Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice

I haven’t been the best blogger since we got home from China. Life has been full, as I’m sure you can imagine, and it seems like I spent every moment taking care of some small person. I’m grateful for what feels like an extra dose of energy and patience in my heart these days—I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s helping me find joy and deep gratitude in a season that could just as well be frantic and hectic.

We have finally passed through the crazy jet-lagged re-entry, and we’re settling into a new rhythm of life that actually feels really good to me. Getting enough sleep is a miracle—I feel like I can anything if I can just get eight solid hours of sleep. I’m not getting that EVERY night, but I am getting it enough nights to feel like myself again.

Maya and Sam are doing really well with this transition too. They are sweet, lively siblings—always willing to lend a hand with Matthew. Neither of them have said to me, “I wish Matthew hadn’t come home to our family,” which I consider a small miracle. I sort of expected them to have a tougher time. But instead they have a lot to teach me about acceptance, about not over-thinking everything, about just allowing relationships to develop naturally.

Sam, especially, has surprised me with his affection for Matthew. I expected him to be the most jealous and to have the hardest time with this transition. Instead he’s the sweet one—he kisses Matthew and hugs him all day long, and Matthew absolutely loves the affection from his big brother. He’s really attentive to Matthew’s needs, bringing him a toy or a blanket when he needs one, running to get a towel to wipe up Matthew’s “burble” (that’s what we call spit-up in our house).

And Maya is also such a great big sister. She’s helpful, thoughtful, and really attuned to what Matthew needs. Really, both my kids have surprised me with all their affection and love towards their littlest brother.

But perhaps the one who has surprised me the most in all this is Matthew himself. He is learning something new every day. I predict that in less than three weeks, he’ll be walking. He’s strong—he pulls himself up on anything he can find (chairs, the handle of the freezer, the coffee table, my pant leg). Instead of the army crawl that he did in China, he’s doing a real crawl now, up on hands and knees. He is starting to babble and make sounds that resemble English consonants: Gs and Ns and Ps. We sit him in the high chair during mealtime and let him experiment with food (normally rice cereal and applesauce) and he’s actually starting to put some of it in his mouth. He cracks himself up all the time—and he’ll just sit on the floor and laugh. He still loves his mama’s tickles, and he’ll pull my hands back down to his soft, squishy thighs just so he can laugh some more.

I find that I wake up each day grateful that our boy is home, that our trip is over, and that we get to spend another day learning to be a family. I still have moments when the enormity of what we’ve done hits me, and I feel a little overwhelmed. Parenting three children is harder than parenting two children. But then when I think about the alternative—my sweet boy still living in his orphanage in southern China—I feel a rush of gratitude that he is here with us.

We had our first visit at Children’s Hospital this past Monday in their craniofacial clinic, and we felt so supported and encouraged by the staff there. We received many complements about how beautiful and healthy our boy is, which was such a gift. It looks like the first surgery Matthew will have is the cleft lip repair, and it will be sometime in early August. We’re still waiting to schedule the specific date, but we have decided to move forward with the first surgery as soon as we can. The lip surgery is actually a fairly routine thing—it’s mostly just a plastic surgery that will leave Matthew with some stitches that will need to heal. We’re told that it’s only a few days of intense recovery before he feels pretty much back to normal, which is really amazing.

I was tickled to meet Matthew’s surgeon and find out that he himself is an Asian male. Nerdy me, I looked up his last name and see that it’s Cantonese in origin—so my Cantonese son will have his lip and palate repaired by a smart, handsome, Cantonese-American doctor. I know that’s not really a big deal, but I thought it was kind of sweet for Matthew to have that connection.

We continue to be well cared for by friends in our neighborhood (and friends in other cities too) who come and bring us meals and hugs and warm care. I know that perhaps it’s a bit overused, but I love the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child.” I really believe that’s true, and we are feeling the warm warms and deep love of our village in so many ways these days.

Sam’s 4th birthday is on Friday, and we will celebrate with a family party on Friday night and Sam’s first “kid party” on Sunday with 7 friends who are his age (that was very important to him—to only have people who are his actual age). Aaron’s mom and sister are coming tomorrow to be part of Sam’s special weekend, and to see Maya’s ballet recital on Saturday evening. It’s bound to be a full weekend, but we’re so looking forward to being together with family and friends to celebrate our sweet almost-4-year-old.

And the sunshine today, on the Summer Solstice, brought streams of yellow light into our house all day—which didn’t really matter because we spent almost every waking minute outside, enjoying what felt like the first REAL day of summer around here. Maya’s done with school next Wednesday, and then we will really relax into a summer schedule. Lazy days are our number one priority!

Sam plays with his brother

A neighborhood walk--Matthew loves riding up on Daddy's shoulders

Practicing with food

His thumb still tastes better than the food

The almost-four-year-old.

Sweet big sister!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Seattle Children's & Father's Day

Seattle Children’s
June 17, 2012

Tomorrow is our first appointment with the Craniofacial center at Seattle Children’s Hospital. We check in at 11:00 am, and we’ll meet with six different doctors or specialists, finishing up around 2:00 pm.

We have never experienced Children’s Hospital, but we have heard many wonderful things about it. Two friends work on the nursing staff there, so we have some inside perspectives about how amazing it is. And even though it’s a little nerve racking to take a child fresh of the plane from China and begin the cleft lip and palate repair, it’s also a blessing to get going on the journey of repair, which moves Matthew closer to full health and development, especially with his speech.

I spent some time on the Children’s website today, looking up each of the physicians or specialists we’ll be seeing. And by the time I was done, I found myself in tears. Each face that came up on my screen seemed so kind to me, so wise, so caring. We’ll literally be putting Matthew into the hands of a team of people who will support him through two major surgeries (with more to follow in the future, likely) and all the healing, development, and new learning he’ll have to do.

Every doctor had such a child-centered philosophy of care—I felt grateful for the opportunity to work with this group of people, and I haven’t even met them yet.

We will continue to use this blog site as a place to update our friends and family on our adoption progress, including Matthew’s surgeries and healing. My friend Kaitlin will no longer be managing things, as I’m back in the U.S. and can do it myself. That also means we won’t be sending out any emails letting people know there is a new blog post up. But I will try to write a couple times each week, so if you are enjoying following our journey, I’d encourage you to continue stopping by when you think about it.

Also, if you have a blog reader program or have a Google account or some other way to read or keep up on blogs, please feel free to snag our blog address or sign up to “subscribe” to our blog.

We enjoyed a simple, sweet day together celebrating Aaron and my dad Bruce for Father’s Day. True to what you’d expect from the Pacific Northwest, our picnic plans turned to rain, so we huddled under a shelter to eat our sandwiches—but we had a blast. Just being outside was a delight.

Sweet Maya at the park

Matthew is playing and moving around so much these days

Sam comes out of the slide

Matthew's 2nd time on a swing--he loves it!

My two big kids!

Matthew's first Father's Day with a daddy to celebrate!

Waiting out the rain under the picnic shelter.

Maya, Sam, Bapa and Marmnie.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Good, Hard Work

It’s really good, sweet time at our house right now, but it’s also intense and lots of hard work. More work than Aaron or I were expecting, to be honest.

There are some things that are going really well. Maya and Sam LOVE having Matthew home, and they seem to have adjusted to life with him without any struggle. They are very happy to have us home, but the minute we were back with Matthew, they fell back into their normal patterns and seem very happy with things. That is a relief. We recognize that an adoption is a transition for everyone in the family, and we fully expected both our older kiddos to sense the disruption more.

There are some things that are really hard too. Attachment, for one thing. We are parenting this child whom we have known for less than three weeks. Yes, we stared longingly at his photos for six months before we went to China, and yes, we chose to have him in our family, but in some ways he is a still a stranger to us. This is compounded by the fact that he can’t talk, and can’t even really communicate to us in any concrete way. I am quite sure that he is also not yet attached to us. He’s very independent—probably from all those months in an orphanage—and he doesn’t put up a fuss when he’s passed around from one person to another. We are trying not to pass him around very much, just so he gets some consistency, but we’re also juggling this new life parenting three children, and the extra hands of friends and family members have been so helpful.

We have also stepped back into parenting a baby, which isn’t something we were expecting. We had in our minds that we were bringing home a toddler—which would have given us a very different set of challenges—but the endless bottle feedings, diaper changes, rocking to sleep, wake ups in the middle of the night, and constant supervision has been something that hasn’t been easy for us. Perhaps you could argue that we should have been more prepared for it—should have expected it—and you’d probably be right. But one thing we did realize is that parenting an almost 7- and 4-year old is really different from parenting an 18-month old who acts more like a 12-month old. We’ve stepped back into the world of babies, and it’s taking us time to adjust.

TIME is the key word here, I know. These relationships we are building with Matthew are all so new to all of us. I found out I was pregnant with Maya almost eight years ago. She was born seven years ago. And Sam was born four years ago. Seven years and four years are significant amounts of time compared to the less-than three weeks we’ve known Matthew.

And really, when it comes to parenting, logging in hours matters. No matter how attentive we are to Matthew right now, we can’t make up for the lost months we haven’t been with him. What we CAN do is keep moving forward with intentionality, starting the hour log NOW. Time is the great blessing in this situation—time to be intentional, time to be casual, time to just “be” together.

So we aren’t discouraged—not at all. We know this is part of the adoption path. When I hug my sister or laugh with her, when I look into her beautiful face, I feel SO attached and so connected. And this kind of attachment and connection happened because of all the years we’ve logged together.

I am not the kind of person who wishes to paint an ideal picture of the life we lead. There are many amazing, rich moments right now. Sometimes I freeze in my tracks and just stare that this little boy who, three weeks ago, was living in an orphanage in southern China—without parents, without family, without community. And now he’s here, with us, growing into a person who has a huge amount of potential. I continue to feel lucky to be part of his story and his family.

But I also know that transitions are hard, that new routines mean grieving the loss of the old ones, and that attaching to a little person who is new to our family doesn’t happen in an instant. So we’re logging the hours, faithfully trusting that the attachment will come. Until then, we keep gratitude in the forefront of our minds: gratitude for Matthew, gratitude for each other, and gratitude for the community around us who continues to support us so faithfully.

Our boy is getting used to his new house.

Sam holding the stickers we brought him from China.

Maya's been great at helping give Matthew his bottle.

Here Maya is reading to Matthew while he drinks a bottle.

Smiley big brother Sam

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Big Transition

Sorry the blog has been a little quiet these past few days. I have to admit that I’m quite overwhelmed right now with this process of re-entry.

It’s mostly because I haven’t been able to sleep—first because of jet lag, second because I have an 18-month old who isn’t sleeping much at night, and third because I’m dealing with some anxiety about the transition. Aaron and I keep reminding ourselves that we felt the transition with our homegrown babies too—coming home from the birth center or hospital, being up a lot at night, trying to establish a new routine and find some equilibrium. If I could just get a solid night of sleep right now I’d be a little less weepy and more functional.

That will come, I know.

One of the things about being alive for almost 37 years is that I have enough wisdom to know this is just a season. We have created an intentional life for ourselves that, during a normal time, has plenty of room for rest, play, work and time together. It all feels out of balance right now, but we will get back to that sometime soon.

In the mean time, we are trying to figure things out here. Matthew seems to be adjusting quite well. His sleeping schedule is (hopefully) settling down a little bit, and I can tell he’s getting more comfortable in our home and with his brother and sister. There are plenty of good times and sweet moments in the midst of all the re-entry challenges, and we are forging ahead together, knowing that this all just takes time.

Maya and Sam are particularly fond of their brother, and they are great about playing with him and spending time with him. Maya has another two weeks of school (they go LATE this year because they are making up snow days from the winter) and then she’ll be home with us full days, which will be lovely. And my parents have been a good support—in fact, my mom is coming over this afternoon to lend an extra set of hands. I’m hoping to go for a run and have a moment by myself to think.

We have been so grateful for all the calls and texts the past few days. Several friends have volunteered to bring us meals, which has been AMAZING. I have to admit that I'm not so good at asking for help or accepting help, but right now we need it and we've been so grateful. I'm learning to say a thankful "yes" to everyone's offers.

Here are some more photos from the past few days:

Maya's birthday cake, decorated by Aaron

Marmie plays with two of her grandsons

The birthday girl (a week after her birthday)

Love this shot of Parker holding Matthew's hand

The cousins

So glad to be able to squeeze this little person once again!

Our seven year old.

A drooley-faced Matthew boy.

We spend many hours in this position feeding Matthew

My favorite shot so far--three kiddos playing cars on the floor

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tired But Grateful

We're glad to be settling in at home. Matthew still isn't sleeping very well at night (last night he was up much of the night, and Aaron or I along with him) but he's slowly adjusting. We're seeing more smiles from him, more giggles, and we feel like this time is so important for him in terms of settling in.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Maya's belated 7th birthday with a picnic here at our house with family. I'm looking forward to making the day special for our girl, especially because we missed her actual birthday. She is so wonderful with Matthew--she loves to hold him and feed him when it's bottle time. She is really attentive to him, and on several occasions today, I saw him look up at her and grin.

I was thinking today about my own sister, adopted from Korea when I was a child, and how much I LOVE her and feel connected to her. These transitions of adding a new child to the family seem like a big deal at the time, but as the months and years go on, family relationships become so normal, so natural, and the friendships that will develop among my children have the potential to be some of the most important in their life. I don't know what I'd do or be without my brother and my sister in the world--they are some of my favorite people, and while I can't remember for a second any disruption when they were each added to our family, I do have a lifetime of history with each of them.

And so it will be for Maya, Sam and Matthew.

I promised a few more photos, and I'm quite exhausted and don't have anything brilliant or witty to write tonight, so I'll just leave you with the pictures that follow. If you are still praying or sending thoughts our way, we could all really use a good night of sleep, one that turns us back to the Pacific timezone and helps us feel more like ourselves. This jet lag can really be a drag.

Maya's first look at her new brother!

How I LOVED hugging my boy once again!

Marmie gets her first snuggle from Matthew

Maya is happy to be riding on Daddy's suitcase

The three Russell kids in the back seat of the Subaru (oh, mini van, how we need thee!)

Playing with toys together

Chillin' at home (thanks Keltie for the cute onesie)

He's one adorable boy!

Not to be left out, Sam wanted a shot of himself too!

Maya giving Matthew a bottle (great big sister!)
A kiss for Matthew at the airport

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Coming Home

I’m happy to report that we survived the VERY long day/night/day of travel during the past 36 hours and are finally back at home. I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight.

Of course I’m not sure when that will happen, as Matthew is still jabbering in his crib right now. In his body, it’s 1:11 pm on Friday afternoon . . . so trying to get him to sleep might be something of a challenge. Wish me luck for a night of restful sleep for everyone.

We spent about 15 hours in the air today. We left the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou at 10:00 am on Thursday morning, caught our first flight to Seoul at 12:40 pm. Spent an hour in the Seoul airport, then boarded another flight to Seattle, arriving at 12:15 pm Thursday PDT. We captured Matthew’s first steps on U.S. soil with a photo in customs, for which we received quite a scolding, but I’m SO glad we have it. Immigration was a nightmare (for lack of a more creative word), but finally around 2pm, we came up the escalator to the baggage claim area, straight into the arms of a big brother and a big sister who were SO excited to see us. My mom and dad took photos and video of the first meeting, but I don’t have those yet—so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It was joyous and wonderful to hug Maya and Sam again—how I had missed them.

It was sweet for them to get to finally meet Matthew too, and he also received his fair share of Marmie and Bapa hugs in the process. We all processed to the car, loaded up, and drove our own Subaru home as a family of five, with minimal fussing from our 18 month old, who had never before ridden in a car seat. His big sister and brother kept him quite entertained when he got fussy!

The rest of the day we spent unpacking, taking a family walk, enjoying a visit from my sister Amy and her son Parker. I snapped a cute shot of the cousins together (Parker and Matthew). Parker has been so enthusiastic about “Baby Matthew in China” these past six months (I’m sure due in great part to his mama’s enthusiasm too!). He wanted to hold Baby Matthew, to kiss him, to pat him. It reminded me that Matthew is already so well loved and welcomed by family and friends.

I won’t detail much else about our trip except to tell you this: The flight from Guangzhou to Seoul was REALLY hard for Matthew. He screamed and cried like I’ve never heard before, and each time I’d FINALLY get him to sleep, the flight attendants on Korean Air would need me to put my seat back up (when the meal was served), raise my shade to let in the blinding light (during landing), or something else about which they weren’t very flexible. And then every time Matthew screamed, they would RUN over and make a big fuss about his crying. I felt claustrophobic and REALLY anxious. I shed more than a few tears on that first flight.

Our layover in Seoul helped calm me down, and just before boarding our LONG flight, I prayed that I would hear a word of encouragement from someone around me on the flight instead of so much discouragement.

Well, not five minutes after we boarded, the man sitting right across from us began to talk with us—he was interested in Matthew and his adoption. We found out that he is Chinese but lives just north of Seattle now. When his son was born (in China 26 years ago), he had a cleft lip that was repaired. He was so encouraging and complimentary about our adoption. It was really heartwarming. He told us, “I don’t know how to say it in English very well, but I know by your adoption that you are good people. That you have good hearts.” I was grinning from ear to ear after that praise.

Then, about an hour into our flight, I was standing near the lavatory rocking Matthew when a woman came up to ask me about him—she was also interested in his cleft lip and palate. She told me she is a Korean adoptee who had a cleft palate as a one-year old—she was adopted and the cleft was repaired. “Thank you, on behalf of all Asian adoptees, for what you are doing by bringing this little boy into your family,” she told me.

I was elated. Two people in less than an hour who were so kind and encouraging about our adoption. As the flight went on, we continued to receive warm smiles and nods from people around us. Matthew slept for over 6 hours of our 9 ½ hour flight—he was a dream baby. So even though we were tired when we landed, we also felt happy that it had gone so well.

And that’s the thing about this whole process, to be honest—Each time we felt discouraged or thought we wouldn’t make it to the next step, we’d find some surprise blessing around the corner. Even tonight, as we were struggling to put to bed THREE children with very different night time needs as TWO parents, I felt a sense of calm come over me, knowing that we won’t get it perfect right away, but eventually we’ll figure it out.

I will keep blogging for the next couple of weeks, especially once we have our appointment at Children’s Hospital a week from Monday and find out what the course is that lies ahead for Matthew’s lip and palate repair. Please keep reading as you like, but don’t feel any obligation. We are grateful to have had all of you along for this amazing journey, and the encouragement and blessings YOU gave us along the way were part of the surprise we didn’t expect.

I don’t miss China—I was very ready to come home. I missed my life and my family here. But this is a new life we are forging together now—a life as five people instead of four, with new rhythms and patterns. I’m expecting that it might feel bumpy once in a while as we all regain our sense of equilibrium. But it’s so good to know we aren’t alone—that we are surrounded by a whole cloud of witnesses who walk this journey with us.

Thanks for welcoming us home. We can’t wait for you to meet Matthew. We are so glad to be back.

Matthew's first step on United States soil--a U.S. citizen at last!

Playing toys together.

The first shot of our three children

Maya is SO into her little brother

So fun to have them all together finally.

Parker gets to hug cousin Matthew

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Last Day in Guangzhou

June 6, 2012

At around 6:30 this evening, I headed down the street from our hotel to a local Cantonese restaurant to get some take-out food for dinner. The day was REALLY hot today—about 90 degrees and 90% humidity. Except for a quick trip to the store this morning and a swim in the pool this afternoon, we basically stayed in our hotel room. There was much to do in the way of packing, and we were also trying to have a calm day with Matthew, as tomorrow will be full of adventures and transitions for him.

But I was grateful for a final walk down the street to the restaurant, despite the heat, and I tried to make note of everything I saw around me. It’s funny how a person’s eyes can change after being somewhere a while. The things that initially felt strange about China now seem familiar. And although I haven’t been struck by a desire to make this place my home, I can appreciate it for all the wonderful things I see here.

I love the way that friends hold hands while walking down the sidewalk. Young women walk arm in arm (or holding hands) and even men link arms or put their arms around one another. It shows a warm connection between them. So many people passed me on their bikes, baskets filled with a dozen eggs, a briefcase, a take-out container (here they call it “take away” when they use English to describe it), or a stack of papers. People are dressed in such a variety of ways: business attire, fancy dresses, funky hipster pants and shoes. Children ride in strollers or in carriers on their mothers’ backs.

The air is humid and smells of food, cigarettes and diesel. I hear all the voices around me, speaking both Cantonese and Mandarin, as well as an occasional Chinese radio station or some Chinese opera. This place is foreign and also all at once familiar—and while this isn’t my home, this is the land where my son was born, and I tried my best tonight to imprint it in my mind so I can tell him about it as he grows.

The thing that struck me most tonight, however, was that although I’m halfway around the world from home, the people and the life here isn’t much different from my own. Sure, I live in a quieter, less populated city. And in Everett, when I look around, I see brown and white faces along with Asian faces. But the people here are living out their lives, just as I am, raising children, pursuing careers, and building friendships. It’s a lovely thing to see.

Matthew had a bit of a rough afternoon today. His only crying is somehow related to food, to his bottle, and we haven’t figured out what he is trying to express or what he needs from us. Once in a while when we make him a bottle, he starts to drink it, then he pushes it away and sobs and sobs. Today I held him for a long time as he cried, singing him all the children’s songs I could think of, rocking him, but not hushing him. I don’t know what it was about his crying, but somehow I just felt like he needed to cry for a while. And I can’t blame him—I’d cry too if I had been left at three days old and raised for 18 months in an orphanage, then handed over to strange white people who were doing their best to please me but to whom I couldn’t tell what I needed. I’d cry and cry and cry.

And so our boy did. He cried, and I couldn’t do a thing about it except be with him, sing to him, rock him, and help him know he wasn’t alone. Eventually this evening I laid him down on the bed and sang to him until he fell asleep. And sleep he does now, in his crib, laying away strength for our trip tomorrow, a passage of sorts for him.

Our suitcases are almost packed, filled with some treasures that will help us remember China. We’ve eaten most all of our snacks, Aaron’s finished his bottle of rum, and we’re actually going home with less than we came with—in terms of physical possessions, that is. For what we are truly taking home is two weeks worth of experiences (mostly good, a few hard or frustrating or awkward) and enough of a sense about China to begin to tell all our children about this amazing country that was Matthew’s first home.

It’s not sad to leave here, though. At home await two little people who are jumping with joy and excitement at our return. They long to hug and kiss their new brother, to be enveloped in the arms of their parents, to come home again and live together as a family. They have been well loved and cared for by Marmie and Bapa during these 16 longs days, and they have done well, but it’s been a long time for them too. How grateful I am to be going home to them.

And I’m also grateful to be back in our own home, in a familiar culture where I speak the primary language (something I ALWAYS take for granted, I know), and back amidst family and friends whom I have missed. You are waiting to welcome us home, and I’m so grateful.

Please pray for traveling mercies for our family tomorrow. We have a 3 ½ hour flight to Seoul, followed by a 10 hour flight to Seattle. It’s bound to be a long day for all three of us, especially Matthew. When we land in Seattle at 12:05 pm Thursday, it will feel like 3:05 am Friday morning for us . . . so we’ll have some jet lag and a major time change to recover from. But it will be wonderful to be home and done with this adventure so we can truly dig into this new life with Matthew.

I’ll try to post about our trip home so you know we’ve made it back safely. I’ll get to post myself once I’m back in Everett, which will be nice. A huge thanks to Kaitlin for all her many postings on my behalf! It’s been a blessing to know I can send posts and photos off to her and she’ll get them up so quickly. I’m sure it’s been quite a lot of work for her.

I also just wanted to say that if anyone has any questions about international adoption, particularly adoptions from China, we’re always happy to talk about our experiences more in person. I have been so moved by all the parents and families here who felt called or inspired to adopt children. I am overwhelmed when I think about all the children in the world who do not have parents or families—it’s something I can’t really understand, except to know that it happens to so many children, particularly in countries that struggle economically, politically or culturally. Part of me wishes that every healthy, intact family would adopt one child, so that so many more children would have families to belong to. But I also know that adoption is a big journey, something that people can only do if they truly feel called or inspired to do it. I am grateful for all the families we’ve met here who are taking home children, making it possible for one more orphaned child to have a place where he/she belongs.

And ultimately, we are just so grateful to have this little boy, our Matthew, coming home with us. We know that he will bring as much to our lives as we will bring to his. We can’t wait for all of you to meet this amazing little person. He is such a gift to us.

Wish us luck on our trip home—see many of you soon!

At the Communist Park, just a few blocks from our hotel

Matthew and Daddy

Swimming in the pool

He likes the water, but boy does it tire him out!

One more funny sign—this one from the store we visited today! We almost died laughing right then and there!