Thursday, August 30, 2007

A few funnies

I've never embedded video here before, and rarely do I click on videos in the blogs I visit, but these I just couldn't resist. Dan and I laughed and laughed together over each one, and I'm not one that's quick to laugh out loud. They really are worth a look!

911 Math

A phone call Sarah might have made!

Pachelbel Bedtime

A little long, but hear him out - the end is quite sweet!

Granny Airbag

Check out her expression - or lack thereof!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A few firsts

First time actually playing at the mall playland. We love playlands (especially when its' 100+ out) but our little one is now mobile enough to join in the fun.
First playdate at the park. The girl loves the swing!
First real illness. Reagan spent most of the afternoon cudddled up on Daddy, but seems to be on the rebound. Alyssa insisted on sharing her favorite jammies with her sick sister - needless to say, size 5 doesn't fit too well when you've just graduated from 0-3 month clothes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A cure for self-doubt

If ever you start to question your abilities as a parent, the stability of your home, the character of your children, the love shared between you, or your personal worth, I’ve found a great solution: hire a social worker. Truly, these people have an incredible knack for making a very ordinary family seem very extraordinary – at least on paper. Today we received a copy of our social worker’s report on Reagan’s 2nd post-placement visit, and to read it you’d think we walk on water. It’s all very nice, and I’m grateful that another American family will be represented well to the government of Vietnam, but are we really “exceptional parents in many different respects”? Doesn’t it take longer than 30 minutes to “observe an unconditional love and bond between [a child] and her parents”? Of course I can’t argue with his claim that “Reagan is a personable, happy and loving baby girl” or that “she frequently smiles and maintains a cheerful disposition.” But that’s my baby. The praise he’s heaped upon her parents is certainly appreciated, but almost comical in its extravagance. So if you’re feeling down, I’d recommend giving him a call!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

3 months home, 10 months old

It’s hard to believe that our sweet baby girl has already been home 3 months. The best word I can think of to describe her, and us as a family of five, is normal. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: her transition has been almost totally seamless. I expected to have so many issues unique to this bonding process, but she simply accepted us from day one. Much credit has to go to the nannies at her orphanage - one in particular who clearly loved Reagan – and some easy-going genes. I’ll also give them the credit for the fact that she is so on-target developmentally. While we also expected to deal with some developmental delays, Reagan is babbling, cruising, crawling on all fours, trying hard to stand on her own, sleeping like a champ, and eating increasingly more real food. Everything a 10 month-old should be doing. Of course she is extraordinary in many ways too, as every parent knows, but I thank God daily for the fact that she is so very normal.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Very strange

In preparing Reagan’s cereal yesterday, I noticed this recipe for meatloaf on the back of the box:

1 2nd Foods Green Beans
1 2nd Foods Garden Vegetables
1 pound ground chuck
1 cup Gerber Oatmeal cereal
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup ketchup
1 ½ Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Garlic powder

So maybe a few of the ingredients are a bit adventurous for a toddler, but okay. That is until I realized that this meal is not just intended for the under-1 set. This is a recipe for an actual entrĂ©e intended for adults! I have a hard enough time serving these jars to my infant - I can’t imagine subjecting the rest of my family to the same strange smells and textures. But you have to admire Gerber’s ingenuity!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I just realized that my blog turned one year old yesterday! When I started this basic little site I never would have guessed that a year later I would have over 20,000 hits and visitors from around the world. Just today I had hits from Australia, South Africa, Canada, Vietnam, Norway, France, Germany, as well as from across the United States. I know as far as blogs go that’s not very remarkable, but it has far exceeded my expectations. At first I wasn’t sure if anyone other than my mother and cousin Gail would be reading, and I was certain that everyone would stop once our adoption was complete. I’m glad that I was wrong, because it’s fun to have a place to share all my joys and frustrations, and perhaps encourage others along the way. God is so good and I’m grateful to Him for the strange little gift called blogging! And of course, thanks are due to you, my readers, for giving me a reason to write!

What I’ve learned from kindergarten

  • Green paint doesn’t come out of new school clothes, even after being soaked in bleach overnight.
  • 7:45am comes really fast when you’re trying to get three kids and a mom out the door.
  • Kids are good at spreading germs.
  • Sick days can be a blessing in disguise.
  • 4 hours actually go pretty fast.
  • Late-night blogging quickly falls by the way side when the alarm is set for 6:30 am.
  • Moms can get a lot more done in the morning when everyone is ready shortly after dawn.
  • Little brothers and sisters get more attention from mom when the kid-count is reduced to two.
  • Little brothers and sisters push each others’ buttons more often when big sister isn’t around to mediate.
  • Teachers are better at explaining how to form “s”s than mommies are.
  • Kindergartners aren’t very good at rehearsing the details of their day.
  • 20 minutes isn’t nearly long enough to eat lunch when mama isn’t there to prod.
  • Mommies can survive for a few hours each day without all their babies at home.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

1st Day of School

Here you see one very excited Kindergartner and one very sad brother, aka. keeper of the tissues. Alyssa had a great time, but the rest of us were more than a little emotional. The worst part is, she had to go back today! Did you know this isn't just a one-time event? They go to school day, after day, after day. Parker and I are already counting down the hours until noon, and the days until next summer. Thankfully, at least Reagan is just her happy, bubbly self!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Too weepy to write

Dan warned me against trying to blog tonight. I’m more than a tad emotional, so I’ll be brief:
Tomorrow is the last day of what has thus far been my favorite stage of life: being mom to three precious preschoolers. On Wednesday my baby girl goes to kindergarten. As my insightful mother-in-law pointed out, each age carries with it it’s own blessings, and I have no doubt that she is right. With each milestone my children have reached I have mourned a little of the baby that was slipping away, but found the more grown-up child to be even more delightful. I know that she’ll love school and that I’ll love her a little more for all that will mature and shape her while she’s there. It will just be really hard to watch her walk into a life that doesn’t include me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Not what I expected

The hardest part of having three children has not been at all what I anticipated. The most challenging part of number three (Reagan) has been number two (Parker). And the issue has not been jealousy as I had been warned, but overzealous affection. He truly seems to love his little sister. She is the first person he greets in the morning and the last person he wants to see before he goes to bed. Reagan is the recipient of the endless hugs and kisses that used to be reserved for me. That’s where the problem comes in. Reagan isn't quite as excited to receive the affection as Parker is to give it. While there are only 26 months between them, Parker was almost 3 when we brought Reagan home, solid muscle and with far more strength and energy than his 28 pounds would suggest. He just overwhelms her. It’s gotten to the point where she can almost anticipate his roughness, and anything beyond a quick kiss will cause her to whimper. Even actions that are well received from Alyssa are shunned when they come from Parker. It’s really quite sad. At first we were hesitant to discipline him for it because his intentions seem pure, but we’ve had to institute a lips-only touching policy which has earned him more than a few consequences. Part of the problem, as my sister-in-law pointed out, may be that Reagan didn’t seem fragile to him when she first came home. He has always been pretty gentle with newborns, but since Reagan was already crawling, and since has learned to sit, stand, pull herself up, etc. perhaps he has interpreted her more as a new playmate than a baby. But while this might explain the problem, it doesn’t fix it. It breaks my heart because first because I want Reagan to love her brother, and second because I feel like we’re constantly on Parker. The two just don’t seem that compatible at this point, and in a few days I will lose my mediator in Alyssa! I just don’t know what else to do. Any suggestions?!?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A sign from God?

A little disclaimer: I’m not really a believer in signs. God used signs and miracles to confirm the truth of His prophets and His Son while they were on earth, but I don’t believe that He uses them in the truest sense anymore. However, there are times that it seems circumstances will confirm or thwart the plans that God has for His children. So, in that sense, since God is ultimately in control of everything, I guess signs do exist. That’s a theological discussion I’m not really prepared or interested in delving into here, and is really beside the point.
The point is this: we’ve been trying to decide whether or not to take measures to correct Reagan’s rather flat and lop-sided head. Today the answer became very clear.
Here’s the story: As a result of spending a fair amount of time on her back in the orphanage, Reagan’s head did not form properly. The deformity is not horrible and once she has a little more hair it probably won’t be all that noticeable. However, since we have great insurance and medical technology exists which can correct it without pain, we thought we should at least investigate. Well, it turns out that, due to her age, even with this “band” we could expect only about 25% improvement over the next 6 months or so. And when you hear “band” what comes to your mind? When the neurologist was describing it to me, I was imagining maybe a thick rubber band that could be neatly covered with a cute ribbon or such. That’s not exactly the case. See here. Of course, if Reagan’s irregularity was more pronounced, we would learn to live with such a contraption, but I’d certainly prefer not to. Especially since it has to be adjusted every week, the entire Los Angeles area has only one clinic that can do it, and that office is 45 minutes away without traffic. All those “cons” aside, however, we felt it might be worth it in the long run. After all, it’s only 6 months. But today we received a phone call that made it all very clear. The doctor in the Los Angeles office died. If we want to proceed, we must make that weekly trek to San Diego (3 hours +) or Las Vegas (4 hours +). As much as I love my children, I’m just not that dedicated to what is ultimately a cosmetic issue. So, consider the “sign” read, decision made!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2 decades

Starting next week, my life will be dramatically changed for at least the next 20 years. Our precious big girl, Alyssa, will be starting kindergarten, and so begins 2 decades of waking up early, rushing out the door, and watching my children establish a life increasingly more independent of me. Though it’s only “half” day, the fact that she still naps means our time together will be cut to a few precious hours in the afternoons and evenings. We haven’t put our children in pre-school for the precise reason that I love being around them. I am jealous of this unique stage where life revolves around mom and home, and couldn’t bear to share it with anyone but Dan and grandmas on occasion. I don’t work outside the home but for a college course I teach one evening a week, 26 weeks a year, so being away from Alyssa every weekday will be a little like ripping out a part of my heart. She couldn’t be more excited, but I couldn’t be more reluctant. In some ways I am looking forward to the routine, but I dread the fact that our family’s schedule will now be inextricably linked to the school’s. Homeschooling is not a choice I have ever thought would be good for our family, but I can understand the sentiment behind it more and more. We are now trying to squeeze every little bit of fun out of our last week of freedom, and praying that this dreaded even will not be quite as bad as I’ve imagined!

Monday, August 06, 2007

My four favorite people

The weather lately has been gorgeous! It's been far below our normal 100+ degree temps for August so we took advantage of it with a family outing to the park this afternoon. Reagan was a happy little camper on her blanket and Alyssa and Parker played "bungee jumping" off the playground platform. Mama hung out in the shade while daddy worked hard to match the maturity level of the three and four year-old.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

What a difference two years makes…

Two years ago this week we sent in our initial application with our adoption agency. At the time, we thought we’d be getting a 10-14 month old little girl from India, and that the process would take anywhere from 18-24 months. Well, the 18-24 month part was right, but of course the 10-14 month and India parts were not! We laughed that God was leading us to India, because Dan and I had both always said it was the last place we would ever want to go. We laughed during the process because we thought we would have no problem with the wait. Since Parker was only a year old at the time, we figured India’s long wait times would be no big deal. However, once our hearts became invested in this new child, two or even three years started to seem unbearable – hence the switch. We laughed when we received Reagan’s referral to see that we had been blessed with such a young baby since we had already given all of our baby stuff to my sister. Needless to say, Reagan doesn’t have quite the set-up that Alyssa and Parker had as babies! And of course we now laugh every day with this sweet, beautiful baby girl who melts our hearts with every giggle. Praise God for His plan, which is usually different than ours, but always so much better!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My "twins"

Alyssa is quite convinced that she and Reagan are twins. Ask her who she looks like and she'll always answer "Reagan," even when they're not dressed alike. Clearly, she doesn't exactly know what a twin is, but I think it's pretty sweet that she doesn't see the differences between them!