Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ni Hao, Kai-lan

The show will premier on Nick Jr. on February 7th, 2008 at 11am. I hear that you can get a sneek peek if you have Comcast on Demand. I am personally hoping and waiting that we will have some Kai-lan dolls and accessories available in the stores soon. It is very hard to find Chinese/Asian dolls in a regular store.

Ni Hao, Kai-lan is a play-along, think-along series that weaves together Chinese language and culture, preschool-relatable stories, and interactivity, with Kai-lan as your intimate friend and playmate!

Ni Hao, Kai-lan is the next generation of preschool television programmingthat introduces the psychology of biculturalism. If Dora and Diegopopularized bilingualism, Kai-lan will weave together being bilingual and bicultural. Ni Hao, Kai-lan reinforces the idea that being bicultural and bilingual is being American.The show will familiarize the viewing audience with elements of Chinese andChinese American cultures to promote multicultural understanding in the nextgeneration and goes beyond featuring "culture" as only ethnic food and festivals. Instead, it celebrates growing up in an intergenerational family, having friends from diverse backgrounds, and "habits of the heart" that are Chinese American.

Being a good member of the group Ni Hao, Kai-lan also emphasizes the Chineseand Chinese American value of being a good member of a group.Social & Emotional Goals Highlight cause-and-effect thinking about social and emotional issues to preschoolers and to support preschooler' s social and emotional development.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yeah She Failed

Yep, you read that right. We are happy to say that Shelby failed her Babies Can't Wait speech evaluation. So now she has been approved for the program in the speech category. She excelled in all the other areas (which we already knew how advanced she was ;), so all we need to start now is her speech therapy. I will probably be a slow go at getting it all started since I don't think the therapy is really "necessary" right now before her surgery. However, I did want her set up and in the program before her surgery so that she could start getting used to her therapist and feel comfortable during her sessions. I was also really hoping this would be free through the state but it turns out that we will still have to pay for half of the charged amounts. Oh well, I guess nothing in life is ever really free. Hopefully my insurance will pick up some these as well, we will have to wait and see. So now I get to pick a therapist and set up her sessions accordingly. I will let you know how that goes.

Good news for the day is that Shelby went off to school with only one little tear in her eye this morning. No real crying or complaining. We are making progress for sure in this area!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fun with Uncle Scott

Well I am feeling a little better today. Even though I didn't feel great yesterday, we ventured out to our favorite mall. But this time, we took Sheila, Scott, and Austin to hang out at Discover Mills with us. The boys had fun on their trampoline jumpy thing and while we were waiting forever to do that, Uncle Scott took Shelby into one of those jumpy places to play. Not sure who had more fun-Scott or Shelby!

Shelby and I are off this afternoon to our big Babies Can't Wait evaluation for Shelby's speech therapy. Even though she doesn't have a closed palate yet, we are hoping to go ahead and start the speech sessions so she can get used to having them since she will probably require them for a long time. This is the first step in her speech therapies so I am looking forward to getting things rolling along. I am very grateful that she does try to talk now. She even sang me the Happy Birthday song over and over again this weekend. Of course I knew what she was saying but unfortunately I don't think anyone else would have known. I am looking forward to the day when she will be physically equipped to make her thoughts known through clear speech :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Princess Dress

Saturday is almost done and over with and actually I am really looking forward to hitting the hay tonight. I feel awful all of a sudden with some crazy sinus stuff. You know that feeling that you will sneeze any minute, but you rarely do-yuck. Benadryl will be my best friend tonight and hopefully Shelby will have a good night. She still doesn't sleep solid all night since she wakes up every couple of hours calling for me. I lay with her to put her down to sleep and then I usually wind up sleeping half the night in her bed once I go in there in the middle of the night. The bad part is she and I share the twin bed she is in and she doesn't like to sleep on her side ;) Oh well, I know that this too shall pass and soon enough she will be kicking me out her room telling me to give her her privacy. Yep one day she will be a teenager and so I will not rush the days when I can still sleep close to her.

Today we went to the FCCA New Year Event at the Civic Center. I saw alot of people that I know in the adoption world so it was nice to chat with everyone. I also met a couple of new folks and that is always fun, especially the waiting families. Let me just say that there were lots and lots of cutie pie little girls running around in Chinese dresses. I can't imagine attending this event and not actually having your own little one from China yet. Not that it is a bad thing to go when you are still waiting. It just must be so HARD to see all of those kids running around knowing how much those families are longing to have their own little one at home with them NOW. I was so thankful to have my Shelby baby in person in her stroller hanging out with me. So just to all you waiting familes out there, the wait is SO WORTH IT! And yes keep attending these great events so you don't forget what all this waiting, paperwork, money, more paperwork, and tears are all about. You too will one day have your China Dream come true :)

Now your little one may not be quite as cute and precious as my Shelby, but yes your little one will be just as much as a miracle ;) You have to admit that Shelby was just looking pretty as a princess today in her cute as can be Chinese attire!

Oh and this morning Shelby and the boys ventured out for breakfast together while mom attended her WW meeting. No problems with her going with dad so that was nice. After CJ spent the day with the boys, and mom spent the day with Shelby, I took all the kids to Alex's birthday party at Monster Golf. It was fun and even Miss Shelby was a great golfer.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Signing Times

I found the deal of the day for sure. Signing Times is having a great sale on their VHS tapes at . These videos are raved about especially on my cleft boards. I had not purchased any yet because the DVDs were 20 bucks each. I was almost ready to just suck it up and pay that since Shelby is getting so good at signing. We only know a few signs and she uses ALL of them that I have been able to learn myself. So I knew it was time to broaden our signing knowledge. Well wouldn't you know it, someone on the boards posted about this great deal. So of course I bought 4 of the videos and hope to have us all up to speed on learning lots of new signs. It really really helps for us to know what Shelby is thinking and wanting to tell us by using sign language. Just wanted to share the deal with everyone. Also if you don't have this other great website marked, click here to visit and see how to sign any word you want. Great website for me since I only seem to pick up a sign a week when I find me telling Shelby something over and over and want her to understand. This week we learned the sign for work and last week we learned the sign for school. So now in the morning she will tell me that Travis and Caleb go to school and Mommy and Daddy go to work , and then she will look at me to tell her where she is going that day. Too cute!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blood Finally

Yes, today we finally succeeded at having blood drawn from Shelby. It took two nurses, two sticks, two arms, two trips, and four vials-but we did it! We were unsuccessful at our last attempt from the Kennestone people. So this time I went straight to the experts at CHOA. I am sure my insurance company won't like that, but I didn't care as she needed the best of the best to get her tiny little veins. So now we have that behind us. I am praying for strength for the both of us when we do her surgery in April. I feel so bad for her just when she is having blood drawn, so I have no idea how to get her through the trauma of real surgery?!

Anyway she is back to normal and off to Carol's, which by the way, she is tolerating better now. She is getting used to mom working and she is doing better at the sitter's house and at school. And she is definitely doing better with dad these days. She was so excited that he picked her up yesterday and had a dad's day out without mom- no problems at all! So we have definitely made progress in that department. It is truly amazing at how fast she has adapted to everything.

Oh I wanted to ask you if you were going to the FCCA annual Lunar New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 26, 2008, from 10 am – 2 pm at the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta?? I couldn't decide early on, but I have decided that just Shelby and I will attend this year to see what it is all about. (Really I just couldn't pass up my first opportunity to get her all dressed up in Chinese attire again :) So let me know if you are going so I can look for you at the event.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Snowy Weekend

Well even though we had to cancel Travis' planned birthday party due to the big snow storm (or at least that what Georgia calls it), we still managed to have a make shift party on Saturday thanks to all my close by friends and family. Travis had a great time and even got 2 cakes! He was just as happy with that since what he really loves is all the attention on him. He even got to to go to the store and pick out "anything he wanted" which mom really loved since it was a whopping 5 bucks ;) When then all enjoyed hot chocolate and had a great day. Yesterday we went to that big toy store to spend some of that birthday money that was burning a whole in his pocket. According to Travis he had a "credit card" (ie: giftcard) that he could buy anything in the store with. So he decided on a grownup MP3 player and Caleb used some of his own money for a new drum set (yeah-not). Shelby spent some of mom's money and bought her very own grocery cart that she loves to push around the house. It was a very fun weekend spent with family and friends all weekend long!

OH and is it just me or does my baby girl looking more and more like a preschooler these days instead of a toddler??!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Difference in a Year

Exactly one year ago I was getting nervous and ready for the "big meeting". That is the meeting that would change our lives forever. CJ and I attended our very first adoption information meeting exactly one year ago. I can still remember all the details of that day as I was so excited to finally get to to talk openly to someone who could confirm/deny all of the research I had been doing on my own. This was also the first time that CJ could talk to someone "who knew the facts" about what adopting from China was all about. Not that he didn't believe me, but as you know husband/wives usually need to hear from a 3rd party in order to make something believable ;) It was there in the library, that our lives were forever changed. It was no mistake that the person giving the meeting also already had 2 boys before adopting a little girl. It was no mistake that we were the only people to attend the meeting that day so we had Ms. Stasko's undivided attention. It was no mistake that Christy talked to us alot about China's so called "special needs" kids. It was no mistake that CJ and I were both open minded and having a great day that day. It was no mistake that after that meeting, over a Subway lunch, our lives and hearts were sent to China to find our daughter. OH what a difference a year can make!

The Gift of Life
I didn't give you the gift of life, But in my heart I know
The love I feel is deep and real, As if it had been so.
For us to have each other Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you the gift of life, Life gave me the gift of YOU.
-Author Unknown-

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let it Snow Let it Snow

Let it snow! Yep, the big state of Georgia actually received some snow yesterday. I know for all you northerners out there, that doesn't sound like a big deal, but for us Georgians it is a big deal. The boys loved going outside and making the best snowball possible with the wet icky stuff. Shelby wasn't too thrilled about it getting on her or her shoes, but she loved watching it from the windows. It was very disappointing for the boys this morning to wake up and find out that they DID have to go to school. Come on as little as our kids get to see snow, you would have thought even Cobb County would have taken advantage of a snow day. But no dice, we were up and at em bright and early. Shelby was off to Carol's today and it wasn't too bad at drop off since she is learning her new routine. I have talked to her about 5 times on the phone already and that seems to calm her down and reassure her that mommy is still around and coming back soon to get her. I still miss her though knowing that she is still just sitting around waiting on me to come pick her up. She doesn't get down and play yet, or even eat/drink while she is away. I so hope she warms up to being at Carol's and at her new school soon...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2nd Day of School

So we were off to Shelby's second day of school today, and as you can see she wasn't too happy about it. However, she wasn't terrified about it either. I will have to say that she was terrified on Monday since she wasn't sure about the whole situation and if we were coming back to get her. If you think about, the scenario was very similar to her from when she was whisked away from foster mom. I am sure she was taken from her foster mom, put into the orphanage (familiar to her), and then whisked from there into a car never to see her foster mom again. Well we kind of did the same thing to her Monday. She was taken from me, put into the school/church (familiar to her), then bundled up and put into a car again- fortunately this time it was her Nana driving the car. So needless to say she was STRESSED and confused the whole day.

But today was different since I was able to talk to her about what was going to happen. We talked about school and her wonderful teacher, Ms. Vicki. I told her about Nana picking her up after school and then mommy coming home from work to get her. Shelby is very smart and she really did seem to understand what was happening today. So no she wasn't thrilled about leaving me this morning, but she was crying just normal 2 year old separation tears today instead of the terrified tears. This is progress!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

5 years ago...

this was my little baby boy:

Happy Happy Happy Birthday to my favorite TRAVIS! My baby boy is getting all grown up and it just seems like yesterday when he was all warm and snuggly. Now look at him, the big

brother. He hasn't been too crazy about his new role, but he has lived up to being her hero :) Can't believe it has already been 5 whole years since I was blessed with such a wonderful child. How boring it would be to not have my Travis in my life! Happy Birthday Baby!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Daddy's First Kiss

Yep, that's right-CJ finally received his official real first kiss from Miss Shelby last night before going to bed. He was on Cloud 9 for sure! She was even happy to see him today when he went and picked her up from her Nana's house. That was a first as well since she typically would prefer Nana over Dad, but not today :) Hopefully CJ has passed her tests and is now on her good side.

Now for the bad today...well she left the car screaming her head off at preschool this morning. She was not happy at all! I called about every 30 minutes, and she was still pretty upset every time I called, so we all decided that we should cut her day a little short today. So my mom went to pick her up about an hour early from school. She was THRILLED to see Nana and of course was fine the rest of the afternoon. It is definately going to be a long road to peaceful seperations-I'm sure. Hopefully things will get a little better each day. Here are some of those pics I have promised but not posted lately:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's Official...

Shelby is the cutest little Chinese Redneck there ever was! Yep, she was officially introduced into her new southern world she lives in. She attended her first Monster Truck show last night and had a great time. She even had her first (of many) visit to the Varsity! Yes, we all had some rednecking good time fun yesterday. She did really well through the whole event that lasted until 11PM! She finally had enough around 10PM and after each truck would do its thing, she would sign over and over again-all done all done all done. She wasn't upset or anything she had just had enough and was over tired by that point. She drifted off to sleep and was a perfect little trooper for the whole event. So it looks like she is truly a Straight :0) I did take a quick pic of her in her little overalls before we left, so I will have to post it tomorrow.

PS: Please send up an extra prayer for us tomorrow as Shelby starts her first day of preschool tomorrow morning. I will let you all know how it goes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's tough to be a mom

Well today was really really tough for us both this morning. My intent was to take Shelby to her regular sitter today after dropping off Caleb at school. Well since Miss Shelby was spoiled rotten yesterday at her Nana's house, things didn't go well at all. I told Shelby that we were going to Carol's and she went into a complete meltdown crying and crying...Nanwa, Nanwa, Nanwa, Nanwa over and over again. Well I just couldn't handle it, and I turned around and took her right back to her Nanwa's house for the day.

Realizing how much she enjoys her Nana and how much she enjoys structure, I made the decision to put Shelby in a preschool 3 days a week where her Nana will be able to pick her up and spend the afternoons with her. So tomorrow we are going to her new school to check it out and show her where she is going to be going to school next week. So next week she will be going to school 3 days for half the day and then Nana will get her the rest of those days. She will still be going to Carol's house for the other 2 days and she will eventually get used to that. Carol is good to my kids and besides Shelby gets to be with her brother on those days she is at Carol's once he is out of school. Now dropping her off at Carol's house is another story.

This has got to get easier for both of us. Now it isn't like I am a first time mom and never been down this road before. I have already done this twice, and it was difficult for both of my boys, but I survived and so did they. So I have faith that all of this is going to get better, but right now it is TOUGH! I do know that I miss her terribly all day and that apparently she misses me. So I realize that on the attachment issues, that is probably a good thing. However on the heartbreaking issue, it is really bad. And now I am going to add the preschool element on top of all of her adjustments, and I am nervous about that too. I believe I am doing the right thing though by giving her some structured learning/play time with a preschool setting. She does enjoy playing with others too (once she gets to know them), so I feel like she will have fun at school once she is used to it.

So as you can see, Shelby and I are really struggling with letting go of each other during the day. I really really hope things get better SOON. I know they will eventually get better and strongly feel like I am giving her the best opportunities to thrive while I am away at work. My heart still breaks for her when I have to leave her crying though. So here's hoping for an easy transition next week into her new school and her full 2 days at Carol's house. Heaven knows all of this has to make us stronger. I certainly know that it makes for tighter hugs and sweeter kisses when I pick all my babies up in the evenings :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Missing Brighton

I just found out about the Hoffman's baby boy in Ethiopia. I am so saddened to hear this heart breaking news for them. They are such a young radiant couple who always have great smiles every time I get to see them at First Friday. Tymm and Laura are going to be such great parents one day. I was so hoping that their day was coming soon to finally hold their little one. Apparently God has different plans for them right now. Adoption is such a roller coaster ride for your emotions; however, I can't possibly imagine how tough this must be for them. Please send up some extra prayers for this great family.

Tough to be 2

Well well, yes we are actually back in full swing of work, school, and daycare. Shelby isn't too thrilled with this "new" arrangement of all of us leaving her during the day. Mom isn't too happy about leaving her either :( Yesterday was her first day to spend time at the sitter without her brothers and it was a tough day to be 2. We started the morning off with a strange fever so I took her to the doctor and he just said he thought she had a cold. Well he gave me a script for antibiotics to use in a couple of days in case she doesn't get better on her own. I personally think she does have an ear infection, since she seems to be pulling at her right ear alot.

Anyway once her fever broke, she was back to her regular cheery self. So I decided to go ahead and take her to Carol's house around lunch time, that way she only had to be there a couple of hours before Travis would arrive. Well needless to say she was very upset when I left her. I called and checked on her about every 15 minutes. She finally stopped crying after about 30 minutes and then she went to sleep after an hour of fussing. I know it will get better, but it is still tough to know that she is so sad without us. Of course she was thrilled when Travis was there once she woke up and she played the rest of the afternoon.

I am happy to know that she does understand that I will always come back to pick her up though. Before we got her and I used to think about dropping her off, I was so afraid that she would think I had "left" her forever. She seems to really understand though that I am just going off to work and that I will be back to get her. She just wishes I would come back a lot sooner though ;) Well today my mom is watching her for me. Shelby cried her big crocodile tears for me when I left, but my mom soon left and took her to her old work to show off her new granddaughter. My mom said Shelby was fine and of course everyone was happy to finally meet her. She is awfully cute ya know, so I am sure she was a big hit! So hopefully Shelby will have a good day without me today, and I know she loves to greet Caleb off the school bus so that will make her day. It still sure is tough to be 2 though!

Monday, January 7, 2008

China Driving

I stole this link from another blog today and just had to post it for everyone. This is a real life video of a typical intersection in China. Now this should explain why Shelby freaks out and covers her eyes whenever she sees a car coming at her!

Are you committed?

Here is a very powerful statement made by Rick Warren. Can you make the same commitment? Pretty powerful!
A Call to Radical Commitment By Rick Warren
Today I am stepping across the line. I'm tired of waffling, and I'm finished with wavering. I've made my choice; the verdict is in; and my decision is irrevocable. I'm going God's way. There's no turning back now!
I will live the rest of my life serving God's purposes with God's people on God's planet for God's glory. I will use my life to celebrate his presence, cultivate his character, participate in his family, demonstrate his love, and communicate his Word. Since my past has been forgiven, and I have a purpose for living and a home awaiting in heaven, I refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting, or faithless worrying. Instead I will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and fulfill my mission in the membership of his family.
Because this life is preparation for the next, I will value worship over wealth, “we” over “me,” character over comfort, service over status, and people over possessions, position, and pleasures. I know what matters most, and I'll give it all I've got. I'll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today.
I won't be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptation, or intimidated by the devil. I'll keep running my race with my eyes on the goal, not the sidelines or those running by me.
When times get tough, and I get tired, I won't back up, back off, back down, back out, or backslide. I'll just keep moving forward by God's grace. I'm Spirit-led, purpose-driven and mission-focused, so I cannot be bought, I will not be compromised, and I shall not quit until I finish the race. I'm a trophy of God's amazing grace, so I will be gracious to everyone, grateful for everyday, and generous with everything that God entrusts to me.
To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say: However, whenever, wherever, and whatever you ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! Wherever you lead and whatever the cost, I'm ready. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyway. Whatever it takes Lord; whatever it takes!
I want to be used by you in such a way, that on that final day I'll hear you say, "Well done, thou good and faithful one. Come on in, and let the eternal party begin!"
What does this mean? Today, I affirm this commitment to God and submit to his plans and purposes for my life, no matter what it takes!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Life Changing Video

First Friday was awesome as usual. This month was very special to me because the evening was centered around a special video called China's Lost Girls. The "stars" in the video, Denise and her family, were live and in person at First Friday. We watched pieces of the video and then Denise would get up and tell about some of the behind the scene parts that took place. It was great and terrible all at the same time. It was great to get to hear from Denise in person about the experience she had with National Geographic and all the great details about her trip. Well it was terrible to watch this video after finally experiencing all the emotions of actually completing our adoption. I had watched this video probably over 20 times (no kidding) before we left for China. This was used as my "guide" to learn about what we were about to experience. Well I had not watched this video since we have returned home with our angel. Needless to say, I was brought to tears during the video and after just thinking about how much I had learned from the video prior to going and now how much more the video means to our family after experiencing this journey.

I shared the video with all of my personal friends and family as soon as we started telling people that we were going to adopt from China. This video gives a clear picture of China adoptions and tells the story in a way that everyone can understand. A lot of my friends and family were completely ignorant about China adoption until I was at least able to share this video with them. I can't thank Denise and her family enough for opening up their lives with the rest of the world by sharing her story. She has truly been instrumental in my quest to share my story with others as well. I always say that you never know whose life you may change just by sharing your story. Denise helped changed the views of Chinese adoption in the eyes of many many people out there, especially for my friends and family. So I plan to continue to share our journey with as many people who want to hear it!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Year of the Rat

I am starting to get some invites to celebrate our first Chinese New Year with Shelby. Here is one from FCCA:

It's the Year of the Rat! Join FCCA for our annual Lunar New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 26, 2008, from 10 am – 2 pm at the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta. Meet up with other FCCA families for a fun-filled celebration, including:
- Adorable red t-shirts for sale- Crafts for kids!- New food vendor!- Wide selection of products from Chinese vendors - list coming!- Traditional Lion Dance and popular Chinese entertainment
Register by Wednesday, January 16, at Password "ratyear"

Please let me know if your family has attended before and what you thought about it. Sounds like fun, but kind of pricey so wanted to make sure it was worth the money. We are also going to be attending our agency's Chinese New Year event as well, so I was wondering if we should do both or not. Your thoughts...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Back to Work

Well today I finally committed to going back to work full-time. I dropped the kids off at Carol's without a tear from anyone :) I am so glad Shelby has her brothers around for these first few days at the sitter's house. The boys are back at school on Tuesday and she will have to be dropped off ALONE, so we will see what that brings next week. It has actually been kind of nice to finally get back together with me and my Daytimer. I have been so unorganized and scattered without my regular schedules. So I will continue to dig out from under my desk and get Tridia back in order this week. Looking forward to seeing all my First Friday friends again on Friday.