Friday, March 30, 2012

March (not so much) Madness

Friday Favorites {Wilson}

These days there aren’t a lot of pictures of Mister (soon to-be four) Wilson.  This is what I usually get….

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Though this is the day he asked me to take his and Big Bob’s picture

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Thankfully I am able to get some action shots of the Mister.  Nothing like a crooked ball hat and a green tractor.

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And I’m not sure what game this is but Will runs back and forth between the shrubs and trees at Mimi & Poppy’s every week.  I think we are on a wolf hunt. 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mister Wilson’s new gang

I talked about Mister Wilson’s “Friends” before.  Will has a LOVE for stuffed animals.  It is a special kind of love. It started off with Frog (who is also known as Princess Frog due to her attached blanket dress). Frog is his numero uno, don’t leave home without it.  We have two in case of emergencies.  Will knows there are two and is fine with that.  His secret wish is that when he turns four he could sleep with BOTH Frogs.  We might let that happen.  Anyway, the other day Will said he’d be right back he had to go get his friend.  I assumed it was one of the usual suspects.  Boy was I surprised when I came back into the den and saw this……

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This represents 80% of his friends that sleep in the bottom bunk.  (Every night he has to choose which 3-4 will stay with him.)  Thankfully I was quickly able to get them herded back upstairs with a line about Gus wanting to eat them if we left them all out (which is partly true). 

Some have normal names like Bunny, Horse, Cat, Bear, Baby Giraffe, etc.  And then there are the creative ones.  King Frog (he’s wearing a crown in the pic), Sheldon (the sea turtle), Mama Shelby and baby Shelby (also sea turtles), Big Bob (one of the horses), Gus Puppy (take a guess who he looks like….).  But our most recent additions have the most creative of names.  A trip to the aquarium with Mimi resulted in a spotted stingray.  I was lobbying for Stevey the Stingray when Will announced his name was Concert.  And the other new addition (again thanks to Mimi) is a beanie baby fox which Will named Photo.  I’m not sure if he’s starting a theme team with Concert & Photo.  We’ll have to see where the next friend’s name takes us.

So if you should run into Will anytime soon you can expect him to give you an update on all his Friends.  They are constantly getting into trouble, or taking naps.  The take some serious naps. 

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And with Princess Frog

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

is he becoming a book lover?

For me this is right up there with having a child who has a sweet tooth….

I believe Wyatt might slowly becoming a book lover!!!  <big sigh of relief> 

2012-03-20a (3)I don’t care who my kids look like, what they become, what sports they play…….but I do hope they all become book lovers and have a sweet tooth.  Is that too much to ask for?  (Wyatt has the worlds biggest sweet tooth)2012-03-20a (6)

Wyatt has rejected every single book that has gotten within a few feet of him.  He tears them, chews them, throws them.  Unless you want to chase him around reading screaming you have had no chance of reading to him.  It broke my book-loving heart. But in the last few weeks he has decided that books about 18 wheelers, monster trucks and trains are the greatest thing ever.  He sat totally quiet for at least 20 minutes looking at the same book over and over the other day.  I could have passed out with excitement.  Wyatt is not one to be content ever.  I have prayed and prayed for contentment for him with no relief in sight.  But I think he might have finally found some contentment in this little truck book.

And you can bet I will be going to the book store very soon and buying every single monster truck or train book I can find!

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The verdict is still out on Ella being a book lover.  She lets you read to her but she just mumbles in Chinese the whole time and then gets huffy and takes the book from you.  Hopefully she will love them once she understands what we are saying. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

a step back in time

We obviously do not have a lot of pictures of Ella prior to meeting her in December.  And while we sent a camera along with her care package before traveling we learned it never made it to her (the downside of traveling so quickly).  And while most orphanages have very active yahoo or Facebook groups, with families constantly traveling to get their babies (and sharing pictures of the waiting babies).  Ours was small, with few families traveling, and even fewer visiting the old or new orphanage.  So we’ve just dealt with the fact that there aren’t going to be any other pictures of Ella than the 3-4 we received with her referral. 

Chris randomly googles the new orphanage to see if anything new shows up.  This week we hit the jackpot (or was it last week???).  He found 3-4 new pictures of Ella at her new home, Love Manor!  We were so excited.  Truthfully, we had probably seen these pictures before but didn’t recognize her since her hair was a lot longer and the fact that we “know” her now.  So we then went and looked back at all our saved links for both orphanages and found a few more pictures from her old orphanage.  Eventually we went back to a video that we had found, a news piece on the orphanage, and found her again….several times!!!! 

It’s hard to adequately express how it feels to find pictures of your daughter before you ever meet her.  But to see her laughing and smiling (and getting her nose wiped) let’s you know that someone was loving her before you found her. And even more importantly, Ella will have a few more pictures of herself from her time in China.

(for those that are super curious, on the video she is at minute marks 1:20, 1:30, 3:30)

We showed these to Ella to see if she had a reaction. In each picture she found herself in the picture without any prompting and said “Wei Wei” and smiled.  She loved seeing these pictures!

Here she is in the orange shirt in the center, next to the woman.
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On the right side of the teeter-totter.
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She is the very first girl here.
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Bottom left in red standing.
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Right
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Favorites {Wyatt}

I think there is a blog party called Friday Favorites or something catchy like that.  This isn’t part of that….just my fave pics and it’s a Friday.  Actually I have a ton of pictures that either don’t have stories to go with them or I’ve already forgotten the stories (which is quite tragic).  Either way, I think I may go and do this on Fridays for each kid until I get a bit more caught up with blogging.  And as a double bonus, this helps me when it’s time to print pictures and eventually scrapbook (insert wild, hysterical laughing…….).

Here is Wyatt from February!

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I challenge you to a sword fight Mister Wilson!
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3 months together

Monday we have physically known Ella for 3 months.  This brave girl has come a long way in three months.  When at home she is a confident, happy girl.  Outside the house she’s pretty quiet and reserved, and a little uncertain.  It goes without saying she’s the happiest at home.  Regardless of the language barrier she is still two years old.  And two year olds still have tantrums, regardless of the language.  Luckily we don’t see too many of those.  And it’s the normal things that spark them…..brothers taking toys, not getting her way, etc. 

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We have a few things to overcome with food.  Thankfully she is not a food hoarder!  (Many kids are and I prayed she would not have that issue, what a praise.)  She loves to eat, but doesn’t hide food or sneak food.  However, she always insists on eating whenever someone else is and wants whatever they are having.  She may not like it, but she wants it on her plate.  Not the end of the world but it does cause the occasional conflict.  For instance, I refuse to give her some of Wyatt’s prunes she does not need those. I give her raisins since they look similar but she still pouts about it.  Her one big food issue is that she stops eating the second either of the boys finish.  Wyatt does not eat much and he eats fast so he’s often done before she really gets started.  And if Will’s in the mood he will finish in no time also.  So then we run into problems insisting she finish her dinner. Which then leads to more pouting when Will gets a “surprise” (aka dessert) and she doesn’t.  In our house, you have to eat a satisfactory amount of dinner to get dessert.  I’ve been trying to delay Will’s surprise until Ella’s earns hers to avoid the conflict but it doesn’t always work.  And with this girls sweet tooth it’s just pure torture.  We’ll get there eventually.

2012-03-15 (43)She continues to bond and attach wonderfully (I think).  Occasionally she still shows signs of our first weeks together, I suspect that will continue for awhile.  But she is taking more steps forwards than backwards these days.  Though last week at the park she shut down for a bit.  I later realized it was the first time we had been around a large group of (strange) kids.  I’m sure it was from uncertainty but maybe some sort of flashback from living in China too?  As soon as we stepped away from the playground she was back to her giggly self.  That tells me she’s not ready for us to leave her in the church nursery yet.  Thankfully she does pretty good sitting with us.  I wonder how much longer that will last? 

Ella is enjoying her brothers.  I’m not sure she loves sharing, but she seems to love their company.  Though she does not care for Wyatt’s physical show of excitement…..a word to the wise, do not stand too close to Wyatt when he’s overly excited…..things get thrown and arms start swinging.

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Ella says all kinds of words now.  And she definitely understands most of what we say.  And she knows how to boss and tattle:)  She loves to say “Wyatt Mama No No” when she’s reminding Wyatt of something I told him not to do.  She has also added the phrase “get it” to her vocabulary.  I was in shock when I heard that one.  But she did get her point across.  She also says: baby, quack quack, shoes, socks, pink, wyatt, gus, choo choo, truck, pig, hairbow (yay!), juice, milk, more, please, thank you, cheese, water, night night, bye bye…… well, you get the point, she says A LOT of words.  Now that doesn’t mean an outsider would understand any of them.  But Chris & I understand a lot of what she says.  She still has a way to go with pronunciation. She also is doing/learning signs.  She signs for more, all done, milk, juice, eat and help.  Help is the most important, she can say help but you cannot understand it because she says it so softly and it’s more of a grunt.  She picks up on signs quickly so I need to do better with teaching her new ones. 

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Sister does not like to wear a dirty diaper.  She does not let one minute go by without letting you know it needs to be changed.  And she knows the words “diaper” and “poop”.  But if I catch a whiff and ask who has a dirty diaper she will quickly tell me it’s Wyatt if she knows she’s clean.  That comes in handy a lot.  I suspect she will be a quick potty-trainer.  I wonder if we will be potty-training this summer!

I was long-winded, but that is what our girl is up to three months in.  SONY DSC

Sunday, March 18, 2012

monday the 19th

Today marks 3 months since we met Ella for the first time.  I have more to write later but right now I am thinking of my friend Sandra, who is just a few hours away from meeting her new daughter, Kylie.  Sandra and I “met” online and quickly became friends.  She was our biggest cheerleader last summer when we were working so hard to figure some adoption things out.  Anyway, she had a long wait from referral to travel and now it’s just down to a few hours!  I am so excited for their family and will be anxious checking their blog first thing Monday morning to see Kylie’s sweet face. Feel free to follow along as another sweet child finds her forever family…..

end of an era {sunday snapshot}

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As Spring quickly draws near, our days nights with footie jammies are quickly coming to an end. I suspect these are the last few pics of a “T” kiddo wearing footie pj’s.  Next winter Wy will inherit Will’s jammies and I don’t think there are any footies in the box.

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Just like other baby milestones this one is equally bittersweet. I didn’t mourn first birthday or the last bottle (maybe because of the super expensive formula in it).  But for some reason jammies that have been worn by both boys are a bit harder to part with.  And there is something very babyish about one wearing footies.  No, they aren’t easy to change diapers in all.day.long (not that we wear them all day, well, we don’t everyday….) but they are undeniably cute. Looks like our baby is about to be a bigger boy very soon.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

first taste

Ella (finally) had her first taste of a Krispy Kreme donut.  We had a coupon for a free one and we finally got over there to redeem it. 

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I gave her a piece and she happily ate it and then her face turned into a delicious grin.  She realized she had hit the jackpot!  And she asked for more, and more, and more.   (We had 3 donuts and it was a good thing the boys didn’t know we had them and didn’t share….)  When we got out of the car she saw all the sugar on her jeans and bent down and started licking the sugar off!  Saying she loves them is an understatement!

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

do you believe in magic?

Nothing like spaghetti/tomato sauce stains on clothes.  I read online somewhere about how sitting stained clothes in the sun will make them disappear.  And it truly works. I probably do this once a week and it works every single time.  (It does not appear to work on non-sauce stains, by the way.)

Here are Wyatt’s spaghetti covered pants at 9:01

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And here they are at 11:36.  All the stains are completely gone!  Not just lighter, totally gone.IMG_1137

And for the record, I had already washed and dried these pants.  And I have tried this on spaghetti stains that have been there and washed over and over.  It seems there is no time limit on sauce stains and the powers of the sun.  I know the sun can do lots of things, just not why.  So feel free to google it if you really want to understand the science behind it. 

So that is my tip for the day….don’t say I’ve never learned anything here before :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

we are family

get up everybody and sing….. no clue why that popped into my head, but the title works.  Anyway…..

I was reading a discussion online about adjustment.  One mom shared that once her daughter (adopted at 2.5 and now 3.5) had gained some language skills she had to sit down and explain that the words Family and Teacher were not interchangeable. She thought they were the same thing.  Her daughter did not get the concept of family.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I have always wondered how Ella would differentiate us with other caregivers and that kinda answers my question.  She doesn’t.  And she probably won’t until she’s old enough to understand what family is.  Even Will probably doesn’t understand what a family truly is, but he hasn’t had multiple caregivers in his life either. While he knows he has biological parents that are not us, he doesn’t know what life is like living with anyone but me and Chris.  And all of his friends live with a family.  Ella has never known anyone that has lived in a family.  Ella doesn’t know anything but people coming in and out of her life.  Sure, she may have had a caregiver that came back every day but eventually that person just disappeared. Like when she left Qianjiang.  And again when she left Chongqing.  So while we are loving and we give her above and beyond anything she needs, she has no concept of family.  And she has no concept of forever.  She doesn’t know WE are her family yet. 

2012-03-08 (65)Recently someone asked me how it was really going.  I explained that she was very happy and has fun with us but she didn’t “need” us.  Kinda like your niece or nephew doesn’t need you the way they need their parents. Ella needs to be held, but often it’s because someone else is wanting attention.  She is quick to jump to the front of the line like that.  She will happily lay in your lap but she doesn’t need (or want) our hugs.  She will provide an obligatory kiss, but she doesn’t do it out of love yet.  She just doesn’t know she needs our love yet. I know that will change, we are only 3 months in and we are content to this almost one-sided relationship, loving her until she’s ready to love back.  And I am not bothered by this, just curious what is going on in her little mind.  I cannot imagine what it feels like to be her right now.  It is a fascinating phase of our relationship.  I cannot wait until one day when we have that “wow, look how far we’ve come” moment.

(And before you think we are miserable and things are bad, they are not.  Everyone is really great and is adjusting wonderfully.  These are just some of my observations…..)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

still plugging along….

We are here, still plugging along.  Things here are chaotic, did you expect any less?  Lots to talk about, but no time to string a few sentences together.  But I desperately want to put things down on “paper” so that I can remember the early days of this new relationship with Ella.  Soon, I hope.  But until then, we are all doing great.  Ella is doing better day by day.  (Not to jinx things but in the last week she has had fewer night terrors, some nights she has none!)

More words soon, I promise.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ella’s first visit to the zoo

Ella Wei made her first visit to the zoo this week.  While she doesn’t look overly excited her, she did enjoy it.

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I think her favorite part were the birds, especially when they shouted “Hello” and “Bye Bye”.  I think they are also Mister Wilson’s favorite.  Wyatt didn’t seem to have a favorite.

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Ella got to spend some time getting friendly with baby Jake.

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And Wyatt showed Jake how it was done on the slide. 

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Turns out Jake was already a pro….

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Zoo + Lunch + Play = NAPTIME!
First time I’ve had all 3 nap during the week.   They all slept for 2 hours and I quickly snuck in some craft time.  We all had a great day!

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

groove time

Monday, March 05, 2012

how’s sleep going?

We get this question a lot.  Especially since we had so much trouble in China with Ella grieving around nap/bed time.  Ella is doing so much better with that!  If there are tears it’s usually because she doesn’t want to stop playing, otherwise it doesn’t happen a lot anymore.

Last week, 5 days in a row, I was able to put her in the bed for naptime, tuck her and her dolls in and said “night night” and she’d fall asleep all by herself.  I guess it was a fluke since this week I have had to lay with her until she falls asleep.  Thankfully it only seems to take 5 min, 15 at the most.  She’s only sleeping an 60 minutes though, sometimes 90 minutes.  I think she needs more than an hour but unless I lay back down with her at an hour she won’t go back to sleep.  I need to figure out what to do about that.  But the good news is that there are few tears during the day.

At night she’s a little more high-maintenance, but I factor all of that to the fact that it’s dark out.  And I cannot tell you how many books, articles, studies, etc. that explain that since babies are often abandoned in the dark of night and they have trouble going to sleep at night.  Makes total sense to me.  If I was left all alone outside in the dark as a baby I’d still be afraid of the dark too!  And I expect that this might be a battle we face for a long time.  The good news is that she usually falls asleep in less than 20 minutes, as long as you lay with her.  She occasionally wakes up a few hours later but is easily comforted back to sleep.  But that is not the case from 2am on.  She cries out in her sleep almost every night.  Moaning, groaning and crying and can’t really be consoled either.  She’s also not entirely awake.  I guess she has night terrors. Though I wouldn’t call them severe and they only last 5 minutes or so (which seems like an eternity in the middle of the night).  She is definitely dreaming/thinking about something upsetting at night.  And she is like velcro with Chris at night.  If he moves an inch she is right there with him.  And when he leaves in the morning, she senses his absence and usually cries out, though still not awake. 

I will be honest, none of this has really surprised us.  Thankfully there are many honest adoption-mama bloggers out there who have shared their (similar) stories so I knew how the sleeping arrangement might work. And I also know there will eventually be a light at the end of this tunnel.  But right now, with all of her “activity” at night we are not in any hurry to move her into her own bed or room yet.  I know co-sleeping is not a popular choice with most families, but it’s the right choice for us given her past and we’re okay doing whatever makes her the most comfortable.  Besides I’m not ready to climb the steps every few hours to comfort her yet, it’s much easier to console when she’s in our room. 

All this to say, yes she’s still sleeping with us.  And she will be for awhile.

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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Leap Month

storm day {another ella first}

Friday was a very busy, stormy day.  We spent the day watching the news and preparing to “seek shelter immediately”.  We had several hours between rounds 1 and 2 and once the sun came out and the rain stop we immediately headed outside to burn off some energy.  Bubble blowing probably wasn’t an ideal activity given the wind but these three didn’t seem to mind. 

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It was wonderful and warm out, 80 but it was so windy! It blew Wyatt over twice and blew away our bubble sticks so we eventually came in. 

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We quickly ate dinner and cleaned up in time to head down to the basement to wait out the more severe rounds of weather.  It was wild, I think the kids were more wound up than the wind outside.  We didn’t have much to play with (cause we grabbed diapers not toys) but Will made-do with a purse and a magazine. 

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Between rounds 2 and 3 Will and Ella found some new hiding places to surprise us with (Wyatt was already asleep).

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Thankfully round #3 was quick and painless and Wyatt quickly went back to sleep, along with Ella & Wyatt.  It looks like the worst is over so I think we can call it a night and pray for a more peaceful Saturday.  So we’ll put today in the books as Ella’s first tornado warning, thankfully she didn’t truly experience one today.

*Round #1 produced a tornado a few miles away and many, many families have lost everything.   We are praying for them tonight.