Thursday, February 28, 2008

Did I Used to Do That?

Seriously, this is me, and I still do this as part of my fencing warm-up!

I had this image of bundling Apple into the pram and walking to my fencing club and fencing while she played. Once I took time off for the paperchase, though, I never came back quite as strong. It was the first time in 5 1/2 years I'd taken time off from fencing.

The picture above is my instructor giving me a lesson. The move is called a flancconade (rhymes with lemonade) and a professional photographer for a newspaper was at the club that day and shot this photo. The position is near perfect, my instructor's blade is completely trapped by mine and running exactly parallel with my arm. In the background, you can see my lunge in the mirror. I am not wearing a fencing jacket. Many clubs require them at all times, but for my lessons I'm not required to wear one.

From October to December, I still competed despite going out-of-town on the weekends to be with my grandmother. By the time she came to live with me, the club was closed for the holidays and when it re-opened, she'd just passed away and I took January off to grieve and catch up on work and attend the funeral. The few times I did manage to go, there wasn't anyone else there practicing.

Now, the qualifying tournament for Summer Nationals in looming. I wish I was more motivated and definitely in better condition. My endurance is nil. With all the rain we've had for the past several months, I didn't even get out to walk as I usually do, so I'm a cardiovascular wimp now.

I told myself that this year would be my "last hurrah" as a competitive fencer before motherhood, but, honestly, since beginning the adoption, I haven't been interested in doing anything that doesn't revolve around preparing for my daughter's arrival. Only when I was taking care of my TuTu did thoughts of Apple take a backseat.

I'm pretty bothered by this lack of motivation. I'm a person who sets a goal and accomplishes it. I'm a person who used to put in 14 hours a week, at least, fencing, either sparring, practicing or having lessons. On the other hand, fencing is recreation, a sport, not anything as important as building a family. Then again, I believe it's super important to stay fit and healthy, as a mother and, especially, as a single mother.

Anyway, these are my ramblings of the thoughts in my head. I did a 30 minute practice last night and I've been keeping up with my weekly lesson, which I have tonight. For fun, the picture below was taken at my club, but it wasn't a fencing move. It's a very basic sport acrobatic move. Did I mention that I used to do gymnastics? I LOVE gymnastics! I still do cartwheels regularly and I was 36 when I last did an aerial.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yin and Yang

Better known as Sammy and Velvet (affectionately called Nini, rhymes with bikini). They are 2 1/2 years old now and still very frisky, particularly Sammy who is always looking for adventure, and usually finds it.

For those of you who are new to my blog, here is a picture of Sammy the night I got him, in the palm of my own hand. He still had his umbilical cord attached and was about 24 hours old. He sure looked like some kind of monkey embryo, didn't he?

Some New (Used) Things

This is an Amby Baby Hammock. I bought one used off of Craig's List so I could use it with this...

I imagine Apple bouncing in this while I'm cooking. However, my kitchen doesn't have a doorway and is waaaay too small for her to be underfoot playing, so when I saw these things I knew I had to try one. Here it is with the carrying case...

In real life, the hammock is quite large; definitely large enough for a baby from China around a year old, and the spring is good for up to 25 pounds with the option of purchasing a heavy-duty spring for up to 40 pounds. They can't get out of it because of the way their weight is centered in it. It's portable so I can bring it outside. Once Apple outgrows it, or if she doesn't like it, then I'll use it for my daycare babies.

I didn't get the jumpy seat from Amby, though. I don't really like the "jock strap" design. I bought this on eBay instead...

I haven't liked any colors of the newer ones and they have an encapsulated spring. The spring on this one holds 25 pounds, like the Amby spring I have, but I can switch it out for the heavy duty spring if I need to.

So now, Apple will be able to play and jump and munch on "O" cereal on the little tray while I cook or work at the computer (ha ha, am I dreaming?).

I Have a New Secret Pal...

...and she knows what she's doing. Thank you, Secret Pal!!!

The picture shows everything, but I will decribe it all, too. The lavender bodyshirt is Gymboree from the Royal Garden line, along with socks and hair bows. There is also a ladybug hairbow, which will look GREAT with all the ladybug outfits I have in sizes 2, 3, and 4, as surely by then Apple will have a good head of hair. Chopsticks in their own quilted pouch and a ladybug wall hook complete the set of gifts.

P.S. Pooch was very interested, too.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cloth Diaper Gallery

I am a supporter of cloth diapering. I believe that by using cloth diapers, I am protecting children and the environment, as well as saving a significant amount of money. I designed and sewed this diaper shown on the left, a Side-Snapping PooPockets Diaper.

The purpose of this post is to introduce you to modern cloth diapering and inform you that there are benefits to using cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers. There are many websites offering information on cloth diapering that can be found using any internet search engine. Since this post is by way of being an introduction, I'll leave it up to you to research further if you are interested.

I designed this pictorial for my New Conceptions website to highlight some of the benefits. To view it at the proper size, please click on it. This baby is not a professional model and the photo is not staged. It was taken by a friend of mine while out doing her laundry one day with her son.

There are many different styles of cloth diapers that fall into six categories:

Flat fold, Prefold, Contour, Fitted, Pocket n' Stuffer and All-In-One

Example photos of diapers in each of these categories can be seen by clicking here.

To view step-by-step photos of me diapering a newborn with a variety of cloth diapers, click here. There are other links on this page to follow if you are interested in seeing more.

Now the fun part, pictures!

Some are from my own website and others are from various websites that I'll not list because I'm endorsing overall cloth diapering, not a particular brand or company, though I admit an obvious bias toward my own!

Prefold with pins, the diapers of yesterday, but still practical today.
These diapers can also be used pinless with a Snappi or velcro cover.

PooPockets Orignal One-size and Tiny PooPockets, my own designs.

Copyright 2005-2007 Very Baby, LLC.


Copyright 2002-2008 Cotton Babies, Inc.

Snowflake diaper cover by Hayseeds

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Special Families, Special Faith

I few hours ago, I followed a few links from adoption blogs and ended up learning about something called Trisomy 18. It's a genetic disorder that causes a baby to be born unable to survive outside the womb, at all, for minutes, hours, days, or, in the most mild form, perhaps 20 years. I found these blog links on this blog about a mom who has Cystic Fibrosis and while preparing for a lung transplant, found out she was pregnant. She's delivered her baby prematurely and is now fighting to be well enough to get on the transplant list so she can live to raise her daughter. Please remember this family in your prayers.

A beautiful video of Eliot's short life can be seen by clicking on his name. And to get to know Poppy Joy's family, who are just finishing their paper chase, click here.

Since the loss of my TuTu and caring for her here at home is still so fresh and having had the privilege of being with one of my friends during the birth of her stillborn daughter at full term, and also having had the experience of other friends caring for their baby at home until her death after being born profoundly brain damaged due to lack of oxygen in the womb when the placenta abrupted, as I read each of these blogs, I felt tremendous love for these families and for their little babies with Trisomy 18. I can appreciate so fully the blessing of the short lives of each of these little babies born with Trisomy 18 and the joy they were to their families and feel so near to them. It enhances the feelings I have for the miracle of my adoption process and for how children are brought into our lives.

I love this quote from Poppy Joy's blog: "Do not doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Celebrating The Double Digits

Celebrating my 10 month LID anniversary with a fashion show beginning with the infamous $1.85 dress by Koala Kids. A peachy-pink chennille with maribou trim, and antique white lace at the hem, deceptively simple on the hanger, but richly elegant and comfortable when worn; very, very soft for those cuddly moments to come (size 24m and 12m).

This dreamy dress also matches with the sweater from the Koala Kids overall outfit seen here. Be sure to click on these pictures to see them up close, where the texture of the fabrics can be seen in detail. It's the fabric textures, as well as the styles, that make these outfits stand out.

Also included in today's fashion show is an outfit I waited for patiently and nearly missed by less than 24 hours of it going on sale. It's also by Koala Kids (I loved their holiday line this year) in a peachy-pink velour (nikky, to my European readers) with a brown faux fur trim and velvet ribbon (size 24m).

As I become an expert sale shopper, I also become "haunted" by various pieces lingering on the store shelves. This 100% cotton sweater by Mulberry Bush is one such item. After the fourth trip to Nordstrom Rack and seeing it still there, I also noticed a new item, these black/floral french terry/lycra pants by Pumpkin Patch. The sweater was $14.97, marked down from a whopping $54.00, and the pants were $5.97 marked down from $22.50 (size 3).

Last in my 10 month celebratory line today, is one that I think will be a favorite. This cotton two-piece by Rabbit Moon, a division of Le Top, from their 2006 introductory line, will be perfect on my little Apple with the delicate blossom print and coordinating stripes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Feel Like a Thief

Any time I'm near Babies R Us I always stop in to check the sales racks. I have been in there so many times that I've memorized all the stuff - really. Last week, I bought a little knit dress that I've had my eye on since before Christmas. It was originally $29.99 and then went down to $20.99 and then another 30% off to about $14 so I finally bought it. Trouble was, the only one was size 12m. I bought it anyway and swore I wouldn't go driving to all the Babies R Us stores within 60 miles to hunt up a larger sized one. Well, tonight I had a great excuse to go to the one 20 miles down the road, I needed to look at screen doors at Lowes. I looked and looked through all the racks and didn't see one (I brought the little one so I could exchange it if I found a larger one), then, on a rack of just Wendy Bellissimo stuff, I saw it. Then I gasped, for there was a size 24m and the price tag read $2.00. I did NOT make a typo, it was written by hand on a pink clearance tag $2.00 and that was it. I took it up to the register, where I was instantly recognized and asked about my adoption progress (see, go in often enough and one doesn't need tummy bump to be recognized as a waiting mom) and I asked if this price was for real. The girl nodded, but looked confused and started punching register buttons. After a moment, she called the manager over and I thought to myself that they might accuse me of writing such a ridiculous price tag myself. But, nope, this wasn't it. The girl needed the code to ring it up with the Valentine sale special of 30% off all clearance stuff. I told the man I didn't mind paying a full two dollars and that he needed give her the code and that I already felt like a thief. They both laughed indulgently at me and then I paid a whole $1.85 (that was the real total with tax) and raced out the door before someone decided they'd made a mistake. Now I have two gorgeous little dresses, exactly the same but in two different sizes and I'm very happy.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I didn't buy a screen door. I didn't like any that I saw or any of the prices. When I got home I had a good look at the one I had and fixed it. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my drill? The door, by the way, is 16 years old and the cheapest the store carried. At the time, the salesman said to me, "Miss, this is a very cheap door. It's not going to last you 2 years."

Haha, mister, it's 16 going on more! What happened was that the metal (sort of like a tin can) ripped away where the top hinge was riveted on. However, I noticed there was more metal under the ripped bit since the ripped bit was actually a sort of sleeve used to make the door adjustable as to fit in the door frame. I removed the hinge, drilled three holes just under the rivets, drilled three tiny guide holes to correspond on the door, attached the two with three used screws I removed from an ancient baby gate before throwing it away a few months ago, reattached the hinge to the door frame, removed the shim that properly spaced the door latch (because the door hange further over now because of how the metal tore and the screw heads) and, voila, fixed!

Did I mention I did this at 10:30pm? Reason? I didn't realize that my cat Sammy had escaped. My neighbor tapped on my door and Sammy was standing beside her on the doorstep. She said she saw the skinny man-cat on her porch and didn't recognize him as mine because she thought of mine as being much larger, but when she asked her husband if he thought it might be Kimi's, the cat recognized my name and started back to my door. She followed and tapped on my door to let me know he was ready to come in. He's strictly an indoor cat, but "forgets" sometimes. Clever boy to recognize my name with 5 little kids calling it all day long, I guess even a cat can figure out what it means. After all, he knows his own name and that of the other cats.

If there are a zillion typos or missing words in this post, it's becaue it's 2:30am, or so, and I'm tired, but wired. My TuTu was on my mind today and I'm missing her.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Daughter Near

I had an amazing sensation yesterday. I suddenly I sat up and looked around because it felt like my daughter had called out to me. It was very real. It wasn't an urgent thing, just that she was very near and called out to me.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year - for Some

For others, it's a day of misery due to cold, hunger, lack of other basic necessities and of mourning the loved ones lost in the worst snow storms in a century. Please pray for those in need and, if so inclined and able, please donate to Half the Sky's special program, Little Mouse Emergency Fund, set up to help at this time even more than they usually do. A special page dedicated to the details of each SWI can be found here.

I realize that Feb. 7 was the actual day, but under these conditions, I didn't feel like celebrating, so at the stroke of midnight, I published this post.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I've Been Tagged - My First Time

I don't know what a meme is or what it means, but I do what I'm supposed. According to Kim, who tagged me, I'm supposed to:

Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
Open the book to page 123
Find the fifth sentence
Post the next three sentences
Tag five people

Okay, here goes:

"Either way, she was coming with him. He could live with that, he thought, suppressing a smile.

It was a blackout."

(The Setup by Marie Ferrarella)

Goodness, I hate to tag anyone. Do people like doing these things are are they dreaded? I liked it because it makes me feel part of the blogging commmunity.

I'll be brave and tag the first five people on my blog's menu of other blogs I read. They are:

Eliza's Story
My Chinese Dream
Catherine's Chatter-Waiting for Hannah
Waiting for Chloe
To Tess and Back

Monday, February 4, 2008

Referrals This Month

CCAA matched babies to parents whose dossiers had an LID up to Dec. 27, 2005. This means that next month, we might get through the rest of 2005. It will be nice to see a 2006 after the next date. However there have been some cases where CCAA has only matched two days worth of dates in a whole month, so I'm prepared for anything. I'm still going with the flow and enjoying it.

This week I will finally be all caught up with work. I even sent out a few thank you notes and very belated holiday greeting cards. I still have more to do and I've not even begun the paperwork for my business for taxes.

My goal this week is to declutter all the piles of papers around my place before I drown in them. Is there anyone out there who would care to take the "Declutter Challenge" with me this week? Should we photograph our before and afters?

I spent all day and most of the night on Saturday working. I went to church Sunday morning and it's now just after 5am Monday morning and I've still not gone to bed yet. However, I did make catfood, a 3 1/2 hour endeavor I undertake once a month, and I finished organizing my patterns for New Conceptions, printed some articles on the storms in China for my daughter's lifebook, and more.

The only relaxation I had was to sit and watch one video, interrupted by laundry, in the wee hours of Monday morning.