Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy birthday, Alex!

When Alex turned five on this day one year ago, he was just getting used to a new institution, having recently been moved from the only home he'd known since he was a baby.

Today, Alex celebrated his sixth birthday with his forever family. The book that our seven-year-old daughter made for him says it all. Here is the cover:

The book is titled "The Boy Who Loved His Family"

And here is the last page:

And the last page says, "We love you!"

And here is how the birthday boy spent his big day:

Just after waking up...bed-head! "Good morning!" he says.

Eating homemade cinnamon raisin bread in the car.

Playing outdoors on a beautiful day with our good friend who has volunteered
to help care for Alex three hours a day, gratis. Once we get approved for a PCA,
she will be paid.

The big hit of the day: a nice new balloon! It went everywhere with him.

Folding hands to say grace before dinner (bread, cantaloupe, black bean soup).

Wearing the traditional Windley-Daoust birthday hat while preparing to blow out
the candles. Actually, he had no idea about blowing out candles, so someone else
had to do it for him.

Let him eat cake! With his hands!

Cake face. He actually quit eating before he was done with the cake...guess he filled up on that
good cantaloupe.

Asleep with his new stuffed animal at the end of a busy day. He loves that alligator!
Alex has made incredible strides in the three months he has been home with us.

He now uses English more often than he uses Russian, and he probably knows a couple hundred English words.

He has just recently learned the joy and art of giving and receiving hugs, and does so enthusiastically, and with a big smile on his face.

He asked to try to use the toilet today, probably inspired by the sight of his little brother potty training (and getting candy as a reward). He didn't actually go -- and actually he kind of fell off while trying to close the door -- but he got a piece of candy for his effort.

He knows how to say "please" and "thank you" and "I want."

He knows some of the words to his favorite songs on our Standing on the Rock CD.

He asks to "read" a book, and enjoys looking at the pictures.

He is up to wearing his foot braces almost all day, and is getting better and better at standing and walking (with support).

He has grown several inches, and gained several pounds.

And, he is learning to drive:

Here he quite literally turned to me and asked, "Can I have the keys?"

Did I mention that he has chutzpah? Keep going, Alex -- keep going!