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.