Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm Such a Wimp

I just popped over to the former private blog I kept while we were waiting for Ellie, getting referral, traveling and such. I had not been there in months, and I thought I'd go back down memory lane for a moment. I am such a wimp. I sat there reading it and crying. CRYING for Pete's sake. It's just such a beautiful story and such a testament to God's faithfulness. So many things I'd forgotten about -- like the double rainbow that appeared over the baseball field the night before we left. Ironically, it seems to me now that God was telling me He would not only keep His promise to us not just once, but twice. Having the dream about Ellie the night she was born -- amazing. Our journey across the world, our first moments and pictures with Ellie, the photos of Josh holding Ellie when she was so very tiny, the photos and comments I wrote about the other adoptive parents who were at Tokmok and took photos of Ellie -- the families whose babies are still waiting and who haunt my thoughts multiple times every single day.

Adoption has changed my life so much. But, I'm still a wimp.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Outta' Here!

Tonight at baseball practice (bad mama that I am, I didn't go), Josh hit the ball out of the park!! Kevin called and said he was certain he would be talking about this forever!! I know he was SO excited and I so hate that I missed it!!

The way he has been hitting so far this year, I feel pretty confident that he'll hit one out during regular season as well, so fingers are crossed that I'll get great photos of it!

Way to go Josh!!

Birthday Photo Slideshow

There were SO many pictures that I've just created a slideshow. I hope you enjoy looking at our memories as much as we enjoyed making them. For anyone interested in seeing the slideshow via Picasa (where the pix are larger), the link is here.

Twelve Month Check Up

Ellie had her one year old well visit today. Her newest stats put her at 17 lbs, 8 ounces (5th percentile), 27 inches tall (or short) (4th percentile) and a head circumference of 45.1 cm (52nd percentile). So again, she's small, short and got "the big head". *smile* Her hair is apparently growing faster than her height.

She got four shots today - OUCH. I'm told that two of the ones she got wouldn't present any reaction for seven days so hopefully next Monday we don't wake up with a fever.

As a one year old, she still crawls (very fast, I might add), cruises around furniture, stands unassisted for a few seconds before fully freaking out and plopping down and crying. She like balloons, cards, Elmo, the color red, her blankets, her brother and ice cream.

She is developing a very strong sense of independence. She wants to feed herself or will take what you put in her mouth back out, look at it, touch it and put it back in. She is very curious and tries to get into anything she can. Thank goodness pretty much everything is child-proofed already. She puts everything in her mouth. It's gross, but unless it's dangerous, I'm pretty much over it. I can't keep up. *smile*

She is spending this week transitioning from her soy formula to whole milk. YAY! Recommended amount per day: 24 ounces. I would LOVE comments from other moms about cool things they are feeding their little ones because I'm out of ideas. Some of our tried and true things are:
  • Mac and cheese (and various other pasta dishes)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cheese cubes
  • Oatmeal, pancakes, cheerios
  • Yogurt
  • Bananas, mandarin oranges, peaches, strawberries
  • Steamed veggies of all kinds (except asparagus which she does NOT like)
  • Crackers, including graham crackers
  • Cheese toast
  • Spaghetti

She'll eat pretty much anything we are having but I just feel like I'm giving her the same things over and over.

I've already addressed the sleep issues. We are trying several of the recommendations you guys gave us last week. She really loves her blankies and "Miss Jennifer" bought her a couple more for her birthday and she's already enjoying those along with a bear with a light up/color changing tummy from our friends, The Robertsons. We got several night time CDs so we we are going to try some of those. We've also heard that chamomile tea is a good relaxer and we might try that too.

She is still very social and charming. She waves (randomly) and sometimes will say "Bye Bye" although not at any appropriate time and certainly not on cue. She claps up a storm. At night I'll hear her clapping in her room. She says, "Mumma, Dada, Bubba (Brother), Bye Bye and Kccckkkee (Kitty)" and obviously an occasional "Meow". *smile* It's obvious she understands much of what we are saying, including, "No" because she will usually stop, look at us and smile. She may or may not stop, but usually she will.

So, we feel like she is very well on target developmentally. We are going for an audiology consult (as soon as I make the appointment). Dr. H. says this is standard, but I did voice concerns about whether sometimes she wasn't hearing me or was ignoring me. He says he would have sent her regardless of whether I had concerns because he doesn't want any surprises. He seems pleased with her development as well and will see us back in three months.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Birthday Photo (yeah, right!)

As much as I'd like to finish the photo post tonight, I can't. I have photos from my mom and our friend Betty to sort through and I think I might just do a slideshow (there are a LOT of pictures). I'm also QUITE tired and it's past midnight. Tomorrow we have E's one year check up, so it might be late before I can get photos posted. However, just so there are just a few birthday photos I took for now. Tomorrow I'll sort through mama's and Betty's to share those. For now, here you go:
The cake ...
The Princess ...
The MOST helpful big brother ...
Post party resting with brother ...
Playing with one of her presents ...
Elmo is as big as she is ...

Ooooh... soft.

Cake - yum!

More details and pix to follow tomorrow!

For our friends who are waiting to bring home their babies . . .

I am hopeful that this will bring some comfort to my friends who are still waiting to bring their sweet ones home from Kyrgyzstan. You were in my heart all day and Ellie and I wanted to do something for each of you and remember your wait, your longing and your children.

Happy First Birthday, Ellie!

As the night draws to a close, a very tired Princess is upstairs, her crown, wand and tutu retired for the night and working hard to keep her eyes open just one more minute. The hours are winding down for her first birthday. What a fun (and tiring) day we (she) had.

We went to church and Ellie had a great time visiting with everyone and listening to the singing in the sanctuary. She hasn't been in there in a while as she normally goes to the nursery. She became quite tired during church and we were happy that she fell asleep on the way home. We definitely wanted a nap before her party!

Mad preparations were finished up for her "little party" (what we dubbed her event) with friends and family continuing to be invited up until the last minute. I had picked up her cake yesterday in the middle of tornadoes landing everywhere. Sadly, her "free" 7" cake for her to eat didn't quite turn out (they forgot it and then didn't have anyone to make a "right" one) so I decided I would make her her individual cake last night. Inspiration smacked me and I made her a yurt. For those unfamiliar with what a yurt is, it's a portable, tentlike structure used by nomadic populations in Central Asia. We have reason to believe that Ellie was born in a yurt.

Josh blew up all the balloons and helped us tie the string on them. We prepared the food and got Ellie dressed while we were anxiously awaiting our guests. The first guests started arriving a little before two and we were so excited and blessed to have our friends and family who love Ellie to be on hand to share our excitement. Ellie felt like the paparazzi as there were three cameras and a video camera going pretty much the whole time.

When cake time came, we were surprised that Ellie didn't get any more "into" her cake than she did. She didn't eat much and was fairly well dainty about it. She was MUCH more interested in her presents. I've never seen a little one so excited to dig into presents. She honestly enjoyed the presents, bags, tissue paper and cards pretty well equally. All things party makes her happy!

There are so many photos that I want to post, so I think I'm just going to do a photo post. Thank you to MeeMee and Ms. Betty and Jennifer who took pictures, Kathryn who helped out videoing, Dianne who managed to figure out how to cut the ginormous (is that a word?) cake and who cleaned up, Katie who brought me a butterfly picture and helped Ellie open her presents and who helped me cut out the names for the table (see a separate post for more information on what the names were for), and to all the other party guests who helped make our day special: Dee Dee, Linda, Callie, Carson, Al, Sharon, Case, Clay, Reed, Iris, Dee'Anna, Addalyn, Susan, Dawn, Emily, Aunt Jeanne, Uncle Wayne and Jonquil. You all blessed us so much with your presence in our home today.

After some play time with Addie, Ellie and Josh spent some one on one time playing. Ellie then took a bottle and a nap. I'll admit her mom fell asleep with her in the rocker, and we had a short nap. I'm told both Kevin and Josh lay on the couch as well. We were all exhausted.

Around 7:00, Uncle Steve, Aunt Angie and cousins, Danielle, Lauren and Emily showed up to visit and bring Ellie a gift as well. We had pizza (I'm really going to explode from all the food I've had today) and a nice time visiting and playing with Ellie and Josh. Danielle really wants to take Ellie home with her because she's "just so cute".

And now, it's nearing ten and I'm so very tired. Tomorrow we are headed off for Ellie's one year check up and some shots. Poor baby; I'll be wearing her tomorrow in the sling. She'll feel so badly.

Happy Birthday Ellie! We are so very, very happy that God choose us to be your family and that we were willing to walk out in faith and to trust that God would work the miracle that He has in all our lives.

Stay tuned for photos of the big day!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Basketball Banquet

Josh's basketball team (and all the ones at the school) had their banquet on Saturday night and got their trophies. I don't have a great picture of Josh with his coach as he was moving WAY too fast. After pizza and sodas there was a "dance" which consisted of the boys shooting basketball and the girls dancing to music from someone's Ipod over speakers.

During his banquet, Ellie had her first sucker. The girl loved it and made all kinds of slurping noises while eating it.

Blog Baby

After the excitement with the spiders and dropping Jennifer off, I headed to the Dollar General for a few things (since we skipped Walmart) and ran into my friend, Nova, who works there. She came up and said, "Oh, look, it's blog baby!" (Blog Baby was asleep at this point and in her car seat.) Oh, and a compliment to the young man who was working in Dollar General who saw me with a carseat, left his register, and came over and got a cart out for me! Anyway, I thought it was a riot that Nova (and her entire family apparently), calls Ellie "Blog Baby". She said her husband came home the other night from the baseball park and told her, "I saw blog baby!"

Nova has reported that it is true, the camera DOES add 10 pounds as she tells me Ellie looks a lot bigger on the blog than in person. She also reports that she checks in on Ellie (aka Blog Baby) every morning. So, I told her I'd give her a shout out!!

Nova also was thinking ahead for us and had me come back to the clothing department where she pointed out (and found the correct size) for a new onesie for Ellie. I think it will be a birthday present. The shirt says, "Hi! My name is Princess. What's yours?" HA!!! How perfect!! Photos are forthcoming. I think a more appropriate shirt would say, "Hi! My Name is Blog Baby. What's yours?" Great, great, great!!

And, stay tuned tomorrow for birthday updates for Blog Baby.

Spiders Everywhere

Yesterday Ellie and I went with "Miss Jennifer" to Clarksville to get Ellie's first birthday bib and to eat lunch. We had a good time except for the spider incident.

I had not driven our van in a LONG time, and we are going to sell it so I thought I'd drive it to see if there is anything that needs to be fixed. We drove to Clarksville, ate, went to TRU and was heading to Walmart when I saw them. I THOUGHT there was a small web in the corner of the windshield with two or three tiny, tiny baby spiders. I was going to get a wipe and get them down. THEN we saw them -- there were literally HUNDREDS of tiny babies on a web that spread all across the front window. ARGH.....

We were on the interstate and decided not to disturb them and to go straight home (well, to Jennifer's house) to commence ridding the car of them. Now, if you've EVER heard the word lice, you know how we felt, it was immediate and we felt like there were spiders crawling all over us. We were freaked out the whole ride home. When we got to Jennifer's, she brilliantly thought of getting Swif*er rags so they would "stick" to the rag and not run off.

We managed to get them off, but BOY were we freaked out. No photos for this post!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Sleep Issues -- They Just Keep on Coming

When will the sleep issues end for her??

Tonight as I tried to put her to sleep, she arched her back, pushed me away, yelled, settled and repeated. I put her in the bed, she got up over and over and over again, with me putting her back down, rubbing her back. I left the room; she went nuts. Kevin went back and as I type she is throwing an all out, first class hissy fit.

She still wakes up a minimum of two times a night, usually three or four. She still wants two bottles a night, usually at 1:00 or so and again at 5:30.

She has had recent night terrors where she is screaming, crying, yet not awake.

What do I do? What causes this? I'm just beside myself. I guess I should go up and help.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ellie's Birthday Invite

I wanted to share Ellie's birthday invite here so you guys could see how she has changed this year (and yet, still, in so many ways, stayed the same). Sorry the address and phone number aren't included. Who knows who might be blog stalking. *smile*

One Year -- Five Months

One year ago today, I mailed this with great excitement and anticipation ...

And five months ago I came home with this ...

Seems like a GREAT trade to me!!

In THIS post, it seems simple. In "real" life, it was a LOT more difficult and emotionally trying.

However, the specialness of this anniversary was not lost on me (or apparently to Elizabeth either as she beat me to a post today!!). We are so blessed to have the joy of this little one in our house.

Today, we sat outside, enjoying the sun, raking dead leaves from the fall (yes, we are a bit behind!!), making a sand box for Ellie (Josh did this), and just enjoying our family. It felt so complete.

Here's Ellie with her big ball, playing and having fun.

And this is my electronic multi-tasker, Josh.

Happy Anniversary Baby, Got You on my Mind .... (anyone else remember those lyrics?)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Last Year - This Time

Last year on this day, we were having a fundraiser -- hot dogs and burgers to bring home Ellie. WOW. We were also nearing the end of our dossier and preparing it to mail on the 24th. I had pneumonia and was doing my taxes, making lists of things to do/take for trip 1 and thinking we were somewhere between #2-#5 on the list.

And on the other side of the world, a woman was about to give birth -- two months early -- to our daughter.

My heart is heavy during these days/weeks leading up to Ellie's birthday. I'm excited for her, sad that the time is passing so quickly, sad for her birthmom's loss but still very happy for our addition to our family, and nostalgic about the process leading up to getting our referral. Yes, it was some of the hardest times in our lives, but looking back and watching God's hands move in our lives and seeing Him orchestrate all of this is a beautiful thing.

Thank you, again, God for our two beautiful children.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ellie -- Trying Again with the Flowers ...

I give up ... I keep trying to take "just the right photo" of Ellie outside in the flowers and it just isn't working. I think it's the photographer because the subject is so darn cute. Thing is, she moves so fast that by the time I get the shot ready, she's just not there anymore. *smile*.
So, here we go again.

AND... big news on the pregnancy front (not mine!!): my friend, Lori is going to have a baby -- and possibly two. Check out her blog!! Congrats to you, my dear, dear friend!!!

Miss Fashionista, pondering the fate of the world while chewing on her sunglasses:

I'd put them on; she'd take them off.

Look at her looking out over her glasses. What a riot!!

Put them on; take them off; over and over and over.

I thought she looked like she was praying here. Actually, she was probably clapping; it's her favorite, favorite, favorite thing to do! She does it, laughing the whole time, ALL the time.

Happy exploring ...

My FAVORITE PHOTO!!! The wind was blowing through her hair, the sun was over her shoulder; she threw her hands up in the air and just closed her eyes and laughed out loud. It was priceless!!

More exploring in the yard ...
Just happy -- have you EVER seen a baby this happy all the time?? Well, except at bedtime, that is.
In the last day or so, she has begun to "wave". There are no words with the "wave", it's pretty random, but it's obvious that's what she's doing. We've "waved" her hand for her for so long, I guess she decided to try it out.

Baseball Season Has Started

We had a month long break between basketball and baseball. I'm glad that Josh has a sport to get back into. He needs the activity. This year he is on the Mets' team. I've set up their blog (for anyone interested in following along).
Last night we had a scrimmage and Josh struck out once and got a double the second time. He is playing third base this year (we've come full circle now as he played third back when he was in Pleasant View). He seems to like his team, although I've noticed it takes a team a while to "mesh" into a team. And sadly, sometimes they just don't. I'm hopeful that this team will.
Josh has apparently had a growth spurt as he is now taller than one of his friends that was taller than him just a little while back. The pants seem to be getting shorter too. Thank goodness it's almost "shorts all the time" weather.

Way to Go, Josh

Report cards came home on Wednesday and Josh was excited to call me as soon as he got out and tell me that he made all "A's" and "B's". I am so proud of him. He brought up his social studies grade 12 points -- that's huge!!

Way to go, Josh!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pix of Josh at Age 1

Thanks to Julie for requesting pix of Josh at age 1. Now, granted, most are already scrapbooked and I didn't have time to scan them so here are some "photos of photos" of Josh -- including the purple flower photo.

One year old photo ...

Eating first birthday cake ...

First birthday party ...

With MeeMee and DeeDee at birthday party ...

Three months photo ...

Chillin' with Sunshine ...

Bear on the day we got him ... not this small now is he??

Josh with Punch ...

"Struction worker" is what Josh always wanted to play ...

Multitasking -- Eating a popsicle and drinking Koolaid on the back porch

Railroad pix ...

Purple Flowers

When Josh was little, I took the most amazing photo of him outside our house at the beginning of spring. The purple flowers were up and we had not mowed our yard for the first time yet, and he was in these little overalls and had bent over to pick one of the flowers and all you could see was these purple flowers.

So, in that though, I decided to try to get some photos of Ellie in the purple flowers. However, the grass was still wet, Ellie was squirmy wormy and she was quite interested in eating the flower (again -- remember the daffodils??). The first few she just wasn't quite awake yet, I don't think so they were more pensive. I think I would have liked better to have had a little less sun as well -- for the shadows. But, nonetheless, here are some of my favs.

This one is my favorite -- because I love the way her lips are pursed out.