Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Family of Four, 8 Months Later

Jace William Keraji. 

Prior to bringing Jace home, I'd heard about the special bond a mom feels toward her son.  I thought, "Sure.  But it'll be no different than what Lainey and I have."

It. Is. Totally. Different.

The LOVE is no more or no less, but seriously, it is something special. I can't even describe the hold this sweet boy has over me.  Everything about his personality, even the cries and fits, make me smile.  
Jace's demeanor can only be described as sweet.  Sure, he's two and his favorite word is "no," but he is basically agreeable, social and charming. He lights up over the smallest joys - even a cup of water! ("There's the water!!!")  He often just gallops around the house with a smile on his face, babbling cheerfully.  Jace goes to time-out when asked and peaks his little head around the corner to say "All done?" or "Happy!" No matter what he's doing, he likes to check in with me periodically to give me a hug or climb on my lap to have a chat.  He loves to interact with people by hiding, playing boo, talking, giving high-5's, and generally anything to make others smile. He loves, loves, loves Lainey.  Asks about her nonstop when she's gone and follows her around when she's home.  Music lights him up and he can't seem to not move to the beat when it's playing.  He also loves water.  Any kind of water - the sink, a bath, the hot tub, puddles, spills, and especially the dog dish.

Some photos of the last eight months, in no particular order.

Jace's dedication to Jesus at church.

First camping trip in April 2015.

On Jace's 2nd birthday.

Park fun with Clara.

An old net shed.  

Loving on Clara.

Water love.

First trip to the park!

Lainey's pumpkin patch field trip in October.

Visiting my Grandma in CA in October.

The garden fairy and garden gnome.

Jace is obsessed with cars and trucks.

Performing with the big kids, Lainey and "Myno" (Miles).

With my cousin, Jace.

Fits happen everywhere.

Won't let me help him with yogurt anymore.

Celebrating my birthday with Grandma!

Can't turn my back for a second and he's climbing on something. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Letter to Lainey at 4 Years Old

Dear Lainey,

I've loved you since you were 4 months old and I first set eyes on your picture, measles and all.  But at four years old, you. have. my. heart.

You've been a big sister for 8 months now, and you've adapted to the role so well.  The Lord knows, Jace has been a challenge to you! He ruins the block castles you build, takes your toys right our of your hands and pulls your hair at least once a day.  Considering the disruption he causes in your life, you sure do love him.  Not just in words, but in actions.  You've coined the name, "Jacey," and he responds with "Yainey" every time.  You attempt to help him multiple times a day: walking down stairs, learning words, and letters and games and things he completely doesn't understand.  He loves to hold your hand in the car and out and about.  Nothing warms my heart more than seeing you respond to him reaching for your hand.  You comfort him when he is in trouble, often saying things like, "It's okay, Jacey, you just need to make better choices," or "I did that when I was two, also, Jacey." Oh, what a sweet sister you are!

At 4 years old, you love to pretend and I am constantly astonished by your imagination.  I never had one, so truly, sweet girl, the places your mind takes you amaze me! Your favorite imaginative play is anything-princesses or fairies.  You also love to play dress-up, school, doctor, family, and restaurant.  (I love when you play cleaning lady service, but that doesn't happen too often...).  You are also a big fan of performing, and you seem to have a flair for drama!

You are an active little girl!  You amaze people with your physical agility, especially the way you fearlessly climb anything and everything.  You've been on a pedal bike without training wheels for over a year now, and you are learning to master a bigger size bike now! You have great balance and control over your movements and rarely do you get hurt. I am so proud of your willingness to try new things and take risks!

You started pre school this year.  Initially you were all about the play time and social time, but as the year progresses you are showing a love for learning during circle time, also.  You learn much better from Miss Erin at school than you do from me so home schooling is not in the works for us, girl. You're slowly learning your letters and you love books. Your favorite job at school is "weather girl," followed closely by "line leader."  Your teachers report you are well behaved and kind.  Every day you earn a sticker for being a good listener.  They also say you know what you like and will do it even if others try to convince you otherwise, and art is your favorite activity.  You are most often the last one finished with a painting because you know just how you want it to look.

You are very social and do not like to play alone.  Almost daily, you ask for a play date or dinner date with one of your friends.  You do not have a favorite friend and you love to make new friends, which you'll typically do anywhere we go.  You are observant of others' feelings and often note when people look sad or happy, or are being unkind.  You notice my facial expressions too, and sometimes ask, "Mama, what does that look mean?"

And you love Jesus as much as you know how!  Not too long ago we were in the car coming home from dinner and you asked me if Jesus is in everyone's hearts.  "He is in everyone's hearts who invite him in," I said.  And you asked if you could invite Jesus into your heart.  Nothing is sweeter than your voice repeating after mine, "Dear Jesus, I love you and I ask you to come into my heart.  I promise to live how you want me to live and do my best to make good choices." We called Grandma and Opa and they were thrilled!

(The next day Grammy came over and I said, "Lainey, tell Grammy what you did in the car on the way home from dinner last night," to which you responded, "I sang the entire Frozen song all by myself!")

Sweet girl, I love you so much.  Each day I am amazed by the depth you add to my heart.  I thank God for blessing us with you, for choosing you to be our daughter, and for who you are and who you are becoming.  You're the Lainey-est and I love you.

Walk the Plank at your Pirate-theme 4th Birthday Party.  Miles in the background.

You and Kaya together are so sweet!

Helping Jace up the big hill in our backyard.  You have a swingset in the backyard now!

On the beach at Fort Warden.  First camping trip of the season.

We've had a beautiful spring.  This is with Cora and Taylor at Tyler's birthday party in early May.

Fun at the park with Miles.

This was on your Adoption Day, April 13, at an Ethiopian Restaurant.  When telling Grandma about it you said, "Everyone there had brown skin and brown curly hair! But people with white skin could eat there too, even Mama and Daddy."

More water fun with Ronan, Cora and Tyler.