Monday, July 31, 2006

Good Times: Niece, Reunion, Award and Referral!

First off, I must say that I'm very excited for Karen today. She received her referral for Maya and the whole blogosphere is jumping for joy! Congrats to Karen, Random and Miss Maya Papaya!

The rest of the good times all happened on July 29th, 2006. Our niece "S." was born at 9:43 am and at 8 lbs., 13 oz. is a chunky cutie! Congrats to S. and her posse. Unfortunately, they live too far to just jump in the car and visit, so we'll have to make some plans to see the cutie-pie.

After recieving such great news, we were off to our first China Family reunion. Our "China Family" consists of the families who went with us to China and the members who stayed behind to be with their other children. We are so lucky to have been placed with this fine group of people. It was the best reunion I've ever attended! All of us have children around the same age and we're comfortable with each other. We laughed, cried and remembered shared experiences of China. We talked about what's going on with the kiddos currently and planned future get-togethers. We all chipped in to help feed, comfort and play with everyone's children. People brought food and cake and toys for the kids. I may post more about this later, but for now I must say I was just overwhelmed with gladness to be a part of this group. I hope everyone is as lucky as we are!

I think I've posted before about my dabblings in community theater and this past March I was in a play locally. Well, this community theater has a banquet at the end of each season and it landed on the day of the reunion this year. (Last year it happened while we were in China.) Well, I missed last year but I decided to go very late this year. I missed the dinner and the ceremony, but was in time for cocktails and dancing. Let me just tell you that dancing to "It's Raining Men" with theater people is a hoot and a half! The big news though? I won an award! Ok, so it was for best ensemble and included many other people, but still, I won an award! We also won best show and our leading actor won as well!

So, July 29th 2006 will go down as a pretty excellent day! I'm very, very tired though, so bye!

Friday, July 28, 2006

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

We have a small part of our yard that has been used as a small garden but this year we concentrated more on flowers instead. However, last year after Halloween I threw our pumpkin seeds in the little garden patch. In the spring, we found some rather large unknown leaves sproutin' "up through the ground like some bubblin' crude" (ok, not crude, but once I started that line I had to finish it...who knows the reference?). I almost pulled them out thinking they were weeds, but didn't get to it for a while. Rarely do I get to say this, but in this instance I was thankful for laziness! What a surprise and delight. Along with some weeds, we have the early stages of pumpkins!

By the way, when we celebrated our Family Day it was also the first time Buttons used chopsticks. She picked up some chicken and put it in her mouth on the very first try! Subsequent tries proved more difficult, but I thought it was kinda cool. Recently at Ik*a, I purchased chopsticks and spoons and it looks like we'll get to use them soon!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The First Anniversary of "Family Day"

On July 26th, 2005 we met Buttons for the very first time. She looked so much smaller than her referral picture, but her cry was as big as the world and tore at my heart. It was of course the most wonderful day for us and unfortunately one of the most difficult for her. We had waited so long for her and yet she had no idea of what was about to happen that day. My husband and I had been trying to have a baby since 1999 and through many heartaches, medical procedures and miscarriages, we couldn't make that dream a reality. In April of 2004 we decided to adopt and attended adoption agency meetings, talked with others and decided to use an agency that specialized in adoptions with China. As I think back, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the decisions we had to make at that time. I have trouble remembering life before Buttons, but I can recall the anxiety pretty well.

In thinking of that wonderful day a year ago, I think of our joy and her sorrow. The picture of me holding Buttons is the very first picture of us right after I held her for the very first time and the other picture is with my sweet husband only moments later. These pictures show the joy and the sorrow pretty well. When I think of our first Family Day*, I think more about our journey since that day. For those of you out there waiting, please know that this is a difficult day. Buttons was truly grieving and that can be pretty scary. I just wanted to make her pain go away and I couldn't really hold her because she had attached to her Baba (Daddy) right away and he was her protector. This "solo daddy attachment" happened to several people in our travel group, so at least I wasn't alone. That was a long day that I am certain to always remember. We have beautiful pictures of what I like to call Buttons' first dance with her Baba when my hubby danced her to sleep in his arms. I don't think I've ever seen anything as beautiful as that. We have a few pictures of her laughing and smiling on that day too, but I very much remember her pain. She did recover and is a happy girl.

I can't believe how big she is now. When we met her she was 9 months, had no teeth, could sit up pretty well, but she wouldn't move around at all. She's now 21 months, tooth #13 is making its way out, and she's not just walking, but running. The other day she did a somersault and shocked herself into a cry. She loves monkeys, the color yellow, swimming and friends. She kisses boo-boos, helps put away groceries, and laughs at all our jokes. Our family is so full that sometimes I cry from happiness.

As a child, I thought I would either adopt or get married and not have children, as if there were only room for one or the other. There is room and I'm glad my hubby and I decided to adopt. It's hard to put this into words, but I'll try. Adoption was always something I was interested in pursuing, but having a biological child seemed important when we were in that process. Once we started getting serious about adoption, I wanted it to be a chosen path, not something second best. I have a wonderful child. The results are the same, but the child is not. I love the babies we lost and could never wish them anything but love. However, if they had come into our lives, would Buttons have come too? It's doubtful even if we adopted later. I can't imagine life without her and I'm glad I don't have to do that. She is incredible and brings sunshine to everyone she meets.

We will be celebrating Family Day by eating at a local Chinese restaurant, watching the DVD highlights of our trip to China, and eating some cake (a Buttons favorite). This weekend, we will get together with most of the other families from our travel group and we're very excited about that. So, for those of you Family Day pros out there, what did you do to celebrate? And for those of you waiting, do you have any questions for me about Family Day?

*Family Day is also called Gotcha Day, but we decided we liked the sound of Family Day a little better. No offense to anyone else who uses Gotcha Day because either way, it's a wonderful time to celebrate.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bloggers Out Of Cyberspace


Ok, I'm the koala bear* instead of the monkey in the middle with Stephanie on my left and Tammy on my right. These are some blogger buddies of mine who along with their kids, joined Buttons, myself, a good friend of mine and her children for a fun day at the zoo. Wanna see more pics? Visit Spilling My Coffee/Beans and Forks and Chopsticks. We all laughed about this being like a first date and it kind of was. You want to look your best, say the right things and not have any awkward moments. It all worked out just fine. Tammy and I knew each other since we were in the same travel group to China, but we met Stephanie on-line. We had a good time together and the kids had fun too. Leah and Brent were fast friends and they're both so sweet! I look forward to our next outing. Scrapbooking? Chinese New Year Celebration? Tammy, do you knit? We could do that too! I enjoy blogging and there are many things one can say in this format, but I must confess it was nice to be out of cyberspace and talk in person.

*Oh, the koala bear make-up? As Buttons watched other children get the face make-up done, she decided she wanted the koala bear. However, when it came time to paint her face, she made it known that would not happen. So, I decided I would get the koala bear on my face instead. Whaddya think? Should I keep it?

Friday, July 21, 2006

7 X 7

New post, new look! Whaddya think? I was tired of pink! (No, I'm not gonna start rhyming again.) I was tagged by Tammy to do this and I apparently can't follow directions 'cause I have more on many of the lists.

7 Things I Want To Do Before Dying:
Watch Buttons grow and watch her children grow too
Get very old
Go back to China at least once with the family
Do something significant regarding charity
Go back to school or find a job that has meaning to me
Get in shape
Play the piano well
Speak another language fluently (Chinese or French)

7 Things I Can Not Do:
Tan (both stolen from Tammy, but oh so true!)
Mechanical things
Pass up a yarn store
Play a musical instrument by ear
Wear a bikini (I could but it wouldn't be pretty)
Relax when someone is coming to my house
Leave a party early

7 Things I Can Do:

Get up in front of people and sing or speak
Play piano (not well) and I used to play trombone
Set the VCR
Knit, cross-stitch
Make someone feel welcome
Make Buttons laugh
Talk to teenagers (will I still when Buttons is 15?)

7 Things That Attracted Me To My Husband
Sense of humor and laugh
Voice (he thinks this is funny)
His general "awesome-ness"

7 Things I Say Most Often
I love you
Baba's at work (Baba is the Chinese word for Daddy)
I'll be right back
I'm sorry honey, that's not for babies
It's ok
Ready Freddy? (Heard in the car before we leave the driveway)
Bye bye (said with Buttons anytime we leave anyone or any animal)

7 Books I Love

Beloved by Toni Morrison
Tales from the City series by Armistead Maupin
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (read long ago)
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
anybook that Buttons is into at the time

7 Movies I Love (Love movies, so this is actually a small sampling, placed into a few groups)
All About Eve along with many old movies with great dialogue
The Apartment (well, any Billy Wilder like Sunset Boulevard or Some Like it Hot)
Bridget Jones' Diary, Love Actually, About a Boy, Muriel's Wedding, Chocolat
Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love (anything by P.T Anderson)
Ponette, Amelie, Burnt by theSun (several other foreign films)
Raising Arizona (actually anything by the Coen brothers)
Rushmore (anything by Wes Anderson)

I tag Marsha, Mary-Mia and Amy!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My Girl Wants to Potty All the Time

There once was a girl named Buttons who had a friend named T. who had a potty in her house where she could go and pee. Everytime that T. went pee, Buttons was sure to go. But as Buttons sat down on the pot, alas there was no flow.

Button's mama thought "you're much too young for a potty", but then Buttons would point to her diaper and tell mama about the functions of her body. "Diaper", "stinky" and "poo poo" were the words she used to describe it, so her mama went onthe internet for education and to buy a yellow "pit".

This rhyming post has been such fun,
But I'm not that good and so I'm done.

Ok, so I know 21 months is a bit young to start the big training, but when did you start, how did you know the time was right and what method and/or books did you use? Also, I'm just at the beginning of this process but already I'm wondering how long should I expect this to be a topic of discussion with my hubby and with other parents? My hubby and I were kind of excited that we were no longer in the stage of describing every bowel movement. Although, I'm sure we will have many fun stories to go along with the potty training.

This is actually my second draft of this post because my first one is out there in the ether somewhere. Oh well, that one had no rhyming whatsoever. And yes, I know this title is cheesy, but it made you laugh or groan. My job is done.

Update on previous post: Buttons has napped a little better over the past few days and my secret is having a book in her room for me to read when she just needs a calming presence in order to fall asleep. Bonus? I'm getting caught up on my reading. Downside? Housework is suffering. Long-term benefits? Unsure, but hopefully a daughter who knows I'm there for her and will eventually sleep with confidence.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Last Nap? / O Sleep, Where Art Thou?

Please bloggers, help me. Ok, my plight isn't that bad, but I don't know if Buttons is done with naps, not feeling well or still messed up from our vacation with family. She seems to have a fear of us leaving the room during nap time and won't sleep unless we're in there. Sometimes she even lays down and watches us to make sure we don't leave.

You say you need more info to diagnose this issue? We started using this book about six weeks ago and things were going well. Nap times were still done with the rocking method until last weekend when sweet hubby was able to get her to fall asleep on her own in her crib. However, this has been the week of the "no-nap", the "crap-nap" and the "I'm going out of my freakin' mind if this is the end of her napping-nap". I've tried most everything I can think of and I'm not sure what else to do. If I rock her to sleep or if she falls asleep in the car and I try to put her into her crib, she wakes up, stands up and cries to be held. If I do the method from "the book" she can hold out for a very long time and it begins to feel like I'm hurting her as opposed to helping her. The best nap this week came after she was completely exhausted from the day and from trying to nap (well, not to nap) and I finally rocked her, put her in our bed, put a few pillows around her and kept her within earshot, so I was still able to do a few things while she slept. She will be 21 months on Monday, so is she just getting rid of that final nap or is there something I can do so she will nap but I won't feel like I'm breaking her spirit?

She is a wonderful, happy girl and is rarely in a bad mood. This week she has shown a significant increase in general unhappiness. Could it be...lack of naps?...illness of some sort?...let down from constant movement during a 2 week stint with relatives in Michigan?...just getting older and wanting to be more independent?...getting ready for a big milestone and/or right in the middle of the language explosion?... unknown origin, but it will just get better with time?...bad parenting? (ok, probably not too bad, but I start to wonder after a while and maybe I should say bad mothering, because my hubby is a great father). Whatever the answer, give it to me now, please! I'm hoping this isn't the last picture of her napping that I'll ever take. Speaking of napping, I'm up wayyyyy too late blogging, so time for bed. Maybe I'll be the one who needs a nap tomorrow!