More Firsts and Funnies

In an effort to better record some of the kids' milestones and memorable conversations, here is what's been going on in the Brown household.
Carter is married. Last week, he informed me he was getting married, and that the lucky bride would be Grace. A few days ago, he said this: "I got married, Momma! I got married to Grace. We got married in China and I wore a coat."
Carter is VERY into clothes, and changing them multiple times. His Auburn jersey makes it into the lineup at least a couple of times each day. He is still waking up really early (around 4:45 am) and often runs into our room chatting away and showing us which outfit he's putting on. This past weekend, he came in chirping, "Good morning Daddy! It's light outside. I love you! Good morning Mommy! It's light outside! I love you!" By the way, let me assure you that it is NOT light outside at 4:45 am.

Carter Man has also potty trained himself during the last week. We had worked on this last August, but he lost interest after a few days and totally regressed. This time, he's done it all himself. Now I know why other moms say to wait until your child is really ready! This is so easy!
Grace is also into dress-up. On a typical afternoon, she'll walk out of her bedroom from her nap with a tutu, Snow White high heels, sunglasses on her head, and LOTS of jewelry.
Grace loves to sing, and boy can that girl TALK. We still don't always know what she's saying, but she is verbal and more expressive than I ever thought a 2-year-old could be. She gives some looks and expressions that seem far beyond her years!

Grace is obsessed with Ni Hao, Kai Lan. In fact, that's the only show she wants to watch now. Carter is getting into superheros, likes watching Toy Story, and is still an Imagination Movers fan. :)

Carter has entered the inquisitive phase, asking "why?" incessantly. Sometimes I've gone so far off the initial question by answering follow-up "why's" that I don't even know what we're talking about anymore. Grace's favorite comments are "That's silly, Mommy!!" and "That's LOUD!"

I know there's more I'm missing. I really need to write down things Carter says so I'll remember them. It's just neat to hear 3-year-olds' observations and comments. Life is never dull through their eyes.


Aged to Perfection

No, I'm not talking about cheese. Or an expensive bottle of wine. "Aged to Perfection" is what my birthday balloon says and was given to me by my sweet husband. Not sure if it's a hint that things are downhill for me from here or if he's saying he believes I can top perfection next year. :)

When Carter asked how old I am today, I told him I was 32 and explained that it's a three and a two. His response was, "We're the same!!! Me and Grace are 3 and 2!!" Sure buddy, if that's how you want to look at it. :)

We celebrated Chinese New Year today at the Chinese New Year Festival in downtown Birmingham. Grace loved the dancers, and Carter devoured the Chinese food. Now that he has outgrown his egg allergy (milk and beef allergies remain), he has a lot more options when it comes to eating out. (Sorry for the poor picture quality...most of these photos were taken with my phone.)
It is just beautiful weather outside, and we enjoyed walking through Linn Park.
Check out Grace's pigtails up close! Aren't they cute? Yesterday was the first day I've fixed her hair this way since it's finally grown out long enough. Carter said that she looked "just like Caroline." In all the pictures and video we have of Caroline so far, she is wearing pigtails. And I thought that was so sweet that Carter made that connection.
I will do another post with all the funny things the kids are doing and saying these days. I haven't done a good job of recording those things this last year, and I can't always trust my memory. There's no denying that I'm aging and that my warrior and princess are probably partly responsible for the gray hairs popping through. But if I'm aging anywhere close to perfection (and for those who don't know me, yes I'm joking), I've got to credit the influence of my husband and kids. If I've got crinkles in the outer corners of my eyes and lines around my mouth, then you know I've been doing lots of smiling.


The Call

I have so many updates to give, and I'll try to get those posted with pics in the next week. The last couple of months have been absolutely wild with moving (twice), starting the part-time job of my dreams (more details to come!), Carter's 3rd birthday, a big women's retreat at church that I was helping with, and the FLU. I have never been so sick in my life...five days straight in bed either asleep or eyes closed because I was too ill to even look around the room. But thankfully, no one else in the family got it. We're finally getting settled into our new home, and the seemingly foreign days of normalcy, routine, and predictability are returning. Actually, when is life with toddlers EVER predictable?? Scratch that one. I am so very sorry if I have not responded to emails or comments or even phone messages. From right before Christmas until the last week, I was just juggling too many balls, and I dropped a good many of them, I'm sure. I promise I'm not normally that scattered and flaky!

So more posts are coming. But in the meantime, I wanted to share this poem that I saw tonight on a "Forever in your arms" adoption video and then on a blog. It brought tears to my eyes, and to my husband's as well when I ran the laptop over to him so he could read it. The words hit so close to home and beautifully illustrate the experience of our call from God to adopt Grace and then Caroline.
"The Call"

Every call has a beginning...
A quiet moment when God whispers a promise to a mother's heart
A holy place where a father bows and faithfully accepts the journey set before him.

A miraculous morning that unexpectedly dawns...
Casting its first light on a chosen threshold.
A gentle knock...a closed door opens.
A sacred invitation sent by the Father...
Leads to the other side of the world.

Where lonely hearts stare out orphanage windows
Praying for someone to care.
And then one morning...
On an ordinary day
An orphan's life changes...
God sends them a second chance...
Through you.

-Author Unknown


Happy Birthday Carter!

Remember this lil' guy?
How can it possibly be that my little man turned 3 last Saturday and now looks like this?
At 5:40 am on January 29th, Carter came running into our room exclaiming, "It's my birthday!!" No one had to tell him...he had been waiting for this day for weeks.
My parents were in town, and when my mom asked if she could sing him Happy Birthday, he replied, "No, my kids are going to sing to me later." He also later referred to his pals as "my people." :)
His other humorous comment regarding turning 3 was this: "I'm three, Daddy. I'm a grown up now."
For two weeks straight, all Carter has wanted to wear is his Auburn football jersey. He has no idea that they just won the national championship title. He just knows that he wants to play football. :)
And somehow he came up with the idea that he HAD to have a football helmet.
And now he won't take it off.
We wrangled the kids in our laps to try to capture some family pics. These days are fleeting, and we don't want to forget them.
Here are Grace and Carter with Papa and Grand Mary.
Carter with his Aunt JuJu
Carter and Grace with GramMe and Sam
Carter, you amaze (and humor) us daily with your wit, thoughtfulness, energy, stubbornness, language, comprehension, and passions. We can't imagine what the next year will bring. But we eagerly anticipate it while also trying desperately to hold on to our sweet memories of your first 3 years on this earth. Thank you for blessing us every day with your life. We love you!

Mommy and Daddy