Thursday, February 26, 2009

Get yourself some therapy...

Get yourself some therapy... RETAIL THERAPY that benefits an adopting family! Lots of little girl dresses! You know you want to peek, don't you? Click on the graphic below to go shopping and help bring home a daughter in China.
Starfish Cleft Home

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sarah needs...

My friend Rebecca did this today on her blog and I thought it was so funny that I had to join in. (To play along, just Google your first name followed by the word needs... share the first 10 that make sense!)

1. Sarah needs a cold shower. (Uhhh... no comment.)
2. Sarah needs to get her life back and establish herself as the person in charge! (Uhhh... I thought I was always in charge. Right, Kevin? Kevin???)
3. Sarah needs more love lyrics. (Send me all your lovin!)
4. Sarah needs sponsors to compete in Deaf Olympics. (Uhhh... I do?)
5. Sarah needs batteries. (Yes! All of Hannah Claire's toys need batteries!)
6. Sarah needs a new mummy for sale. (Snort snort. This is my favorite search result.)
7. Sarah needs to swim. (Yes I do! I didn't go swimming at all last summer.)
8. Sarah needs to read Mark Twain. (Okay, if you say so.)
9. Sarah needs 200 bucks in 2 weeks. (What bill have I forgotten to pay?)
10. Sarah needs a new job. (A new one that doesn't strangle her... perhaps yes. Already looking into that one.)

Just for fun... do a Google search and find out what you need... and you didn't even know it.

P.S. My friend KB might kill me for posting this... but she did this and this was her number one result: K needs to turn up the AC cause her hotness is about to burn the place down. Woohoo! And you know it, girlfriend! While reading her e-mail I laughed so hard I spit out the water I was drinking. Funny stuff. If you completed this little exercise and found some funny results, feel free to post your answers in the comments of this post for everyone to giggle (or spit back their drink) at.

Mamarazzi in search of...

I'm half joking/half serious here. I'm a mamarazzi in search of a Photoshop action that should be titled "bulb syringe." Actions are little quick tools that quickly process a photo for you in Photoshop... and I would so love to have one that made boogers disappear. (giggle) I took so many shots of HC today that were ruined by boogers. I swear... I'd wipe her nose... she'd get red faced and cry... and by the time she recovered from my Kleenex style mama-induced torture and was happy again... more boogers would come sliding down her nose! Ug! Here are a few from today that are less boogery.

silly stinker with boogers


silly stinker

Hannah's cousin came into the world Monday afternoon. We're very excited about this little bundle of love, hope to go visit him after Hannah's nap time today.

When we came home from Taiwan, Kevin's hands were feeling numb and he could hardly make a fist with one of his hands. Over the counter anti-inflammatories weren't cutting it, so he went to our nurse practitioner who prescribed tougher anti-inflammatory medication and x-rays. The x-rays came back degenerative disk disease, so he was referred to an orthopedic doctor who is a spine specialist. The orthopedic spine specialist sends him for an MRI and an EMG (I like to jokingly refer to this as his electric shock treatment test) and it comes back carpal tunnel in his wrists. Kevin comments that the EMG testing was really cool because the physician explained everything he was doing while hooking up electrodes down into specific nerves and shocking him... like it was a show on the Discovery Health channel. The orthopedic spine specialist is convinced that he needs carpel tunnel surgery because his carpel tunnel is severe, and refers him to a carpal tunnel surgeon in the same group. Kevin saw the carpal tunnel surgeon today who doesn't want to do surgery... but have him wear splints at night for several weeks to see if this improves. UG! We're so frustrated from being sent around and around to different physicians to find a cause and a treatment for Kevin's numbness in his hands. Hopefully these splints will help. Poor Kevin was so worried... when the numbness was really bad he was so scared that if it continued to get worse he wouldn't be able to take care of Hannah because he might drop her. Well, at least this is all coming on at one time with all of Hannah's appointments and we can max out our out of pocket expenses on our insurance.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I ♥ Faces Entry - Black and White

What's in black and white and cute all over? Hannah Claire, of course!

I've been peeking at entries in a weekly photography contest blog called I Faces, never but felt like I had any photographs worth entering. This week's theme is black and white. I really like one of Hannah Claire's cottage cheese eating photos, and decided to play around with it to see what it looked like in black and white.

cottage cheese - black and white
click here to see a larger size.

I really like the way the light creates shadows on her skin. There's a lot of contrasts, including the contrast between Hannah Claire's dark hair and the headband and also between her skin and the little white cottage cheese curds. So, here's my first entry! Be sure to click on the button below to peek at all of the beautiful photos... or click on this link here to go directly to this week's black and white entries.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

more from our "Little Sweetheart"

This morning Hannah Claire, Nana, and I attended a tea for the 28 participants in a local "Little Sweetheart" fundraising contest that benefits a local child in need of medical treatment. Hannah's Nana's fundraising campaign efforts earned Hannah 5th place, and the contest raised a few thousand dollars for the child's family. It was fun to look around and oooh and ahhh at all of the little sweethearts in the room. Hannah won a couple of t-shirts, a Nerf football, and coupons for free items at local fast food restaurants. I see more french fries in her future.

We went to Nana's after the tea, played with some of Mama's old toys, took some photos, and ate lunch together. Of course, cottage cheese was on the menu. It's amazing to me that one little baby can make such a mess with the cottage cheese. It was even inside her shoes!

this little sweetheart

sweetheart feet

And now for a little fun with Photoshop Actions...


sweetheart - little color

sweetheart - seventies

Some of my favorite Photoshop Actions are freebies from the Pioneer Woman blog. Here are links to download set one and set two.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm lovin' it.

I'm lovin' it.

As a child I had a toy McDonald's restaurant, and some pieces from it are still around at Nana and Grandpa's house. I get a kick out of watching Hannah eat the McDonalds sign. She had french fries twice this week, McDonalds fries on Valentine's Day and Wendy's fries tonight. Her little pincher grasp sure likes to hold on to a fry. Sedona is ready to steal Hannah's fries right out of her hand if Mama isn't watching!

potty girl

Along with my old toys is a little people potty. Hannah liked opening the lid, closing the lid, AND putting the toilet in her mouth, of course. Little did I know... a 13 month old can have a little potty mouth! And, Dani... this bow was added just for you.

daddy's scratchy face

Hannah's good mood has been increasing all week long and we're having less and less cries for Mama when Daddy is holding her. Tonight Daddy put stick on earrings on Hannah's ears that HE BOUGHT. Hannah likes sticking her fingers in his mouth and exploring his scratchy face.

We had our first appointment at our local pediatrician's office this week. Because of our extended release version of the stomach flu, her weight has a net gain of basically ZERO since she's been with us for seven weeks. In a way, this makes me feel soooooooo bad. I feel like I have so much to live up to... we've been given the gift of this child and all of the responsibility that comes with caring for her... and like I'm letting everyone down because my micro baby didn't gain weight. My head tells me that's crazy talk and this is to be expected for a baby that puked for five days straight, lived off Pedialyte and juice, and took a week to get her appetite back... but I still feel really badly about it. Hannah had two shots and a TB test, cried big tears, but settled down right away after she was back in Mama's arms. Mama had to work that night, and Daddy said that she was fine and the shots didn't make her fussy. We go back next week for two more, and then back in two months for a developmental check (aka make sure that we're feeding her and she's gaining weight check).

Hannah fills out 3-6 month clothes well except the pants are too long. Six month items best but a little loose in the waist, and she swims in 6-9 month sizes. A couple of weeks ago I packed away everything 18 months plus (that's nearly half her closet) into storage boxes. It's going to be a long time before we get there!

New foods this week include peas, biter biscuits, and Nana's yummy broccoli soup. Yummm... I love Nana's broccoli soup, too.

Okay, now to the juicy part. I've been wanting to write about this for some time. When reading adoption blogs, I've read others write about how meeting their child was like love at first sight... and was a magical experience. Well, I wanted to put it out there that it was not that way for me. I felt like I was babysitting this really cute baby for several weeks, but that it was someone else's baby. Hours became days, and days became weeks, and now weeks are becoming months. The love I feel for my daughter grows a little each day... and it feels less and less and less like babysitting all of the time. She reaches for me. She mimics me. She waves at me in the mirror. When she's hurt, she stops crying when I hold her. I really feel like Hannah's mama now, but it didn't happen right away. For those of you waiting to meet your child, know that it's okay if the moment you meet your child doesn't make you feel connected and all flowery inside. The connection that you feel between you and your child will grow with time. I'm lovin' it.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

cottage cheese

cottage cheese scrapbook page

Couldn't help but break out some cottage cheese in a more
controlled environment than Friday night. These pics are for you, Amy!
I used a creamy wash on these three photos.
The whole set can be found on my Flickr account.

2009-02-15_09-36-55_Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi_creamy

2009-02-15_09-33-10_Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi_creamy

2009-02-15_09-37-21_Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi_creamy

little curl

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Sweetheart - 500th post

Happy Valentine's Day! This one has been our sweetest yet, as we have our little sweetheart at home with us. The real Miss Hannah Claire is starting to come out again with her ready smile and baby talk. Her appetite is back as she's sucking down bottles and eating multiple jars of baby and all the puffs she can fit into her mouth every day.

Two days ago our big TV in the living room died. Arg! I can't tell if Kevin is happy that it is broken, or overjoyed as he somehow already had a replacement TV all picked out. Maybe it's a man thing... always shopping for your next big TV. Well, guess I don't have to buy him a last minute Valentine's Day gift now... as he's already got it all picked out.

Last night Amy came over for dinner sans-kiddos and we went our for pizza. Amy had the bright idea that we should give Hannah Claire some cottage cheese off the salad bar. Well, she LOVED it... but I had little anxiety attacks watching Hannah eat because I didn't bring a bib and it was such a mess. Imagine... my baby grabbing handfuls of cottage cheese and smearing it into her mouth. It was all over her clothes, up a nostril, etc. etc. etc. Yes... funny... but so yuck at the same time. I didn't bring my purse that contains my little camera, so I have no footage of the cottage cheese experience and I'm so bummed. People sitting around us and our wait staff were very amused.

I worked today, and when I got home we went out for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner with great entertainment and a movie. We went to McDonalds and watched Hannah feed herself french fries, and now that the baby's asleep we'll pop some microwave popcorn and break out the Peanut M&Ms.


I've been working on a lot of digital scrapbooking projects lately after little Miss goes to bed. I ordered a print framed in a shadow box for my mother for Valentine's Day from Scrapping Simply and was really happy with it. I'll be ordering more, and I think the next one will be the collage on the bottom.


Toothbrush Collage

Little funny for the day: A customer at work saw Hannah's photo and remarked that she was so cute and that her hair was so much darker than mine. I laughed so hard inside!!! "Uh... yes, it is!" I just left it at that. So much funnier (for me) just to end it that way.

Wow. Can't believe that this is post number 500. We've come a long way, baby girl!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where is My Sunshine - First Post Placement Visit

Today we had our first post placement visit with our social worker. We slept in until 10am. I fed Hannah some breakfast while Daddy tried to straighten up the house. The last time the social worker was here two years ago was the most organized and clean the house has ever been. Today... not so much. Hannah tried some mandarin oranges with breakfast and made a horrible face, not enjoying the sour citrus taste. She was velcro baby again today and I couldn't put her down with out a crying fit starting. When I finally had to jump into the shower with the social worker on the way she screamed and cried the whole time even through Daddy was holding her. She was so snotty that Kevin had to change her clothes. The social worker arrived as I was getting out of the shower and she got to see Hannah all worked up. We think post-sickness and teething pain is what's causing this new attitude. Her fingers are in her mouth a lot more than ever before, and she'll just start crying suddenly for no apparent reason.

If we're still having issues a month or two from now we'll consult an attachment therapist in Indianapolis, but for now... we're just do a lot of holding, a lot of Tylenol, deal with the teething, and Daddy will work on finding ways to distract Hannah from being upset that Mama is gone and/or just can't hold her all of the time. If Hannah acted like this when we got her... we'd think normal post-adoption grief. Instead we had four weeks of smiling, curious, and happy sunshine baby who suddenly became this very different "touch me not" and "Mama's got to hold me all of the time" girl who won't even let me lay her down to change her diaper with out screaming her head off. I miss My Sunshine. I wish I could see a lot more of that dimpled smile again.

My Sunshine

I sing to you when I pick you up out of your crib in the morning. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray."

After some Tylenol and a long nap, she was much better tonight. She ate more than I've ever seen her eat before (baby food macaroni tomato dinner, baby food green beans, some puffs, 1/3 of a banana, and a few bites of beans from the ham and beans that we had for dinner). She watched Kevin make corn bread and picked up the eggs out of the carton to hand over to Daddy. I'm trying to stay out of the way while Hannah and Daddy are playing and dancing around to BabyTV channel music.

For those of you who use FotoFusion like me for digital scrapbooking, Kissed Studio is having a sweetheart sale until February 16th where their template packs are 50% off. Templates are nice because they give you a jump start when making a page. I really like the Kissed Studio signature packs made by popular digital scrapbooking kit artists, mostly because I like to look at the examples of what they've made with the templates. Kissed Studio is the only place that I have found FotoFusion templates for sale, although people who use Adobe Photoshop can purchase templates from countless retailers. If anyone knows other places to purchase FotoFusion digital scrapbooking templates, please let me know.

I'm working on scrapping the photo pages for our first post placement report, and I'll post them here as they are completed.


Chinese New Year 2009

Bits and Pieces: 2 months with Hannah Claire - page for first placement report

Video: Hannah Banana

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Little Sweetheart


The Lions Club in our community sponsors an annual Little Sweetheart fundraising contest to benefit a child in need of medical treatment. This year's proceeds toward living and health care expenses for a local child suffering from Job's Syndrome that causes the child to have recurring skin abscesses with horrible itching.

Hannah's Nana had us enter our daughter into the fundraising contest, and her picture appeared on the back page of the local paper Saturday along with 27 other cute babies. Voting began Monday and ends at noon on Friday, February 20th. Votes are 1 cent each, and stuffing of ballots is highly encouraged! LOCALS: You can place your vote (for Hannah Claire of course!) at three area banks: the bank on the very south end of town, the bank by the river in the middle of town, and a credit union next to two dentists' offices on the north side of town. Check the back of your Saturday paper for exact details.

Hannah's Nana and Grandpa are self-appointed campaign managers and have been e-mailing friends to get out the vote. I'm making photo campaign buttons for them this morning. Funny stuff!

Little Sweetheart fundraising contest campaign buttons

Saturday, February 7, 2009

baby boy's shower

Today we celebrated the upcomming arrival of "baby boy" at my sister's baby shower. She is due in only three weeks.

hold me


Nana cam
Nana cam

getting plenty of attention
Nana is having a pretty exciting year so far. Two grandbabies in two months!

Maddux and Hannah
This little boy and Hannah have the same adjusted age, but they look so different. He is growing into size five sneakers where Hannah is still wearing size two. Today we learned that Hannah doesn't like the idea of sharing her mama. While my cousin held Hannah in the chair next to me, the little boy's mommy handed him over to me. Hannah didn't like what she saw, and started to make a big fuss. She didn't want Mama to be holding another baby. I took Hannah back into my other arm and she settled back down right away. I also attempted to walk out of the room while Nana held Hannah... as I had my eyes on one of those yummy cupcakes. Hannah started screaming quickly to let me know right away it was NOT okay for me to leave the room without her, although it was fine for other family members to hold her.

baby boy on the way
My favorite photo of the day. :)

baby boy on the way (black and white)
In black and white too. :)

baby wearing
After an afternoon at the baby shower, Hannah became velcro baby when we arrived home and had to be held by me the whole night. This is exhausting. I pulled out the wrap style baby carrier and wore her around the house. If you want to be close, baby... we'll get you close.

baby wearing with a kiss
No smiles today. She's not in the mood. That's okay, I've still got a full supply of kisses.

And... our ATIN (adoption tax identification number) arrived today in the mail. Yippie! I've never been so happy to file our taxes! It arrived in just a little less than four weeks.

Also, We didn't get anything from the president when we received Hannah's Certificate of Citizenship in the mail. For those of you who didn't adopt in the middle of a presidential change... what exactly is it that you got that had the president's signature? Was there a letter inside with the certificate, or did it comes later? I'm kinda bummed... I was hoping to have something with President Obama's name on it with Hannah's Certificate of Citizenship.

I plan on taking some photos later this week of Hannah with her certificate and some little American flags. I brought the little flags to Taiwan thinking that we could break them out inside AIT, but didn't because they don't allow cameras inside, and the rainy day outside didn't make for a good photo op.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Fotos

Thank goodness it's Friday! Here are a few more photos that I've been working with over the last few days. It takes a long while to crop photos using one hand with a clingy baby in your arms.
the tongue
the tongue

If I only had some teeth...
If I only had some teeth....

little fingers

brush 'em if you got 'em
Brush 'em if you got 'em.

that face (added softness)
that face

And some more of "that face" with some special effects from Picnik. Fun stuff. I subscribe to the premium version so I don't have to look at ads and there's some extra effects, but you can do all sorts of things with your photos there for free, and it's really easy. Of course, this is not professional grade photo editing... but fun stuff for home use.

that face (cross process)

that face (little color)

that face (panography-ish)

that face (dots)

that face (blue tint)

We're doing better here at home with Hannah's tummy bug. She only threw up yesterday and once today right before I got home from work. There doesn't seem to be a constant of what has made her throw up... so I don't know where to go from here.

Something strange happened today when I got home. Hannah had recently thrown up and Kevin was cleaning up. Kevin said that she wasn't upset by throwing up... but as soon as I came in the door she threw a screaming mad baby fit. She didn't calm down until I rocked for for several minutes. She wanted only me to rock her and was very distressed from my arrival home. I felt so badly while she quivered, hiccuped, and cried big tears in my arms. I cradled her close and rubbed her back while talking to her gently, "Mama's here... it's okay. Mama can't always be with you... but she'll always come back home to you." Breaks my heart to see her so upset because I've been gone all day.

We went to my mom and dad's for dinner and the change of scenery put her Hannah in a much better mood. She played on the floor with old Fisher Price Little People from the 70s with Nana, and Grandpa made all sorts of silly faces and sounds with her. She crawled around on the ground and didn't feel the need to be velcro baby.

Praying for a puke free night tonight. Tomorrow is my sister's baby shower, and I know that we have family members that are looking forward to seeing Hannah. I'm sure that Daddy is looking forward to a few hours of alone time while we're gone. I know that spending all day alone with a sick baby while I'm at work has been stressful for him.

Hannah's Certificate of Citizenship arrived in the mail today, just a little over a month after we arrived home from Taiwan. Hopefully that adoption tax identification number will hurry along too. Riley Children's Hospital sent us a statement this week that told us how much our insurance was being billed for Hannah's labs. I about had a heart attack.... $1800 for labs alone. Of course, insurance always negotiates down lab prices... but $1800 for labs? (Insert large groaning sound here.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are we finished, yet?

This is day six of the stomach flu at our house, and I'm so ready for this to be over with. Poor Hannah only threw up twice today, so that's a great improvement. It's been difficult to make her feel content, but she seems to feel the best when she's being held laying on her back while having her belly rubbed. She'll whine a little, but if you put her down... she'll really start crying. It's been difficult to watch her attachment level slip back several steps. She has been avoiding eye contact and isn't trying to engage us like she usually does. Just before bed tonight she must have started feeling a little like her old self and played with us for awhile, imitating Kevin's facial expressions and some sounds. She's kept hydrated, but I think she's lost a little weight. The little chub that she gained while at home with us is missing from her cheeks and belly. When we are successful with a bottle, she'll only take four ounces instead of her usual six. I'm confident that we'll start moving back in the right direction with attachment and food as soon as we get this tummy bug to go away.

Kevin called the social worker and rescheduled our post placement visit that was supposed to happen today. Thank goodness! We've got a week to try and get everyone healthy and put back together.

I'm still working with photos from a few days ago. Here's a favorite of that singular little dimple.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

1 month

1 Month with Hannah Claire

While waiting, and waiting, and waiting for Hannah's referral, I kept busy making a scrap page a month to mark each month waiting. There are other bloggers and scrappers out there that are taking a photo a day or making a scrap page a day for their children in a 365 challenge. Working full time and learning how to be a first time mom won't allow me to do that every day, but I think I can handle a page a month to document our life with Hannah Claire. And what a month the first one has been!

Oh, and my mom keeps pointing out to me that our blog ticker marked 100,000 hits today. Thank you to everyone who's been following along for so long. Over two years and nearly 500 posts later, we finally got here. Thanks for your kind words, suggestions, prayers, and support for so long.

We had a little photo session today after one of Hannah's multiple baths today which got my digiscrappin' juices flowing. Not much beats a cute baby wearing nothing but a diaper and a smile... except a diaper, a smile, and a hairbow!


Dreamed of Plum Blossoms
Text: Not long ago, I dreamed of plum blossoms. I dreamed in pink and white, for a little girl on the other side of the world. I still pinch myself. I still sneak into your room to hear you breathe. But I must admit, the piles of laundry, green baby food streaks on the high chair, and dirty bottles in the sink bring me back to reality very quickly. - Mama