Thursday, December 31, 2009

Where's Sammy?

Yes, it's a little game Sammy Wei has started to play called "Where's Sammy?" He cracks himself up(and me too...) Since he rips the bib off any time I put it on him I guess he figured he would put it to better use. He was laughing so hard before I got the camera out, but I think I still managed to catch a few good giggles....

So here's our game!

video

Happy New Year to all!!!!

J

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Party time!

This weekend we had Adam's work holiday party. Adam works for a very family friendly company so of course we were all invited to attend. Simone had a wonderful time,running all over with the other girls and eating the fab food (okay she mostly ate the dessert....it was great!) And Sammy just had a great time looking at all the people and the other kids there.

Below is my favorite little elf in front of the tree. I just loved her in this outfit!

And Sammy made a friend. He played with this sweet little girl most of the afternoon, whenever she wasn't romping with the "big girls"
This is how much fun he was having with her! I just LOVE that face!
And I got a shot of my guys in front of the tree. As I said in a previous post, Sammy is getting new upper teeth so getting that teething ring out of his mouth could have resulted in a few tears. Still a cute picture I think... And below are the big girls at play. They see each other a few times a year only, but they fall into the same play patterns and just get along so well.
And one of me with my sweet babes! This one's for my Mom!
And the girls just had to have one more of the two of them before we parted ways. Simone can't wait to hang out with her "work buddies" again.
So that was Sammy Wei's first official party and the first party Simone went to as such an independent big girl. We all had fun and are not only thankful that Adam has a great job but that he works with such great families.
I hope all of your Holidays are wonderful and filled with fun, family, lots of laughter and extra joy!
Don't forget to feed those reindeer, Santa will appreciate the extra energy that gives em!
So Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New year too!
J

Future Chef?

So Sammy has decided that Simone's kitchen belongs to him.
It was somthing he was very thrilled to stumble upon and it has become one of his favorite items to play with. It was in the playroom until Friday night when he insisted he play with it- but Simone and and her bestest pal "J" were in there and didn't want the little dumpling bothering them. So we moved it to the living room temporarily, which means it's part of our living area until further notice.

But hey, it keeps him busy morning...

And afternoon....

It is really funny to watch him play, he opens the doors~all of em~ and climbs on top of them and pulls out all of the food while tasting a bit of everything.

I've been joking lately that he may end up as a chef one day because he is a bit, ummmm, well, attached to my hip these days. So he's watching me make snacks, cook his and Simone's dinner and clean up. And boy does he watch very intently and take it all in. And now this....

Adam just wants to know how our living room looks like a playroom and our playroom looks even worse! I guess it's time to admit...you were all right when you said "just wait till you have two". It is a lot harder, a lot messier. But it's also twice as fun!

J

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just because....

Yes...sometimes I just have to put a few "just because" pics up.
Sammy is just such a lovebug and such a sweet boy and we are having so much fun together.

BUT I gotta tell you...he is into EVERYTHING all the time! He keeps me on my toes non-stop. And he does it all with a big grin on his face...
He even learned to climb the stairs this week and can get to the top in 20 or so seconds too! Yikes!

Below he's just crawling around...probably either chasing the dogs or trying to tip that darn water bowl over yet again!

And finally I took some cutsie bath photos! It's hard to give him a bath and take pictures since he is so active, so I had to wait for Adam to be home to help! And he just loves his bath and will splash around until the water is cold. It's a fun time of night for me and Simone too-great bonding!

We call the below his "Arrrgh" face. He is getting two more upper teeth so everything goes into the mouth and gets chewed with enthusiasm!Love the chubba bubba baby!
Oooh...close up! He may have been trying to eat the camera...

Isn't he a cutie!

And below are the effects of having one too many.
Too many stair climbing expeditions, that is! He fell asleep in the middle of his after dinner prunes! And slept for a good 15 minutes just like that.
So those are my just because pictures of some moments here.
Now you know I post these for all my friends and family that email me and tell me they loved certain pictures and posts. I truly appreciate you following us and I am so glad to be able to share little pieces of our day to day with all of you, especially those I wish I were closer to and miss every day!
J

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sibling fun

We've been just a busy household lately with lots of holiday preparations and plenty of sibling fun!

I honestly had some moments of doubt a month and a half ago that we would reach this point with the kids, it was an adjustment for us all,. But the closeness and enjoyment of each other I hoped for is definitely here! Don't get me wrong, Simone has been a great big sis and has been a big help but it hasn't been easy for her to have this 8 month old dropped into her family-her life. It has gotten so much better, the laughter and joy they have when interacting is bliss full to me! I know there will be plenty of moments of sibling rivalry, isn't that just part of being in a family...part of life's great lessons? So for now I am so grateful to have these two children, and look forward to them having each other in their lives. They are both just such wonders and joys to me!

So below is a quick recap of our latest days of sibling fun!

This is Sammy's typical smiling face.
And we've been celebrating our holiday, Hanukkah, this week. Lucky ducks get both this and Christmas with my parents! Simone's favorite part is naturally the 8 nights of gifts. Here she's helping her brother with his gift. And naturally his favorite part were the boxes the toys came in!
Simone with a prized Princess Barb. She was quite thrilled with this of course!
And Adam's Aunt hosts our Hanukkah dinner every year, where the girls play and have fun and the grownups eat yummy food and enjoy a relaxing night. Sammy enjoyed being passed around and cuddled by all!
Sammy got a very cool truck for his gift. He was delighted and seemed to know exactly what it was and how to use it.

And now on to those good sibling vibes I've been talking about. Sammy loves hanging with Simone before she heads out to school. He cuddles with her on the couch and is just as happy as can be. I think she's pretty happy too!

And outside fun is a must when the weather is okay. Sammy has been handed down Simone's old baby swing and he's starting to enjoy it.
And Simone is the bestest pusher around...
What a face....

So here's to sibling fun and all the happiness and laughter that comes with it!
J

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The 10 month dumpling

Yes. Really, 10 months old today!


This fact first hit me the other day at a follow up check-up at our pediatrician's office. The nurse asked Sammy Wei's age and then commented "oh wow...almost 10 months, that big boy!"
What? No not yet, he's still just 9 months old!

Oh where oh where has the last month and a half gone? I didn't get my fill of his 9 monthedness yet and here he is pushing his way towards becoming one!

And all that Sammy has accomplished and how much he has grown in the last month and a half is just amazing! Our friends said he had a weeble bottom when we first came home because he very easily flopped to the side when seated. Now he can stand unaided for 15 or so seconds before he gently sits.
He's picking up all of his finger foods now, and getting the pieces into his mouth well over half the time! And he prefers foods he can feed himself and likes to snatch the spoon whenever I feed him.
He loves his bath, I mean really really loves his bath. He hears the water running and practically dives into the tub-I have never seen a baby crawl faster then when he hears his bath (or sees his bottle!). Once in there he splashes the water and rolls all over the place, it's all very cute.
His total admiration for his big sis is so very obvious, sometimes to her delight...and then sometimes not so much. But he does all he can to get her to pay attention to him~to play with him and maybe share a snack, or a tickle or a toy. It truly warms my Mama heart to see when they interact and enjoy each other!
And i love that he's saying "mama" often, and even sometimes when looking for me! Sweet music to my ears...
I've learned that he is very, ummm, determined when he wants something and does not handle me saying "no no" well at all! We've had some head butting over dog water bowls, tv remotes and fire places over the last few days. Oh boy does he get mad at me!

And the list goes on with all that he's learned on his own, of all that we've learned about each other and how much he has really grown. The bonding and attachment has been so wonderful with him, I have enjoyed every moment of it...even the sleepless nights. I cannot imagine him in any other place but in our home...in our hearts. I worried before that it would be hard to have more love for another child, while loving Simone so. But wow, the heart expands and bends and grows all at once and has more love to share than I could ever had imagined. And he really is so easy and enjoyable to love.

So now are some recent photos, of both my now 10 month old dumpling and of my 5 and 1/2 year old big girl.

Like the tongue sticking out? I guess that is Sammy's "new look" as it's always out lately!

This is called trhe "ho hum" look. He must have finished lunch and was showing his displeasure at that fact.



We call the above "lazy play". He just lays there and bangs the keys off himself and laughs...

Love it....Think Simone could have either finished chewing or kept her mouth closed?


And how's that for a face, huh? Gotta lover her!


And though he isn't walking yet he is standing holding on to things with one hand and can bend and pick up stuff.
So as I type with Sammy sleeping on my lap and Simone playing quietly nearby, I am just so thankful for these moments, months and times to come!
J

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What is this white powdery stuff?

Yes, I've said it before~the weather here in East Tenn is a bit unpredictable to say the least. Snow is not very common here, at least not in great proportions. Especially not in early December. That's what I've heard from the locals anyway.

But Adam woke us all up this morning telling us we just had to look outside.

And this is what we found....

We got about two inches when it was all done, and it was just oh so very pretty! And here it is, just after one in the afternoon and it's mostly still there, on the trees and the grass. Such a treat to look out the windows to see, all cozied up in here with a fire lit and our pj's still on. (yep...snowy days require all day pj's in this house. OK...sometimes even non-snowy days but that's a bit personal isn't it?)

Below Adam and Simone are romping around and having some snowy day fun!


Simone was making snow angels. Notice the lack of winter jacket? Yep, guess it took a snowstorm to make me remember I need to get the kiddos their winter apparel!


And here's the beautiful snow folk that the duo created...I was told the very creative names bestowed upon them were "Daddy and Simone"


And here is where poor little dumpling was required to view the snow...it's just way to cold for my little guy still! Note where Oliver is...he just can't leave "his" baby! So that was our winter wonderland fun in the hills of Tennessee. Oh, and where was I during the outdoor adventures you ask? Ummm, well...as much as I adore the cold wet outside I opted to be the responsible indoor parent making hot cocoa and warming myself and Sammy by the fire. What? I had to stay inside warm and dry...it was only right! and warm and dry... J

Monday, November 30, 2009

Playground fun

Last week Simone, Aunt Jody, J and I took Sammy to the playground for the first time. He wasn't too sure what he was supposed to do, being that he isn't walking yet and all the equipment was just so big...even on the toddler playground! But it was a beautiful fall day and we really enjoyed our time outside.

Simone was "Starfire Falcon" for her Thankgiving parade at school.

Big sis is giving Sammy Wei a push on the swing....
And he is not too sure he likes this. I didn't get a single smile, until I took him out of the swing! I guess it's not his thing...
And just a random photo...he had about 15 minutes of fun finding himself in the mirror.

So we are all doing very well and it seems we've hit our stride. We are still working on that darn nap schedule, I think he is just going to be a "cat napper" as he seems well rested and happy even with the short siestas. And I must say, having Sammy in our lives has really been an incredible gift- he is such a sweet natured and loving little guy. He is always ready for a cuddle, though often not for long because there is just too much to explore. We are seeing all these little bits of his funny personality, which I just love. And I've got to be honest here...I think both his cheeks and thighs are growing daily, he is just a roly poly thing, again...which I just love!

Simone is starting to enjoy her "big sister" role more now and has been really helping me with him lately. My favorite moments really are when all four of us are together, and I think the feeling is mutual around the table. Both kiddos seem to relish those moments and we are finally really enjoying each other in a relaxed and comfy way. Maybe it's called bonding, maybe it's called family...perhaps a bit of both. What I do know is that all is at it's meant to be and I could not be a happier person.

J

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November is....

Yep folks...November is National Adoption Awareness Month.
Now I wasn't sure if I was up to such a post yet… lack of sleep and business of being a new mom to 2 has been a bit more, um...tiring than I had expected! But come on...me miss a chance at talking about adoption and all that it means to me...fat chance there!

Adoption has always been a part of my life, part of who I am. It has been a factor that has changed me and my course of life travels more than once. It has given me not one, but two wonderful families that I cherish and am very grateful for.

My thoughts on adoption have also changed and evolved over the course of my life so far, and I am sure will do so again. Adoption is not a one time deal, it's is a lifelong journey of love, commitment and an intertwining of lives. Lives that may not ever had crossed paths if not for that one huge step of adoption, that one simple and yet at the same time oh so complex yearning for family. At least that's my perspective of adoption, that's how it plays out in my world. But there is more to adoption than just one person or one couple's hopes and dreams. There is another person or people who must make an unimaginably hard choice, a choice that will be with them for the rest of their lives as well.

Growing up I always knew I was adopted. It was just who we were~ no more or less. I had- and still do I must add- the best parents a girl could have asked for. I was very loved (still am!) and was raised in a near idyllic family setting. Of course we had our normal problems just like every other family I knew, and that was because in my house we were just like every other family I knew, just that Cuffer & I were adopted. It wasn't until I hit my teenage years that I wondered who I really came from, what my "other" parents were like. Did they miss me at all? Worry and wonder about me too? Well I certainly hoped so, I hoped they worried a lot, wondered a lot as well. I felt more of a resentment for all that they gave up. I couldn't understand that it was a choice *I was a choice* that was incredibly hard, I'm sure, for them to make. But growing up I just didn't see it, yet.

And then when I started on this journey for my family, well I really just wanted a family. I laugh *oh yes laugh* at the comment I have heard..."how wonderful of you to do this".
Huh?
No really, I hadn't thought at all about the child and the course of life they may or may not have had, my thoughts were not of the saving kind and never will be. No, I thought in purely selfish ways. I wanted, so desperately, to be a Mama- to have my own family, my own children. And in adoption I was able to fulfill that, it was that simple...at that time.

After Simone came home I realized that in IA there was a bit more to it than "just being adopted". For one, we don't look alike. For two, she had a birth country and culture that would have been hers if not for us adopting her. And finally, her chances of ever finding her birth family poses much more work than it does for me if she ever chose to pursue that. In my desire to have a child of my own, I had inadvertently removed a child from all that she could have had.

And now...well now I have my second precious baby home and yes, once again I've changed my vision of adoption. Of course the basics are still the same...adoption is a wonderful way to create a forever family. But what is involved, the people effected, the lives forever change...my thoughts of all that have changed. I can never replace the culture he would have had, but I will do my best to show both of my children a love for their countries of birth and a respect for their birth families. In my children I now see the importance of not only that culture but the role that the birth family has played in this joining of my family. Even though these are my very own children I've realized that I will always share a part of them with their first families. I must acknowledge the loss they may feel and the impact of their not knowing if these sweet babies are safe, loved, cared for in the capacity that they would have cared. I can only hope they know in their hearts the answer to that...

And then there is the question of "real". I was once rather baffled by the use of it in adoption. What does real have to do with your family, your parents and siblings? When I finally understood the real question behind it I formed my standard answer..."of course we're real...my parents changed my diapers, took care of me when I was sick, brought me to school my first day, took pictures of my prom, walked me down the aisle when I married my true love. My brother was really just as real, we loved each other, hated each other and loved each other again. He tortured me, defended me and was often my best friend." So does it get any more "real" than that? Well, in keeping with my theme of evolving thoughts of adoption, yes...there is more to “real” than the actions and milestones in life. There are all of those emotions that go with it. The love that only a mother can know, the heartbreak when your child is hurting, the absolute adoration you feel for these children of yours. The pride you feel at each accomplishment and the excitement of every new exploration. The ability to move a bus, mountain or nosy person in the grocery store to protect your babies… all this is so so very real.

And here I am, still amazed at how my newest tiny little bundle can have such a huge impact on my life, my emotions. How wonderful to have this gift, to be able to raise both of these fantastic babies as my own. Rocking him to sleep each night I'm often surprised to find myself crying- tears of joy at the feelings of love and happiness I have regarding him, and at the unbelievable bond we are forming. And this feeling is only compounded knowing that once I get my sweet dumpling gently off to sleep I will do so again with my big girl- those amazing feelings and the bond of love already established with her. I have these two wonderful children in my life forever and this is in itself such a true blessing for me and really a true gift bestowed on us by their first families. Each child is a miracle, a blessing and a reason to thank God- and through adoption I’ve been able to experience this with both my forever families.

Oh Rambling post, will you ever end?

Yes, I end here because it has taken me well over a week to write this and because one of those little blessings I have been speaking of is getting anxious on my lap and it is telling me it truly is time for this post to end.
This post had no specific purpose it’s just some of my thoughts on adoption, mainly for me to remember in years to come what adoption meant to me at this time in my life. And because, well we all know I just can’t say no to talking about it!
J

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random

Oh hi there!
Yes, long time no post...it's been a bit busy in these parts! Good busy though.

We are settling into our routine and everyone is adjusting pretty well. Sammy seems like he has always been here, yet there are moments I am still awed and amazed at his tiny presence. He is just a joy and we are all very much in love with the little dumpling! Sleep is getting better, he is now sleeping in his crib and only wakes between 4 & 5 for a small bottle, then back to sleep till 7! Nap time...well that is still a whole different story. Twenty-six minute cat naps 4 times a day and that is all! I am hoping to consolidate them into one 40…50… um… a longer nap in morning and afternoon.

And having two kiddos is wonderful, tiring and challenging all at once. For example…I went to the grocery store with the two of them for the first time the other day. Funny, I had 3 different people ask if I needed assistance. Did I look that frazzled? I felt like all was going well, although it was a bit trickier than with just one walking talking 5 year old.But one of the people who asked if I need a hand was a father I knew from school. Naturally I quite smugly declined any help-I have this all under control...thank you very much!
But then after asking he decided to strike up a conversation with me. Seriously! I had it under control but let’s be honest…not by much and that little bit was fading fast…
So here I am in the parking lot with the diaper bag sliding off my right shoulder, Simone pulling my left arm, two grocery bags that appeared quite manageable in the store now weighing around 8,000 pounds slipping out of my hands and the squirmiest of worms in my arms trying like crazy to get down. Well, I had to take him up on his kindly offer and ask him to dig my car keys out of my sweatshirt pocket and walk me to the car so I could deposit said squirmy worm and two ton bags into the car before I dropped all three!

It's all good though! I cannot believe how much I am enjoying having Sammy here, and how cool it is to see Simone and him together.

So below are random photos and a cute video (yes still on my regular camera, I haven't had the chance to locate the video camera yet. It's on the same to do list as the laundry that's been in the dryer for two days...)








video

I hope to post more soon, I have one in the pipeline I am hoping to get done this month!
Thanks to all of you for checking in, I love to hear that you are enjoying the photos and updates. It makes me so happy to share my slice of sweet life with you all!
J

Friday, November 13, 2009

And home at last

So we are home at last. What a long trip home that was, but so wonderful to land in Tennessee!

And yes, we were "those people" on all three flights home.
Oh yes, you know exactly who "those people" are...the ones with the screaming baby on the flight. Poor Sammy Wei just had a tough time with those little ears of his. Once we got up and moving he was great, but it was so sad to have him cry so!

Simone... well she was just a perfect travel companion and we are so happy and proud of what a huge help she was on both the flights and in the airports.

And now we've been home for a few days (-okay over a week, I'm just real behind-) and everyone is adjusting well. We had a few rough nights to start with but it is all working out now. I'm working on a nap schedule...he sure likes to cat nap and I'd sure like him to take two solid naps a day. So after a 40 min nap he is now on my lap as I type....maybe tomorrow he'll sleep longer!

So on to the photos...
This is the typical stance you'll find him in when you leave the room for a moment and return. See the "ya, I just pulled up on this couch" look he displays...he knows he rocks it, even in duck pj's!

And taking us back a week or so... when we got off the plane our Aunt and friends were waiting for us with balloons and big ole grins! We came home and they had decorated the house with balloons and streamers and stocked our fridge! What amazing family & friends we have! My parents sent us some flowers, how wonderful to have some fresh and beautiful flowers upon our return!
And there was a table full of goodies for both kiddos! Clothes and toys and teethers! We were just so surprised and so grateful for all of it!! They made Simone feel so very special and helped out with some clothing for our big boy!
Here's Sammy Wei meeting his Auntie Jody for the first time...

And meeting his "Auntie" Starla. He's taken quite a liking to both of them, as well as all our other family & friends here. Social little guy!


And here is how he slept the first few nights home...on the living room floor with one of us, covered in a blanket. Thankfully we've moved to crib or our bed depending on the night.
And he loves Simone's old "entertainment center" The two of them have been bonding well over the last week or so. He just adores his big sis, and she so enjoys him (well, most of the time...)!
So this is how we've been doing. I started this post on Monday, it is now Friday.... But Sammy Wei has been doing wonderful and is adjusting quite nicely. He is just a bit clingy still so I don't get much done beyond the bonding and cuddling. Think I'm complaining though? Oh no, not one little iota!

Sammy went to the pediatrician today and is in excellent health. Almost 21 pounds and 27 inches. Our ped is very pleased with his overall development. I must say here that we owe so very much of this to his wonderful foster mom and all of the obvious love and attention she gave him. What a wonderful start to his life she has given him, and us!
Okay...off to birthday dinner. And to all of my friends who reminded me of what a wonderful and amazing birthday gift I was given...well yes, you are so right! I have so much joy and love on this day, I could not ask for anything more!
J