Friday, December 26, 2008

An Unexpected Performance!

Yes, Kamryn happened to be in two school performances this year.

Kamryn and I went to Gavin's school performance. That particular evening, Kamryn wanted to dress up in her Chinese outfit. So I let her and she looked beautiful!

Little did we know that she would end up in Gavin's performance! He did not want to participate so Aunt Melanie coaxed Kamryn into taking Gavin over to his classmates. She stayed with them and actually tried to sing the songs and copied the hand motions as if she had been practicing all month! The teachers were great and actually gave her a set of antlers to wear too. So fun!

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a blessed and happy holiday. We enjoyed having our family over here on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Unfortunately, my niece and nephew were sick on Christmas day, so it was a bit quieter than we had expected; crazy bingo is postponed:)

We had a very full December. Kamryn's Christmas program at her preschool was very sweet. I quickly dropped her off at her classroom and ran so that we wouldn't have a meltdown like at her Halloween party. During her performance, I tried to hide but just couldn't because she was searching for all of us . . . I had to wave! She did great! She's been singing all month, "bells are ringing, bells are ringing, baby Jesus born today." She'd sing this in line at the store or wherever we were. I'd get lots of smiles:) My little angel was an angel at her performance, how appropriate! Here are some of her biggest fans!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Three Little Piggies

One of our playgroup outings was to go see the performance of the Three Little Pigs that was put on by Alphabet Soup Productions at one of the local colleges. I was expecting the traditional story and was rather pleased how they elaborated the story and added lots of piggy humor. It was very cute and entertaining for all.

Ha ha, funny funny

Grandma Dianne always emails us these great photoshows. She has fun putting captions on the pictures. I thought this one was funny:)

Yes, the tree finally did get put up and decorated along with the rest of the house for the holidays. We've had a busy but fun December. I hope to catch up and share about it soon!

The more prayers, the better.

This is the season to be joyous. Yet, my heart is very heavy because one of Kamryn's little playgroup friends is fighting cancer. I asked Ann, Abby's mom, if I could post about her situation and of course she said the more prayers, the better.

I think there was a definite "red thread" linking us with their family. My cousin Debbie and her husband Andy had a graduation party for their daughter in July. I knew that their friends who had just returned home from China were going to be there. We were excited to meet them and during our conversation that day when talking about China groups in the area, Ann mentioned that she had gone to a Friday playgroup outing at a park near our homes one day with her friend Julie. I'm the one who usually sets up the Friday playgroups, and I couldn't recall meeting her. Then I put two and two together and realized it was a day Kamryn and I missed, and Rowan's mom Julie had invited Ann & Abby that day. They attend the same church. Small world.

Abby has a "small eye" and vision loss. They had all the medical tests, MRI's etc, done when they returned home and everything checked out okay. But Abby's eye has been causing her pain so after lots of medications to help with that, the doctors decided the best course of action was to go in and remove the small eye now (instead of later) and to move forward with replacing it with a prosthetic eye. During surgery to remove her eye, they noticed the cancer.

Her website can explain everything much better than I can. She is currently in the hospital for chemo and has a long road ahead of her including daily shots and radiation treatment that will take place in Boston.

I can't even imagine being in their shoes. And they've been through this before with their first biological daughter who had a brain tumor. Ann is a pillar of strength though and has such strong faith that it really is an inspiration.

She's posted in her journal that they would like to "reward" Abby with small surprises after each of her shots. If anyone is willing to send stickers or small toys for Abby and big sister Jenna, please email me and I will forward you their address or would be happy to gather/buy/deliver for you too.

Kamryn with Abby and Rowan at Halloween.

Abby's website

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This was one of those moments!

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away!

Yes, that about sums it up for this day three years ago! Add this day to our list of other days - June 15th and January 30th, when the boys were born. Our three children have completely different stories about the day they came into our lives. Our three children are completely loved (and fiercely!) the same regardless.

Today is our family day. Three years ago today our family became complete.

I truly believe that this day three years ago took the boys breath away too.

They constantly write about their trip to China for numerous school projects. Good thing they always have new teachers so the subject can be written about over and over. It's interesting for me as their mom to compare their writing, so that I can understand how much they really understand (and they do!) and to realize how different the two of them are! Matt writes factual stories. Brendan writes from his heart.

So I'm going to share Brendan's latest writing since it is FAMILY day and you "hear" from me all the time. I want you to see this through his eyes. Remember he was only 7 years old (well almost 8) at the time.

by Brendan Ahearn

Click, I buckled up and the airplane took off to China. I was getting ready to meet my little sister that my family was going to adopt from China. I was thinking of what I would say to my new sister when it came time to meet her. I was bouncing out of my seat in excitement.

Kamryn was living in the Jiangxi Province in a foster care home. When we finally got to the building where Kamryn was, we noticed that there were mounds of garbage everywhere. I couldn't believe how dirty the outside was. However, when we got inside it was so nice. We went up some stairs and walked down a short hallway that had pictures of adopted children. On a bench I saw three infant girls crying. We were finally going to enter the room where we would get Kamryn!

As the doors opened we saw a room full of babies that were crying. They started calling out last names and the family would greet their new child. When they called our last name I couldn't wait to get my sister! My parents, brother and I had huge smiles on our faces. When we got Kamryn, she was crying so much! Then I realized she was one of the babies that was on the bench. We had to say, "I love you" in Chinese before she calmed down.

In conclusion, getting Kamryn was the best day of my life! I couldn't wait to get home in the U.S.A. to celebrate Christmas with my sister.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Such Great Heights

Kevin took vacation days the whole week of Thanksgiving. At first I questioned him taking those few days. I would have rather him taken some days in December when things get so hectic, and I could use some help. But then again, that wouldn't be "vacation" for him then, would it?

So be it, he took the November days off. It turned out better than I expected! Kamryn really loved having him home all the time! Her little heart was soaring with all the attention she was getting from daddy. She ended up wanting daddy's help for most everything which was a nice, welcome change.

We took a family adventure downtown to the Sears Tower one day. Brendan suggested it so we jumped on the chance to get the boys out of the house, away from their games, and to have some family time.

Fun facts about the Sears Tower

Matt had just completed a math study about scale and actually had just recently built the Sears Tower out of cardboard. I had printed off a scavenger hunt game from the Sears Tower website for the boys so they could try to find certain locations of interest. It helped because it gave detailed directions on where to look for things.

Up by the windows, there were maps with sites numbered too. I told Kamryn to look for Chinatown and as she looked out the window and only saw buildings in the distance, she said she couldn't see it. She was looking for Chinese characters on the buildings. Maybe if we had brought some binoculars or put some quarters in the ones they had, she could have seen that.

Kamryn was fussy the whole time we were up on the 103rd floor. When we got back down to the ground, she was fine. I don't think she likes such great heights.

Isn't this photo funny? They took our picture before we got on the elevator to go up to the Skydeck. Then they use the same photo with four different backgrounds. One on a sunny day up as if you are up on the Skydeck, one with a night view, one in front of Buckingham Fountain and one with the lake and skyline in the background. The great thing about this picture is that Kamryn is totally into Brendan, and he is loving it!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Back at the farm!

We are so glad that we are not that far from our Indy friends - only an hour and a half halfway. The Saturday before Thanksgiving we traveled back to the farm to see our friends Delilah, Mark and Mary Grace and Karen and Tess.

The pictures say it all! We all had a great time! It was nice to see Mary Grace walking now. And yes, I think she remembers me:) because she came right to me when I wanted to hold her.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Is it really that time again?

For snow! I for one like to look at it, but I do not really like to be outside long enough to play in it. But the boys can't wait to go sledding, and Kamryn is thrilled just to touch it.

And what is wrong with this next picture?

Anyone guess? Look close.

It's the same snowy day. Just minutes after I took the picture of her touching the snow.

Yep. This is what's wrong.

The minute she gets in the car, she takes off her coat. No big deal really until we get to our destination and I have to stand out in the cold and help her get it back on! Today I didn't pull out of the driveway until she put her coat back on and then got buckled up. I guess now I will need to add extra time to get out the door just to win this battle. Everyone has extra time especially this time of year right?

Hmph. But look at this. Is this too cute or what?

Yes, her doll has her coat on! But when her doll comes along, I have to wait a few extra minutes for them both to get buckled up.

I know, I complain about the time it takes to get out the door, but in reality, I will be begging for these "times" when she's 16 or 17, able to drive and out the door alone.

Yikes, times getting closer for Matt to be able to drive! Anyone have a secret for stopping time?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving Gathering

Grandpa and Grandma Dianne traveled in from Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday. Lucky for us, we were able to see them this year on the holiday! We went to Aunt Cathy and Uncle Marc's house for the delicious dinner. The kids enjoyed cousin time and it was nice spending the day with family.

The kids enjoyed an early Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa too. Brendan was thrilled to get model cars to add to his newly wanted collection. Matt got some great books that completed the series he is reading. Kamryn got some new pj's for Bitty Baby and a matching set for herself along with a snowsuit for Bitty baby to keep her warm in this winter weather we are having!

Grandpa and Grandma spent the night at our house Saturday night. Grandma played Dominos with the kids and yes even Kamryn played with some help and even seemed to understand it!

Poor Grandma got an early wake up call Sunday morning though. Matt remembered at midnight that he didn't turn off his alarm clock. I didn't want him sneaking back in his room, which was now their room, in fear that he would scare them if they woke up and saw him tiptoeing around.

So Matt wrote a note to Grandpa (who we knew would wake up in the middle of night because he always does:) asking him to go unplug the clock. Kevin woke up at 3am and found his dad awake downstairs. They talked about Matt's note, and Kevin told him that we thought his alarm was set for 6am. Grandpa goes upstairs at 5:30 am to turn off the clock, but the alarm had already gone off at 5 am. Ugh!

Silly Matt set his clock earlier the day before so he could get up and play his new Playstation 3 (please! of course he didn't) which he recently bought with his own money. Poor Grandma:( and poor Matt after getting a stern talking to by me:( Thank goodness she fell back asleep after fumbling to turn it off.

Hopefully the rest of our hospitality makes up for this; the homemade chili, yummy dessert, the fun company and WII entertainment. Won't happen again, I promise. Please come back soon!

If it makes you feel any better Dianne, Kevin did the same thing to me (almost) this morning. He left the house at 5:20 am and then the phone rang. I was startled, scared (any phone call at that hour can't be good) and saw it was his cell phone. When I called his number back, he said he had no idea how it called me.

Dianne and I will be thankful for a good night's sleep.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My blog is decorated

for the holidays, but my home isn't.

Hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is it manipulation or sweet innocence?

We teach our children how to pray. We tell them that prayers do get answered. How was I to respond to this one prayer that I knew wasn't going to be answered:

"Dear Jesus, please let mommy stay home with me tonight."

That's what I heard Kamryn say right before I was to leave for the neighborhood bunco the other night.

Nice try Kamryn! I rarely go out in the evenings. Maybe once or twice a month. And I'm home with her during the day. I was actually in disbelief that that's what she really said, but the boys heard her too. I told her when mommy goes out, I always come back home.

I've been a sub for a few months now for the neighborhood group. It's fun to get out and finally meet some neighbors after living here almost two years.

Matt babysat the other night and did such a great job! I got home by 10:00 and was surprised to find Kamryn fast asleep. I really expected her to wait up for me. Matt is such a good big brother/babysitter though and he read books and stayed by her until she fell asleep.

I won $5.00 for rolling the most "mini-bunco's" - big excitement! It's funny how different groups have different rules/prizes for the game. In Indiana, I started a bunco group in our neighborhood, and we played a little differently. We didn't keep track of mini buncos but just counted them as 5 points.

Hey you Indy bunco friends that may be reading . . . are you still playing? If not, we'll have to set up a bunco night next time I'm down there! And playgroup friends here, we do need to set a date maybe in Jan/Feb for a bunco game night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How her mind works

At Chinese class a few weeks back (we are not taking Chinese right now but hope to continue sometime soon) Helen Lao Shi gave the girls beads and string to make a necklace. Kamryn started hers and honestly with NO help from me, this is what she made:

Her necklace is on the right and the necklace she made for her doll is on the left. She thinks in patterns! There is a rhyme and a reason to the way she strung the beads. Oh my!

Then one day she was playing with stickers and this is what she finished. One sheet of stickers was for me, the other for her daddy.

Going through her backpack after school one day, I saw this:

She pasted fabric squares on the paper. Isn't this amazing? She's very methodical.

I haven't had a diet coke

since last Friday. I know, that's not a whole lot of time away from it. But I am noticing a difference in my energy level - I have more of it surprisingly - and I don't have those weird, dull brain fog headaches. Coincidence or not?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Healthy Eating is hard to do!

Wednesday night I went to a "seminar" that my chiropractor's office was having at Whole Foods. It was about how to read labels and buy healthy foods.

First let me tell ya, I am doing everything wrong. The only good thing about this revelation is that there is great room for improvement. (When I say "they" I am referring to the gal from the chiro office and what the doctors there believe.)

My top five pitfalls:

1. Diet Pop - I am trying to give it up. They said regular pop is better than the aspartame in the diet sodas. Hmm, maybe that's why I always have a dull headache or brain fog feeling? Water is the best thing to drink. I knew this already.

2. Sugars - I love my chocolate! The only thing going for me is that I love dark chocolate and that is actually one sugar that they said is good for you in moderation.

3. Cheeses, or anything pasteurized. Okay, how can my family give up milk when Brendan has 3 bowls of cereal a day! They said "raw" is better. Raw cheese and raw milk. Raw vegetables, raw nuts. I guess organic milk is a better option for us, but is it really better?

4. Grains - I know wheat is better than white and pasta is bad. But come on, no grains at all? They told us about sprouted bread. Never heard of it. It's flourless. I bought a loaf and it's not bad, but the kids won't want it for their sandwich. But then again, lunch meat is out too because it's processed.

5. Meats - They said anything cooked is bad because it destroys the nutrients and actually causes carcinogens. I didn't believe it but just today I actually OPENED my Women's Health magazine that comes every month:) and I saw the following article:

When beef, pork, poultry or fish are cooked at 350 degrees or higher, their amino acids and creatine form carcinogenic chemicals called heterocyclic amines or HCAs. But in a study reported in the Journal of Food Science,HCA levels in steak dropped by up to 88 percent when the meat was soaked in an herbal bath for an hour before grilling. Marinating your meat can cut cancer risk.


Okay, the gal doing the talk said that you shouldn't eat fruits after 12:00 noon because they contain sugar. We should only eat 20 grams of sugar a day. Also said that any vegetable pulled out of the ground has lots of sugars, like carrots, and you should really stick to the green vegetables.

Figures, carrots are the one vegetable that my kids actually eat.

Granny smith apples, celery and cucumbers are good because they are alkalizing. (whatever that means, I still don't understand it.) We like these, thank goodness.

I tried some new foods. Ate pine nuts and liked them, but boy are they expensive! Tried a kale salad.

Liked it and brought some home. No one else liked it. Tried a dairy free version of Oreo's and didn't like them at all and actually said out loud that if I didn't like them my kids wouldn't. The lady at Whole Foods let me bring home an organic dairy version of them home free for the kids to try. (I should have spoken up more!) Brendan & I don't like those either. Brought home some raw Gruyere cheese. Matt & I like it. Brought home organic Buckwheat dairy and egg free waffles . . . still sitting in the freezer.

Looking in the freezer tonight deciding what to make for dinner, I opted for the frozen Schwan's lasagna. That is surely not on the healthy list - pasteurized cheese, pasta, meat - but hey, I have to make whatever is already here, right? The sprouted bread made great garlic toast:)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sticker Fun

Kamryn can entertain herself with stickers in ways unimaginable to most. She is definitely creative!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Cousin Time

Last week, my nephew's school had a fall festival. Kamryn and I joined the festivities and had a great time! Gavin and Kamryn love to be together. They were so funny pretending to cook. When it comes to real food though, they don't get along as well. Kamryn has to eat fast or guard her food because Gavin is quick and tries to swipe hers off her plate! And yes, he is a year younger than K, and I think he is taller than her!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kamryn's School Party

Last Thursday was Kamryn's preschool parade and party. I volunteered to help out at the party thinking it would be fun to see Kamryn interact with her classmates. Well the day didn't go exactly as I planned.

Grandma was nice enough to come with us that morning. I thought Kamryn would love having us both there. She did love having us there but a little too much. She got extremely clingy as soon as we walked into the classroom. We had to force her to stand with her classmates for a group picture.

Then it was time for the parents to leave and go into another room where the children would be parading through. Kamryn was starting to lose it. The classes were gathered together waiting for their turn to parade and the teacher brought Kamryn to me saying that she couldn't handle her and the rest of the class. So at that point Kamryn started crying hysterically. I don't know if she was mad at me for leaving the classroom or just got so freaked at the chaos of the moment. She really wanted to go sit by her friend Lilly but that was against the rules since Lilly is in a different class. Kamryn never did participate in the parade. It took her a good 15 minutes or more to calm down so she could then participate in the party.

Lilly didn't know what to think about her crazy friend!

So much for me volunteering anytime soon. I think Kamryn does much better with a set routine. When I drive up and the ladies come to the car, she does just fine. This just threw her all off.

Halloween Recap

Thanks for the pumpkin cookies Grandma from two of your pumkins! Well Matt too, but he is avoiding the camera lately.

Lucky for us, the weather on Halloween was just wonderful for being outside. Kamryn and I started off our morning at Barnes and Noble for playgroup. We heard spooky stories and then went trick-or-treating throughout the store. It was fun to see Rowan and Abby. Kamryn enjoyed being the "oldest" and took care of her younger friends well. When the lady was passing out treats and Halloween bags, Kamryn made sure that her friends were taken care of.

Kamryn and I went to Brendan's school parade that afternoon and happily waved to him as he passed us by. Brendan couldn't wear his scary costume to school so he chose just a skeleton for the parade. This is what he chose to wear trick or treating though. (he's never even seen the movie but liked the Freddie Kruger mask. yuck!)

Matt stayed in this year. I guess 13 year olds are not into trick or treating anymore. Candy yes, but not going door to door for it.

It's become a tradition for me to make chili on Halloween so Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt B came over for dinner and helped hand out candy while I went out with my little cheerleader. Kamryn enjoyed herself the whole evening. Even after we came in, she loved running to the door to see the kids in costumes. Funny thing was that a group of 8th grade girls saw her and said, "hey, this is Kamryn from the picnic. Hi Kamryn." Then one girl reminded me that she is the one who gave me her phone number at the picnic because she would love to babysit Kamryn. I may just have to take her up on it sometime.

The funniest thing to hear was Kamryn saying that her pumpkin bucket was "so heavy" from all the candy she collected. She was one tired little girl that evening.