Friday, July 31, 2015

Shout Out: Eli + Elvis

*** I used to do "Shout-Out" Posts regularly, and I was so happy that Naomi contacted me about spreading the word on her cute shop. Read her story and consider shopping with a purpose to help their adoption fund!***

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Hi! My name is Naomi. My husband and I brought home our first child through an international adoption. Eli, an absolute blessing, is all smiles, (practically) all day long, and the fulfillment of years of prayers.  When we thought about adding another child to our family, we weren't sure where our journey would take us - adoption is hard, adoption is long, and adoption can be expensive. 

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Earlier this year, I started an Etsy shop - It was to be a celebration of our unique trans-racial family and other families like ours formed through adoption. I make t-shirts and bodysuits - with an international "hello" collection, adoption friendly phrases, or custom orders - I hope to have created a tee for just about any family like ours. Along with the t-shirts, the customer favorite is definitely the hand stamped swaddle blankets I create. I would love for you to check out all of my products at

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Soon after I started my shop, my husband and I decided to step forward in faith to pursue our second adoption. The profits raised from Eli+Elvis are helping us pay for some of the expenses related to adoption. I hope you find something you LOVE in our shop - thanks so much for supporting our family as we grow!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Last Friday we spent the afternoon at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. We walked to the end and back of it and the kids played on a playground and the water park. It was a fun day and we loved this area! There was so much to do for kids and adults. We will definitely be back soon!

There was a FABULOUS water lab / splash park. It was partly shaded and there were a lot of cool things that Edith enjoyed tinkering with. Israel LOVES water so he was in Heaven.

We wanted something quick and cheap for dinner... so Shake Shack won of course!

We love living in New York! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Weekend Recap

Last weekend was definitely more low-key than the one before, but we did manage to have some fun in Brooklyn!

In the morning I went on a walk through the neighborhood to clear my head. Meanwhile, Will took the kids on a walk! I walked to the edge of Bay Ridge near the bridge and sat down on a bench to read and write. It was so refreshing!

Afterwards, I went to Israel's IEP and it was a big success! I'll write more soon about Israel's school and therapy... but I'm really proud of myself for standing up for him and being bold in the meeting.

Friday night we went to the splash pad at Owl's Head Park.

Then we enjoyed the "Summer Stroll on 3rd" where 3rd street was blocked off and people could walk around and there were some booths set up. Restaurants had tables in the street and we got some cheap pizza before we headed home. We even saw a knock-off Mickey and Minnie!

Saturday: We went to the Brooklyn Children's Museum for their "I-Can Kid Abilities Day" where there were special exhibits for kids with special needs. I was really impressed with their itinerary of events, but we only got to enjoy the dance party and bubbles that were special events. Israel LOVED the dance party and the workers gave him a lot of attention! He used his walker and he had a blast.

Saturday night I got to hang out with my childhood best friend's sister! Keri watched me grow up and she has two awesome daughters and a hilarious husband (who was also around when I was a kid!). Seeing Keri and Joel and the kids was really refreshing to me, we had a fun dinner out and then they did a little shopping in Bay Ridge.

Sunday: Church went great, and the kids were happy in church the whole time! :) Makes me proud! After their nap we took the kids to the bakery around the corner where they got a cookie, and then Will went to visit another church in the city.

It was a nice weekend as a family!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Learning from Israel

Israel has been making some tremendous milestones in the last month. It is really humbling to think about, and it has all been so, so, so long anticipated!

He has said several new words: train, clock, neck, cat, and others. He's started to cruise along furniture. He's pulling up frequently (not all the way to stand, but to his knees).

I'm so excited for these things, as we have been in therapy for years (literally, three years this July!). He's going to be 4 in October and as the gap widens between him and his peers, it makes my heart ache more and more. I am so glad that he's becoming more verbal and that he is gaining independence.

Two weeks ago we connected with a new therapy group, called Sensory Freeway, in Bay Ridge. It's a 12 block walk but he is attending therapy on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-4. I'm so thankful for this outlet, as we can tell a difference in him already. Also, it seems like an emotional/physical "reset" for him. I can tell that he is doing better afterwards.

But I have to be honest... it's still really hard. Never have I doubted my abilities to be the best mom for Israel since moving to New York a few weeks ago. I don't have my support system in place yet. I miss the days that Israel went to UCP for daycare twice a week! I feel emotionally and physically exhausted because I have very few breaks from him, and he's very difficult sometimes. We've moved his toddler bed into our room because his sleeping issues have been so difficult, that it's easier for me to be a few feet away from him. I feel guilt for wanting a break, and anger for not knowing how to handle him or myself on the really hard days. I feel stuck sometimes - trapped in my house because it's hard to go out and my child is so unpredictable in public.

So... on the days where Israel says a new word, or smiles the whole time he's on a subway train, or laughs with his sister as they play happily together in our apartment... those things are God's sweet gifts to me. Watching him cruise along furniture was the boost I needed to go on... to keep walking those blocks to therapy, to keep trying to push him in my own little version of therapy at home. Those little moments that speak to my heart saying, "you can do this! it's worth it!"

Honestly I'm still counting down until September when Israel will start pre-k, and it will be easier. But on the good days, in the easy moments, I'm so thankful that this story is much bigger than what I can see. These hard moments and days where I just want to (and sometimes do) lock myself in the bathroom and hide from my little people, they are shaping me and my kids. We're becoming stronger and growing through this.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Week & Weekend Recap: One on One Dates, Coney, Manhattan & McKinley Park!

What a week/ weekend!!

This week Israel had therapy twice a week - on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-4. It's about a 12 block walk from our apartment, which might be around 15-20 minutes depending on how many red lights you hit.

Other highlights from the week: Wednesday night we had a date night!! We went to the library and got library cards, then went to dinner at Blue Agave, and walked to the pier and watched the sunset!

Thursday: I took Israel to therapy, and then we strolled home, going by a fresh fruit stand and 5 Guys for french fries. Meanwhile, Will took Edith to IKEA. He didn't buy anything, but just explored with Edith. She had the time of her life testing out all of the furniture, and they ate dinner there.

Friday: After the kids' nap time in the afternoon, we decided to take the train to Coney Island. Israel got to ride three rides, we took a walk on the boardwalk, and then went to the beach. Israel LOVED Luna Park, where the rides were. He looked like a typical kid among his peers, just enjoying the ride and grinning so big everytime he saw us waving at him. It made my heart so happy.

When we went to the beach, we were happy to see a sprinkler area and a playground. Some big kids were kind of scaring Israel, so we decided to take the kids down to the water to see how they liked it. The last time we went to the beach, Israel was a toddler and Edith was in my belly! Israel didn't love the beach, but Edith LOVED IT. She loved the sand, loved crashing in the waves, and wanted to wade down to where the big kids were. She was absolutely fearless and it was exhausting to be the parent in charge of her!!

We decided to leave the beach, and that was a little complicated. Edith sobbed and ran back to the water when we took her life jacket off. Israel fought getting his clothes changed because he was sandy. Finally we wrestled Edith and gave her a paci. We headed back to the boardwalk where we saw all kinds of knock-off characters like Mickey, Elsa, and Batman.

We finished the night with some Nathan's Famous hotdogs (we got our hot dogs free thanks to a sweet old man with a coupon!). We did a photo booth picture for our annual picture!

The train ride back was peaceful and we vowed to return this summer! Coney was only 45 minutes away and so much fun!

Saturday: In the morning Will took the kids on a long walk. I was able to get some cleaning done around the house and have a moment alone!! :)

After nap time we decided to be adventurous again since Friday went so well. We took the train into Union Square, walked around, ate dinner outside, and then went by Washington Square Park. Israel was SOO mad that he couldn't play in the water sprinklers. I posted this picture of him scooting online, and it is a total misrepresentation of that event. He was actually chanting "No! No!" as he moved because he was trying to find his way back to the water. Edith had a meltdown because she couldn't get on the swings, and then we finally decided to just move on. We walked to Times Square so I could get Israel this Mickey t-shirt that I wanted him to have, and it was chaos to walk through with a stroller! We saw a fun breakdancing group on our way back to the subway, which Israel loved. All in all it was a decent trip, although Friday was much better!

Sunday: I was able to sit IN the service!!! Praise hands!!! It was really nice to attend worship and hear my husband preach. I'm so excited about our church. Meanwhile, in nursery, the workers let Edith take a nap in the stroller, which solved her weekly meltdown issue.

Edith didn't take another nap in the afternoon, so I got to have really fun play time while Will and Israel napped.
After they woke up we headed to McKinley Park, which is just about 6 blocks from us. It has a splash pad, which Israel was glued to, and a lot of obstacles for Edith to conquer. She thinks she is 10 years old. She loved to go down the fire pole and going down the biggest slide.

Writing this out exhausts me! It was a really fun but really busy weekend. I'm so thankful when our family of four can make memories together!
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