Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Sweet Girl (Updated w/ pics)

Today you are four. FOUR. I can hardly believe it! Wasn't it yesterday that you were placed in my arms, not as a newborn, but still as a baby? I fell in love with you instantly and swooned over your every smile. In my eyes, you could do no wrong.

Two and a half years later, I know better. You are full of marvelous mischief, terrible tantrums, and wicked whining. Do no wrong? Hardly!

And yet, I love you more with each passing day.

I love how, when you say your nightly prayers, you thank God for books and then sign "all done." I love you even more when I make you continue and then you thank God for "teachers and Uncle Russ." You have also regularly thank God for Eeyore, swimming, school, church, Aunt Cindy, Chloe, Abigail, didi (baby brother), grandma, grandpa, oma, opa, Signing Time, candy, and even Mama & Papa. :)

I love how you sign "cry" when someone is crying and then do your best to comfort them.

I love how, when you get something you want, you immediately put your pointer finger in the air to ask for "just one more" - every time. I love how you see the world as full of promise, a neverending abundance of joy.

I love what you bring out in people. Kate, people always remember you. They always have. You always wave hello to people and, if mama didn't stop you, would hug everyone, too. You bring out smiles in everyone, but I especially love how you can make the most serious or the saddest break out into smile that comes from deep down.

I love how much you love your classmates, especially Cole. And I love how you sign "cold" for "Cole."

I love when you snuggle with me while I'm singing to you. I love that you love my singing. I love how we sing "He's Got the Whole World (in His hands)" together, you completing the second part, like "He's got Kate and _________ (Addison) in His hands." You do such a good job at that!

I love your boundless energy at the zoo and how your laughter can induce even bird-fearing Papa to go into the aviary so you can feed your feathered friends.

I love the light in your eyes and the dimples in your butt.
I love your demand to be known, your intense stubborness which will help you throughout your life.
I love your naughtiness. Just the other day, when you and your brother were sitting on the couch, I told you to stop putting your feet on your brother, then you gave me that look. I pretended I didn't see it so that I could see what you were up to. You proceeded to nudge your brother with your foot, but just barely. I told you again to keep your feet to yourself. This time, you just touched him with your toe. I gave you the mama look and you pulled your toe away. Then, in true Kate fashion, you hovered your foot over him, smiling like the little imp that you are. I'm sure you were saying in your head, "I'm not touching you, na-na-na-na-na-na."

I love how you ask for candy for breakfast, ever-hopeful that this might be the morning that I say yes.

I love how you call the song "Thy Word" the foot song. It took me a while to figure out what you wanted when you kept pointing at your foot when I asked you what song you wanted me to sing. I love that we have enough of our own language for me to understand what you meant, as you were thinking of the first line: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet."

I love your seeming primal connection to animals. I will not be one bit surprised if your future endeavours are animal-related.

I love how quickly you learned the role of a big sister. When I give you food or medicine that you do not want, you try to pawn it off on Addison.

I love how easily you accepted Addison into your world and heart. I love the shrieks of laughter as you both dump water over each other's heads in the bath tub.

I love how a perfect birthday means Mama and Addison joining you for lunch at school and bringing McDonald's french fries for you and cupcakes for the whole class.

I love how I can get so frustrated with your challenges and you forgive me my impatience.

I love how you stop and smell the flowers. Really.

I love how you say "Mama" and that means me.

I love how, even faced with so many continued challenges, you are clearly aware of how awesome you are.

And more than anything else, I love that you seem to have always known that you are a beautiful and perfectly imperfect child of God. "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." ~1 Timothy 4:12 (Of course, you already do this, my love.)

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl. You, my love, are my heart and my spirit. May this year bring you joy.

Your Lucky Mama

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sick of Sickness

Kate is well. Addison is well. And now I'm sick. And miserable. And crabby.

It started a week ago with a scratchy throat, a nasty cough and a two day fever. The fever broke and I figured I was good to go. I figured this was the adult version of hand-foot-mouth virus and I just had to let it run its course. So I did. But this weekend just killed me. I'd feel good for a couple of hours and think, I must be on the mend now, so I would nix my plans for going to the urgent care clinic. After seeing streaks of blood in the back of my throat last night, along with white spots and feeling like my ears were going to explode, I was the first one at the clinic today.

A strep culture and $22.80 copay later finds me at Walgreens buying Claritin-D to dry the crud out, as it is most likely a nasty virus and not strep throat. Eight hours later and I still feel pretty yucky, but not in such intense pain. I had forgotten just how awful sore throats can be.

And of course we're hitting that point in post-adoption land where we (meaning Scott and I) have started arguing over when we should let a child "cry it out" at naptime and bedtime, and other issues. Overall, we see things pretty similarly, but not necessarily at this point in the game. This leaves us both frustrated with ourselves and each other, but this too shall pass. Fortunately, we both have the same end goal of having happy, healthy kids who do not rule the roost.

So, for those of you who have stuck through this rambling post about nothing, here's a poll for you. Also, here's a hint (maybe): Melissa is Type A all the way. Seldom described as laid-back, she can usually suggest ways in which everything and anything would be better if people would just listen to HER. Scott is Type B, mostly. He's still the kid who loves baseball, and space shuttles, and those toy race cars that come with cool, twisty-tracks. Scott is fun; Melissa is determined. So there you go, there are your hints.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Oh, how I love him....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Water Fun!

What fun! Aunt Cindy brought Abigail and Chloe over to play with Addison and Kate. Since they all have or have been continually exposed to the hand-foot-mouth virus, we figured they might as well hang out together.

Addison and Chloe were the nudists in the group. For a boy who is used to wearing layers of clothing, he's adjusting to Florida nicely. I think he is having a difficult time with the concept of bathtub vs. swimming pool. We've been in the pool a couple of times and each time he refuses to go in with his swim trunks on. He genuinely looks at me like I'm a nut (which I am, but not for that reason). Oh well, more blackmail photos for me.

Abigail and Kate were a bit more modest, with Abigail being the traditionalist in the group, actually wearing a bathing suit. (Kate had a suit on when we were in the pool, but stripped down to a diaper when we were just playing with the water buckets.) Since Abigail has learned the words "penis" and "vagina" and likes to use them loudly and regularly in public places, I was rather surprised that she held back today. ;)

Once inside, three of the kids competed for Kate's plasma car. They compromised by each forcing their way onto it, one by one. The last one was Addison, who decided to take the driver's seat. Yes, we are learning more and more about his personality every day. He's definitely going to be the one leading the pack into trouble.... (The one not on Kate's car? Kate. Go figure.)

Despite feeling miserable health-wise (I guess you can be around sick kids only so long before folding.), it was such a great morning. Watching the kids play, knowing that our families are so blessed, and being able to share this with such a good friend -- well, what could be better?

Pics from Father's Day

For Father's Day, Scott got a great gift: the privilege of sleeping in until 9am. Believe me, this is a good deal in this house. :)

After he woke up, he also puttered with his dune buggy for an hour or so. Addison, who has been a total mama's boy since we came home, quickly abandoned me for daddy and his flamin' cool dune buggy.

The two guys then headed to Suntree United Methodist Church (a GREAT place to worship, make friends, and raise children) and enjoyed the Father's Day Car Show. It gave me a great opportunity to give my sweet girl some TLC.
Later in the day, Scott taught Addison the finer points of NASCAR. He was enthralled. (Gee, I can hardly wait until football season....) A big thank you to grandma for the awesome t-shirts. It's great to have Addison home so my guys can wear them!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Two sick kids + jealousy =

one tired mama!
Addison: Let's hold hands.

Kate: I don't think so, dude.

Actually, we have turned a corner in the jealousy department and things are looking up. Addison and Kate have given each other hugs and have played with each other a bit in the past couple of days. They especially love taking a bath together and shrieks of laughter are par for the course.

The bigger problem is that they were both sick at the same time. Addison has a cold / ear infection, which seems to be clearing up nicely, and Kate has hand-foot-and-mouth virus. (Seriously, Kate just doesn't seem to get the run-of-the-mill colds anymore.) She is so miserable, as this virus causes ulcers in the mouth, so eating and drinking is painful. Poor, poor girl.

And, a tiny pity party --- poor, poor mama. Sick kids only want mama (at least in y house), so Monday - Friday was spent with them glued to me (which is great), and fighting each other for my lap (not so great). I'd get them calmed down and then, when Scott would come home, they'd both start crying all over again and run to me, each one clinging onto a leg. Poor Scott -- he must have felt like a leper.

Kate will probably be sick for several more days, but Addison seems to be feeling great. They are both starting to sleep through the night (praise God!) so we're all getting more rest. Nothing like being a little sleep-deprived to magnify a situation.

Other events of the week:

Beach day on Saturday (our first full day home) - pics to follow in a separate post

Church on Sunday. I volunteered to stay in the preschool class with the kids and Addison did great. He clung to me for the most part, but got down and played when some boys had some cars out. :-) And Kate did not seem to have a problem with any of it, either, which was a real blessing.

Trip to the park on Monday which started fun, but ended in a lot of whining. It was on Monday that we realized they were both under the weather.

Melissa left Addison with Scott on Wednesday night so she could meet with a book discussion group at church. Kate went to child care at church (we didn't know she had the hand-foot-mouth virus at the time, just thought it was a cold -- and someone always has a cold at child care). As the door was closing, Addison was screaming "mama," "mama," "mama." They survived.

Addison's appt. with the pediatrician:

~He weighs in at 25 pounds and is about 35 inches tall.
~All of his lab work has been perfect so far. :-)
~We got referrals to the pediatric opthalmologist, cardiologist (just to make sure his heart surgery that he already had did the trick), surgical neurologist (NOT for surgery - just to look at the back of his head, which is extremely flat, JUST LIKE Kate's), and some others.

It's going to be a busy summer.

Although it's been a tough week, it's also been full of joy. It is SO MUCH FUN to have two kids. Watching them play separately or together is fascinating and getting to know Addison is like falling in love. I'm so grateful to have the summer to enjoy his silliness (and the boy is silly, let me tell ya), the relationship he and Kate are building, and just being a family. We are tired, but we are so blessed.

The Lucky Ones

Saturday, June 07, 2008



ENJOY SCOTT..........

Friday, June 06, 2008

Almost home!

We are currently in Washington D.C. and will board our last flight later this morning. Instead of arriving in Orlando at close to midnight, we opted to spend the night at a hotel last night and come home early in the afternoon.

I'm so glad we did it that way, as we all needed it. Scott and I are pretty close to being on regular time, but Addison has been up since about 2am. Fortunately, he *mostly* played quietly so we could sleep a bit more. I'm definitely feeling the flight, though. It's like I'm on a rocking boat in turbulent waters -- YUCK.

Our little guy was pretty good during the long flight -- one major meltdown and one minor one, totalling less than two hours. Not bad for a three-year-old. When we brought Kate home, she and I were sick, and if memory serves correctly, we both cried for the majority of the flight home.

Addison is now eating Chinese noodles we nabbed from the plane yesterday and watching the Disney channel. I just heard him say "Midney Muh" (Mickey Mouse) - cute, eh?

Can't wait to see our little girl and love all over her. Less than seven hours until she's in our arms. (Less than 8 hours until the first sibling argument, I predict.)

More later,

The Lucky Ones

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Last Day in China

It's 11:26pm, Wednesday, China time. We're packed and ready to go!

We got Addison's visa today, so we are now able to bring him to the United States. When we land at Dulles Airport on Thursday night, he will become an American citizen - a rich blessing.

In addition to our visit to the U.S. Consulate today, we also walked around Shamian Island, visiting shopkeepers, seeing the sights and sweating. It's pretty darn hot in Guangzhou, and it's the rainy season. The temperature is around 90, with about 90% humidity - not a lovely combination. Also, the shops are not air conditioned, so the heat just doesn't stop.

In one of the shops, a man invited us to a tea ceremony. Addison sat right down and drank LOTS of tea. He loved it. Only later did I think to ask if it had caffeine. D'oh! Yes, it did. Oh well, we're about to change time zones anyway.... (Actually, he just fell asleep about 20 minutes ago.)

Our trip has been absolutely wonderful. God has blessed us again with a beautiful child who will teach us much about life and love. Although the near future is probably faced with some interesting challenges as a parent to two stubborn children, we can't wait to see it all unfold.

Thank you for following our journey. I'll post again once we settle in. Please keep us in your prayers for safe travels and for our two kiddos to adjust to this next big change in their lives.

With much love from China,

The Lucky Ones

Guangzhou, Tuesday

The big event of the day was Addison's medical check-up so that he could obtain a visa to leave China and enter the United States. The medical consists of three stations: a quickie physical and review of any surgeries, an ENT that checks hearing and looks at the throat and eyes, and a height-weight check. Addison was soooo good, although clung to me for parts of it (which I didn't mind a bit!).

When we did Kate's medical, they kept us afterward and kept arguing with each other about her hearing, which we now know was more to do with her withdrawing into herself. Needless to say, we were nervous heading into this physical - but no worries. Addison didn't cry and didn't seem too upset by the whole thing. When the doctors / assistants asked him to do something, he did it. (Somehow I don't think this will always continue, but we'll see.)

Height - they didn't tell us, but he's shorter than his sister (who is 37 inches)
Weight - 11.5 kilos, so about 25 pounds

Scott also took our boy to the park today -- no motor planning issues for this little guy. I just know that with his infectious smile and readiness to "go, go, go" that Kate will get lots of fun practice with her motor skills.

Tomorrow is our last day and we're ready to head home. All we have to do tomorrow is take the oath at the U.S. Consulate and then we'll get Addison's visa. We can't wait to board the plane and head for home to be a family of four.


The Lucky Ones

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


The fish market was wild....
Ercan would love this place.
Live fish, snakes, eels, oysters, clams(100 of different sizes and types), and even mussels.
I just wonder how safe all of this is considering how poluted the river is.

Oh well.....

Check out the photos, leave a post and have a cold one.