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.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Prep

I hope everyone out there in blogger land had a wonderful & happy Thanksgiving!! I unfortunately did not get even one picture of our holiday. Our day was a little rocky, and I ended up forgetting my camera. Although I'm upset I didn't get any shots of our boy's first Thanksgiving, he did have a good time! Lots of food & sweets - he was in heaven!! 

We took advantage of the incredible {crazy} weather we're experiencing (upper 60's??!! Awesome!!), and put up the Christmas lights!

"I'll help, Dad!"
"I GOT this! I'll untangle these & test each light, ok?"
Matt called upon his inner Clark Griswald, and set up the lights! Pretty impressive - especially since I'm usually the one to do it. But I let him take the lead this year, and I'm thinking I'll go ahead & hand those reins over for good! ;)

I *love* this expression! He was looking at the highlight of our Christmas decor (see below) & was in awe! (Matt was so happy!)
The "Snow Globe of Glory" - Matt's pride & joy :)

I'm not the best at taking pictures at night. There are some tricks I'm still trying to learn with the camera... But you get the idea! We've got the Christmas tree up, but it's not decorated yet. We're going to try to finish that up tomorrow. 
If you haven't checked lately- head over to the "Advocating-Diana" page (up there on the upper right column!). I received some absolutely incredible news about her the day before Thanksgiving!!! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fill Their Stockings!

Fill Their Stockings
A few of my favorite bloggers are celebrating the holiday season by reaching out to help others! This is an awesome way for all of you to get some awesome loot & help some of the orphans in China. (WIN-WIN!!)

Beginning November 25 (yep-Black Friday!). Please head over to Lisa's blog, Diana's blog, or Stephanie's blog for detailed info, a sampling of the incredible products, and an opportunity to learn about their respective charities you can donate to!

I personally can't wait to get my shopping on, while helping these most deserving kiddos!! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rainy Days Ahead

This is what I really hate about fall & winter. The nasty, rainy, cold, gray days. Blegh!

I feel the same way Milo! Yucky day!!

Xandra isn't really thrilled, either.

We're thinking about putting up the Christmas tree... if we can gather the energy to get up off our butts. Of course, that would also require us to clean up & re-arrange furniture. {sigh} I'd much rather just curl up on the couch & "veg out."

Sunday Snapshot

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Updating That Day (& Speech)

Sunday was probably the worst day we've had in our family of 4. Milo woke in a bad mood at 5 am & remained in a bad mood until dinner time.
It was. A. Very. Bad. Day.
A lot of screaming.
A lot of crying.
A lot of kicking.

I'm still not 100% sure exactly what was wrong with our little guy. In my heart, I think it was multiple things. I'm almost positive there was grieving in there at least part of the day (if not all). As well as being tired.
And teething.

It wasn't until tonight, while I was horsing around with both kiddos before bed, that I finally caught a glimpse inside his mouth. He's got at least one new tooth that popped through at some point. After I got that one little look-see, he clamped down & wouldn't let me look any more. I know when we got home from China, he was working on 2 teeth at once. Xandra was like that- always popping at least 2 teeth at a time. So, just guessing... but he may have gotten another one on the other side, too. I'll keep looking every chance I get.

I must say, however, that my boy has been back for the past 2 days. :) And it's been a wonderful couple of days!

We had another speech therapy meeting yesterday. Milo likes his therapist, Miss L. But yesterday, her supervisor came with her to check on his progress. So Milo decided he'd clam up for the entire hour they were here. Grrr!! I'm not exaggerating when I say, the second I closed the door behind them after they left, he started chattering away! He even yelled "BYE!!" to them through our open front window. The little stinker!!!

Needless to say, the supervisor just took our words for how Milo is progressing. And she seems pleased. Woo! She'd like us to work on putting 2-word-sentences together. Miss L did say that most kids need to have a good 50-word vocabulary they're using pretty consistently before they begin putting 2 words together. Unfortunately, Milo just isn't there quite yet. But we'll keep working!

Also, Milo's really good at imitating. He'll usually try to repeat words you ask him to say (not always well, or distinguishable, but at least he's trying). Miss L would also like us to work on getting him to use the words he does know spontaneously, without our prompting. Hmmm. So, we're supposed to "wait him out." Ask if he wants something, and wait for him to answer before getting it. In other words, try to discourage the really annoying "pointing & grunting." :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is he..? How do you...?

Is he grieving?
Is he teething?
Is he getting sick?
Is he growing?
Is he tired? {YES!}
Is he being a "normal" toddler boy?

How do you know what's going through a little boy's head who has been through way too much for his very short 2 years?
How do you figure out why he's so upset, when he can't quite communicate yet?
Why is he suddenly biting his sister for no apparent reason?

Milo has been having a very hard time sleeping for the last week. He hasn't been sleeping as long at night as we're used to. He's been cutting his nap times down from 2 & 1/2 hours to a little over an hour - if we're lucky. And we've noticed the difference. OH BOY!! Have we noticed the difference.

For the 1st part of this week, I chalked most of this behavior up to the time change. The dreaded time change. And I think he's teething. Maybe. He's drooling like he's teething. But he won't let me look. And motrin has no relieving effect, like it normally does for a baby in pain.

So maybe it's not physical pain. Maybe it's emotional.

How do you help a baby through emotional pain that he should never have had in the first place?
How do you hold him when all he wants is to flail around & scream?
But if you set him down, he screams even harder?
How do you comfort him when he's so upset, you can't tell if they're tears running down his face, or sweat?

And... how do you explain this to the 5-year-old that he's attacking?

It's not all roses & sunshine when you've got a little boy whom you've loved for over a year, but only just met 6 months ago. Bringing him home was life-changing for us, but nothing in comparison to the changes he's experienced. It's an amazing soul that has the resilience to be thrown into the arms of complete strangers, who look so totally different from anything you've ever seen, smell weird, speak funny, and want to smother you with hugs & kisses. All that, and he was smiling & laughing within 48 hours. And now he actively seeks out hugs from us. What an incredible little boy.

If he needs to have a bad day (or week) to grieve all he's lost... I'll take it. For all he's given us in the past 6 months, I can handle this. :)

Or maybe we'll see a new tooth pop up in the next couple days... Who knows?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nicer Days {Sunday Snapshot}

In an effort to make myself feel better... I took the kiddos outside today. I really have been wanting to get some pics for our Christmas cards. Last week, Matt & I had a rare, but really nice breakfast date at Cracker Barrel. And I found these incredible hats. I immediately saw the Christmas cards in my head. I was so excited!! 

Milo was NOT excited.
Somehow, he just did not see my vision. (He hates hats. A lot. I'm not sure what we're going to do in a few short weeks when winter hits hard.)

So we walked down the street for a little change of scenery. Without the hats. :(
I love this pic of my girl. 
I know it looks like she's once again in a bad mood... but the very next second...
She started being a goofball :)
He was watching Xandra (out of the frame). He loves her so much. :)
So, out of necessity, I guess I'm just going to do a photo montage type card. I've got lots of material to choose from! I'm not too disappointed- I really thought some of the "flubs" were cute too. 

If you'd like to see more adorable pictures- click the link below!

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, November 11, 2011

Being Judged

We had our 2nd post-placement appointment with our new social worker today. The social worker that we worked with during the adoption process (who wrote up our 16-page dossier all about Matt's & my lives alone & together) retired shortly before we travelled to China. So, this new social worker only knows us by reading our dossier (at least I think she's read it) and our 2 visits with her (only 1 more to go- thank goodness!!).

She seems very nice, and might even be someone I would consider hanging out with, if the situation was different. Except.... 

That 1st visit went smoothly I thought. But then she either called or emailed me (sometimes both) at least once a day (usually more) for an entire 7 days after our appointment, with additional questions she'd forgotten to ask. I tried to take it all in stride- after all, she's writing a report about our family that will be sent back to the Chinese government. It wasn't until her very last call that I got totally ticked off. She was questioning why we had decided to put Milo into daycare, and why he was going full-time. I told her that I was in school, and although my schedule this semester (fall) was only part-time, I knew I would be full-time in the winter. I said I felt that consistency was a good thing- it had worked wonders with Xandra, and seemed to be working well with Milo. The daycare we found a couple years back for Xandra (& now Milo) is just incredible. The teachers are so loving & caring, and I never ever worry about either of the kiddos while they're there. Plus, I'm friends with most of the teachers & hang out with them "after-hours," so I know they will contact me in an instant if anything was ever wrong. In fact, I often get text messages filling me in on little tidbits about his day or some funny incident, or even (as I did yesterday) a picture of something he's done. 

I explained all this to her back in August. She continued to prod me, asking if there was any way that I could keep him home for even one extra day a week. I said I'd think about it, but I really felt that he was in good hands. Then she dropped the bomb: "Yes, most children who have been institutionalized do wonderfully in daycare. They love it there, because it's similar to what they've experienced before. So, I'm sure Milo is enjoying himself. Maybe by the next time we meet, you will have made other arrangements for him..."

One thing that becomes glaringly obvious throughout the adoption process, is that you are being judged. You as a person (values, morals, goals, education, job, friends, family, etc...), your family history, your relationship with your spouse (don't get me started on the questions we had to answer regarding our satisfaction with our "physical" love life...), your other children, the neighborhood you've chosen to live, ... every aspect of your life is judged. All of this information is first compiled by the social worker, who then writes a report & gives his/her opinion (judgement) about your abilities as a parent. Then this huge report is translated (hope & pray nothing gets lost in translation!) & sent off to China for them to judge. 

I'm not saying this is a bad thing- I'm sure all of these hoops that we have to jump through weeds out some people who should not be adopting. But it is tiring. It is upsetting. And once we got home with our son, we apparently were under the wrong impression that we were done with that aspect of the process. 

So, the social worker came again today. She was nice again & we had a decent conversation, answering her questions. She waited until the end to drop the bomb again. Once again, she questioned Milo being in daycare. She essentially repeated everything she'd said before, but this time Matt got to hear it, too (remember a couple months ago, she'd asked me about it during a phone call). I explained it all over again, all of our reasons, and our relationship with the daycare. It ended up that she had to leave pretty quickly after that because she had a sick child at home. 

I'm planning on (& am working on) writing a follow-up email to her. I understand her reasoning- I know that some children who have been adopted exhibit a fondness for essentially any adult in a caregiver position because they don't quite understand what a parent is. There are so many potential issues adopted kiddos can have. I learned about a lot of these as part of our adoption education requirements. But I also looked into it more on my own because I wanted to be as prepared as possible.

Thankfully, we've been blessed with a son who does not appear to have these issues. He knows Matt & I are his parents. We are the ones he turns to when he needs comforting. While he is happy to be in daycare, and actually gets upset on days we need to keep him home, he's also very happy to see us when we pick him up. I feel like this woman is really pushing a problem on us that just does not exist. Again, I know it's her job to weed out these things (of course, all parents want to portray their family in the best light possible, so it's understandable she needs to dig a little)... But we just do not have these problems with Milo.

It's hard enough being a parent and questioning all of your own decisions. It's even worse when someone else is telling you (or inferring) that your decisions are wrong, and you're not being the best possible parent you can be. It's one of the worst feelings in the world.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Milo got up at 5:00 am today. Yep, 5 am.
I'm exhausted.
I got a text from the director of Milo's daycare around lunch time:

Apparently, we're both exhausted. :)

For those of you wondering about Tuesday's election for Matt -
Technically, he won. By 3 votes.
There were 8 people running for 4 city council seats.
The 1st 3 seats were taken pretty quickly by 3 of the incumbents, which was pretty predictable.
The last seat is very hotly contested.
The count on Tuesday night:
Matt -- 925
Doug -- 922
Bob -- 891
The county is now counting all the absentee & provisional ballots. We should hear the final results in 12 days. It could still go to anyone... I'll keep you all updated!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

6 Months Home!

6 months ago
We met our son for the 1st time.

We knew our lives would be changed forever.
But we never could have imagined how much fuller
& more wonderful our lives would be 
because of this beautiful handsome little boy.

Is it just me, or does this boy look at least 2 years older than that "baby" in the pic above?? Wow!! He's grown so much!!
Matt & I have marveled the last few days over how much this little man has grown- emotionally, physically, lovingly...
in just 6 short months
He is inquisitive of everything
He loves people-watching
He enjoys figuring out how things work - how things are put together (not always good when dealing with electronics)
He will not stop in his attempts to accomplish something (stubborn... determined... bull-headed...)
He has a wonderfully silly sense of humor & an infectious laugh
He fully understands how a family works
~Daddy is for shadowing & being silly
~Mommy is for fixing boo-boo's & breaking up fights
~Xandra is for hugging and/or slugging & trying to keep up with
~Lexie (the dog) is for smacking when mommy's not looking loving on

How did we ever live without you baby boy?
We love you so, so much!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Play Nice {Sunday Snapshot}

Yesterday morning (Saturday), Matt let me sleep in a little (by a little, I mean until 7:20). It had been a long night. I went out for a girls' night Friday, and when I got home at 11:30, I found Xandra happily waiting for me to get home. We all went to bed shortly after, though Milo got me up at 12:30. And up again at 1:30. 

So when I finally got up, even though I was (& am) exhausted, I decided to have fun with the kiddos. 
I pulled out the Little People. Milo loved them instantly. 

Xandra soon joined in, and they played together for most of the morning. 
Not fighting!

Then Xandra pulled out her homework (sight words), and Milo felt like he should help her learn them.
Xandra was not too thrilled that he was touching her stuff. So we moved on to coloring (we've been doing that a lot lately since it's Xandra's current favorite activity).

I think Milo's teething again. He's been a drool-monger for nearly a week. 
This is my current fav photo of my little man.
 To see more participating blogs of Sunday Snapshot, click the link below!

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sit Down! {Favorite Photo Friday}

PEEK - A -

BOOOOO!!! :)
Milo's newest favorite thing to do is sit at the dining table in a regular chair (i.e. no booster seat). Ever want to hear a broken record?? Come on over to our house when this is happening-
"Milo, sit down."
"Milo, turn around."
"Milo Kaleb, sit down or get down!!"
"Milo!! Last warning!"
the long road

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