The New LeapFrog LeapBand is Fit Made Fun!

*This post is sponsored by LeapFrog and CLIF Kid. I received free products but all opinions are my own. 

Over the years our family has enjoyed a great many children’s products from LeapFrog. I am a big fan nearly anything they make so I was excited to try out the brand new LeapBand from LeapFrog with my kiddos and their friends. The LeapBand is a little like a Fitbit for kids, and though I don’t use a fitness band like that I am a big believer in personal and family fitness! I have plenty of friends who love their FitBits so I was anxious to see how the kids would enjoy the LeapBands.

On Saturday, September 6th, we joined loads of other families in having a #FitMadeFun party. Our party was small because we did not want to overwhelm our newly adopted daughter with people, but it was super fun.

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The LeapBand is designed for kids ages 4 to 7, but my two year old loves it and the 10 year old had great fun with it as well. It is worn on the wrist and tracks movement so the kids earn “joules” with lots of activity. There are customizable pets that the kids get rewarded for taking care of and there are fun fitness challenges that inspire kids to get moving. We had the most fun with the challenges!

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The kids participated in the Fit Made Fun Record Breaking Challenge with ten minutes each of three different activities.  Here they are playing follow the leader and dancing like chickens! There were giggles galore.

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After several more planned activities such as a game called Frogs on the Lily Pads, the kids did some stretching to make sure no one was too sore or got injured.  We made sure they had plenty of water to stay hydrated on our super hot Texas afternoon.

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After all that exercise the kids had worked up quite an appetite, so they had snacks provided by Clif Kid. Clif Kid sent us three flavors of Zbar Protein bars to choose from, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Chocolate Mint.

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Rose and Nathan both loved their Zbars and I love the fact that they are full of nutritious ingredients and healthy.

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The kids seemed to love the new LeapFrog LeapBands. It has kept them busy with fun physical games for days. The digital pets are cute but it’s the challenges that really interest them, which is of course the same appeal that any adult fitness tracker has. I’m definitely in favor of anything that keeps kids up and moving.

I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and CLIF Kid sponsored MommyParty. The opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Cocooning Without Isolating

We’re home! As scheduled, we flew home with our new daughter Rosenaicha on Wednesday, August 20th. Without a hitch. So incredibly smooth, I could not believe it. Zipped through immigration in Miami and had time to sit down for a nice dinner. Learned that baby girl was completely freaked out by being buckled into her own airplane seat. Had a blast with her looking out the window while we taxied on the second flight, chattering away, only to have her zonk our and sleep soundly the whole way home.

At the airportWe were greeted in our driveway at 10pm by our dear sweet super awesome 1:17 adoption support group friends! My parents and kids had made cool signs alerting the neighborhood and my girls in the Katy Social Media Masterminds group left flowers (roses of course!), balloons and a gift. We felt so loved. Baby girl just stared at everyone. And then freaked out at the dog. She has got some lungs!

SiblingsSince then life has been pretty much awesome. We have worked hard on establishing a solid connection between Mike and I and Rose. That means lots of intentional eye contact, lots of identity games, meeting all her needs promptly and just having playful fun. She loves Nathan and Alex and they love her. As predicted, Alex has a bit of adjusting to do with not getting all the attention all the time. But overall he’s fine.

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I’ve been watching Rose closely to see if I can figure out how secure she is feeling and all signs are good. She is super easy to read as far as knowing when she’s stressed. She stops smiling, purses her lips and sucks her tongue, stares off into the distance and grabs her belly button. She’ll still do that ANY time a new person looks at and talks to her. She does it when she wants to eat (which is like…ALL the time) and the food isn’t quite ready. She does it if I correct her.

Rose sleeps like a champ. I know that falling asleep without complaint and sleeping all night was initially a coping mechanism, how she was trained at the orphanage. After a few days of her feeling more secure at home she started to protest bedtime and nap time. We decided based on her behavior in Haiti to have her sleep in a pack and play crib right next to our bed instead of IN our bed and that is working great. I lay down next to her too at naptime and bedtime. Sometimes it takes as long as an hour for her to fall asleep, but there’s not fussing, only stalling. “Mama….dlo” (water) “Mama…diaper” “Mama…blanket”

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All smiles this morning.

Basically the child has learned how to ask for what she needs and that’s super important. I cannot emphasize enough how much my Creole learning has helped in our bonding and her security. She still gets frustrated when she says something new that I don’t understand and I can’t pacify her, but that is not often. She does not throw tantrums. She does hit, spit and throw things occasionally because she’s mad or to get attention but we are working on that and it’s so infrequent I cannot complain.

Silly faces Bedhead selfiesAdoption experts recommend cocooning with a newly adopted kid for weeks or months when they come home. That means staying home, no visitors, no outings, no stores, no church, no nothing. We decided that things were going well and certain outings were necessary anyway, like walking too and from school every morning and going to get my allergy shot once a week. I also brought her to meet my grandmother a few times and she even went with me to school orientation night. She seemed to do great in these situations…she did her stressed coping thing sometimes but there were not repercussions as far as my connection with her or sleep disruptions. This past Sunday we even took her to church…sat in the back row. How do I know she wasn’t totally stressed? She tried to get down off my lap and started making noise so I had to leave the service for a few minutes. She won’t get off my lap or out of my arms when she’s freaked out.

Loves the car Off to the doctor Walking Home from SchoolOne of the coolest things has been watching her bond with Mike. She LOVES her Papa. He is awesome with her. He got the first “I wuv you” out of her, whether she knows what it means or not, it’s freaking adorable. She was doing so well with him that I decided to go for a run Saturday morning, knowing she’d look for me first when she woke up and I wouldn’t be there.  Mike handled it with ease and she was perfectly happy to see me return an hour later. In fact the next night, at about 1am, I heard her call for Papa first. He didn’t respond so she tried Mama next and it turned out she had soaked through her diaper. A quick change and back to sleep with everyone happy.

More silly faces LullabyesWhile she naps I’ve been reading “Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child” again. It’s enlightening, but mostly it’s super affirming of how well adjusted she seems. A lot of the damaging affects of orphanage care the books speaks of, such as inability to chew properly or indiscriminate affection, just aren’t there. We spent one morning at Texas Children’s Hospital’s International Adoption Clinic and the doctor had nothing but great things to say about her. She’s smallish, around the fifth percentile for weight and height, but her development is above average. I have a feeling that once she starts truly speaking English, she’s never going to stop talking.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Homecoming-100

 

P.S.  My husband insists that we not portray this experience as all sunshine and lollipops. It’s not, I assure you. It’s hard work. And we’re probably still in a honeymoon period with her. But I’m over the moon with delight and gratitude that we are finally at this point of the journey and I have felt God’s presence with us constantly. He has prepared the way for us.

Gotcha Day!

Today we finally picked up our sweet daughter, Rose Naicha Hubbell, to join our family forever. I don’t actually love the term “gotcha day” but that’s what it feels like right now. It was a very special day.

We flew to Haiti last night and were met by a family coordinator from our agency, America World. It was so great to finally meet someone from the awesome organization that walked us through the whole 2.5 year process. We rode to the guesthouse in the back of a tap-tap, an open air pick up truck common in Haiti! It was dusty and crazy hot and humid. We were so happy to relax there and dine with English speakers.

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So then after the America World staff all prayed over us we headed up the mountain to Kenscoff, where Chances for Children is located. We stopped at the grocery store to buy cakes for a goodbye party tomorrow. Once again I got suuuuper car sick on their roads. Had to shut my eyes, which stinks because I want to memorize everything for Rose’s sake, and still almost puked.

We were earlier than they expected so we waited a few minutes while a nanny got Rose dressed up for us, and then she walked out and I scooped her up. No smiles, no familiarity, just silent scared shock…which stands out when every other kid is smiling, acting goofy and begging to be held.

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We walked around talking and getting comfortable. At least she wasn’t terrified of Mike this time. Wary, yes, but she didn’t cry when he held her or I left the room. Eventually she fell asleep on my lap in the rocking chair.

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We were fortuate enough to meet Corrigan Clay, of the Apparent Project, and Zach Lee, of Alliance For Children, during this trip. Kathi Juntunen is in town too, which is great. C4C just opened an awesome medical clinic.

After awhile we left for the guesthouse, with Rose clinging to me for dear life. Driving through the public market in Fermathe is a sight to behold. Its a sea of bodies that barely move out of the way, only inches from the car.

Some snacks, a new dolly and especially a new outfit really perked Rose up. Her first real smiles and giggles came as I changed her diaper…she loves that! I practiced my Creole with her and understood a few words when she finally started talking. She ate a ton of chicken, rice and beans, and fried plantains for dinner. She is thrilled with her new sippy cup and sucks down as much water as she can.

Then it began to get dark and she seemed punchy, like silly tired. I put her in her pajamas and decided to try putting her in a kids bed with a rail next to the queen bed. She was laughing and playing and began to test the boundaries a bit. I tried laying down with her but that made it worse, she thought it was a game. So I walked out and left her with Papa in the room. She immediately crashed without another peep. Hooray!

Tomorrow is a big day of saying goodbye to all her friends and family at the orphanage. We have a party planned. We also hope our visa is ready so we can leave as scheduled on Wednesday! We are so grateful for all of your prayers and support thus far, and we can feel the Lord’s presence with us.

Gotcha Day!

Today we finally picked up our sweet daughter, Rose Naicha Hubbell, to join our family forever. I don’t actually love the term “gotcha day” but that’s what it feels like right now. It was a very special day.

We flew to Haiti last night and were met by a family coordinator from our agency, America World. It was so great to finally meet someone from the awesome organization that walked us through the whole 2.5 year process. We rode to the guesthouse in the back of a tap-tap, an open air pick up truck common in Haiti! It was dusty and crazy hot and humid. We were so happy to relax there and dine with English speakers.

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So then after the America World staff all prayed over us we headed up the mountain to Kenscoff, where Chances for Children is located. We stopped at the grocery store to buy cakes for a goodbye party tomorrow. Once again I got suuuuper car sick on their roads. Had to shut my eyes, which stinks because I want to memorize everything for Rose’s sake, and still almost puked.

We were earlier than they expected so we waited a few minutes while a nanny got Rose dressed up for us, and then she walked out and I scooped her up. No smiles, no familiarity, just silent scared shock…which stands out when every other kid is smiling, acting goofy and begging to be held.

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We walked around talking and getting comfortable. At least she wasn’t terrified of Mike this time. Wary, yes, but she didn’t cry when he held her or I left the room. Eventually she fell asleep on my lap in the rocking chair.

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We were fortuate enough to meet Corrigan Clay, of the Apparent Project, and Zach Lee, of Alliance For Children, during this trip. Kathi Juntunen is in town too, which is great. C4C just opened an awesome medical clinic.

After awhile we left for the guesthouse, with Rose clinging to me for dear life. Driving through the public market in Fermathe is a sight to behold. Its a sea of bodies that barely move out of the way, only inches from the car.

Some snacks, a new dolly and especially a new outfit really perked Rose up. Her first real smiles and giggles came as I changed her diaper…she loves that! I practiced my Creole with her and understood a few words when she finally started talking. She ate a ton of chicken, rice and beans, and fried plantains for dinner. She is thrilled with her new sippy cup and sucks down as much water as she can.

Then it began to get dark and she seemed punchy, like silly tired. I put her in her pajamas and decided to try putting her in a kids bed with a rail next to the queen bed. She was laughing and playing and began to test the boundaries a bit. I tried laying down with her but that made it worse, she thought it was a game. So I walked out and left her with Papa in the room. She immediately crashed without another peep. Hooray!

Tomorrow is a big day of saying goodbye to all her friends and family at the orphanage. We have a party planned. We also hope our visa is ready so we can leave as scheduled on Wednesday! We are so grateful for all of your prayers and support thus far, and we can feel the Lord’s presence with us.

Going to See About a Baby

It’s here, it’s here, the day is finally here!

2014-04-25 00.30.15 (1024x683)[2]About five years ago, God reached into my life and shook things up. He opened my eyes and made me see what following Jesus was really about, and set my life on a totally new path, in a completely new direction. Over time he did the same thing to my husband.

Two and a half years ago we decided to take a huge leap of faith and pursue adoption of a child from Haiti. Part of us really knew we were crazy, but it was pretty clear that this was something we were called to do. We also knew it would be a long time of waiting. We prayed a lot.

Over a year ago we got the name and picture of a scared and sick little girl, not even a year old. Our friends in Haiti had saved her life and were nursing her back to health but she needed a family to love her. We said yes. We prayed some more.

In February we traveled to Haiti to meet Miss Rosenaicha, and loved on her for a few days. We did all the governmental procedure stuff we had to do, and then we kissed her goodbye as she cried and promised we would be back for her. We prayed it would not be long.

Now finally, here in August, we are at the end of the beginning. Everything is done and her case has been approved by all the powers that be. All we need is a printed visa to fly home with her. We are leaving NEXT SUNDAY to go snatch her up into our arms forever.

I’m not excited or anything. (that’s sarcasm, in case you missed it) I can hardly believe it. There is also much fear and trepidation. She’s about to have her world turned upside. My life is about to get a whole lot busier.

In the meantime my friends have been awesome, showering me with much needed gifts and prayer and even donations for the orphanage! My boys and I have been having fun learning Creole via CD in the car. They are catching on quick.

So many things are falling into place. We need to pray that the US visa printing system, which has been not working right, will get us our visa in time for our flight home on the 20th. We also will pray that 3 hours is enough time to clear immigration in Miami. But most of all, we need prayers for our hearts. And by “we”, I most especially mean sweet Rose.

So thank you for your support and prayers to get us this far in the journey.