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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Burning Off Energy {Fav Photo Friday}

Poor Milo has been stuck in the house for 3 days, and he has been none too happy about it! The surgeon told us that he needed to "take it easy" for the next week.... HA HA HA HA HA!!! What? 

Can I ask a dumb question? How do you keep a 2-year-old boy calm & not playing too hard? I don't think he understands the concept of "easy." It's all or nothing. 

Yesterday was the tipping point. Matt had been home with him all day. When I got home from school around 4, Milo was having one temper tantrum after another. I walked in the house and immediately took the kiddos outside [while Matt fled in tears left the house for a bit]. Let that boy burn off some energy!! We were out there for about 2 1/2 hours, and Milo never once sat still. And thankfully, he came back inside in a much better mood. After watching him play around the yard, we decided it was high time Milo get back to school. He really enjoys himself, and frankly, he needs all that attention & stimulation! 

Milo was much happier when I picked him up from school today! He just needed to be with his buddies & all the teachers that dote on him all day... POOF! Back to my normal, loving boy!

the long road

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quick Update

This will be just a quick post, cause I *really* need to get to bed! Milo did exceptionally well today with his surgery. We were worried about his not being able to eat or drink this morning (surgery was at 9:30 am), but he couldn't have cared less. And as usual, he charmed everyone at the hospital. Matt tells me all the nurses were in love.

Other than being just a bit cranky & clingy today, he's been wonderful! Poor Xandra is desperate to play with him, but he wasn't quite ready this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow...

I'll try to post more later & with pictures! Night all- Milo will probably be getting me up with his normal 6 am wake-up-call. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photos! {Sunday Snapshot}

I don't have much to write about today... it's kind of been same old, same old around here. 

I've been avoiding doing my homework by taking pictures of the kiddos.  
Seriously? Those eyes? Those lips? I am really going to have my work cut out for me as she gets older! (Who am I kidding? She's already into boys. )
I'm going to attempt a family portrait as soon as we have some decent weather & I can corral everyone in one place. I've never even thought about trying to take our own family picture, but I got some new toys for my camera (a tripod & a remote), so I'm excited to try them out. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to get everyone to look at the camera... (we may just end up with "fun" pics where no one is looking even remotely in the right direction). So, I've been scouting locations to use- I really like this one:

It has a lot going for it: an overgrown field in the back (thanks mysterious owner for not mowing!), a nice rusted out gate to add some color against all that green, and {BONUS!} it happens to be at the end of our street. I've always liked that we live on a dead-end road. And now it's proving to be even more useful. :)

OH! This face! He aggravates me so... but I can't resist those cheeks!
Can you believe it had been raining the entire day prior to this lull of good weather?? The grass was still pretty wet, but Milo didn't mind one bit!
I love this picture!! Xandra loves Milo so, so much! But she has a tendency to smother him a bit. 
I've got my first real "client" requesting I take her pictures. She recently found out she's pregnant & she wants a few maternity sessions, so she can see the progression. I'm excited & scared to death! Remember this session? I swore I'd never be the photographer again! I made myself so sick that night. But, I think I'm ready to try again. I've got a little bit more confidence. Here's hoping both my upcoming sessions go well!!

***Milo will be having "routine" surgery this Tuesday (9/27) morning. Matt will be taking him & staying with him. Unfortunately, I have to go to school that day. Please keep Milo in your thoughts that everything goes well. I'm not too nervous (yet), but I probably will be out of my mind by Tuesday.***

Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, September 22, 2011

4 Months Home

We didn't do anything special... but I held him in my heart all day. I gave him a few extra kisses (like I don't do that every single day!!). Our baby boy has been home four months today. I can't believe how much he's changed in this short time. 

Less than an hour after we met Milo 

A couple days before we left China

Aside from my photography skills improving {Thanks Lisa!! I *highly* recommend her photography classes!} You all may not be able to see the difference, but we sure can! 

What hasn't changed? His love affair with his Daddy!!

 Digging into his spaghetti dinner tonight.

"Quit with the camera Mama!! I'm trying to eat here!!" 

Look at the effort he puts into eating!!

We've been watching his speech start to take off in just the last couple of days! It's so exciting to see. It just about brings tears to my eyes! We've added:
Mi! (Mine)
Up (to be picked up)
Nana (banana)
What? (only his teachers have heard this one, but I imagine it will pop up at home soon)

I know I'm forgetting some other words he uses... but he literally has added about 5 new words to his vocabulary in just the last 2 days. I know after a few more days, I won't be able to keep track of all his words because he's trying so darn hard to repeat everything we say (especially Xandra- which may not always be a good thing!).

Yep, I'm doing it again... I posted on Thursday, but I'm using it for my Fav' Photo Friday!! 
Don't know what that is? Come on over & check it out!! 
the long road

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Day!!

In order to share our good news about Milo, I need to give a little bit of background:  Last August (2010), while we were finishing up our dossier paperwork (the huge file we had to put together for China), our agency sent us a little boy's file. We ended up turning down his file after discovering his CHD was much more complex and severe than our agency had led us to believe. We cried over that little boy. It physically hurt to turn down his file (by the way, it still hurts thinking about him & I still question our decision). But we felt it was the best decision for our family at the time.

Then at the end of October, our agency emailed us another little boy's file. We were hesitant. He was a beautiful little boy, but the file indicated both a partial arm amputation & something else. It stated he had "concrement of right kidney." We immediately knew his arm was a "non-issue" for us. But his kidney? We were scared. This was a huge life-changing decision. Yes, we knew that when we began the adoption journey, but you just don't understand the emotions involved until you go through it. Do you change this child's life, or that one's? A lot of people say they see a child's picture and just *know* that is the child meant for their family. It was a bit more complex for us. We just didn't have that gut feeling.

I tried to look the condition up online & found nothing. As I am a student in a medical college, I asked a few of my teachers if they knew what it meant. Nope. Matt & I decided to send the file on to Cinci Children's IAC (Int'l Adoption Clinic), and again, nobody knew what that meant. The doctor who reviewed the file, wrote in her report that he potentially had some type of abnormality in right kidney.

Obviously, we locked that file. But Matt & I opted to only tell a few select people about Milo's kidney, because we really had no idea what we would be dealing with when our precious boy got home. When we met Milo, and in the subsequent months, we haven't seen anything that would indicate he has anything wrong. But we wanted to be sure.

Well, I'm thrilled to say, that we finally have the results of Milo's renal ultrasound, and he is 100% completely HEALTHY!!! Since most people didn't know about this potential condition, this won't come as any big surprise- he's always acted completely "normal." :) But for us, this is huge!

***Sorry FB friends for the cryptic message about this & the long wait to get the post up! I'm having some technical difficulties with PhotoShop tonight. So... no pics. :( I'll try to get some up tomorrow...

Monday, September 19, 2011


The kiddos & I decided to do something crafty this past weekend. So I set up the baby table in our kitchen with all the coloring supplies. I know... coloring? Oh. How. Exciting. But I don't keep the art supplies out where Milo's little hands can get them & destroy our house (he does that well enough without things that can mark up the walls!). 

Xandra is my little artist. I neglected to get a shot of her artwork- I'll have to get some pics later. I'm going to have to brag on her for just a sec: we've been having a difficult time lately with her learning how to write her name. We even asked one of her former teachers (who happens to be a great friend of mine!) to please come over & help tutor her. Xandra just doesn't respond to Matt or me very well when we're in a "teacher mode." God bless the parents who homeschool. I briefly contemplated doing that a couple years ago. It has become quite apparent, though that it would not work for our family, or at least not for Xandra. So, Miss Kristin has come over twice a week for about 2 weeks now. And today, my girl wrote her name all by herself!! I'm so proud!! I started crying when she did it. Yep. I'm that sappy. 

I'm also incredibly proud of my little man. We had another session with his speech therapist today. She was so happy with his progress. :) He's up to 9 words:
Bye Bye
Ni-Ni (night-night)
Ba (ball)
Dah-dah (thank you)
Uh (up)
Ba-oo (balloon)
& he can sign "hungry," "thirsty," and "more" (though not always consistently)

He's attempting "Love You," "moon," & "cow" (thanks Good Night Moon), but they're not really clear yet. The therapist was also impressed with his willingness to imitate. She thinks he'll just start bursting out with words soon. :)  Yea!! So exciting!

My girl just blows me away with how gorgeous she is. I could stare into her eyes for hours if she'd let me. She's seriously coming into her own right now. She's testing out some new sayings & attitudes. Yesterday, I was cleaning up a huge mess the two of them had made in the family room (wood building blocks thrown all over the place). Xandra pulled out a DVD and said, "Are you gonna put my movie on, or are you gonna just sit there?" Wh...wh...WHAT??!! We're going to nip that one in the bud.

We're doing a little better over here with the schedules & time management. We've instituted a clean up time about 20-30 minutes before bed every night, which really helps me not feel so overwhelmed. I still do a little picking up here & there because, well, they don't always do a great job. But at least they're trying. And Matt has lightened my load more than I can say. I haven't cooked a meal, gone to the grocery, done laundry, or washed dishes in months. He truly is my hero. I couldn't do this without him. Love him more than I could ever imagine! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Little Worse for the Wear

I never intended to leave the blog for so long! School has taken over our lives. Milo is in daycare full-day, Xandra is in Kindergarten half-days (my rant about that will have to wait for another post), I'm in school Tuesdays & Thursdays, and Matt is in school Mondays & Wednesdays. Phew! It's mass chaos at our house. I figured my schedule would be easy: easy to manage, plenty of time for homework, time with the kiddos.

HA!! Oh how wrong I was!! It's hard getting into a new routine & keep some semblance of order.
I'm not proud of this... but it's real life in our home right now. Our dining table... Amazingly, we do still eat all our meals here (with the junk pushed as far to one side as possible) - so embarassing! But this is "Homework Central"

Add to all that chaos the fact that I got knocked on my butt last week with a nasty head cold and Xandra was diagnosed with Strep yesterday. Both the boys have a bit of sinus stuff & coughing, but seem to be ok for now. I know to expect a little cold or something at the beginning of each school year just from all the new kids & germs, but our lovely weather pattern did not help one bit. The Saturday before Labor Day, we had a heat advisory with temps well above 100. Two days later, Monday, we dropped down to the 60's. UGH!! Really??

My poor girl feels so crummy!!

Thankfully, no one took a picture of me when I was sick! That would have scared everyone away from the blog forever!

I've read a couple of posts on other blogs recently about what it's like "real life" with the kids. They are far more beautifully descriptive than anything I could hope to write out. This one in particular truly spoke to me. And, oh so true. Seriously, go read it. 

No, we don't have six kids (my mind hurts just thinking about that), and so far Milo has not exhibited the same fearful behaviors that many adopted kids have. He actually seems to be bonding, attaching, and loving us as much as we love him just fine. When someone asks me (which happens a LOT) about how things are going, I don't really have to grit me teeth, paste a smile on my face & verify things are oh so wonderful. Our reality is that things really are going smoothly... for Milo. For that, we are truly grateful & feel very blessed. It's really not always the case. 

Because he is having such an "easy" adjustment (I hesitate to say that out loud because we just never know if or when something will trigger a greiving spell), it's hard for me to complain about anything. But our daily lives have changed so drastically. When I wrote a few weeks ago about Xandra being way too easy to raise, I wasn't just saying that. I will, of course, deny this to her when she gets older (*note to self: remove way too sweet posts from blog as Xandra grows up- she might try to use them against me), but she rarely needs discipline. The kid was just born knowing right from wrong, and doesn't usually get in trouble. I think our biggest complaint currently is her attitude, but really, of all things to deal with? I'll take it. 

Milo... well, he's another story. Because he's adopted? Because he's a boy? Because he lived for so very long in an orphanage? Who knows. But this kid tests every boundary he can think of. He hits. He bites. He stands on furniture constantly. He screams. A lot. He cries at the drop of a hat. 

And then he smiles. Or he runs up to you while you're cooking dinner, and throws his arms around your legs (& butt, cause he's just that height), and gives you the biggest hug he can muster. Or he tries to clean up his messes by himself, holding (no lie) 5 action figures at a time: 2 under his short arm & 3 in his hand. Or he says "Mama" in his beautiful little voice. 

Our house has become filled with yelling, and I'm not proud of it. I'm even more ashamed to admit that a lot of yelling has been directed at my sweet Xandra. By me. She tries so hard to be a good big sister, but she often mistakes that for taking on a "mommy" role. She constantly repeats the warnings Matt & I give to Milo, so he hears not one or two warnings, but usually five or six (she repeats things a lot). She loves him so much, and hasn't figured out how to keep from smothering him with kisses, hugs, "baby talk" literally millimeters away from his face (I think this one gets on my nerves the most). We have added new rules and changed old rules so much, I'm sure Xandra has no idea if she's coming or going. The change from one child to two has taken our breath away. And we're still trying to figure out how to balance. 

It may not be New Year's, but I have a resolution: I want to stop yelling so much. at Matt. at Milo. and especially at Xandra. I want to sit back and just enjoy the moments.

Even the messes. Cause in the long run, will I really care about the screaming, the lack of clear footing in the family room, or the piles of crap on the dining table? Probably not. 

I need to stop dwelling on the daily messes stresses, and keep the bigger picture in mind. We have been blessed with two of the most beautiful children I've ever seen (yeah, I'm biased). And we get to hear the most wonderful giggles in the world (when they're not hitting each other). 

And when I get perspective like that... my mind starts wandering to someday adding another little girl to our family (yep, definitely a girl... I'm just sure this is all cause Milo's a boy... right?).

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Finger Paintin'

It is once again over 100 degrees today (with the heat index). I knew we were in for some hot weather today, so yesterday I prepared an indoor activity for the kids (what an incredible planner I am!!). Actually,  the real reason I planned something is because I knew Matt would be gone most of the afternoon & the kids get antsy when they're stuck inside with "nothing to do" (don't worry about the thousands of toys we've accumulated... those don't count). 

I pulled out the finger-paints, paper, a plastic tablecloth, & a few paintbrushes. Let the fun begin!

Milo thoroughly enjoyed himself, though he was a little worried about getting the paint on his skin. I think this may be the first time he's ever painted (unless they've done something at daycare that I'm not aware of). He never really finger-painted (unless you count mom forcing his hand into the paint & smearing it on the paper which resulted in looks of horror from him!). He's like his sister- they both prefer to use paintbrushes. Ugh these kids!!

Yeah- that's paint in his hair. He didn't notice he'd done that until I cleaned it off. 

This is one of my favorite shots from today! Love those toes! 

 She did this a lot while she worked- she'd stop painting, look up (usually out the window) as though looking for inspiration. My girl... she's deep.

All in all, an enjoyable 30 minutes was had by all. Then they got bored & began running laps around the kitchen & living room for a few hours, occasionally smacking into each other & the floor. Thankfully, no medical emergencies resulted! :)  Happy long weekend!

***Although I posted this Saturday, I'm totally using it for my Sunday Snapshot! Deal with it people! :)

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, September 2, 2011


Sorry for my absence! We've been so very busy- I started back to school this week, Milo started speech therapy & Matt will be starting school next week. It may not sound like much... but it sure feels like it!

I started thinking about potential Halloween costumes this week, and have been trying to convince Xandra to choose from among some of the outfits she already has. She's got a half dozen princess dresses that would work fine. And I pulled out the Chinese silk dresses for her to look at as well. She adores those dresses. I think she's decided to be Rapunzel... at least for now. But she really loved wearing her silk today!

Milo has been Mr. Active lately. So much so, I haven't been able to get any decent pictures of him! He's trying really hard to talk more. I honestly believe a lot of his progress has been because of his daycare. Being with kids his own age who are also learning how to speak (granted, they talk more than Milo, but they're still young enough that they're all learning) is probably one of the best things we've done for him. After the initial few days, he's figured out that we will always come back for him, so he's really showing his teachers how much of a ham he can be!

This is our dog Lexie. She's a Chi-a-Pin (Chihuahua & Miniature Pinscher). She's 8 years old. She used to be tri-colored (black, brown, & white), but now she's pretty much black & white gray. We love her, but I think when she passes, we won't be getting any more dogs (at least not for a long while). Just too much work for this tired mom!!
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