Friday, January 31, 2014

Shin Nian Kuai Le

We had a fun Chinese New Year party! My girls were looking forward to it with more anticipation than Christmas and they had a great time. You'd never know that I had a team of 3 painters in until after 1pm and that my front entry way, part of the living room and entire hall way to the bedrooms was all tarped, masked, and that the entire house had a layer of fine dust from sanding joint compound for three days.

Two families joined us, one with four children adopted from three countries, two from China, one from Vietnam and another from Kazakhstan. The other family that joined us has three bio children, and their mom is from Taiwan. It was great to hear my girls speaking Mandarin again. Their native language is one of their greatest assets and I'm doing all I can to make sure they maintain it.
So, we had rice, chicken, pot stickers, veggies, cookies, candy, oranges and did crafts. The kids made little horses and lanterns from kits. We had lucky money and a dragon and more. I think we'll make throwing a Chinese New Year Party a tradition!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wild Boonie Hair

Yes, it's true, Apple has a mullet, thanks to her cranial surgeon. And now that the short bits are growing back, the top sticks straight up. I am the first to admit it's worse than the IV haircut she came to me with in China. Today I trimmed her bangs just a little, but that mullet has got to go next! Unfortunately, she's not got anything over the ears yet, since that's where the surgeon was aggressive with his clippers and razor. Add to this, the fact that the distraction stretched out her scalp so her hair is thinner now that the follicles have more skull to cover. The good new is that under her bangs, she's getting new hair, so her hairline will come down further in front, thank heavens. The bad news is that her hair will probably be looking cute again right in time for her second cranial surgery this spring when the surgeon will "style" it again.

Lickity Split

Lickity Split were the exact words JJ used to tell me how fast he could help me get the jobs done in my home needed for me to get back to work. Yes, my maternity leave is coming to an end. It would have ended sooner, but I could not get contractors in to finish a job in a timely fashion! There was always someone's emergency I was bumped for. Honestly, one contractor couldn't get over here to finish a 30 minute job in well over a month.

Well, my friend, JJ had had enough of watching me struggle with this and declared that he had guys he could line up to get it all done "lickity split" along with extracting a promise from the 30 minute job contractor, so I let him send in the cavalry. In one week, I had the fence mended with a gate right where I needed it, the foliage cut and ground prepared to receive the shed I purchased back in August, which was delivered and assembled today, and tomorrow, the painters will arrive to finish painting my hall and entry ways. JJ also said to call him any time I need something done and he'd help me get the right guy for the job. Now that's a real friend!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Self Portrait: The Multi-Tasking Mom

Medicine, diapers, dishes, litter boxes.....

It's been a little crazy around here today. A week ago I nearly lost Henry to aspiration pneumonia and severe dehydration and this week my baby got aspiration pneumonia! She's recovering, but it's a slow process. I took these pictures yesterday afternoon when she perked up for a very short while in her pram listening to Chinese nursery songs, where Henry joined her on his own, my two invalids!

Then she crashed out on the floor while I was unpacking in my newly FINISHED work room!

Monday, January 6, 2014

No More Grease Monkey

I'm sure you've noticed in all the November pictures that Apple's hair was very greasy. This was due to the petroleum jelly on the Xeroform that covered her incisions and what the surgeons used to grease the long parts of her hair with to keep them out of the surgical field. I washed and washed her hair, but it didn't make a difference. Once the sites where the handles came off were healed, it was time to figure out how to get Apple's hair really clean. I researched it and found that pure cornstarch did the trick - first try. And it washed out easily. I was so glad to see fluffy soft baby hair again!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Day

A bit too much excitement first thing in the morning!

She soon figured out that it was fun.

Yes, last year's outfits still fit all three girls.

Apple simply melted on my uncle!
She looks so tiny against him when he's standing up.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve turned out to be very fun. Our friend, JJ, and his mom and youngest daughter, stopped by bringing goodies to eat and gifts for the girls. We had treats of our own to share, like cranberry cake with hot butter sauce and gifts to give, too.

As a single mom of girls, it sometimes doesn't occur to me to get certain things, JJ filled that gap this year. Please notice the box of balls in the first picture. There is a football, basketball and soccer ball, all sort of soft, but not too soft, so all the girls can play, including Jie Jie, who is still rather tiny and got bonked too hard a couple months ago trying to catch a real football. I was cracking up today as they ran inside, each grabbed a ball, and went out in the yard to play. It just never occurred to me to get my girls a football! In addition to the balls, he gave the girls soft, cuddly things to play with.

Apple got a cute napping set that is nylon on the bottom and sort of crinkly, fleece on the top blanket and furry on the detachable froggy pillow. I commented to JJ how perfect the gift was and that he may not have realized how good the various textures are for Apple to experience from an OT perspective, and he said, "Who said I didn't realize it?" It's things like this that make JJ such a good and special friend, he really thinks about my girls' needs.

Oh, Christmas Tree You're Super Big

We got our Christmas tree rather late, but it was to our advantage since the prices had been dropped three times. The tree turned out to be too tall for our living room and I had to cut some off the top and the bottom to make it fit, but it's a beautiful tree! My house is unique, with Japanese shoji screens making one wall of the living room. I opened them and put the tree on the edge so it's visible all the way around.

We found our tree at a lot on a farm with a natural grocery store and a big barn made into a western town by Disney designers inside. We sat in a marvelous sleigh, had free hot chocolate and tried shooting, using up the free tokens we were given for buying our tree there. It was fun and special and we'll make this a family tradition and buy our tree at the same place next year.

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2014, everyone!

My hope and prayer at this time is for all the children still waiting for their forever families to find them and bring them home.

I also have a special prayer for all the families who have their new children home and are still struggling to find a new normal where everyone is content and settled. So many families, including my own, have moved to new homes for the sake of their children. We all know how hard that can be on the heels of adding to the family, which is when most of us crave the love and support of our friends and neighbors and what is familiar, not to mention financial strain and that first year of getting all the special needs sorted out with the medical appointments, diagnostic procedures, surgeries, therapy appointments, etc...

Please realize that you are not alone. There are so many of us in the adoption community going through the same things that you are, feeling the same feelings and enduring the same struggles. God has not forsaken you! He is there, but the load we carry is heavy. Turn to Him in prayer and He will ease your burden, give you strength and provide ways and means to get it all done. I know it can seem impossible sometimes, but it's true and things will get better. I promise you!

Sunday, December 15th

On Sunday, we went to church. It was so nice to see everyone, especially close friends. No one had seen Apple since we moved a few days after returning from China. Afterward, we had lunch at our favorite Chinese buffet restaurant and then headed home.

I finally felt that I'd said good-bye and it felt good to get home - to our new home.

Saturday, December 14

What a fun weekend we had! Saturday was full of fun things. We visited my friend at her store and she gave us the gift of a huge store credit that we used getting some snow pants for the girls. We stopped off for pictures at the Oakland Temple after picking up some Saigon cinnamon at my favorite natural grocery store. We ice skated at the outdoor holiday rink. Even Apple took a spin around the ice with me. We went to my fencing club's holiday party and visited with tons of friends and the girls got a great picture with our fencing coach. We cut out early from the party and went into San Francisco where we walked barefoot on Ocean Beach and stuck our feet in the surf. It was Apple's first time at the ocean. She's wasn't too impressed, being tired, poor thing. Then we took my famous night tour of San Francisco on the way home, up past Cliff House, past the Palace of the Legion of Honor where a famous celebrity was having his wedding reception, through the Presidio, up Lombard Street and down it at the crooked part, along the Embarcadero to see the light art on the Bay Bridge (the new eastern span is open), then back across the Bay to our hotel.