"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.
God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know,
and holds us responsible to act." Prov 24:12

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Christmas Lights Express

I want to start off by saying that our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families affected by the tragedy in Connecticut.  The last two days have been heartbreaking with all that has happened in Connecticut.  With three young boys ourselves, we cannot even begin to imagine what these families are going through.  Tonight, we just needed some quality family time together.  We needed to just step away from the reality of this world for a little bit and just spend time with our little ones.

We decided to surprise the boys with a trip on what we called, The Christmas Lights Express.  We told them at dinner that it had been a long day, they seemed tired and that they needed to go to bed right after they were done eating.  They were NOT happy with that announcement and tried their hardest to talk us out of it but we were insistent.  So off they went to bed.  Then, about 10 minutes later, we blew a train whistle and said loudly from the kitchen, "Calling all Toomey boys, calling all Toomey boys!".  They came running out with excitement not knowing what in the world was going on.  We handed them each a blanket and a ticket and proceeded to tell them that they were invited to go on The Christmas Lights Express (our car but hey, they were excited!).  We then punched their ticket and  loaded them onto the "train" in their pajamas with their cozy blankets.  They were SO excited and SO surprised.  We then made a stop at Starbucks where everyone got a hot chocolate and we handed them each a bag of chocolate covered popcorn.  We were then on our way, listening to Christmas music, to look at Christmas lights around town.

They had so much fun.  Brooks was telling us from the way back "I LOVE this train!!!" and Heath told us after we arrived back home, that this was truly "one of the best nights of my life!".  We needed that time together as a family.  We needed to see that joy in our little ones eyes which we know, to never take for granted.

The special tickets they were so excited about!

Everyone excited to head out with their tickets and blankets in hand!  Oh, and please excuse the dishes in the background... we left when I am normally doing the dinner dishes hence the mess.  Oh well, we were making memories instead this evening... the dishes could wait a couple of hours!

Having a blast...

Still having a blast!  I love how the whole time they held on tight to their tickets. not wanting to lose them.  Brooks is sleeping with his as we speak!

Brooks enjoying his bag of chocolate covered popcorn...  he was SO happy.  Warms my heart.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brotherly Love

Just had to post this quick little video showing the love between two brothers and their Goldfish Crackers...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Video Update 3

These videos are to show the ways in which Bowen gets himself up and down on his own.  He used to require help when he needed to get up or down but throughout this last year, he has figured out that he can use just about anything to get himself into the position he wants to be.  He will use the couch, his bed, a bookshelf, someone's legs... the list goes on and on.  We are also in the process of applying for a service dog for Bowen.  One of the things the dog will be able to do is provide bracing support for him to get into the positions he wants which will be wonderful!  That means wherever he is at, he will always have a way to get up & down!  Here a few examples of how he does that right now...

How Bowen uses a piece of furniture to get himself down and how he gets me a block to help build a tower.

 How Bowen uses a person's leg to get himself up.

How Bowen uses a person's leg to get himself down & getting me a another block.

And just one more for fun... Bowen showing off his knock it down skills with a giant tower we built.  One of his favorite games!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Video Update 2

Bowen has mastered going up and down the stairs in our house on his own! Here is how he gets down the stairs going to our basement. He really wanted to help me with the laundry so he made his way down.  He is usually faster than this but he knew I was filming him so he decided to take his own sweet time getting down.  Typical!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Video Update 1

I have decided to do a few video posts the next few weeks just to give everyone a little glimpse of what Bowen is doing... all the things he has accomplished lately!  Here is the first one, well three actually.  It's language arts day and Bowen is going to show you how well he does with his ABC's, 123's & shapes!




Sunday, October 7, 2012

How Time Flies

It was 3 years ago this week, 10/1/09 to be exact, that I saw this picture for the first time & my life has never been the same. Everything changed the moment I saw this picture. I remember every detail of that day like it was yesterday, just like the days my other two sons were born. I am forever GRATEFUL that God had me "stumble" upon this picture. What a blessing Bowen Aleksandar has been to our family! What a blessing.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Using A Spoon Independently!

        This a is HUGE step... Bowen has figured out how to use a spoon independently.

Monday, August 6, 2012

 "Being disabled doesn't have to be a disadvantage."  Oscar Pistorius

Bowen loves swimming.  I mean he LOVES swimming.  He would go every day if he could.  We go multiply times a week but that isn't even enough for him.  He wants to go everyday.  Each day, at some point during the day, I hear "Go swimming?" from him.  Even at church, he longs for the pool as his classroom is adjacent to the pool and he can see it through the glass wall.  He goes over to that wall and longingly looks at the pool.  He has so much fun while he is swimming... his smile doesn't stop from the time we get in, to the time we get out.  We usually stay for about 3 hours and even then, he cries when it is time to leave.  He has even jumped off the diving board with the Omaha Dive Club a few times recently... just like his big brother!  I love that he has so much passion for the sport of swimming! 

I usually can't get any pictures or videos of him because I am the only one with them.  This past weekend however, their daddy was finally able to join us at the pool and I was finally able to get some pictures and videos of all the progress Bowen has made this last year.  Yay!

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.   Philippians 4:13

I have been working on this skill for several months... basically almost a year now.  He started out only being able to stay on his back about 10 seconds before he sank, then 30 seconds... and now, he can do it for minutes at a time!  I am so unbelievably proud of him.  He is so determined and such a fighter... he can pretty much accomplish anything he sets his mind to!  Next step, teaching him to swim to the side of the pool on his back.


Jumping in... this is what he & Brooks do over & over & over again at the pool each day.  I catch one, then the other, and so on... usually for over 3 hours!  They love it!   Bowen is getting ready to join the Omaha Dive Club like his big brother!


Swimming under water... he loves to do this over & over again.  Then holding onto the side all my himself!


He is doing so good, I am so proud of him!


Showing off my skills 1...
Showing off my skills 2...
Showing off my skills 3...
Holding onto the side, all on his own... now that takes a lot of strength! He has been working hard for months to master this skill.
Looking good Bowen, looking good!
I just had to add this in because Brooksie is so stinkin' cute!
Passed out on the floor after a long day of swimming... so cute!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gotcha Day 3.0

Time to do a little catch up on posts... I'll start with this one. On June 11 Bowen celebrated his third Gotcha Day with us! It is hard to believe that he has been home with us now for two years. These last two years have just flown by and when I look back on all he has accomplished in these last two years... it just brings tears to my eyes. He has experienced so much these last two years and if he hadn't come home to be with his forever family, I simply cannot imagine what his life would be like today.

 Sometimes I just look in the rear view mirror in the car and look at his precious little face checking out all the scenery. Such a simple thing that all of us experience every day as we are running about but for him... something simple like looking out a car window and just loving the little things in life... that was something that didn't happen for him the first 18 months of his life. During that time of his life, he laid in his crib all day long and looked out through the slats at his room. Nothing else. So to see his little smile checking out the trucks passing us by, or the people walking on the street, or the signs on the freeway... all those things we see on our everyday errands that mean so little to us... to see him smiling about all of that just brings tears to my eyes.

 I feel so grateful and so blessed that God brought Bowen to us and allowed us to give him a life outside of that tiny little room in an orphanage in Belgrade, Serbia. God has entrusted us with so much and for that, I feel so blessed. Happy 3rd Gotcha Day Bowen Aleksandar!

 Life before coming home. Looking through those crib slats day in & day out.
Saying DO VIDENJA & CIAO to that orphanage and his previous life. Now safe and sound in the arms of his daddy... checking out all the new scenery!
I have always loved this picture of the two of us. One of the best days of my life... finally getting the chance to bring my son home!
I look back at this pic of Brooks & Bowen on the day we brought him home... I cannot believe how little and emaciated he looks. What a change two years makes!
Heath, who had just turned 4, was so excited when we got back to the apartment with Bowen on that day! From the moment he knew we were adopting, he could not wait for his brother to come home. He has loved his brother so much from day one & for that, we couldn't be prouder! He is such a great big brother.
Celebrating his 3rd Gotcha Day... I would say he looks pretty happy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Today the boys & I went to the 2012 Olympic Swim Trials. We all had such a great time together. It was one of those times that I will look back & treasure with my boys. We got to see Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, & Natalie Coughlin swim among others. We had awesome seats and I have to say, I am so proud of the boys. They sat quietly (thank you Kindle Fire!) for 5 hours and let their mama (who is a big swim fan) watch swimming. The family of one the swimmers next to us kept telling me how wonderfully well behaved they were and one of the grandmas even called them "angels". Yay for my boys... I'm so proud of them & so grateful they let me have that experience! Now for some pics. Here is Micheal Phelps getting out of the water after winning his race... it always amazes me just how big he is! Heath looking cute as always. Last time we went to the Olympic swim trials was four years ago in 2008 when Heath was only 2 and I was still pregnant with Brooks. How quickly things change. Here is my big six year old four years later! The boys & I. Not a great pic of me but oh well... at least I got one with me in it which never happens! Bowen having a good time! Brooksy looking adorable... last time we went to the trials he could only hear them as I was still pregnant with him. I can't believe how big he has gotten. What a cutie! We seriously had great seats thanks to a wonderful colleague of my husband. We sat right behind all the reporters. Here are the guys from NBC sports doing their live broadcast. We stopped by the Aqua Zone after the races. Here is Amanda Beard signing autographs. I think Uncle Colin would have been happy! Brooks & Heath checking out the official car of the Olympics, a BMW. I think they like it! I think Bowen was loving that ride too. Look at that smile! Brooksy taking a little break as only Brooksy can do... Next stop, London! Waiting in line for the Nemo ride... being crazy little boys. Heath getting ready to ride the Finding Nemo shark... Heath sizing himself up to Michael. He starts swim team soon so he has to start sizing up the competition, LOL! Brooksy checking out his wingspan compared to Michael's... And finally, Bowen hanging with Michael...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tigertown Dive Meet for Heath

Omaha Dive Club went to Columbia, MO this past weekend to compete in the Tigertown Challenge.  Here they are getting ready to head out to practice bright & early on day 1 before the meet begins.  So proud of everyone from ODC... they all did amazing!

At the hotel, 6:00 am breakfast call... getting ready to head out to practice before the competition starts.

ODC stretching bright & early... too early for me!

Warm ups on the 3M... Heath was looking so small out there next to all those big platforms!

Setting up for his first warm up dive... front jump straight on the 3M.

Preparing for a back jump straight during warm ups on the 3M.

Getting ready to practice a front fall in dive on the 3M.

Heath & his friend and dive mate Jacob during warm ups on the 3M.

Warming up on the 3M...

Heath waiting in the stands for his event to start after warm ups. This is the picture I got when I asked him to "look normal" :)

Heath's front jump straight on the 3M.

Heath's back jump straight on the 3M.

Heath's front fall in dive on the 3M.

Walking with his coach, Peter, to the medal area...

Patiently waiting to be called to the medal stand.

Heath was so proud of himself.  He ran right over to show me his gold medal... it was unbelievably cute!

Two proud little boys!

Heath & Jacob walking back with their golds... Heath in the 7 & under age group, Jacob in the 9 & under age group.

Celebrating at the Columbia, MO mall with Jacob by going on a carousel ride!

He was so excited to ride the wild boar...

Day 2 of the competition.  ODC on the 10M platform... Heath got off of there as quick as he could!

Heath's front jump straight on 1M.

Heath's back jump straight on the 1M.

Heath's front fall in dive on the 1M.

Here is a video of Heath receiving his gold medal on the stands... it was so cute, after they got their medals, they all started waving to the crowds.  Such cuties... wish I caught more of it on the video!

He was so proud of that gold medal... he ran right over again to show me. At 5 years old, he was the youngest diver at the meet!  So proud of his accomplishments both days!
9 & Under and 7 & under boys medalists from Omaha Dive Club... all gold and silver!
Final medal count... Gold on the 1M and Gold on the 3M and one proud little boy!
Back home and ready to take all his medals to school to show all his teachers and classmates!