Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sickness & Single Parenting

Okay...one of the downs of single parenthood is sickness...either your child, you or both. Grace has been sick on and off since Thanksgiving. Turns out when I took her in yesterday, she had strep. Guess who had a stomach bug yesterday? You guessed it? That would be me. Guess who was sick? My support system. And besides that, even if you have a great support system, your sick kiddo doesn't want them, she wants you. So what do you do? Well, what I did was put Grace in her PJs early and then both of us went to bed early. I think I fell asleep before she did (we were in bed at 7p.m.) I woke up at 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 and she was totally crashed. I felt bad because I remember her rolling around in bed but that's all I remember. She had a coughing fit around 2 a.m. so then I did a breathing treatment on her in my bed and she stayed there until she woke me up at 7 a.m. by poking me in the face. I guess it was her way of saying get up mama, we have things to do, which we did. Thank God I felt so much better in the morning because we had to get her 2nd round of shots that we had postponed because she kept getting sick. She did well but the antibiotics have given her the runs which isn't fun. I have to call the doctor and let her know. She said it could happen but 5 times in a 3 hour period isn't a good thing. My poor baby. I hope everything is good tomorrow because I want to take her to school. She misses her friends and her teachers, and frankly, I need a small break. She's only been to school once in the past two weeks because of sickness and holidays. I think she needs a break from me too. She starts school full-time next week. Sheloves it and it has been good for her. She is really starting to bloom even more.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our First Christmas Together











It went well despite the fact that Gracie still isn't feeling great. This mountain cedar (at least I think that's what it is) has given her this horrible cough and runny/stuffy nose (with her nose swollen on the inside). I feel like we've been fighting this battle for a month now and we only had a brief reprieve when she was on antibiotics (and I accidentally gave her a little too much a couple of times). You know what the hardest part was? Being Santa's elf putting together her slide. Holy cow! It was a 2 person job to manuever that plastic into tabs. Being a single mom, I had to get creative. I was surprised how I got it done. Grace LOVED it so it was totally worth it. She also got a rocking/bouncy horse at Grammy & Pa's (another thing that I, as Santa's elf had to put together and it too was a little physically demanding...there were people there but they watched me do it). She got some great gifts from our family. I loved the aquadoodle my sister's family gave her. It was super cool. But you know what the best part of Christmas was for me (besides the rocking turkey I made...it was so juicy and had yummy flavor)? Having my own family. Grace was the best present ever. It is like my life was in black in white before her and now it's in like HD! Even when she's being Empress Grace, I can't imagine my life without her.

I am so sad for those families waiting in line for their children from China. I know how hard the holidays are. I think if I hadn't gotten Grace, I would have been incredibly depressed. I say a prayer for ya'll every night for peace and strength to make it through the wait and a speed up. It is Christmas time and it's a time for miracles. I truly believe in them. Grace was a Christmas miracle. I think it's very telling that her birthdate is Christmas Eve. It's a sign that she, like Jesus will bring good things to the world. Merry Christmas and peace and blessings to you all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Grace turns 2











Today was my Grace's 2nd birthday. I can't believe she's 2! She has grown a lot and made much progress in the past 6 months. We had a small party for her but I still don't think she gets the whole birthday thing. One day she will. I am so blessed by her and I wonder if her birth parents ever wonder about her. So, if I knew them, this is what I would write them:








Dear Gracie's China Mama & China Baba,








Thank you so much for letting me raise our daughter. She is doing so well. I don't know if you knew this, but she has a heart problem and she had to have surgery a month after she got home to the United States. She did very well but she will have to have another one in a year or so. Our girl is a fighter. She's strong willed and so smart. Whenever we go places, people tell me how cute or how beautiful she is. I have to agree, but of course, I am biased. She has a wicked snese of humor and she loves music. Right now she is especially fond of Lady Gaga. She turned 2 today is continue to grow. She is still petite but that doesn't keep her from having a healthy appetite. She's a good girl and we are incredibly blessed. I, more so because I get to raise her and love her every single day. Thank you again for your gift. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.








Love,




Gracie's Mama

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Hitting theFan

So, today, it hit the fan...you know the proverbial sh**t. My school did this Date Grant thing where one of the elements was a bonus for teachers if students were to show a specific marked improvement. It was packaged to us in a way that said that all staff including electives, administators, assistants, etc. would get a piece of the pie, so to speak. I didn't think we would be getting any money since we didn't hit those targets but it seems that there was a hidden second part...if you were a core teacher (no electives or support staff) and when they did an analysis and found improvement within certain perameters, then only those teachers would get a bonus check starting at about $1000, mostly averaging close to $2000. And if your subject area didn't improve, guess what? You missed out on the bonus. So, today some people got an early Christmas present in their paycheck and others (like a core subject, electives, P.E., support staff, etc) didn't. It came as a surprise to all. There was no forewarning or preparation. Those that got it were happy and felt guilty. Many of those who didn't get it were bitter and angry. I didn't get the bonus but I was truly happy for those who did, especially my friend D who needed it and she shouldn't feel GUILTY even though a certain teacher made her feel very bad. That certain teacher though really should have gotten it because she may not officially teach English but she teaches ELL (English second language) which basically is language arts for our ESL kiddos. But here is the thing... it is going to make divisions within our team...why should one department want to help another one when they get dinged? Whoever decided how to divide up the money really screwed up. When you start rewarding like this, it causes much strife which leads to division. This isn't what we agreed to when we voted on doing the grant. United we stand, divided we fall. I know a lot of people's feelings were hurt. All of the staff did deserve it. I know we all could use the extra money but you know, God always gets it to us when we really need it...at least that has been my experience. So, I hope that the tear this money monster has created will be mended and that we can get over it and continue to help each other help our kiddos.

The other thing I wanted to blog about was something I have been chewing on since Saturday. I wasn't sure if I wanted to publically write about it but I feel like I need to get it out so I can get over it. I was really bothered by what happened. I took Grace to the a Christmas party on Saturday. We were having a good time UNTIL....pin the tail on Rudolph. I am NOT in any way criticizing the party or the games...the ladies did a fantastic job. I am upset by a parent's actions. So, Grace, granted we are slow and she was a bit grumpy, was walking out to get in line to pin the nose on Rudolph. Another little girl, she was about 3 or 4 pushed Grace over so she could get in line. The mother was behind me and said to another mom, "Oh well...it's a tough life, you gotta learn the hard way." I was flabbergasted. I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to look at her because I was so boiling mad. Ok...I get kiddos pushing each other to get into lines....I work in a middle school. But, what I don't understand is that the mother allowed it...what happened to manners? If the mother had said, "Oh, I'm so sorry...so and so, say sorry to the little girl you almost knocked down." I wouldn't have been angry. Yes, the mother was probably embarassed but that is how we teach our children that it's okay to be rude and it's okay to do whatever we want when ignore these types of things. These are things that I wanted to say to her but it would have come off as bitchy..."I don't know if you know this, but my daughter is a heart baby and had open heart surgery in August. We go a little slower because my daughter doesn't breathe as well as your child. We are sorry that we slowed down your child." or "Wow! Your child has great manners. I hope my daughter doesn't learn those!" or "Wow! I can see the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in how we treat others." or maybe I should have pushed the mother and seen how she would have liked it. Yes, I know it's petty but it really bothered me. It also made me realize that this group mostly has older girls and so we'll probably not be going to any functions for a while. It's hard on Grace when she doesn't have anyone her age to play with. Maybe when she gets faster, ya think?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tea Party




Grace loves her tea set. It has become her favorite thing. It's the one thing that allows me to do some things on my own like a take a shower or laundry (even though she's a good laundry helper putting things in the dryer). I am so thankful that her sponsor gave her the tea set. She's at that stage where she likes to put things in and take them out. She loves to put her cookies or cheerios in the cups.




This is the last week of work for the year. YEA! Grace will be starting daycare full time in January. She seems to like it a lot. I've seen a lot of growth in her as a result of going. Next week though will be a bus week with doctor appointments and blood work. YUCK.




We're also going to work on taking a bath in the real bathtub since she's outgrowing her toddler tub. The other thing I hope to work on is Hope. She still has a strong aversion. It seems to have gone a little backwards. Grace is not a fan and I feel horrible that Hope is being emotionally neglected a bit. I don't have the time to spend with her and she can't be with us because Grace is still afraid. My mom keeps suggesting finding another home for Hope and I just can't even imagine that. I love my dog and I feel so guilty that I don't have the time for her and I wish Grace would feel comfortable with her but she SCREAMS and panics whenever Hope comes near her. She wants to give her snacks but that is as close as it gets. I just don't know what to do. I guess hope that Grace will eventually feel comfortable with Hope.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Parties







Tis the season for Christmas parties. We have gone to 2 already. The Mended Little Hearts party was so awesome. Southwest airlines sponsored it. Each employee adopted a heart kiddo and bought him/her presents. Grace LOVED her gifts. She got a tea set, keyboard, magna doodle and a little people castle. We met our sponsor and he was so nice. It was great to see Miss Kara and Deanna who helped make our stay at Santa Rosa even better. Grace is not a fan of Santa Claus. I think he was interesting far away but up close, he made her very nervous.






Tis the season for nasty allergies as well. Grace still can't kick that nasty cough. She went back to the doctor and she still has an ear infection on top of the nasty cough. She's now on like 3 meds and has to do albuterol treatments this weekend. She's taking them well. Here's a hint...get the kiddo comfy with a favorite lap toy and turn on their favorite show...for Grace that's Barney or Jack's big music show. It helps tremendously when you have to put the mask on their face.






I am excited about Christmas and Grace's 2nd birthday. She doesn't quite get either concept. I know that it would have been tough this season if I hadn't been matched with my girl. I'm still thinking and praying for all my friends still waiting. I think I am trying to only get Grace a few gifts because I don't want her to be overwhelmed. I also need to go through her stuff and give away the stuff we don't use anymore. I guess I'll do that on break...that and get her eyes checked,bloodwork done, shots and OT, PT& Speech. We are going to be busy girls.






Friday, December 11, 2009

KABB Fox San Antonio :: Top Stories

KABB Fox San Antonio :: Top Stories

Me & Grace made the news but in a good way...we're shown a couple of times for Mended Little Hearts Christmas party.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Family






Family comes in many forms. We often define our families through our bonds of blood or marriage but also friendships and sometimes circumstances. I was lucky enough to add another bond as a result of Grace's adoption. I am so glad that Patricia, Tony and Leilani visited us this weekend. If you remember, Leilani was one of Grace's cribmates at Fengxin. In most of our orphanage pictures, Grace and Leilani were in the same crib. The cool thing is that the girls remembered each other and they had a good time playing together while we the parents lovingingly looked on. It was like our girls had a special sister relationship because of their circumstances. We are going to try to visit each other as well as the other part of the trio (actually there is another little one in the group but we don't know who the little one is and if he/she has found his/her forever family). We had the best time this weekend. I can't explain it but it feels like we've added to our family. We are truly blessed. I'm glad will always have this part of her story. The girls can always share this common bond.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Meeting Leilani











This evening had to be one of the coolest dinners I have had in my life and it wasn't because of the food (which was good). It was because of the company. Grace and I had dinner with Leilani and her parents. Leilani was one of Grace's cribmates in Fengxin. Her parents, Patricia and Tony decided to come visit us from England via New Jersey (Patricia's mom lives there). We enjoyed the evening despite Grace feeling a little under the weather and tired. I am so excited about spending the day with them on Saturday. We've started comparing notes and our girls have similar habits/behaviors like the night terrors and hating water on their heads but also good stuff like dancing to music. Leilani is so beautiful and she's incredibly animated. I'm posting a few pictures of our first meeting. We plan on continuing to keep in touch and have visits.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things I am Thankful For

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I couldn't wait to share the day with Grace. I wasn't disappointed except for the fact that my turkey took a bit longer to cook and it didn't have as much flavor as last year. Other than that, it was a perfect day. Grace allowed me to cook. She took a nap and my family came over and we ate and relaxed. It was one of those days were you were in such a good spot and you count your blessings. So, on this day of great thanks, here is my list:

1. my relationship with God
2. my daughter Grace (thus ending the excruciating wait)
3. my parents, sister, niece, nephews and the rest of my family including our dog Hope
4. my friends
5. good health
6. Grace's doctors
7. Grace's therapists
8. my job
9. the extra contract work
10. my house
11. my car (even with the dent)
12. my pink netbook
13. pumpkin pie, turkey and all thanksgiving food
14. the fact that I can support and feed myself and my daughter on one salary
15. having the best support groups
16. laughter
17. shopping
18. cute cothes and shoes
19. great purses
20. Bath & Bodyworks
21. my fantastic hair chick
22. cool weather
23. comfy bed
24. good food in general
25. reality TV especially the Amazing Race (Go Blondes!)

I could go on and on and the list would probably look silly...I seriously contemplated office supplies and new books but it makes me look ever sillier than I already am. This has been a great year and I'm praying for a great end and a wonderful beginning. I've already got one of Grace's Christmas gift's for next year (or maybe an Easter gift)...a cool kitchen that was on sale today at big lots...she's not ready for it right now.

Happy Turkey Day everybody! May you have many blessings come your way!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Daughter, the Texan




Today we went to court and Grace was readopted in the state of Texas. She is now officially a Texan...a grumpy Texan though because she didn't get her nap. It was a nice ceremony and we had the best lawyer, Jana Olson Baker (if you need a great adoption lawyer in Bexar county, she is the one to get). There was another family there who traveled with us. It was so nice to see them.




Speaking of traveling families, I was able to visit with another family on Saturday at a craft's show in New Braunfels. The mom makes the coolest things...jewelry, kids clothes and these cool blinged out boots...Grace got a pair and loves to wear them. I'm going to put the link to her store on my blog so you can check out her cool designs and I'm going to post a picture of Grace and her super cool boots that she loves! Heck...if they were in my size I would totally wear them...they are that fun!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Ear Infection & Strep Throat




Last night was a tough night for Miss Grace. She was crying in her sleep and she had a snorkle sound. She's had the boogers the past two weeks but our great doctor said that it was probably allergies...fast forward to this morning...I decided that she needed to go to the doctor. She was having not only serious snot stuff but also tummy troubles...well it turns out the reason why we had the restless sleep last night was that she has her first ear infection (that we know of) and also strep. She can't go to daycare tomorrow and my parents can't watch her so I'm taking tomorrow off to take care of her. She's been very clingy and whiny. I would too if I felt that badly. The good thing is that she's on her meds and it seems to be helping her. She's also still eating. We had soup and she also had an ice cream cup for dinner. I got her to bed 15 minutes early. I'm praying that she feels better tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blessings

I went to the Mended Little Hearts meeting yesterday evening. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it since Grace goes to bed at 7:30 and it started at 6:30. I felt like I needed to go because I know it is a great resource to me as a mom of a heart child. I was so glad that I went. When I heard the stories from the other moms about the tough stuff they have gone through, I realized that what we went through wasn't nearly as horrible. It made me count my blessings and thank God that while the surgery was severe, it could have been a lot worse. I know there is more to come surgery-wise for Grace and I pray that our story continues to have a happy ending.

We also got evaluated by ECI (Early Childhood Intervention). It seems that Grace's OT is paying off. We're going to continue the private therapies and have ECI out a couple of months to give us extra help. She charmed all four ladies who evaluated her. Basically she is right there at the bubble of qualifying. They felt that her heart condition and being from a different country and being in an orphanage did delay her but she is quickly catching up. She's a pretty bright girl. She's still a daredevil...she climbed up the big slide on Sunday and slid down it all on her own...it was so fast that I wasn't able to get to the bottom fast enough. She didn't care...she had a good ol time. She also wanted to get down off my bed this morning by herself that's well, it's pretty darn tall and she went tumbling down...but she bounces back every single time. I can't say anything because I think I'm the same way. I like the daredevil stuff too.

I also started thinking about my friends who are still waiting for their precious children from China. I am still praying for you each night. I pray the time will speed by fast and I know how hard the holidays are without your child. I remember last year how depressed and angry I was. I could cry at a drop of a hat and I felt so empty inside. This year, I have my saving Grace. I am excited about our first Thanksgiving together as a family. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The good thing is she likes turkey and ham...she's just not a pumpkin pie fan. That's my favorite part of the meal!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grace got bit again yesterday at daycare. This time it wasn't like a mad dog bite like the last one. I didn't pick her up from daycare yesteday (mom and dad did because she had OT, PT & Speech) so I didn't get to ask the questions of is it the same person and what happens when the child continues to bite and what precipitated it. Grace, I hear, took it all in stride.

She really has become a mama's girl. When we were in the car with my parents the other day, only I could sing the song, she shushed her Grammy. She is starting to enjoy hugging on me which of course, I have dreamed about.

Her sleep is getting better. I think she is finally getting over the allergies/cold. I was really vigilant about her snot. I was constantly using boogie wipes (they rock...I highly recommend them because they don't rub her nose raw) and suctioning them as well as putting in a saline mist. Hopefully it will clear up in the next few days. She still has tummy issues and I think it's because she is a total dairy queen. I can't blame her, so am I.

Tomorrow we see the developmental pediatrician. It should be interesting to see what happens. All is well in our world. I think we're finally getting into our rhythm.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Grace's First Haircut







Grace had her first non orphanage haircut on Saturday after the heart walk. She looks cute in her bob. The stylist at Cool Cuts did a great job and put a sweet little bow with a pony tail. Grace didn't cry or get angry. She was so good.






Grace slept through the Heart Walk while we sweated! I realized that even though I think I'm in sort of shape, I'm really not. I need to start getting it together in time for Race for the Cure in May.






I can't believe that we've been a family for 5 months now. Our lives have drastically changed, but in a good way. Grace is starting to really relax and I've seen progress with her speech. OT & PT have also done wonders. We love daycare/school but we're fighting the boogers...she had a fever Thursday night but got better. I think I am hearing a cough so most likely we'll be seeing Dr. Oliver this week. I feel we see the doctor a lot but with her heart issue, we can't take anything too lightly. It's different when you have a child with special needs. I used to worry that the doctor would think I was a crazy mom but they don't. They get it because of her heart issues. I hope she feels good tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween & Other Stuff







I know I have been remiss in posting. It seems that I'm always running around and not having a lot of time to blog, which I miss. Grace is doing okay. We start round 2 of synagis tomorrow which I'm not looking forward to. They are painful and no fun. She gets her next set of shots in a few weeks (we are playing catch up). At least it's only 3 shots and not 5 like last time. We are going to have our official ECI evaluation, see the developmental pediatrician and our six month homestudy update and go to court for readoption in the next 3 weeks. This weekend is the heart walk which will be fun.






Halloween was good. Grace was a flower and I was a tree. We went on my sister's street trick or treating and then went to big Grace's house for a party. We didn't stay long because my Gracie was tired. She has been having tummy and teething troubles lately. I was supposed to go skydiving on Saturday too but didn't because Grace and I had a rough night. Good thing because the guy before us had an issue with his parachute. I hear there was other drama so thankfully I was glad we didn't go. Isn't it cool how things work out in the strangest ways?






Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Patch











We had a great day! We went to the pumpkin patch with Sandra, Rex & Holly and painted a pumpkin. It was so much fun!




Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shoes

Grace is picky about her shoes...I learned that when we bought shoes last Sunday from Stride Rite. She let me put them on her but she had no problem taking them off. When I tried to get either of the pairs on her on Monday, she screamed! So, I guess that later on this weekend I'll be returning her shoes. She went up a whole size in one month! One month! We went to the outlet (our favorite place) and got some new tennis shoes and some brown mary janes. They were super cute and the best thing is that she liked them. She also got a pair of robies (she thought they were neat)...the shoe freak in me is like, "YES! That's my girl!"

ECI came by on Friday. It looks like Grace will qualify for the program. The great thing is that it's a monthly fee and they come to you. So, we'll continue speech, OT & PT until we start services with ECI. I am so glad that I won't be paying the $20 copay for each service (it's 60 a week). It'll be $20 a month. Hot dog!

Did I tell you my child is also a daredevil like her mama? Yep, she thinks she's invincible and likes to climb on things, especially chairs. She actually has pretty decent balance. She's gaining weight...she's like 22.5, 23 lbs. She's getting taller and she's starting to be a little more vocal and trying to make word sounds.

This past week seemed to have been a breakthrough week. She is finally starting to relax and she's becoming more affectionate with me and less affectionate with strangers (which was an attachment issue). Tomorrow we're going to the pumpkin patch with my bff Sandra, her hubby and her sweetie pie, Holly. I'm super excited, especially since the weather has finally gotten a tad cooler. Let the fall begin!

Friday, October 16, 2009

First Week in Daycare




Well, it seems that daycare is good for Grace except for the fact that she got BIT today by another girl who didn't want her to hold her hand. It was a bad bite too. This kid had to have held on pretty hard and pretty long. I'm upset but what can I do? Things like that happen and I can't keep Grace in a bubble. I hope it doesn't happen again.

Grace got her 5 shots yesterday. 3 in one leg, 2 in the other leg. Poor thing! She was miserable, I think of the whole trauma. I gave her tylenol before and motrin before she went to bed. I gave her a nice warm bath and really massaged her legs. She was fussy all night. About 4 a.m. I put her in bed with me and we slept together until 6 a.m. She did the morning routine with me (usually she's asleep). She was so tired but she didn't want to sleep. She actually had her blankie and laid down on my bathroom floor while I was getting ready. I felt so bad for her that I picked her up and put on my makeup with one hand.

Tomorrow we go to the Moon Festival with our FCC. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also on a quest for a rain coat for Grace and a new cell phone for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

First Day of Daycare

It seems that daycare is good for my girl. I always suspected it but now I know. I dropped her off at 7:20 this morning. Can I just say how much I love her teacher, Ms. Karen? She rocks. She held my girl and offered her fruit loops. Girlfriend was good to go. I heard she played with the big boy, which I'm not surprised. Grace seems to be drawn more to boys. My parents picked her up at 12:30 for OT & PT and she woke up in a good mood. She was happy this evening and so far...knock on wood...no night terrors. I'm so proud of her...I'm so proud of me. I only had a few tears when I got into my car but I was good when I got to work. I hope daycare helps her with her language. I had to call ECI to get Grace evaluated for speech. It seems that where we go for OT & PT, it's so backlogged so we have to find other avenues. They are supposed to call next week to set up an evaluation.

Everything is going well. Life is good.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

4 months!

Grace and I have been a family now for 4 months. We had been doing better sleepwise until we started synagis shots on Tuesday. The sucky thing is that those are going to be happening once a month until March. The good thing is that it will help prevent respiratory illness. So because she hasn't been feeling great or safe, she's having sleeping issues again. It's going to get worse too because she is going to start Country Home Day Care for 3 days a week which is going to knock her off her schedule and on Thursday she has to have 5 shots. I feel soooo horribly for my girl. But she's a trooper and she's gonna be okay. I know the daycare will be good so she can have socialization and I really liked the teacher. And shots, well shots are inevitable part of life. She's going to be poked for the rest of her life because she is a heart baby.

I'm so glad tomorrow is Friday. I get to spend the weekend with my girl. My life is so much better with Grace even when she's a grumpy squirrel.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Daredevil

I am raising a daredevil. My mom would say, like mother, like daughter. I guess that's a true enough statement as I am supposed to go skydiving again at the end of this month. We went to the National Night Out at the park in my neighborhood. Grace wanted to go to the playground because all of the kiddos were there. She climbed up the high steps and then she went down the slide all on her own! She did it over and over again. She was getting tired towards the end but she was so proud of herself. I have to admit, I was too. I think she likes that dropping feeling because at Mass she'll stand on the kneeler and then let herself drop to sit down on the kneeler. It almost gives me a heart attack every time because I think she is going to whack her head either on the pew in front of her or the seat. She's a crazy girl.

She's been getting more frustrated because she can't articulate what she wants. She's obsessed with the wheels on the bus song and demands it be sung in the car, or when she's upset. I think Mom is ready to start part time daycare. I think it will be good for her so she can be with other kiddos. I think she misses the orphanage sometimes. I know she misses her friends there. I'm so glad that we are able to keep in touch with the girls who she played with while she was at Fengxin. You should see these girls...they are so beautiful and they are growing and blossoming, just like Grace. It makes my heart happy.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Starting to Doggie Paddle


I might jinx myself when I say this, but I think I have moved from treading water to doggy paddling. I am almost caught up at work and I have even started the ball rolling for an author visit in March. I actually made dinner at my house today (yesterday I made my parents tacos) for me and Grace. She even ate all of it (it was whole wheat rigotoni with pasta sauce) and some ice cream. I got her bathed, in bed and asleep by 8 p.m. I'm ahead of my question writing so I can actually go upstairs and watch some TV that I have DVRed. Or I can actually watch live TV. (Did I tell ya'll my downstairs TVquit on us and I bought another one but I'm waiting for Geek Squad to install on Sunday). Things are good. Grace is starting to cuddle a little more. She's not a cuddle bug kind of girl but she likes to put our heads together and she actually leaned against me this morning when we read Panda Bear, Panda Bear What do you See? So, I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I'm sure there is going to be another tunnel of darkness in some bend along the track but we can weather through it. I knew motherhood was not a simple thing but you can't even imagine the complexities until it's your turn. All I know is that it is making me a better person.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zoo Life







My life is very zoolike. I've recently come to this realization after we went to the zoo with Mended Little Hearts on Saturday. We had a good time but it was hot. We went to the toddler area which had this mossy ground and Grace did not want to step on it. It totally freaked her out. So did the bouncy yellow thing that I put her on. She loved the animals especially the monkey and the elephants. We stayed only until noon and then she crashed in the car on the way home.

So, back to the why my life is like a zoo...well, it's messy, chaotic,wild but at the same time fun and natural. My house is a mess, like the zoo, but people don't seem to mind. Even when Grace and I are cranky, people still want to see us and Grace especially is the main attraction. Everybody wants to hang with that girl. I think she likes it.

We've also discovered that my child is a Miss Bossy thang! She wants to be in the control seat. She will put your hand where she wants it and she is very demanding. Yikes...can't wait until she's a teenager or pre-teen!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Keeping my head above water

I think my main focus to keep myself from drowning. I think that is the main goal for most single parents. We really aren't focused on the strokes or where we are going. We are just trying to keep are heads above water. I'm getting pretty adept at treading water.

The hardest part is not being able to stay at home with her. I have to work and so I have to leave her with my parents. I feel incredibly guilty for disrupting their lives and that my daughter spends more time with them than I get to. We talked about this before the adoption at great length. I think it is hitting them and they are realizing how much she has impacted their lives. I don't know if they realized how much she was going to disrupt their lives. Grace is blossoming being with them. She's learning lots of thing including holding her spoon, the baby sign for my dad and lots of other things. I'm so thankful for them but I worry that it is too much! We are looking at possibly mother's day out or part time day care soon so she can be with other kiddos. I anticipate sleep issues again because every time her schedule gets disrupted, it shows in her sleep.

She's getting another molar on top...poor baby. She can't stop cutting teeth. She's growing and is babbling a lot more. She hates PT (physical therapy) but is daredevil at home and at my parents' house. I think she has some acrobat blood in her veins.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Good Day











This was our first full week of me working and Gracie staying with Grammy & Pa. It has been difficult on Gracie adjusting to the new schedule. It isn't that she doesn't like or it doesn't like Grammy & Pa. I think it's because she's had another disruption, doesn't get it and doesn't feel safe again. It's like she's waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, she's really clingy in the mornings and she gets cranky and fussy in the afternoon. She gets frustrated a lot more easily. I understand...I feel bad for her because I don't have a lot of control and because she's so young, it's hard for her to understand that I have to work. My parents have been awesome throughout this though I think this has been incredibly difficult on my mom both physicallyand emotionally. One of the neat things that has resulted out of the situation is that Grace has a stronger bond with my dad. I think it's good for the both of them. She even cried for him when she saw the EKG machine coming into the room. I think at first she thought it was for her but when she saw them putting the electrodes on my father, she still cried. Poor baby. She is a bit traumatized.








Today though was a good day because we got to spend the whole day together with my sister and her kids. Gracie loves them all. We went to our church festival where she slept for an hour and a half while we played Bingo. We came home and played and then met up with Grammy & Pa for dinner. Miss Anna knows Gracie loves her potato soup so she had some leftover from the previous day (it wasn't on the menu this evening) and she heated it up for her. YUM!








Just thinking about that small act of kindness really made me think of how blessed we have been. People have enfolded us and given us such love, compassion and support. I can't tell you how it makes me feel...it's so overwhelming how much love we have been given and continue to get and I'm so greatful and thankful that I don't have the words to express how grateful I am.




Monday, September 14, 2009

My Daughter Cracks Me Up

Grace, I'm sure like all other children is one of the funniest people that I know. I have decided to share a couple of my Grace funny stories. Some of the stories make me look like a fool, but if they make you laugh, it's worth it.

Today, we ate at Souper Salads and my mom gave Grace and ice cream cone. I also had one. I guess I opened my mouth really wide and shoved the whole end of the cone into my mouth and I looked over at Grace and she had her mouth opened really wide showing all her chewed up food...I guess that is what I had looked like! It was pretty funny how accurately she captured my feeding frenzy moment.

Grace can be clingy sometimes, especially in the mornings. This means she'll go with you when you have to go to the bathroom. So, if you are going #2, she will pinch her nose to let you know that it's pretty stinky in the bathroom.

Finally, this is the most embarassing Grace story for me. I was washing up in the bathroom the other morning and of course, it's morning and Grace wants to be where I am. She was brushing her own teeth with her beaver toothbrush while I was starting to get my clothes on. She looks at my naked downstairs parts, looks and her toothbrush and well, you can guess what she thought...hmmmm, my beaver toothbrush could be used to brush mommy's downstair's parts! Good thing I stopped her when I saw the toothbrush coming at me. I don't know what was worse, that it was a beaver toothbrush or that she even thought to brush that part of me! It was pretty embarassing.

When she gets older, I'm sure these stories will amuse her. It's my second week back at work and it's going well but I miss the heck out of having Grace with me all of the time. She is still in physical and occupational therapy and is progressing. I hope it continues to go well. I have to say I'm so blessed in life. My daughter has made me a better person.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

We Survived Our First Day

Gracie and I did good today! We made it through our first day back in the real world of mama working. My day was super long...I dropped her off at 7 a.m. for my 7:30 a.m. meeting and we had Greenback Night and I didn't get home until after 8 p.m. Can you say YUCKY! The best thing about my job are the people that I work with. Wood truly has a phenomenal staff. They never cease to amaze me with the way they open their arms and hearts to you and they are so supportive! It made my day back great.

The hardest part was leaving. When I was pulling out of my parents' driveway, Grace waved at me and blew me kisses. I wanted to cry but I of course, didn't let myself cry because I didn't have waterproof mascara and I didn't want to look like a blubbering dork in my Team Leader's Meeting. Eventually I will let it out...I'm just glad she's upstairs sleeping and I can hear her sucking sounds on the monitor and the clanking of her bracelets on the crib slats when she rolls over. She's the best and I'm so lucky!

Monday, September 07, 2009

3 Months!

I cannot believe my daughter and I have been a family for 3 months now. It seems like she's been part of my life forever, even when she's having a mini meltdown. We've had an interesting past few days. My parents were out of town and Grace and I had such a good bonding time. We shopped, we ate, we played. We also had to go back to Santa Rosa hospital on Friday because the top of her incision looked angry and I thought it was because of her drool...turns out she popped stitch so we are now on antibiotics and we are keeping it covered. We had to go see Dr. Hussein this morning at Santa Rosa because I wasn't sure it was getting better but it turns out it's okay.

We also went to my cousin's wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, my cousin Ashley looked gorgeous and Grace did really well. She has discovered walking up and down the stairs which wore me and I don't have the health issues she has.

Tomorrow, I go back to the real world. I am going to miss my girl. What sucks is that I have a 7:30 meeting and it's greenback night so I won't be home until after 7:30 p.m. YUCK!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Shopping!

Grace and I took a shopping trip to San Marcos today to look for a dress for my cousin's wedding this weekend and to get some shoes for her (and some school clothes for me). She was SOOOO good! She got a little frustrated with me in the Talbot's dressing room but overall can I just say Wow! She was holding onto my hand and walking everywhere. She was so proud of herself. She liked to hang out under the racks. Children's Place was having one heck of a sale...capris for $.99 and t-shirts for $1.99. I only got a couple of sets though. I found some good buys at Talbots and Old Navy. Of course, my daughter won over the salesladies at Talbots and as we left, she blew them kisses! I wanted to look for shoes for me but we were running out of time. Grace got some new tennis shoes at Stride Rite. She let the lady measure her foot and she walked for us. She is now wearing 5.5 (she measures a 5, but 5.5 so she can grow into them)! When Grace came home in June, she was a size 4! It must be the hot dogs, mac and cheese, yogurt, cheese sticks, french fries and ice cream that are helping that girl grow. As for the dress, I bought one at Gymboree but I found one I liked better at Stein Mart (yes, I went to Marshalls and Stein Mart after the outlet because she was asleep in the car and I didn't want to wake her up so I extended the car trip by 15 minutes so she could catch more zzzz's). I guess I'll take the other dress back.

So, I think I have found my shopping buddy. It is hard sometimes trying on clothes with her but if she's out of the stroller and walking around, she does all right (and also with snacks). It was a good day. Every day I fall more in love with my daughter. She never ceases to amaze me or surprise me with a new part of her personality.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Miss Sassafrass!


They weren't lying when they said that Jiangxi girls are spicy girls. My girl is VERY spicy. When she does not get her way, she scrunches up her face and screams in frustration. Sometimes she'll shove whatever it is away if that's not what she wants. Before she goes to sleep, she howls in anger because she doesn't want to go to sleep. I think if she could hold her breath and stomp her feet, she would. I know this tenacity is what helped her make it. I wouldn't want her any other way. But...Lord have mercy, it's exhausting!

She's started with the night terrors again. She had them the past two nights. I'm praying she doesn't have them tonight. It took over an hour to get her down. She actually let me rock her a little around the 45 minute mark. I think she was upset that she couldn't fall asleep. If she would take off her bracelets maybe that would help...it would at least help with the noise of them clunking against the rails.

We had our Physical therapy and Occupational therapy appointments today. They were checking her out and it does seem she has some delays. Both therapists were saying how she's like super bendy, like Gumby which is a little of why she has some issues with her walking. When she's awake, she doesn't do the whole roll over from back to tummy but she does when she's sleeping and she has some balance issues too. My mom will be taking Grace to her therapies on Monday because I go back to work next Tuesday. I hope it will go well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Grace went to see Dr. Glasow the pedicardiologist on Wednesday...yeah, didn't go so great because she wasn't having any of it. She didn't want an EKG, Echo, pulse ox or anything. She was just mad! I can't say I blame her...I would be too. In the end, he decided to let me be the judge of how she's doing and if I see her getting worse to call...otherwise she sees him again in 3 months. YEA! We went to see Dr. Oliver, her pediatrician yesterday because girlfriend is not eating like she had been. Now, she LOVES Dr. Oliver and she doesn't scream bloody murder when she sees her. She even let Dr. Oliver do a strep swab. Turns out that the reason most likely she's so fussy, clingy and not eating is that she's getting 3 teeth and also that she's just a toddler! Will this child ever quit teething? She has not stopped getting teeth since Family Day on June 7th. One of these days she won't have to wear a bib to collect the oodles and puddles of drool. The poor baby!

And just a random thought about toddler eating...does it make me a bad mother that for the past two dinners, my daughter has eaten french fries and strawberry pediasure? Yep, Grace is not wanting the chicken or meat, just the fries. Good thing she's underweight. I was thinking all of the work Dr. Hussain and Dr. Calhoon did to fix her heart and I'm clogging up with french fries! Yikes...better find other alternatives.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My baby is 20 months today!

Wow! Where does the time go? Grace is officially 20 months old today. She's 4 months from being a big 2 year old like her friend Holly! She is a walking machine, except she kinda walks like Godzilla when he's destroying Tokyo. She keeps getting better and better each day. The cool thing is that she's not coughing or is out of breath. That makes the both of us happy.

Today was the first day of school and I wasn't there. It was weird. I have been feeling a little off...actually a lot off. For 14 years, being an educator WAS my identity. I haven't missed the beginning of school in my whole career. I felt like I was playing hooky and I felt guilty and also at the same time, I felt left out...not that I'm not loving being with my girl. I'm just having some adjustment and identity issues. I truly do love what I do and I love who I work with so I think that makes it even harder. I only have 9 more school days before I go back and then I'll probably be wishing I was still with my girl. She does keep me on my toes. Her latest thing is hair things...she wants like 5 bows/barrettes in her hair at the same time. She still won't take off her bracelets (actually they are the toy links) even in the tub or bedtime. She will scream bloody murder if you even attempt to take them off. My girl's a girly girl. I think I was too at that age. Rumor has it that I would only wear dresses. Oh well, like mother like daughter.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reflections







While I have about 5 more minutes before Grace wakes from her nap, I started thinking about how much both of our lives have changed. I couldn't have imagined all the things that have happened this summer...I'm not sure I would want to relive some of them. But, I think I have packed at least a year of motherhood in these past 2 1/2 months. My daughter teaches me something new each day. She never ceases to amaze me...I have learned what resilence truly is and that even my facial expressions (which a lot of times I am unaware of) can affect moods. One of the biggest things I have learned is that prayer and God are truly powerful and magnificent.






I was watching her in her crib the other morning and I thought to myself, "I only have 10 more "work days" before I have to go to work" and it made me incredibly sad not to be with her 24/7 (even though during the 24/7 sometimes I wish I had an hour for myself). I am so glad that I have the honor of being a mom.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

81!

81 you say? Yes, that is Grace's oxygen level. BG (before Glenn procedure), she was satting in the 60s. Her chest x-ray was super great. We won't have to see our favorite cardio-thoracic surgeons until the next surgery. We'll miss them because they rocked. The good news is that Grace is feeling stronger and better and is actually walking without tiring and she's more active than ever. I think she feels less intimidated by Hope the dog. And she's sleeping through the night (knock on wood!)

The downside of the whole hospital thing is that the traumatic events have left some scars. Medical people make her scream. They can do something not painful like x-rays or taking weight and she screams. She also screams when I change her diaper and changing clothes and just holding a wet washcloth near her. She has also become very sensitive to the word "no" and "don't" even in a nice tone. She will burst into tears. She is okay sitting in the bathtub but not washing her hair or water falling down her back. However, I think with time, it'll all get better. We've weathered worse storms and the same battles and we've always survive and make lemonade out of lemons. I am just thrilled that Grace feels better.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Surprise! We're Home!







Even though Grace had a restless night and her oxygen levels were all over (but stayed in the 70s), Grace woke up in a good mood...except she didn't want to have anything to do with nurses (Super Dave the radiology guy was okay, but nobody else). She also didn't want to take her meds and she's a great meds taker. While we were eating our eggs, bacon and yogurt, Dr. Calhoon and company come in and look at her. They ask me how she's doing and I said good and he sees how much she's eating and he smiles. He then proceeds to tell me that they are going to take out the chest tube and then send me home, this afternoon. I almost fell over. If I wasn't in shock, I totally would have kissed him! I'm so glad to be home in my house. I was very nervous getting her in and out of the car seat and having her up and about but it all worked itself out. She was so happy to be home and also at Grammy's house. I haven't seen her smile so much. I am trying to get her to go to bed at 8 p.m. but it was a struggle tonight. I think we'll keep at it. She wasn't thrilled with the mini sponge bath. I also tried the baby massage (which she let me do in the hospital...I learned it there) but she wasn't having it. She tossed and turned but eventually got to sleep. I hope she sleeps through the night. I hope I do too. We go back Thursday afternoon for chest xrays and a visit with our favorite cardiothoracic surgeons.






All in all, Santa Rosa was a great place and we had a good experience. But, like Dorothy said, "There's no place like home"