and leaves that I found in the dollar section of Target. First I just let Zoya play and explore (always a must with new materials....if I don't give her this time to play and explore new materials, the lesson is usually a bust!) Mila loved watching Zoya! Unfortunately these pieces were too small for Mila to play with (choking hazard). After Zoya played a bit, we read a couple of stories....one about Leaves and one about Pumpkins. 

 Zoya was practicing counting. She picked a number card and then placed that number of items under the card. She needed more help at the beginning but eventually caught on to this idea. 

 I did it!
 She decided to read through the leaf book on her own. I love watching Zoya read a book after I've read it to her. Typically she uses the pictures to retell the story and usually hits some main ideas with her retell. 

 She thought that page was funny I guess! 
 We worked on sorting by color. Zoya has this skill down, but it was a good review and also good practice to increase her time on task (which is one of her IEP goals at school too). 

 We've just started working on basic patterns. This concept (even alternating between two colors) is tough for Zoya. I think next time I will cut out color squares and make a paper pattern and have her put the correct color on the correct square. We need to back that concept up a bit! 

 The next morning we went outside and collected leaves and read our Leaves story again! 

I love making learning fun for my girls! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This Time Last Year.....

It was 4am Ukarine time and we were about half way through the super long 16 hour overnight train to Mila's region. So many thoughts and emotions were running through our heads (Surely I can tell you not one of them had anything to do with ever thinking we'd be embarking on another adoption journey a year later!). We knew our baby girl was sick, but we had no idea just how sick she really was. We knew she desperately needed surgery. We knew we were in the exact right time and moment. We knew we had followed the Lord through the brutal twists and turns our adoption journey took. We knew our lives were about to be forever changed. We had no idea how much Mila would teach us about HOPE and STRENGTH and MIRACLES. And we certainly had no idea just how much we would come to love that tiny 7 pound frail baby girl that God had sent us to. We were so unprepared...

We were unprepared to witness first hand your stiff weak body....
We were unprepared for the way you'd grab on and never let go!
We were unprepared for the way you'd stare so deeply into our souls as if we'd known one another forever already...

We were unprepared for the way you'd snuggle right up to your Daddy as if you'd been waiting for him your whole life....
We were unprepared for you to learn to trust so quickly after rarely having ever been held...
We were unprepared for your amazing fighting spirit

We were unprepared for those soulful eyes that shouted "I'm in here and I'm fighting and I've been waiting for you"
We were unprepared for your ability to hold on so long....
We were unprepared for our hearts to grow three sizes in one moment
We were so unprepared to be so completely blessed by you! 
Of all the ways we were unprepared, we were most unprepared to feel so completely in love despite our fears of losing you. We were unprepared to feel the Lord's peace surrounding us, knowing He promised HOPE for your life. 

I can't believe it was a year ago. Sometimes when I think about it, I can put myself right back in that tiny room, holding that tiny baby who is only a shadow of the daughter you are today. Sometimes I can close my eyes and remember that first day with crisp clear details as if it happened yesterday. Then, sometimes, I look at the beautiful child you are today, and I feel so far away from that day a year ago. Over the last year you have changed me, my beautiful daughter. You have shown me that one's heart can be so broken and yet so hopeful at the same time. You have taught me that human touch and love is essential to this life. You have opened my eyes even wider to remind me that all children, even those who've been written off, deserve  to be loved so completely and so entirely. You have changed my heart forever from that first moment I held your fighting little shell of a body. When I look back on our time with you in Ukraine, I see it through a thin veil separating reality from dreams, separating this earth from heaven. Never have I felt so close to heaven than the days we spent in Ukraine with you. There was something so magical about feeling so peaceful despite understanding the gravity of your condition. You have blessed me more than you'll ever understand. I can't wait to wake up to your beautiful face for a million more days, remembering where you came from, where you've been, and dreaming of where you're going in this one and only beautiful life! 


Mila's Readoption

Today we had Mila's Readoption! This just basically means we had to go to court to register her adoption with our state in order to get a U.S. birth certificate. It's a cute ceremony where we promise (again) to be her parents forever :) Mila got to wear Zoya's GOTCHA DAY outfit for her readoption today! It brought back lots of memories. Uncle Mike and Aunt Carol came with us to celebrate! We are so thankful for their love for our girls!