Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One Year Anniversary Extravaganza

Well, it seems strange to be posting this, it simply doesn't seem like a year has gone by, but it has. On November 23rd 2009 a bus full of us were on our way to to meet our new children for the first time. We had been touring Beijing and socializing with many of the families in the group, but this was the day that everyone was here for. We had heard many stories about how the process went as far as getting the children. Sometimes they have all the families wait and go through each child one at a time calling names. I wasn't excited about that, as it would have been just an additional nervous step to wait through. The thing about Chinese adoptions is that none of them are the same. The guides didn't even really know how it was going to happen, so they just give you some vague idea of what to expect. When our bus pulled up, we could see nannies and children already inside, and one of the parents recognized her child before we even got off the bus. It was almost like a dream getting off and walking into the building thinking, "I'm about to see my new child". Honestly I don't remember the specifics, but I do recall a team of people walking in with Ying, and Robyn and I saw her and knew it was her. There was no formal name calling or lines, I think we just went up and asked if this was 'Dang Ying'. At that point the caretakers started pulling out the picture books and showing her our pictures and saying and pointing 'mama' and 'baba'. Ying couldn't care less. I remember, she had a big rice crispie treat that she was eating and was just looking around a bit. The caretakers has bags full of things for us, food, snacks, clothes, blankets, and even a scrapbook they had put together. I don't think she even cried. I swung her in my arms a little bit and got a smile. Her caretakers hung around, and we spoke to them a bit about her, finding out what she was called, and ate, and activities, etc. Our Chinese was horrible, and we were nervous/excited, but we got the basics. I didn't get upset until I saw the nannies crying as they were trying to leave. They were huddled around the corner by the hallway they had entered from, peaking around and watching us. We felt so bad for them because we knew that this was their little baby. They had cared for her for 2 years, since she was a tiny infant, and now she was leaving them to go with her new family.

We hung around a while, finishing some paperwork/signatures, and meeting some of the other families kids, its all such a blur. We finally got on the bus, and Ying fell asleep. She was SO good, it was amazing. We expected the worst, and got the best. We knew she would grieve eventually, but that first day was great. Some of the other families had it much much worse than we did. One family had a little girl that cried for, what seemed like, a week straight. I never saw the poor kid when she wasn't just balling her eyes out. Ying cried when she woke up mostly. She did have a few points where she would just break down and cry, and it was terrible, but it was expected and we were happy that she was doing it. She initially didn't want to have anything to do with mommy. At first I liked it, I got to play, cuddle, etc. Eventually it got really annoying that I couldn't go do anything alone. Ying would simply FLIP OUT if I wasn't around, or if mommy even so much as pushed her stroller. I remember she would pitch a fit and wave her hand 'no' when Robyn would do anything for her. 

We spent 2009 Thanksgiving at an Italian restaurant in a Chinese hotel. Yea, take that 'tradition'! I kept having flashes of the 'A Christmas Story' movie while we were eating. Our family actually had a Thanksgiving celebration before we left, so we weren't totally cheated, but it was still strange to do the actual holiday in China. The hotel made a turkey dinner for all the Americans, but it still had quite a twist to it. 

Overall, its been an amazing journey. We started this process expecting that we wouldn't actually be adopting until 2010 or 2011, and our kids would be spaced out a bit more than 5 months. Here is a quick timeline.

02-15-08 : Submitted application to adoption agency
04-10-09 : We get our application logged into China
04-13-09 : We enroll in the special needs program
06-04-09 : We got Ying's referral 
11-18-09 : Leave for China
12-04-09 : Come home

We had to wait until 08/2008 before we could finalize paperwork, because we had to all be 30 years old to submit the packet, and the paperwork takes forever, but we still flew through the process. The special needs program doesn't take as long, and its a great GREAT thing to be involved in. Many people shy away from it because of what it could involve. Its not an easy choice at all, you have to be ready to expect anything, but it was completely worth it. If you have questions, or friends/family with question about the process or anything feel free to refer them to us. We are pretty straight forward about the whole process, :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A year already??

Well, this time last year we were freaking the eff out packing bags and getting ready to go to China. The whole thing still seems insane to me to be honest. Fly around the world to pick up a child you've only seen pictures, very few pictures, and have some documents that could, or could not be completely accurate. If you ever need to be involved in a process that is extremely long, stressful, and surreal, go through a Chinese adoption. Honestly you kind of feel like you are on drugs during the process. There are so many highs and lows that you wait for, and every step is a more stressful step/wait with a bigger rush when you hit your progression marks. I'll write up more about the adoption next week, as that will be our 1 year 'Gotcha Day' mark.

We have our social worker come out this week for our 1 year review, hoping that goes quickly. I think we get back some deposit from our adoption agency after that is all done, and money is always good to get!

Not much else going on, its started to get cold here finally, so a soup meal felt appropriate. Every so often I will ask the kids what they want for dinner, and the answer isn't fast food, or chicken nuggets. Last week they opted for soup. Matt loves Bacon Bean soup, and since mixing the contents of the can with a can of water are not what I consider cooking, I also made grilled cheese. I love to experiment with the kids to see what they will go for.

Here they are, awaiting the 'ok' to start eating. We had 3 different recipes we went with. 1st was regular bread buttered with cheese. 2nd, we went with that, plus almond/peanut butter. 3rd, we went with a cheese, apple, cinnamon and sugar combo. I just grilled them in the skillet for a few mins each to seal them up. Matt liked the regular one, and the apple one, but he kind of freaked out about the almond butter one. I tried it, it was pretty tasty, but he wouldn't touch it after the initial micro-bite. Ying liked the regular one, and I think after that she tried some of the apple one, but mainly focused on the soup. They were all 3 pretty good, but I'm sure my attempts to expose them to something a bit different were lost on my audience. At least it wasn't chicken nuggets, :P

Thursday, November 11, 2010

*The* Long Update

So I've been putting off the update here for no good reason, but I need to do one now, because after the holidays crank up, I doubt I will get any in. So here we goooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Last post we had done the Disney on Ice thing, and that was just the pre-Disney treat. I didn't post when we were going on here, drives me crazy when people post things on blogs or facebook with specific times that they will be gone. "Please rob my house between these dates, k thanks!'

So we did Disney in October. This was Ying's first trip, and Matt's 2nd. We are Disney freaks, and go almost every year. We will be back next year in Oct/Nov more than likely, so come and join us! We stayed at the Beach Club Villas which I love. We go during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and you can walk from our resort to Epcot in about 5-10 minutes. Basically Epcot has several stands setup serving foods from different countries. Its a really awesome way to get to taste some foods you may not have the chance to try, or maybe you don't want to take the gamble on an entire meal that you may not like. The serving sizes are small, but sufficient to get a good taste. We went the same time last year, and didn't stop at any of the stands because we had a few toddlers with us, and I was totally kicking myself for it. So this year I made a point of it, and mapped out the countries I wanted to hit up. I got to try some escargot in France,  and it was really good, and New Zealand had an amazing lamb slider, but I think the lobster roll was my top pick. They also do desert and beer/wine/cocktails for most countries too, so I got to try lots of beer!

We flew in on a Sunday and just relaxed the first day for the most part. We had a decent size group that was assembling for this trip, so we basically hung out at the resort and got the room setup while we waited for the rest of our party to arrive. The first night there we had reservations at Chef Mickeys. We've done this meal before, its pretty nice. The food is a buffet, and the basic Disney characters come around to each table and do the meet and greet thing. Ying wasn't real sure about it intilally, but when she saw Mickey she yelled "MOUSE!!" and it was all over from there. She loved it! She got to see all the characters, and even started getting down from her chair and getting hugs and pictures taken on her own.

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It was a good way to start the trip, and we were happy that she wasn't scared of the characters. She was definitely on Mickey Mouse overload the rest of the trip.

The next day we hit up the Magic Kingdom because we had breakfast reservations. Our reservations were before the park actually opened, which is awesome because you can get in and see the castle and Main street with VERY few people. So we walked in and got to see the castle, which Matt 'showed' to Ying. They were both very excited about it.
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Our breakfast was at the Crystal Palace, and its a character meal with Winnie the Pooh and friends. The breakfast was actually pretty good, a buffet of course, but it had a very good variety to choose from. Although we don't watch much Winnie the pooh, the kids seemed to like it, and Ying was hopping down for hugs and pictures, while Matt had to be nudged a bit.
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After breakfast, we wandered a bit, and ended up at the Haunted Mansion. I took Ying, and she totally flipped out the whole ride. "MAAAAA MAAAAA!!!" Apparently she isn't find of the dark rides, which constitutes about 80% of the kids rides, as most of them are a bit dark with the black lights. So after we properly traumatized her we hit up some of the more friendly rides. They both LOVE the Dumbo rides, and the flying carpets. Matt was tall enough this year that he could go on some of the 'big boy' rides, and boy did he. He rode Splash Mt, and Thunder Railroad, and Test Track. He saw Tower of Terror the first day we went to Hollywood Studios, and begged to go on it. We tried to explain to him what it was, and that it was a bit scary. He still wanted to go, and continued to ask about it, reciting the things we had told him about it, and that it was 'scary, but fun'. So we decided to let him go on it for the very last part of the trip. The last day we were there, we asked again, and he was still adamant about going on it. He got measured a couple of times to ensure he met the height requirements, and then we got on the ride. There wasn't much of a wait, just the walk up to the ride. I tried to explain to him that there was a little show/story before the ride, and that I would be with him in case he got scared. As soon as we went up and got dropped I was expecting him to panic a bit, but he just sat there, taking it in. He loved it, and was very excited that he finally got to do it.

We had a decent size group with us, so we didn't have a ton of dining reservations, but the few we had were pretty good. We did a princess breakfast in Epcot this year, opting out of the Cinderella castle breakfast. The princesses weren't so great t obe honest. We were all a bit underwhelmed, but the breakfast was pretty good.  We also got to eat at Le Cellier in Epcot. This place is amazing, its the Canada restaurant, and they have a cheddar cheese soup that is amazing. Its one of my favorite items to eat at the parks, but the place is almost impossible to get reservations at. Our good friend Erica managed to get a spot for us, randomly checking for availability, YAY! This was the night we decided to ditch our kids in the resorts play center. I was a little worried about dropping them off, but they gave us a pager, and we were within walking distance to get back should we need to. The meal was great, and we got back to the kids and they were still awake and eating a snack. They had the kids do some little crafts, and do some coloring. I was surprised that they didn't just leave them in the room to play with toys and not burn the place down.

We also did a Grand Gathering event, which is for larger parties of 10+ people. The food was pretty blah, but they had a little singing and dancing thing for the kids, and even had some characters come out too.

We did get a nice private viewing area for the fireworks show too, which I thought was pretty nice. The kids enjoyed the fireworks, and we didn't have to camp out an hour in advance to get a good spot.

A bad highlight of the trip was my knee.

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It doesn't look so horrible here, but it was really pretty bad considering it started at a bug bite of some sort. I got to the point where I could barely walk on it because the wound was right over my joint, and REALLY swollen, and for a couple of nights I couldn't sleep because every time I would move I would wake up. The redness and swelling started moving down my leg to my ankle and I gave up and decided I needed to do something. We had a nurse in our party, and she basically said I needed to get some antibiotics. I ended up having a Doctor come out to the resort and meet me in the room. It wasn't cheap, but the service sent a Doctor out to the room at 10am one morning to take a look at me. It was actually pretty cool, he had a big case with him he brought in, that opened up like a tool box. It reminded me of the old west doctors who came in with their doctors bag. He hooked me up with some antibiotics pills that he prescribed right there in the room, as well as some bandages and ointment. It was really convenient and worth the price(~300 bucks), mainly because I didn't have to get a taxi to take me to an office or ER and wait for hours on end. I think money-wise I came out ahead. They also gave me all the paperwork to submit back to my insurance company to get reimbursed. Within 48 hours of taking the meds, I felt much much better, although I STILL have a band-aide on my knee, its almost all gone now.

Overall it was a pretty good trip, and our group had a good time. We even got to hookup with one of the families that we hungout with in China. It was REALLY awesome to get to see them and their son. Their son is younger, but he is also really small for his age like Ying. With our two toddlers, and their infant and toddler combination our schedules were hard to coordinate, since kids dictate that so heavily, but it was really cool to see another Henan kid again! It was strange being in China and finding another young family that were DVC(Disney Vacation Club) members. I told Robyn that it was odd how they have the same look about them. Yes, I know, both Chinese, but skin tones, and features are different based on region! :) They were also both cleft lip/palate babies, so it was interesting to compare notes on how they were doing.

Outside of the trip we are gearing up for the holidays. Halloween was good, and the kids got to dress up as Buzz and Jessie from Toy Story.

We only did a few houses, but they got more than enough candy. Our little town moved Halloween to Saturday, which in my opinion is stupid. We had a party that night, so we didn't participate anyways, but the next night, actual Halloween, we didn't have a single person come by. I was very surprised, and upset that I had an entire bucket of candy to get rid of.

We also start speech this week, FINALLY. We did several interviews and evaluations, and 2 months after we started she will finally get started. We are really pushing her to speak more, and try to put sentences together. She will attempt to cheat us many times, but we try to stay on her and make her use the words and sentences that she knows.

I think thats it, :) November will be busy and special for us. We are testing for a Chinese language certification in December, so I will be cramming Mandarin words and phrases for the next 3 weeks. I plan on failing, :( It will also mark our trip to China, and getting our little Ying monkey. We had Thanksgiving in China last year, which was REALLY REALLY strange to me. I'm going to try and get back on track as far as weekly updates go too. I had been avoiding this one because there was soooo much to put in, and I still skipped tons.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Disney appetizer and Dim Sum Sunday

We received an offer a couple months back from FedEx or our Visa card, I can't remember, but it was for Disney On Ice tickets. They were giving us a chance to 'BUY EARLY', which is funny, I fairly certain those shows don't sell out......ever. Anyways, I went ahead and confirmed with wifey and bought some tickets. We've never been to any type of kids show like this, and it would be a good pre-cursor to the D-world trip we will be taking in a few weeks. I hate Ticketmaster, and their website is pretty awful, but I ordered the tickets anyways. My wife hates it, but generally I pick things based on price. Highest price == BEST. So, thats what I bought, it said 'Rink-side' so I figured we'd go for that, and let the kids get a better view. We make our way downtown and get parked, its not too terribly busy, and we head into the Forum. We ask one of the ladies where our section is and she points us down a long stairway. We walk down and find the next lady, because we can't seem to find our seats. I initially thought we might be in the wrong section, but the usher flashed up down to her and took us down to the floor. When they said 'Rink Side' they weren't kidding. We literally sat on the floor, less than a foot from the ice. I was happy at this point, because I knew the characters would be right in our faces, and the kids would get a really good view. Matt was pretty mesmerized with it all, and enjoyed it. Ying on the other hand got scared during the first dance number, which was all the villains skating around. She started crying and wifey had to take her back behind our seats and let her calm down and talk to her a bit. After Minnie came out she was fine, so I'm hoping she won't freak out when we get to the parks and see the characters up close.  

Lighting wasn't so great, but you get the idea. She loved the ears, but they are kinda too big for her, :P

This weekend was pretty relaxed, and we hit up our new Chinese place for some Dim Sum. I wasn't sure how the kids would do with this, but they seemed to like it. Ying is pretty easy, if its not fried, she will likely try it out. She ate very well, and was asking for more things randomly. Waiters would run by with plates of things and ask if we wanted to try . We usually say yes, and our table its pretty full with random dishes by the time we leave. 

I was really surprised with Matt. The first thing they dropped off was some fried calamari. Usually when I get calamari is sort of like sliced rings, but these were pretty big, and appeared to be a small whole squid/octopus, or maybe it was just the tentacles. Either way, I told Matt what it was, and pulled off some of the batter so he could see the tentacles and suction cups. This is where being 3 years old kicks in, he basically said 'Oh, ok' and ate it. I was pretty amazed, as he is usually a bit picky. Now, it was fried and delicious, so I'm sure that helped, but he even asked for seconds. He did not care so much for the steamed dishes.

We sat right in front of the lobster/crab tank, so much of his meal was spent pointing at it and saying "Whats that in there daddy?"

Lastly, another 'being 3 years old' event. 
When she sleeps in her car seat, she always looks like a sniper has taken her out. This is her sleeping on her Disney Princess Something-that-makes-noise.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mooncakes and Roombas

I'm a big geek, so of course I bought a Roomba a while back. Then I bought another one, :) For a really long time I didn't bother running them because toys were usually EVERYWHERE in the morning, or we didn't want to hear them whirring around. Lately we have kept up with the toy explosions, and everyday Matt asks to turn on the Roombas. The strange thing is, he is sort of terrified of them. He won't turn them on, and the floor turns to hot lava which he can't stay on, so he spends a lot of time on the couch or in a chair yelling at them to clean. Still, the last several days he has asked to turn them on. Ying couldn't care less, she will go over and unplug them and hit the start buttons and co-exists with them. They bump into her and she doesn't really pay any attention to them at all. Of course today as soon as we walk in the house "LETS TURN ON ROOMBA!". So as I write this, there are two of the guys running the downstairs gambit that is our house. They actually work for what I wanted them, which was dog hair that gathered along the perimeter of the rooms.

Last Friday we went to a new Chinese place for dinner. I mainly wanted to see if the had dim sum, which they do, but they only serve it until about 3:30pm. Real Chinese places have 2 menus. A menu for the Americans, which is all the general sweet and sour fried rice basics. In my opinion its usually pretty boring food for the most part. Most of the time you have to ask for the second menu, and if the place is REALLY hardcore, the menu is in Mandarin, in which case I'm screwed, :)  Anyways, we sat down, and I had on a t-shirt that I got in China that is a very well known propaganda poster-boy for Chinese communism. Oh yea, and we also had a Chinese kid with us. Either way they waiter brought us out both menus. I was pretty happy about it. The food was good, and wifey even ventured past 'chicken fried rice' and got Bacon/Raisin/Cucumber/Pineapple fried rice.

It was pretty interesting, and the kids seemed to like it ok. 

We also hit up the Asian market to get some moon cakes. This was the first time we were going to officially observe the Moon Festival, and we figured the kids would love to do it. We bought the cakes, which they had tons to choose from. I was surprised how nice looking the packaging and cakes were.

We went outside after dinner and let the kids take the box out and get it ready to eat. I wasn't sure Matt would go for the cakes, he is a little picky, and especially since Chinese 'deserts' are not really sweet compared to ours. We got them unwrapped, and as you can see they are pretty big. Packed full of calories too, per the label. Each cake was 6 servings at 202 calories each serving! They are quite heavy and dense. Both of the monkeys seemed to like them though.

They had a blast, it was dark, they had treats, and ran around acting goofy. Afterwards we went upstairs and got pajama'd and attempted to read Chang'e and Hou Yi, a cute traditional story about the moon. Neither of the, wanted to sit through it really, and it lacked in pictures, so we zipped through it and put them to bed. Maybe next year, :P

Lastly, because I can, here is a pre-school morning with daddy, its business casual day.

Note the pinky finger, its all about etiquette with pancake-on-a-stick. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crazy Kids

I know this will sound bias since I work at FedEx, but I LOVE to see our planes flying in the air. It just seems cool to me. Our complex is under a regular air route I guess because they are flying over all day. Thats my plug for work I suppose.

We may have a problem with stuffed animals. Part of that starts with Mom and Dad. I maintain its mainly Mom, and not me, but she will probably disagree. Matt and Ying both have a TON of these things. Matt always had a little bear blanket that he slept with as a baby/toddler. He used to require it to sleep, but not so much these days. He doesn't seem to have a clear favorite any longer, it fluctuates throughout the day. Usually the only one he 'needs' is the one single animal that is at the grandparents house or in the car. He keeps up with his inventory pretty well. Within the last couple of weeks he has started filling his bed at night with these critters. He used to wander into our room in the mornings with a few(2-5) friends that he had been sleeping with, but not any more. His entire entourage of plushie goodness has to come with him now.

The last few days the above is what rolls into our bedroom. Its a little creepy too, because the wheel has an eerie squeak when he is coming to our room. He was initially wanting to transplant them all into our bed to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but we talked him into just leaving them in the party wagon. Ying usually just drags in her Minnie Mouse or her newly acquired Hello Kitty frog, Keroppi Hasunoue.


This is the worlds greatest dog. My wife will be happy I said that. Kyla is EXTREMELY patient with the kids. She doesn't get enough attention from us any more, due to chasing the kids. The kids freaking love her though. The other dog, Mishka, simply comes inside and hides from them, as she is a little older, and doesn't want to deal with all the 'love' that the kids want to give her. The kids are constantly messing with Kyla. Matt loves to chase her around the house with the baby stroller, or the laundry basket. He falls down laughing hysterically when she is barking and takes the basket/stroller from him.  On top of all that, our yard guy, and pest control people are terrified of her because she has a very mean bark and is fairly protective of the house/yard area, although we've never seen her nip/bite anyone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yin and Yang AKA Matt and Ying

Our kids are crazy. There, I said it. Nothing in particular set that off, its just the case a lot of the time, :P

We had a good week, and a good holiday weekend. Friday night after Chinese class Matt specifically asked to go to Cracker Barrel. We have no idea why. We don't go there very often, and they don't have anything he LOVES to eat, not that we could think of. I tried to get him to wait until Saturday morning and told him we could do breakfast, but he was quite set on dinner. "No, lets go now." I didn't want to waste one of my 'eat terrible food' meals there, but he never asks for anything in the way of food, so we went. It was nice, he and sister were pretty good, and since I had blown my calorie count for the day we even went to Dairy Queen afterwards!(I sound like a woman, great)

Saturday we went to the Botanic Gardens for the first time, and both kids LOVED it. They have the typical flower/plant/tree areas of course, and the kids were ok with that, running around and having fun. There is a Japanese garden that has a big pond with Koi in it. They REALLY liked the fish, and when the fish see you come up to certain areas of the pond they will swarm because they think you have food. I was extremely worried that one of them would fall in. Well, let me clarify that. I was worried Ying would fall in, and I was worried Matt would simply get in on his own. The gardens also has an area called "The Big Backyard" which is several areas for the kids to play in. There were some slides, and some little play houses, and instruments to bang on, so of course the kids were all about it. There is even a little area by a pond that 'rains' every 30 minutes or so. Thunder and lightning noises play for a few seconds and then the misters and sprinklers spray for a couple of minutes. Matt was running around wild, and laid doing at one point, I guess to get the full impact of the rain. Ying had her ear plugs in, and was a little more cautious about it. She would get in for a second, and then run back out to the perimeter and watch. For dinner we left and hit up TGIF for dinner. The kids were absolutely exhausted, I LOVE when they look tired. There were some power naps taken on the way to Fridays, but when presented with food they were ready to go. Matt immediately was excied seeing where we were. He is like a little tour guide, pointing out EVERYTHING we drive past. "Thats Walgreens, the car wash place is over there, my doctor is over there." He has his mother's sense of direction, as I can barely find my way out of the neighborhood.

Here is how our meal worked, and pretty much, this is how EVERY meal works. Matt gets chicken strips, and Ying gets a hamburger. She hates fried foods. Matt won't try anything new, exclaiming "I don't like it!" before he even tastes it. Ying will try just about anything. Matt we have to ration his chicken to make sure he eats some vegetables or whatever side he has. Ying, we have to ration the vegetables and make her eat the protein. Robyn got a tomato and mozzarella side and Ying went crazy for that. We had to bargain bites of the burger for bites of tomato. Her meal came with oranges, but as soon as the guy brought them out I snagged them because thats all she would want. I suppose its kind of retarded, I feel like we are making her eat bad sometimes, because she would happily eat fruit/vegetables all day and never touch anything else.

As much as they are opposites on food, the same thing for sleeping. Ying will go to bed at 7:30pm every night if we put her down. Matt on the other hand stays up, and up, and up. Its driving is mad. Last night I told him he could come downstairs and watch Dr.Who with me while I did some treadmill time. He said "I don't like Dr. Who, lets watch netflix Blues Clues.", to which I told him that this was mommy and daddy tv time, and Dr. Who was the show. He laid on the couch with Robyn and went to sleep about 9pm, which is usually about as early as he turns in. The treadmill rhythm may have helped, or maybe the show was boring, but he went to sleep. Ying usually wakes up every day by 8am if we aren't getting up earlier. The strange thing about her, she still will not get out of her bed after naptime or in the morning. We aren't sure why, and its not due to the fact that she can't get out. If we open her door, she is all smiles, and "Hey!" and jumps right out. Even seeing us open the door doesn't have have anything to do with it, we open their doors when we wake up in the morning, and let them wake up on their own. Ying will usually come strolling in with her stuff cat, all smiles and "HEY!". Yesterday she was crying and I went in to get her and she was freaking out and point to her pants and saying "POTTY POTTY". She apparently had a very little accident and was upset, but she still wouldn't get out of her bed. Matt tends to sleep in, and will get up randomly and has no issues opening his door. This morning he came and got in bed with us at 5:30am, lol.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Random awesome thing

Robyn asked the kids which car they wanted to take this morning, and of course they picked the sports car. So when we left the neighborhood I floored it for them. They looked at each other and both started smiling and then cheering. It was awesome to see them looking at each other for confirmation that this was fun/exciting, lol.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And the pics

We uploaded a ton of Birthday pics to the flickr site. Even got some of our Build-a-bear pictures in there. It was strange, when we got there Ying immediately ran to the Hello Kitty section of the store and started going through those. She ended up with the Hello Kitty Frog.


Just a few, here is the whole load,

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Birthday Event

Today is Ying's 3rd birthday. We had her birthday party yesterday at Pump-it-up. The kids had an extremely good time. Matt of course hit the ground running and did everything he could for the whole hour. Ying was a little more reserved initially, but her cousins drug her around the area and she started getting into it. By the end she was going through the obstacle course by herself pretty well. I have not put the pics on the computer yet, so nothing to post here, :( I should get some put up tomorrow hopefully. We had about 40 people at the party yesterday, pizza and cake after the playtime was nice, and she got tons of presents. She was very into that, and Matt was exceptionally good during the process. I was afraid he may not behave when he saw all the presents he wasn't getting, but he was excited and acted great. I talked with him about it before the party to let him know these were sister's presents, and she would be opening them all, but when we got home they were all going to get to roll around on the ground and play with everything.

Today is her actual birthday, we didn't even take her presents to the party yesterday because we knew she would have enough to do with the guests gifts. Robyn has started the tradition of doing a Build-a-bear on their actual birthdays. So we have done that with Matt a couple of times, and now Ying will be going today for her first time. I'm sure she will love it, afterwards we will go home and do the cake/gifts thing.

Other news! Ying and I went to our local elementary school Friday to get started on her speech therapy. They attempted a hearing test, which we had already had about 6 of at the ENT. They weren't able to get the headphones to stay on her, and she got bored. The lady looked at me and just said "She can hear right?", and I assured her that she could, lol. There were 2 therapists there, and one of them seemed to be Chinese. I didn't ask, but she did make reference to the fact that Ying looked like she was 'northern Chinese' so I just assumed she probably was. I love filling out forms for Ying BTW. Its so easy, most of it I get to leave blank because we don't know anything about her birth, or early developmental stages. :P The evaluation didn't take long, and they wanted to review the formal evaluation that we had already done, because it would meet the requirements that they needed to start scheduling regular sessions. The main instructor was very surprised how receptive she was to them, and seemed a bit amazed that she had picked up as mush of the language as she has. We should start doing 2 times a week for about an hour a day when we start. I'm hoping this will get us on the right track and provide us with some exercises we can do with her to help move the process along.

I will try to post the B-Day adventure pics tomorrow, :P

Monday, August 23, 2010

Adoptiversary....Its a word now!

Tomorrow will mark the 9 month milestone of our little Ying joining our family. This isn't a major milestone, but it helps put into perspective how far she has come in such a short period of time. Adoption folks have a few events they celebrate outside the normal birthday, and holidays. 'Gotcha Day' is a big one, and for us it was November 24, 2009. I'm sure our family will always remember that day now, it was an awesome day. We were very nervous and excited to see this kid we'd only heard about, and seen pictures of. It was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. Even with the information we had on this little monkey, there was no way to know if everything was accurate, or if there would be further issues to deal with. For us, there weren't, it was perfect, she was exactly what we were expecting, and more. She is also turning 3 this month, her birthday party is on the 29th, and her actual birthday will be on the 30th. This will be her first birthday with us. All we had last year were pics of the cake and gifts we sent to the orphanage. This year we get to take the pics and send them to China. I'm sure all her caretakers back in China will love to see more pics of their little Ying. The other date that is often marked is the day when you exceed the time spent with your forever family vs being in an orphanage with caretakers. Not a huge deal, but many people celebrate this date. Ying still has about 2 years left until she hits that mark, I can't imagine what she will even be like by then, :)

As stated above, after next Mondays birthday we will have a set of 3 year olds in the house. At 3 we are both potty trained, for the most part. Matt still uses a pullup at night, but he has been mostly dry the last several days. Last night was the first time he actually woke up(around midnight) and asked to go to the potty. Ying on the other hand apparently just holds it all night. She has been waking up dry every morning for as long as we have had her home, so she has been wearing big girl panties for quite a while. She doesn't seem to think she can get out of her bed if her door is closed, which is fine with us, but still kind of odd. When we open the door after naps, or to get up in the morning she hops right up. The pre-school teachers seemed surprised they were potty trained and in underwear, which we thought was odd, because we were under the impression that we were behind the curve on potty training. At least now when we hit 4 years old we can go on the Disney Cruise and they will qualify for the day care program! Kids, into wonderland, Mommy and Daddy off to do WHATEVER WE WANT!

We went to a birthday party this weekend and Matt was fearless. It was at a place that head some foam pits, and trampolines, and a zip line. The kids would get hooked up in harnesses and could chose a few different things to do.


There was a big foam pit that you could run up a ramp and jump into. Matt loved it, Ying would get on the edge and just lower herself in carefully. Mat also got hooked up to some bungees and jumped on the trampoline. Ying tried it too, but she didn't weigh enough and the bungee straps just kind of suspended her in the air, lol. She did enjoy just jumping on the trampoline though, so she was quite content. They also had a zip line, and Matt of course let them hook him up and swing him back and forth on it. He loved it, mainly because it was dangerous, :p Ying's birthday party is going to be at Pump-It-Up this weekend, which will be alot of inflatable moon bounces and slides, so he will get to run wild there as well. Ying will likely want mom or dad to go through most of the mazes and slides though, :) She is a little ore cautious about things, and isn't fully up to par with Matt's physical abilities.

Next post should be birthday pics and info, yay!!! We have less than 2 month until Disney too, and Matt is getting excited(Mom and Dad are too), and Ying has no idea what we are talking about yet, :) We still attempt to post everything to Flickr, and just got our Mac back last week, so we have just started upload pics again.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Matt asked me what metamorphosis meant last night when I was putting him back in bed. I was trying to figure out where he heard the word, probably TV or something. It kind of caught me off guard, the words are usually much easier, or some word he already know like "dog". I told him it meant 'to change'. Many times he asks how to spell them as well, but he didn't, and I am glad, because I would have needed a pen and pad to write it out, lol. He is somewhat scary smart on occasion. Robyn can write out sentences and he can read most of them, even uses context clues and sounds out words to figure it out. He will randomly point out words on signs or buildings too, "That car says 'Yellow' on it."

He never sleeps either. Naps are almost gone for him sadly. He may take a nap 1-2 times a week it seems. He stays up late too. Ying will go to sleep at 7:30pm if we put her down, and she loves her naps. Matt on the other hand will stay up until 9 or 10. He will get to a point where he will actually want to go to sleep, but until then he is coming downstairs or playing in his room. We've taken the doorknob locks off their doors, so he can come and go as he wants. We attempted to put him back every time he would come out, but that just turned into a game. We have tried to let him sit with us on the couch and watch whatever we are watching, and that works sometimes. A lot of the time we are working out on the treadmill or a yoga mat and he will have to sit and watch us exercise. Usually he makes comments while we do that too. Robyn was doing jumping jacks and he asked "Mama are you trying to fly?" Generally we send him back upstairs before we are done and he will go to sleep, but some nights its really irritating.

Ying has stayed up a few times with us, but she is funny. She will actually exercise with us. I was doing a Jillian Michaels torture video and Robyn pointed out that she was doing all the movements with me while on the couch. She is very coordinated at some things, and others she seems to be completely retarded. We can turn the on-demand cable stuff on and set it to the kids yoga videos and she will do them all day. She loves it, and its really funny to watch her do them. Matt sits on the couch and watches her, I can't seem to get him to hop down and try it with her.

We are also prepping for Disney World. We're going in October, and everyone is super excited. Matt keeps talking about all the things he is going to show sister, and how she will be afraid of the fireworks. I have been trying to show them different Disney movies so that they will have a more well rounded experience. When we went last year, Matt didn't really know who half the characters were, so hopefully this year we will be better off on that front.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The worst BLOG ever

Wow, no updates, no pictures, this blog is pretty awful I have to admit. I think I will start trying to do a regular update, I shall even put a reminder on my calendar, :P We have so many things going on, so its not that I don't have a ton of things to write about.

So fast update: Everyone is doing great! Ying's mouth has healed up well, and we are scheduled to get speech therapy lined up in the next few weeks. She is also having her first birthday with us on August 30th! She will be 3 years old, and she freaking knows and acts like it. Matt is also doing great. They both started pre-school up last week and LOVE it. Matt even asked to go on Saturday. They are in the same class together, and the teachers said they are doing well. We have been home with sister for about 9 months now, and the kids are doing great together. They used to be more like associates that saw each other at the play table or in the hall. They were much more civilized initially. Now it is full on brother and sister mode. "MINE!" "NO!" and "Sorry Ying."(which sounds nice, but it usually means she is crying at this point) Ying still isn't speaking alot, but 'mine' and 'no' and 'MATT!' are pretty solid for her.

I will post more Monday, as that will start my attempt at a regularly scheduled update day.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Post Surgery and Big Brother B-Days

Well, its been a few days since we had tubes and the hearing test done. Things went well as far as the little one being 'ok'. Unfortunately they could only get 1 tube put in her ear, as the other one was too small. I didn't know that was even a possibility, especially since we had been to the ENT 3 times previous to the surgery. They also performed a hearing test on her while she was sedated, which checks the nerve response in her ears. Our doctor was not happy with this either, saying that the tests were actually WORSE than the ones we did while she was awake in the audio room. So she didn't really have a good answer for how much hearing loss Ying may have. We go back in about 3-4 weeks for a follow-up and hopefully to get our next surgery setup. They also got us in line with the hearing aide group so that if we need to go that route we will already be in the system. With this news, the last few days have consisted of me and mommy messing with Ying. Generally making noises on one side of her or the other to see if we can tell what she may have issues with. REAL scientific I assure you. I've scared her more than once sneaking up behind her and making noises. The problem we have, and the same thing we had at the doctor's office is that we can't tell if she can't hear the noises, or just doesn't really care. The people who gave the test said thats a common issue with young kids and there isn't much you can do about it. She is doing great though other than being messed with by us. She didn't have any issues afterwards, and was up and ready to go by the time we got home from the hospital.

March 31st will be Matt's birthday. He is kind of excited, I'm not sure he gets the whole birthday thing yet. I imagine after this year it will click. I think a trip to build-a-bear and Chuck-e-Cheese will make him extremely happy, and hopefully tired. We aren't doing any big party things yet, just a small family thing next weekend so people can do the generic present/cake thing. Matt likes to make food though, and has been asking to make a chocolate cake. We may do cup cakes, or maybe a whole cake, I don't know yet. He likes to stir and help pour or hold things. We will probably buy a few things of sprinkles and frosting and let him decorate it up a bit. He will probably go crazy with that.

I am still looking for a vacation for all of us too, nothing yet, :( I've looked at middle-TN cabins, all the way to Jamaica and Panama. I think we could handle a 4-5 hour flight, but we haven't decided on anything yet. I would like to go somewhere unique, and some place that we won't be bored after a couple of days. I'd love to do a cruise, but wifey has put a veto on the cruising until the kids are potty trained.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bad Blogger

I'm clearly not very good a 'blogging', I should probably just set a schedule and try to adhere to it. We are currently sitting at LeBonheur waiting for Ying to go back to surgery to get tubes put in her ears. The ENT wants us to get the tubes put in before we fix her palate, so thats what we are doing. This is a day procedure, so we should not be here too long. We got in at 10:30, and were taken back to our room about 11:00am. Her surgery is set for 14:00, and a little before that we will go back to the Bunny Room to build her a baby to take with her to surgery. We have about 2 hours to go, and Ying hasn't eaten anything since about 22:30 last night. She hasn't had anything to drink in about 2 hours now, but she isn't complaining. She has mommy's iPhone, I believe she is currently bowling, which she LOVES, especially when she knocks the pins down. Hopefully we can keep her occupied enough that she will forget about food and drink.

We left Matt with Grammy and Poppy last night so that we could keep sister up as late as possible, and pump her full of snacks. Matt was more than happy to stay the night with Grammy, and Ying seemed happy to not have brother around as well. She is totally different when he is gone. Tons of chatter, and the house is VERY VERY calm. She watched Toy Story 2 in the computer room for almost an hour. When she walked around the corner Robyn almost jumped because she forgot she was even awake.

Other than Dr visits and surgery, everything else has been going great. The kids love each other, they play very well together. They have started getting one another out of bed in the mornings and coming into the bedroom together to watch Disney while we are getting ready. Ying will go to bed about 19:30 at night, and not fight too much. Matt fights it really really hard though. Some nights he is still awake past 2200 making noise and singing and reading books. Hopefully as the weather gets warmer he will get some of that energy spent getting to play outside. We have to check on him when he is awake in his room. More than once we have gone in and he is naked or changing his pajamas. Last week he had a dirty diaper, and he changed out of his pajama pants, and diaper, and put a new diaper on. We didn't get on to him about it, he was attempting to do the right thing, but we had to clean the carper a bit, and he got an unscheduled shower, lol.

Lastly, we need a freaking VACATION. Mom and Dad, and the kids! We are going back to Disney in October again, and it will be Yings first time. She LOVES the Disney channel and Toy Story, so I'm sure that will go well. We are taking several friends with us, so I'm sure the kids will have a blast. That is October though, waaaaaayyyyy to far away for my liking. I would like to go somewhere as soon as our vacation rolls back around at work, which is June. We have no idea where to go though. The kids are older, and are simply not content to sit in a stroller and go anywhere random. They NEED to get out and run, especially Matt. I'm looking at something beach related, maybe even Disney World if I can get a steal on someone trying to get rid of a reservation. I have looked around a little bit, but not much.

Oh well, little one is headed back now so I'm going to close this out. I'll post updates when we are done.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Apple products and free Saturdays

We bought Robyn an iPhone, I've been begging her to buy one and get rid of her 'smart phone' that she has had for a few years. She seems happy with it, but Matt is VERY happy with it. Thursday morning Robyn went to get him out of his bed and the first thing he said to her was "Where is your phone mama?" I have a blackberry from work that is paid for, so I can't really justify the monthly bill, or the extra space to carry an iPhone, but I am also extremely jealous. After seeing how much Matt is entertained with the phone, and partially my jealousy, I went and bought an iPod Touch at Walmart, :) Its basically the iPhone without the phone portion, so I can load all the games and things on it and Matt and Ying can mess with it and if they break it, its 'Ok'. We're trying to bribe Matt with it for some potty time, which is working, but he doesn't generally do anything while on the potty, but at least he is sitting there. Ying will volunteer to sit on the potty, but she sits and point at the water and then says "DOWN".

She only has a few words that she can say, and most of them are a stretch, but she has that word down perfectly. It actually sounds like she is saying the word, its awesome.

We missed our doctor appointment for her ears last week because we were at the wrong location, so we head back on Feb 11th, hopefully to the right office, and will get word on her hearing and if we will need tubes. This will help us determine where we should be with speech too. If she has any hearing loss then that could ad to it, or she could just be delayed due to the whole cleft situation. We will see after next week, and hopefully get lined up for surgery this month or next.

Today is Saturday!! For the first time in a long while we don't have plans, nobody is sick, and there is no snow/ice covering the outside world. We are thinking about going to the MEGA gym that we are members of(Lifetime Fitness is anyone cares, we love it)and see how Ying handles the child care area. They have a toddler zone with tons of toys, and they have a little slide, playground area as well. Matt LOVES it, if we are even in the area he asks if we can go to the 'Gym Gym'. Matt could care less about us, and usually is standing at the little half-door waiting for it to be opened so he can get in a play. We have no idea how Ying will handle this though. In the morning at my parents house SHE will rush us out of the house. We get inside, take her coat off and she immediately starts puckering her lips for kisses and waving at us and saying "bye bye bye bye". Of course this is at Grammie's house of fun, and its a comfortable environment for her. Our main goal of the gym today though is to go swimming! Not for us, but the kids. Matt LOVES the water, and we need to get him setup with lessons, but we have no clue how Ying will react to the pool. I'd like to get them both setup in lessons, but if she is completely freaked out then we will have to wait a bit. She loves bath time, and she will copy brother when he blows bubbles in the tub, so I think she is going to have a blast. We need to remember to take the camera and see how all this goes I suppose, :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Originally uploaded by jbwork17

We don't get much snow in the Memphis area, and this is more ice, with some snow on top. covered by a sheet of ice again. It doesn't really give much when you step on it, so the kids just kind of slid around. No snowmen or snowballs, :(

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Family Blog

We're going to close out the Adoption Blog since we have finished that, and switch over to here to give family updates! Still getting setup.