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!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday AJ!

What an honor it is to celebrate AJ's 5th birthday!

Hard to believe this little guy is five years old!!!  AJ is a happy kid full of energy and life.  He loves cars, things that play music, and Mickey Mouse.  His favorite foods are eggs, noodles, and watermelon. AJ thinks anything with a button is a good activity...we do not because that includes the stove, dishwasher, ice maker, tv remote, computer, etc.  He is very sweet and likes to share things.  AJ thinks his big brother Brody is awesome, and he now loves for Brody to pick him up and carry him around.

AJ knows his colors, alphabet, and he can count to 20.   He has learned a lot of words in English, and we have found he knows more English than he can speak.  He enjoys for friends to teach him new things like giving a thumbs up, taking a selfie with a phone, and how to sing "Bless The Lord/10,000 Reasons."  AJ likes bath time and changing his clothes.  In fact, AJ would change clothes 50 times a day if we would let him.  He loves for his hands to be clean.  His favorite place to sit is on a Cars couch from Mrs. Wendi.  AJ is very social, and he enjoys greeting and shaking hands with people.  His favorite thing to say to friends is "See you later."

Ryan and I are so proud to be his parents.  AJ has brought great joy to our family, and we feel very blessed that we are the ones who get to celebrate him today and everyday.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our New Journey

The Brices watching planes land and take off at Charlotte Airport.

Our family is beginning a new journey.

It's not a trip, but I'm sure it will lead to all kinds of places.

An idea started back in November.  I saw a woman with cancer, and my heart broke for her as it was very apparent her days left were few.  Oh I hate cancer!  As I softly prayed for her, a thought came to my mind.  Here was the thought, "If a countdown started today and I only had one year left to live, what would I do?"  While dwelling on that question, I was surprised at how many answers I kept thinking of.  There were things on my bucket list I would accomplished, there were a few places I was certain I needed to see, and most of my to do's were spending time with people I loved.  I thought I would take Brody out of school and teach him myself.  Within minutes I thought about dozens upon dozens of things I would love to teach and show my children.  So while I was thinking of what I could teach the boys if I homeschooled, I became very excited.  Whoa!  When I realized my excitement, I convinced myself this was a crazy thinking and my Carpe Diem thinking way of life had gone too far.  Too far I say!

But the idea didn't really go away!  If homeschooling is what I would do if my time was short, what was I waiting for?  Why not seize the day and make the most of all of my days?  If my heart was to be with my children and teach my children, why was I not doing that?  I thought of many cons of why I shouldn't, but the pro of "I just really want to" weighed more heavily than the cons. So one day I brought it up to Ryan, and I expected him to say "Have you lost your mind?"...he just thoughtfully listened.  Without hearing the word "no" the door opened up to begin to dream.  I began to pray about it.  Then a Girls Night Out with my Growth Group friends from church happened, and I listened to women whose hearts felt just like mine.  Maybe this idea wasn't so crazy. My friend Shannon had the courage to do a homeschool meeting that would answer questions for ladies thinking about doing home education.  Hearing Shannon, Nikki, and Leslie's passion was one of the best encouragements I have ever received.  At the meeting the idea went from crazy to really doable.  One thing that really interested me that night was Classical Conversations.  It has a way of memorizing information that is perfect for Brody's learning style.  I knew instantly it would be a good challenge for him.  So a couple of weeks later I dragged Ryan and Brody to the CC information meeting.  Team Brice needed to all be on board for this to work.  My guys liked it which only left the big question of how would this work with AJ.  We traveled to India just a couple weeks later, and we meet AJ and found out what he might be capable of.  We think AJ is capable of great things!  There in India we made the decision to turn our family's lives upside down...upside down in a very good way.

Let me answer the question before it gets asked. We are not taking Brody out of public school because we dislike it.  In fact, Brody's little school is a precious place to be.  He has had 3 outstanding teachers and 2 wonderful assistants.  Brody has been in great hands for three years in a very loving environment.  I just want the opportunity to do what these awesome women get to do.

Our sweet little AJ was a big part of the decision.  He will be turning five years old next week, but he is a lot like a three year old in height, weight, and maturity.  He is not ready to be sent off to school. To be honest, this momma has missed out on five years of his life, and I don't want to miss out on any more of it.  Brody would also think it was completely unfair to homeschool AJ next year and not him too.

So let the home education journey begin! There are adventures to be had, and we are going to take them.  There is simplicity to be had, and we're going to enjoy it.  There are precious moments to be had everyday, and we are not going to miss out on them any longer.

Sure I will have days this Fall I will want to pull my hair out, and you my friends will have to remind me of this post.  This will not be an easy journey, but it will be a journey worth taking.  I can't wait to see where it takes the Brices!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Growing Together

Children are not the only ones who grow.  Parents, adults, can continue to grow if we allow ourselves to grow.  We may not grow in height (although weight comes very easily), but we can grow in our understanding of life.  I've grown so much lately in compassion, knowledge, and maybe a little wisdom.  Watching AJ be content with the simplest of things, makes me realize how much unnecessary junk I have.  Hearing AJ's laughs of pure delight, makes me realize I don't laugh enough in life.  Holding AJ when he gets hurt or is sad, or just needs a snuggle, makes me realize how much more love I have to give.  Seeing AJ experience something for the first time, makes me realize how much joy and beauty I take for granted.  I have been told by so many people how blessed AJ is to have us as parents, but that is just not true.  It's the other way around.  He has blessed us in so many ways.  And Brody too!  Watching Brody give of himself, give of his time, give of his things, and give, give, give to his little brother shows great love.

This growth is awesome!  This growth also comes with growing pains.  It's not always easy.  Sometimes after a meltdown with AJ or just a moment I started to lose my patience, I can look back and see how if I would have taken a different approach things would have gone smoother.  I can put my pride aside and acknowledge I can do things better the next time.  I've learned it's ok to teach/train AJ in different ways from how I taught Brody in order to get the same result.  And it's also ok when the ending result is different...after all each little heart is so very different.  I think the difference between a good parent and a great parent is the willingness, the humbleness, to say the way I just did this could be done better.  I've got a long, long way to reach great parent status, but I'm willing to set out on that journey.  I just want to encourage others that growth requires adjustments.

Today's pictures are of our garden and AJ's first time to touch and feel the rain with his Uncle Corky and Aunt Tanya.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Winds From The East

Today I can just hear Bert from Mary Poppins sing

Winds from the east... Mist comin' in... Like somethin' was brewin', about to begin... Can't put me finger on what lies in store... But I feel what's to 'appen, all 'appened before...!

Can't quite put my finger on why I keep singing it.  Maybe I sing it because I love Mary Poppins.  Maybe I sing it because there really is a storm brewing.  Maybe I sing it because I feel change happening.  I think it's the combination of all three.  A change, a new beginning, is happening in our family.  And I LOVE it!  Sitting on the floor and looking out the window this morning with AJ, I was completely content.  I don't know how to describe it exactly, but there is this amazing happiness being  a mother.  Oh how I enjoy soaking up each moment with my boys!  With AJ, I've missed almost five years of his life, and I find myself not wanting to miss anything with him now.  I want to hear his excitement with every bird and car that passes by our house as we watch out the window together.   I want to hear him yell "Mickey Mouse" everytime that mouse comes on tv.  I want to see him smile as he experiences something new he likes.  I want to hear all the "mmmm's" as he is enjoying his food.  Even in the midst of AJ throwing a tantrum, I want to be by his side even more to reassure him that I love him no matter what.  I want it all!  This is a season of life I'm loving.  It's like a spring season of life has sprung at The Brice House!  I'm just thankful to be able to soak in all of it!  I'm not sure what all is in store for us, but I know I don't want to miss any of it.  There is a new excitement awaken in me.  I like what the wind is blowing in...the breeze has never felt so good.  :)

Monday, April 28, 2014


To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there. ~Barbara Bush

My mom, Mimi, came this weekend to meet AJ.  AJ ran into her arms the moment he saw her.  It was such a sweet moment!  Seriously, it's too cute how he smiles at his Mimi!  We are very grateful for family coming to help us as AJ is adjusting to his new home and family.  On Saturday, our neighborhood had a yard sale.  AJ had a great find...a car!  Mimi proudly got him his "first car."  The kid loves riding around in it.  Notice I said riding because he is a terrible driver.  His big brother Brody doesn't mind driving him up and down the street.  Tough work being a big brother!  Hahaha.  The weather this weekend was perfect for playing outside, and it was good to make memories in the warm sunshine.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oh Shenandoah

I love how when I don't post for a few days I get messages checking on AJ.  AJ is adjusting wonderfully.  We had a thoughtful friend let us use a cabin this week during Brody's spring break for family bonding.  I know every book on attachment says not to travel the first few months, but AJ loves being on the go and Brody needed this trip.  A relaxing cabin trip is good for all of us.  The Brice PARTY of four is fun, but it will take time for the boys to get used to each other and learn to share their parents.  They are both explorers at heart, and I really enjoy their curiosity.  Being in the woods is great for them!  Car rides are also pretty great too!  AJ loves seeing new things.  This is my first time seeing the Shenandoah Valley.  It's beautiful country side!  I'm such an old soul who wanted to sing out, "Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you. Away you rolling river." Yesterday we visited Luray Caverns.  It was definitely a Brody kind of place.  It's the largest cavern in the East with countless stalactites and stalagmites.  I like a place that is both fun and educational.  Kids need to see new sights so they have things to write and think about.  Getting Brody to give details about topics is like pulling teeth.  It's important to experience things together as a family so we can talk about it.  Hearing Brody tell about his favorite part of the cave, Pluto's Ghost, was very cool.  AJ can't tell us verbally what he thought of the cavern, but he did smile a lot.  The clear water that sat so still that it reflected the ceiling perfectly was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.  I recommend seeing this place if you have never been there. Today Brody is going horseback riding during AJ's nap.  I'm sure there will be fun stories from that adventure.    

Both boys fell asleep after all the cavern fun!  Success!!!