Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last Basketball Game

I will not say that I am sad that basketball is over. While it is great exercise, losing week after week isn't a lot of fun for parents or kids. So, with no surprise, we lost today's first tournament game. My pictures didn't turn out very good either because I didn't get the camera set right and poor Ellie only wanted mama. Hopefully my mom got some good ones.

So... here are the few of my handsome basketball playing son! We have a month's break (yay) and then baseball starts.

This is Ellie before the game -- note the somber look; this should have been our clue that she was not in a good mood.

Oh, and I failed to mention in my last post that when we took Josh to the doctor for his ears: he had a double ear infection. Poor kid. He then insisted he play in the basketball scrimmage on Friday night and then followed that up by spending the night with a friend. Not a lot keeps this boy down!!

Getting Ellie's Social Security Card

Ahh... the joys of adoption just keep on going -- yes, this is sarcasm.

Friday Josh awoke with an ear ache and said he needed to go to the doctor. I was a little pleased that I had a "helper" for the day since Ellie and I had lots of errands to run. Since he wasn't running a fever, I gave him some Motrin and we hit the road for a day full of things to do.

One of our stops was at the Social Security Administration to apply for Ellie's SS card. Ahh.... I went to an office that I thought wouldn't be so crowded, but made the mistake of showing up at lunch time. It was crowded and we waited about an hour and a half. There were some entertaining waiters and Ellie was a hit so it wasn't too hard of a wait. Josh was extraordinarily good and decided to reorganize my wallet and the diaper bag. Not a bad deal if you can get it!!

When we were finally called back, I pulled out the application that Kevin had printed from home and I'd filed out (planning to save time) and Ellie's passport. The lady looked at it and me and said, "This is beyond my realm of expertise. I'm going to have to get someone else to help you." She finally decided we'd have to go back into the lobby and wait for the guy who does this to finish with someone else. Yay.

When it was finally our turn, I took my paperwork up (again) and Josh held Ellie. The gentleman asked me for my certified adoption decree. I dug and dug in the folder of all the papers I got in country. We had not taken any of them out so I was certain if I had gotten it I would find it. The only thing I had (in English) was a COPY of the translated adoption decree. It did have a copied seal on it. I had the original decree in Russian which I showed to him. He proceeded to get quite snippy and told me that he did this "all the time" and that he knew I should have a translated original certified copy. I told him I did not and that my agency must not have given me one. He said, "Well, I guess the person who does that was out sick that day, huh?" WHAT??? He finally said he could do it with what I had but told me to call my agency RIGHT AWAY to get an original or I'd likely have trouble down the road. WHAT??? So.... then, Ellie being her friendly self, is standing on the counter with her face poked up to the opening in the Plexiglas saying, "HI!" "HI!" "HI!". Finally I said, "I think she's talking to you." The man never took his eyes off the computer and said, "I know. I can't take my eyes off the screen or I might mess something up." Oh, great.

Finally, he said we should get her card within two weeks and we gratefully left the SS office -- hoping to not have to return any time soon.

"Pat Pat Mama"

We've played a sweet little game with Ellie since she first came home. We'll look at pictures of people and take her hand and go, "Pat Pat Brother" and pat his picture. Sometimes, if the person is there, we'll "pat pat" them in person. She loves to pat, pat herself in the mirror: "Pat Pat Baby".

Tonight as I was feeding her dinner, imagine my SURPRISE when she said, "Paa Paa Mama" and reached out and patted my hand!!! I asked Josh if he heard it and he said no, he wasn't listening. I called Kevin in and she did it again, "Paa Paa Mama". My heart is mush!!!!

Of course, on the other hand, she was such a grumpy ole' bear at Joshua's basketball tournament that she wouldn't have anything to do with her grandparents. I suspect it was a combination of sleepy and teething but she wasn't the smiling happy, go to anyone baby she normally is and only wanted to sit with me or Kevin and would occasionally lean her head over on Mee Mee's shoulder. Now, after a nap -- all better.

And ... I think my computer had a nervous breakdown. I can't get it to turn on. I'm letting it "rest" right now and will try it again later. *sigh*

Pat Pat Mama -- how wonderfully sweet!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy 10 Month Birthday, Ellie!!

Eight months ago, we sang Happy Birthday to Ellie in an orphanage on the other side of the world. Today, we sang to her as I sat on the living room floor and she crawled and pulled up and even stood alone for a few seconds. She is a girl on the move. I am a mom who is tired. *smile*

Here's some updates on the "Princess" and where she is developmentally. It's nice for me to keep track on the blog because then I can refer back when I ever get a chance to do a baby book or scrapbook or any of that other "crafty" stuff.

  • Crawls commando style and also some on all fours; she started the all fours after watching J. this past weekend.
  • Pulls up on everything and cruises around. Can sometimes stand a few seconds by herself.
  • Babbles a lot; says "kkkccckkk" every time a cat comes around; says "mama" but I don't know if she means anything by it; says "bababababa" which might or might not mean brother; I've heard her say "dada" but, again, who knows?; says something that sounds like "eahyee" which I think is "Ellie"; and says something that sounds like "baby" -- who knows if these things mean anything, but it's obvious that she is developing her language skills;
  • Can drink from a sippy cup with handles and often can do it herself;
  • Eats full jars of baby food and pretty much any kinds of table food we will share with her
  • Has cut back to about 30 ounces (or maybe even a little less) of formula a day;
  • Has three teeth: two on the bottom and one just coming through on top.
  • Has a lot more hair but still not enough to put a clippy bow into *sigh*
  • Slings her hands around and says "Hi" and "Hey" when she wants to and occasionally to other people -- especially likes to ride in the cart at Wal-Mart yelling, "HI!!!" at the people who go by. Yes, this is great fun for me for they ALL feel the need to stop to talk to her.
  • Still continues to "dance" anytime she hears music
  • Measured her at home and she appears to be about 26.5" long. We go to the doctor on Monday and we'll get a new weight., She is still in 3-6 month clothes (Gymboree) and 6 month clothes (all other) but not in 6-9 month clothes (I've found there are differences in all three of these regardless of the fact that they ALL have "6 months" in them).
  • Is much more clingy with her mom than she used to be;
  • Is sleeping better usually only waking up once a night for a bottle and sleeping from 9-6 (or sometimes 7)
  • Naps two or three times a day: 1.5 hours once and two power naps that are about 15-30 minutes long.
  • Loves Curious George, baby dolls and the babies on the Pampers box, in the mirror and on the Huggies bath wash.

I'm sure there is more, but it's bedtime around our house. Happy Birthday Ellie!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Prepare for Giggles

We had a "snow" day today, which technically was more of an "ice" day. Daycare was not open, either. It apparently wasn't too bad because Kevin had no trouble making it to work and Josh still had basketball practice tonight. Tonight the weather forecast is for snow so we'll see if we get snow or not. We have an "extra" at our house tonight and tomorrow. Josh's friend Zach is over to spend the night and day tomorrow -- just in case schools are out. You might want to pray for me as the day progresses.
Ellie has been really, really clingy the last few days. Today I am certain there was not a period of more than five minutes when some part of her wasn't touching some part of me. I might have bruises in some areas where she pulled up on me so often. I don't know if it's her new tooth coming in or her desire to be standing as she learns to cruise and walk, but, oy!!! She also took two naps of less than 30 minutes each today. Normally we get three naps and at least one of them is about an hour and a half.

Doesn't this dog look pitiful? She's so old, and she got wet
when she went out earlier in the day. Ellie loves her though.
Is this not the most sweet little face you've ever seen?
I think she needs to be a baby model.
Punch spent part of the day curled up beside me on the couch sleeping, but most of the day she spent hid in the closet. This is never a good sign when one of the cats hides under the bed or in the closet, it usually means they are really sick. We managed to get her first pill down her this morning. I'm not sure if it's the hyperthyroidism or the pill, but she didn't seem to have much of an appetite today either. I'm hopeful that we'll either see an improvement in the next few days or know that her time is nearing the end. It is absolutely breaking my heart to see her feel poorly. I'm praying for a full recovery/rebound, and that if God knows that her time is near the end that He will provide me with strength to see her through it. She's been a good friend; I owe her that.

I've copied all Ellie's videos to the computer and am going to burn ones for my parents and Kevin's mom. As I was looking through them tonight, Ellie watched in rapt attention. She was fascinated with them!!

Please remember our little friend, Charlie, and his family tomorrow as Charlie has surgery to repair his palate.
I leave you with giggles. Ellie is so ticklish, and she has discovered laughing lately. Everything is funny. I LOVE to hear her laughing. In this one, I would lift my legs up her sides and she'd cackle. Too funny!

Happy Video - Duck ... in a Truck

Don't you love those rhyming books that talk about a Duck in a Truck who got stuck ... blah, blah, blah?? Well, in lieu of happy photos I am stealing this video I found over at my friend Diane's blog, of, you guessed it -- a Duck in a Truck. It gave me a warm fuzzy. Hopefully you'll enjoy it too. Mama, don't worry; I'm not getting one to travel around with me when I work! *smile*

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Sweet Punchie

On July 4, 1994, Punch Latham was born at my friend Stoney's house. She and her sister, Judy, came to live at our very new to us home in late July 1994 when I gave Kevin a "housewarming gift." He wasn't a "cat person" at the time, but I guess he's since become one. Punch was the funniest kitten, and constantly sat on her haunches like a squirrel. We have pictures (somewhere) of her sitting on our deck like that.

She has always been my cat. She sleeps right beside me and for years she would curl up in my arm and sleep with her head on my arm. She has the sweetest disposition of any cat. She's never had any "accidents"; never been anything but sweet with kids. She is the best pet I could ever ask for -- and the best friend. Her sweet fur has captured many tears. She always knows when I'm upset or don't feel good and comes to lay with me -- either on my lap or curled up beside me in bed.

For the past few days she has been acting like she doesn't feel well. Kevin commented that he thought she had lost weight. Her "meow" sounds different; she's been hacking like she had a hairball. She's lying around. I decided she needed to go to the vet first thing this morning.

Apparently, the news isn't so good. She has hyperthyroidism. The diagnosis explains a myriad of symptoms she's had as of late. But, if that weren't enough, her kidney levels are off indicating kidney failure is beginning. Ironically, treating and improving the hyperthyroidism can cause her kidney failure to worsen. Catch 22.

We've begun the methimazole tablets -- one pill twice per day. In three weeks we will return to ascertain where w are then. Kevin and I have both agreed that we will not put Punch through a lot of treatment and agony just to keep her with us longer. It will be the hardest decision I will ever have to make if I have to make it. But, she has been a wonderful friend and I know she deserves to have an ending that is free from suffering.

I love you, Punchie.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Three Months Home!!

Yesterday Elizabeth and I made our "Happy Anniversary" calls to one another and spent some time remembering our time in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. We've both agreed that while we've been home three months, sometimes it seems like forever; other times it seems like just yesterday. We spent some time talking about how well our girls are doing before hanging up. The changes with both of them are phenomenal.

We spent our "anniversary" celebrating with three other families who have adopted from Kyrgyzstan as well. We started out with breakfast for 17 at Cracker Barrel. We separated into "girls and boys" tables since there was no way to seat all of us at one table due to our group size. We had the greatest time just talking and talking and letting the kids play. We had an 11 year old (Josh) and then eight other kiddos ranging from six years down to 9 months. You can imagine the chaos. *smile*

AP got out a basket for Ellie to sit in while we waited for our table.

Ellie and J. meet each other again for the first time since leaving Tokmok.

Allison and J. -- the ladies at Cracker Barrel LOVED the kids!

Andrea and AP (who was being a little camera shy!!) at Cracker Barrel

Ellie eating some "pre-breakfast" snacks -- right before her pancake and hashbrown casserole.

It was so cute to watch J. when the waitress took her French toast away. That girl loves her French toast!! It was also fun to see the "guys" bonding at their table and talking sports!! The younger boys had a great time realizing they were all from Russia!! They became inseparable. We had babies from Kyrgyzstan, Russia and China; boy were we multi-cultural.

After leaving Cracker Barrel, we went to the Adventure Science Center.

On the way there, Ellie passed out and had her a beauty nap for the first little while we were there. We finally woke her up so she wouldn't miss all the fun. Interestingly enough, she didn't miss anything because all she did was to crawl around on and play with J's toys. We discovered right after arriving that Ms. Ellie has cut a new upper tooth!!

AP loves Ellie and wanted her to be awake.

Stu and J. looking at the trains.

Barry with C. and J., also looking at the trains

We found some floor space for the little ones to crawl and play and the "bigger" kids went all around the Science Center playing. I would love to go back sometime with just Josh and check it all out and see the planetarium show. I think he would really enjoy it since he's such a "hands-on" kid.

Josh and S. play with a construction toy.

J. was fascinated with Kevin's beard.

C. playing with some fo the toys that Allison was smart to bring!!

Josh and Ellie playing.

Two of my favorite photos of the day -- J. and Ellie - rediscovering each other

Kat and C.

J. is the Cutest Little Princess and I LOVE her new haircut!

The four Krygyz cuties. Note the matching shirts? Andrea made them for all of us and we were THRILLED to get them. If you are interested in getting one like it, visit her site!! They are really darling!!

I'm just guessing, but it looks like J. is about to cry!

Unfortunately, I've realized that I didn't get pictures of C. or M. -- I suspect it might be due to the fact that they are four and were BUSY boys. They weren't still enough for photos!! There are some over on Andrea's blog.

So, after several hours, we had lots of really tired kids and we all started to disperse for other places. Josh had a basketball game that we went to. We made plans for those who could to come back for dinner later. It ended up just being Allison's family and us, but we had a great time at Pizza Hut and Baskin Robbins. Ellie and J. had some more "one-on-one" time with Stu, who declared that the two of them on his knee "just felt right" and that they could just take Ellie home if we wanted. *smile* Yeah, right!! They were terribly cute together!!!

We've all made plans to get together again this summer -- this time in Kentucky for more fun and with the hopes that more people will be able to join us!!

As I thought back over the day, I realized that these wonderful people that we now call friends, would have never come together but through this wonderful thing we call adoption. These four precious children, who all had some rough starts in life, are now treasured beyond belief by families who want to make sure they remain connected to their past and to past relationships, while building new, wonderful futures.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sleep ...Remedy

Curious George is Ellie's FAVORITE toy. We've mentioned that before. Well, imagine my surprise when I saw the above ad for my newest best item in the house: Calms Forte for Kids. You've read about our sleep issues with Ellie. She fights sleep and all things related to it with all she has. Nighttime is the worst for her. Then, I remembered I had a tube of Calms Forte for Kids in her dresser. I remembered it the night I wrote the post about all the trouble we were having with sleep.

I thought it was worth trying it. What did we have to lose? We already loved the Hyland's Teething Tablets and there are several other Hyland's homeopathic products we use, so I slipped a couple of tablets under her tongue at bedtime. The change was incredible. She just relaxed in my arms, didn't fight and arch her back and went to sleep. She slept well -- waking only for her bottle at 5 hours after her last one -- and woke up happy. No screaming in the night, no waking up because she lost her pacifier. Luxury -- sleep!!!

Here's some information about the product, and I'll testify that it's all true!! Thank you Hylands for giving me some sleep and for allowing Ellie to calm down enough to sleep.

Hyland's Calms Forté 4 Kids™
Watching your restless child toss like a tiny boat in rough seas, you’d give anything to bring on the calm. These sleepless nights are heartbreaking as much as they are exhausting – for both of you. But even the youngest human body has the ability to re-establish balance and health – including rejuvenating sleep patterns. The trick to achieving this balance lies in your ability to provide safe relief that targets the causes that keep kids up at night. Hyland’s created Calms Forté 4 Kids™ for just this reason.

This medicine is designed to safely and effectively counteract mental and physical restlessness in children. Studies show that 69% of our children under 10 years of age are prone to some kind of sleep problem. This doesn’t mean that your child needs to suffer. Calms Forté 4 Kids™ addresses the causes that inhibit a child from sleeping well. Your child won’t wake up groggy like he or she might, when given over-the-counter drugs containing diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl®). This is significant for school-age children who need to be alert first thing in the morning.

WHAT a Day . . .

I woke up with a bloodshot left eye. I assumed it was pinkeye, but who had time to deal with that when I knew we had our post placement visit today at 3:30 and we had some serious cleaning to do. Kevin took a vacation day today to help with all the things we had to get done around the house, and we set in early at 8:00 a.m. when he returned from taking the kids to school.

Finally at 2:00, I left with the hopes of stopping by my doctor's office to get some drops for my eye, which had gotten no better. I looked like I'd been on a three day drunk -- with no alcohol to show for it. Just my luck, there was no one, sans the receptionist in on Friday afternoon. So, back to the car and call the optometrist's office at Wal-mart to see if they can diagnose and treat pinkeye. Yes! they say, and my luck, they have an opening at 5:00. I'm thinking that if the SW is there at 3:30 and takes an hour I'll have plenty of time to get there by 5:00. Ha!

While I was gone, our SW called and had gotten tied up with some work and wouldn't be here until between 4 and 4:30. Ok.... well, I'm thinking I can still make it as long as I leave by 15 til 5. Lisa (our SW) shows up; I tell her my dilemma and say that Kevin, Josh and Ellie will be home and I'll answer whatever questions she has and then will need to go on. So, she walks in, sits at the kitchen table; we talk for, oh 15 minutes and she leaves. NOW.... while I am perfectly FINE with that --- we cleaned house ALL DAY LONG. There are no animal hairs, no dust particles, no "funk" on the floors; the bathrooms are clean, the dishes are all clean; the laundry is all done; the office is cleaned; the couch has been steam cleaned; the rugs have all been washed; I have hung pictures and put up my Upper Living decorations in the upstairs hall; Josh cleaned his room; we washed all our bedding and made all the beds; it was all GOOD and not even seen. *sigh* The bonus here is that the house is clean -- for a little while. And, we'll be gone much of the day tomorrow and Sunday, so MAYBE it will stay clean for a little while.

The good news is that Lisa didn't notice (unlike our dear friend Iris, who did) that our plug covers were in upside down! haha! It's been so long since we've had plug covers we didn't even have the sense to put them in right side up. Scroll down and you'll see the pictures of them in -- upside down.

The other great news is that Lisa brought Ellie a Bethany bear and a LOVELY blanket that a sweet woman makes for all the children who come home. Ours was really cool -- red, white and black with a dog print -- PERFECT!!! I'll post photos soon.

I'm SO excited. Allison and family are here to visit this weekend. We are having a "mini-Kyrgyz" reunion with Kat and Andrea and their kids. I'll post pix as soon as I can. We are off for breakfast in the morning at the Cracker Barrel and I just can't wait to spend the day with all of them!!!

Oh, and my eye? Turns out to be a bacterial infection -- pink eye, nonetheless, but much less likely to be spread and passed along to others. And, so I'm forced to wear my glasses (for goodness sakes) for the next 7-10 days. I'm MORTIFIED that we are having get-together time and I'm going to have to wear my glasses!!! Now, if they were cool and up-to-date, it'd be one thing, but these glasses are likely 8-9 years old. Oh well.... I suspect everyone will be looking at Ellie and not me anyway!! *smile*

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What I Did Today

It's been a busy day in "Ellie World".

First she crawled over to the dog with hairbrush in hand . . .

She decided to comb the dogs paws. I suspect if she'd had clippers, he'd have gotten a pedicure.

Then it was time to watch Sid the Science Kid (mama loves that show too!!) amidst all her toys.

She then discovers that playing under the table (and even under the chairs) is lots of fun.

And, it's only noon. I'm sure there is more to come.

Guess What We Are Doing at Our House?

Can you say, "Post placement visit Friday?"


Love this photo of Lucy looking like she wants to go out. Mind you, she can go out anytime she wants, but it looks like we have her caged in.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bath Time

Ellie has grown to LOVE her bath time. It is a special time for her and daddy as he is usually "Mr. Bath Giver". I took some video of her, but decided it was "too revealing" for the blog. After all, "The Princess" is nothing if she's not modest. Let me tell you what, some of them were hilarious, though!! Instead, here are a few cuties of her from tonight's bath. You can even see her two "toothies" in the top one.

One of our friend's, Callie, came over today and wanted to play with Ellie. Callie is in Kindergarten and she did an excellent job of playing with and entertaining Ellie. I actually managed to get the dishes done while they played "doll house". It was so sweet. Here are a few photos of the "girls" playing together. Check out the drool in the first photo. I think there might be more teeth in her future.

And, the last picture? Well, I just liked it. *smile*