Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chinese New Year 2009

Chinese New Year was a fun celebration as usual. Last weekend, we headed to a local Chinese restaurant with other adoptive families from our area. The kids looked beautiful in their special clothing of course. They enjoyed crafts, food, balloons, and running around crazy with their friends. They really are a great looking group of kids, but I don't think we ever got them to all look at the camera at the same time. I mean, they had balloons!! The balloons were much more fun to look at than the cameras!

(My sweet little Sadie has developed a spunky attitude from time to time! Notice her sticking her tongue out in this photo!)

We skipped out on the larger CNY celebration in downtown Birmingham this year. I took Hannah the last two years, and I'm going to try to take them both again next year. It's usually fun, but we just needed a "down time" Saturday today so that's what we did. I did teach a Chinese New Year unit this week to my students at school for the second year. Since Hannah is in kindergarten, I also took one of my lessons on China and the new year and presented it to her class. I shared some of the objects we have from China, Hannah shared some Chinese words she knows (of course, she's learned them all from the T.V. show "Nihao Kai-Lan!), I read a story, and then the kids made dragon puppets. They had a great time and seemed very interested. Hannah smiled and was so excited the whole time. She's in a wonderful class this year with a great teacher and she has such sweet friends in her class.

Hannah's teacher shared with me her journal entry for that day. Hannah drew her family. Over Sadie, she wrote a "3", over herself she wrote a "5", and over me she wrote my age. Then under all that she wrote her sentence. "my fameelee is brown and pinkish." She told her teacher "me and Sadie are brown. Mommy is pinkish". It was too cute!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Random Ramblings..Just Because I Can!

It’s Sunday night, which usually means getting ready for a new week. Except we’re out of school tomorrow! Yeah!! The girls have been in bed since 7:15. Their normal bedtime is 7:30, except on non-school nights we usually go to 8:00. But, they were supposed to be in their “settling down” time eating a little snack and watching a movie. (They don’t get movies or tv on school nights, so it’s a treat). Well, I was upstairs putting away clothes and they got all giggly. Then louder giggly. Aw, so sweet that the sisters are enjoying each other’s company so much. Then LOUDER giggly, and I went to see what they were up to. They were BOTH standing on the very back of the couch ready to jump off (and apparently already had before then). I’m all for fun and all. And Hannah’s got the gymnastics skills to do it and be okay. But Sadie does not. AND she has a fixator on her arm. AND I really didn’t want a trip to the emergency room. AND I’ve had this conversation about safety with them regarding the couch before. More than once. SO, they both ended up in bed immediately. They were not happy with me at all. But my evening is much better this way than it would have been at the emergency room. Theirs is too of course, only they don’t know it. I do wish I'd gotten a photo of them..but I couldn't exactly say "hey, you're in trouble, but smile for the picture first!".

So, that basically means I’ve had much more “free time” than most evenings. And since I’m a procrastinator and don’t intend to get things ready for school until tomorrow night, it means I really have more free time. Thus..this completely random post.

I love my life. I took the girls to the park today. Hannah was riding her bike way out ahead and I was walking with Sadie in the stroller. (because she can’t ride her bike with her arm right now, but it’s okay – she loves the ride. And she has plenty of outside play in our back yard). After a while, Hannah circled back and rode to where we were and said “I want to ride by y’all”. okay. Me and my two precious girls riding / walking at the park on a Sunday afternoon. Everybody happy. Everybody wanting to be there together. It doesn’t get better than that. I love my life.

For some strange reason, I was reflecting on life tonight. Oh, yeah – it was because I had extra time since I put the girls to bed early. I used to be a pretty reflective person. Don’t seem to get around to that much anymore. These days, I reflect on such mundane things as “how long will it take to cook the chicken vs. the spaghetti?” or “should I trust that my newly potty trained 3 year old can make it the whole 25 minute drive to church in panties?” (I did and she did) or “Is it okay to tell my five year old the real difference between boys and girls since she’s asking?” (I did..with instructions not to discuss it at school!) or maybe “how late should I keep them up on Friday night to increase the odds of them sleeping in until at least 7:00 a.m.? (forget it – it backfires every time!). But in the quiet moments of night on a rare free evening, my reflections are very much like they were before I adopted the girls. Some different..yet some the same. Deeper questions come to my heart. Why me? Why has God blessed me SO much? Why has He given me such treasures? Who I am to parent these girls? Why am I so incredibly blessed? And I don’t just mean as far as the girls. But with a job and co-workers I love. With friends I love. Ah..friends. There’s a whole group of relatively new friends I wouldn’t know at all if it weren’t for my girls. Or wouldn’t know as well. Or have in my life as much. And I don’t get to spend time with them much these days..but yet our lives are twisted together in a way that makes me smile to know they know. They know what it’s like to have a child home for those first few months to a year. They know the endless dr. appointments, therapy appointments, adjustments, attachment process, etc. They know the hard things, and they know the great wonderful joyful things (of which there have been many!) We’re going to celebrate Chinese New Year next weekend with just a few of those families. This will be our third time with these same families. Well..some new ones too. And I’m lucky that quite a few of the kids are the same age as my girls. That doesn’t really mean anything to Sadie yet..and it’s just beginning to mean something to Hannah. Although she thinks every child with light brown skin is from China. (even if it’s really India or Mexico – both real life examples!). She’s just beginning to have questions about her story and her history. And I know there will be phases over the years of questions. I hope she finds some comfort..or some understanding..or whatever she needs in knowing other girls her age with similar life stories. Sadie too.

And then there’s my other friends. I don’t want to say old friends, because they’re NOT. Not old in age or old in the sense of prior. They are very much still my very real, very important friends. I guess I just mean not new. The friends who knew me before. And depending on exactly who, it could be before many things. They know. They knew me before ______. And I can’t tell you just how important they are to me. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. And I mean that on so many levels. And as far as my girls, they wouldn’t be here without them. God worked in a mighty to bring them home. And he did a lot of it through these amazing friends who encouraged, listened, prayed, gave, and loved me through the whole experience. I wish so much I could repay all they have done for me. And yet, I can’t. The irony is that a partial result of all they gave on my behalf is that I am now simply …*busy*. But you know what? I think mostly they understand. And I do know, I mean I really really know, that if I needed them, I could pick up the phone and they’d be there for me. Even if we hadn’t talked in a long time. Now how blessed is that?? I hope they know they can do the same. I hope you know, if you’re reading this as one of my real-life friends who I haven’t been good about keeping in touch with, you are still important to me!

Well..this reflection didn’t go at all the way I originally thought it would. .There were other thoughts I intended to share, and got off on a tangent. But perhaps it was exactly the tangent I needed to get off on. And as far as those orginial thoughts, you’ll just have to wonder. Maybe I’ll have another rare free night when I sit and reflect and then have the urge to blog about it. But don’t expect it too soon! In summary, I love my life. God is good. Good night!

(And if you want to see updates on Sadie’s arm..scroll down. Two posts in one night!)

Sadie's hand update and developmental milestones!

Sadie is doing great with her fixator, though I can tell it's starting to get a little harder. Amazing really. She's outlasted what her dr. said she would. I've been turning the thing 3 degrees a day. I was told in the beginning about the 2nd week I'd have to start breaking it up and doing half in the morning and half at night and might even have to move to 1 degree three times a day if that got to be too much. Well, we are into week 4 now and I just this weekend started doing half in the morning and half at night. She has just tolerated everything so well and not seemed to be in any discomfort or pain at all. But, the last couple of days she has started to fuss a bit so I've started breaking it up and that's gone really well. At her last appointment (this past Thursday), her surgeon said we probably only have about 2 more weeks of this and then we'll be done. Yeah! :-) Then the fixator will stay on a while to hold everything in place before her next surgery. Not sure when that'll be yet. Here's some before and "in progress" pictures if you're curious. I can tell a big difference when I look at these that I don't necessarily see day to day since it moves just a small amount each day.


Beginning of week 2 of adjusting fixator:

Beginning of week 4 of adjusting fixator
By the way - the last two pics do have Sadie in the same shirt. Trust me - she didn't wear it for two weeks straight. (now, two days straight..well..maybe). It's a favorite now because it has big sleeves and is easy to get on over the fixator. Speaking of clothes, I need to get a pic of her coat. Sherry, her babysitter, picked up a coat just a little too big at the thrift store and cut up the left side all the way up including the arm and sewed bra hooks on it. That was, I can get it on and off her arm. It was perfect and much needed in these last few cold days.

In other news, Sadie is now wearing her "big girl panties"! Yeah! She was not potty trained when I got her in May. I decided not to push it and just let her be. She had enough adjustments and medical stuff and all. Well, over Christmas break I gave it a try. The first two weeks were well, interesting. She could care less about staying dry. But then something clicked and the third week she got it! She's had a handful of accidents, but that was it. Today marks day 7 accident free! (Well, except at nap and at night..but I don't count that!). I have to give a big thanks to her wonderful babysitter who really followed through and helped get her to this point! Sadie not only stays dry, but asks to go and if we're home will just take herself when needed. I consider her officially potty trained! Ah..the little things, but in our world, they're BIG! yeah Sadie!

Sadie has also entered the typical stage for her age of saying "no". A lot. Not temper tantrum no. She's very calm about it. Just a simple "no". It's kind of funny, but was starting to frustrate Hannah. Hannah would say something that was clearly true and Sadie would look at her and simply say "no". Hannah couldn't stand it. I finally had a chat with Hannah and told her that she was old enough to know a special secret. The secret was "3 year olds just like the word no" and the best thing for us to do was to just shrug and say "oh well". Well, Hannah took to that advice and it has made things much more pleasant around here. The other day though, Hannah informed me that she thought a 5 year old's favorite word was yes. (I'm don't think so..but I could use a few more YES's from you, so sure, I'll encourage this!). Then she said, want to know what a grown-up's favorite word is? (This could be good, I'm thinking). She said "A grown up's favorite word is "We'll see"! Ha! too funny. The girl's got me down pat! I'm a little suprised she didn't say a grown up's favorite words are "we'll see and if you ask me again, the answer is no". :-)