Here is my new work space. I just love how it turned out. A great place to blog, pay bills and do work for Jazzie's school. This year I am the president of the Parent Group at Jazzie's school (kind of like a P.T.A.) I will be spending a lot of time here ;-)
We had a busy weekend... Of course, Friday was Jazzie's birthday and on Saturday we had her party. We actually had a big party for her this year. Her first birthday was shortly after we came home from China, her second birthday she got sick and we ended up spending the day in the emergency room instead of having her birthday party and last year, we just came home from China with Tahlia and Jazzie's birthday got overlooked a little bit :-( So, this year we invited a bunch of her friends, went to a great place to have a party, and had a great time. There was cake, there were presents and there were giggles; it was fun...
The other part of the weekend we spent re-doing our home office. We painted the room and got all new furniture for it. I LOVE how it turned out. I now have a great place to work with tons of storage. I will post pictures later. Here are a few pictures from the party...
My baby is 4 today! For weeks she has been asking me whether or not she was four yet and today she is! Here she is on her new Dora bike. She has been riding circles around the island in the kitchen for the past 20 minutes ;-)
Here are some things about my fabulous four year old:
She loves, loves, loves to paint (or any other craft for that matter).
Her favorite book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!
She still gets comfort from her blankie that we brought to China with us almost 3 1/3 years ago.
She loves to act out scenes from her Signing Time video's.
She loves watching the Higglytown Hero's on the Disney Channel.
She loves her daddy.
She loves to dance to the Wiggles.
She loves for Cera to take her to the "Sticker Store" (Michael's/Hobby Lobby).
She snorts when she giggles.
She loves to help daddy do yard work and she loves to help mommy bake.
She LOVES salami. She would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let her.
She loves wearing shirts with the American flag on it. She's my little patriotic girl ;-)
She likes black licorice.
She loves her cousin Sean.
She likes to walk on the hardwood floors with her plastic high heels (clunk, clunk).
She loves playing the teacher with me as her student.
Her favorite game is Go Fish.
She is determined.
She loves it when I use the curling iron to "flip" her hair.
She tries to use any musical instrument as a violin.
When you ask her what she is going to be when she grows up, she'll tell you she is going to be the sun (???).
She refers to China as "my China".
She likes taking a shower all by herself.
She loves to brush Cera's hair.
She loves to eat at Chick-Fil-A.
Her favorite colors ares yellow and purple.
She loves shoes.
These are just a few things about Jazzie. She is my smart, funny, wonderful, sweet, FOUR year old daughter. Happy Birthday, Jazzie. I love you so much...
I took the girls to the Children's Museum yesterday. There was an adorable little Asian girl playing at the sand table with Jazzie and Tahlia. I had seen the girl with her parents and her brother walking around earlier and given the fact that she was the only Asian one in the family, I assumed she was adopted. After watching all three girls play for a while I asked the father where his daughter was from. He looked at me, rolled his eyes just a little and responded sarcastically: "She's from North Avondale" (a suburb of Cincinnati). Why did he do that? We were the only ones there, so it was obvious that I was with Jazzie and Tahlia. I understand there are some people that do not want to talk about their children to just anyone. On the other hand, I do not mind at all answering people's questions, as long as they are not too personal. I love talking to other people how our girls came to be in our family. Maybe that is why it bothered me so much how that man handled my question....
See this adorable backpack?? I saw it at Target on Monday. Jazzie loved it and begged to have it for the new school year. The problem was that there was only one left, but it was defective. So yesterday I started calling all the Targets in the area to see if I could find one. As you can see, we did get one, but it took a LONG time to find one. Here is the phone conversation I had with one of the people at Target:
Me: "Hi, could you check to see if you have a green corduroy backpack with owls on it?
Her: "A green backpack with olives?"
Me: "No, not olives. Owls.
Her: "Oh, elves".
Me: "No, owls. A backpack with owls on it. O.W.L.S." (I'm thinking spelling would do the trick)
Her: "Oh! I get it, okay...hold on....
I'm waiting and waiting on the phone and she finally comes back and says: "I'm sorry, but I could not find a green backpack with bowls in it."
At this point I am exasperated (remember, I was not having a good day as it was). So I once again spell the word owl and say: "You know, those night time birds that say Hoo Hoo???"
Her: "OH! You mean an OWL!?!?!
Yikes....she finally was able to find one and we went and got it today...
Man, motherhood is hard...Most days I feel like things are going pretty well. I am involved with my girls, I give them time and attention, we do fun things together and I feel like I am doing a pretty good job. In no way do I proclaim to be a supermom. Almost every day something will happen and I react in a way that I wished I hadn't, but most days things are pretty good and I feel good about my job as a mom. On the other hand, there are days like today...It started bad and never got better. I absolutely cannot stand to hear Jazzie whine. It drives me insane! So when she started whining at breakfast, because she wanted to eat with the Miffy fork that Tahlia was using, it took everything in me to resolve the situation calmly. However, it seems that Jazzie just gets more upset when I try to intervene. When she gets something in her head, there is no steering her away from it. So when she started whining and crying more, I took her by the arms, picked her up and put her in time-out. After a few minutes I went to talk to Jazzie and she told me I had hurt her arms when I picked her up. Sure enough, you could see some red marks on her arms from where I had picked her up :-( I felt about this big. Of course then I tried really hard to overcome my guilt and make things right with Jazzie. But it was just one of those days...Tahlia was whiny because she has a sinus infection and really isn't feeling that well. Jazzie tries to annoy her sister whenever she can. I think she is getting bored and it is definitely time for her to go back to school. Add to that the fact that it is hot. I hate being hot. It makes me cranky and does not leave me with a lot of patience. So today was not one of my better mom days. I couldn't wait for Matt to come home, so that I could get a break. I understand that he works hard all day as well, and therefor I don't immediately take off and "escape" from the girls for a little while, even though I would really like to ;-). But today I needed him to help me. Unfortunately he decided that the grass needed to be cut and he was outside all evening and I ended up putting the girls to bed by myself. Matt has been busy with work and doing things around the house, so he has not been able to spend a whole lot of time with the girls. During our bedtime routine which consists of eating a "family apple" (we all share one apple) and reading books, Jazzie asked why daddy wasn't there. I told her that he was cutting the grass and she looked at me and said: "Daddy doesn't want to be my family anymore". Big lump in my throat, big tears in my eyes...I'm glad today is over. Tomorrow will be better, Matt will be available to have quality time with the girls and hopefully the girls will have forgotten all about this crappy day. These pictures are self portraits taken on days when things were good. Hopefully tomorrow we will be back there again...
Now a couple of happy things:
Tahlia peed on the potty for the first time today!
My parents are coming at the end of September. They haven't seen the girls since last year when we came home from China.
So when we were taking all the pictures for my mother-in-law's birthday present, I wanted a picture of Alex and Jazzie together. I love these picture where he is trying to make her laugh by blowing her hair and kissing her cheek ;-)
I have been wanting to blog about this for about a month now, but since it was a surprise for my mother-in-law I was afraid to do, just in case she ever reads this blog. About a month ago, the entire family gathered at a local park and we took pictures of the grandkids and the families. I took about 300 pictures and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law took a ton of pictures as well. You would think that between the three of us we would end up with one great picture. Well, we didn't! There was not one picture that was great of all the kids. In the end we made a montage with nine pictures. That way all the kids looked good in at least one of the pictures. You have no idea how much time I spent sifiting through all the pictures, editing them, cropping them, etc. I didn't get it finished until last night and we gave it to my mother-in-law today. Needless to say she loved and she could not have asked for a gift that she would like better. Here is just one group shot of the kids...I will post some more later...
Exactly a week from today our Jazzie will turn 4. Where has the time gone? It is hard to believe how she has changed from the day that she joined our family, at 9 1/2 months. I have been meaning to blog about my oldest girl for a while. She is changing so fast and growing up right before our eyes. She has gone from a quiet and timid little baby to an energetic girl who loves to do arts and crafts, loves to read, loves to help me in the kitchen and loves to help daddy in the garden or with household projects. Here are some key words that describe our Jasmine Mei Chun:
This child is determined. Determined to learn, determined to figure things out, and determined to get her way ;-) My husband calls is stubborn, but I like to call it determined. It just sounds so much better. Her determination has brought her to where she is today. After her cochlear implant surgery and all the speech and auditory therapy that followed, she was determined to learn and she never complained. The result is now a four year old chatterbox who is constantly asking questions and who is very busy trying to figure out how her world is put together.
Of course I am biased, but a lot of other people have told us how bright Jazzie is. Her strong point has got to be vocabulary. Before she could hear and talk she very quickly built up a huge sign vocabulary. And now that she can hear and is at her oral deaf school, her strength is still vocabulary. She learns new words quickly. She knows all her letters and you can give her any word and she will tell you what letter it starts with. Her fine motor skills have always been impressive and she is still excelling. She is also great at the game "Memory"; she beat me three times today ;-) Okay...enough bragging ;-)
Sometimes she says things or does things that are just so funny. She just figured out that she can make a goofy face at me when I am upset with her and that it will make me laugh. I will give an example of something funny she said later on in this post.
Once again, I am biased, but Jazzie is truly a beautiful girl. Sometimes I look at her and I am amazed at how shiny her hair is, how beautiful her eyes are, how perfect her skin is and what a pretty smile she has. Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well. She loves and is kind to animals, she is very concerned about other people's well being and she tries to please everyone. How lucky am I?
She has been asking a lot of questions about everything lately. She is so inquisitive. She has been wanting to learn more about her life in China. She often asks me where her nanny is. What her name is. What she is doing. She does not really ask me about her birth parents, but she does mention her nanny quite a bit. We have several pictures of Jazzie in the orphanage with her nanny and her nanny is the one that handed her to me. Jazzie really likes watching that part on our video. She is obviously starting to piece together the circumstances surrounding how she came to join our family. One of her new favorite books is "How I was adopted" by Joanna Cole. I highly recommend it. Not only does it explain adoption, it also explains how a baby grows inside a woman's uterus and how it comes out. Not in a whole lot of detail, but enough for the wheels to start turning. Just the other day we were reading the book and we came to the part where the baby is coming out of the woman. Jazzie asked me if it came out of her bottom and I answered yes. Her response: "She will need a lot of toilet paper"!
And finally I want to mention that even though I love Jazzie to pieces, it is not always fun and games. She also knows how to frustrate me to the point of no return. I know it's her age and she is establishing her independence, but boy oh boy, can she have tantrums!
So there you have it. A little bit about my girl. This will be the last week that she is 3. Next week she will be 4 and I don't really want her to grow up so fast. I am excited to see how she is going to blossom, how she is going to learn more, how she is going to grow, but I am also sad to see more and more of her "babyness" starting to disappear...Wo Ai Ni, Jazzie!
Here is a glimpse into a typical morning for us. We just finished breakfast, Jazzie is doing a craft, Tahlia climbs on my lap as I am getting ready to check my e-mail and blogs and of course my camera is always within reach :-)
The girls are playing nicely together and I think it's a perfect time to make an important phone call. Of course that is the moment something happens, someone gets hurt, someone wants a snack, etc.
The girls go to bed late and I think we will all be able to sleep in the following morning. WRONG! No matter how late they go to bed, they always wake up at their usual time (=early).
The first day one of the girls wears a new outfit, she will spill something on it.
If Tahlia is playing with a toy that Jazzie hasn't played with forever, Jazzie decides at that very moment that she wants to play with it.
I see a great picture opportunity. I run to get the camera, but by the time I get back, the girls have moved on to something else and the moment is gone.
If Jazzie is eating with the only clean blue fork, Tahlia decides she wants to eat with the blue fork.
The girls love a meal that I spent a lot of time making. When I decide to make it again, they tell me they don't like it.
A new lunch box that Jazzie LOVED at the store the other day, she now thinks is silly and she doesn't want it.
The book that Jazzie yesterday thought was for babies and which she gave to Tahlia to keep, she decided to take back today. Let's just say that Tahlia wasn't happy about it.
If one girl sits on my lap, the other will come running over and tries to shove the other off.
I could go on and on. Never a dull moment with two girls! Meanwhile, the heat wave continues...Yesterday we only spent a little bit of time outside. Just enough time to enjoy a bowl of watermelon without any shirts on ;-)
It has been so hot here in the Midwest...it is way too hot and muggy to play outside, so we have been having fun in our playroom this morning... So far we have done the following:
The girls made me breakfast in their pretend kitchen. It was a lovely combination of peas, a hotdog, pancakes and pickles...
We did several puzzles. Tahlia is actually starting to become quite good at hers :-) Jazzie's favorite is an alphabet puzzle and I love how she has to say the entire alphabet to herself after each letter to remember which letter comes next ;-)
We played Go Fish.
Tahlia "called" everyone in our family and kept saying: "hello, ok, hello, ok...."
Jazzie put a great train track together and she pretended the train was going to the mall to buy her clothes at Gymboree (I guess I have been there one too many times!)
Right now they are playing Lucky Ducks. I have been listening to the annoying sound of ducks quacking for the past 15 minutes (thanks Marla!!!).
The playroom looks like a tornado hit it, but that's okay. We are having fun and the girls are actually playing very nicely together. No fighting, except for when Tahlia pulled Jazzie's hair when Jazzie took a train out of her hands. They wouldn't be sisters without the occasional hairpulling!!!
First of all, check out this incredibly sultry look on Tahlia. Uh...yeah...I think we're in trouble :-)
Last night and again tonight, I put Tahlia to be, turned on her music, told her I loved her and left the room. Not another peep from this child until the following morning! Oh, could it be?? Could we finally be at a point where bedtime is going to be easy and pleasant???
My baby turned two today!! I can't believe that a year ago we were celebrating Tahlia's first birthday on our last day in China and here we are today and Talley is a toddler! She spent most of her birthday with big sister Cera. Jazzie was scheduled to receive her third set of ear tubes today, so we thought it was better if Tahlia wasn't with us in the hospital. Tahlia had a wonderful day with Cera and I think it was a good bonding opportunity for Tahlia. Thanks so much, Cera!!!
Jazzie did really well today, although it was hard for her not to be able to eat or drink anything this morning. She kept saying she was hungry and thirsty and it was really difficult to explain why she couldn't have anything. Of course I didn't want Tahlia eating or drinking in front of her, so that was challenging as well...In the end, the procedure took less than 10 minutes and Jazzie was back to her old self after lunch. She asked to go to Panera Bread so that she could eat a bowl of chicken soup which she practically inhaled ;-)
Later in the afternoon, Cera brought Tahlia back home and we all went out to dinner and afterwards we went for ice cream at our special place ;-)
Check out Tahlia's birthday present! Buying this kitchen new from the store will cost about $230, but I got this one from our neighbor next door who was getting rid of hers. She was mentioning how her daughter never plays with it and that it was just taking up space in the basement. I asked her how much she wanted for it and she told me $30. My response: "SOLD"! Tahlia loves it and so do I! I mean, what is not to love? Look at this thing! Granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, Longaberger baskets, double sink, etc. This is a dream kitchen! It also comes with a ton of dishes and tons of play food. I love it!
Here are a couple more pictures from today. One of Jazzie strolling the hallway at the hospital and one of Tahlia getting ready to blow out the candle on her ice cream....
Sure, her face might look angelic, but what has happened to my sweet, innocent Jazzie?? Maybe it's just the fact that she is almost 4, but WOW!She can be so defiant at times and she has started to develop quite the little smart mouth (thank you speech therapists for giving her enough language for that!). Sometimes the things she says are very funny and it takes everything in me not to laugh. The other thing is that when Jazzie gets upset, she just gets louder and louder. Last night Matt had to carry Jazzie out of Target, because she was having one of her fits and there was absolutely no stopping her. He got several stares from people and one person in particular looked very concerned and I am sure she thought that Jazzie was being kidnapped. Matt even said he was afraid he was going to be stopped by somebody for carrying a screaming child who looks nothing like him out of the store...Then later in the evening, she started at it again and I warned her that I would take her to bed if she wouldn't stop. Well, she didn't stop, so I picked her up, carried her upstairs and got her ready for bed. She had a stunned look on her face when she realized that she really was going to bed. It was a rough hour trying to get her calmed down. In the end we had a little chat about her behavior and she fell asleep as I was stroking her hair. I felt bad that her day had to end like that, but I also felt good knowing that I stood my ground.
Tomorrow, Jazzie is getting her third set of ear tubes. She has not been hearing very well for the past few months now and we know it is because she has fluid in her ear which is putting pressure on her implant. The procedure is at 12:30 PM tomorrow and the worst part is going to be the fact that she is not going to be able to eat or drink anything in the morning. The first thing this girl asks for when she wakes up in the morning is a cup of milk :-( On a happy note, tomorrow is Tahlia's second birthday! I hope Jazzie will feel well enough tomorrow evening to be able to go out for some ice cream...I can't believe my baby is not really a baby anymore...
This morning Jazzie, Tahlia and I were playing dress up in the playroom when all of a sudden Jazzie went to get a plastic bag and started putting some of her toys into it. When I asked her what she was doing she responded: "I am going to send these to the other kids in the orphanage in my China" (she always calls China "her China"). This came out of the blue and I thought it was so sweet, even though she put all the toys back later in the day and told me she wanted to keep them :-)
I took the girls to Children's Museum today. I think everybody else in Cincinnati decided to go as well, because it was packed. Anyway, we were eating our lunch when all of a sudden this old friend of mine that I haven't seen in a couple of years walked up and said hello. She was eating lunch with her daughter and a friend at the table right next to us! I was the one who broke off our friendship. Sometimes people grow apart and our friendship wasn't making me feel good anymore. To be honest, I had been expecting to run into her one of these days...It just had to happen sooner or later. I had often wondered what it would be like if we did actually run into each other. I was surprised. She seemed happy to see me and told me how beautiful the girls were. For a moment I thought about hugging her, but I didn't. It was good to see her and I do miss her. Seeing her made me realize that even more...
We are still dealing with Tahlia's sleeping issues. She is definitely doing better. She is not waking up in the night anymore, but she still has nightmares. She has yet to wake up from her nap or in the morning without crying. This afternoon she had another nightmare. When I get her out of her bed, all she wants to do is snuggle up to me as close as she can, saying "mama, mama, mama" over and over again. She has a blank stare in her eyes and it takes her a good 15 to 20 minutes to get out of it. From everything that we have experienced with Tahlia this past year, I am convinced that she either experienced or saw something horrible in the orphanage. Also, it is still very difficult to get her to go to sleep at night. We are not in her room anymore, but she cries and calls for us often. Just once I would love to put the girls to bed, tell them I love them and be "off duty" for the rest of the night....
It struck me again today how much Jazzie and Tahlia enjoy being together. They love each other. It definitely reminds me of why we got Jazzie a little sister. They do everything together. This afternoon for instance, Jazzie was going potty and there was Tahlia, standing right next to her, holding her hand :-) Aaah, it's good to have a sister!
I wanted to blog a little bit about this past 4th of July. You see, that day is a double celebration for us, since it's the day that Chun Hua Pai offically became Tahlia Chun Hua. On July 3rd of last year a smiling baby (yes, really!) was placed in our arms. I remember the day so well. I was very nervous about seeing Tahlia for the first time, because I wasn't sure if I was going to have any of the same feelings for her that I had for Jazzie. Matt had to practically shove me to the front when our name was called. But as soon as I saw her, I fell in love with her. I didn't think I would be as emotional the second time around, but I was wrong... Here are some pictures of that very special day. The following day, on 4th of July, she officially became our daughter forever.
And here are some pictures of Talley a year later. Still smiling, still sweet and still oh so huggable and squeezable ;-)
We had a great time in Myrtle Beach, SC. The drive was long (almost 12 hours), but the girls did great! Of course we made frequent stops and having the DVD player in the van was a life saver. Even though we had to listen to The Wiggles, Signing Time and Elmo for about 12 hours, it was worth it since the girls were so good and didn't complain about being in the car so long at all.
We spent most of our days at the fantastic children's pool with water spraying and shooting everywhere. The girls loved it and even though there were plenty of other pools at the resort, this is where we spent most of our time:
We usually would spend some time on the beach after dinner. Tahlia wasn't too fond of the sand, but liked the feel of the waves rolling over her feet. Jazzie on the other hand, didn't care for the ocean, but LOVED the sand! Several evenings the two of us would go back to the beach after Tahlia had gone to sleep and play in the sand until it was dark.
We had a great time and it was nice not to have to do anything. No cleaning, no errands to run, no appointments, etc. It was just the four of us hanging out, doing fun things, eating way too much ice cream and having fun...All in all, our first vacation with the two girls was a big succes...
I love the picture above. The girls look so happy and they had such a good time together. Can you believe someone actually asked me if they were twins?!?!