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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Xandra's class went to a local park today (actually, the same one we went to for our semi-disastrous photo shoot last weekend). I met them there to take some pics. They had a blast!!
There was a small maze the kids had a great time running through. This is one of Xandra's buddies (L).

Xandra & L have such a great time with each other! They've had a few play-dates recently & I totally love L's mom (one of Xandra's teachers)! 

Isn't this a beautiful setting? I really want to get the kiddos back here for another try at a photo shoot. It's just too pretty!

Ah..yes. Let's not forget Xandra's love- A. She spent a lot of time at his side...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tired (Black & White Wednesday)

What happens when your child has a long day, and is overly tired?....
X Pout3 6-29-11

X Pout1 6-29-11
You get an incredible sensitive little girl who will break down at the slightest mention of the word "No."

X_Dad2 6-29-11

Thankfully, Daddy was there to save the day. She was pretty upset with me at that point, and only Daddy could soothe her.

the long road

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer??? Where Are You??!!

This has been our skyline for much longer than I'd like. Seriously, it rained the entire month of May, although we did manage to escape 2 weeks of it while we were in China :) And it has rained well over half of June. The few days it hasn't been raining, it's been unbearably, swelteringly hot & humid!!! What happened to the summers of my childhood??? My poor kids have been stuck inside for most of the season! And Milo has been coming up with new ways to entertain himself:
(*sorry for the blurry pics, but he was moving fast!)
Yeah... he's between the back of the couch & the wall.... This boy finds trouble everywhere he goes. It feels like Groundhog Day a lot. He messes up each room he enters, and I get to clean it up after he goes to bed. Every. Single. Day. 

He does make our lives interesting. We're almost always laughing at something he's doing. He's desperately trying to speak with us. He can now say:
Thank You**
**it's a bit garbled, but I can understand it**

I've been trying to teach him a little bit of sign language, but I'm apparently not doing a very good job of it. Mostly, I just want him to be able to tell us when he's hungry and/or thirsty. As it is right now, he cries/whines/fusses, and we have to figure out what it is that he wants (it's like having a newborn on some days). We've also noticed that he no longer speed-eats. In fact, he's slowed down so much that there are many times I end up taking away an almost full plate from him because he'll happily sit at the table playing around with his food for an hour or more. He's really grasping that there is always food available. I think it's a great sign that he's really feeling comfortable with us & bonding well. Yea!!! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

M2 5-25-11

X2 5-25-11

These are a couple of my favorite shots from yesterday's semi-disastrous photo shoot at the park. 

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Little of This & That

Isn't this the cutest outfit?? I LOVE the slippers she added to complete the look!!

So, the kids & I spent over half the day in our pj's (see picture above). I love pj days, but I finally decided it was much too pretty of a day to waste indoors. After their naps (well, Milo took a nap; Xandra played in her room), I got them dressed & packed them into the car & we made our way to a local  park.

M1 5-25-11

Please Note:  These are the only smiles I got out of Xandra all day. I realize she is old enough to give up nap time, however she does still benefit from them. Seriously. She skipped nap time yesterday as well, and was fine. But two days in a row was really pushing it for her, and I ended up with the cranky, moody kid today. About 10 minutes after we got to the park, Xandra complained her foot was hurting. I thought she may have gotten dirt or a rock caught in her sandals, but no... she had a blister. I now had a tired, cranky, moody, & *in pain* child on my hands. 

Milo was in his stroller, so I told Xandra to jump on my back & I carried her all the way back to the car (keep in mind this is a big park where lots of people go for wedding pictures, so it was quite a trek back to the car). Let me tell you just how difficult this task was for me. Matt & I decided to start working out a couple days ago. We stupidly chose P90X. My entire body is in pain. Seriously, it flippin' hurts to breathe! 

Anyway, I made it (thank God!)- I got the kids back to the car, strapped into their car seats, stroller thrown put away in the trunk, and finally collapsed into the front seat completely out of breath. Xandra & I argued most of the rest of the night while I counted down the minutes until bedtime. :) 

I think I'll try our photo shoot again in a few days when Matt can accompany me to the park. Trying to coordinate both the kids (especially when one missed their nap) by myself was not easy!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gotcha Day Video

It's been a work-in-progress for a while. I hope you all enjoy!


I know this is late... Sorry! 

My dad... We've definitely had our up's & down's. But he chose me. He adopted me shortly after my parents got married. It's a gift that can never be repaid. I love him a lot... more than a lot. :)

And my husband... One of the best dad's I know. He adores his baby girl (who will never be any older than this in his mind)

And it's because of Matt that Milo is part of our family. He ordered the information packet from the adoption agency (unbeknownst to me).

These two men are the people I look up to the most. And I know that our kids do as well. Happy (late) Father's Day, guys! We love you!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Is it wrong to bribe your kids? I know there are differing opinions on this parenting philosophy, but it is what it is. And at times, it does work. I know I've beat this topic to death, but Xandra's attitude is just about ruling our household. I can't stand it. I hate that our days revolve around what mood Xandra is currently in. Because this is what we're dealing with on a daily basis:

She's stopped eating without being yelled at, cajoled, begged, and punished. We went to dinner with my dad last night to celebrate Father's Day early. She was very excited to see Papa, until he was actually standing in front of her. For some reason, her mood turned 180 degrees, and she suddenly didn't want anything to do with him. 

Tonight, we went through the whole routine again. She refused dinner, so we told her she had two options: sit at the table & eat or go to bed. She chose bed. Ugh. 

We stopped by Walmart earlier today where Xandra found this: 
It's about $33, but I really wasn't prepared to buy it for her today. Not with the way she's been acting recently. So I taught her a new word -"Expensive." :) 

I spoke with Matt about it, and we decided to get it but hold it until her attitude starts to improve. Right or wrong.... I just hope to God it works!! Even a temporary fix at this point would be worth it! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

1 Monthsary!!

I cannot believe it was 4 weeks ago this evening (late, late tonight- technically around midnight) that we came home from our life-changing trip to China. We've had Milo in our lives for nearly 6 weeks. WOW!!! I've decided to try to chronicle how Milo has changed since we met him & the personality he's revealed to us over these weeks. He is a complex little man!

This is Matt's favorite picture of meeting Milo- he was not at all happy with our arrangement!!!

 Milo was really not happy about being thrust into this crazy man's arms!

A few minutes later, he's stopped crying & started half-heartedly checking us out.

We noticed right away that Milo was quite a hot-box! We assumed it had a lot to do with the fact that he was dressed in essentially a winter outfit (that striped shirt was a very heavy cotton!), while the room was easily nearly the 80 degree mark. We have since found out that Milo deals with stress by raising his body temperature. A lot. Seriously, that boy can make himself sweat profusely on an ice cap. It's his tell-tale sign that he's upset when you feel his little head getting hot.

He did not speak or babble when we first got him. To my knowledge, he has never said anything in Chinese in our presence. One of the orphanage workers mentioned that he understood a lot of Chinese words, though she never mentioned anything about his speaking. He is starting to try very hard to communicate with us. Of course, he said "Da Da" first (darn it!), but he is just now starting to associate it with Matt. Unfortunately, he also uses "Da Da" for "dog-dog." He will occasionally say "Ma Ma" but not too often (I hear it the most when he's upset about something). Just within the past week or so, he's begun to point. He points to things and looks to me for the words. So we spend a lot of time walking around naming items, people, and places.

Thankfully & frustratingly, he understands "No." That's not to say he abides by it!! And he's rarely pleased to hear it! Since he held out on walking for a while, we were honestly beginning to think he just may be an "easy" baby. ;) NOPE! He seems to relish tormenting the dog the most! He has surprisingly good aim when he throws things, which he does a LOT of toward the dog. When we first got home, Lexie (the dog) was really liking Milo because he likes to share his food with her. Then he started throwing stuff at her, so now it's a love/hate relationship.

Milo is a very happy boy overall. He gets so proud of himself for things, and he always sticks his tongue out! I love it! (I really need to get a picture of that!) He's not the steadiest of walkers yet, so when he gets to his destination without falling, he gets thrilled!

Matt has mentioned to me a couple of times that he doesn't even notice Milo's missing arm any more. I still notice it, but I'm very aware that it doesn't slow him down one bit. Our social worker had mentioned something during one of our conversations that stuck with me- she said there would be times that we may feel as though we're just babysitting this child. Slowly, she said, the babysitting feel would subside. I have to admit, there are times I do feel this way. Days when I count down from nap time to bed time, knowing that I've finally made it through one more day. Please don't get me wrong- there isn't one minute of one day that I don't love Milo with all my heart. I'm still getting used to his personality and our new daily routine. This summer has been such an incredible gift for our family, with both Matt & me at home to bond non-stop with our son. Whenever I'm having an "off" day, Matt is there to take over & let me decompress. (Love that man!!) I will be a bit sad when this incredible summer ends.... Thankfully I don't have to think about it for a while!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Baby Girl...

I found this picture online, and I find it ironic that it has the name "Sasha" attached to it. When Xandra was little, she couldn't quite say her name, so she referred to herself as "Zasha." I still call her that to this day- it's my special name for her. And this picture also depicts how my girl has been feeling lately.

Matt & I have been having numerous talks & rants regarding Xandra the past week or so. She's been throwing more fits lately, which haven't made much sense. Granted, we've been putting new rules in place regarding food, bedtime, & general behavior. I knew there would be repercussions - I'm not entirely new to this parenting thing!! But I also know that there are things regarding Xandra's behavior that just simply need to change. We've coddled her & spoiled her for a very long time. That's our fault.

Anyway, our newest behavior issue with Xandra has been getting her to school. I posted about this in the Dairy Farm field trip. When Matt drops Xandra at school in the mornings (for at least the past week), she cries. When I took her for her field trip, she cried. I had to take something to her today after she was dropped off, and she cried. Matt actually bribed her yesterday morning- saying if she didn't cry, he would take her to get ice cream. It was difficult for her, but she made it. She didn't cry, so she got her ice cream last night.

One of her wonderful teachers pulled me aside this afternoon when I picked Xandra up, and told me she thinks she figured out the problem. Apparently, after I left my daughter in tears once again this morning Xandra told Miss Shannon that she was sad because everybody got to stay/be at home except her. Blew my mind. This thought just totally didn't pass through my brain. I don't know why I didn't think of it... But it makes absolute perfect sense. And now I'm having major guilt over it.

I still don't want to pull her out of daycare, though. Aside from it being a daycare (which allows me to get so much done in a day), they have taught her so much!! I've been worried for a little while now that Xandra is just ever so slightly behind her peers. And in some areas, she is. But she's caught up so much just by being in this preschool!

I realize this is just something that she will ultimately need to deal with. And really, she won't have to deal with it for very long. Milo will be starting the same daycare in August. Then a few weeks after that, Xandra will be moving on to kindergarten.
On another note, Milo has had his first noticeable injury. He falls all the time around here, and we've had at least half a dozen lip bleeds when he slips. He's quite a dare-devil, and I've already predicted that he will be the child that needs stitches & casts. It's not a matter of if- just a matter of when.

So Matt came home from running some errands earlier today, and we decided to meet him in the front yard. I set Milo down so he could walk around. Matt just got done telling me to keep a close eye on him, when he fell. I really was right on top of him- there was just nothing I could do. Our driveway goes downhill from our house to the street. Milo had been walking around in the garage, got some speed up, and headed toward the driveway. I knew what was going to happen before it did, and I even said something to the effect of "Milo, slow down!" & started grabbing for him. Then down he went. Luckily, I was able to somewhat slow him down so the fall was definitely not as bad as it could have been. But he's got scrapes around his forehead & one on his nose. I think it's one of those type that looks worse than it is. Honestly, he only cried for maybe 1-2 minutes, and then he was absolutely fine. Such is the life of boys, I suppose!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dairy Farm Field Trip

Xandra's Pre-K class went on their first field trip yesterday, and I got to go along! I was so excited-I think even more than Xandra! We went to a local dairy farm. The kids started out petting the goats.

 Xandra & her "love" A

Then we went inside to get some ice cream. YUMM!!
It's not easy to wait for ice cream!!

You may be wondering where the pictures of the cows are... We only saw a couple cows the whole time we were there! What kind of dairy farm was that??!! I was disappointed, but the kids seemed fine with it. I was looking forward to watching the cows get milked... Oh well. After the ice cream was eaten, the kids went for a ride. There were little red barrels (could seat 1-2 kids in each) attached to a tractor & the driver drove around a bit. I got pictures of it but it shows all of the kids' faces, and I don't want to upset any fellow parents by publishing them without permission. Also, out of the 10 kids that went, Xandra was the only one screaming her head off in fear of the ride. All the others thought it was great. So, the pics I got of my kid suck. :(

I really enjoyed being able to go & capture a bunch of pics of the kids for all of the parents! But, I don't think I'll be joining the kids on any other field trips (there's about one a week through the summer). Xandra just does not handle change to her routine well... at all. Matt usually drops Xandra off at school in the mornings & I pick her up. I took her yesterday since I'd be sticking around for a while. Xandra had a melt-down, because daddy wasn't there. Then, she decided since I was there, she didn't have to participate with the class. There were at least 2-3 more melt-downs throughout the trip. 

So, as much as I love to help the class, Xandra just doesn't make it easy for me to. We're going to try to implement some new rules around the house to try to nip this little attitude. She's going to have a tough reality check when she starts kindergarten this fall...

**Sorry about the mediocre pictures!! I *really* need to get photo editing software!!**

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kids Playing

I honestly can't believe how well the kids are getting along. Yes, there are jealousy issues for both of them, but show me a sibling relationship without them!! On the whole, they really are starting to act as if Milo's been in our family from day one. And that makes me so happy!!

 With the weather being so insanely hot recently (mixed of course with the infamous thunder storm from the last post), we've really only been able to go outside for a little bit at a time before we melt. My mom graciously brought over one of those awesome Cozy Coupe Cars, and the kids love it!

 It takes a lot of concentration to figure out that steering wheel! I hope he continues to concentrate that much when he's in a real car... in many, many, many years!

 I LOVE this face!!! 

"I don't really understand why you've plopped me in the middle of the yard... & I'm kinda not used to walking on grass..."


Xandra worked so hard at blowing bubbles for Milo! She's such an awesome big sister!! 

With my car out of commission for since "the incident" (it's drying out still), we've been trying to find fun things to do around the house. I must say, we've saved a lot of money since mom can't get out to Target to pass the time!! ;) 
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