A year since the decision that would change our lives for the better :)

Wow!! It’s been exactly one year ago today that we made it through that nerve racking day in court to officially become Coopers’ parents.

The time has flown by. Being thrust into the position of being a dad has been very rewarding for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better son. The adjustment for Cooper has also gone well. Tanya and I would like to thank all of our family and friends for making the transition go so smoothly. Going from just a little dog to having an energetic toddler with endless energy is quite a makeover.

 Cooper has had an exciting year. He has grown a lot and experienced a lot.  Physically in the last six months alone he’s grown 8.9 centimeters and gained 4 lbs. His vocabulary is also increasing daily. We are still however working on getting him to say his name properly. When he says Cooper it sounds like poo poo, Which can be pretty  interesting/funny in front of strangers.

He, like his dad, is a boy who loves to have fun and can have fun in many different ways whether it be spending time with his cousins and extended family or just spending time by himself or following mom around. He has a great sense of humor but can be mischievous at times. The days seem to never be long enough for him. Or short enough for his parents 😉 The pics below are just some of the highlights of the past year. (Click on the picture to get a larger view)

My first bowling experience

 

Eating Yum!

 

Feeding the dog (Scully)

 

Fun at Kazapalooza 2010

 

Go-karting. Dad use the brakes!!

 

Hiking

 

Rides at the Corn and Apple Festival

 

Splashing with daddy

 

Tubing with my Uncle and Aunty

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8 Months

Today it’s been exactly 8 months since we arrived home with Cooper. 8 months ago when we started our plane journey home, and Cooper had the worst plane ride ever, I didn’t think I’d survive the 23-hour flight. There were a couple times when I seriously considered the possibility of using a parachute. LOL But it’s amazing at what 8 months can do. Now I can look back at that time and smile and – almost – even laugh about it.

We’ve had some adventures these past few months, and like a good book, I’ll tell you about today and where we’re at, and then I’ll spend the next several blog posts filling you in on where we’ve been.

My favorite part about this whole journey is seeing how much Cooper loves his family. And I’m not really trying to brag about ourselves here, but really our entire extended family. Cooper lives for family gatherings, birthday parties, really any family event. He talks about his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. constantly. He is beside himself when I tell him that we are going to visit family. Or when a family member’s vehicle pulls in our driveway, there’s no way to contain the jumping up and down and shrieks of excitement.

If any of you out there are considering adoption, I can’t tell you enough how amazing it is. I still have such a hard time wrapping my brain around the thought that less than a year ago, we hadn’t met Cooper and he hadn’t even met his forever family yet. I can’t even fathom how different his life and ours could have been. So today, I just wanted to take a little trip down memory lane. Many of you probably haven’t seen any of these pics yet, since we didn’t post pics of Cooper until Gothca Day. So allow me to reminisce a bit…

Our very first meeting with Cooper on August 4th, 2009:

(Doesn’t he look so excited to see his Mama & Dada? 😉 )

First picture with Dada – and no Ken was not posing, that was his natural reaction. That’s why I love this picture so much.

First picture with Mama (I’m just pretending I’m calmer than Ken).

And here’s Cooper and Dada just last week. I’m not sure why they both have such serious expressions, but it was the most recent photo I could find and I found it interesting to compare it with the photo of the two of them above.

And here they are swimming at the hotel we stayed at last week.

Like I said, so much has happened in the past 8 months. It’s been a really great time of bonding and an awesome journey…

Is it 2010 already?

Life with Cooper seems to have flown right on by – and here we are right into the deep freeze of January already! Obviously I haven’t been blogging myself much recently. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading everyone else’s Kaz adoption blogs.  In fact, reading them (and emailing some of the awesome Kaz families we’ve met through this whole journey) has made me ‘homesick’ for Kaz. Ken thinks I’m a bit crazy, but I really miss some of our experiences there. And the time we had to focus on family life without the regular, mundane day-to-day distractions was, well…priceless!

Cooper has had a lot of adventures in the past few weeks and we already have quite a few adventures planned for 2010. I won’t name all the coming adventures right now (I have to save something to write about in future blogs 🙂 ) but I will let you know that we are signed up to go to Kazapalooza in June and we’re REALLY looking forward to it!

Some of you might be wondering, what exactly is Kazapalooza – well here’s an explanation taken right from the Kazapalooza blog:

The first Kazapalooza was held in Chicago in June of 2008. Over 40 families participated in the weekend events. The second Kazapalooza was held in Nashville in June of 2009 and over 6o families attended. The goals of Kazapalooza are as follows:
1. To give families who adopted from Kazakhstan a friendly inviting weekend to get together and celebrate adoption.
2. To give our adopted children the yearly experience of being around friends who are also adopted from Kazakhstan and have a shared history and culture.
3. To raise money for a charity (which will be chosen yearly by the planners) which solely helps the orphans left behind in Kazakhstan.
4. To have fun!

So, you can expect to hear a lot more about that in the coming months.

In the meantime Cooper had a most excellent Christmas and New Year’s. He started off with a family sleepover at Nana and Papa’s house on Christmas Eve. Then after a big Christmas dinner on the 25th, it was home for a good night’s sleep and then we were off to the cabin for the weekend. Then we came home for a few days, re-packed our suitcases and went to Minneapolis for the New Year’s weekend (along with Marla, Tracy & the boys). Cooper had a great time swimming, shopping, going to the Rainforest Cafe, goofing around with his cousins, having Uncle Tracy take him and all his cousins (yes, you can fit 4 boys into one cart!) to get all the samples at Sam’s Club, and running across the hall every morning to see if his cousins were up yet.

Well, I might as well stop boring you with all my yammering and instead I’ll show you some of the other highlights.

Here he is all dressed up for church on Christmas Eve:

And here he is with Mom & Dad (and a half-hidden Scully) too:

He got SO many gifts – too many to name, although he loves them all!
He became an official Calgary Flames fan (along with all his cousins):

And then he had some help opening this big box:

Which turned out to be a sled (he even tried it out under the stars on a balmy Christmas Eve):

Then it was off to bed and before long it was Christmas morning! Here he is waiting patiently with Tate to start opening his big haul of presents:

Then it was off to the cabin where he enjoyed playing hockey with his cousins (now he just needs to learn the right way to hold the stick 🙂 )

He was very busy reading with Nana:

And getting Papa to lift him up so he could touch the ceiling:

His cousin generously let him borrow his hat to cheer for Canada’s hockey team:

Some mornings we had some really crazy bed-head (I guess we still needed that hat!):

But we didn’t really care because soon it was time to bundle up and go outside:

We hope your year is off to a great start as well. Bye, bye for now!

Finally, an update on Cooper G!

Well, I have to admit that being back and trying to settle into our new ‘normal’ life has been a bit more hectic than I imagined. Here I was hoping to blog 2-3 times a week and now I realize that it’s been weeks since our last blog entry! Now that things are settling down a bit I hope to get into a bit more of a blogging routine. But in the meantime, we have been busy, so here’s some photos to let you know what Mr. Cooper G (or Mini Cooper as some people have been apt to call him) has been up to.

We were at some costume parties and of course we went Trick or Treating so Cooper got to have a few costume changes. Here is the happy tiger:

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And here’s the little-less-thrilled dinosaur:

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We’ve also been busy raking leaves:

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And exploring around in the closet while Mommy was busy in the kitchen:

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And then this past weekend was Cooper’s very first journey to the lake. Cooper & I were fortunate that we got to go early on Friday morning with Nana & Papa (Daddy had to wait to join us once he was done work for the day). Since there are now four little boys who will be spending lots of time at the cabin (Cooper & his 3 cousins Bentley, Ethan & Tate), Papa decided that the smaller bedroom with just one bunkbed and a toddler bed crammed in the corner just wouldn’t do any more. So, sorry to tell all the visitors that are used to sleeping in the “Blue Bedroom” but you’ve now been moved to the smaller room and the little boys have been promoted. We’re thinking of calling the room “Camp Betula” or maybe the “Army Barracks”. But anyways, now there is a bedroom filled with two bunkbeds and a ton of toys. Cooper can’t wait ’til his first official cabin sleepover with his cousins. Ken’s wondering if there is a way we can soundproof the room so the adults are oblivious to all the commotion that’s bound to go on in there.

Anyways, Cooper was very eager to help Papa set up the new bunk bed. He observed for a while:

Cooper Oct-Nov 2009 116

And then he was ready to try it himself:

Cooper Oct-Nov 2009 118

After that Papa had a hard time getting the drill back so he could finish up the project:

Cooper Oct-Nov 2009 120

It was a gorgeous fall weekend so were able to sit outside and enjoy the weather:

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And we had lots of opportunities to go on walks:

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Cooper Oct-Nov 2009 129

We definitely want to say a big THANK YOU for all the showers that were thrown for us and for all the extremely generous gifts that we’ve received. We so appreciate each and every one of them. Also, this Sunday (November 15th) we’ll be having Cooper’s child dedication at our church service. It’s going to be at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre at 10:30 on Sunday morning and you’re more than welcome to come join us. Bye for now…

Back to normal plus 1

It has been great catching up with family and friends. It’s hard to believe that we have already been home for a little more than a week. Time has flown by so fast.

It was so great to see so many people at the airport as we groggily made our way down the escalators upon our arrival. It was even nice to be able to spend time with family right after at our place even as we were so physically and emotionally exhausted from the agonizing 24 hour day of flying over 11 time zones 🙂 .

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Last week was a huge adjustment for all of us starting with me going back to work and Tanya staying home with Cooper and trying to get everything in order and back to some normalcy.

It’s been fun to watch Curious Cooper as he takes in all the new people and things around him. He has already met many of our nice neighbors and he has already had many new firsts. Here are just some of them.

His first meal at home

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And very first Thanksgiving at Great Grandma & Grandpas with yummy pumpkin pie

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And we can’t forget joining the bigger boys to watch a little football

IMGP1574He’s already had many fun times with cousins

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And even a chilly trip to the local playground

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Cooper 007

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This week/month/year has given us a lot to be thankful for. This past week has reminded me of that often. We can’t wait to see what’s next as we experience many more firsts with Cooper. Stay tuned 🙂

Home Sweet Home

Hello everyone. Sorry it’s taken us a while to post. Yes, we made it home (just barely, but we did it! 🙂 ) Let’s just say the flights were stressful at the best of times. LOL I think Jila is exactly right when she says 18 months is probably one of the toughest ages to fly at. Cooper had the hardest time getting comfortable and every time he drifted off to sleep he squirmed and writhed around and didn’t sleep very long at all. It made it hard too because he was too big for the baby beds and too small to have his own seat. So after about 30 minutes on the plane we were all tired, uncomfortable and irritable. And we tried not to think that we had 23 more hours of that feeling. Ha ha.

But eventually we made it home and we all felt so good to be home at last! We had a great welcome at the airport – thanks to everyone that came down to see us. I know we were probably quite smelly and our brains were quite fried so I don’t think we were making much sense, but it was nice to see you all nonetheless. Then Cooper got to go for a car ride with his new cousins Bentley, Ethan & Tate (& his Auntie Marla) and soon we were home at Cooper’s new digs.

We got in the house and everyone said that I should take a look around. Part of me barely remembered the house since we moved in December and then we were off in July – but once I took a look around I was so overwhelmed by what everyone had done (& I know I speak for Ken here too).

Before we left I didn’t have much time to do up the baby room. I had some ideas that I wanted to do a Dr. Seuss theme because I love reading, I love Dr. Seuss and it seemed like a good theme for either a boy or a girl. But when it comes to home decor, I have ideas but I have no idea how to execute them. When we were in Kaz, I once thought to myself “Wouldn’t that be nice if someone came and did up the baby room as a surprise” but I really didn’t expect it and the outcome was beyond my wildest dreams. Well, I’m not doing a very good job of explaining this, am I? I’ll try to show you some pictures just to give you a little idea of what my family did for us. If I understand correctly, the main leads on this project were my two sisters Marla & Trisha and my cousin Jocelyne. Also my mom Nana took care of a lot of the details (& cleaned the whole place for us, bought us lots of groceries and fed us when we got home). And the supporting cast were my nephews (Bentley, Ethan & Tate) who gave Cooper a TON of their toys (& a whole play structure) and I’m sure my dad and my two bro-in-laws. And if there is anyone else I’m missing, we are very, very grateful for all your work too!

This really did play out like an episode of ‘While You Were Out’. Now I understand why everyone cries (with happiness of course, except for some really silly people) when they see the final reveal. I know walking into Cooper’s room and seeing how much he liked it and how cozy it felt, made my eyes get really misty. 🙂

This is what Cooper’s room looked like before we left. (Actually it looked worse than that but I think my family made it look a little better when they staged it to take a picture. 😉 )

Coopers Room 1

And this is what it looks like now:

Coopers Room 2(Just the wall decals aren’t up in this photo yet.)

Coopers Room 3

Coopers Room 4

Coopers Room 5

Coopers Room 6

Coopers Room 7

And Nana also made sure all Cooper’s clothes were ready in his closet and dresser:

Coopers Room 8

I keep going around the house and finding little things everywhere – like shoes in the closet, new winter hats for Cooper, new socks, etc. etc. It’s so awesome and we are so fortunate that everyone has looked out for every little detail for us. When we got home on Thursday we were standing in Cooper’s room, I was so tired and I realized we had used the last diaper. So I said to my sisters that I had to go out and get more diapers and they said “Maybe you should look under the change table” and there were tons of diapers there. That made me feel SO grateful!

To top it all off, they went even further and did up some other rooms in our house for us. I still hadn’t had time to put any artwork on our walls in our living room:

Living Room 1

So they blew up pictures of Cooper and us and put them on the wall:

Living Room 2

Living Room 3

And then they even transformed the area downstairs (that I had always envisioned as a play area) into a safari theme play area. Here’s what it looked like before (lots of random furniture and mainly unused, dead space):

Play Area 1

And here’s what it looks like now:

Play Area 2

Play Area 3

Play Area 4

It seems so appropriate that this is Thanksgiving weekend, because we have SO much to be thankful for!

Well, I could go on and tell more stories, but I’d better sign off for now and I’ll continue on Monday. I’ve hidden in the computer room to get this written, but I can tell Daddy is getting a little antsy to be relieved as the play partner. Who knew getting up at 6AM on a Saturday morning and having to play, play, play could be so exhausting?!

Hello Everyone – It’s Scully Here!

Well, since I finally made it home, I thought I’d rush around and get a few things ready. It seems that there were so many preparations for the overseas trip, that very little in the way of preparing for life at home was accomplished. So, with only a few hours until the big arrival…

 

I started with my favorite place…..

 (keep scrolling down)

 

 

 

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 The backyard of course!  

 

Then I put some necessities out…   I personally think that these two go together….

 

 

 

 

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There were a few things I’m not sure where they came from….. Africa???

 

 

 

 

 

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 So hey, Cooper!  I think I’m ready for you!

 

 

 

 

 

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Just remember one thing…   

Even though you got your own room…

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m the princess around here!

 

 

 

 

 

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Just joking…  

I had you a little scared, didn’t I?

Really…..

 

 

 

 

 

WELCOME HOME COOPER!

I love you so much already

 and I don’t even know you yet! 🙂

(See yesterday’s blog for arrival info.)

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