Showing posts from August, 2011

Poop Cookies Part 2

Continued from Part 1... Bring in iTunes and a few new downloaded albums: Lemonade Mouth: Lemonade Mouth  The kids wanted this after seeing the movie.  The songs are catchy, fun, and have encouraging lyrics. Toby Mac: Tonight  We love Toby.  We got the extended album and can't listen enough.  The kids want to hear more of Toby's son "TruDog" Truett.  I don't know why I didn't get this album sooner. The Afters: Light Up the Sky  Fun CD, the title track being my favorite song, but they are all good. Listening to one of Toby Mac's songs, Hold On, I actually had tears well up as I thought how glad I am they have these words in their hearts and minds instead of songs that end with "I wanna have you naked by the end of this song."  (And you who know me know I love me some Justin Timberlake.) Here's a portion of the lyrics from "Hold On."   (The portion that made me tear up. Mostly because I was thinking about my girls and how,

Poop Cookies Part 1

Last week, I downloaded a few new albums.  After trying to listen to Mix 102.9 for a while, I decided it just wasn't worth any of us having that mess in our minds.  And I didn't even understand many of the lyrics we were listening to. Just out of curiosity, I looked up the lyrics for this week's top 40 in pop music. #1 Katy Perry Last Friday Night  All about getting drunk, acting stupid, being naked, having a threesome and ready to do it again next week. Starts of "There's a stranger in my bed."  Nice.  Number one song.  Wow. #2 LMFAO: Party Rock Anthem Again, party, drink a lot, lose mind, wanna see a girl naked. Actually one of the tamest of the top 5. #3 I was sad to read some of the lyrics from "Moves Like Jagger" because that song is so good.  The kids and I love the chorus, the sounds, the beat, and love Adam Levine when he's singing clean music. #4 and #5 Super Bass by Nicki Minaj and Lighter by Bad Meets Evil (Bruno Mars and Eminem

Travis at Six Weeks

Travis is nothing short of amazing.  Really, he's just proving that a 3-year window of no language doesn't have to be a life sentence nor does it mean he will always be behind.  The more he's with us, the more we can tell he hears nothing. He's already communicating in phrases.  These phrases started the other day when he went up to his dad, tapped him, then signed "DADDY!  TURTLE!" then pointed to turtle. Why is this such a big deal?  After 6 weeks of exposure to ASL (a natural language to him since his eyes are his superhighway), he knows he can 1. tap people to get their attention.  When we got him, he would just hold his hands up and cry.  Now, he approaches us and taps us on the leg or arm.  He taps his dad, me, his siblings, and even tapped our dentist to tell him he saw a train.  (I should add that he does still whine at times when he wants something, but he watches us with great interest so he can learn how to communicate his wants and needs.) 2.

Tian at Seven Weeks

Little Tian.  He's such a little goofball and a fireball of love and giggles.  He's a ham that certainly likes to have the attention on him.  Many times, he seems older than he really is.  I have to constantly remind myself that he has just turned two. Tian likes to hug, kiss, blow kisses, wrestle, tumble, and do lots of things that 2 year-olds like to do.  He's silly and loves to laugh.  He'll make faces or silly sounds if he thinks it will make us laugh at him.  (Much like his older brother!)  He has an ornery streak and daily tests me on the rules.  He's very sly, clever and understated when he's being mischievous. He says quite a few words: mama, baba, milk (mow), Hannah (anna), potty (pah-e), no no, TJ (ee-ay), Mackenzie (enzie), there he is (dah-e-is), bed, night-night (nie-nie) etc. He will mimic just about any sound we make, but doesn't speak much to communicate.  He mostly uses one-word signs for that.  While we have no doubt that he can hear a

Jill Radford's Letter of Resignation to Utah School for the Deaf

Jill's letter is eloquent and beautifully-written.  It's not only a problem in Utah, but all over the nation.   To Whom It May Concern: To be a leader, one must have courage, passion, and vision. It is beyond doubt that USDB’s current superintendent has courage; he fears nothing and no one. It is also true that he is possessed of the passion and vision to promote the listening and spoken language skills for Deaf and hard of hearing children (and I use the capitol ‘D’ here to emphasize the specific and separate cultural and linguistic community of Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing individuals). Yes, he fulfills the three necessary attributes of the leader – but in this case, he does so under only one specific methodology. Unfortunately, he has been chosen the leader of a school with the vision of a dual track. His leadership is therefore ineffective in its current application. Without dedicated support for ALL programs, schools, and classes, the office of the superintendent

Meant To Be

This links to  my post one year ago today. Ken nor I could have imagined that one year later, we would have only been home a month....and with TWO little ones! We are beyond thankful that we didn't let others' reactions deter us from bringing home both Tian and Travis.  I wish I could have captured some of the faces and "are they crazy?!" glances we saw when we told people we were even considering adopting two.  It happened so much that I began to preface our announcement by saying, "I know it's crazy, but...." It's not crazy.  It's what God clearly led us to do.  Because Ken and I talked about it, prayed about it, and kept our eyes and hearts open to His leading, we knew when we saw Travis' file that he was our son.  We looked at two other files.  Last week, out of curiosity, I looked back at those files.  I pray they have forever families.  I didn't see them on a shared list any more.  They are precious boys, too, and worthy of l

Forgiveness and Funnies

A few cute, funny, or warm-hearted things happened this week that I need to note. 1. I discovered little two-year-old Tian on the floor, holding a baby doll with one hand on the wrist and the other on the head, teaching it to sign "daddy".  He was saying, "Baba. Baba."  (Which means "daddy" in Mandrin.) 2. Outside the other night, the Brownies were playing with friends.  Ken and I were watching the two littles ride their new Strider Bikes .  As we were gathering up the boys to come inside, I asked TJ to grab one of the Striders.  TJ was lagging behind and one of his friends, who happens to be Black (that will matter in a second), asked TJ if he could ride the Strider.  TJ told him that, no, it's just for our family.  (Truly, he should have said it's just for the little boys, but I digress.)   TJ's friend ran to his sister, who was playing with our girls, and said, "TJ just told me only white people can ride that bike!"   We all cr

A New Homeschooling Adventure

This year poses an entirely new series of challenges I've not yet faced in my 7 years of homeschooling.  I have older kids that will need more serious study time.  It makes me tear up to think that Hannah is entering sixth grade!  I so remember sixth grade.  What an awkward year.  Fifth grade, I first realized the hierarchy of cliques among school kids.  Sixth grade was fun.  (My teacher was Mrs. Brown. I had no idea I, too, would become a Mrs. Brown!)  I was in a small Christian school where my mom was teaching.  There were eight kids in our class: four boys and four girls.  I met a friend that year that ended up being one of my best friends ever.  We had so much fun that year and in years to come, even though she moved out of town and I moved to a public school.  But I digress.... Hannah is a sixth-grader!  Okay, I'm in full-on tears now.  My other two school-aged kids are entering 4th and 3rd grade.  (I loved my teachers during these grades.  What carefree days those were.

Wordless Wednesday


One Month Later

Wednesday marks one month that we've had Travis. That means we've had Tian for one month and 6 days. :) We are continuing to learn so much about the boys and their personalities. We truly can't imagine them NOT being with us. They are just Brownies. Plain and simple. They don't seem to have really grieved the loss of their life in China. Ken and I totally expect it to hit at some point, but it hasn't happened yet that we can tell. We show them photos (we are so fortunate to have many) of their first years. They look at the photos with great interest. They smile and wave and seem to enjoy looking at the photos. Our hope is that looking at photos helps them remember their early years and keeps some continuity in their minds. They are settled into a daily routine and sleep schedule. Most of our days are just spent hanging out and getting to know each other better, looking at books, playing outside, watching TV (it's so hot, TV time happens more than u

Day at Children's

It was a surprisingly nice day today at Children's Medical Center in downtown Dallas.  We went early this morning, expecting to spend about an hour and a half there, getting the boys each a physical exam then referrals to various needed specialists.  We ended up staying five hours, seeing not only the pediatrician, but getting blood work done, and seeing an audiologist and ENT. The two middle Brownies visited their Nana and Pappy's house while Hannah stayed with us for the appointment.  We were met in the parking garage by Liz, the lady we've been communicating with since first registering for the international adoption services.  She took us to the pediatrician's office.  A sweet volunteer, known as the waiting room "grandma" was in there, ready to help us by playing with the kids while we filled out paperwork.  She was super sweet and we enjoyed visiting with her. Having fun with a magnifier.   Each boy got a full physical, then were observed for

8 Days Home

How are the boys doing?   First of all, they were both sick!  We got them to the pediatrician Wednesday (??) after Travis was running fever and coughing and Tian's cough still wasn't letting up.  They both had major ear infections.  Tian's pulse O2 was low, so he got a breathing treatment.  Travis got his ears cleaned out.  I so wish I had taken a picture.  He had a good 1/2 inch of waxy, dirty, gunk pulled out of his right ear.  His left ear was a bit better, but the doc uncovered a watermelon seed!  What?!  He hasn't had watermelon with us.  Who knows how long it had been in there?  At least it hadn't sprouted yet. (And yes, he's still deaf.)  They are improving a bit after several days on a strong antibiotic.  I was pleasantly surprised that the doc recommended probiotics for the boys as well. Developmentally, Travis is improving at an amazing rate.  He signs more and more every day.  Right now, Travis' signs are: cracker (new today), yes, more, food/ea


Just after my previous post, Ken and I both fell into a "funk" that we knew would hit.  We were both so tired, it physically hurt.  Emotionally, we were drained.  Sleep deprived, trying to adjust to schedules, sick boys, Hannah sick, trying to parent these two new members of the family and still run the house and, for Ken, get back to work.  Tuesday really was tough for us.  I would describe it as dark, desperate, and depressing. The beauty?  We knew to expect it!  We are so very thankful for adoptive parents who were honest about their adoption experience.  We're grateful for those who don't try to make it all look like sunshine and rainbows.  We had been told we would go through a grieving period.  Just like the boys will grieve for all they lost (birth families, foster family, nannies, the familiar), we will grieve for our "past life."  Having three kids above age eight is a breeze compared to having five kids, two of them toddlers who are new to your f

Three Days Home

Three days home and we are working on falling into a routine.  It's sometimes surreal to look at the boys and see them here in the house after all this time of waiting. Night times are very tough.  I have gotten no more than a few hours sleep at a time for the past five days, so I'm ready for a solid 5-6 hours tonight.  The boys did better last night, but still wake up briefly often throughout the night, checking to make sure we are there and crying a bit. Mornings are good.  The boys are happy and awake, as are the rest of us.  We've developed a morning routine of breakfast, outside play at sunrise, snack, indoor play, lunch, then naps.  Afternoons are tough because the boys want to stay asleep and are fussy when we wake them.  It's too dang hot to go outside (111 today!), so we are making plans to go out somewhere , either Bass Pro Shops or Target.  To help overcome jetlag, we need to get outdoors in the sunshine and also stay active as much as we can. Tian is v

First 30 Hours Home

The airport greeting crew was such a welcome sight as we walked through the terminal of DFW toward baggage claim.  I want to apologize here for not getting the word out very well about our flight home.  As you can read, it was a whirlwind, especially there at the end.  The plane was basically backing out as we boarded in LA.  My hands were shaking and I was holding a sleeping Tian, so I could barely hold my phone, much less type out a message and get it sent to everyone before I had to turn off the phone.  For those who wanted to be there, but weren't, I know you were with us in spirit on our entire journey. Those who did come helped us get home.  Home.  It felt unbelievably nice to walk in and smell the smells of our own home.  It smelled like America!  It smelled like freedom! TJ got out of the car, walked into the garage, grabbed his fishing pole and headed to the pond to fish.  He had been aching to fish for weeks and this early morning hour was the perfect time for him.

The Rest of the Story - Part 3

I don't know what I was expecting the international arrival area to look like, but it was nothing like I imagined.  It was very "governmental," dark, and colorless.  We stood in a que to process our paperwork. Our passports were looked over and stamped.  We handed over the boys' visa documents then those were passed on to the proper people.  Ken grabbed all of our bags and we headed down for more waiting in line.  Ken was able to get all of our boarding passes except his, so we split up and I went on with all the kids through security.  Not fun, but we got through it. Ken got through 20 minutes later and we headed to the Admiral's Club.  It was so nice to be in a quiet spot.  Hannah was feeling sick, cold, and clammy.  I was worn out from almost no sleep in 40+ hours, so both Hannah and I slept (on the floor and a chair) for a short time.  TJ and Kenz found a playroom and took the boys there.  It was a cute little room, just perfect for them to play and us not w

The Rest of the Story - Part 2

After a fitful night, everyone went up to breakfast, but I stayed back.  Still didn't feel well.  The positive side of our stay downtown Shanghai was meeting with the McW family, another Deaf/hearing couple who had just adopted a sweet deaf boy a few days before.  It was nice to meet with them.  I was still feeling very anxious and worn. Ken and Hannah headed back to the airport to get us "in line" for the day's flight to LA and to check out the airport hotel.  That was a tough several hours while they were gone.  The kids and I tried to get out, but it was not a family-(or stroller-) friendly place.  We ended up ordering room service, eating, napping, then finally going out to get some food for boys.  The walk over to Pizza Hut was a chore, thanks to lots of stairs and major heat, but it was nice to get out of the hotel.  We were only there a few minutes before the boys started fussing and, of course, all eyes were on us.  I quickly asked for a box to go and our re

The Rest of the Story - Part 1

Five days have passed since my last blog, although it feels like it's been weeks. In the afternoon after our fun day at the safari park, we started packing and preparing for our morning flight out of Guangzhou to Shanghai.  We were so ready to begin our journey home, but we were also unsure of what flights we would get since we were flying standby. Our original plan was to spend one night in Shanghai, then try to catch the Friday night flight out to LAX.  However, due to several reasons, we decided to try to go ahead and fly out that night.  So we spent a very long, very tiring day at and around PVG airport.  We had planned to meet some friends at their hotel downtown and also wanted to ride the MagLev train, so we hopped the train and headed downtown.  The MagLev was as neat as we thought it would be!  Such a cool experience.  We went as far as we could go on the MagLev, then decided to grab some lunch at a nearby McD's.  The place was packed and we had no place to sit.