Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What a difference a year makes

I can't believe it has been one year today since I first saw my daughter's face. I remember it was a Friday, just at the beginning of one of many major snow storms we had that winter. It was such an amazing feeling. And I also remember not telling anyone for a while. It was like I needed to process the greatness of it all first.

This has been a year of extremes for sure. A roller coaster of travel, new experiences and life changing events, both good and bad. Blogging will be on the back burner as I tackle some medical junk for a while. But I couldn't resist today, remembering that wonderful day December 6, 2010, the day my life changed forever.

And now...
And to catch up on the last month, here's the sum of our Thanksgiving dinner, otherwise known as what happens when a toddler doesn't get a nap...
Our first cookie baking day...
And finally, an attempt at an actual hairstyle that involves more than a headband. Sadly it didn't last more than one naptime but it's growing and hopefully will hold once it gets longer.
I hope to be back blogging again soon. Enjoy the wonderful, crazy holiday season! Don't forget to tell your loved ones how much you care. Life is too short to keep it all to yourself...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We had a great time on our first Halloween! It sure is a different experience being down on the street versus in the house handing out candy. We called on cousin Angela again to be our candy distributor and we took off around the block for a brief taste of trick-or-treating. So far, the concept is a bit lost but it was funny to see Katy's reaction to seeing the other kids do it. 

First we previewed the costume at nana & papa's house...
Then we officially headed out for our first trick-or-treating experience! Angela helped us get ready and took care of Riley as she always goes nuts with all the bell ringing and street traffic.
Afterwards, we enjoyed the animal crackers we got from our neighbor Lisa and sat outside until it was too cold to sit anymore.
It sure was fun but I'll be glad when she's walking more so I don't have to carry the little strawberry from house to house. Man she gets heavy! I figure I got paid in candy at least :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Catching up, again

We've had a few milestones in the last month. First, we turned two! Katy woke up cheery as usual, sporting an interesting look with her shirt (which has since been retired as sleepwear)...
Shortly after her birthday we had an open house to celebrate with friends and neighbors. (not sure if I can make the invite graphic work but I'll give it a try)

Menu was hopefully both grown up and kid friendly:
BBQ meatballs
Cocktail weenies (old family favorite-at least of mine!)
Prosciutto & Gruyere pastry pinwheels
Cheese pastry sticks
PB&J cutout sandwiches
Red pepper feta spread with pita
Herbed goat cheese with crackers
Spiced nuts
Ranch oyster crackers
Veggies & dip
Cupcakes (fancy butterfly cupcakes in place of cake)
Salted caramel brownies

The dahlias were in full bloom for the party.
Thanks to our good friend 'cousin' Angela, we have a few pictures from the actual party. It was too busy for me to remember the camera. Special shout out to Kathee, without whom I would have collapsed and not enjoyed any of the party. She was such a rockstar coming over early to help clean and prepare food and cleaned a bunch before she left. Amazing. So thankful for good friends like her!
I think we had some fun! It was great to see everyone.
Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the cupcakes. They were very cute with pink frosting and butterflies on top made of M&Ms and pretzels. I thought for sure I had a picture of the tray before we handed them out. hmm. We all enjoyed them anyway!
We had the 24 month checkup too. We found out that in addition to getting taller (from 1% to 18% for her age) Katy moved from 5% to 25% in weight! Oddly, her 50% head is still the same. Current tooth total is still 4, but there are two more broken through and coming soon. Feels like she's growing before my eyes. We went from the pediatrician to the ear doc and she'll be getting tubes next week. Her hearing has gone down since we arrived home due to fluid but I'm a little skeptical that she might just be more distracted. In any case, the tubes procedure is very quick and if it helps her with her talking, I'm game to try it.

And as we pass through the four month home mark, winter is decending. I'm still trying to figure out how to keep her hair from getting dry with all the hat wearing. She loves her mittens so that's good anyway.
Next post is halloween, I thought I'd let that one live on it's own...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Home 3 months (and then some)

So many posts in my head, sadly nothing getting out to my computer. I did manage to take a picture near to our three months home mark. Similar to the first two months I chronicled here, I tried to match the pose we got on the first day home.
Katy has been growing so much it's almost visible to the naked eye! At our last checkup, they measured her height at 32", a full 5" taller in just 3 months. Amazing. I look at this month's photo and she seems so lanky and yet sturdy, compared to the big belly and little legs she had that barely held her up. She's also walking all over, when the mood strikes her. (Special thanks to Doda Susan for the cute skirt and Max & Adam for the Cars crocs in the video)
Real words are still yet to come but even though she's not saying anything recognizable, she's talking all the time.

And tomorrow, she turns two! I'll have a birthday post for her if I can get my act together. We'll have a little party and of course some cake. More to come on that.

Since it's difficult to find a snack that the day care can accept, I thought it might be fun to make something that they could use whenever they celebrate birthdays. Once a month the kitchen bakes a cake for everyone who has a birthday that month. My idea was to have birthday bibs with fun birthday fabric! Then it turns out that the fabric store didn't really have flannel or terrycloth in fun birthday patterns. grr. They did have a cute dinosaur pattern, which worked out because they are the dinosaur room. And so, I made bibs.
Lots of them. What was I thinking!? I haven't sewn really much of anything since high school. I think they turned out ok. Definitely glad to have them done. I'm discovering how creative you have to be to get everything done in the hour after she goes to bed before I collapse into mine.

More blogging to come...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Snapshot 8/28/11

We've been home two months now. I've been sorting through photos and found this one, taken the day after we arrived home. 
So I thought it would be fitting to take another shot, two months later...
I didn't do so well on re-creating the pose but she doesn't sit still like she used to :-) It's funny how you don't notice it but she's starting to fill out and of course her hair is getting so long! I do need to figure that out for real, soon. 

In the last two months...

• Measured at the clinic 50th percentile for head circumference, 20th for weight and 1st (1th?) for height. At least she's on the chart!

• Gained 4 pounds to a whopping 24 pounds

• Started daycare and is loving it

• Possibly said two words (not repeated so possibly not actual words just sounds that sounded like words) "all done" at daycare and "up" at her 'baby' shower yesterday

• Most often sleeps all the way through the night

• Still eats like a truck driver, only turning down baby oatmeal. And if you ask me, that's a good choice. ick.

Last week we went to an open house for the friends in Nana and Papa's neighborhood. It was fun and Katy had a blast playing with the girls and crawling around all over. Here we are after the party...
And yesterday, my mom and my godmother, with the help of my sister from afar, held a baby shower for Katy. It was great to see family and friends and watch Katy having fun with all the ladies. And the toys. And the cake!

Check out the Sunday Snapshots at Ni Hao Y'all
  Sunday Snapshot

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Snapshot 8/13/11

Getting our picture taken last week...
And having a little fun this morning...
This girl cracks me up!

Check out the Sunday Snapshots at Ni Hao Y'all
Sunday Snapshot

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo courtesy of and © Advani Photography

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Snapshot 6/29/11 - Enjoying the summer!

Oh, how I wish I could get back the two weeks I was not ready to enjoy my time with Katy. Sadly, we have only one more week before I go back to work. The rest of this year will be tight on vacation time since we took two trips to Ethiopia and time off afterwards. I am definitely looking forward to getting back my vacation time in January. So long from now!

So for now we are going to enjoy the rest of our time together...

Visiting Nana and Papa...
 Playing inside when it's too hot or too rainy!
 Visiting the park and splash pool...
 And just plain having a ball in our own back yard.
We hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are...now, that is :-)

Check out the rest of the Sunday Snapshots at Ni Hao Y'all
Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A question I never thought I'd ask

I received a good tip from a friend on diaper changing. Because we've had giardia here, the doctor recommended wearing gloves to change Katy. My wise friend told me of her day care provider days when they slipped the glove off over the diaper and wrapped it up in it. (sorry mother nature) :-( Anyhoo, we call them poop balloons. neat. tidy. unsmelly.

And the question I never thought I'd ask?

Say one were to do a load of laundry. And upon removing said laundry from the washer noticed one of the previously mentioned poop balloons, still wrapped up tight, in with the clothes. Would one need to rewash the load? Keeping in mind that we'd used the last clean bed pad, all the rest were in the load and it was less than two hours to bedtime.


Sunday, July 17, 2011


We are settling in to a pretty good groove here. I've figured out that I'm only anxious when she's asleep so if I can keep myself either sleeping or busy until she wakes, we're golden! We're still battling ear infections and not quite sleeping regularly but it's not as chaotic as before. We've had play dates and gone to parties so we're not sitting on the floor staring at each other all day. So helpful!

Last weekend we attended the EKC Summer Mehaber. Well at least for a half hour or so. Still figuring out how to fit things around lunch and naptime. We watched some dancing, met a great single mom whose daughter might be in the same day care room if Katy is accepted there. Met some people who are much better bloggers than I am, and I'm thankful for that! If not for people putting the real stories out there, I would have been lost. So good to know I'm not alone!

We also headed to the graduation party for Sharon's twins. Sharon was such a help to us on our trip we needed to celebrate. Katy was happily passed from neighbor to friend and around for over two hours. I think she quite enjoyed it. I know I did :-)

Here's a few shots from the Mehaber. Never mind that I look like I'm asleep and she's not wearing her cute Mehaber shirt. Thank the last minute diaper blow-out just before we left. grr.

We're exploring around the house too. Found Riley's bell and liked ringing it...
This girl will be a chef! Give her anything she can mix, stir or pour and she's a happy camper.
We had our first outing in the rain so we had to try on the cutest coat and rainboots ever! The boots were giant and kept falling off as she sat in the cart at Costco (exciting outing, I know) but she seemed to enjoy them anyway. I sure did, thanks Greta!
Katy still isn't walking but she stands and scoots along if she's got something to hold onto. No words either, although I still suspect that some of the mumbling she does is a semblance of Amharic words. She did learn the signs for 'eat' and 'drink' mighty quickly and now will wave goodbye and if she's feeling into it, even blow kisses. She's been a trooper through all the clinic visits and shots and whatever. Hopefully we can be done with that soon and just get into living.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Coming up for air

It’s been almost three weeks since we returned from Ethiopia with Katy. I am amazed every day at how lucky I am to be able to call this wonderful girl family.
It has been a wild ride to say the least. I have held off on posting because I needed to get myself together and not post something irrational and wonky. For the past two and a half years, I have scoured the internet for adoption blogs. Ethiopian adoptions, single mom adoptions, adoptees, birth moms etc etc etc. I’ve followed some amazing families through the process from paperwork to travel to home. I thought I was as prepared as I could possibly be. And truthfully, I was prepared for much of what happened. What I did not expect is to completely disassemble have some emotional struggles.

We returned from Ethiopia a bit battered and down. Poor Katy was down with double ear infection and a bad cold. I had a bout of possible food poisoning, which is odd since I hadn’t eaten much on the entire trip. Some day I’ll post the travel blogs I journalled when I was there. Today, I’m just keeping it real. It has been H.A.R.D.

I’ll start by saying Katy is wonderful. I believe her attachment is going well. She is a happy, content kid and loves to shower me with giggles and smiles. She doesn’t yet respond to her American name (or her Ethiopian name for that matter) but learned the sign for ‘eat’ in less than a day. That girl loves to eat! What I desperately hope is that she doesn’t remember the crazy lady who couldn’t pull it together for the first two weeks of her time in America.

The first few days I was not completely a mess. We went for walks, figured out what to eat and started to get a schedule for napping and bedtime. I was ready for the transition to be hard for her. I can’t say exactly what happened but I lost it. Completely lost control. I called my neighbor (love love love my neighbors!) at 2am at my wits end. I couldn’t soothe her and I could not come down off that ledge. I was jacked up, good gravy. Sobbing and nearing hysteria. All it took was for her to come over, pick up Katy and be the calm she needed and everything was fine. Seriously felt like a complete failure at that point. The next day I packed up the girl and the dog and headed to my parents’ house where they took care of her while I slept and cried. Holy cow, I haven’t cried that much ever.

After that I lined up another neighbor (did I say how much I love my neighbor friends?) to stay with me for two more nights. Somehow having someone there, even if just for backup made it seem more manageable. Then we ran into the end of the holiday weekend and everyone going back to work and families. I made a million phone calls. Doctors, help lines, crisis lines, nanny lines. I have many phone numbers. What I needed was someone to be there, at my house, being there and being calm. I never was able to get someone overnight but my parents and friends rallied to support me in my numbness with visits and food and positive encouragement.

There is a very real thing called Post Adoption Depression Syndrome. Certainly I felt all of the symptoms at some point in the last three weeks: extreme and fluctuating emotions, depressed mood for the majority of the day with feelings of sadness, anxiety and irritation, loss of interest in daily activities, loss of appetite. One might argue that’s just the fatigue talking. That every new mother feels overwhelmed. Well count me in. I fully expected fatigue and the physical work of taking care of a toddler. I expected she would have trouble attaching. I did not expect the emotions and the trouble I would have attaching. For something I have wanted so much for as long as I can remember, I should be overjoyed to have this child here. And now after a few weeks I’m starting to feel it. But I’ve had to fake it a lot until now.  Every day it gets a little easier.

What I would do differently if I could go back? I would line up overnight help for the first two weeks. I would have people around more often. It takes a village. Seriously. I can’t say I’m 100% there but I’m not sobbing uncontrollably any more. Very awkward at parties, that’s for sure. We’ve had play dates and gone on outings (not including the many trips to the clinic and pharmacy). I actually baked pies today! It’s the first time I’ve done anything remotely normal for me since before we left. Things are looking good.
One of the most surprising things about this journey is the support of all the moms I know who don’t discount my feelings and in fact can relate completely to them. I’m grateful for all the encouragement I’ve gotten and want to publicly apologize for not helping out more when their babies were born. :-)

Better posts ahead I promise. The trip was great but sensory overload and I thankfully got more pictures than the first trip. So, more to come. Right now we’re working on one hour at a time. Deep breathing to calm the butterflies and keeping busy to make the days fun. Hugs and cuddles to build up the trust for both of us. It’s all good and getting better every day.