Thursday, November 27, 2014


We love hosting Thanksgiving, and this year was lots of fun.  There were 24 of us, including Cece and brand-new Baylee.  I tried to minimize the stress of Thursday by precooking on Tuesday and Wednesday.  

It made Thursday nice, but kind of extended the craziness.  In the end, I think it is the way to go for future years, though.  By Wednesday night, I had 4 batches of homemade ice cream; mashed potatoes and roasted butternut squash casserole; and sausage, sage, and apple stuffing with homemade croutons ready to go.  On Thursday morning, we made regular mashed potatoes, six fruit pies, two banana cream pies, 2 turkeys, and a ham.

Ellie and Lynnie helped me set the tables and Ellie made a sign for the front door:

Happy Thanksgiving Come on in Enjoy (with a turkey)

We were actually ready early for our 2:00 eating time, and were able to take some selfies for our birth parents.

I love that we had a kids table this year.  Ellie very carefully made name tags and picked plates and cups for each person.

And then the people and food started pouring in!  We had delicious salads, veggies, deviled eggs, homemade rolls, and hors d'oeuvres,  Hors d'oeuvres are a Spencer Family Tradition and are only known by that name.  And they are delicious.

I am so grateful for many things, and especially for the special people in my life.


Lynlee announced  that she has four names: Lynlee, Elizabeth, Spencer, Lynnie, Lulu, and Lynnie Lulu. Then she thought for a minute and said, wait, that's more than four names!

Ellie instantly said, well, I have nine names. Or twenty. Yeah, twenty!

I so love them!

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 19 - 21

Lynnie fell asleep in the car and continued her nap on the couch.  Cece was playing a riotous game of GET ELLIE!  I texted this pic to {R} and she found all of our zebra patterns pretty funny.  I didn't even notice until she pointed it out, because we are surrounded by zebras :)

Since Lynnie was sleeping, Ellie took the chance to hop in the tub with Cece.

I checked on Cecilia during her nap and found her like this one day.  I stood there for at least five minutes, making sure she was breathing.  Talk about flexibility!

Lynnie Lu asked me to take a picture of her while Ellie was reading our bedtime stories.  And speaking of Ellie's reading, she is doing amazing!  She can seriously read just about anything.  I think her reading has come as a combo of natural smarts (that she gets from her super smart birth mom) and that we watch all TV with the captions on.  She told me the other day that she doesn't even listen to the characters talk anymore, she just reads the words on the screen.

Lynnie loves wearing her cool Nike kicks that she got for her birthday from Albert.

While my visiting teachers were here, Ellie and Lynnie snuggled up on the couch and Ellie read stories.  They were so sweet, with their arms wrapped around each other.  Dawnie snapped this picture and texted it to me.

The middle schoolers at Ellie's school were putting on The Little Mermaid.  Some of the actors had come to Ellie's class to encourage the students to come and see the performance.  A parent on the school's Facebook page said that the show was about an hour.  Greg had a basketball game, but I figured I could handle it for an hour.  The show was great and the big girls really enjoyed it.  But it went until 8:45 p.m. and all three girls were cranky the next day.  Oh, well.  It was worth it!

...clearly, no one was interested in taking a picture with me...

Cecilia is 10 Months Old

photo by Lynnie

At 10 months of age, Cecilia 

~ is wearing 18 month clothes, size 3 shoes, size 3 diapers
~ eats like a champ!  Especially likes baby yogurt, bananas, and various concoctions with rice cereal, a fruit, and a veggie.  Inhales Baby Puffs and Yogurt Melts.
~ is not interested in watching Baby Signing Time anymore -- she is too busy crawling all over.  Has added the signs for boat, eat, tree, outside, hurt, and bath.  Will "babble" in sign.  I can't wait until I can figure out what she is trying to tell me!
~ is trying to say her name.  She will say "eeee eeee"
~ loves to dance and wiggle.  Lynnie loves to call her bobble head.
~ blows raspberries -- it is her favorite thing to do
~ is very curious and loves to watch things happening around her.  She especially loves to watch her sisters and tries to do what they are doing.
~ is pure sweetness and light!  We are so grateful to be a part of her life and part of {R}s family.

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 13 - 17

Greg and I were asked to speak on a panel about open adoption.  The night was focused primarily on fostering relationships with birth parents and honoring open adoption promises.  I managed to talk a  lot and answer a lot of questions (you're shocked, I know), and Greg also got in some great answers.  He talked quite a bit about how, once you make promises to your birth mom, that you simply have to follow through.  At the very least, you need to live with integrity and do the things that you say you will do.  But more than that, birth moms are awesome and it is a privilege to do whatever you can to aid in their healing and to create healthy relationships.  He also talked about how often he's observed good and kind people become adoptive parents, and they genuinely love and respect their birth moms.  But it is as if they put their birth mom on this pedestal, and honor her for that one decision, but never move beyond that to having a relationship with an actual human being.

The school year is already a third of the way over, and Ellie had her last day of Arabic.  In Kindergarten, they do units in Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish, and then in 1st grade they choose a specialization (we will choose Spanish).  The parents were invited to watch the last Arabic class, and it was fun to see Ellie in action, participating with all of her focus.  It was also fun to hear how the words that she has been trying to teach me sounded coming from her teacher.  At the end of the class, the teacher gave the parents a speech in English.  Ellie was in shock on the way home, because she did not think he knew English--he has only ever spoken to them in Arabic.  Pretty funny stuff.

Cece fell asleep on my shoulder during dance class, and stayed asleep after I put her in the stroller.  She looked pretty cute.

I have a small amount of quiet toys in the diaper bag, and Cece has her favorites.  For the binkie, she has only ever chewed on the button or the outside plastic edges.  Today at violin lessons was the first time she put it in her mouth and sucked on it as a binkie.  Since she doesn't actually use binkies, that binkie mysteriously disappeared after we got home.  I don't want her to get in the habit now!

 On Friday, my mom came and spent the day with us.  We had a quick trip to Smith's after we picked up Ellie from school.  Lynnie hopped a ride on the little cart and Ellie used her strong muscles to push it all over the store.

The girls wanted to play the violin with Grandma, so she gave them a bonus lesson in the kitchen after lunch. 

Grandma stayed with Lynnie and Cece while I took Ellie to her music class.  Miss Sheryl pulled out a giant staff for the first time.

Miss Sheryl asked the children to take a baby step, and Ellie was one of the only ones who immediately did it correctly.  I was proud of her!  She knows that baby steps go line-space-line-space.

Love these silly faces!

 Ellie was very excited to be asked to fish-sit for Hannah's sister.  We have talked off and on about getting a pet, and I think a fish is about all we can handle right now.  I am extra glad we had the opportunity to fish-sit, because Ellie doesn't really care about getting a fish now.  She thought the fish was super exciting for about 3 minutes.  It was always fun to feed him, but that was about it.

It was time to get ear molds made for Cece so we can try out hearing aids and see if they help her at all.  I was not sure what to expect of the experience, and Cece was a trooper.  Ellie took pictures on the iPad of the experience.  The first step was for Janeal, the audiologist, to insert a little black sponge inside her ear drum.  (This was attached to two strings that pulled out the mold when it was set.)  Understandably, Cece was instantly not happy with this process.  I had to hold her still on my lap and hold her arms down, because she kept on trying to rub the strings out of her ear.

Next up was the silicone gel.  It was cold and made everything a little more strange.  As Janeal was squirting it in Cece's ear, she told me that it peels off when it is dry, and if a little gets on clothing it will also peel off when dry.  Just then, Cece got her head lose, while simultaneaously pulling on my shirt, and rubbed her ear all over my chest and shirt.  Almost half of the gel got wiped over me.  She was fast!  I had new sympathy for how cold and icky feeling the gel was, and it wasn't even blocking my ear.  Poor girl--the gel was immediately filled up again, and I managed to hold her still this time.

My shirt hit the garbage can when I got home.  I couldn't peel off all of the gel that was there.  Oh, well.

Next up was trying to keep Cece happy for about 4 minutes while the gel hardened.  We bounced and sang and Ellie tried to tickle her.  Success came when Janeal pulled the mold out of Cecer's ear.  Then she stopped crying.

And it was time for the other ear.

The other ear went better because I knew more how to help.  As it was drying, Janeal was good about checking it every 30 seconds or so to keep track of the drying time.  She had just checked it and said it was almost done, when Cece got a hand lose and rubbed her ear, and the mold popped right out.  Janeal said she has never seen that happen before. 

It takes about two weeks for Cece's ear molds to be made, and then we will go back.  At that point, we will be able to borrow some hearing aids to try out.  Because Cece has Auditory Neuropathy, and not traditional sensory neural hearing loss, the doctors are not sure if the hearing aids will help.  Some children are helped, and some are not.  It is worth a try, and I am excited.  Either it will be a good solution, or it is one more thing to check off of the tried list.

The fun thing about it, is if the hearing aids work, Cece will get to have new ear molds made about every month while she is growing.  Yeah.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Photos by Ellie

Ellie loves to take pictures.  It is fun to let her loose sometimes and see what she comes up with.


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