Monday, August 28, 2006 1 comment

Chloe hanging out with her feet propped up watching the cars go by. Posted by Picasa


I worried that my rant last week was just me whining about something that was out of my control (my hubby's words). But, now I don't care because guess what arrived on Saturday??? Our I-171H arrived!!! YIPPEEE!!! I spent several hours this weekend looking over our dossier and getting it in to order, and then re-checking it and then re-checking it again. By my calculations, we should have our dossier sent to China in September and will probably have our dossier logged-in at the China Center for Adoption (CCAA) in October. Hey, it's only 4 months later than we anticipated. I laughed at myself because as I was looking over our dossier making certain that everything was in order, all the old worries and fears I had doing this same thing for Chloe's adoption come creeping back. You think this would be old hat, but it's not. Now, in all my excitement, what should I see pop-up today when I log into my email? Mass hysteria on my China adoption Yahoo! groups over rumors that China is going to place more restrictions on those eligible to adopt. I have to ask myself, "Myself, why do I bother to join and even read these things?". Once again proving, that even though this is our 2nd adoption, you are still likely to fall into the silliness you had during your 1st adoption. Some of these rumors are worrisome and some are so ridiculous they are laughable. Nevertheless, they aren't going to bring me down. We are going to keep on truckin', get our dossier in and wait. Until we hear something official from our agency, I'm not panicking. Now, that IS something I learned during adoption #1.

Now, on to our weekend. It rained all weekend, which was a bummer. We walked into town on Saturday and had lunch and then hung around the old homestead. We did have one hysterical incident on Saturday. Chloe has really started enjoying running around sans diaper. You have to chase her down to put one on and then it is usually a struggle. So, late Saturday afternoon she was running around the house bare-bottomed. We decided to head to Barnes and Noble. I was in the middle of a bow-making marathon and had to clean up. My tooth-obsessed husband ran upstairs to brush his teeth. Chloe grabbed her shorts and her Crocs and headed upstairs to brush her teeth with Daddy. After I cleaned up and Matt & Chloe came back downstairs ready to go so we headed out the door. In Barnes and Noble, Chloe was excited and insisted on walking/running and screaming like a banshee (she loves books). I was chasing behind her and noticed that her shorts kept drooping. I kept pulling them up and they kept sliding down. I finally picked her up and noticed we forgot to put her diaper on, that's why the shorts kept falling! I couldn't stop laughing. I found Matt who was seeking out a book, and he told me she dressed herself and didn't remember that she didn't have on a diaper. It hadn't occurred to me either. I decided I would make a mad dash back home for a diaper as B&N is only 5 minutes away from our house. As soon as I pulled into the driveway I heard, "Mommy, pee-pee". Too late. Chloe was soaked and so was her car seat. I changed Chloe (and remembered to put on her diaper) but I couldn't get the car seat out of the car! So, Chloe and I had to come rolling up in style in Daddy's Porsche. Of course, Daddy was surprised. I guess the moral of the story is, when Chloe dresses herself, be sure to cheer but also check to see if all the necessaries are there too.

On Sunday, we went to a area Porsche club autocross. Matt wimped out and didn't bring his car. We watched from the sidelines. It really was quite entertaining. Of course, my favorite is making fun of the slow drivers and the crazy people who drive off course. Now, I certainly couldn't figure out which way to go on the course or drive it that well, that's why I am a spectator, a very critical spectator. Hey, it keeps me entertained and I do cheer these people on, especially the ones out there for the 1st time! Anyway, there was one car in particular that was all over the course and driving it about 30 mph. I said, "look at that grandma, they better speed up or the person behind is going to catch up" and next thing I know, for the remainder of the day, Chloe's catch phrase was "Speed up Grandma!". It really was cute, although a reminder to watch what you say b/c Chloe is a little parrot. Later in the morning it began to rain and that made for more entertainment b/c as the track got wet, it got slippery and there were some spinouts. Chloe enjoyed watching them. I only have one photo of Chloe at the event. I will be sure and post more when Matt hits the track at the next club autocross. I can't wait for Chloe to tell him to "speed up grandma".

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 No comments

A shot of a I-171H...all that is standing in our way to be DTC (dossier to China) for our 2nd adoption. Posted by Picasa

WHERE'S MY I-171H??????? A RANT...

I said I was going to remain calm during this 2nd adoption, but there is something about the Dallas BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services) that makes my blood boil!!!!! I was updating our website last night and added in a ticker/counter on how long we have been paperchasing and waiting for our final document, the I-171H. Up pops 8 + months of paperchasing and almost 5 months of waiting for our I-171H. 5 months of checking the mailbox everyday, wondering if the government agrees we are suitable parents to adopt. AHHHHHH!!! Matt says that I worry about things that are out of my control. Shouldn't this be in my control? I pay taxes to fund these silly people who sit in an office on a stack of papers, don't return emails (I have sent 2) and don't answer the phone. In order to find anything out, I was told I should contact my Senator's office and have them inquire as to the whereabouts of my document. WHY? What do the 2 Senators have to do with my paperwork or adoption? Why will they answer to them and not to me, who filed the paperwork? I was also then told by someone else not to contact a Senator because it tends to tick Dallas BCIS off. Sorry, someone thinks it should take less than 5 months to do a background search and read a homestudy and send out a piece of paper in the mail.

Why am I getting so worked up? Statistically, as each month passes, it will takes us longer to get our referral because China is not referring full months and thus things are actually taking longer. (Someone has actually designed a webpage to figure all of this out) So, if we were DTC in mid-July (as expected) then we would theoretically receive a referral in late June of 2008. IF we file our dossier in September of this year (pending our document from Dallas) then we will theoretically receive a referral in October of 2008. What's the difference? Well, first, look at the year of the expected referral...2008. Do the math. If we filed in July 2006, we could expect to wait 23 months for a referral. If we file in September 2006, then we can expect to wait 2 years and 1+ months. And, don't forget to factor in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to slow down and mess up travel plans. OY!

Now, where's our I-171H so I can send my dossier off to China and be DTC???

Tackling the Playroom

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 No comments
Reading some other friends blog posts on cleaning up and clearing out over the last few weeks set me to thinking about the play room in the basement and our clutter hidden in the basement. The clutter hidden behind the doors in our basement is a task to tackle in the winter when we are trapped indoors. But, the play area in the basement is a mess that I face on a daily basis, manuevering around to get into the laundry room or office. So, inspired by my fellow bloggers, I set out to bring order to Chloe's clutter. To be honest, the only time Chloe really played in the basement was when I was in the office working and she really didn't play, she would stand next to me in the office yelling at me to hold her. I couldn't get her to play in the room. She would rip the covers off the speakers, drag empty shopping bags to the basement, throw the drink coasters throughout the room, hide the remote controls and press all the buttons on the television and satellite equipment. Other than that, she wouldn't play with any of her real toys. So, most of the time we played upstairs in the family room. After thinking about it, I realized that Chloe liked playing in the family room because what toys were in there were in sight. In the playroom, I kept everything hidden in wicker baskets. The toys were just thrown in there. She never thought to open them and look inside.

So, I decided that I should reorganize the playroom. Now that Chloe has been having play dates with Lilly, I thought I should take on this task and prepare the room for what we hoped to use it for, an entertainment and play room. So, after searching the IKEA catalog, I set out to the store, list in hand and purchased storage items to display all of Chloe's toys and books. Of course, I tend to go crazy at IKEA and had to purchase Chloe a new table and chairs, which replaced our worn out coffee table (that we never used) and a drawing easel. I set it all up, organized and even dusted off my labeler from my teaching days. I was even able to clear out the toys hidden in the chest in our family room!

Chloe loves the new play room and that is key. As I was organizing all her toys she was screaming with excitement to discover toys that had been hidden away from her for so many months. She played with her train set, crawled through her tunnel and carried around all her handbags.

But, the true test of the new play room came when we hosted a play date at our house this week. The new room was a success and Lilly and Chloe played with all the items, opening bins and taking out all the toys. The room looked like a disaster afterwards, but it cleaned up in no time and everything went back in to its nicely labeled home. Matt couldn't believe that we had hosted a play date in the room. He refused to believe that two children could have played in their b/c it was back to being so tidy in only 10 minutes. The only tell-tale signs were the smashed Oreo cookies in the rug that I had yet to vaccuum up.

So, the room is a delight now. I am so happy I took on the chore and it looks like it is going to be our new hang out, as it was meant to be.

BEFORE: The playroom always looked like a disaster area. Chloe's toys were kept in wicker baskets on the floor. Posted by Picasa

AFTER: A place for everything and everything in its place! Posted by Picasa

Matt & Chloe at the top of Bear Mountain. Posted by Picasa
Friday, August 18, 2006 No comments

I was working on a project and noticed that it was really quiet. I snuck off to see where Chloe was and found her on the couch in the living room reading a Motor Trend magazine. Like father, like daughter. Posted by Picasa

Chloe coloring with Mommy. She likes to color EXACTLY where you are, laughing as she rams her marker into yours. Posted by Picasa

Potty Training

During Chloe's marathon nap yesterday I decided to read up on potty training. I have to interrupt this story and say that I love how no baby/toddler book recommends an age to start potty training but will tell you when you've waited too long to potty train. When Chloe was 18 months old, she had an interest in the potty and even used it on occasion but her pediatrician told me she was not ready. So, I waited. Well my silly book says that 2.5 years old is pushing it in terms of potty training, that a child should have been started prior to that time. OY! Chloe is only 26 months, but I love how these books give you the checklist of when to start and tell you to wait till your child reaches these and then tells you that if you haven't started this by the time your child is 2.5, you have your work cut out for you. I digress....

I guess I am a little taken aback by the task of potty training Chloe. Maybe I am the one resistant to the potty. Life is easy with a child in a diaper. I don't have to worry when I take her out about the restrooms, etc. I know many people are excited to have their child out of diapers. Maybe I am just bizarre.

Anyway, yesterday was our first foray into potty training. We read the Prudence book and then Chloe sat on the potty after she woke up from her nap. I will try to relay what happened as best I can:

  • Chloe is quite happily on the potty after her nap. I read Prudence (the potty book) and after the book, Chloe asks for a magazine. Starting her young, I hand her the latest Pottery Barn catalog which she enjoys looking at and telling me all about pillows and beds. She puts the magazine down (still nothing in the potty) and tells me "no more diapers!".
  • I tell her, "ok, you can wear big girl panties when you pee pee and poo poo in the potty" [Yes, I am teaching Chloe the juvenile words for going to the bathroom and not taking the advice of my book and teaching her the technical term of BM (bowel movement) and urinate...can't do it, she's 2, it's poo poo, not BM. They recommend this b/c they say she will have to relearn these terms when she is older and it can confuse. Maybe I am juvenile and I hang out with juveniles, but I have never heard anyone tell me that they have to do a BM. Thanks for sharing! Too much information. I use "go to the bathroom" as a general term and so does everyone else I know.]
  • After a good 15 minutes on the potty, Chloe decides to get up and refuses her diaper and/or pull up. Ok, fine, I'll let her run bare bottom (a book recommendation and we have wood floors, no carpet to clean so it wipes up easily). She is happy and I am ok with that.
  • We head downstairs when I hear "Mommy, Lizzie (the dog) pee-peed."
  • I say, "Lizzie pee-peed or Chloe pee-peed?"
  • "No, Lizzie pee-peed in the yard!" she says.
  • "Yes, Lizzie pee pees in the yard," I respond, looking down at the step and seeing Chloe standing in liquid. "Chloe, did you pee-pee?"
  • "Yes," she says, "wipe it off!"
  • So, I do and we head back downstairs, Chloe bare-bottomed and pleased with herself. She begins to sing a potty song which goes: "My potty, my potty, go pee-pee in the potty. NO! Get sticker if pee pee in the potty, my potty, Chloe's potty." Truly she is a budding song writer, but the "NO" mid-song has me concerned.

We discovered this morning that Chloe is serious about "no more diapers" because she had a complete meltdown this morning as we tried to put one on her. It took Matt and me holding her to put on her pull up. She screamed and cried the entire time. We would have let her go without anything on, but we were going to the train station and I didn't want people to question why our 2 year old had on a top and no bottoms. Also, I was just plain lazy and didn't want to have to wash her car seat if there was an accident.

It looks like this potty training journey is going to be full of excitement.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 No comments

Before: Chloe is smiling for the camera. Posted by Picasa

After: Chloe's face after the question, "Do you want to take a nap?". Posted by Picasa

Chloe pouting during her photo shoot. Posted by Picasa

Weirdness Insues

Chloe had her first playdate since we moved. We met another family who used our adoption agency and live in our town. Their daughter is 3. Chloe had fun playing with stickers, blowing bubbles and watching a Barbie princess movie. We are going to have another playdate at our house next week. We are hoping to organize a playgroup in our area for pre-school aged children adopted from China. Most of the activities for our FCC group are geared for older children (over 6 years old), so for those of us with toddlers, there seems little for us to do. Hopefully we can change all that and get some more people with younger children involved and set up playgroups and other activites.

Like clockwork, Chloe has been waking up crying and yelling, "Mommy hold you" for the last 7 nights. It is always between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. that she wakes. We have been putting her in bed with us as she becomes increasingly upset if you try to put her back in her crib. We had pondered what could be waking/frightening her. Last night, we discovered she just likes sleeping with mommy and daddy as I tried to put her back in her crib and she screamed, "NO, NO, sleep with you bed." Once we put her in our bed she is as happy as a lark. What have we done?

We have had a running joke for the last week that we have a garbage poltergeist in the house. We have a hidden trash can that looks like a cabinet in the kitchen and pulls out. For no apparent reason, it will slide open and it is never when you are in the kitchen near it. You will throw something away, close the trash, turn around and tend to something on the stove and next time you look, it will be open. We have tried adjusting the bins and rollers but it still does it. I guess the trash can wasn't enough for our little poltergeist as it decided to move to our laundry room. Twice now, our giant, 48 load liquid detergent has fallen from the shelf to the floor, spilling its entire contents over the laundry room floor. It fills the entire floor and is a complete pain to clean up. After the first time it happened, we could explain that the washer shook it off the shelf when it when to spin cycle. The second, which was yesterday, proved that the "safe" location we move the detergent to was not so safe after all. Lucky for me, my darling husband was working from home and he cleaned up the laundry room.

We got Chloe's photos on-line from JC Penney. I posted the one where she is not so happy. I think it is cute and funny. I am also posting photos of Chloe making faces. Yesterday during lunch I asked her if she was ready for a nap and she kept making a face. I thought it was hysterical. Everytime I would say the word "nap" she would pull this face.

Budding Artist

Sunday, August 06, 2006 1 comment

I took Chloe to have some photos made at JC Penney last week. I kind of skipped her 2nd birthday photos, so I had to make up for it. We practiced all morning on our smile and what we should do in front of the camera. She did really home. Once we arrived at the portrait studio I could tell Chloe thought the photographer was a nut job and wasn't going to cooperate. It was all "hold you, hold me, mommy" and in between that, Chloe just kept staring at her and giving her the "stink eye". When the photographer asked her to smile, Chloe replied, "NO!" (of course) and then stuck out her bottom lip. I purchased the photo. It's going to be put in Chloe's yearbook or school newspaper her senior year of high school. I'm buying the ad and putting this photo in. It's classic Chloe. Besides that, we managed to get about 6 good shots of the day. It'll do.

During our hot weather spell, Chloe and I painted. She had the basic idea, but not entirely. She would take the paint brush out of the cup of water and run it along her paper. She never dipped it in any paint. I kept trying to show her, but she just enjoyed painting with water. She helped me make a portrait of flowers, of course, she helped wipe off and dilute the paint because she was painting with water .Whatever floats your boat.

The heat wave seems to be over (for now) and the weather is really nice. Chloe and I have been going back to the park and playground. We actually got to enjoy our patio again.

Chloe and I want to send a shout out to all of our pals and cousins in Texas who are back at school. We have another month here before school re-opens. I can't believe it is already time to go back. In September, Chloe and I will be taking a pre, pre-school class. It is 1 day a week and is set in a pre-school setting. It allows pre-schoolers to check out the pre-school environment with their parent in tow. Should be fun. We will see if my teaching instincts come back and I push the teacher out of the way and take over. DOUBTFUL.