True Love: The feeling when you first look in your child's eyes, the tiny little hand gripping your finger, and you can't imagine your life without him or her.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Trying to find my positive

I've been slacking on my blogging... I'm so ashamed. :) My life has just been so crazy. I know everyone's life is crazy, but this past week was a low point for me. I had my first big exam in Anatomy last Wednesday. I walked in feeling very confident in my studying - I knew the teacher's lecture materials inside & out. The problem was, he tested over things we'd done in our lab class as well. I hadn't looked at any of that material because I thought that would be pertinent to the Lab Practical (which will be this week). Needless to say, the first 1/3 of the test was like Greek to me. I was so upset & disappointed (I ended up with a C). I came home crying over it. Matt (who is not the best at handling crying) didn't exactly cheer me up. For all the wonderful things he does, he will never be a motivational speaker.

To make matters worse, I was so shaken over the exam, that I ended up bombing a quiz we had the next day. The quiz material I really did know - I was just shaken up from the previous day. When I realized how poorly I'd done on the quiz, the tears came again -- in the middle of class! I was so embarrassed! I hate being a girl sometimes! I hate losing control of my emotions. Luckily it didn't last long & I don't think many people caught it.

Now I'm getting ready for that BIG Lab Practical coming up Thursday (over the blood vessels & circulation system). I also have a Physics exam on Wednesday. Not a great week.

And, poor Matt has been having severe pain in both of his arms. He was tested today for Rheumatoid Arthritis today. We're awaiting the results. He's also going to get some tests done to see if it may be carpel tunnel. Neither diagnosis is great.

Let me get away from all this complaining! I'm trying to start a new daily habit (well, almost daily)- I'm trying to state out loud, or write down, at least one thing that I am grateful for. Since starting it, I realize just how wonderful my life is. I mean, I've always known I had it pretty good, but being grateful for even small things every day is just empowering. My outlook has somewhat improved- I've got a little ways to go though (obviously, from my ranting earlier).

My girl looking so serious. She was very busy playing with her B*arbies.
Her animals & B*arbies are always very affectionate. She's quite the hugger, my girl. I've rubbed off on her. I can't help but love on her all the time- she's so darn cute!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ahhh... Young Love

My little princess has always been "attracted" to boys/men with dark hair. We've noticed this since she was a baby. She loves "flirting" with our neighbor- she watches for him to come home in the afternoon & loves to yell at him through the window in the summer. But as soon as he approaches her, she clams up & gets so shy (she usually hides behind me). It's funny to watch.

I discovered her fascination with a little boy in her class at school a couple months ago. I had no idea who he was when her teachers first told me about him, but I knew without seeing him that he had dark hair. I've posted about him before (A's baby).

So, when I picked Xandra up from school today, she seemed a little down. She wouldn't tell me anything until we got to the car. Finally, she opened up & told me she was upset because A wouldn't play with her today, and he supposedly told her that no girls were coming to his birthday party. **I think her class is going through a phase - "I'm mad at you. You can't come to my birthday!" - even though most of them don't have a concept of when their birthdays will be coming along. I've been invited/uninvited to Xandra's birthday too many times to count.** She was so upset about this "slight" by A. It was really hard not to giggle at her. I did my best to console her.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Girl

Happy Face!

For two nights in a row, our princess did not sleep. And I don't mean that she was restless. I mean, I put her to bed Wednesday night at 8:00 and she woke up at 11:00. Three hours of sleep, and that was it. She stayed up the rest of the night. My incredible husband stayed up with her, letting me rest a bit since I had class the next day. There seemed to be nothing wrong with her, so we dropped her off at daycare as usual. Her teachers told us that other than being a little clingy in the morning, she was fine. We thought surely she would sleep Thursday night....
How wrong we were. She did manage to sleep a little bit longer, but not much. I barely made it to class Friday, I was so exhausted. Daddy managed to take her to the pediatrician and once again received the diagnosis of strep throat. Again. She just had it maybe a month ago. That bout was pretty bad- she threw up non-stop for almost 2 days. They wouldn't even give her medication because she couldn't keep anything down. She got the meds this time around, and within a few hours was feeling sooo much better!

Today is the second day, and wow! she feels so much better! The picture above is one of the first when she started playing around again. I buried her in pillows. :) Oh, and she's got chocolate cookie all over her mouth (It can payoff being sick - mommy & daddy give in to most sweets requests...).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Middle of the Night Moments

For the past couple weeks (ok, months) we've been trying to let Xandra know that it really is ok to get up out of bed at night... if she needs to go to the bathroom. We've been struggling with being fully potty-trained for quite some time. I tend to blame myself most of the time, but also her old sitter at other times. We left Xandra's old sitter when she was about 3 1/2 years old. She wasn't even close to being potty-trained at that time. I had tried. Many times. But every time I tried to use pull-ups or (God forbid) regular underwear, I would get a lecture from the sitter that it was just too much work for her to try to potty-train Xandra with all the other kids in the house (red flag anyone?). Without walking too far down that ugly path, let's just say, that was one of many reasons we parted ways with the sitter & not on good terms.

Anyway, within about a month of being at her new daycare, she was pretty much "day-trained." God bless the people that work at the daycare (I LOVE them!!). But we have not, no matter how much we try, been able to keep her dry during naps/rest time or nighttime. It's becoming very frustrating. She's finally, in the last couple months, started staying dry all day at school- even through nap time. Unfortunately, this new skill has not come home with her-- meaning on weekends & breaks from school, she wets every day during nap time without fail. I've been thinking that part of the problem may be the fact that once she's in bed, she Will Not Set Foot Out of Bed EVER until one of us comes to get her.

So, back to the original story-- we've been drilling in her head that she has permission to get out of bed to go to the bathroom whenever she feels the urge to. She's tested us on this the last few evenings. She's very stealthy - about 10 minutes or so after I say goodnight to her, she will sneak her way down the steps & sit there until daddy or I find her. Then she quickly says that she just needed to go potty. Last night, same story, only I caught her before she made her way down the steps. I told my little fairy (she always looks so innocent at those later hours) sitting at the top of the steps to go potty & get her little butt back in bed.

Later when I was on my way to bed, I stopped in her room to take her for another bathroom break. After I'd tucked her in and was headed out the door, I heard her whimper. I came back & asked what was wrong. She said, "I sad Mama. I want my movie." "What movie?" "No!! No movie! I want to see the snow!" I tried really hard not to laugh out loud. Instead, I calmly took her hands, realizing she was most likely half-asleep & told her everything was ok & we would talk about it in the morning. She quickly drifted back to sleep.

Unfortunately, she ended up getting up at least 2 more times through the night (it may have been more, but I was too exhausted to count). Thank God for Matt- I've said it before & I guarantee I'll say it again about him - he saves me. I'm not really great in the middle of the night. Who is? Matt. He went in & rocked her until she'd calmed down from whatever it was that woke her - hopefully not the want to see the snow.

**On a parting note: If anyone out there has any really great potty-training advice, I'm all ears! We've tried most of the "tried & true" methods, but at 4 1/2 years old... we're still awaiting the day when Xandra can be pull-up free (Milo will be another story).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Video Game Time

Daddy's dream has come true - he's finally got his daughter to help him play World of Warcraft. I think he may have convinced her it was something about princesses & fairies. My poor girl. And I fear for Milo, too. ;-)

For the record, I think the ultimate reason Xandra was suddenly so interested in daddy's game was that her bedtime had passed & mommy was starting to get upset. Daddy to the rescue, allowing her to stay up late. He promised her a special date night so he could play with her again tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tidal Wave of Barbies

This is how our house looks on a daily basis... I'm not proud of it. Granted, it's been worse, but this is pretty bad. Xandra got 13 new barbies for Christmas. That's added to the however many she had before. What is not shown is the storage container of barbies & accessories, plus the 2nd barbie mansion, & the 2 barbie cars.

I never liked barbies when I was growing up. I don't get this obsession. I much would have rather had a soft stuffed animal or a baby doll. But my girl is totally into them, so we indulge. And now we're paying the price. I've attempted to corral them with a little plastic drawer container + the storage bin. But, when Xandra starts playing, they all come out, and they all end up on the floor & her especially favorite spot - the middle of the walkway.

What I'm worried about the most is what will happen when Milo gets home & he starts to amass some other type of toy that gets mixed in with this already large mess. I enjoy having Xandra in an area close by to us when she's playing (i.e. on the main floor). The drawback is that our house's floor plan is really open - it's what drew me to the house in the first place. Now I regret it. I have no space to just shut off the toys. And with the open layout, this is often the first thing our guests see when they walk in the front door. There is really no storage that can hold all of this, so we improvise. I'm seriously thinking about calling in an interior decorator or professional organizer to help with this, because I'm at a loss....

Friday, January 14, 2011


Xandra posed with her baby dolls

Miss Xandra came home from school today & started setting up her baby dolls (see above for her intricate display). She began telling me about each doll - their name (99% are named "baby"), and what they like. When she came to the one in the red dress, she announced that it was "A's baby." I had been only half-listening until I heard A's name- that caught my attention. A is a little boy in Xandra's class whom she adores. She adores him so much, she has been separated from him before because she can't keep her hands off of him. So, back to the story - she has designated this one doll as his baby. While I know she has no idea the double-meaning to that phrase, it still took me off guard. Oh lordy, what am I ever going to do when she gets to be a teenager??!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Xandra's upset with mommy for making her get her pj's on (what an awful mommy!)
X being silly after I told her she could stay up a little later

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day!

Xandra's searching for just the right snow...

Here it is mama-the perfect snow! (love that little mischievous grin!)

The best piece of snow we could find!

Ok, not a true snow day here - our schools were open. But when I brought Xandra home, we had to take some time to play in the snow. Well, most of the time mama was complaining about being cold & wanting to go inside (poor Xandra was had to beg me to stay outside & play). I really think snow is beautiful... as viewed from inside a nice warm house, maybe sitting next to a fire in the fireplace. :) My dream (if you haven't figured it out by now) is to live by the ocean. At the very least, I want to be within an hour or two drive to a beach. I'm very hopeful that with both my & Matt's new careers, we'll be able to move to our (ok, my) dream house... we shall see.

On the adoption front, we received our LOC from the CCAA. Lots of acronyms in that sentence! So the LOC is our Letter of Confirmation - the letter from the Chinese government stating they have confirmed our match to Zheng NanGan. Now we get to apply for the 2nd part of our immigration approval. We've been approved to bring "a" child from China, now we need to be approved to bring specifically Zheng NanGan home. From the approximate dates supplied by our agency, we're anticipating getting our Travel Approval (the final piece we need to actually travel to China to get our boy!) in about 11 weeks, or so. That actually works out very well. With that timeline, we're anticipating TA some time around March or April, so we can actually travel in May. Woo!! :) It seems meant to be! (My winter semester at school ends at the end of April, and we'd love to travel as soon as I'm done!)

Open Minds...

I'm probably not the best one to speak about religion, beliefs, or faith. My mom (an ex-Catholic) decided to let me choose my own faith/religion when I was old enough to decide. I understand her reasoning, and for the most part, I never really thought much about it through my growing-up years. I went with various friends to their families' churches of choice. But I never went regularly, or ever really chose a religion/church/faith. I barely even know the basic children's bible stories.

I heard once (on a commercial, I think, which is kind of amusing): "I believe in all paths to enlightenment." I think that's the one thing I can whole-heartedly believe in, without question! I don't mean any disrespect to anyone out there who is of any faith, but this is my blog... so I get to say whatever I want! I'm trying to work through some of my religion hang-ups, and I need to vent about some things. Because of our adoption, I'm pretty addicted to seeking out adoption blogs - people who have "been there, done that." A lot of people who adopt (not all, but a lot) tend to be very religious. They sometimes site "a calling" to adopt. I honestly do not care what their reason is to start the process - I'm just thrilled people are choosing this path.

What upsets me is when I read about a family who has gone to China to get their child. While there, the new family has the requisite tourist stops of sightseeing & shopping (btw, I'm totally looking forward to this part!). I've read a few families' blogs that mention going to a Buddhist temple. Not only are the temples amazing architecture, but many of them will allow you to bring your new child in to have them blessed by the monks. I've read a couple stories of families who either refuse to enter the temple, or as one family stated, felt "dirty" after the visit because they're Christians. WHAT??!! These families are adopting a Chinese child... what is so wrong with honoring their culture? And why in the world would you feel "dirty" for entering a temple? No matter how you're receiving it (a priest, a pastor, a monk, a wizard...), a blessing is an awesome thing! It's someone sending good thoughts, good wishes to your child and your family! Who wouldn't want that??

For anyone reading this: please send me & my family all of the good thoughts, good wishes, blessings, prayers you have! I will happily welcome any support we can get- no matter what your faith!! I would think just the process of going through the adoption process would open people's minds to embrace new cultures, new people, new faiths, new languages. But, some people will never have an open mind. It's a shame, I think, that a large part of these children's former lives will become... dirty.

Oh well.. rant over. Sorry if I offended anyone....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

School Bells are Ringing!

I'm getting myself ready to head on back to school tomorrow morning. I've got a very full schedule this semester: Anatomy & Physiology II + Lab, Physics + Lab, Patient Care + Lab, Wellness, & Speech. Ugh! Thankfully, I have an incredible husband who is more than capable of picking up my slack (which I'm sure there will be a lot of in the coming weeks).

Xandra has already been back to school (pre-K) for a week now - she definitely runs much better on a schedule! So, although I was home all last week, it was for the best that we sent her back (though she put up on heck of a fight on the Monday she went back!). Once she's at school, she loves it - she has tons of friends & all the teachers adore her! We love it there for her & I'm looking forward to Milo attending the same school (daycare).

Matt is trying to figure out what he wants to study when he goes back to school... he has way too many interests! And he's so good at everything he does- anything he puts his mind to! It's hard for him to narrow it down, but I know he'll find something that he enjoys.

I'm just so grateful that we have this incredible opportunity to slow down & enjoy our lives & our kids. I cannot wait to get our precious Milo home! (Amazing how I can drift from one topic & my mind always seems to wind up at the same point - Milo.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snow in a Small World

Child labor laws? What child labor laws?? :)

We got another decent snow yesterday, so Xandra & I decided to try to clear the driveway before daddy came home. Thankfully, the snow hadn't compacted yet, so we did a pretty good job. She had fun while I tried to wear her out! ;)

I had contacted a seller on et*y.com last month to make us some new Christmas stockings (we need another stocking for MIlo & I'd like them to match). When the woman got back with me, she let me know it may take a while to complete them as she's in the midst of an adoption!! What are the odds?? What a small world!! Apparently, she's doing a domestic adoption, so she's waiting to see if a birthmother chooses her family. I let her know that she could really take as much time as she needed - obviously we don't need new stockings until next December! I believe she'll hear something this coming week - I'll be sending good thoughts her way!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Freaks of Nature-Too Funny!!

While we don't have twins, we've already been asked some very probing (somewhat inappropriate) questions regarding our soon-to-be son Milo. I love this mom's take on the questions!!

And Away We Go!!

Ok, I've been setting up this blog for a few weeks now... I suppose it's time to actually post to it! I have been a bit hesitant to get started on this blog, since I do have another blog up & running already (www.babybellylaughs.info). That blog, though, was really meant to be dedicated to our adoption journey. Once we have our son, that blog will pretty much be shut down (it's on a pay site, and I only purchased 1 year of hosting). So, I decided I should just take the plunge & set up a 2nd blog so I can start sharing our family's day-to-day happenings (cause we're oh-so-interesting!).

We're here at the beginning of 2011, looking forward to a great year! Our daughter will turn 5 this May, and we're hoping to be traveling right around that time to get our (currently) 16-mth-old son (maybe we'll celebrate Xandra's birthday in China!). I'll be starting back to school full-time in 3 days, finishing up my general education courses so I can apply to the Sonography program in April or May. I'll be taking the summer semester off, for a much more important reason - we'll be bonding with our son!

Miss Xandra posing for mama on the last really nice day of 2010- before winter officially hit!

As photography is a hobby of mine, I hope to be able to post many pictures to my updates! I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the best photographer (even though I actually went to school for a short period for photography!), but it's not too difficult to take good pictures of cute kids!! :)
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