Friday, July 15th was Andrew's 5th birthday. It was his first birthday home with his forever family. After being home about 4 months and watching as others in the family had birthdays, he's been counting down until it was his. Finally the day arrived. We had one family over to celebrate on the actual day since some of our family is out of town and we won't have a big family party until later in the month.
On our Gotcha Day, we were given about 15 pictures of Andrew. Some of them included pictures of his 2nd, 3rd and 4th birthdays. His hair is always done crazy in these pictures. We were told that there was one woman who really liked his hair that way, so they would do it up for his birthdays. We call it "crazy hair" when we look at the pictures with him. So, when his day finally came he asked for "crazy hair" and we were more than willing to accommodate.
It has been almost 10 months since we brought Andrew out of the orphanage. Since the last time we blogged he has grown another inch, but only gained a half of pound if that. So, our big 5 year old is now 42 1/2" tall and about 32.6 lbs. He's only about 4 lbs. lighter than our smallest at 5 years old. So, he's definitely a Santor.
We just had our post placement this week. Our caseworker is heading to Latvia and had to get this done in time to send it off to Bulgaria for translation. Since it will be one year the end of September.
We did a lot of travelling the month of June. Our first weekend was spent with Aaron's family in Tybee Island for a family reunion while his sister was here for her R&R (she's deployed with the army). We spent the weekend with all 13 cousins on Aaron's side. The oldest being Cora at 10. Yep, a lot of little ones. Andrew really loves his cousins and aunts and uncles.
His first trip to the ocean was back in November '10 right after we got him home. He tripped and fell just as an inch of water washed up around him. Overwhelmed, he shrieked until we picked him up. The water this time at Tybee was stronger. Andrew went right in the water and played around in it for quite a while. We have a brave little guy with hardly any fears.
The following weekend we headed up to NY and MA to visit our families. Another round of seeing grandparents, great grandparents (there are 6 of them), aunts, uncles and more cousins (on Jen's side). Usually we drive through the night and while Andrew is no longer vomiting on car rides, he still seems a bit uneasy through the night. He yells, cries and kicks all in his sleep while we drive. However, he did not do any of it this trip. It is so exciting to see how well he is attaching and adjusting just in these little things.
While we were in NY, Jen's cousin generously offered to take the kids rock climbing. We all had a great time and it was yet another new adventure for Andrew. He didn't quite get the hang (pun intended) of climbing without clinging to the rope but he had a blast asking "Please more." He kept wanting to go higher. He did great until we asked him to rappel back down. He took a few steps back and panicked. He clung to the rope with both hands. More shrieking. Now all he could scream was "Please go home!" We eventually worked him down, and of course he immediately wanted to go back up.
We were gone for about 10 days and the following weekend went on a camping trip. It was Andrew's first time, but he looked like such a pro. All the kids like to walk around in the woods at night with their flashlights. It's kids only and they call it a "night hike". Well, Andrew joined right in. At home he seems a little afraid of the dark. He won't go to the bathroom in our room if the lights are out and he doesn't like to go to bed unless Tobin is in there and the closet light is on. Here in the woods he didn't seem to notice the dark, even when we put the kids in the tent to go to bed without us.
We were able to go swimming at the lake as well. This is the only place we've seen him be somewhat afraid of water. He loves the pool whether he can reach the bottom or not. The ocean was no big deal. Playing in the river was a blast. He begs for a bath most every day and pours buckets of water over his head and has learned to hold his breath underwater. The only thing we can figure is that it was murky lake water and he couldn't see the bottom.
The next weekend was the 4th of July, so we headed up to Helen, GA. We spent the entire day there going tubing down the Chattahoochee River, grilling out, playing in the river and then watching the fireworks. Again, all firsts for Andrew. He absolutely loved tubing. We weren't sure what he'd do during the fireworks. There was a big bang and then the sky was lit up. Andrew turned around, looked at Aaron and said,"This is fun." He had a huge grin on his face throughout the rest of the display.
Yes, that was a whirlwind and we didn't plan it that way. We all survived and had so much fun as a family. We did have a little bit of re-adjusting to do with Andrew after being away from home and having so many new things and people around, but it never takes long. He just gets a little bit of attitude, disobedience rises up a little more than usual and he becomes very independent, not wanting mommy's or daddy's help. Nobody else notices it besides us. Just a little bit of time holding mommy's or daddy's hand or sitting in one of our laps for a short time usually does the trick.
We love our kids!! It is so amazing still that Andrew is home with us!! We are so thankful to God that He truly handpicked Andrew for our family.