Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Forever Family Anniversary

Yes, Monday marked the one year anniversary of the 5 of us becoming a forever family. We celebrated a day early because Kevin was out of town on Monday. For dinner, we went to Mark Pi's, a local Chinese restaurant. (ironic thing is that their walls are adorned with pictures of Chicago's Chinatown) Delilah and Mark, and Carol, Rob and their kids met us there to share this special occasion. Then we all came back to our house for a "Happy Family Day" cake. We are not only blessed for the addition of Kamryn to our family, but also for the many wonderful friends we've met along the way.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reflections on a year ago

Last year at this time the boys were sleeping, and Kevin and I were confident that we had everything covered as we triple checked our packing list. Our suitcases were at the door ready to go. We were about to travel half way across the world to meet our daughter for the first time.

Today we are getting hugs and kisses from Kamryn all the time. She is home to enjoy this holiday season, even though our home is changing in a couple of weeks. It's funny how things can change so drastically in just one year, one month, one day, one moment. Makes me realize it's better to live more in the moment and enjoy the blessings of each day. Today we are blessed with the wonderful memory of the beginning of our China trip and our journey to Kamryn.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Forgot the cutest words

The two funniest words or rather phrases that Kamryn says now is whoa! when she gets excited about something, and ugh-o used appropriately if she spills something or if the movie on TV is over and the screen is fuzzy. Her little mind is always working and she is sooo smart.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rah Rah for Words!

Kamryn is really trying to talk up a storm! It's wonderful to hear her sweet little voice. She will mimic us and try to repeat everything. Her vocabulary has included momma, dada, gege and hi for awhile now, but here is a list of her new words: bye bye, ball, duck, back pack (because she takes one to school), baby, no (which she says with attitude!) pop, eat and more.

After moms morning out today, Miss Laurie said that Kamryn will point to the kids' pictures (which she has up in their room) and she tries to say their names. She agrees with me that Kamryn is really trying to talk. I'm glad it's not my imagination;) Miss Laurie just laughs and says that Kamryn is alot of fun, that she is full of character.

We had our 12 month post placement visit with our home study agency on Tuesday. We brought Kamryn with us and she played while we were asked questions about her eating and sleeping habits, how she interacts with us, whether she has bonded, if she shows jealousy with her brothers, her health since we've brought her home, how she interacts with others, etc. It was only a half hour visit and we were done! Finally, we are done with the paperwork! We had to provide 6 pictures which they send to China with their report. Of course they were happy smiling pictures. Not this picture . . . this is how we brought Kamryn to the visit on Tuesday. Over the weekend, she slipped on my neighbor's wood floor and got a major boo boo, yes, on her face. This is the 3rd scrape/shiner she's had on her face. She's either clumsy or accident prone. I feel so bad for her. When she gets hurt, she doesn't really cry very loudly. It's more like a whimper. Poor girl. The only time she cries loudly is at 3 am when she's not tired. Good thing they will let us keep her, even after seeing her look this way:)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Kamryn's First American Thanksgiving

We are so thankful for many things; our family, our friends, our health, and that Kamryn has now been with us longer than she was in China. This was her first American Thanksgiving and our last holiday in this house. My parents came down to celebrate with us, and Delilah and her family came over bringing delicious desserts. It was a very nice day.

Kamryn "helped" me that morning by stirring the stuffing. She didn't really enjoy the turkey feast and the trimmings but she LOVED the chocolate French Silk pie. She is just like her mommy:) We kept remembering that last year we were sitting among suitcases half packed and this year we are loving on the sweet little girl we've always dreamed of. Sending thanks and praises to God for bringing her into our life.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Florida? Why not?

A couple of weeks ago the boys had "fall break" and days off from school. In the midst of all this relocation stuff going on, we went to Florida to visit Kevin's dad & Dianne and Kevin's sister, Kathleen. We had planned this trip months ago and decided there was no point in cancelling it. The only minor change in our plans was that Kevin was not going to be able to fly with us there because he had work to do in Chicago the day of our departure. So yes, I had to fly solo with the three kids, a stroller, car seat and luggage. Thank goodness for wonderful friends like Rob (Carol's husband) for taking us to the airport and making sure we were all checked in before he took off for work. Thank goodness for Matthew who was a big help on the airplane taking care of Kamryn. Both boys helped carry as much as they could. Thank goodness Dad & Dianne met us at the Orlando airport because getting the luggage from the baggage carousel can be time consuming especially when you are waiting at the wrong one due to a lack of communication from the airline:)

The boys enjoyed swimming in Grandpa and Grandma's very nice pool. In fact, they were in there for 5 hours one day. We went to the Magic Kingdom and the look on Kamryn's face during It's A Small World was magical. She was in awe of all the music and stuff going on. She was a good girl that hot day and tolerated the park well. She loved the parades and someday when she's older, we will have to take her to meet the princesses.

We went to Silver Springs and the glass bottom boat ride and the alligators were the biggest hit of the day. Brendan volunteered for the reptile show and had a huge snake on him! The day before that he was feeding cows in Aunt Kathleen's "backyard" and helping her name them. Then after all that animal affection, the boys ate alligator tail at dinner at a restaurant in the Villages.

The Villages is this quaint town that is self contained, and they were celebrating Octoberfest the night we were there. Bands were playing, people were in the streets, and Kamryn stole the show down by the dock as she danced to the music. It warms my heart to see her dance, and I think how lucky we are to have this happy child in our family.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Happy Halloween It Was

Thank goodness it wasn't raining like the weatherman predicted. The sun actually came out somewhat too even though it was pretty cold. Kamryn actually wore her costume and after a couple of houses and getting candy, I think she really understood the whole idea of it all. She clutched onto her candy and wouldn't put it in the cute ladybug bag she was carrying. When I brought her in the house and dumped the goods on the kitchen table, she just ate away and was loving it! The boys had a great time too and say that it was one of the best Halloween's ever. They dressed more scary as a zombie and phantom. The picture is of them with their friends Sarah and Julia, sisters who live behind us. My three kiddos actually got dressed in their costumes at their house because we had a showing on Halloween. That would have been the best treat of the day if we got an offer, but no such luck.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Change is Hard

SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO LOOK AT THE WORLD IN A DIFFERENT WAY. I often tell the boys to keep a positive outlook on things, to find the good in any situation. It's hard to teach how to see the glass half full rather than half empty, so I guess I just need to set a good example. Maybe I can help them learn how to have a more optimistic attitude in life even when you are thrown a curve ball.

I started this posting on October 1st and meant to talk about how our neighborhood got redistricted and Brendan was struggling with attending a new elementary school this year. Now this topic just hits home even more because alot has changed since October 2nd when we found out that we are being relocated back to the Chicago area. Ever since then we have been living on the fast forward button with house hunting, cleaning/organizing this house to get ready to sell, and of course the emotions that come with change.

Yes, we will back by my parents, sister and her family, extended family and dear friends too. So we are happy about that. But truthfully, we are very sad too because in spite of us not wanting to come to Indiana 4 years ago, we have made this home and have made wonderful friends who have become like family to us here.

It's hard to see your kids hurting and crying. It was Brendan before, but now it is Matthew. He just sobs when thinking of leaving his friends here and starting over at a new school. (His friends back in Chicago are all older than him and not in the same schools.)

Lucky for Kamryn she is young enough to not know what is going on. As long as we stay constant for her, she stays happy. I am sad for her though that she will miss "Chinese baby playgroup" every Friday morning (okay, I'm sad I'll miss it too). She just loves her preschool now (and I love the 2 hours on Mondays and Wednesdays to run errands). She has a terrific fan club here full of our other wonderful neighbors and friends that supported her (and us!) so much while she was making the journey from China to home in Indiana. Everyone here is so genuine, friendly and so giving of themselves, always ready to lend a helping hand. I will miss everyone here very much.

The positive thing is that, like we were told before, it is only a short 3-4 hour drive away. I tell Matt that we are lucky that it's back to Chicago we go, instead of somewhere farther away. We can easily come back to visit, and we will! We've done the drive a million times and can do it in our sleep. Of course our friends are always welcome to stay with us anytime when they come for a visit to the big windy city. Time is best spent with those that you care about, and we will stay in touch. Like we've learned, the road to a friends house is never long.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Happy Referral Day!

One year ago today we first laid eyes on our little girl and fell in love. Actually, we were in love with her before we even saw her picture, but this was the day she became a reality and not just a dream. This was the little girl who was halfway across the world that was chosen for us. She was born in our hearts, and our hearts were so full and overjoyed that we were one step closer to completing our family.

This can not be the same girl that was in those referral pictures. That girl looked lost and lifeless. Kamryn has a twinkle in her eye that is so obvious. She is fun and mischievous with alot of spunk. This was picture number 15 . . . trying to get her to sit still holding this picture looks like it might have been easy but it was not by far. Only until little miss monkey decided she had tortured mom enough is when she finally sat down for me. Just look at that grin! You can read her mind. But I can read her heart too, and I totally melt when she comes up to me to give me a big open mouth kiss or a quick little eskimo kiss. We're all completely blessed to have each other. Thank God that miracles do happen.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Our Bathing Beauties

When the boys were little, I had their "bathtub" picture taken. My niece and nephew also had these same pictures taken and they adorned the kids bathroom wall with some Anne Geddes tub pictures. I finally took Kamryn to get her famous bath tub picture to add to my wall. On the phone, the lady at the portrait studio asked how old Kamryn was and when I told her, she didn't think she'd fit in the galvanized tub. Kamryn is a peanut though, so of course she fit no problem. She actually cooperated pretty well! Here are Hunter's, Lauren's and Gavin's tub pictures too!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A School Girl Now!

Kamryn started her mom's morning out program at St. Peter's Church this month. I am happy to report that she is doing just fine at drop off. Of course the first few times, Suzy and I made sure we were following each other so Kamryn and Anna Li could see each other and go in together. That really seemed to help. Seeing the two girls together, Suzy and I just have to giggle because of course we think our girls look so cute and little and sweet carrying their backpacks that are practically bigger than they are.

Kamryn is so smart;) The first day we weren't in the carpool line together, she totally figured out where we were and what was going to happen even though we were pretty far back in the carpool line. She got very weepy and sad, and oh how that tugged on my heartstrings. The ladies said that she stopped crying before she even got to the classroom. More recently, she has "bonded" with the one gal who comes to the car and now reaches for her and even waves goodbye to me.

Her teacher, Miss Laurie, says that Kamryn is always so happy. I just think to myself, "yes, that's my girl!" (I bought the ladybug sweater while in China, isn't it cute?!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Our First Girls Weekend Away

Last weekend, Kamryn and I went to visit my aunt Linda who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Linda has generously offered to take the time to create our travel scrapbook with our pictures from China. Doing that long distance can get tricky, so a trip was in order so I could help her "outline" the pages. At our FTIA reunion, I purchased a cool Chinese scrapbook and several "China" papers and diecuts,etc. from the gal who owns scrapandtell.com. Linda and I have also hit many stores so we were very successful and actually mapped out 37 pages full of pictures with coordinating papers. All during naps and after bedtime of course. Now her project is to embellish and create. I can't wait to see the final book. Thanks again Lin!

Can you really believe that Kamryn and I got on another airplane only 9 months after getting home from China? If you've done the trip, you know what I mean. (I don't mean to scare those of you still waiting, you just do what you have to do) However, I vowed it would be a very, very, very long time before we did that. Plane ride aside, I began to wonder if I am crazy to travel alone with a very energetic almost 2 year old who won't sit still and then have to change planes on top of it. She flew for free as a lap child, but after switching planes in Chicago, she wanted nothing to do with my lap or any of the toys I packed to entertain her. The poor lady who was sitting next to us that flight got water spilled all over her, thanks to Kamryn. Stickers from Linda helped a bit on the trip home, even if she did stick them on my face, her face and in our hair. Kamryn generated alot of attention at O'Hare by doing somersaults and dancing at the terminal while waiting for the plane. She is not shy at all. She had no problem walking up to a guy eating McDonald's and just smiling at him until she got a fry. She is super friendly and super sweet until she doesn't get what she wants. (no comments please!) I wonder what some people were thinking while she was crying, arching her back in my arms trying to wiggle her way out of my grip while we were waiting in line to board. Delilah witnessed a mini tantrum in Indy when we got home and were waiting for our luggage. Kamryn does not want to be confined, she wants to roam like a free spirit. (Thanks Delilah for picking us up at the end of our trip! I can't wait to return the favor and pick you up when you get home from China!) Oh, I got a picture on my cell phone of Kamryn in the cockpit of the plane, but I don't know how to transfer it. Our flight back to Indy was delayed so Kamryn charmed the pilot as well as we waited to find out which gate we were supposed to be at. He offered the photo shoot, and unfortunately my real camera was packed since I really packed lightly for a change.

Linda has two wonderful golden retrievers, Amanda and Maddie. They loved Kamryn and she really took to them too! She was hesitant at first since she was outnumbered, but soon enough Kamryn felt comfortable enough to tease them, hug them and play with them. I think Kamryn must have felt like a star in Omaha because proud Aunt Linda took us to her office so her friends could meet Kami and more friends came to the house to meet her too! Linda didn't "baby proof" her house, but Kamryn showed us what to put up high and out of her reach like the decorative apples which became balls. She truly amazed us though when drink coasters with a wooden block on top of it became a teacup and saucer.

Hopefully it will become a tradion, to go away for a "girl's only" weekend. The boys will probably endorse it as well because according to Brendan, when asked why certain chores weren't done and what did they do, his answer was "We had fun!" with a huge smile on his face. Well, Kamryn and I had fun too!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Impromptu Visit

This weekend, my mom and Aunt Bernice came down for an impromptu visit. It was a nice surprise to see them! After checking the newspaper for "things to do" this weekend, we decided to check out the Elk Farm festivities in Atlanta, IN on Saturday morning. We all went on a hayride, the boys did a corn maze and we all saw the huge Elk. We ate popcorn but passed on the Elk burgers. It was fun!

Grandma and Great Aunt Bernice ended up babysitting then so Kevin and I could quickly run to a furniture store to purchase a new kitchen table set. Well, 3 hours later with nothing purchased, we came home! You would think that it would have been a simple task, especially since I spent all last weekend doing the prep work and visiting every furniture store in the Indy area to narrow down our choices. Needless to say, everyone was tired Saturday night. My brain was mush, and Grandma and Aunt Bernice were pooped after spending the afternoon with Kamryn.

Kamryn was extra energetic and crazy this weekend because she's on an oral steriod to kick this inflammation thing going on due to some nasty virus she's been fighting all week. Last Sunday her temp read 105.6 at 3 o'clock in the morning! I was ready to go to the ER, but we managed to bring the temp down somewhat until I could page the doctor on Monday morning (since it was the holiday). We finally ended up in his office on Thursday. Now the rest of us are feeling under the weather too, so I'm sure it is viral and we've caught the same bug.

Actually, I'm feeling a little blue too with many others I'm sure as September 11th shows up on my calendar. My friends husband was in a play about Sept.11th (which I saw) plus the boys and I have been watching the specials on the Discovery Channel. It is just so sad to hear everyone's stories. These were real people with real lives and it could be any of us at any time. Check out this
  • website on Monday to read the stories written by 2,996 volunteer bloggers to commemorate the each of the lives of the 9/11 victims.
  • Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    Make Offer? No Way!

    Kamryn is very curious and always doing something. She rarely sits still. The contents of my desk drawer (or any drawer really!) are not safe from Kamryn's little hands. The other day she found old garage sale stickers in the desk. Before I knew it, she had stuck them all over herself. I had to giggle because the one front and center said "MAKE OFFER." Even on the days that I'm going on little sleep or days that she is clingy and whining or the ones where she is nonstop climbing on top of the kitchen table and getting into things, I would never consider putting a sticker on her saying "Make Offer." Those are the days I need a sticker that says "Make Offer to Babysit." Watch out before you offer, because I just might take you up on it!

    Thursday, August 31, 2006

    Getting in a Groove

    The boys have been back at school for 2-1/2 weeks now and they are finally getting in a groove with the homework and morning and night time routines. Kamryn and I have been going to Lifetime Fitness more regularly; I've been paged after only 20 minutes most times. Today she started crying as soon as we walked into the club. As hard as it was, I left her in the childcare area lying on the floor kicking and crying hysterically. I thought I'd get paged after only 10 minutes for sure but to my surprise, I didn't get paged at all! So after 40 minutes, I raced down to the childcare area to see her playing happily with the toys. We'll see how it continues to go. I sure hope okay though because after Labor Day she starts a moms morning out program at a local church on Mondays and Wednesdays. And with that program, the ladies come to the car and get the children. Hmmm, already dreading that. But maybe she's finally understanding that yes mommy comes back for her.

    Last Sunday, Grandpa Mike and Grandma Dianne visited on their way back down to Florida. We went to P.F. Changs for dinner (Chinese bistro) much to the boys dismay, but Kamryn LOVED it! She devoured a spring roll and ate alot of rice. She loved it so much that yesterday I took her to another local Chinese restaurant for lunch. The staff was very friendly and even talked Chinese to us. They had Chinese music playing and pictures of Chinatown on the wall. I was transported back to our trip to China and all I could do was hug and kiss on Kamryn more than the usual the rest of the day. "China" has given me the sweetest little girl who brings a smile to everyone's face because she is quick to smile and full of personality. I really hope that someday we can go back to China with Kamryn so that she can understand more about her birthcountry.

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Kamryn says Hi!

    Kamryn loves the computer and just wants to say "Hi!" to everyone out there checking in on her, especially to Uncle Marc who gets a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY HELLO today! She's getting great at sign language and knows how to sign "computer" among many other words. We'll ask her word after word, and she does the right sign. It cuts down on the whining and it's helpful when she's walking around the kitchen signing "eat" because then I know she's hungry! She's one smart cookie!

    We had her lead level tested again and it is down to 10 now. When she came home from China it was 18. We are relieved that the lead is leaving her little body. She loves fruits and vegetables so that helps that she is eating healthy. Her new recent favorite is blueberries and clementine oranges.

    I took her to the doctor yesterday because ever since our trip to IL she has been waking at night screaming. It's been off and on, and my gut instinct was saying "teething or separation anxiety" but since it's been a month now, I was starting to panic that maybe her ears were infected. They are okay of course. The tubes are still in and look good. So now instead of rocking her or sleeping on her bedroom floor while holding her hand through the crib, I have the doctors okay to let her cry it out. I guess the sooner I can do that, the sooner she'll get through this. But some nights it's so hard to hear her sound so frightened. She calms down immediately when I just give her a hug. She is such a sweet, happy, fun girl, and we're blessed that she has bonded with us remarkably well. We've been together 8 months now and soon enough she will have been in our home longer than she was in China.