Thursday, May 31, 2007

We're Starting Him Young

How cute is this kid? He was out in the barn with Grandpa last weekend and got his first ride on a Deere! When you're from the country you are easily amused by tractors and lawn mowers - especially if they are a John Deere. JJ is already wanting to drive....

Memorial Day weekend was nice (hurray for the 3-day weekend!), but the weather was either cloudy or rainy all weekend. Monday afternoon the sun finally came out and it was a great day. We were down the street at our friends cook-out. They just had a new pool dug, but the water wasn’t in yet. Half-way through the party the guys got tired of looking at the gaping hole in the ground and decided to open up the hydrant and fill it! The kids loved it and played in the pool as it was being filled – and that water was COLD! Jerret and I took turns pushing JJ in the baby swing, which he loved. We don’t have a swing set at our house yet, and will most likely be moving in the next 2 years, so maybe we can convince Grandma and Grandpa to get a swing set???? Wishful thinking, I know!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Thanks Grandpa....

We were watching the news last night and a story came on about Memorial Day and the fact that so many people have no idea what the day is actually about. There were about ten people interviewed and when asked what Memorial Day was, not one could answer. Of course everyone knew it was a free day off of work and the first 3-day weekend of the year, but not the true reason for such a holiday.

Apparently I am an exception to the rule, but I have always been raised to know the meaning of memorial day. I have been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary #537 since I was 12 years old. My grandparents took me and my cousin Joe to the beaches of Normandy the summer of 1994 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of D-Day. I hang a picture of my grandfather in his army uniform on the wall of my cubicle - proudly displayed for all the world to see.

Grandpa Helle is one of the neatest guys you will ever meet. He has story upon story about his life in Patton's Third Army. While never boastful, he will tell anyone who asks about his experience in the Battle of the Bulge and the bullet still lodged in his side to act as a constant reminder of God's grace. In 2005 he travelled with friends to Washington DC to see the new WWII memorial and was interviewed by a reporter from Virgina Living magazine who could see in his face that this was a man with a story to tell.

I could go on and on about the hardest working man I have ever known, but he would rather I talked about something else. So as a tribute to grandpa, here is a picture of him with JJ at their first meeting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We Just Love This Guy...

Below is a copy of the announcement I created to send out to friends.

So yesterday was tough having to leave JJ at Aunt B's house. She's not actually my aunt, but is the aunt of my cousin Carrie (she watches Carrie's 4-year old too). Aunt B was so sweet and was trying to show JJ how to blow kisses as I walked out the door. She kept saying "Put that one in your pocket mom and save it for later." He did well and Jerret was a little disappointed when he went to pick him up at the end of the day. I guess JJ just sat still next to Aunt B and didn't give Jerret the big open-armed reception that he was hoping for.

If I thought yesterday was hard, today was nearly unbearable. As soon as I put JJ down at B's house he crawled right over to her and raised his arms for her to pick him up. I almost burst into tears on the spot! I was still thinking about it when I arrived at work and needed to be reassured by my friend Becky. She reminded me that Aunt B is going to love him and take care of him as well as I would and that JJ needs a place away from home where he is happy and comfortable. I am so glad that we found B and that she is with JJ when I can't be there. It's hard for Jerret and I right now because we are just getting good at this and now he's away for 8 hours out of the day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

He's 1!

Our little guy turned one on Friday and we celebrated with a small party at Grandma's house. I really didn't want a big party since we did just return home and everyone has been giving us gifts like crazy! Not to mention the fact that we had two showers, one of which was just two weeks ago. So this wasn't necessarily a "party party" - it was more of a "come and meet our baby" for our family that lives on the other side of the state.

JJ had a blast and was very excited to meet his cousins from Cleveland. Everyone was so happy to see him and we were just glad that they could all come and visit for a few hours. He didn't waste any time diving into his b-day cake, as you can see in the pictures. By the end of the afternoon he was ready for a long nap and Jerret and I were too!
Saturday night I took my nephew AJ to the GX International show and we watched skateboarders, break dancers, rappers, and listened as a few of the performers give testimony on how they became followers of Christ. The stories they told were pretty powerful, and we listened as one guy told how his mother had him at 15, had two other kids by the age of 18 (all with different fathers) and said that he watched his mother get beat by her boyfriend day after day. They ended up running away and living in shelters and even their car when there was no place left to go. Through all this he learned that there was a place to turn, and that led him to believe in something bigger than us all. It was so awesome to watch as people in the audience - kids in fact - were so moved by these stories that they proudly stood up and said they wanted to know more.
One of the girls (she was a dancer) told her story of being abandoned as a baby on the stairway of the police station. I don't remember exactly what country she was from, but she was born in Asia and was adopted by a Norwegian couple who took her home with them to Norway. Hearing her speak and listening to her story made me think of JJ and how lucky we are to have found him. So many people that we meet say what a lucky boy he is to have been adopted by us, but we are the lucky ones.
Tomorrow is JJ's first day with the sitter :( She is a wonderful lady so I know there is nothing to worry about, but I am just sad that I can't be home with him. Jerret's cousin who came to visit was telling us how she is now able to work from home 4 days a week and only goes in on the 5th day. I am so jealous! She still has to take her son to daycare, as it is just too hard to work with a little one at your feet, but man - how nice would it be to not have to do hair and makeup every morning?!?