Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Isabella Grace Groves is officially, legally, a part of the family~!

We went to court today to finalize Isabella's adoption.

Things today went much quicker than with Mercer's proceedings.  After having lunch on the square, we changed baby girl into an outfit which included some hand-knitted pieces that my grandmother made for my Aunt Becky.  Mercer wore some of my grandmother's handy-work that she had knitted for my dad.  LOVE that we could incorporate something that's been in the family for a long time. This is fitting since Isabella is the newest official members of the family!

We had some friends come out for the ceremony - which I think helped Mercer.  Two of his buddies, Jackson and Jude, came as well as their mommies. 

We had to answer some questions confirming the facts of Isabella's placement that our lawyer asked.... "is it true that the baby was born in Cobb County on November 13th...." ".... placed in your home on November 15th...." etc.  Much like Mercer's ceremony.  One difference is that Todd and I did not have to take the stand individually.  We confirmed the facts an then swore under oath to take care of Isabella.  The judge also reminded us that by taking this oath we would raise Isabella as if she were our genetic child.  OF COURSE we will!  We couldn't be happier to!  Another difference: this judge was nice! 

One thing that was interesting that we did not know that we saw on the adoption paperwork we received:  she was given the name "Isabella Irene" at birth.  Today, she is officially "Isabella Grace," however! 

Afterwards, we went out for ice cream on the square to celebrate with some of our friends.  The weather was beautiful.  Isabella did great.  Mercer was really good.  All-in-all, it was a fantastic -- very special day.

We took off work / spent the day together as a family / made a nice dinner / Todd & I cracked open a bottle of wine we have been saving / and the three of us had a little toast.  (Unfortunately, the guest of honor was sacked out!)  Poor baby was SO tired once we got home!  Oh well.  If the guest of honor is tired, she shall sleep.  : - )

Our little family is complete. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

So far behind! Easter + Spring photos

Isabella's first Easter was spent with her loving big brother showing her the ropes~

We were supposed to have a neighborhood Easter egg hunt, but it got cancelled due to bad weather ultimately. 

We ended up having an impromptu hunt in our back yard with a handful of neighbors. 
Mercer wanted to wear these ears.  We did not put him up to it~

Mercer and Isabella got some toys and treats from the Easter bunny.

Here are some photos of Mercer & Isabella before we headed out the door for church.  Our friends and neighbors, the Ragans went with us as well, then spent the afternoon at our house as we attempted to pull a meal together.

Saturday night before Easter, we went to a garden party to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of one of my former co-workers.  It was at a community garden in downtown Atlanta and as soon as we got there, Mercer "disappeared" into the children's corner.  They had a hut that the kids were running in and out of, a sandbox, and a wheelbarrow that the kids pulled each other around in.  Literally - we barely hung out with Mercer at all the entire evening.  We were able to corral him back to eat a bite for dinner, then off he went again with this inhibited "gang" of kids. 

The rain started to come down.  We opened a giant umbrella and Isabella stayed dry in the middle.  Todd and I (and anyone who came under to visit with us or meet the baby) mostly stayed dry.   Mercer did not want to leave his tribe.  The kids were having a blast in the pouring rain.  Todd likened the scene with the kids in Lord of the Flies & feet looked like trolls feet - all covered in mud.  We were unable to take any photos of Mercer and the other kids because of the darkness, the rain, and us trying to hover under cover... but we did manage to capture how Mercer's clothes fared for the evening.  This photo of his mud-covered pants is a true sign of having had a great time!  (Much like when he comes home from school with holes in the knees of his pants... he's being all boy & giving it all he's got!)

Speaking of getting in there & digging in... LOVE that Mercer is comfortable exploring our back yard a bit more now on his own.  Here, he's laying on the ground with his hand in the waterfall. 

He's also found the "secret" hiding spot -- a rock in the middle of a pool at the very top of the stream.  He was really proud of himself when he ventured out to that rock   This makes me really really happy~

Winter was long and cold.  Spring has pounced in and brought a lot of pollen with it.  We think baby girl may have allergies??  Here she is donning an appropriate pollen-colored shirt in the creeping jenny bed next to the pond.  Mercer also wanted to get in on this action so he photo-bombed Isabella.  But it does show how much he loves his baby sister.... and how lovingly she looks at him (after she gets over the initial shock)!

One last thing to update...

Mercer and I went on a "Teddy Bear" tour of his school.  All upcoming Kindergartners were welcome to bring a parent and their favorite stuffed animal.  Mercer took froggy to come look at a Kindergarten class room, the computer lab, the cafeteria, the library, and the play ground with him. 

There were several of our neighbors that we knew there, but also one of his school mates from his current Montessori school was there too.  That's who he's sitting next to in this photo while drawing.

We didn't realize, but Mercer has not used a computer mouse before (we have laptops with touch pads at home).  He got a little frustrated trying to play some of the educational games that the other kids were whizzing through, but he picked it up pretty easily.

It's a really good elementary school.  Lots of people inside and outside of our school district have raved about it; other schools in the state are modeling educational programs around their "talented and gifted" (TAG) program.  Mercer was beaming -- on cloud nine after having gone on his tour and asked when his 2nd day of school was... he liked his 1st day!   (had to explain to him that his first day is actually in August~)