Sunday, February 13, 2011

Give Love

My good friend Joanna who has an amazing heart, introduced us all to a sweet boy named Shea. A boy who, like Grey, has spina bifida and all that comes with that. She has been keeping us updated on where he is and how his forever family is doing in their pursuit to make him a permanent part of their family. Well, a few days ago Joanna sent out an urgent call for prayer and help. Shea will be sent to an institution in a few weeks and we need to do all we can so that this won't happen. There is a family waiting for him, a family who desperately wants him, and a family who is so close to welcoming him into their lives. They just need a little more help. Please do what you can to help Shea. This is what Joanna wrote on both her blog and Shea's, she says it so much better than I ever could...Thank you Joanna for sharing it here as well...

Because it's February.
Because I just decorated my house in pink and red hearts.
Because Valentines are not just for couples...but friends, mommies, daddies, siblings, classmates and neighbors.
Because everybody needs love. And not the romantic comedy, butterflies in your stomach, plucking petals off daisies kind of love.

They need the "I'm yours forever" kind of love.
The "we can do this together" kind of love.
The "can't stop starring at you" kind of love.
The "I'm always there for you" kind of love.
The "I can't keep myself from smiling around you" kind of love.
The "I promise to make time to laugh with you" kind of love.
The "everything you say is so important to me" kind of love.
The " I couldn't be prouder of you in this moment" kind of love.
The love that lifts you up....
Squeezes you tight...
Makes even hard times feel alright..
The love that teaches you all that you need to know...
And gives you support you need to grow...
The undeniable you were made for me...
And together we make a family...
What's mine is yours...
I treasure each kiss...
And everyone deserves to feel like this...
Kind of Love.

Because real love is something that cannot be bought - only shared. We need it from the time we are born - and those of us who having loving families know that NOTHING could have replaced that. The love of family - the love I was given as a child - made me who I am today. It teaches us how to love the rest of our lives. It can never be truly expressed in the form of greeting cards, chocolates, flowers, or jewelry. Those sweet tokens and gestures give momentary happiness - it's the feeling love behind them that really means anything at all. So with that in mind, and in the spirit of this holiday of love - I would like to propose the perfect gift for your loved ones.
Give the gift of Love itself.
Give Love.
You can bring joy and love not only to those who hold your heart -
but to child who needs your help.
Give Love.
By helping one little boy come home to the family who is waiting to give him this kind of love. The kind of love every single one of these children pictured above are given every day.
The kind of love so many of us are blessed to have.
The kind of love he deserves.
Give Love.
Shea's story is a remarkable one - and it is only just beginning. He now has a family ready for him - and Shea is WAITING to come home. His family is actively completing the adoption process - eager to give Shea the love, support and care only a family can give. The only thing wecan do to help them bring Shea home as soon as possible is to GIVE.
Give what you have.
$5, $25, $50
It's not the size of the gift, but the size of the heart behind it.
It is so costly to adopt internationally - so much so that many people say "we can't afford that" or "it's just not possible for us". But this family has given everything they have not once, not twice, but 3 TIMES (read their blog - they are an amazing family)and is making that leap of faith to make Shea a part of their family - but they need help raising the last bits.
(And in adoption language, "bits" = $9,000!)
They need our HELP!

As a friend so honestly reminded me " Let's face it ... we all spend/waste $$$ on this every year. The chocolate is gone...the flowers die... and all you have is a distant memory of the token(s) you invested in."

How much more meaningful - how much more noble - how much more true to what love is all about - to give that money instead to this family - to this little boy -
to bring him home - to give him Love.
So help share the love...with Shea. :)

Isn't that the most adorable Valentine ever?!
It's message is simple - it's purpose sincere.
Make a donation (even just $5!) in the name of a friend or loved one - to Shea's Adoption Grant (through the chipin on the right hand margin of the Saving Shea blog) or visit his family's blogand donate through their chipin (it all goes to his account.) Then print out these adorable Shea Valentines and give them to your sweetie, your sister, your mother, your friend - and see their faces light up at the sweet face on the card.

I can't think of a sweeter, kinder,
more beautiful way to Give Love.
Can you?

(visit to read more about Shea's story as well as to view/print these Valentines.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to Grey!!

Tomorrow my baby boy turns TWO! I can't even believe it! These past two years have been the best of my life and they have just FLOWN by! It seems like only a few months ago we brought our sweet boy home and wondered "now what?" and now, we are pros at this whole parenting thing...hahaha..yeah right! :) Although we have two years under our belt and are doing pretty good! :)
Remember this one?

Thinking back to two years ago tonight, I wish I would have known what our life would be like. I wish I would have known how amazing Grey would be, that the gut-wrenching worry and fear that I had so weren't worth it and were so not needed. Sure, I still worry and have plenty of fears...especially as our little guy gets older and his differences are becoming more obvious, but it is so much easier to take it one day at a time. It is so much easier to push those fear aside and think about today, to see how happy he is RIGHT NOW and to soak it up!! I love Grey more than I ever thought possible and can't imagine my life without this perfect little two year old in it!!!

Oh, and Grey has learned something new!! We travel 45 min-1 hour (each way) 2-3 times a week for therapy and his favorite video to watch is an Elmo video about the alphabet...well...he can now recognize the letters!! This was a huge surprise to me! I knew that he knew the alphabet, but he shocked me by pointing out an L on the keyboard and saying "L" well, it turns out he knows way more than L...take a look!!

Much love from Leigh, Andy, and the Birthday Boy!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

two ories!

Wow, so it's a been a while since we've updated...we've been really busy and very relaxed all at the same time. A few weeks ago Leigh and I were in Cozumel for some time off! Grey stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa and since our return has been asking for chocolate milk, exclusively. Hmmm.... very curious. hahaha. It was the longest we've been away from the little man and yeah we totally were missing him by the 4th day. (Note: Leigh missed him before we even left :) So yeah, the time away was incredible and much needed.

oh how i miss you sun...don't worry we'll see you june. *sigh*
oh yeah on our way home we got stuck in the largest blizzard in history! perfect. just when we wanted to be home and see our little man, we get stuck in Atlanta! (note: to those living in the Atlanta area, im sure its a great place and all that, but we wanted to be HOME!) :)

So needless to say we were very excited to see grey when we got back to Michigan. I can;t believe how much the little guy changed in a single week...crazy. the kids a giant, and enrolled in college. geez.

Ok, now onto Grey's best friend (besides me) his stuffed eeyore. This has been Greys "goto" stuffed animal for a long time now and recently we've noticed eeyore (or orie as Grey refers to him as) has gotten a little rough around the edges, heck the kid drools on him all night long, what do you expect. So leigh and i thought, "hey we should buy another one just in case this one goes out of commission" Perfect we thought. So we did and recently we introduced Grey to his new orie...

we took a video of the introduction...

while watching you'll notice a few things.

1. He's not really sure why there's 2 ories and proceeds with caution.
2. He thinks theres 3 ories for some reason.
3. But he's not afraid to kiss either one of them
4. He's not interested in taking a nap at this time.
5. He Definately knows thediffernce between the "real" orie and the "fake" one.
6. Finally he resorts to some "close talking" followed by falling over to make his full introduction... goof.

*A few side notes from Leigh
1. Grey does not exclusively ask for chocolate milk. My mom would kill me if she saw that. My parents did great and followed all of my rules (even though they think my rules are crazy)
2. Our plan on having a "spare" Orie backfired...big time. He now has to have BOTH ories. He can't sleep unless he has two Oriess.
3. You may be thinking "oh, how cute he cuddles with Orie when he sleeps...Uh, no, he uses them BOTH as pillows. What a weirdo!
4. When first meeting the "fake" Orie he refers to him as "puppy" it's not in the video, but it's very funny!

oh yeah in other news...grey's almost 2!!! ahhhhh

love to you all!

the gibbs'

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Paper Towel...

A few weeks ago, Grey was in the bathroom on his potty and he spotted the toilet paper. He looked at it, pointed, and said "paper towel". I, of course laughed and laughed...a) because he had just called toilet paper paper towel, and b) because it was the first time he had ever said paper towel. Well, for the next few weeks he thought that it was HILARIOUS to call EVERYTHING a paper towel. (Admittedly, Andy and I laugh pretty much everytime he does this, we're an easy audience)

He thinks he's sooooo funny (and so do we)

Untitled from Leigh Gibbs on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Smarty Pants...

Lately we've been amazed at how much Grey is learning and how quickly he picks things up. While at therapy, Grey can't get enough of the beads (as seen here)

and while he plays with these beads, we talk about what colors they are, not really thinking that he would be paying any attention to us. Now...we have a little boy that knows his colors!

Grey knows colors from Leigh Gibbs on Vimeo.

Love to you all,
Andy, Leigh, and Grey

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday Sledding

So we got a little snow here in Michigan the last week but its been bitter cold, so i haven't taken the little man out to sled as much as we would like. But yesterday the sun was out! which helped a little bit (it was still really cold) so we got our snow gear on and hit the hill. As you can see grey loved it!

Untitled from Leigh Gibbs on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A very merry christmas

Well, we're a little late on showing some of these Christmas photos to everyone, but here we go!
On Christmas eve we had my family (Andy) over to our house for dinner and gifts. Grey was excited to see his cousin Evan. He so lovingly refers to him as "baby elvin" these days. Anyway here's a picture of grey and evan with grandma and grandpa.

I think aunty em was being silly, Grey thought it was hilarious!

These pictures were taken "post-gift opening" where apparently the boys stripped down to their onesies and started partying.

i just really love our new home and Christmas felt so great in it this year!

this totally wasn't from Christmas eve, but i just like photo.
Anyway, back to Christmas eve...After Grey was in bed we set up his big gift, a tent (or a house as he refers to it) Christmas morning he was able to see it and as we thought it was a big hit! in fact he ate his breakfast in it that morning. So now we currently have a tent permanently set up in our living room.

ah yes, holdin my boy wearing snowman pj's on Christmas morning, can't beat it.

Here's a family shot on i feel like we could have tried that one again...were like 50 feet away from the camera. Don;t worry, i got a tripod this Christmas so i wont have to rely on propping it on the arm of the sofa to do the job anymore.

Here's Christmas at the Neals! Christmas chaos at it's best!

Oh and here's Leigh with niece Kendall singing Karaoke. Let's just say we don't have the next American Idol in our family :) hahaha.

here's grey crawling out of his house when Leigh was finally done singing :)

Here's the cousins playing with their new gadgets. Grey found the play/pause button quickly and kept pushing it until Olivia got sick of him and left.

Might as well wrap up the day with a spin behind the go-kart on the tube! oh yeah!

I hope everyone had a Wonderful Christmas and we wish all of you out there a happy and healthy new year!

love the Gibbs'