Isaac's First Year!
Last week marks one year since Isaac flew home with us and we became a family of three. I'm floored at how quickly the time has gone by, and how much all of our lives have changed since then. Isaac came to us as a toddler, hobbling around the house in his diaper. Today, he's a full-on "big boy," sprinting headlong into everything. He's a total jokester who cracks us (and himself) up daily, and I can't really remember a time when he wasn't in our lives. Here's a little look back at the incredible year we've just spent together.
June 2016: Seoul, The Day We Met
This photo was taken at our agency in Seoul and it pretty much sums up how we were feeling that day. After a year of hearing about Isaac's progress via monthly reports and pictures, we were finally able to meet him and hold him in our arms. This was a group visit. Foster mom was there, as well as some agency workers and other families meeting for the first time. Isaac was super shy at first (as any toddler would be with a couple of strangers) but we tried to keep things calm and relaxed and just play together. The visit was bittersweet, as we knew we'd only have a few short hours together before heading back home to the U.S. and enduring another two-month wait. But it was worth it!
Sept. 2016: Getting Used to Things
After Isaac came home, we spent the first few weeks at home just getting to know each other. We'd watch as he'd play with his toys on the floor and just generally get used to his new home and surroundings. This farm toy was given to us by one of our friends and he spent long periods of time with it. He also loved to put Jason's big outdoor hat on and parade around the house in his diaper. I love this photo because the hat is so big and he's so little. He was under there somewhere, just having a good time.
Sept. 2016: First Walk With the Dogs
I'll never forget this walk. I was truly terrified! We hiked through the hills in San Juan Capistrano and I was just nervous about everything: Was he big enough and strong enough to walk this far? Would he be able to hold onto the dogs? (He insisted on carrying both leashes all by himself.) Jason wasn't nearly as nervous, and as it turns out, my concerns were totally unfounded. Somehow, the pups just knew to take it easy on him and stay in line: Even though they were so much bigger than he was, they humored him and let themselves be "led." To this day, Isaac always insists on walking the dogs "by himself," and I still freak out over it.
Oct. 2016: First Halloween!
I was so sick with bronchitis during this time that I wasn't able to take Isaac out for his first trick-or-treat night. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed. Jason was there, and he ended up having a blast. I don't think Isaac had ever been trick-or-treating before, so when this photo was taken, he was so confused about why we put him in a dog costume. By this year, he knew what to expect weeks in advance and would ask me daily when it was time to "go to Halloween."
Nov. 2016: A Typical Saturday Morning
This photo was taken at Hidden House Coffee in San Juan Capistrano — one of our favorite haunts. We spend Saturday or Sunday mornings here often and usually head to the playground around the corner afterword. I'm super serious about my coffee and Hidden House always makes a delicious pour-over.
Dec. 2016: First Christmas Together
This one is a bit grainy, but it's one of the few images I have of our first Christmas together. (Where the heck was my camera?) In this picture, I think Jason was actually trying to explain to Isaac why he couldn't play with (read: break) the ornaments on the tree. I went through a couple tubes of superglue that season. At this time, Isaac was still a little too young to get "excited" for Christmas, but not so this year. He's already asking us when Santa will come and what he will bring. What a difference a year makes!
March 2016: Isaac's Third Birthday
We had a party for Isaac at home with family and a few close friends for his birthday. In addition, his preschool put on a party for him. We provided the cupcakes (made by a very talented close friend), snacks and favors and the teachers put on the celebration. It was awesome to get the photos back and see the kids having so much fun together. We feel so lucky to have Isaac in a school that gives such caring, loving and individual attention.
April 2017: Easter
This photo was taken on an Easter egg hunt in our friends' Chere and Paul's backyard. We spent Isaac's first Easter with them and their three kids (two of whom are twins the same age as Isaac and a couple of his besties). It was pandemonium in the best way ... the kids went crazy over the eggs and the prizes inside.
May 2017: A Weekday Morning
The weather in California often lags behind the rest of the country in May. Mornings here can feel like cool April mornings anywhere else, and we're often in sweaters and blankets til June. This morning was an especially cool one, and Isaac wanted to borrow my sweater as a "blanket". This shot is so indicative of his mornings because he loves to carry his favorite toys around with him. At this time, he was really into "Big Robot," "Small Robot," and "Dinosaur."
June 2017: San Clemente Pier
June Gloom is really a thing in SoCal, and we were experiencing it to its fullest effect on this Sunday morning. We took a walk down San Clemente Pier and watched the surfers in the choppy waves on either side of the dock. Isaac loved the pigeons, the fishermen ... everything.
July 2017: 4th Of July
Our first 4th of July as a family was a really fun one. My mother-in-law and her husband were here with us, and the kids had a great time in Paul and Chere's backyard eating cupcakes and snacks, playing and waiting for the fireworks to begin. At around 9 p.m., we went up to the rooftop deck and watched the display over Doheny Beach.
Sept. 2017: Labor Day at the Beach
I'm super embarrassed to admit this, but we don't get to the beach as much as we'd like to. This was a rare day when we decided to pack up and go. It was Labor Day Weekend, and some friends were in town with their kids (read that post here). I was thankful for the cool, overcast conditions during an otherwise extremely hot weekend. It was a great time had by all!
(Update) Oct. 2017: A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
I'm not sure what happened this year, but all of a sudden, we found ourselves with mere days until Halloween and without pumpkins! The last Friday evening before trick-or-treat day, Jason and I finally got Isaac to the Pumpkin Patch where we ended up picking out a few gems to decorate. I often feel like I'm behind the 8-ball with kid / event planning, but we always get it done.
One More ... Just Because
I just love this photo because it perfectly captures Isaac's personality. If I tried to describe it, it would take me a whole other post (and that probably wouldn't even be enough). Generally speaking, he's a wonderful, good-natured ham of a guy who is loving, affectionate, hilarious and incredibly energetic. His default setting is pure joy, like any good playground swing session.
Isaac's resilience this past year in the face of such change has completely astonished and inspired us. Jason and I have talked about this so often, and we think it's absolutely a function of his personality that he has been so able to adjust to this new life and family. We feel so lucky to have Isaac in our lives and can't wait to spend the rest of it together.