Friday, April 15, 2016

Two Years Home From India

We are celebrating two years home from India! Two years? For us, it seems like he has always been a part of our family. We are extremely thankful we have AJ. He brings great excitement into our family. 

AJ still loves all things Disney. While Mickey will always be his pal, he loves R2D2 now days. Stars Wars is so much fun to him. It looks like we will be having a Stars Wars birthday celebration soon! Last week AJ got to go to the movies to see Zootopia. He liked all the animals, but he really liked dancing to the song "Try Everything." That song reminds me of AJ tremendously! 

"I won't give up, no I won't give in
Til I reach the end and then I'll start again
No I won't leave, I wanna try everything"

Our adventurous son loves to try everything!

Anirudha James, we love you sweet boy! 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Update

Happy New Year from the Brice Family! 
We've had a great 2015, and we can't wait to see what this year holds. Here is an A.J. update. A.J. is growing and thriving. Attachment and trust increase each month. I love all his sweet hugs! And he has such an awesome smile!!! He is very sneaky about getting into candy or cookies, and he grins so much when he gets caught. He keeps us on our toes as he can find mischief easily. His laugh is contagious. You can't help but to giggle with him. Home life is good. He tends to get nervous and shy when we're outside of home. It takes time for him to warm up to new people. He is developmentally delayed in most areas, but he tries very hard to do things. He is currently in speech and occupational therapy. Most of the time he participates in therapy well, but if he's not interested then it's difficult to work with him. I understand his need to shut down at times as I'm sure it's very frustrating not to be able to express himself. Most days are good, but his bad days are epic. Having bad days is actually really healthy because I know he now feels like he has the freedom and feels comfortable with me to be that way. AJ still loves Mickey Mouse. Our favorite family moment of the year was taking the boys to Disney World and watching AJ meet Mickey. This sappy mama here got teary eyed seeing AJ so happy with his pal Mickey. I will treasure that memory always! 
    2016 holds just a lot of regular, normal days. We continue to keep life simple. Laughter is a daily goal! This is AJ's kindergarten school year, and we are enjoying watching him learn new things. He asks daily about going to the pool, and I know he is ready for warm weather. Sweet boy likes to swim! I'm ready for warm weather too. Until summer, we're going to cuddle up with a lot of good books. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Gift of AJ

I didn't give you the gift of life, but life gave me the gift of you.

Being the parents of AJ is one of the greatest gifts we have ever been given.  It is an honor to have him as our son.  Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful gift. Countries and agencies may put a price on adoption, but a child is priceless. AJ is priceless, and he is of great value to us. He is our son.

One year ago today, we brought AJ home. Home. He now understands what a home is. Home is where your family is. Home is where you are always loved.  And oh how Ryan, Brody, and I love him so very much!

I think of his birth mother often. She gave this world the gift of AJ. She chose to give him life, and then she made the best plan she could for him to have a life. I am grateful for her. On the day we left the orphanage, the director presented me with this poem.

“Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother
Two different lives shaped to make you one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun
The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you a talent, the other gave you aim
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried you tears
One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.
Now, which of these two women, Are you the product of?
Both, my darling, Both, Just two different types of love.”
-Julie Anderson

I will never be able to say thank you to her for giving the world our handsome and full of life son, but not being able to tell her "thank you" does not make her gift any less special. Maybe it makes it even more special. One day when AJ is older, I will tell him of her story. I will tell him their story. I will give him a gift she left for him and only him. Maybe he'll share the story and gift with the world one day or maybe he'll keep it to himself. But it is his to tell or keep. Our darling will know he is loved, and he is a wonderful gift. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Still Welcome Home AJ

For 11 months this Welcome Home AJ balloon has been on our ceiling. Who knew a balloon could even stay inflated this long?

It's actually kind of a good and humorous representation of our life. Life still doesn't feel normal. It's a constant effort of finding what works best for everyone in the family. There is a small routine to our life, but it's not the routine I'm used to having. We seem to be floating around in search of normalcy. This is not a bad thing. It's just surprising. Surprising like there's still a balloon on the ceiling. If someone had asked me what I thought our family would look like after AJ was home for a year, I would have said we'll find our groove in a year's time. Who knew what time would be like for our family? Time is a funny thing. This time period has gone by incredibly fast. Seriously, it's like I've blinked and we're now a couple of weeks away from the one year mark. The welcome home balloon is quite fitting because it still feels like we just got home with AJ. I'm incredibly thankful for this year. I only wish this year felt longer. 

Anyone else ever have one of those years that seem to pass by too quickly?

Friday, January 16, 2015

9 Months Home

Today marks 9 months of AJ being home from India! 
It's been a wild ride!!!
Wild and crazy and beautiful and messy and awesome is this journey.

Today's update will be from questions I have been asked lately.

What does AJ like to do?
MICKEY MOUSE! He loves all things Mickey. Family and friends supported Disney greatly during Christmas because all of AJ's presents had The Mouse on it. He has also recently started to watch Little Einsteins. There is so much music in that show, and AJ loves music. Another activity AJ likes to do is take pictures of himself on any phone he can get his hands on...even strangers' phones. We have the conversation often of not taking over people's phones. It's hard to be the King of Selfies!

How is his language? 
There is progress, but his language is still developmentally delayed. AJ tries to say sentences now. Sentences come out a little jumbled at times, but he is making effort to communicate. You know how some adoption books say there is a Language Explosion at six months...I'm still waiting on that explosion. On a positive note, AJ understands us very well!

How is his sleeping? 
AJ is a great sleeper! He stays in his bed all night, and he takes an afternoon nap. There is still some rocking while falling asleep, but it is a much more gentler rocking than nine months ago. AJ is very particular about playing the same lullaby cd every night. Music is calming to him.

Is AJ a good eater?
Yes and no. It always depends on the day. Some days he is a great eater while other days he can be a picky eater. AJ is holding a spoon and fork better. He has also learned his parents will make him stay seated during meal time (this is one of his biggest accomplishments).

Has it been an easy transition?
Bringing an independent five year old into any family is going to be challenging. It takes lots of patience. Some days I feel like I have no more patience, and it's only lunch time. The Lord provides everything we need so there is always more patience. You have to make a top 10 list of things to work on, and then work with 1 goal at a time. Our oldest son Brody will ask sometimes why we let AJ do something, and we tell him that we must pick our battles with AJ. It's too overwhelming to work on several behaviors at a time. AJ does have a sweet, gentle heart. One of my favorite things about him is how he tries to comfort those around him. He gets very concerned if he sees someone crying. He brings a new comfort into our family.  I think AJ has adjusted very well for the short amount of time he has been home. He is silly and all about having a good time which brings a lot of fun into our family.

What are his favorite books/songs?
Books- Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear, Going on a Bear Hunt, and Baby
Songs- 10,000 Reasons, Jesus Loves Me, and Come and Get Your Love (Guardians of the Galaxy Sound Track)

Has AJ grown lately?
YES! Whoo hoo!!! He is 41 inches tall, and he weighs 33 pounds. He is a very active little boy so gaining weight is awesome.

What did AJ think about the holidays?
AJ had a blast at Christmas! He was very humble in receiving presents, and it was a joy for all of us to watch him. He would sweetly ask, "AJ's???" This was our family's best Christmas ever! Seeing both of my boys excited and happy was the greatest gift. Spending time with grandparents was a big treat for him. New Year's Eve was also a hit for AJ. Baby Boy loves fireworks! He cheers for every "boom." The holidays all include great desserts, and AJ has a major sweet tooth. We love how he still calls dessert "Happy Birthday."

It been a good nine months, and it just keeps getting better!

Friday, October 17, 2014

6 Months Home

Happy 6 months home AJ!

He's a little guy with a BIG personality!!!

It's been a great six months having AJ home with us. This has been a much easier transition than Ryan and I had anticipated. AJ is just happy. I think back to the first moment I saw him in person. He was so shy and nervous that day. He was the last child to get dressed, and he had on a sweet little Winnie the Pooh outfit.

This was our introduction. The first time he called me, Mama. I was instantly reminded of Winnie the Pooh saying, “As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.” It has been a grand adventure, and to think this adventure is just getting started. I love this little boy so much! He is no longer shy. AJ is full of life! He is outgoing, loud, expressive, and funny. Ryan, Brody, and AJ have made my days precious and sweet. I thank God everyday for this beautiful life He has given me.

Facts about AJ at 6 months
-He has gained 2 lbs. and grown 2 in. since being home.
-He loves loves loves Mickey Mouse!
-All desserts are called Happy Birthday
-Bollywood music is his jam.
-It's hard to tell if he is being curious or mischievous sometimes.
-A quiet AJ at home is up to no good!
-He loves his awesome big brother Brody. He wants to be doing everything his brother does. 
-Right handed and left handed
-AJ likes books. He will sit as long as you read.
-Afraid of dogs
-Looks for the moon every night so he can say, "Goodnight Moon"
-AJ is the selfie king! He takes pictures of himself on everybody's phones. 
-Playing with cars always equals a good time.
-Does not like going to the doctor
-Chocolate milk, yes please!
-He's a Cookie Monster!
-He likes having friends over to as he says, "AJ's house." 
-Nikki Chalker will forever be called Mickey.
-Loves to laugh
-Likes going bye bye
-Hugs & kisses need to be his idea
-AJ will ask to wear a Mickey Mouse shirt every day. Every day!!!
-Prefers sweet over salty
-Claps for himself randomly
-Likes sitting on the front porch
-Takes pride in his shoes (shoes equal bye bye)
-Smiles a lot!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Summer Has Ended

Blogging during the summer just never happens. Between traveling and hanging out by a pool, there is not a lot of time for electronics. I like it that way too! Summer is my favorite time of the year because of the long, hot days.  I enjoy every minute of June, July, and August. Having AJ home made the summer even more sweeter. Speaking of sweet AJ enjoyed all the ice cream and watermelon that summer brings. He calls all desserts "Happy Birthday" so you could say we've celebrated a lot of birthdays these past three months. I say we're just celebrating life! Summer trips included the beach, aquariums, zoos, Alabama to visit my family, Louisiana to visit Ryan's family, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. AJ is not a fan of long car rides, but he does enjoy visiting new places once he gets there. My favorite thing that happened over the past few months was watching AJ learn to like water. He started off only putting his feet in a pool, and by the end of summer he was jumping into the pool by himself.  It was fun to watch his confidence grow!

Summer has ended, and it's time to see the joys Fall brings. Time for routines and schedules and the fun of school!