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, October 31, 2011


Halloween is not necessarily my favorite "holiday"- as I'm sure you've noticed by my lack of posting about it. We went to the pumpkin patch that one time, but didn't ever go back to get the big pumpkins (the carving ones). Oops. Maybe next year...

I do enjoy the candy part, though. My hips don't. 

Matt couldn't go with us this year, which was a huge bummer. He had class tonight.  :(  We missed him a lot. Especially with this being Milo's 1st Halloween. But we did ok. And with Kristin's help, I managed to get more pictures than I ever would have been able to on my own.

~Thanks Kristin!!

Xandra originally wanted to be Rapunzel this year. My FB friends will recall our horrendous problems trying to find a wig... it really was a nightmare. So, we settled on Princess Aurora instead.
Xandra & Landon getting some loot!
Milo was pretty excited about the candy.
Milo caught on very quickly how to get candy!
Milo was dressed as Wicket the Ewok. I got a number of "Is he a Care-Bear?" "Oh, what a cute little teddy bear!" "Ummm.. what's an Ewok?"
Really people??!!! Come on!! I realize I'm old, but seriously people... it's an iconic movie... look into it! :)
So cute!!
He flat-out refused to let me help carry that candy bucket. I think he thought I was stealing his candy! .... I was
The kiddos are in bed... now, where's that candy?!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Xandra Growing Pains {Sunday Snapshot}

Since I've been focusing a few posts all about Milo, I figured it was Xandra's turn again. I love this girl more than she will ever know. In many ways we are so much alike.... too much alike at times. She knows just how to get under my skin. 

I'm watching her mature, and grow into her own person right in front of my eyes. She's been testing her limits the past few weeks. I'm sure it's partially from being around all new kids in her kindergarten class - she's been testing out some new attitudes. None of which will fly at our house.

We experienced her first big-time punishment yesterday. Suffice it to say, she acted horrendously at a doctor's appointment. She had to forsake her promised trip to get some ice cream (which meant I had to give up my cravings for ice cream, too). And she was not allowed to play with any of her favorite toys (i.e. Barbies) all day. She also got to spend a great deal of time in her room, thinking about what she had done.

It was hard on all of us- especially Milo. He just didn't understand why his idol couldn't play with him. That boy just worships her. I suppose I never truly understood it when my parents told me that punishments were harder on them than on me... I get it now.

We'll find our footing again, I know. It will probably be just in time for her to begin another new school with all new kids to influence her. Fun. (Our town has one school specifically for kindergarteners. Then the kids move on to an elementary school for 1st-5th grades.)

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, October 28, 2011

Milo's Talking! {Fav Photo Friday}

We had a couple extra minutes yesterday morning before the rush to get the kiddos out the door to school.  How often does that happen?!

So I took this rare opportunity to record him repeating some new words. He's really working hard on mimicking us (not always such a good thing...)   

Doesn't he have the cutest little voice?? It's possible that I might be a little biased... ;)

I love this little boy more than I could ever describe. I love how much he is growing (physically & mentally). As I'm driving Milo home from school almost every day, I hear him chanting "Da Da...Da Da."
"Yeah buddy, we're heading home to see Da Da!"
"Da Da....Da Da... Ma Ma?"
"Yes Milo?"
"Da Da....Da Da..." :)

Then when we get in the door, he runs to find Matt & instantly gives him a (literally) running hug. Then he finds Xandra & tries to tackle her with a hug, too. I'm almost always last for a hug (I don't usually get much attention at his school- he's on a mission to run as fast as he can out to the car). Love him!! - even if I am last on the hug list! :)

Milo is really figuring out his puzzles, too! Such a smart little cutey!!
Xandra must be working hard at Kindergarten! She comes home pretty tuckered out! *Look at those to-die-for eye lashes!*
the long road

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Referral Day Anniversary!!

Exactly one year ago today...
a Tuesday
at 11:24 am
while I was shopping for some winter clothes
I received an email from our adoption coordinator:

... I was on the databank last night and did see a little boy that I wanted to share with you, I am not sure if you would be open to his special need or not though, he is missing the lower half of his left arm, and has an issue with his kidney, but I am not sure the details of his kidney, you would have to see the medicals.  Let me know if you would be interested in learning more about him.  I cannot guarantee that he is still on the databank, but he may be, I thought I would share him with you though just in case you may be interested.  I have attached a couple of pictures for you to see and his development report. Let me know what you think. 
Zheng Nan Gan
postoperative exarticulation of left elbow; comose concrement of right kidney 

I immediately forwarded the email & pictures to Matt. He was worried... what did that "concrement of right kidney" mean? Then I was worried. I'd kind of skipped over that part in my rush to see the pictures (yeah- I'm the pictures first, facts later kind of girl).

Although we were a little "gun shy" (this post explains), we took a leap of faith & submitted all of his medical history to Cincinnati Children's IAC. Two days later (2 days that I didn't sleep at all, or concentrate at school), we got word back that he appeared to be healthy... we still didn't know what "conferment of right kidney" meant, but we decided to move forward any way.

So, on October 29, 2010, we locked his file. We were adopting this little boy! He was ours... aside from getting official approval from the Chinese government.

I stared holes into those pictures for months! Those big, dark, sorrowful eyes. Those full, pouty lips that never showed an iota of a smile. I had no idea when the pictures were taken, how old he was in them, or what he would look like when we finally met him. We begged our agency for an update, but were told they were not allowed to request one. (???-we still don't understand that response) We sent 2 care packages through Ann of Red Thread China. She did such a wonderful job getting our packages to Milo's orphanage, but we still didn't receive any updated information.

Finally, out of desperation & frustration, we sent one final care package through Gifts to China with Love in April 2011 (by this time, we already had our TA). We told Sheri the most important thing to us was getting an update on Milo's measurements. While a picture would be nice, we knew he would be in our arms in just a few weeks. We just really wanted to know what size clothes to bring with us.

Sheri delivered. Oh boy, did Sheri deliver!! She managed to get us an update on his measurements, a synopsis of his personality, & a typical "day in the life."

Zheng Nan Gan
April 19, 2011

 Here is the letter from Ms Luo Yi of Shanghai CWI:

I just got the gifts for Nan Gan.We wish his forever family come to adopt him soon.

现在把他的情况回复如下,请转告他的父母:Please send the update to his parents.
height身高  81 
weight  体重  10  
head C头围  46  
chest C   51   
feet length     13  
teeth齿   6

He is a happy and active child. He loves to smile. He will feel nervous when he see strangers. He loves snacks and toys.

every day ,5Am, drink babyformula每天5:00喝配方奶;
6:30Am,gets up, breakfast起床、早餐;
8:00am bath ,formula,steamed egg洗澡、喝配方奶或吃蛋羹;
9:00—10:30am outdoor play户内外活动
10:30am lunch,formula午餐、喝配方奶;
11:00—13:30nap time午睡;
13:30pm gets up起床;
14:00pm formula ,fruits pieces喝配方奶、吃水果片;
14:30—16:00pm outdoor play 户内外活动
16:30晚餐 dinner
17:00—18:30pm watch TV,indoor play户内外活动或看电视
19:00 formula喝配方奶;
19:30 go to bed就寝。

PLUS, we got our updated pictures! 

And just a few short weeks later, we held our boy for the first time!
I can't believe it's been an entire year since we first saw our Milo's face.
Time flies, doesn't it?

Happy Referral Day!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


This is not the right time.... But, I'm having those pangs again.... 
 I knew the day we were united with Milo, without a doubt...
 We'd be back someday...
Now is not the time for us. But someday... We'll go back to China to adopt again.

If only I could keep myself from looking at the darn websites that feature waiting kiddos. It breaks my heart knowing this can't happen for at least a couple more years.

Matt knows how I'm feeling (& thinks I'm slightly crazy-- Milo is quite a handful right now). He humors me. But I think he feels the same way, just not so urgently.

I think Xandra needs a sister.... :)


***** NOTE: The pictures I used are from a Google search. I don't know these kids, or the people who took the pictures. *****

Sunday, October 23, 2011

All Together Now {Sunday Snapshot}

It hit me Friday morning. The sore throat. The tell-tale sign of soon-to-be crappy weekend.

Xandra woke up with a fever Saturday morning. Then Milo came down with a fever a couple hours later. FUN.

These pics were taken during a lull in the whining & fighting. They colored together peacefully, quietly... for about 10 minutes. It was heaven.
And Matt developed a flare-up of his gout. What the...??? All at once?!

Matt had to go help out a friend for most of the day, so us 3 sickies stayed home & got on each others' nerves. Seriously. The kiddos really don't like being forced to stay inside all day on a normal day. Add being sick into the mix... & it was a loud, whiney kind of day.

Xandra was so excited she was able to write Milo's name. She jumped up from her chair & twirled around giggling.
Did I mention no one took a nap Saturday? So, more crankiness ensued

And Saturday night, Milo was up no less than 8 times. Xandra was up a couple also. As Matt can't get up the steps with a flare-up, I got the privilege of not sleeping.

Oh, and the smoke alarm in Milo's room started that "low battery beep" around 4 in the morning. That beep that goes off every few minutes. Remember the Friends episode where Phoebe beat her smoke alarm? Go ahead & watch the clip... I'll wait. It's worth it, I promise.

Not to complain, but my day is not shaping up well. But seeing as this is Milo's first all-out sickness since he joined our family 5 months ago, I'll try to battle through. :) I need to take both of them out with me to run to the store later to get some essentials (tylenol, benadryl, more orange juice, and maybe some sleeping pills for the kids me....). Wish us luck.

******** It has not escaped me how often we tend to get sick around here- I went back through my posts a few days ago & was just amazed by the number of times "sick" popped up. I'm thinking it's because we live in OH... it's cold & nasty here about 9 months of the year. I'm lobbying to move to a warmer climate. I'll let you know how I make out ;) **********

Sunday Snapshot

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Potty Talk

**We had some BIG happenings last night!!**
Milo has spent the last couple months following all of us (including Xandra) into the bathroom. I got out the little potty chair & put it in our main bathroom, just so he could see it & get used to it. He's been sitting on it, kind of getting the idea of what it's all about the last couple weeks.

I'm going to have to give big kudos here to our amazing day care- they have been letting him try going (they actually initiated the big move). They even let him continue (& praised him!) when he peed all over their floor!!

So tonight, Milo was playing around with Matt in the kitchen when he got an odd look on his face & walked over to the bathroom. Matt opened it for him (thankfully, he hasn't quite figured out how to open doors yet, but it's coming soon), and took his diaper off after Milo motioned to the potty chair. Milo sat down & grabbed a magazine (yep... that's my boy!). After a bit of grunting, Matt checked on him & he had peed & poo'd on the potty!!! WOOO HOOO!!!

Oh, I hope he's going to be easier than Xandra was!! She's still not out of pull-ups at night. My dream is to have at least one kid completely out of diapers & pull-ups by next year..... fingers crossed!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Fest

As I mentioned earlier, Friday & Saturday our town had a small festival- "Fall Fest." Matt got a booth so he could give out balloons, pens, and yard signs for his campaign. The festival started at 4 & lasted until midnight. Those aren't great hours for the kiddos, so he was on his own that night (& I felt really bad for him because it was nasty weather- rainy & windy). 

Saturday, though... Matt & I started our day with our first 5K run/walk. We were walkers (for some reason, my body sends out a "running rejection" as soon as my feet start moving fast, in the form of a massive migraine that usually lasts for 2-3 days). Although I beat Matt across the finish line (he was in campaign-mode & had to talk and/or shake hands with everyone on the route), he was the one who got the trophy ("Fastest Male Walker" - there was only 1 other guy walking the course). We had fun though, and I think I'll be entering more 5K's in the future. :)

Then I rushed home & brought the kiddos down to enjoy the fun:
Milo enjoyed petting the baby cow
We started with the petting zoo because it was the first thing Xandra spotted & would not be swayed in her mission to get there.
Xandra was in *heaven*! Milo.. not so much. 
The little petting zoo offered *free* (music to my ears!) pony rides. Xandra & Milo hopped on & set out on a quick ride around. Milo got a pretty worried/anxious/scared-to-death type of look as they rounded a corner & quickly went out of view. About a split-second later, I heard his screams. So I hobbled ran walked rapidly over to him & let Xandra finish out the ride with her "new best friend" (the little girl sitting next to Milo in the picture- we do not know her name, but Xandra was infatuated with the fact that she got to use the reigns & walk her pony).
They had 2 ponies (brown & white)- Xandra got to ride with both of them.
Xandra's highlight: getting to feed the pony a carrot!! Oh she was SO SUPER excited!!!
Xandra with ride tickets in her hot little hand
This looked calm enough for a little girl who is scared of everything...
Xandra started out desperately wanting to slide down the BIG slide. Thankfully, her older cousin was easily talked into going with her (she's right next to Xandra in the picture, but her face got blocked out from that red triangle). You'll notice Xandra sitting up there getting ready to come down like a big girl... that only lasted for the amount of time it took to snap the picture. She began screaming like someone stabbed her. Her cousin came to the rescue & let Xandra sit on her lap, screaming, all the way down. 

Shortly after Xandra calmed down from her traumatic ride down the slide... she decided she was brave enough for another ride. She decided on a train-thing (it was miniature semi-trucks that rode around a track). She handed the operator her tickets & went in. 
She started to get in the truck...
Then she decided she was too scared, and came back out. The guy running the ride graciously gave our tickets back. We stuck around to watch the ride again, after which, Xandra once again insisted she wasn't scared & wanted to ride. Round 2: give the operator her tickets, go in, choose a seat, start to climb in,.... chicken out, operator hands the tickets back to me, and we walk away in shame. 

Honestly, although I was a little embarrassed, on the inside I was kind of happy she's such a scaredy-cat. Festival rides aren't exactly known for their safety record... (though the 2 she chose were pretty tame). 

After a bit more walking around, and spending outrageous amounts of money on festival food & a couple of home-made hair bows, we made our way home. The kids still had some energy to burn, so we headed outside. 

It was a little bit of a difficult evening without daddy home. The kids were a bit hyped-up on sugar, so Milo didn't get much of a nap, and Xandra flat-out refused one. That led to pretty cranky kiddos. I took a little over a hundred pics while they were out in the backyard, but the 2 above were honestly the only good ones... Xandra was constantly making faces (there is one I caught that I may have to put up just for future blackmail purposes) & Milo just ran away from me. 

Matt did very well at the festival- he handed out about a thousand balloons, and schmoozed like a pro. The festival ended at 8 on Saturday, but he didn't make it home until almost 10 because he's a talker! He ended up being the only person running for council (out of 8) who thought of getting a booth. I hope it pays off in the end!

***For those who have been following along- we chose the family picture of all of us standing to use on the campaign postcards. They'll be sent out to the voters in our area in the next week or so...***

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, October 14, 2011

All Milo

While Matt's been out campaigning, I've been going back through some of my pictures. I found a few that hadn't caught my eye the first time I went through them. Out of the hundreds of pictures I take in any one sitting, I'm used to only getting a few "good" ones. Thankfully, I rarely delete anything (I'm sure my husband wouldn't exactly agree with that being a good thing). So, on the rare occasion that I have a few extra minutes, I like to go back through them to see if I can clean anything out. It's a constant game of needing more memory...

So, during this round of "the 2nd look" I found a few Milo pictures. I'm hoping to find some more of Xandra in the next day or so. :)

It's ever so slightly out of focus, but really- this is just too cute of an expression!!

Can't you just see the orneriness?? 

For some reason, I just love that little spit bubble in the corner of his mouth! :)

"Say what?"

Oh that smile!! Gets me every time!
(Yeah... it's time for a haircut. I know. I can't decide if I want to let the top grow out longer or go ahead & cut it all.)

the long road

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Break

I'm officially on fall break at school. I get a few days off, which is really nice. I still have homework to do, but I don't actually go back to school until next Tuesday. That means I have a little bit of time to do some things I've been putting off:
  • get a flu shot
  • get Xandra's flu mist {Milo already had his before his surgery}
  • clean out old toys & clothes & sell them at the second-hand store
  • start shopping for Christmas presents (at least add some to the list!)
  • work on getting laundry caught up (HA!)
  • clean out & organize my closet (...)
  • clean out the pantry
  • work on world peace...
you know... cause I'll have so much free time in the next 5 days...

Oh, and I need to squeeze in a festival this Saturday where Matt will be campaigning. It's a small local event that we've never been to before. Because I'm actually looking forward to some photo ops at the festival, it will probably rain or the kids will be in their usual persnickety mood when they see the camera.  Or both. I'm not holding my breath. 

I've had these shots hanging out on the computer for about a week. They don't really go with any kind of story, which is why I've held on to them. But it's nice to be able to see a pretty sunny day (now that we've apparently entered the rainy season here). {I hate that I can never get the lighting right - by the time I can kick the kids out of the house, the sun is so harsh all my pictures come out underexposed (in the shade) or overexposed (in the sun). Just no middle ground!!}

He's not frowning - he was blowing zurberts at me & I caught him in the middle of one.

This is so Xandra. She was in the midst of telling me a very drawn-out, very dramatic story about something, complete with sweeping hand motions & lots of facial expressions. :)

"Quit sticking that camera in my face Mama! You're standing in my way & I need to get through!!"

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