Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone! It has been over a week since I last posted. As I'm sure is the case with most people, I am really busy right now. We are gearing up for our first holiday with the peanut and boy is she ever loving the gift thing. Every time someone stops by our house, they bring her a present. She is going to think that it will always be that way! She's too cute to watch though when she is opening a gift.

Yesterday was my last day home with Lilli until summer break. I go back to work on January 4 and she starts daycare on Wednesday. I think she is really going to like daycare. She loves other kids and I think she is bored here at home. She desperately needs outside stimulation. I do not regret the time I took off to be with her these first 5 month, but I know it is time for her to start learning things like sharing, and getting along with others. It's hard to do that when mommy gives you anything you want! It will be difficult to leave her with someone else but I know it is for the best. I'm certain her language will take off when she starts hearing the other kids jabber.

Hope everyone has a very happy holiday season. My family has a lot to be thankful for this year. I hope all waiting families are able to focus on the joy of the season. May God bless each of you and guide you through this time and for the year to come!

Friday, December 15, 2006

need to vent

It is 3:37 A.M. and I am having trouble sleeping. Mostly it is because I know that Lilli will be waking up very soon and scream for an hour or more until someone comes and gets her. Nighttime is still SOOOOOO frustrating! We started putting her to bed in her crib on October 3. Bedtime has only gotten marginally better. The last three nights have been particularly bad. She has screamed (and I don't mean cry--blood-curdling, hysterical screams) for an hour or more when we put her down. She stands up in her crib and starts throwing things out. She hits the sides with her fists and just goes bananas. It is absolutely ridiculous! We have tried it all: read all of the books on nighttime woes, taken all of the advice given, etc. and nothing seems to make this time any easier. I'm ready to throw in the towel and just be content with the "family bed". Unfortunately, DH does not want to do this. He thinks that she doesn't want to sleep alone. I couldn't agree more, but we haven't been able to convince her that she will be fine and that we will be there when she wakes up. We have tried all of the techniques of gradually transitioning her to her bed, but again, it just hasn't worked. I need a freaking miracle. I'm not sure how much more my blood pressure can take. Tonight I found myself praying to God and bargaining somehow for some answers to this dilemma. Maybe it is just our cross to bear.

On a more positive note, dh and Lilli seem to be bonding much better. The last week or so has brought about great strides in the attachment department. I'm grateful. I hate to see the dejected look on dh's face everytime Lilli pushes him away. It is hard on everybody.

OK, I feel better.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Santa and Christmas Photos

Here is a pictorial account of yesterday's festivities. The top picture is of Lilli enjoying opening her gift. The second picture is the sheer terror she felt while sitting on Santa's lap. The third picture is of her protesting having to wear the red dress. What a stinker! You gotta love her sassiness! We don't call her the "Spicy Dragon" for nothing!

Spreading her wings

Lilli gets more comfortable every day. She is blossoming right in front of us and it is absolutely amazing to watch. She still prefers me, but she is getting more and more comfortable with Todd.

Yesterday Lilli and I got up to read the paper and play around until Todd got up. She was kind of a cuddle-bug and sat in my lap while I read the paper. At some point she crawled out of my lap, grabbed her blanket and lay down on the floor. SHE FELL ASLEEP! Some of you may be asking why this is such a big deal--well, I'll tell you. Our biggest obstacles have been with sleeping. Lilli hates to be alone and HATES bedtime. It isn't as bad as it used to be, but we always have to fight with her to get her to lay down. The fact that she felt comfortable enough to lay down on the floor and then to fall asleep, I think this speaks volumes about her comfort level and I really feel like that was a giant step for us. Imagine my surprise when I looked down at her and she was gast asleep! I was ecstatic. It was all I could do to keep from running upstairs and waking up Todd.

We also had our first encounter with Santa Claus yesterday. This didn't go quite as well. She was a bit startled at a Christmas party when Santa burst throught the doors shouting, "Ho, ho, ho," and jingling bells. Her eyes searched the crowd for mine and she started screaming MOMMY!!!!! She ran to me and clung to me for dear life. When her name was called for her gift, I carried her up to Santa but she was having NO part in sitting on his lap. I got her gift and she enjoyed unwrapping it. Later we tried again to get a photo of her on Santa's lap, but no dice Chicago! I'm sure this was all very overwhelming for her.

My mom thinks I'm crazy but I think Lilli has an aversion to the color red. When the orphanage director handed her to me in July, Lilli was all decked out in red. We haven't really put her in anything red since then. Friday night I bought her a Christmas dress, and of course, it is red. I brought it home and pulled it out of the bag to show her. At first she held onto the dress and acted like she really liked it. When we tried it on her, she started screaming and fighting and pulling at the dress. We finally took it off of her and put it in her closet. When we got ready to go to the Christmas party I pulled the dress out of the closet and the hysterics started again. Todd had to distract her to enable me to finish dressing her. She wanted no part of that dress and tried several times to take it off. I can't imagine why she detests the dress so much. It was really cute. The only thing I can think of is the red connection. Again, my mom thinks I'm crazy but I think there is substance to my theory.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Feeling better

I think Lilli is out of the woods. She seems to be feeling better. Her mood has improved tremendously and she is up and playing again.

Things are starting to get easier. I'm realizing what life is REALLY like being a mom and I'm dealing with it. I think my expectations about parenthood were a bit off. Many people get this cute, fuzzy image of how it is to be a mom and it just isn't that way. Yes, there are times when Lilli can melt my heart and I LOVE those time; but, there are also times when she sends my blood pressure through the roof. I think the latter is the part of motherhood that I wasn't prepared for. I don't think anything or anyone can prepare you. Being a mom is all about first-hand, on-the-job training and about being brave enough to not have specific expectations. Everyday is a new experience and what worked yesterday may not work today. It is absolutely amazing in so many ways.

I'm done preaching. Lilli starts her therapy tomorrow. She is beginning with Developmental Therapy and we were just notified that they have a Speech Pathologist for us. We are thrilled because she is still not talking. We have noticed that she is making several different and new noises, but nothing with consistency or anything that is understandable. She has called me "mommy" 3-4 times in the last few weeks, but the "eee" sound is a new one for her and she's using it a lot. I will be glad when she can communicate with us and there isn't all of this yelling, grunting, screaming, etc. to get her needs met.

Bedtime is still problematic. She doesn't like to be alone. I hate putting her in her room by herself. I'm sure she senses this. Todd is now the bedtime man; I'm bath time girl: we are a team! For some reason Todd can put her in crib without so much as a peep. I get wild hysteria when I lay her down. Again, I think she can sense my hesitation. I can't help it. I love sleeping next to her. She is quite the cuddle-bug and the sweetest thing in the morning. It has been two months since we started putting her in her crib and it isn't much better than when we started. There has to be a better way.

Well, I'm being booted off the computer. I've got some cute pix to post which I will do later.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sick little peanut

Lilli is sick. I took her to the doctor today and she has pneumonia. I couldn't believe it. So, she is taking some hefty antibiotics and is supposed to get lots of rest and fluids. She has been running a fever off and on since Monday. I figured it was just a cold or something and gave her some Tylenol. Then, when she stopped eating I knew something was wrong. Being sick has made her a Cranky Crabcake. Nothing appeases the dragon and everything ticks her off! Mama said there'd be days like this!

Lilli had her hearing test on Wednesday and everything is fine. She has no hearing loss so that is not contributing to the fact that she isn't talking. Her vision is also good and she will not have to have surgery on her eyelids. We went to the eye doctor on Tuesday and he feels that she will grow out of the eyelid thing. Her bottom eye lids roll over into her eyes and the lashes lay against the eyeball. Sometimes this causes irritation, but in Lilli's case it doesn't seem to be causing a problem. In fact, Todd and I both feel it has improved since we've been home. We have to go back to this doctor in six months for a review but I think all will be well.

I go back to work in a few weeks. I still haven't made any childcare decisions. I know she will be fine and I will be fine, but I am having a problem with the thought of someone else being with her for most of the day. It just doesn't seem right.

I went to school yesterday for the first time in a few months and met one of my classes. It felt surreal walking into my classroom. The kids seemed so much bigger than I remember. I'm sure that has to do with me seeing Lilli all the time. I was able to interact with that class a bit and it felt good. I have certainly missed being around 9th graders.

Alrighty, I'm babbling and don't have anything interesting to say. Until next time . . .

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home at last

We are finally home from our LAST trip of the year. I will not be going anywhere else unless someone calls me and tells me I have won a cruise or something. I'm so ready to be in my house in my bed and Lilli is, too. We have had a great time, but our routines are all askew and there is much to be taken care of here at home.

Nothing much to report. Everyone here is doing well. I put Lilli to bed tonight (fully asleep) and she didn't cry or anything. It was heaven. The last couple of nights have been trying to say the least. Being in a strange place is very hard on her. It probably wasn't the wisest of decisions to make all of these trips so close together. I think her attachment to Todd has suffered as well as her progression with the English language. Having some down time for the next several weeks will give us the opportunity to get back to work on the above topics.

I start back to work in January. I'm trying to figure out how I will get myself ready and get Lilli ready in the morning and still make it to school on time. As soon as I find childcare we will practice our morning several times to get us used to the routine. Hopefully when the real day comes we will be quasi-prepared. I know nothing can prepare me for leaving her that first day "for real", but it was going to happen sooner or later. I still have 5 weeks so I'm not going to dwell too much.

Well, I'm going to go watch Desperate Housewives.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Travel update

I promise I will write more tomorrow, but I just had to share what an awesome weekend we had in Birmingham and New Orleans. The baptism went well and our visit with the other "Spice Girl" was such fun! I will post a few pics and then write more in the morning. I've got to get to bed soon because the spicy dragon will be up before you know it!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Travelin' fools

Well, we took another trip and Lilli did really well. This trip was 3 hours long and we only stopped once for her. She did exceptionally well. The real test is Thursday when we travel to New Orleans for our nephew's baptism. We are excited about stopping in Birmingham to visit some of our travel-mates. It will also chop the trip in half (more or less) so Lilli won't have to be in a carseat for 12 hours. I am NOT looking forward to those 12 hours at all. I know it will be fine, but I am still dreading it.

We visited Lilli's Godparents this weekend in Northern IN. It was a great weekend. Their kids are 4 and 2 and Lilli played very well with both kids--most of the time. Their daughter liked Lilli as long as she wasn't touching the toys she was playing with. Their son and Lilli are cut from the same cloth. They are both aggressive kids who don't take crap from anyone. There were a couple of times when hitting, scratching, and throwing toys happened, but nobody has any bruises. I have to laugh when those two are together. They are a hoot to watch!

Nothing much else to report. Lilli is on antibiotics for a sinus infection. I probably need to be on them as well. This cold we have been passing back and forth is a doozie! We just can't shake it. I've disinfected every inch of the house, but it doesn't seem to be making a difference. I can't complain because this is the first illness we have experienced with her since we've been home from China. She still has the same attitude and the sniffles don't seem to be wearing her down.

Hopefully I will get to post again before Turkey Day! Hope everyone is well!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's official--we're parents

I think we had a rite of passage this evening. We were finally initiated into the "Brown Log" Club in the bathtub. Something new is always happening here!
I posted a few more pics of Lilli Halloween night. She had a blue sucker that kept her busy the entire night. It also created a HUGE blue stain on her face. Too cute!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

As promised . . .

You can tell Lilli wasn't very happy about being in a costume. She especially didn't like the headpiece. She looked too cute, though! The second picture is the only one we got of her smiling last night. The top picture is of her eating a sucker. She was fine with the whole costume thing once she had candy!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Lilli's 1st Halloween

We took Lilli out trick-or-treating tonight at a local festival. She is too young to really understand what is going on, but of course we had to take her out for her first Halloween. Dressing her up in a costume was really for Todd and I to enjoy and take pictures. She would have been much happier in a onesie and sweats! She didn't care for the headpiece on the costume too much. We only got one picture where she is smiling. You wouldn't believe the show we were putting on behing the camera to get that picture! The things parents will do!

Tomorrow night we are doing the "real" trick-or-treating with my sil and some family friends. We are going to have chili and hot dogs and take the kids around her neighborhood. It is supposed to rain tomorrow so we'll see what happens.

This weekend my mom and dad kept Lilli overnight. It was a glorious 24 hours! I felt like a horrible mom because I wasn't ready to go pick her up! I was really enjoying my free time. We used the time to babyproof the crap out of the kitchen and to clean up the house a bit. I'm amazed at how quickly the house gets messy. I've said this before, but no one can prepare you for the amount of work that comes with having children.

We went to the zoo today because the weather was so nice. The gorillas were extremely active and a hoot to watch. We spent a lot of time at that exhibit. One of the gorillas came up to the window and looked at Lilli. She just stood there looking. I wish I knew what she was thinking.

I will post some new pix of Lilli in her Halloween costume.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

3 months today!

Today marks three months home with Lilli. Just wanted to share!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New pics of Lilli

Here are a few new pics of Lilli. She is quite a ham and has such a cute personality. I have to say it, she is amazing.
Right now she is obsessed with her belly button. When we ask her where her nose is, she lifts up her shirt and starts giggling. She used to actually point to her nose. Of course, when she lifts up her shirt, we have to zerbert her belly. More giggles ensue and I'm sure we're only reinforcing the behavior. I can't help it: it is just too cute.
Today at the playland in the mall she went down the slide by herself. Last week she needed/wanted my help. As soon as we entered the mall she started squealing with delight because she knew why we were there. What a goofball. It was all I could do to remove her shoes and socks because she was bouncing up and down so much.
We are getting our furnace replaced in a few hours. It died on us this week. We can't complain because it is the original furnace and this house was built in 1970. Our furnace was made by Chrysler! The HVAC person informed me that Chrysler doesn't even make furnances anymore. We were also told that our current furnace is emitting carbon monoxide which is a little scary. They asked me if we had been having more headaches than usual. I took this as a sign that the situation was extreme and immediate action needed to be taken to have the furnace replaced. It just isn't safe for any of us!
Well, I'm having one of those sleepless nights. It is 5:11 A.M. and we have been awakened several times by the dogs barking. Our neighbor's dog was barking incessantly and of course our two knuckleheads had to chime in. As a result, Lilli awakened screaming. I'm sure it scared her. Heck, it scared me a little. Our neighbor's dog is never outside at night. I wondered if everything was OK across the street. It is unusual for their dog to be out at night. Anyway, I should end and try to go back to bed. The hamlet will be waking up soon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Every day a new adventure

It seems like every time I attempt to post pics, the blog is updating or our connection is going through maintenance. I'll try again later. As for now, things seem to be going well. Lilli is sleeping better and she isn't crying as long when I put her in her crib. I was a bit envious last night at my sil's house when she put her son to bed. She put on his PJ's, put him in the crib, turned off the light, and closed the door. Not a peep was heard from him. I told Lilli that that is how bedtime should go. I don't think she understood, though! Ha! I'll be glad when bedtime isn't such a big deal, and it may never get to that point. We are 2 1/2 weeks into "Operation Crib Sleep" and while there is significant improvement, it is still trying on my nerves.

I picked up the last item for Lilli's Halloween costume. She is going to be a ladybug, courtesy of my sil (another hand-me-down). I'm going to make some additions to the headpiece (nothing permanent) and hopefully it will work. We tried the costume on her the other night and it was too cute. She loved the headpiece and wanted to wear it all evening. I'll have to post pics once Halloween is here.

Well, nothing more to report. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The beauty of technology

I am constantly being reminded that my blog is an open forum to the world. I works great for me because all of my family lives out of state. This week I visited my grandmother in south KY to show Lilli off because she hadn't seen her yet. In addition to my grandmother, my three great-aunts and a great-uncle were able to see her for the first time. What was awesome is that one of my great aunts had been keeping up with Lilli's progress from this blog. She was so glad that she had been able to see pictures of Lilli and hear about how she is doing. It was nice to have that reminder of why I blog: I use it to keep in touch with my extended family and friends who I don't see that often.

The other great thing about the blog is that it keeps me connected to the adoption community. I have received so many e-mails from people all over the country and the world who appreciate my honesty in becoming a parent of an adopted child. My world has really been opened up because of this blog! So, why am I rattling on about this? I just wanted to thank everyone who continues to read my blog and who is supportive of what I am doing. It is awesome to know that so many people enjoy what I write about our trials and tribulations of parenthood and who enjoy watching our Lilli-Lou grow.

With that said, and my emotional state returned, Lilli continues to do well. She did really well on our trip to KY. It is normally about a 2 and 1/2 hour car ride, but with Lilli, it took 4 hours. We left at nap-time so she slept for about an hour. When she woke up, she was ready to get out of the car and run around. We stopped only once on the way back to eat lunch and she did fine. I think the biggest trick to traveling with her is that someone has to sit in back seat to entertain. We are going to New Orleans in a few weeks so I'm glad we have taken some mini-trips to get her used to the long car rides.

Other than that, she is still teething. She now has two HUGE molars and is getting her I-teeth on the bottom. Both. At the same time. She can be a real bear, but most of the time she has been in a great mood. She's amazing!

I'm going to download some more pics from this week at my g-ma's and at the zoo.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

In to Everything!

I guess it is her age, but Lilli is in to everything! She goes a thousand miles a minute and changes gears just as quickly. I just wish she were more interested in her toys and less interested in other things.

Tonight she sat and listened to me read Goodnight Moon 4 times! I was ecstatic. I want her to enjoy the art of reading and not hate it like so many other kids. Up until now she hasn't really shown much interest in hearing a story and would throw the book rather than listen to me read. And, not to brag, but I am a great reader and I am quite theatrical when it comes to reading kids books. After Goodnight Moon, we read Barnyard Banter and she sat still for that one, too. I knew she was losing interest when she started getting all of her books off the shelf and tossed them on the ground.

I think Lilli is really picking up the language. She understands what we say most of the time. She is good about pointing at what she wants and trying to communicate with us. It gets better everyday. She has one word that we aren't sure of. It sounds like no, but we think she is saying mine. The body language that accompanies this word is more indicative of mine than no. I've been working on a few simple signs with her to help with communication. I'm not trying to beat it in her head but hopefully the repitition will help her learn. She knows the sign for eat and for finished. I am working on drink and thank you. We also have a few other gestures that we make here at the house that she understands. It can be taxing, but the signing, pointing, etc. are helping us communicate with her.

I'm off to read. I just finished a good book. It is called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and is a memoir of her life growing up. It was a very quick and easy read and quite unbelievable at times.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cat Scratch Fever

Lilli definitely has this illness. She is always scratching. Today, much to my dismay, she scratched her cousin hard and drew blood. I felt HORRIBLE! I got really upset and kind of froze. I didn't know what to do. It was an extremely uncomfortable situation. My sil was GREAT about it and said that these things happen. That is nice and all, but I still feel so responsible. My bil said that the kids are going to have a lot more scratches, black eyes, etc. between them as they get older. He is totally right, and I appreciated them being so nice about the whole thing.

I just put Lilli to bed and she cried for a few minutes. If I am not mistaken, she is asleep right now. She can be really sweet and then the next minute she is a devil. Tonight she was sitting with me on the floor playing with Legos and she reaches over and gives me a kiss on the arm. I absolutely melt when she is like that. Then, not ten minutes later, I catch her on top of the kitchen table literally hanging from the chandelier. My dad says she is a regular 19 mo. old kid. My mom delights in our trials and tribulations. I'm just flabbergasted. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of work kids are and they don't come with instruction manuals. Just when I think I am getting the hang of this mother thing, Lilli does something that throws me for a loop. This is completely uncharted waters and being a control freak doesn't make things any easier.

Well, I must go downstairs and straighten up the house. That is another thing; our house used to always be neat and tidy. Now it looks like Fisher-Price came over and threw up in the living room! I'm looking forward to the day when we move into a house where we can have a playroom for toys and for little people to play.

I'm off to have a glass of wine.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Magic Touch

Todd apparently has it. He can put Lilli to bed without a fuss. I, on the other hand, send her into hysterics whenever I place her in the crib. Sooooo, my job will be to give her a bath and Todd's job will be to put her to bed. Great plan until tomorrow night when Todd is working late. Guess Lilli will be staying up late! Ha!

We have some major molars coming in. She has one completely in and another one is crowning. I know that is contributing to her crabbiness.

Lilli's hair is finally starting to grow. It is probably 1-2 inches long on the top. I have some bows to put in her hair, but she yanks them out. I know her hair is going to be thin, but I think it is going to be coarse as well which should give it a little volume. I'm just dying to French braid her hair! If she's anything like I was, she won't let ANYONE touch her hair! My grandmother's only wish was to fix my hair and I absolutely refused to let her touch my head. The only person who could fix my hair was my mom. I remember when my mom was in the hospital having my younger brother and my dad attempted to fix my hair. I was so mad and I threw a HUGE tantrum. He tried to put a barrette in my hair and I can remember ripping it out and telling him he was doing it wrong! I was 4 1/2 years old and quite independent. I did not like my routine being messed with. Anyway, I just wonder how she will be.

I packed away all of Lilli's 12 month summer clothes. I was kind of nostalgic as I packed away the "man" dress and all of her rompers. I thought to myself that she will never wear any of those clothes again. It was a bittersweet moment. I pulled out any 18 month top I could find (18 mo. pants are still too big for her) and tried to sort through all of the MOUNTAINS of clothes my sil has given me. It is ridiculous the amount of clothing my niece had and has. My bil made a joke the other day when I was complementing them on a sweater my niece was wearing. He said, "Glad you like it. It'll be yours next year!" Too funny.

I was able to get down to my workshop this week for the first time in several months. I hadn't soldered glass in a long time and it felt good. Tonight I got to do some painting. I have missed my arts and crafts!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Drive me to drinkin'

I'm serious. The crib-sleeping issue is making me crazy. It hasn't been all bad, but the rough nights far outweigh the easy nights. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, we are at a 6. In my world that equals a D-, or the lowest possible passing grade. We are certainly making progress but I didn't expect it to take this looooooooong. Aren't kids just supposed to naturally sleep in cribs? Doesn't God tell them about that before he sends them from Heaven? I can't believe what a rookie I am at this! I had planned a perfect schedule of achieving this goal and by my calculations, we are about 3 nights behind. I think I read somewhere that the screaming should last three nights. We are on night #6. And lets talk about nap time--just as bad. I put her in the crib at 1:00. I always tell her that it is naptime and that she is going to sleep in Lilli's crib, or her crib. Today she started shaking her head no and pouting. As soon as I put her in the crib, the screaming commenced. She only screamed for about 10 minutes and then started playing. She would peek up over the bumper pads to see if I was watching her and quickly lower her head when she saw that I was watching. We played this game for a little while. Then she decided to stand up and try to climb out using the bumper pads as stepping stools. What a stinker! I had to repeatedly tell her to lay down or put her head down. I was getting extremely frustrated and I'm sure she sensed this. This went on until 1:30 and then I couldn't take it anymore. I walked out of her room and closed the door. MAJOR screaming started then. Top-of-her-lungs screaming. Pure insanity. She was hitting the crib and jumping around. I think she added about 100 more gray hairs to my head this afternoon. FINALLY, at 2:00 she was asleep. Now, surprisingly enough, I think this is a HUGE step. She has never worn herself out crying in the crib. I felt much better after it was all over and think this "test" ended on a positive note. This is exactly what we have been working toward. Again, I just wish there were some way to rationalize the crib to her. It would make things so much easier.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Operation Sleeping in Crib

Well, we are off to a rocky, but not altogether unsuccessful start to getting Lilli to sleep in her crib. First I want to thank everyone who has called or e-mailed their words of encouragement to me. It has made such a difference in my confidence level that I am doing the right thing.

On Friday night, I rocked Lilli to sleep and placed her in the crib. She didn't stir, which is unusual. She awoke at midnight and screamed for an hour and a half. I went in every 10 minutes or so and laid her back down in the crib and told her it was bedtime and time to go to sleep. She would stand right back up and commence the screaming. At 1:30 A.M. I decided to make a "bed" on the floor and sleep in the room with her. This worked until 5:30 A.M. and then I brought her onto the floor with me. Between 1:30 and 5:30 she woke up every hour and stayed up for 10 minutes or so. After I put her on the floor, we slept until 8:00 A.M. and then we were up for the day. She was in a surprisingly good mood. My biggest fear was that she was going to hate me in the morning for torturing her all night.

Saturday night went a bit differently. I decided that rocking her to sleep was counterproductive to what we had already accomplished. I had stopped rocking her to sleep and felt that I shouldn't start it back up. So, we went to Target and purchased an inflatable mattress and set it up in her room. At bed time I placed her in her crib and laid down on the mattress. She screamed, standing up, for about 10 minutes and then laid down and went to sleep. She slept there until 3:45 A.M. and then she came down on the mattress with me. During her nap today, I did the same thing except that she slept in her crib for her entire nap.

I am getting ready to begin the nightly scream fest. I'll update more later!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I forgot to mention . . .

We had Lilli's 18 month check-up yesterday and she walked away with flying colors! She now weighs 20 lbs and 12.5 oz, up 4 ounces from her last appointment. She has grown an inch and is now 30.5 inches tall. (For those who care, she only needs to grow 33 more inches to catch up with me!) The best news is that the anemia is OLD news! Her iron level was in the normal range at 12.5 (don't ask me what this means.) She had been an 8 which I guess is pretty low. Anyway, everything went well and she is all vaccinated and good to go until she is 2 years old.

Friday is the day

We have decided that Friday is the day we put Lilli in her crib and let her cry it out. Sleeping has become very difficult. She has gotten up twice in the past two weeks in the middle of the night wanting to play. She has also found herself on the floor a time or two. I know this isn't going to be easy, but it has to be done. I told our pediatrician about it and she was supportive. She gave us some suggestions on what to do. We are debating on whether or not one of us is going to sleep on the floor in her room for a few nights OR if we are just gonna go for it. Todd says he believes in "ripping off the bandaid at one time." I think I subscribe to that philosophy as well. Lilli is so stubborn and I think if we give an inch, she will take a mile. I just wish there were some way to rationalize all of this to her: AKA an easy way out!

I am taking her to a place called Henry's Ark in the morning. It is a petting zoo. Lilli loves animals and I've wanted to check this place out so I think this is a win-win situation. If I'm not mistaken I think this zoo harbors animals that have been abandoned, neglected, and possibly abused. I don't think there are any exotic animals; mostly just cows, goats, and normal farm animals. The best thing about this zoo is that it is free. They do ask for donations and of course I will give one. I am a lover of animals!

We took her to feed the ducks at the park today. Our park has black swans that have no fear. They were nipping at my shoes as I was trying to shake the last of the bread crumbs out of my bag. Lilli loves it. She thinks the quacking and fluttering chaos is hilarious. She is always trying to pet them. I have to watch her around those black swans, however. They can be aggressive!

We went to the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Saturday night. My mil accompanied us. It was at a farm that has buffalos and other farm animals. They even had some kangaroos and wallabys. We got to pet the wallaby. It was a nice evening. I thought Lilli would fall asleep on the way home but she SCREAMED the entire way and it took us about 40 minutes. My mil was great and kept singing to her and trying to distract her. Nothing worked. She stopped crying not long after we dropped my mil off at her house and then she was fine. When I got her home she had dirtied her diaper but I can't imagine that that would upset her so much. The only thing I can think of is that she ate a dessert-size plate full of green beans and maybe it upset her tummy. Who knows. Maybe she just needed to scream for awhile!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Every night I say I'll update the blog tomorrow. I guess we know where that has gotten me! It has been several days since my last post. We made it home from Georgia in one piece. Lilli did OK on the way home. She got really mad when we hit the KY state line. Thank goodness she worked herself up and wore herself out. She slept for the last hour and half of the trip. The only draw back to that was it was 5:45 P.M. We got home around 7:00 P.M. She didn't stay up too late. I think she was asleep by 10:30 and didn't move a muscle until 8:00 the next morning. All in all I'm glad we made the trip. We are planning a New Orleans trip for sometime in November and I know she will do fine! It just takes a little bit of entertaining and knowing when we have HAVE to stop.

Nothing else much is going on. She has a molar that is all the way in and about four other teeth poking their angry heads through her gums. I can't believe what a good mood she is in despite all of that! She has been a bit clingy, but can you blame her?

The weather here is starting to cool off and I have to concentrate on finding fall clothes for the peewee. She is definitely wearing 18 mos on top, but she has no behind so she is still wearing 12 mos on the bottom. It makes buying coordinated outfits a bit challenging. Thank goodness for Target and their fleece separates!

On the sleep front, I am reading a book that is giving me lots of good info on how to get Lilli in her own bed. I am no longer rocking her to sleep, but I still must be beside her for her to get to sleep. I am thinking of sitting in the rocker in the room while she falls asleep and gradually moving out of the room. Then I think I will try the crib again. Stopping the rocking has made a huge difference in my stress level at bed time. I feel like we are making progress!

I'm off to have lunch with my sil. I'll post more pics soon!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hello from GA!!!!!!!!!!!

We made it to Georgia in one piece and Lilli did awesome! She cried for 5 minutes tops through the entire trip. It did take us quite a while to get here because we stopped to let Lilli play. My parents were a great help and ran around with her at a rest area and in a McDonald's playland. She slept for 2 hours which was a relief because I was afraid she would sleep the entire trip and never fall asleep the first night. Everything went extremely well!

Lilli is having a ball playing with her cousins. My nephew, Alex, is 7 years old; my niece, Emily, is 4 years old; and my other nephew, David, is 2 years old. Alex and Emily are CRAZY about Lilli. David isn't as thrilled with Lilli because she is stealing some of his thunder. He used to be the youngest and got all of the baby attention. Now he's got some competition!

Yesterday we went to a playgroup so the kids could play. They all had a good time. Lilli was a hit and the older little girls were all over her.

Today we are going to do some shopping. I'm hoping to find some shoes for the peewee. Her feet are so tiny!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

At 8:30 P.M.

Lilli was fast asleep! Yippee-skippee. We are working our way down. Next, she is going to sleep in her own bed. She decided at 1:30 in the morning that it was time to play and began using me as her personal jungle-gym. I don't need any more convincing that she needs to be in her bed. She woke me up several times last night and mommy isn't too happy when she is awakened prematurely.

The latest conundrum is discipline. Lilli is constantly getting into things she shouldn't and doing things she shouldn't. I feel like the word I say to her most is NO. A close second is STOP. Today I swatted her hand because she wouldn't stop scratching the leather furniture. She scratches the furniture and just looks at me. What do I do? I'm afraid that if I scold her too much that I will erase the bonding that we have already established.

Being an adoptive parent is tough. There are so many uncharted territories that "regular" parents just can't relate to. I also think that I am my own worst enemy sometimes. I think I did just enough research on parenting adopted children to be aware, but not enough research to know what to do. Am I making sense? I guess tonight I am just frustrated.

OK, then, I'm off to pack for our road trip.

Vegetable soup anyone?

This is what happens when mommy or daddy (usually daddy--ha) leaves the bathroom door open. Lilli is fascinated with the toilet and loves to play in it. Of course we don't let her! These are items from her play grocery store. Yesterday I caught her giving the play food to Boomer and of course Boomer loves to chew on anything! She and Boomer have become fast buddies. Boomer likes her because she gives him food; she likes Boomer because he will let her do anything to him. Labs are great family dogs!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another day

We went to the zoo today. I love our zoo. It is a great place to go for the afternoon/morning. I love that we live so close to it and I love that Lilli likes animals. She had a ball in the petting zoo and squealed with delight when we came upon the hippos. I love that she has absolutely no fear when it comes to animals. I take that back; she is reserved, but still curious and will at least check things out from afar. I'm glad she doesn't scream and recoil in fear. (ASIDE--Have you noticed that I write mostly in compound sentence?) Anyway, we only spent about two hours at the zoo today. We met another family with a Chinese baby and had a lovely conversation with them. Their little girl was 21 months old and Lilli and I had "hair envy". We are SO ready for pigtails and ribbons!

Lilli fell asleep in the car on the way home from the zoo. I carried her upstairs and had the bright idea to put her in her crib. HUGE MISTAKE! She immediately opened her eyes when I laid her down and started screaming. I did get her to go back to sleep for a split second but when I tried to put her down in our bed, it was the same scenario. I am ready for the bedtime woes to end! I can't wait for the new book to come in. Hopefully it will give us some tips and point us in the right direction. I can't take much more of this! The afternoon ended up with me putting her in her crib to scream for 10 minutes just so I could catch a breath of sanity. Then I tried rocking her for another 45 minutes only to put her down in disgust. She was NOT going back to sleep. Of course, I cried in frustration as I usually do. I feel like such a failure when I can't get her to sleep. I guess that is normal.

Well, I'm off to try to put the big girl to bed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A few more pics

More falling asleep while eating. This picture was taken the same day. The second photo is of Lilli and the cat sleeping together. Jake likes to sleep on my pillow at night and he and Lilli had intertwined leg and arm and were cuddled up sleeping. It was too cute. Todd wasn't very happy but I think it's sweet.

What do I do with myself?

I have the rest of the night to myself! I don't know what to do!!! Yes, I do, I'll post pictures to my blog! BTW--Robin, when you are in town next we will take the kids over the park. Bella will love it! X and Lilli are still a bit small, but they have a jungle-gym that is just their size.

Here are some new pics of the Lilliputian . . .

Pic #1 Our daily yogurt fest.

Pic # 2 Lilli in her traditional Chinese outfit. We were trying to decide which dress she was going to wear for pictures.

Pic #3 Lilli falling asleep at the restaurant.

Somethin' to blog about

There hasn't been much to blog about lately. I know my fans have been disappointed. As I'm typing this I am drinking strawberry milk. I have discovered Nestle Quik and intend to use it liberally. Lilli really enjoys it and I can't remember the last time milk tasted so darn good! I've always been a milk drinker, but this takes the white stuff to a new level. I'm ecstatic that Lilli will finally drink milk.

We are starting our bedtime crusade. I am slowly bringing bedtime back to an acceptable hour. I would like for Lilli to go to bed at 8:00 P.M. at the latest. Currently, she is going down at 8:45 which is down 15 minutes from 9:00. I am creeping back in 15 minute increments every couple of nights. I'm surprised at how easily she went down tonight. I have also been giving her warm milk to help her get to sleep.

We have been doing more research on the crib sleeping. One of the ladies at the playgroup suggested a book to me and I ordered it last night. It is called Sleeping Through the Night and apparently gives you a schedule on how to put your kids to sleep at night. I'm excited about this book and about getting Lilli out of our bed. In other respects, it is a little sad. She is always in such a good mood when she wakes up. She wakes me up by singing, jumping on me, etc. Sounds annoying but she is a little ray of sunshine when she is doing something silly. I will miss these times that we have shared. I know it is for the best and she will be a much more secure little girl when she can self-soothe and sleep on her own. I really think she is ready for it.

I really miss going to bed and reading for an hour.

I picked up Lilli's first professional photos tonight. It was pouring down rain and I quickly discovered that she likes to stomp around in puddles. She giggled and cackled all the way back to the car. She thinks the umbrella is a toy that turns the water on and off. I swear, she is so cute!

We had a bit of a mishap with one of the dogs today. I LOVE my dogs and anyone who knows me knows that if I had to choose between my dogs and my husband, Todd loses. Anyway, we were carrying in the groceries and our bulldog, Sherman, comes outside. I guess in all of the commotion of the two of us carrying in groceries and trying to keep Lilli inside, we forgot about Sherman. It was probably half an hour before we realized that he was not inside. I went to feed the dogs and Sherman didn't come to his bowl. I looked around for him and couldn't find him. I shouted for Todd to see if he could find Sherman. That is when Todd realized that we had left him outside. I was devastated! I couldn't believe I had forgotten him outside. I rushed outside and luckily he was waiting by the door. I don't know what I would have done had he wandered off. Close call. Of course, the rest of the night we have been treating Sherman like royalty.

I'm going to finish my strawberry milk.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Our first playgroup

Lilli is amazing. Just when I think she couldn't get any cuter, she does something that steals my heart. Today we went to our first Panda Playgroup. This is a playgroup for an organization we belong to called Families with Children from China, or FCC. It was held at Waterfront Park which is an awesome place to take kids. If you live locally and haven't been to the park you really should go. It is very nice and has LOTS of playground equipment for all ages. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and Lilli got to play with other Chinese kids. After playing for several hours we went to lunch at the new Tumbleweed on the river. Lilli was so exhausted that she fell asleep while eating. I'll post those pictures soon!

Nothing much else to report. I am taking Lilli to Georgia to visit my brother on Thursday. I'm curious about how she will travel. I haven't had her in a car for longer than 30-40 minutes. This will be between 7-8 hours. I'm sure it will take us that long because we will have to stop and let her play around. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

We survived!

The overnighter went fine. Lilli was extremely happy to see me but she was mad at me for the rest of the day. We are cool now. Today I took her to childcare at Jazzercise. She did fine there too. I'm glad I took that time for myself. We have had such a great day today.

Her latest thing is throwing things in the trash can (thanks mom). We have a stainless steel trash can with a swivel top which she has discovered. Ive gotten on her several times about throwing things in it, but she still delights in watching her toys go in. It is cute to watch and I hate getting upset with her but she is going to end up throwing something good away!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

First slumber party

Right now the Lilliputian is staying the night with my mother. I don't know how I feel about this. Yes I do: I'm conflicted. Of course I want her to have a great relationship with my parents and Todd's mom, but I am not sure she is ready for overnighters. My mom and dad assured me (after the 5th or 6th phone call) that everything was going fine and that they would not let her be unhappy. Apparently she is doing so well that she went to sleep in their crib. This bothers me, too, because I wonder what I am doing wrong. Why won't she sleep in her crib here? This is silly, but my biggest fear is that I am going to pick her up in a few hours and she won't want to come to me. My mom is great mom and she has a way with kids. I'm sure she is doing everything better. Lilli will probably look at me and start crying! She will probably be thinking, please don't send me back to the rookie house! Ack! I don't know if I'm going to be able to handle this! Todd assures me that I am being silly, but I just have this feeling that the overnight trip might set her back in bonding. Maybe it's just me?! On the flip side, it was great to have a few hours to myself. I gave myself a home pedicure and had some wine. I've got a stack of magazines 12 inches high and was going to read the night away (party animal). My sil, Angela, called and asked me to the movies. I decided to go and had a ball. Angela is a helluva story teller and can have me laughing like nobody else. She told the funniest stories on the way to the theater. We saw Little Miss Sunshine. It was really funny and heartwarming (Robin, Eric--it was no Boys on the Side but I still wouldn't recommend it to you guys!) Now it's early morning and I'm ready for my daughter to come home; it just doesn't feel right here without her.

Friday, September 08, 2006


I think sugar has an adverse affect on Lilli. Yesterday was my dad's birthday and of course we had cake (cupcakes to be exact.) I had a suspicion before that sugar was an enemy. Two other difficult nights she had eaten ice cream and another night she had frosted animal crackers. Well, even though I scraped off the majority of the icing from her cupcake, last night was EXTREMELY TRYING!!!!!! So, I've come to the conclusion that Lilli cannot have sugar after supper time. We rocked her for over an hour and half and she would NOT close her eyes. She had more fight in her than usual and I think it was the sugar talking. The evening ended up with me in tears, Lilli screaming, and Todd extremely frustrated. He was finally able to get her to nod off thank goodness! Lord knows I wasn't having any luck and I was D-O-N-E trying!

I used the aspirator (booger sucker) for the first time yesterday. I didn't know you were supposed to squeeze the air out of it before placing it in your child's nose. Let's just say that I probably knocked all of the dust out of Lilli's brain. She looked at me with a quizzical look and burst into tears. I felt so bad.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Blueberry Buckle

I LOVE BLUEBERRY BUCKLE! This is the best baby food I have ever eaten! If you haven't tried it, you simply must. It is fantastic. Lilli doesn't like it so I buy it for myself. It is a great dessert and you really feel like you are eating blueberry pie (minus the crust which I don't like anyway).

Nothing new to report except that I think Lilli has said her first official word. I was hoping it would be mama or dada or something along those lines. Nope, our angel said, "Moomer." She said it with a stern voice and pointed to our chocolate lab. His name is Boomer. She did it several times. I guess I gotta watch how I say things to the dogs. Her next word will probably be "Merman," for our bulldog Sherman.

Time for a nap!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

We're drinking milk

Warm milk is a hit! I have given it to her the last two nights and she has really taken to it. I'm sure I tried this earlier in the game, but for some reason the time was right. And, the last two nights have been easy putting her down. Now she is a crank-butt when she gets up in the morning--the little stinker!

This has never happened

Today something happened that shocked me. Lilli ate lunch as usual except she ate extremely fast. She basically inhaled her lunch. I went to the kitchen sink to get a drink and when I turned back around, she had drifted off to sleep. I was afraid that the sugar-free Kool-Aid had caused her to go into a deep slumber. I got her out of the highchair and carried her upstairs. She roused for a moment and then drifted off to a deep sleep where she slept for 3 1/2 hours! I couldn't believe it. Like I've said before, everyday is new experience.

More later.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bedtime is still a nightmare

The past two nights have been absolutely horrible. Lilli gets tired and then fights, fights, fights going to sleep. We have been putting her to bed around 9:00 and it seemed to be working out. Tonight I'm at my wits end. I had to leave her screaming or I was going to blow a gasket. This is completely miserable. It has been taking over an hour to get her to bed the last couple of nights. I can't believe this is normal!? I don't want to give her Benadryl, but at this point I'm willing to try drugs. The biggest problem is that only I can put her to bed. Todd still isn't able to do much with her. I am longing for the time when I can say, "Bed time!" and when I lay her down in her crib for the night she goes off to sleep. Does this happen? I'm just so completely frustrated right now. I'm so glad the blog allows me an opportunity to vent some of my aggravation. She has been so cute today and enjoyable. I'm trying to focus on that but I am tired as well and would like to retire for the evening. Do I sound like a big baby? If it takes longer than 10-15 minutes I can feel myself getting frustrated. Then I get this sick feeling in my stomach and I become more agitated by the second. Oh boy!

On another topic, we had her doctor's appt on Friday. Lilli weighed 20 lbs and 7 1/2 ounces. We were pretty excited. She gained 1 1/2 lbs. She got two shots and they took some blood. This time they only pricked her finger and she was fascinated by this whole process. She watched intently as the nurse squeezed drop after drop of blood out of her finger.

Alrighty, I think my blood pressure has leveled off a bit. I'm going to jump back into the war zone aka the bedroom!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Meerkat update

The meerkat is a member of the mongoose family. I stand corrected.

Another day

We've almost survived another week. Tomorrow is FRIDAY! I don't look forward to the weekends as much as I used to. Lilli and I are getting into such a routine during the week that the weekends seem like a P-I-T-A. (That was for you Angela!) The only nice thing about the weekend is that we usually have lots going on and get to spend time with the fam.

I took Lilli and had her picture taken today. She was dressed in her ice cream dress (thanks Angela!) and then we had her picture taken in a traditional Chinese outfit. Of course I went overboard with purchasing the pics. Lilli was such a wiggle-worm that I wasn't sure any of the photos would turn out. They were great, however, and I should have plenty to give to the fam.

Tomorrow we have her 1-month evaluation at the pediatrician's office. I wonder how painful this visit will be for her? Her bloodwork last month showed that she was anemic. We've been working hard on this one so hopefully it has resolved itself. I don't really know much about anemia.

Nothing much else to report. We are still working on the bed vs. crib issue. The longest she will sleep in her crib is about 2 hours. Sometimes I can rock her back to sleep and she will sleep for another hour or so but that is about it. I'm sure this will resolve in time so I'm not super worried. Each night gets a little easier and better. If she is sound asleep she will lay down in her crib with no problem. Our problem is that she doesn't stay asleep and she can't self-soothe. We have tried blankets, pacifiers, stuffed animals, what ever you can think of. This may still be a bonding thing. From time to time she will self-soothe with a blanket while in the crib. Most times, though, she wakes up screaming.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New pics of the Lilliputian

Here are some new photos of Lilli. She is quite a ham! The top photo is from last night at the ice cream shop. She thought she was big stuff because she was drinking water from a cup. Of cours she spilled it all over herself! People must have thought we were strange snapping pics while eating ice cream!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The importance of routine . . .

Post #102--still waiting for my prize . . .

We have had a very busy weekend. Poor Lilli is all screwed up. She missed her regularly scheduled nap today and when she finally did fall asleep, I had to wake her up about an hour and a half into it. She was NOT a happy camper. So I've made a decision that the hours between 1:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. are sacred hours. We shall call them our Chinese Siesta hours. Anyway, she desperately needs to have that rest during those hours or she is a bear! We have done so much running around this weekend and it has definitely taken its toll on her. I just spent 55 minutes trying to get her to sleep. We had whittled bedtime down to about 15 minutes. Thank goodness we don't have much going on this week. This next weekend will be busy, but we have all week to get ready for it!

I just found out that my brother Michael and his wifey Laura are coming home this weekend. I'm very excited! My mom's family has a huge reunion every Labor Day weekend and she is hosting this year. It is actually my grandmother's family and she had 11 brothers and sisters. Only 4 are still alive now (I think)but all of their kids, grandkids, great-grandkids come to the reunion. I can't remember a time in my life when we did not have this reunion. It has always been something I look forward to every year. I can't wait to show Lilli off to everyone. So many people are looking forward to meeting her.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Fun day

Today has been a fun day. Our plan for free time this morning worked quite well and all family members were content. There is no better way to start the day than with everybody happy. Todd was able to spend some alone time with Lilli and I got to go to Jazzercise. I needed it desperately. My body aches when I don't get enough exercise.

Anyway, we went to a birthday party today for my twin nephews. Lilli had a ball playing with all of the other kids. There were probably 10 kids under the age of 3 and she just fell into playing. She does OK with other kids but she is usually the aggressor. I have to really watch her or she will scratch and/or hit the other kids. I worry about this behavior and I wonder how long she spent in the orphanage after she was matched. Where else would she have picked up those behaviors? Todd and I think that as soon as we were matched they took Lilli from her foster mother and placed her in the orphanage. All of the photos we got back from the care package were of her at the orphanage. I'm guessing she had to defend herself somewhere along the lines. If I'm correct, the hitting and scratching are learned behaviors, not innate behaviors. We'll just have to keep working with her on it. She has scratched Todd and my mil hard enough to leave marks. Eek. Could be her age?

Tonight, my sil Angela and I had a chick night. We took our girls and went out to eat and then went to Target. WE LOVE TARGET!!!! I bought Lilli a Halloween t-shirt in an 18 mos. I was excited to be buying bigger clothes. She is so tiny! While we were in Target, we ran into another couple that had adopted from China. Their little girl's name was Emma and was she a cutie! We talked for awhile in the clothing department. It was cool. They are starting the paperchase for #2. They have had their little girl since April and she just turned 2. I can't wait until we have had Lilli for that long just so I can see how far she has progressed.

Well, I'm going to try and clean the downstairs of the house. My house looks like a junkyard and I CAN'T stand it. Will my house ever be clean again?

Friday, August 25, 2006

New Mommy Blues

This is my 100th post. I should get a prize or something.

Tonight I am really feeling the pressures of not having the freedom I used to have. Todd and I are having some scheduling conflicts for tomorrow morning and next week. There are things I want to do with my Saturday morning and things that he wants to do with his Saturday morning. Unfortunately we are not on the same page and we are going to have to compromise. I think we handled it well and I didn't shed a tear. (Some of you might find it very hard to believe that I cry very easily; especially when I get mad or frustrated.) Being a parent requires a lot of give and take and tonight I feel like all I do is give. I was able to help Todd see my side of the situation and we came to an understanding about free time. We've got a good plan for the morning; we'll see how well it works out.

We became zoo members today. I went to the zoo with my sil, Brinda and a friend of hers. We had a nice time and there was practically nobody there! We got in to exhibits very quickly! I got some awesome pics of the pygmy hippos (my favorite) and I even got to feed a giraffe. It was great! The gorillas were playful this morning and we got to watch the meerkats in action. We had a debate about which family the meerkat belongs to: is it a cat or a rodent? I'm voting rodent. On the placard next to the meerkat exhibit it said that the meerkat digs like "other ground squirrels." I do believe that squirrels belong to the rodent family and thus concluded that the meerkat is indeed a rodent. I'll have to get back with you on that one! Anyway, Lilli enjoyed the zoo almost as much as I did. She loves being outside and around lots of people.

We ate lunch at the Mac Shac again (sorry Robin and Eric). Lilli had a fish sandwich, her first! She must have liked it because she ate almost the entire sandwich. Of course, she ate her fries! I've learned not to order her an actual meal because most of it goes to waste. I let her share my food which is cheaper and less wasteful--I'm so smart! HA!

We have a very busy weekend ahead of us. There are several birthday parties that we must attend, the KY state fair is still going on and Art in Speed Park is this weekend. I'm thinking about skipping one of the birthday parties and going to the art show with my mom. I really need some "me" time and I am missing my creative, artsy side. I attempted to be artsy with Lilli tonight. I put her in her high chair with just a diaper and plastic bib. I have some wooden letters that need to be painted for her room and I thought she could help me. So, I put some paint in a little bowl and gave her a letter. She's such a mockingbird so I showed her what to do. Guess what she did? Her finger went into the paint and straight into her mouth! Then she threw the letter and got paint on the floor. So much for that good idea. I gave her some animal crackers and was able to paint two or three letters before she got bored. I thought it was a good plan! Oh well. At least the paint was non-toxic!

The munchkin did something extremely cute in the car today. When her food is too hot for her to eat, I do what every parent does and blow on it. Soon after we got her, she started blowing on her food, too. We think it is so cute. After the zoo I put her in the car and said, "Woo, it's hot!" She looks at me and starts blowing like she does with her hot food! I thought it was just a fluke but she did it after lunch as well! Too cute!

I also think she is recognizing pics of animals. I was reading a book to her tonight called Moo, Baa, La, La, La. It goes through different animals and the sounds they make. One of the pages has dogs and she looks at the picture, points to the dog, and then barks. She mimics our dogs when they bark. Again, I thought it was a fluke, but when I read the book again she did the same thing.

I'm going to end now because I am really jonesin' for a real Coke. I have some C2 in the basement which just might do the trick! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New experiences

We took Lilli to the zoo on Saturday with her Godparents and their children. She absolutely LOVED it! She really likes animals, especially big animals. We also discovered that she likes fish and fish tanks. I think we may have to get her a one. Yesterday we took her to the Kentucky State Fair. The cows were her favorite. She mimics the dogs when they bark and she barked at every animal we saw at the fair. The sheep were baa-ing at her and she was barking at them. It was quite a sight to see!

Things are going very well here. She is becoming more confident with us and herself and her surroundings. She is amazing to watch. She is blossoming into this wonderful little girl with the cutest personality (I'm not biased). One of my travelmates made the statement that she can't believe how in love she is with her daughter. I feel the same way. Everyday I love and enjoy her more than the day before. She is constantly amazing me.

I must take a moment to sing the praises of Todd. He has done such a wonderful job of taking on the role of "daddy". Being a dad isn't easy for Todd. Daily, he is rejected by Lilli, but he continues loving her and coming back for more. Every day gets a little better for those two. Where Todd really does a great job is by helping me. He has become a super handyman around the house. Anything I want done or anything I need, he is ready and willing. I have appreciated him so much since we've been home because there have been times when I wasn't sure I could take it anymore. He has taken the baby from me more than once and "put on his clown suit" (as he says) to entertain her while I took a break. I'm a lucky lady.

OK, I'm done being a sap for the day.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why buy toys?

We already had remote controls and portable phones! I don't think Lilli cares anything for the toys she has. Tonight, for example, I was washing dishes and she usually wants to be right in the thick of the action. I gave her some junk mail to play with and she happily played for a long time while I finished the dishes. It's crazy. I was assured today, however, that this behavior is very normal. Thank goodness, I was beginning to wonder if we got the weird kid!

So, my blog is probably getting boring. I think the shell-shock of being a new mom is beginning to wear off and it shows in my posts. Things are just not phasing me as much anymore. I intend to keep writing, but I may have to go longer stretches to come up with good material!

We brushed our teeth for the first time tonight. She wasn't too thrilled at first (she screamed) and then I showed her how to do it. Being the mockingbird that she is, she took the toothbrush and tried to do it herself. We're going to have to work on that one. Eventually she just started eating the toothpaste. It was berry flavored, and personally, I thought it was disgusting. Whatever it takes to get her to brush her teeth!

We went in to school today. I surprised my team by showing up for our weekly team meeting. It was great to see everybody and I got misty seeing all of my peeps. My former students were tickled to see me there with Lilli. It was a fun morning. Of course, Lilli was a ham as usual. She does great with a crowd of people but I think there were times today when she was a bit overwhelmed. Heck, I was overwhelmed. The kids wanted to give me hugs and talk. It kind of felt like I was being stalked by the paparazzi. I started ducking down hallways that were empty just to avoid being seen!

Well, I'm done for the night.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Milk and cottage cheese

I finally got Lilli to drink some milk. It took an Oreo cookie. I'm not too proud. She ate a bit of an Oreo and then took a sip of milk--that's my girl. This morning I caught her trying to dunk her Nutri-Grain bar into her grape juice. What a mockingbird! I guess she saw me dunk my Oreo into the milk!

At lunch yesterday she tried cottage cheese. I had some with my salad and thought I would let her try it. She really liked it and I ended up having to get her a bowl. She ate most of it. I was really hoping that it contained some iron to help with the anemia, but no dice Chicago. I was a bit surprised.

Today wasn't one of my better mommy days. Lilli was driving me insane! All I wanted to do was fold the laundry. All she wanted to do was destroy my nice neat piles of undies and t-shirts. Nothing I did could divert her attention away from my task. I kept going over to her massive box of toys, but they didn't seem to interest her. She kept diving right back into my clean basket of clothes. I ended up letting her play with the washcloths just so I could finish the rest of the laundry.

Then, I am in the kitchen attempting to fix lunch and she is throwing her Leap Frog magnets everywhere! I kept tripping over them to the tune of "A, B, C". I think the batteries to that toy are going to mysteriously disappear!

And, I was in the bathroom cleaning and Lilli was rummaging through my drawer of hair doo-dads. She pulled out my hair brush and began pretending that she was combing her hair. How cute, I thought. I turned back around to finish my cleaning and the next thing I know I'm retrieving my hair brush from the toilet. Apparently she watched me clean the toilet and decided that she would take a turn as well. Ugh--when will my sanity return!

Needless to say, my patience was wearing quite thin. On top of the "daughter trials" I have injured my neck and upper back and am not feeling 100%. I did my best but I don't think I was as patient with Lilli as I should have been today. Again, I'm reminded of a famous phrase from a movie: same movie, same phrase: " . . .tomorrow is another day!" Until then.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tomorrow . . .

It will be four weeks since Lilli has been in our lives. FOUR WEEKS! It is hard to believe that that much time has elapsed. We wonder what we did with our lives before she came along!

We had our first "date" today. My mom called and offered to come and stay with Lilli while she napped so we could get out of the house for awhile. I was extremely conflicted about leaving her because I wasn't sure she was ready for a babysitter. I know we are going to have to leave her sooner or later, but we've only been home two weeks! I was afraid that leaving her would some how mess up the bonding process. The enticement of the outside world was too much and I decided that a couple of hours out would do us both some good. My mom raised three kids successfully and I was sure she could handle whatever the spicy dragon threw her way. So, we headed out for our "hot" date. We ended up going to the new Smith's furniture store (we aren't even in the market for furniture), to Target including Starbucks, and finally to the grocery store. We topped off our date with a romantic Wendy's lunch from the drive-thru. Yeah, we're crazy like that. All kidding aside, it was super-excellent getting away for even two hours. When we got home Lilli was SO excited to see us and she wouldn't let me out of her sight for several minutes.

I think Lilli has some serious teething issues. She has this constant flow of drool coming out of her mouth. I really think it would be more comfy for her if she wore a bib at all times. Wet clothing can be irritating. Tonight ended up being a Tylenol night. It was just too much. She was very cranky and had two BM's within two hours so I think she had the right to be cranky. After I gave her the Tylenol and she had the second BM, she was a happy baby! I hated having to put her to bed but it was time. We gotta get into a routine.

Well, I'm not feeling like a good writer this evening and I really want to go read my book so until next time!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Smiling, happy baby

The Lilliputian has been a total goofball today! She is laughing, singing, smiling, and playing. I REALLY like this baby! She has been cracking me up all day. We did have a small fit this morning but it was over soon. She let me pick her up and rock her through it so I feel like that is progress! I know it won't happen every time but it was nice to end the tantrum peacefully. After I rocked her for awhile she wanted to snuggle for about an hour and half. I was ready to go run errands but she had other plans. I think this is what people mean when they say "remain flexible" when you have kids. Things don't always go as you planned. It really is like having a mini-dictator (a very cute one, however!)

Since Todd has gone back to work, Lilli has regressed with him. She doesn't want much to do with him again and freaks out if I am not in sight. I know it is killing him to see her regress. I just wish he could take her for a walk or go to the park with her. She really can be a lot of fun and quite snuggly. On the selfish side of this scenario, it would be nice to have a few minutes of "me" time. Welcome to motherhood, right?!

I know this will all work out in time. I'm just a child of the instant gratification club. I want things to go perfectly RIGHT NOW! Like Scarlet O'Hara said, ". . . tomorrow is another day!" I know, very cheesy . . .

Quiet Night

I get up in the middle of the night quite frequently and tonight I couldn't get back to sleep. We had a good day today even after the night screams. We didn't go anywhere today and I think that allowed her time to decompress. We have been running errands in the morning and taking it easy in the afternoon. Lilli is quite a little trooper when it comes to riding around in the car, shopping cart, or stroller. As long as you're moving, she's happy.

The grandparents are starting to become a familiar site for Lilli. My mother came over twice yesterday and it isn't like we live next door to each other. I swear, this kid has Christmas every day. She gets something new almost daily and we have a constant flow of people coming to our door. Sometimes it is complete insanity! I love it though and I honestly think she does, too. In her referral it said that she liked to be in a busy place. That is definitely how I would describe our house right now!

Tonight she did the cutest thing. I was attempting to read books to her and she was somewhat paying attention. You have to be fast with the reading when you are reading to a 16-month old. I don't always get to read the written part and have to make something up. Anyway, while I was reading to her she kept looking at a doll that my sil, Melissa, sent to her. It was still in the package because I figured she was too young for it. Lilli kept touching the box and putting her fingers through an opening and touching the doll. So, I opened it. She took the doll and immediately wanted to take off its clothes. Then she took the doll in her arms and rocked it and kissed it. She handed the doll to me and wanted me to do the same. Then she sat in my lap and held her doll while I read to her. It was adorable.

Well, I should get back to bed for awhile. I'm in the computer room typing tonight (usually I'm using the laptop in the kitchen) and I am cracking up at the dogs having dreams. Too funny!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New fun for mom and dad

Last night we experienced what I can only guess were night terrors. Lilli went to bed right at 9:00 P.M. and seemed to go down fine. She is starting to understand that when it is dark outside it is time to go to bed. The last four nights have gone very well at bedtime. So, I put her in bed and she rolled over and went to sleep. No problem! At 11:30 P.M. she began screaming. I ran back upstairs to see if she was really awake and I couldn't tell. She was thrashing around in the bed and SCREAMING! It took awhile but I got her calmed down enough to stop screaming but she just couldn't get comfy. She tossed and turned and whined for about 30 minutes. Finally, I thought we were done. HA, HA, HA! At 12:50 A.M. it all started again. This time with renewed force and strength. She let me pick her up, though, and I rocked her for awhile until she calmed back down. I felt bad for Todd because he had to get up and go to work and he needed to get some sleep (I should add, however, that he was still awake and trying to help). So I took Lilli downstairs and we kicked back in the recliner for awhile--until 2:50 A.M. The cycle repeated. When I felt that she couldn't give it anymore we went back upstairs to bed and she slept until 9:30 A.M. Needless to say I'm really looking forward to nap time today!

School started today. I would be on my planning period right now if I were there. I wonder how the day is going? I went in to school for a few hours yesterday and got my syllabus together for the kids. I also left lesson plans for the first red and black day. I'd like to stay semi-active so that when I go back in November it isn't such a shock: for everyone!

Well, nothing much else to report. We are playing with puzzles this morning and talking about animals and foods. It is raining outside so we can't get outside to play or get in the pool. Hopefully, the weather will clear out today and we can get outside.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Too tired for a cute title

Hello all! I can't believe how tired I am. I knew being a parent would be tiring, but I wasn't prepared for absolutely exhausting. Today marks 3 weeks since Lilli has been in our lives. She is such a ham. Her moods change like the weather in the Ohio Valley--wait 5 minutes and something else will come along. Today we went from totally happy (giggling and cackling) to total hysterics including kicking and screaming on the floor: all within a 5 minute time span. We still have no idea what set her off this evening. She wanted NOTHING to do with anything or anybody. I tried to hold her and calm her down and she wriggled out of my arms. I was still sitting near her and she tried to push me away. Todd couldn't get her either. Finally I went back into the kitchen and just let her have her fit. She crawled in after me and continued to scream. I gave her the box of Fruity Cheerios and she was suddenly happy. I guess she was hungry. That is the only explanation I can think of but it really doesn't make any sense. She eats all the time. We gave her some Tylenol because I know she is teething, but this fit came on very suddenly. Who knows?

Lilli and I had breakfast with my peeps from NA today. They were excited to finally get to see her. I was excited to be around my gal pals again. School started today and they were celebrating the new school year. In a way I'm kind of envious. I love getting my classroom ready for the first day and meeting my new kids and getting a brand new start. It was weird to think that I was going to miss all of that this year. By the time I get back to school, the kids will have already attached to the sub and I will be the outsider. I got kind of misty at Target today when I passed by all of the "back to school" supplies at extra cheap prices. They were having a great sale on Crayola markers. The $1 Crayola marker sale is something I look forward to all summer! It is like Christmas in July for me. Todd laughs when I come home with 50 boxes of markers.

So bedtime (knock on wood) is getting easier. The last three nights she has gone to sleep without much of a fuss. I didn't even rock her last night. I put her in the communal bed and she went right to sleep. Tonight I took her upstairs and rocked her for a bit. As soon as I sat down in the rocker she laid her head on my shoulder. She has also been going down easier for naps. Today I rocked her for a bit and she went right to sleep. It's amazing what a routine can do for you!

Her latest thing is to give back affection. Whenever I pick her up she pats my arm like I am patting her back. This morning she looked up at me in bed and gave me a big, wet, open-mouthed kiss. She is also starting to be a cuddle-bug. She gives hugs and kisses freely. She is even going to Todd more and tonight got upset when he left. I feel like we are really making some progress with her.

Well, I don't have much else to say. Life has definitely changed. I am still trying to get used to everything. Someone was talking about going back for #2. Right now I'm thinking we are going to be a one-child household.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

We're walking!

Lilli is getting more confident by the minute. Yesterday she walked a few steps from the T.V. to the coffee table. Today she is walking through the kitchen and family room. She is officially walking. Her favorite mode of transportation is still crawling, but she will abandon that soon enough. Lord help us! We are such rookies with this whole baby thing!

Her latest favorite thing is testing her lungs. She screams, sings, mimics, whatever. And, she is very loud about it. We laugh. It is so funny to watch her from afar as she is singing or talking to herself. She has the funniest facial expressions.

We have all but abandoned the crib issue for the time being. Tomorrow it will be 3 weeks since we have had her. I'm going to give her until the 6-week mark and then we are going to go into full swing crib mode (hopefully). We are working on several ways we can make this transition as painless as possible.

We found another food that the wee one will eat. She will eat the heck out of corn-on-the-cob. It was the funniest thing to watch her. She took the ear and tried to bite into the end. She must have gotten some of the sweet corn in that bite and then it was all over. She ate two ears of corn. My mom called tonight to make sure it didn't upset her stomach. I'm just glad that she is eating something vegetable-like (I know--it's a starch in disguise).

Well, I must go for now. I need to put a dragon to bed and mommy needs to go to bed as well--I'm exhausted!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Afternoon snack

Lilli is currently enjoying a snack of Goldfish crackers (and belching on top of that) and grape juice. She thoroughly enjoyed her lunch today which was a Gerber's Lil Entree. It was the chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy. She ate the entire thing. Not only did she eat that, she ate half of the carrots that were included. My mil makes the best chicken and noodles dish and she always serves it with mashed potatoes. I betcha Lilli would LOVE that dish. Luckily, I have the recipe and it is so easy to make. I'm finding myself checking the labels on things to see how much iron it contains. Since finding out we have an anemic girl I guess I should be concerned.

Nap time was pretty bad today. She finally wore down and took a short nap. She did fall asleep in her stroller today while we were taking a walk so she probably slept a total of and hour and half today. I would feel better if she would sleep for another hour, but I'll take what I can get. She is a much happier child when she has adequate sleep. Heck, aren't we all happier when we have enough sleep?!

I am going to take her outside in a minute and we are going to make stepping stones. I want to have her hand print and foot print done each year so we can show her how much she has grown. I'll try to post pictures of the finished product. I can't wait to get my hands dirty! I need to make something! Well, I'm rambling.

Bathtime breakthrough!

First of all, ROBIN, she DOES try to reach her hand in the poo! Todd is becoming the "hand holder" during diaper changing time. When Todd isn't available I have to distract her with a toy so wandering hands don't go south!

We had a bathtime breakthrough this evening. Lilli sat down in the bath water by herself. When we first gave her a bath she screamed like I was jamming sticks under her toenails. Then we tried standing her in the tub; this seemed to work better. Tonight, the brave one sat in the tub and stood back up (on her own) many times and even cackled at the splashing and the toys.

Speaking of splashing, she discovered the dogs' water bowl tonight and made quite a mess of her PJ's. I guess we are going to have to relocate the dog watering station. And, speaking of dogs, she tried her first piece of dog food this evening. I'm such a rookie parent! I put food in the dogs' bowls for supper. Boomer, of course, came running like it was the last supper. Sherman, on the other hand, took his time. I had to coax him into the kitchen and when I turned back around I found Miss Lilli with a piece of dog food in her mouth and the most disgusted look on her face. Hopefully a lesson learned: for both of us!

Bedtime is rapidly deteriorating. I didn't think it could get any worse. The hardest thing about bedtime is that I'm exhausted at this point and my patience level is low. Todd had to intervene this evening. Her latest display is to thrash about in the bed. I will get her to sleep and lay down with her in the bed (don't judge) and usually she stays asleep and wants to snuggle. The last two nights she has flopped around like a fish out of water and wants nothing to do with anything touching her; she has even thrown my hands off of her. I thought maybe she wanted her space so I was fine with letting her go. Then she starts flopping around and talking. I think this is her new technique to keep awake. Last night this was my end. I laid her down in her crib and called for Todd. He's good that way and he was already on his way up the stairs as I was coming to get him. I guess he sensed that I was getting frustrated, or it could have been the tone of my voice coming through the monitor. (Think Ozzy Osbourne sings Rock-a-Bye Baby.) He finally rocked her to sleep and put her in her crib. At 12:30 A.M. she was screaming again and Todd had already gotten her out of the crib by the time I got up. She was so upset that she was standing in the crib. I took her and brought her back to the communal bed and she started the thrashing thing. So frustrating. The logical part of my brain (I know, small part) says that maybe she is wanting her own space; that maybe she is trying to convey to us that she wants her own sleeping area. My heart tells me that she is still grieving and that her behavior is one thing she can control in a world where she really has no control. Or, in a world where the control she had was taken away. I just wish there was some way (an easy way) I could convince her that she has no more worries, that she is here to stay. I am so worried that if I make the wrong move that I will forever sever her ability to attach/bond with us or anyone and that she will never feel safe again. So many things to think about!

We got Lilli's medical report today from our pediatrician. All of her bloodwork came back glowing except that she is severely anemic. I'm not surprised. We have to give her an iron supplement that tastes like poo and try to get her to eat iron-rich foods. The picky princess snubbed her nose at peaches tonight. Peaches are on the "good sources" of iron list. After reading the list of "excellent sources" of iron I'm kind of surprised that she is anemic. Most of the "excellent" sources of iron come from organ meats. I saw plenty of organ meats on the buffets in China.

It is 5:00 A.M. here. I know I should get back to bed and get a few more hours of snooze time. Todd is going back to work today. He's been itching to get back since about Monday. I'm a bit uneasy about being here alone with the little dragon. I know I'll be fine but my safety net is being taken away! Deep breaths!

I'll try to post more pics tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Good Day!

Today has been a good day. It started off rough but after a 3 hour nap we had an enjoyable rest of the day. We spent an hour in the pool (the water was ninety degrees) and spent about an hour in the tub. I actually got her to smile while in the tub. We have bunches of toys and I opened a few more for her to play with. She likes to throw the toys out of the tub and then have me throw them back in. I think she likes the splash. She discovered in the pool today that if she opens her mouth under water, she gets a drink. I don't think this is very healthy, but she was having a ball and I didn't want to ruin her fun. I also think that if she were given the opportunity, she would try to swim. She wants very little help with anything and would only let me hold her hands in the water. Really, she was floating. She doesn't kick at all so that may be a problem. I'll have to work with her on that one.

We are just now opening toys from her shower. One of our friends got this ride along dump truck thing and she absolutely LOVES it. She was tottering all over the living room with it today. It helps her walk a bit more steadily and she doesn't have to rely on us to get places. We took several pics of her laughing and enjoying her new found freedom. I think she is just days away from walking.

We found out tonight that she loves peas. We ordered pizza and she didn't want anything to do with it. I don't think she likes tomato sauce because she wouldn't eat lasagna the other day and she didn't want the pizza either. I took off the cheese and toppings and she ate the doughy part of the crust. I was afraid she didn't get enough to eat so I warmed up one of those Lil' Entrees that had a chicken and noodle dish and peas. She snubbed the chicken and noodles and dove into the peas. One of the cutest (but messiest) things she does it try to eat with utensils. She doesn't really "get" it but it is a hoot to watch. I don't mind the mess--I think it is cute.

If you're queasy at all, you may not want to continue reading. We had our first solid poo tonight! I was relieved. It also didn't smell as bad as the runny poo which is a bonus. Todd was still grossed out and has yet to change a poopy diaper (or a wet one for that matter). He truly gags whenever I change the yucky ones. Oh to be a fly on the wall when he has no alternative but to change a poopy diaper some day!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Medical report

Just wanted to let everyone know that the munchkin weighed in at a whopping 18 lbs. 15 oz. at the doc yesterday. This puts her in the 3rd percentile in weight. She is 29 inches long which puts her in the 10th percentile for heighth.

Here are some more pics. She actually isn't screaming in this picture. And yes, those are my roots you are seeing! I need some highlights!

The second picture is at home in her high chair. She loves the high chair and squeals when she sees it. She beats the tray when I put it on and waits impatiently for her food. In this pic she is eating yogurt which she refused to eat in China. My marvelous mother stocked yogurt in my fridge for our return thinking Lilli might eat it since she won't drink milk. It is obvious she is enjoying it!

Sleeping Arrangements

The picture to the left is of four of the "Spice Girls" from our travel group. From left to right is Jenna, Brenna, Hope and Lilli. Notice we all have the obligatory blue and tan stroller.

I just read two articles that said children who are adopted probably won't sleep by themselves for some time. (Now I feel like a HORRIBLE parent. Poor Lilli is probably asleep having nightmares about the lady who left her in that big room all by herself.) The articles stated that co-sleeping is a form of bonding and attachment and that eventually, when the child feels secure, she won't need us in the room with her. Both articles said that most parents put a twin bed into the nursery and sleep in the same room with the child. One of the articles (from an experienced adoptive parent) said that they allowed the child to sleep in bed with them. This is what I have been doing. I have to rock Lilli a bit and she usually snuggles in and goes to sleep. I can lay down with her and she usually only stirs but then drifts back to deep sleep. When I get up from the bed she is fine unless she wakes up. If she wakes up and she is alone, she screams. I don't know what to do. Maybe I am being too hard on myself; I mean we've only had her for 16 days. I just don't want to screw her up!

Here is the pea pod at the East Lake in Wuhan chillin'. She likes to prop her feet up whenever and where ever possible, even her high chair. One of the other babies did this a lot as well.