Monday, July 30, 2007

My brave little dental patient.

Parker had his first visit to the dentist this week, and despite some serious trepidation, he did really well! He sat still (albeit on mama’s lap), opened wide, and got a clean bill of dental health. Of course a little Happy Meal bribe and green light-up toothbrush did much to ease his fear, but I was still proud of my little guy!
By the way, photo credits go to Alyssa (!) and sitting-quietly-in-her-car-seat-the-whole-time credits go to Reagan.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work he goes…

After 10 weeks of “bonding” – yes 10 WEEKS – Dan has finally returned to work! While we all loved having him home, I can’t say that I was altogether sad to see him go. Daddies just don’t seem to know what to do with themselves after so much time off. His honey-do list complete, and his daddy-fun list checked off, Dan was ready for some real work and I was ready to test out exactly what 3 kids on 1 mom feels like. So far I think I’ll be able to handle it! The part I was most nervous about was running errands and even that hasn’t been so bad. Alyssa has learned how to buckle and unbuckle her own car seat, Parker can get his about half-way done, and Alyssa can help Parker unbuckle. So, the most time-consuming part of getting in and out of the car is become less so. Reagan is just a trooper and no longer even protests being buckled up tight.
It also helps that we have two sets of grandparents nearby who would wrestle one another for an afternoon or evening with the kiddos. Though we still don’t really leave Reagan, getting help with the other two here and there is a huge blessing. I truly can’t imagine raising kids without family. We get breaks whenever we need them, which alone contributes to making us better parents. In addition to that, however, the kids get input from a variety of parenting perspectives. My parents are very different from Dan’s parents, who are both very different from us. Together they fill in the gaps that Dan and my personalities and weaknesses leave for our children. I know not everyone has this luxury and I both admire and feel for those who parent alone. But I praise God that such is not the case for us!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Vacation pics

For a girl who was never submerged in water for the first 6 months of her life, you'd think she'd have a little more fear!
Our towel boy
Can you find the child?

Life last week consisted of little more than sitting in the pool, going down the water slide, reading for pleasure, and eating out. Not great photo material, but a fun time of relaxation for all of us.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Have I mentioned what a great family I have?

Of course, I am incredibly blessed by my fabulous husband and wonderful kids, but beyond that I also have an incredible extended family and in-laws. They have all embraced Reagan as if she were blood, and have celebrated her homecoming with great enthusiasm. Since we really didn’t need a baby shower (3rd child, 2nd girl – we already had just about everything necessary), practical me intended to host an open house a few weeks after we got home just to introduce Reagan to everyone. However, my sister had other plans! Together with a few other family members and friends, she organized a surprise shower for us, complete with a Target money tree – how fun! I was too busy enjoying myself to take pictures, but I’ll testify that they did a beautiful job, complete with gorgeous roses and a real live tree to compliment our still-rather-bare yard. Since then we’ve had a great time at our favorite store buying some of the less-necessary but more-fun items for our new addition. Thank you to everyone who has made this non-traditional birth just as much of an event as a “normal” one. We are so blessed!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shallow thinking...

Scrolling through my blog posts of late, I realize it’s probably pretty obvious that I haven’t done a lot of deep thinking recently. No deep thinking = very shallow blog. Unfortunately, this probably won’t be the post to break the streak. We’re on vacation this week and my mind is even more mushy than normal. However, Dan returns to work on Tuesday, the kids and I will settle into a routine, and perhaps my brain cells will decide to come back too! We have had such a wonderful time with this “bonding leave” – it really is an incredible perk of Dan’s job – but there’s a reason daddies go to work: mommies need to be able to get something done! Before we left for Vietnam, Dan and the kids made a to-do list of all the fun things they wanted to do together while he was off work. It was quite a list, and I think they have crossed off every last item. Of course, I didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun either, so the significantly-less-fun mommy to-do list has grown while their list has shrunk. Starting next week, life will return to our new normal, and hopefully the quality of posts will improve too!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Dan’s just a little less afraid of heights than I am. Okay, a LOT less afraid. My in-laws have the opposite relationship – Mom is the daredevil, Dad is the worrier. So last Saturday my father-in-law and I sat home while Dan and his mom went bungee-jumping. This after many years of Dan and his Mom trying to convince their spouses that this was in fact safe. While I was still a little worried about the jumping, what I didn’t realize was that the hike to and from the jump site was actually far more dangerous. When they didn’t return to cell phone range until 2 ½ hours after dark, I (reasonably, I think!) became quite concerned. By God’s grace they all finally did make it home safely, but not without a lot of praying, and (honestly) a lot of worrying, on my part. They did have a fabulous time, enjoyed their jumps and endured the hikes, but this is one wife who is hoping the bungee bug won't bite again anytime soon.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another one

Parker this morning: "Mama, I like Reagan."
Me: "I like Reagan too buddy."
Parker: "We should get another one."
Me: "Another what?"
Parker: "Another baby!"

... so at least we know he's not resenting our new addition!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gratuitous cute kid pics...

One of these days we'll get a real family portrait taken, but for now we're having too much fun in the pool!

Monday, July 09, 2007

New duds!

Like the new look? After almost a year of blogging (wow!), Dan convinced me that I was due for an upgrade. Since I’ve not a creative bone in my body and even Blogger’s template has stumped me at times, I enlisted some help. Jules over at Everyday Mommy whipped this up in one evening. Amazing! I think she did a great job, and she’s got a touching and entertaining blog to accompany her design prowess. Go check her out!

How Is Reagan?

That's a question I get a lot. The answer is, she is a sweet, happy baby, who seems everyday a little more like a natural part of our family. Basically, she’s very normal. “Normal” however, is a much more loaded term when you’re talking about an internationally adopted child. There is much discussion in the adoption world about attachment, but since it’s a much more intuitive process with biological children, I thought it might be helpful to see exactly what the experts consider to be signs of healthy attachment.
A well-attached child is…
  • Joyful the majority of the time.
  • Seeks out primary caregiver for comfort and to meet needs.
  • Likes to be cradled and held facing primary caregiver.
  • Makes good eye contact with primary caregiver and initiates eye contact--both close & distant proximity.
  • When primary caregiver makes eye contact, the child smiles back, showing signs of being happy with the interaction.
  • Smiles and exhibits pleasure when seeing self in the mirror.
  • Frequently engages in playful interactions with primary caregiver (interactions initiated by both parent and child.)
  • Uses different cries to alert primary caregiver of needs and wants; easily consoled by primary caregiver.
  • Accepts limits placed by primary caregiver.
  • Willingly allows primary caregiver to hold bottle, hand feed, and nurture.
  • Melts into primary caregiver when held; lays head on shoulder; holds on when held; faces primary caregiver rather than away.
  • Enjoys cuddling, hugs, and kisses given by primary caregiver and initiates cuddling, hugs, and kisses without wanting something in return.
  • Can co-sleep without major difficulty.
  • Prefers primary caregiver to all others.
  • Imitates primary caregiver regularly (actions, language, etc.)
  • Content to sit on primary caregiver’s lap or stay in primary caregiver’s arms for an age appropriate amount of time.
  • Settles quickly when held by primary caregiver.
  • Enjoys skin on skin contact.
  • Prefers close proximity to primary caregiver but not in an anxious, desperate way.
  • Consistently sleeps well and peacefully.
  • Wants to please primary caregiver because he knows it will make his parent happy.
  • Reacts appropriately to pain; wants primary caregiver to nurture him when in pain or sick; easily consoled.
  • Uses food appropriately. Recognizes when hungry and full.
  • Shows true personality to primary caregiver and family and friends (discovering a child’s innate personality takes time.)
  • Initiates “sweet nothing” talk with primary caregiver.
  • Shows appropriate stranger anxiety.
  • Displays age appropriate anxiety at brief separation from primary caregiver but is able to be reassured.
  • Reunites happily with primary caregiver with eye contact and physical contact.
  • Show signs of feeling safe in social situations; able to play and interact with others, but stays close and checks in with primary caregiver regularly but not in an anxious or desperate way.
  • Is gentle to self and others.
  • Gets along with other children & siblings most of the time.
  • Is okay with primary caregiver leaving the room for short periods of time. Conversely, cares that primary caregiver has left the room and shows happiness when that person returns.
  • Speech/language skills are developing appropriately.
  • Angry outbursts/tantrums are infrequent, short in duration. Parent can soothe child.
  • “Normal” discipline methods/parenting techniques are effective.

Though we’re still more protective of Reagan than we were with Alyssa and Parker and keep her very close (especially in unfamiliar or chaotic environments), she truly demonstrates each of these 35 traits consistently. (Oh! I just noticed the "co-sleeping" one. That just is not going to happen in our house - no one would get any sleep - but she is happy to fall asleep on me).

Would I declare us “bonded!”? Maybe not in the fullest sense, but we’re well on our way!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I’m not normally a fan of novelty shirts...

However, I’ve found 3 recently that I just couldn’t pass up.
Though we waited almost two (at times agonizing!) years for our precious adopted daughter, Reagan was undoubtedly worth the wait. It still amazes me when I think about all the months I longed for a referral, when in fact she wasn’t even born yet. God clearly knew exactly which child was meant for our family, and He brought her to us in ways and times that we could have never imagined.

As a CPA and adoptive mother well acquainted with the federal adoption tax credit, as well as the other tax benefits of children, this one made me laugh. Of course, all the credits we could possibly be eligible for barely make a dent in our expenses, but of course, Reagan was worth the financial cost too!

But this is the best one of all. In case you can’t read the shirt, it says “All-American Sweetie.” Cute enough on its own, but the shirt (and the girl) were “Made in Vietnam!”

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Papa Chris has an addictive personality, so when he took up golf once my sister and I left home, he became obsessed from the get-go. He’s still a great dad and fabulous grandpa, but much of his free time is now spent on the course. Even upon retirement, he decided to take a job as a golf marshal at not one, but two local courses so that he can play without the pricey memberships. Of course, he’s now anxious to rope his grandchildren into the sport, so Parker recently received a real, albeit small, set of clubs for his birthday. This week we finally went to test them out. If Parker looks a little red, it’s because he chased after his ball each time he hit it! One hole took 45 minutes to play. Needless to say, we stopped after one or we would have been looking at a 14-hour round! Alyssa especially enjoyed “driving” the cart, and really wanted to take a ride strapped in like a golf bag. The hairdo she’s sporting is left over from crazy-hair-day at Vacation Bible School. I don’t think we have a Tiger or tigress on our hands, but the kids had a fabulous time, and the grown-ups did too.