Ellie and Mia had their second birthday on the 9th of this month. They were so excited (mostly because their oldest sister was so hyped up about the gifts she had picked out for them, small pink travel pillows....hmmm)! Last year we celebrated their first birthday in Congo with our neighbors/house mates and other friends in the area. It seems so long ago really. They have grown up so much in the past year. Who knew that those sweet little babies we met almost two years ago would grow into such happy, active (very very active), energetic, and big girls?
When we met the girls they were 3 1/2 months old, and smiling up a storm at us. We pretty much loved them right then and there. If we had been living in the states at the time of the adoption they would have come home to us at 18 months (as our adoption took foooorrrreeevvveeerr), but as we were living overseas, they moved home with us at 8 months old and we waited out the rest of the proceedings in country. I know we are extremely fortunate in that we have known them so long and were able to bring them home a lot earlier than a lot of people bring their kiddos home. Another great part about living overseas while adopting is we were able to get to know some of their family in Congo. I am so very glad we were able to. I don't want to share in depth about their family here, as it is their family, but I do want to say that we (as per norm in that area of congo) were taller than all of them. Though probably above height for their tribal group, we still were much taller. So, we figured the girls would be average height. We were wrong. They are tall! Ellie especially is a very strong, tall girl. She is 100% in all areas on the charts. Mia is about 75%. Our second daughter, Isla, is little for her age (surprising, since we are both tall), and so when they are all three together, they look the same age, and actually Ellie is the tallest and heaviest of them all! So, that has been fun as it might have been hard to be on the short side with tall parents and siblings. Sometimes I wonder if the height difference (b/w them and their family in Congo) may be because of chronic malnutrition (through generations) that has led to chronic stunting (overall), or if it just genetics.
On the comment I made above about their activity levels. It seems that as they age they just get more and more and more energy. It is incredible. Ellie loves to just bounce around the house (and can she jump!). Or they love to run circles around the dining room/kitchen, laughing, giggling and chasing each other. They love to push objects all over (who needs toys?!) or ride small bikes. I'm thankful my husband is an especially active person. We have already said he can take the three girls for jogs and I will stay home with little miss Isla (who is on the very low low end of energy levels....running? who needs it!). I will always remember about two weeks before we left Congo finding Mia climbing up the metal grates of our dinging room window and yelling "hi mama!" at me from outside when she was half way up and quite high! I still am trying to adjust myself to their need (really three of the four need it) of physical activity to keep in good spirits. I have to force myself out of the desire to go hole up under the covers with a good book and instead take them outside or to the park where they love to run or scare me half to death by climbing up play structures meant for 7 year olds (or taking off in 3 different directions) all while Isla sits on the swing for an hour and watches them all. Playing hard means sleeping hard though, so that's grand!
And finally, they are such happy happy kids. Mia is exuberant joy. When she isn't tired or hungry, she is full of laughter and mischievous giggles. She loves to put her fingers in my hair, in Isla and Nat's hair or on Mike's (well, bald) head and suck her finger. She is very cuddly and loves the ergo for the more emotional moments. She is littler than Ellie and loves to have Ellie tackle her and play "blanket" (but then of course she can't get up and starts screaming :). She also is the supreme "grabber" of the family. No matter how well you guard that precious toy, if she wants it, watch out! She sneaks in, grabs it faster than you can blink and tears off giggling as quick as she can while the rest scream behind her.
Ellie watches and observes and has the best belly laugh you can imagine. She gives awesome bear hugs that fill you up with love. She is very loyal. She loves books and is a champ doing her nebulizer treatment and reading book after book after book. She has always been the more insecure of the two and we try to be careful with transitions and routine. She loves to dance and loves her daddy best of all.
Happy birthday sweet girls. We love you very very much.
Mia and Ellie, two years old