She's just so cute I can't deal. :)
Monday, August 31, 2009
Leeza spotted this Halloween costume at Target. It was only $16.99, and didn't seem TOO hot, so we got it. When she first put it on, she totally FREAKED out. However, after I got her to look in the mirror she got all ticked...and OF COURSE I was there with the camera. :)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I feel like almost "overnight" Leeza has morphed into a lil girl!! She looks older, she acts older, she has opinions!! We went to get our haircut this morning. It was the first time we've been without taking Sean to "babysit" while Mommy gets her haircut. Leeza was amazing. She sat in the chair and ate her breakfast (pb&j) and drank her milk, played with the toys, sat in the chair and read a book, mimicing the lady next to her under the dryer reading her US weekly. She was SO excited for her turn. She picked up all the toys and put them away. She was just acting like a "little lady".
She's changing so fast it blows me away!
We were putting on her shoes and socks yesterday and I said "One sock, two socks" and Leeza said "Ahh Ahh ahh" just like the count of Sesame Street. She is FUNNY!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Oh Ms. Leeza! You are making so many changes at LIGHTENING speed the last few months! You have made HUGE strides in swimming, and your vocabulary is starting to explode too. I LOVE the way you sing -especially-"Fly little Firefly Fly" from Sesame Street. You are a FUNNY little girl. Of course, with all these RAPID changes-comes some new behaviors I am NOT as keen on-namely THROWING things, and CRYING like a drama queen when you are told no. I know that "this too shall pass" and will instead try to focus on ALL THE POSITIVE things you are doing and learning!
Leeza with Emilie's keys and flip flops after our swimming lesson
Today, we went to "open gym" at gymnastics and you AMAZED me! I am BLOWN away with the difference in your strength and fearlessness. You jumped on the trampoline, climbed up to the BIG STEEP slide ALL BY yourself, hung onto the big rings FOR A VERY LONG TIME and dropped into the big foam pit. I cannot believe how STRONG you've gotten! I guess all that swimming and learning to pull yourself OUT of the pool has helped that upper body strength! I was so impressed with how you actually "waited your turn" with the other kids. We tried a gymnastics class when you were 18 months, but it was a disaster. I am thinking you might be ready now! You were so sad when we had to leave, where as before, you were always ready to go before time was up!!
It was Emilie's birthday today and we went to the store to get her a cupcake, a card,and a Sesame Street Happy Birthday balloon. You LOVED her musical card and you REALLY loved the balloon. You kept saying "Leeza balloon" so I was a bit worried that would not give it to Emilie. However-once again-you suprised me. You were very excited to give it to Emilie.
Last night, we had to go get Sean some jeans for "jeans day" at school. My ever present "Elmo magnet" that you are-you found yourself an Elmo backpack AND some Elmo shoes. How could I say no? You have to wear tennies AND socks to preschool (a new thing for us) AND you needed a bigger backpack, so it was clearly a "win-win". I had YOU pick up some socks. You wore the shoes all thru the store, and when we got home, you wanted to show Daddy! However-I put the socks on and YOU FREAKED OUT! Clearly, we have to practice wearing socks. I'm glad we have to wait until you are 2 to start preschool cuz we are gonna have to get used to that. Today, we put them on, and after an intial freak out, you settled in and we wore them and you looked pretty sporty, if I do say so myself. :)
Getting mad at the backpack cuz she wants to carry it like a purse,not roll it. So..she threw it.
I am so excited for you to start preschool after you turn 2.I know it's going to be SOOOOOOOOOOO good for you. You are a very smart and determined young lady, and I am so proud to be your mommy and watch you grow...but I could really DO WITHOUT THE DRAMA and the THROWING OK?
Your next challenge is to learn to "swim swim swim" then "float float float", and I have NO DOUBT that you can do it.It's hard to believe that just LAST WEEK you were still crying like a wild banshee when it came time to backfloat. Now-we never hear a tear-and you're trying to flip yourself over. I know you'll get there!! YOU GO MY STRONG LIL 23 MONTH OLD..YOU GO!!
Monday, August 24, 2009
I am SO proud of Leeza. I know this doesn't look like much of a big deal...but considering where we were at the beginning of the summer (Leeza wouldn't let go of you in the water), to be able to jump in solo, swim BACK TO THE WALL solo,and CLIMB OUT by HERSELF is a HUGE HUGE accomplishment with a L OT OF HARD WORK, strength, and just plain ole determination. I'm SO PROUD OF YOU GIRLFRIEND! :)
Friday, August 21, 2009
Big year for the Serra kids who still live at home...
Sean started middle school this week (Wednesday, August 19th was his first day). He is going to the same private school he's attended since pre-k, so it's not a HUGE change since he's in the same school, but still the whole locker gig, changing classes, and LOTS of new responsiblity is a big deal. He had a great first week.
His lil sis, Leeza, starts preschool,just two days a week, from 9-12, to supplement all her other fun stuff we're doing this fall....a Kreative Tots class (cuz I hate crafts but i know it's good for her), a spanish class (it's so fun!), to add to our other activities, kindermusic and gymboree too, as well as swimming lessons (while the pool is still warm enough!)
I captured this cute moment on the way to pick up Sean from school yesterday..hugging onto Elmo. She LOVES her Elmo and Sesame Street friends!!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Finally....Leeza has been "officially" a Serra for over 10 months, and we FINALLY got everyone home AT THE SAME TIME so we could get a family photo with EVERYONE IN IT! We don't all match like I wanted, but hey, at least Leeza and I do...and Joey and Joe both wore yellow shirts (not planned) and Jillian-whoa-wore a pretty dress!!
Joey flew home all the way from California...took the red eye Friday night to arrive Saturday for Nana's (Joe's mom's) 75th birthday-then flew home early this morning as he just landed a new job as Assistant Principal at his high school on Oakland and it's his busiest week before school starts. It was so nice to have him home, even for a just a brief visit.
Jillian now lives in Largo (yay!!) so we see her ALL THE TIME NOW-which is really nice. She even wore a DRESS with HEELS for Nana's party-that is a big WOW factor for those of you that don't know my bonus daughter. :)
All of Nana's son's came into town for her party-and all her grandchildren, and her great grandchild, sweet Judith. It was a really fun party-I have to say. Nana and Papa had a wonderful time and it was wonderful seeing Nana so happy surrounded by all her family.
Leeza is a true Serra party animal. She ate 2 chicken wings all by herself...it was really funny to see a lil lady who is not even 2 get gnawing the chicken off the bone like that. Her daddy was proud. She is also a big hummus and guacomole fan...but she needs to learn to eat the chip too..not just lick the dip off and want more. :) She had a blast at the party-and spent the end of the party in the pool with Sean for a couple hours. Her swimming lessons have really paid off as all her relatives were quite impressed with her mad swimming skillz. :) She had a blast and loves being around people. I am constantly amazed how she was meant to be our daughter. You'd never know she had to experience her first year without us! She's a quick study!!!
It was really special being able to host this party for Nana. I am so grateful for family.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Hi! My name is Leeza Grace Serra and I will be 2 in just 3 short weeks. I am running for President of the Sesame Street fan club! You should vote for me because I LOVE SESAME STREET! I used to just have mad love for Elmo, but as I have matured in recent weeks, I have come to love all of Elmo's friends too...Bert,Erie,Zoe, Abby, Oscar, Big Bird, Cookie monster, and the count. I watch Sesame Street everyday and my mom laughs and laughs too!!
I have a lot of energy, and I would do lots of cheers for Sesame Street and spread the word among all my friends. I am going to preschool once I turn 2, and I take kindermusic, gymboree, and we are trying a creative kids class, a sign language class, and a spanish class so I will meet lots of kids to help spread the word on the street.
I am going to have a Sesame street birthday party and even Elmo is coming to my party!!! Elmo is making me smart too-my brain is growing and it's making my hair grow too!!
If you vote for me, I will do my best to spread the word of the street, the letter of the day, and the number of the day, and to tell everyone I meet how cool it is to be a Sesame Street groupie. Plus, my mom is a new fan to Sesame Street and she likes to rhyme and cheer and she's always on facebook (when I'm asleep) so she will also help talk up how sweet Sesame Street is!
Elmo bottom pants....matching shoes that squeak
Sesame Street outfits that look so chic!
Lookin cute is great,but being smart is BETTER!
Sesame street teaches you numbers and your letters!
If you vote for Leeza-I will help you see
That Sesame Street is the best show for you and me!!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Lil Miss Leeza is now 23 months old..ONLY ONE MORE MONTH BEFORE SHE TURNS 2!!
It's so amazing how much children change at this age, and so quickly too! Everyday,she is showing us something new! Her vocabulary is building quickly, although I'm not sure if many people can understand "Leeza speak" as well as her family does. :) She is still ELMO and Sesame Street crazy. In fact, when we get dressed in the mornings, she wants her ELMO panties, and Elmo panties only. The other day, I took her pretty white dress off for her to eat lunch because I didn't want Mac and Cheese all over her pretty outfit. She was in her undies, and after I got her down from her high chair and was cleaning up, she was taking off her undies! I told her No No, we have to get dressed sweetie,and she said "No, ELMO!!!" It was hilarious. Every morning we have to have a discussion on which panties we are going to wear. :)
We moved up a level at Gymboree class,and Leeza LOVED IT! She has now moved up 2 levels..since we started going when she was just 14 or so months old. I LOVED the 22-28 month class, and SO DID SHE! She was SO engaged and really partipated in everything the other kids were doing. It was a lot of fun. Since Leeza has a "late birthday", September 5th, she will miss the cut off of September 1st to start school. However, now I'm excited about that, because I get another whole year with her at home (even though she will attend preschool part time until PRE-k) but I think she will benefit from waiting. I think she has some leader attributes in her. I can just SEE the wheels spinning in her head, and other people have told me the same thing. :)
I took her and her brother to Rack Room shoes to get Sean some school shoes, and see what they had for Leeza. All of a sudden, NONE of her size 5 shoes fit. I bought her a cute lil pair of sketchers on sale for $8..size 7!! She was a real nightmare in the store, wanting to try on EVERY PAIR of girl shoes they had. It was kinda cute, if I hadn't had to chase her down to keep her from destroying the aisles.
Leeza spent this week at the church nursery while Sean and I volunteered at our church's VBS program. It is the longest time she's ever spent in the nursery, from 8-12, but I am SO happy that she did GREAT! No tears, and she has a lot of fun. I'm glad because she starts preschool September 8th, just 2 mornings a week, from 9-12, to supplement our Gymboree and Kindermusic classes. I am excited for her, and it gives me a chance to "get my walk on" to train for the Breast Cancer 3 day walk I'm doing with the Kaz Mama team in November. It's been SO hot and humid I haven't really felt much like training, but it's only 14 weeks away and it's Time to get my GAME ON!! I can get 3 hours walks in while Leeza's learning to socialize in preschool! Sean starts MIDDLE SCHOOL in a week and a half! I can't believe it!
Leeza's "biggest" new skill is that she has learned to swim, after private lessons, since June 1st. I was starting to think that we'd just try again next summer, when, this very week, she just "got it" and she's been AMAZING to watch. Yesterday,she swam for a solid 40-45 minutes. She'd swim to Emily, turn around, and swim back. I used to have to "hide inside" or she'd whine and not listen to Emily, but now I can be out there and video tape her and cheer her on and she's not distracted by my presence anymore. In fact, I kinda think she likes to show off! It's been really amazing to watch how far she's come...from learning to blow bubbles, to putting her whole face in, to using big arms, and kicking..ALL AT THE SAME TIME! She is getting very strong. She can also pull herself out of the pool on the side ALL BY HERSELF! She's such a big girl. :) (yeah, maybe i'm a pretty proud mommy!)
Now, we have to teach her to swim swim swim, then roll over on her back to take a breath, then swim swim swim some more. She is still NOT keen on the back float, but she will do it in the bathtub. :)
Her favorite foods change daily, but she always seems to LOVE edaname! She also seems to love whatever her daddy has. The other night, I made her a turkey and cheddar bratwurst (hot dog to her). She ate half and declared she was done, and gave me her plate. However,she saw one on her Daddy's plate. She ate his whole hot dog! Last night at dinner, we had ravioli. She ate half hers (if that much) then wanted her Daddy's. HILARIOUS! She is a funny girl. She will only drink water, and chocolate or vanilla milk (or, diet coke, but we won't let her). I have caught her "dumpster diving" a few times in our trash can trying to slurp out any diet coke remnants. :) She also learned to say her name this last month..I love to hear her say it .."eeeeeZA" she say..emphasis on the ZA!! :)
We are going to have an Elmo themed birthday party for her at our house (must get invites out now!!)and if I can find one, Sean has agreed to dress up as Elmo. :)
I still laugh and remember Sean's 4 year old "super hero" birthday party, and his big brother Joey dressed up like Batman and his friend John was Robin. Sean looked at him and said "You are NOT the real Batman..you're my big brother Joey!!" Priceless.
Leeza was running around the other night before bed and I cracked up when I saw her...doesn't everyone wear their beads and bracelet to bed? :)
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Meeting Leeza for the first time, August 1, 2008. She was just 5 days shy of 11 months old!
Wow...I can't believe it! It was a year ago today that we flew into Kostanai, and drove straight to the hotel to drop off our luggage, then straight to the custody officer to get the papers we needed for the baby house, and we met Leeza! I was smelly, stinky, and exhausted after a looooooooooooong few flights, but SO anxious to meet our "Baby Kaz." We had no idea who she (or he) would be, although my case manager did tell me there was a girl available and she was caucasian, but we all know that can change! It was so surreal sitting in Dr. Irina's office and hearing about the adoption process. They told us about 3 children who were available, but we only wanted to meet Ms. Leeza. They brought her in, this super WHITE baby girl, with 3 blue dots on her forehead (for bug bites), and a scratchy dress. They handed her to me and she started bawling! Poor baby! She was probably thinking "this lady needs a freakin shower!" However, after singing "Jesus loves me" in her ear and letting her play with my necklace....the rest, as they say, WAS HISTORY!
It was definitely love at first sight for all of us. She was such a sweet baby, and it took her awhile to open up and show us what she could do. Of course, a year is a looong time in baby life, especially in the rapid developmental years from 11 months to 22 months, but it's so amazing to witness the changes in Leeza. She always had pretty baby blues--but they didn't have the sparkle they have now. She was always a pretty happy go lucky baby-but not nearly as happy and funny as she is now. All of us have been blessed by her presence in our lives! I was looking back on our first bonding day pictures with a happy heart. We had to wait a long time to meet Leeza-but I wouldn't change ONE.SINGLE.THING because she is DEFINTELY the girl that was meant for us.
Thank you God!
We are spending the day doing fun Leeza stuff. My day started off EARLY, at 4:45 am, to do a training walk of 11 miles for the 3 day, 60 mile breast cancer walk I'm walking with the fabulous "Kaz Mama" team in Arizona Nov 13-15th. It was appropriate that I started our anniversary day of meeting Leeza this way because it wasn't for Leeza, I would have never met these fabulous women. I really had NO idea that not only would we gain another blessing in the form of a child, but that I'd also gain an entire new set of friends. It's really unbelievable and I feel so incredibly grateful for these wonderful friendships we've formed!
After I got home, we headed to Largo park, to ride the train. It runs the first full weekend of each month. I used to take Sean (my Thomas the Train FREAK!) when he was little too so it's fun how it all comes full circle. :) We rode the train twice, then stayed and sweated our pa-tooties off at the park. It was SO hot!!
Sweet Leeza is now napping-and I am blogging, before we go to friends tonight to barbecue and play with them. They have a baby on the way and a very cute lil 3 year old boy that Leeza will have fun with (well, at least his toys!)
What a blessed year it's been..I feel very very thankful. :)
Here are few pics from the park/train outing...sweating....