Sunday, June 22, 2008

Timber Rattler T-ball

Saturday was a special day for our youngest son Nathan. His t-ball team had a chance to play a game in the minor league baseball stadium that we have here in town. The team is affiliated with the Seattle Mariners and is called the Timber Rattlers. As most t-ball games go, it was pretty hilarious watching all of the kids play, but it was a big hit for them all to play in such "a huge stadium!"

They also got introduced over the PA system which was pretty cool. Peter's dad came along to help and that made it extra special for Nathan. Nathan played catcher and hit twice in the shortened version of the game. He also got a bobble-head of the team's mascot, "FANG". . . goofy, crazy, fun.

It was another fun memory for this summer, and an extra special day for Nathan -- Aaron gets to experience many "firsts" in our family since he's the oldest, and everyone pays lots of attention to Anya Rashi because she's new, and the baby, and the only girl. We're happy he had something unique that was all his own!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Adoption Day!

What has been true in our hearts since May 1, 2007 is now legal and official! Since last May when we saw the first picture of Anya Rashi, we have thought of her as our daughter. With the help of Judge Nancy Krueger, and so many friends and family members who supported our adoption journey, she is ours forever.

Anya Rashi's grandparents, her Uncle Mark, and her big brothers were there to witness this special event. As our hearing began, she started out at the table with our family, then made the rounds from spectator seats to the jury box, to the bailiff's desk, to the stenographer's chair, finishing up at the TV/VCR used in trials. She was most disappointed that she couldn't get it to work!

Peter did most of the talking in the courtroom while I walked around with Anya Rashi. He (and I) teared up when the judge asked how Anya Rashi was adapting and fitting into our family. After two-and-a-half years of hoping and waiting, then finally having her home with us these past six months -- how could we possibly sum it all up in a few moments' testimony? She is a little tornado, a beauty, a million laughs, a bundle of new discoveries, and a joy.

Afterward, our judge kindly posed for a few photos with a squirmy new Leschke . . . And she let Aaron and Nathan sit in the witness chair and speak into the microphone! All the way back to the parking lot, all I could think was "She has our last name now!" The boys made up a little impromptu song in the van on the way home: "Anya Rashi is part of our family!!"

Now, the cake is eaten, the grandparents have gone home, and it's just the five of us . . . forever.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A whirlwind week -- and 6 months home!

Whew! Our first official week of summer was jammed with lots of fun. (Thankfully, we don't have this much packed into every week, or I'd have to start sleeping a whole lot more hours each night to keep going!) Anya Rashi seems to have boundless energy for it all, and loves to "go, go, go" -- which is her new favorite saying. She learned it from hearing Mama scream it at the boys' ball games. :o)

Today was her 6-month anniversary of arriving home. Half a year has gone by already! We have so many incredible memories of our time in India, the day we met Anya Rashi, and those first jet-lagged, joyful, exhausted days (weeks?!) after we came home -- it was 9 days before Christmas, and our boys were so excited to meet her.

Anya Rashi has changed so much. She is so outgoing, and loves being outside and around lots of people. She climbs everything, including her brothers' bunk bed ladder -- yipes! I was cooking dinner one day last week when I heard a hall door close. My mom instincts went on red-alert, and sure enough, one of the boys had left their door open. There she was, as proud as could be, on the top bunk! (Sorry, no photos of that -- I was too busy trying not to have a panic attack.)

Her 18-month checkup was today: she has grown over 2 inches in the past 3 months, and gained two-and-a-half pounds. Bonus: she didn't have to have any vaccinations. Woo hoo! She's still afraid of the crinkly paper on the exam table due to past needle trauma, so our fantastic doctor did the whole exam with her on my lap.

The rest of our week included Nathan's and Aaron's first tee ball and baseball games, and their first swimming lessons. We also had a silver wedding anniversary for some friends, and a hospital visit for friends Tina and Todd, who became first-time parents to adorable baby Liam! We had a family reunion, and Fathers' Day celebrations . . . and a visit to our friend Tyler's house, where the boys caught 9 toads. Anya Rashi also had her first ponytails -- they lasted all of 20 minutes before she ripped them out!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Fathers' Day

Peter doesn't know we're doing this, but we wanted to tell the world (or at least the folks who follow our blog!) how special he is.

Anya Rashi:
(Screams with joy and says . . .) DADA!

My dad is loving, caring, protecting, generous, knows God, humorous, praising, exciting, peaceful, and fun.
Your son,

He wrestles with me and plays with me. I like my Dad very much. I hope you have a great time in the Porcupine Mountains. I love you, Daddy.

Before we even began dating, I was completely overwhelmed by what a rare man Peter was. After knowing him for about a year in college, I clearly remember thinking, "What an amazing husband and father this guy will be someday," never dreaming that I'd be the one who got to walk through life with him. He is an extraordinarily kind, funny, expressive, honorable, big-hearted, thoughtful, playful, Christ-emulating husband and dad. I don't know why God has given me such a blessing -- I only know that I'm all the more grateful to have him, because I could never have "earned" him. I love knowing that our children have him as their model for what a man should be. Thank you, love, for being the man that you are.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fun times

Well, much has been happening at our house . . . for the boys, that is! Last Friday was Peter's birthday, so he, Aaron and Nathan drove south to take in a Brewer game. It was extra special since it was Nathan's first game, and since Aunt Alicia joined them at the stadium. The little ones were all decked out in temporary tattoos: one on each cheek and each arm. A good time was had by all -- and it didn't hurt that the Brewers won! It was a great birthday treat for Peter.

The next day, we all piled in the van and drove to Madison for our nephew's high school graduation. Anya Rashi did really well with no nap, and had a ball with her aunts, uncles, and cousins. We also met the newest member of the family, 3-month-old baby James, who was an angel. The ride home was not so pleasant . . . Anya Rashi fell asleep for about 45 minutes of the ride, and woke up to find herself A.) restrained in the car seat, B.) hungry (but not for the snacks we had in the van), C.) overtired, and D.) really ticked off by A.), B.) and C.). :o)

Today, Nathan participated in his kindergarten graduation ceremony. He was so proud of himself as he wore his mortarboard and received his "diploma." Both classes also recited poems and sang songs, and Nathan was so much fun to watch. His teacher must've told them to work hard to speak clearly, because his lips were contorted every which way during the program, and his eyes were extra animated and big. The funniest part were his little bows during the applause. That boy likes to be in front of a crowd.

Yesterday, I had a jazz CD playing on the ride home from school. A song the boys love came on . . . "Man in the Air" by Kurt Elling . . . which Aaron has always thought was about Jesus. A little while later, he asked, "Was Jesus a poet?" (One of the song's lines is 'the man is a poet'.) Nathan began by answering, "Well, he did tell all those stories." We had a really thought-provoking discussion about what exactly a poet does, and came to the conclusion that a poet speaks words of beauty and truth, therefore yes, Jesus was a poet.

Anya Rashi has been busy with new discoveries. Her new nickname for her favorite blankie is "bee." She can now clip her high chair "seat belt" all by herself, and is trying to put on her own shoes. Amazing! It's hard to believe she's not even 18 months old yet. She also has four new teeth: three molars and one eyetooth, that all came in at the same time. She doesn't do anything halfway, apparently!