Sunday, August 30, 2009

Three Word Sunday

We were waiting for Daddy on Saturday morning to lock up the house and head to the truck. AA and I discussed where Daddy was and how I needed some new pictures of her. She cooperated fairly well.
I liked the colors of this top, found at Target, on sale, she looks great in lighter colors especially yellow. Her L.L. Bean pink stretch shorts with side pockets matched perfectly and she is wearing her new "pre-school" sneakers (I just felt like a fashion runway announcer!). We were heading to a bowling alley in St. Augustine to meet up with the kids and the grands; we all needed socks so had her wear her sneakers. We very RARELY have on anything like socks... usually flip-flops!
Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Lion Of The Senate

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
Edward Moore Kennedy
February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009

We bid you peace.

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Day at Preschool

AA enjoyed her first day of preschool (3 year olds). We have her signed up to go twice a week.
She cried a little when Daddy left, but her teacher said that after a few minutes of sitting in her lap, AA was up and playing with all the new toys at the school.
I went to work. I was at work and missed all the wonderful "firsts". What a suck Mom I am! BUT, Daddy was very good to remember to take before pictures; leaving the house for school (we were told to dress her in play clothes).

AA checked out the school room before Daddy left her there for the day (9:30-1:30).

We are pleased that there are only six kids in a classroom with the teacher. And, AA was successful giving the "sign" to her teacher when she needed to use the potty - so no problem there!

The schedule for the month shows lots of learning time for shapes, alphabet, colors (crayon time to color) along with a science topic (fruits is a science topic?), book and story time plus a special prayer each week. This week she is learning to say: Father, We thank you for our hearts, legs and arms and for our good food. AMEN! She brought home a cut out heart to show us.

Daddy said she lit up with a huge, bright smile; so very excited when she saw him coming to pick her up! She was ready with book bag, pictures and projects she had completed. Wow, what a relief. I was stressed!

Now, will she get upset going back for her second day knowing that Daddy is leaving her again? We shall see..... Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Life Moments

I remember this eulogy.

I remember listening to the words of a grieving brother and the impact his words made on a young kid from Missouri sitting in front of the TV set. And while some will find celebration in the silencing of this voice, most will give rise to finding the good in the person and the good they sought to do for others.
My prayers to the family.

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Mr. President:

On behalf of Mrs. Kennedy, her children, the parents and sisters of Robert Kennedy, I want to express what we feel to those who mourn with us today in this Cathedral and around the world.

We loved him as a brother, and as a father, and as a son. From his parents, and from his older brothers and sisters -- Joe and Kathleen and Jack -- he received an inspiration which he passed on to all of us. He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in time of uncertainty, and sharing in time of happiness. He will always be by our side.

Love is not an easy feeling to put into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust, or joy. But he was all of these. He loved life completely and he lived it intensely.

A few years back, Robert Kennedy wrote some words about his own father which expresses [sic] the way we in his family felt about him. He said of what his father meant to him, and I quote: "What it really all adds up to is love -- not love as it is described with such facility in popular magazines, but the kind of love that is affection and respect, order and encouragement, and support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real love is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not help but profit from it." And he continued, "Beneath it all, he has tried to engender a social conscience. There were wrongs which needed attention. There were people who were poor and needed help. And we have a responsibility to them and to this country. Through no virtues and accomplishments of our own, we have been fortunate enough to be born in the United States under the most comfortable conditions. We, therefore, have a responsibility to others who are less well off."

That is what Robert Kennedy was given. What he leaves to us is what he said, what he did, and what he stood for. A speech he made to the young people of South Africa on their Day of Affirmation in 1966 sums it up the best, and I would like to read it now:

"There is discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments repress their people; millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils, but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility towards the suffering of our fellows. But we can perhaps remember -- even if only for a time -- that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek -- as we do -- nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men. And surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again. The answer is to rely on youth -- not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to the obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger that come with even the most peaceful progress.

It is a revolutionary world we live in, and this generation at home and around the world has had thrust upon it a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived. Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation; a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth; a young woman reclaimed the territory of France; and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the 32 year-old Thomas Jefferson who [pro]claimed that "all men are created equal."

These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.

For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged, and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that event.

The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society. Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live."

That is the way he lived. That is what he leaves us.

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Official!! Congratulations!!

Great news in our family! Our lovely Nicole is engaged!
She is our son and daughter's sister! She is all about the "family" and we are so proud of her!

Congratulations to Nicole and beau Jordan!!

We now all anxiously await the announcement of the wedding date... sometime in 2010.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Three Word Sunday - Attachment to Dolly

For us, when discussing AA's attachment progress, we always come back to her "abandonment". We have talked about the use of the word abandonment several times, ultimately deciding we will forgo its use.
Realities being what they are, we questioned what true good would be served other than to make AA feel worse about the fact that she really was left alone, hopefully, with the intent of someone finding her. And in our case, without going into detail, we know that this was the case with Alyzabeth. It was very much intended for her to be found.
I decided again to do more research (update what we knew from our "waiting years") about this as we will all face it at some point with our daughters. I always find ideas and places to begin my search from "Sunday Linkage" topics that Tongginator's Mommy links to.

This article calls the adoption and loss/abandonment issues "ambiguous loss" which has many symptoms.
This article is about describing and defining what abandonment means to adoptees. Self-esteem and the child's sense of their place in this world all shape their world that we don't understand. How can we? We have a home, a childhood, parents, a hometown......

From what I read, I don't know if I would be able to tell the difference from an adoptees abandonment feelings and some "normal" feeling of a certain age group... from pre-teen through college age. Many teens, me being one, had many of these feelings as I was faced with growing up. Social skills, avoidance, conflict and not feeling like I belonged with any one peer group. So how do we help our child with this anxiety?

We are going to use our family experiences to help AA as we have several people in our family who came to their parents by way of adoption, abandonment or a parent dying. We also will show them God's love and why we all feel like foreigners in our own land, about God's undying love, God's presence with us, that we are never alone. And WERE never alone even in those times of solitude.

Here's an article, that you may wish to excuse or ignore the title of the blog, but what she wrote speaks volumes about how we will never know our children's pain BUT we can be of help, s0me use to help her healing. This much anger must be helped. We will do everything in our power to help AA when we recognize the "hole" in her heart and how it manifests out to her actions. Possibly even RAD.

What is RAD - reactive attachment disorder? From articles I read, internationally adopted children seem to have this disorder at a significantly higher rate than the general population. Read this blog, starting with July 29, 2009 post for starters. If you need to learn more keep reading back in the archives as to how it all began (go to May 02, 2009, etc).

When AA starts asking why? about her "beginning" and when we say we don't know, how many more times will she ask why? We want her to be inquisitive. But how many times can we tell her that you were found on your birth day and taken to the Nanchuan orphanage where you were cared for by nannies and a loving lady director. We don't know what happened before that hour. We know she was found by a man at a certain time. That's it. We can tell her where she was found but that is probably not her birth place, her "home town". This is not your typical domestic case where you are trying to get birth records unsealed. There are none for AA!

Another reason why we are writing on this topic is that we are beginning to see some positive attachment changes in AA and are continuing to research information so that we will recognize signs that we need to intervene or change our parenting. Recently, AA, who had no interest in cuddling as she would wriggle and "fight" against us when we would hold her like a baby or lay her horizontally, except for sleep time. She now is interested in a "rock a bye baby" routine which allows us to hold her horizontally and cuddle while singing. She had no attachment to things, no doll or toy would interest her until a stuffed Elmo was given to her. She wouldn't cuddle him, but would carry him around and insist that he be by her side at meals and bedtime. But really, no outward affection being shown to Elmo. The big news? AA has taken a real interest in her "dolly", she carries her around; the difference from Elmo? She hugs Dolly, puts her down for a nap, holds her horizontally, puts her over her shoulder to pat her back and lots of hugging. She has interest in her Dolly as the Dolly's mommy. It is cute but also gratifying to see her love her Dolly.
Enjoy more 3WS posts over at PugMama.

If there is anything you have noticed that is a sign of good attachment or RAD, please feel free to share with us.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

With a Heart to Match

Isn't she precious? Granddaughter #1

Our son's daughter...... She's five years old.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Pause In What’s To Be

We both worked (FM is now retired) at the same place, a power plant, an electric generating facility with 270 employees. Most everyone was hired about the same time (late 1984 - early 1986) so we have all been together some 24+ years. We are like family. No, we are family. We know each other well, whether we socialize outside of work hours or not (and many do). We work together, solve problems, tease and banter and especially watch out for each other. Many are our neighbors.
We have lost three employees in six weeks. Sudden deaths. No warning. Rod, Burt and Ed. All three dedicated, long term employees.
The funeral tomorrow is for #3. Ed.
Last spring we lost two.

Losing an employee has a lasting effect on all of us. We miss them and wish them back.


Life is but a stopping place, a pause in what’s to be. A resting place along the road to sweet eternity. We all have different journeys, different paths along the way. We all were meant to learn some things but never meant to stay

Our destination is a place far greater than we know. For some, the journeys quicker, for some the journeys slow. And when the journey finally ends, we’ll claim a great reward. And find an everlasting peace, together with the Lord.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 17, 2009

Exercising Fun

AA and I go for a walk in the neighborhood when it is not too hot and not about to rain (which means we do not get outside much!). Latest "strolling" pictures; AA with her doll, both enjoying the exercise.

Leaving the house.....
Her new Nike sandals..... (on sale at Kohl's).....

We especially had fun zig-zagging across the double yellow line (no sidewalks in our neighborhood) which had us on high alert for any cars!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Here We Go - Get Out The Check List (3WS)

Three Word Sunday.....
It just takes a bit of the fun out of the tranquil, approaching end of summer.
Ah yes, hurricane season.
Here we go again...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Proof of the Hair Cut

We read and hear comments about AA's hair length; how long it is getting. We are letting the bangs grow out and we want some length so that pony tails or pig tails are in her hair-do repertoire.

This is her third haircut since last October (2008) and another inch came off. She is still very leery of anything new; doing anything for the first time but this trip to see Uncle Zack, she chatted (from what I understood) all about getting her hair done!

I did not post the pictures where AA was a bit apprehensive when the spray water bottle came out and when she couldn't see what Uncle Zack was doing (which was half the time!). Overall, she did a great job, much more relaxed and Uncle Zack heaped on the praises!

The final hair drying and touch up trimming:

She was a good sport and at home, she continues to talk all about getting her hair done (with the iPhone in her lap....). Maybe you can see the difference in length from this past Monday's (the 10th) post pictures.

(below is her "I don't want you to take anymore pictures of me... "cheese" look"):

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One Year Ago - August 12, 2008

August 13, 2009 UPDATE:
China is matching! A special friend of ours will be getting her Referral any day now. The feeling is indescribable and she has Waited so long for this day to come. Our hopes, thoughts and prayers are with you Catherine!!

Has it really been a year already?!?

To describe this day would be futile, but I am going to try. Rereading our posts a year ago, we didn't write a lot of details. Of course we were in a state of mind that had us both blubbering and babbling all day, well into the late night hours.

We knew we were driving to Orlando instead of taking the referral "call". We had saved three different versions of the "call" form, a sort of checklist to write down what you hear during the call. It helps later, as you realize you were so excited that you forgot your daughters name and province! I did take a copy with me so that I could still have the memory of writing it all down. In the end, I didn't complete it as we had most of the papers in front of us.... actually in our hands.

We dreamed about having a video of the call, now to be at our agency's office. We knew it would never top Karen's video of her driving in her car while video taping her hysterics of joy as she learns about her new little daughter Gwen. But we wanted it of us, the pretty calm, older than dirt couple, hearing all about our daughter's whereabouts and especially her date of birth. We were prepared for a three year old; should we dare hope for a baby?
If you have been through this you know all the weird thoughts that can pop into your head even though all along you knew you were going to be so excited as the daughter who was in your heart, was now yours! Our time had come, AA was on the way to completing our family.

My DH videoed us leaving the house, getting into the truck, leaving our neighborhood, getting the flat tire, talking to Cat while in route, etc..... We made it to the agency office with two cheesecakes in tow (I promised some sweet treat for the appointment, I actually thought it might help them decide to let us come to the office; but they seemed sincerely thrilled that they could do one of these referral "calls" in person). As it turned out, they had another couple doing the same thing that afternoon.
The agency staff was so nice, we were nervous from the excitement and also tired as we had barely slept the two nights previous.
We sat in a conference room, they kindly used our video camera to capture the surprised look (and the tears) as we first saw Nan Min Hua's photo.

I don't think we posted the video of that MOMENT. DH was going to edit it and add photos so we would have a memory to share with AA some day; show her our excitement and love for her long before we held her. I don't think the final video was ever edited..... Something about a second round of paper chasing so that we could get on a plane and spend 16 days in China took our full attention. And get this, from the referral day to getting on that plane..... only 30 days. Who, but our agency, could do something like that? We follow a lot of blogs, and many families who got their referral in July 2008 traveled after us. Many who got their referral in August didn't travel until November. We were back from China with our daughter on September 27th, 2008. Talk about slow down to a crawl, then move into warp speed so fast, we were going in so many directions, never catching our breath and certainly not catching up on our sleep!

So referral day went well, from posting AA's picture on the blog, to meeting with these friends, to driving to our daughter's house where the family waited to celebrate the great news. Our daughter and SIL, recorded a song to remember the day, so sweet, we will never forget "I Will". When we arrived home, we were so excited knowing that more information would be arriving the next day and the FedEx driver would be our hero.
Life just doesn't get any better, I know you all understand the flush of love for your children and the journey you took to reach them.
We look forward to celebrating many more of these joyous days with our March 2006 LID friends. And the countless others in blog world that shared and continue to share this incredible journey, each step along the way.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Playing in Pink

This weeks photos of AA; she keeps moving and playing (on the floor this time) when Mommy wants some new photos!
Just when I am about to give up she stands still for a moment and finally gives that smile....

(Am I obsessed with dressing her in lots of pink?)

Don't you just love the mosquito bite? Did it have to be in the very center of her forehead! :)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Three Word Sunday - Dora, Dora, Dora!!

So much for Elmo, he just doesn't bring the extra, extra, special sparkle to AA's eyes like Dora does now.
Elmo still naps and goes night-night with AA, but during the day he is left precariously perched on her desk or piled in with other ignored toys.
We (as in Mommy and AA - without the SAHP) went shopping to buy a book for the children's book swap (read over at Kim's blog: if you have ideas for swaps, Kim will organize!) and AA kept pointing and jabbering about the Dora book.
This is no ordinary book...... it comes with a gadget that has 20 recorded songs. Now we can enjoy the various Dora theme songs anytime of the day!

(don't tell AA, but I saw a similar book with Elmo on it...)

Inside the book, along with the story pictures, it has the symbol of the song that can be dialed in on the recorder and played along. Some are the standard nursery rhymes and a few are the Dora songs. A bit pricey, but how could I refuse!

What children's books have you enjoyed with your children?