Monday, August 31, 2009

waiting again, shoes, and a lot of growing up

In the middle of the day while I was at work, Kevin met with the early intervention peeps today. Hannah qualifies, and we're waiting for a physical therapist and a speech therapist to become available. There's only three of each working in our area, and we let them know our preferences on who our therapists would be. It sounds like it usually takes a few weeks, maybe a month, but sometimes longer until there's an opening because another child turned three and aged out of the program or met their goals and graduated out. Kevin sounds like he really wished that I was there, and was frustrated when being asked what his goals were for Hannah's therapy. The governmental paper-pusher type prodded him a lot as she didn't think "I want her to be able to walk and talk" were specific enough answers. I wouldn't know what they were looking for, quite honestly. That's why we've called you, people! You're the professionals. Help us set goals and show us how to help Hannah reach them. So, we're waiting. Again.

Hannah's new word is "shoes." She likes to take her shoes and socks off, particularly in the car seat. At home she hands shoes to me to put them on her feet, and then she takes them back off again. Hannah likes to take off my slip off shoes and put them back on my feet. She was un-tieing Nana's tennis shoes this weekend, as well. Baby, Mama thinks about shoes for you a lot, too. I'd love to get you some new shoes, but can't pull the trigger for a new pair of gold Pedipeds from the new couture collection. They are beautiful... I know. No one is selling these gently used on eBay yet.
We're working on animal names and the sounds they make. She won't say these things spontaneously, but I hear back that dogs say "oof oof" and ducks say "cack cack" every once in awhile.

Two weeks from today we'll be on a week long trip that involves a couple of airplane rides. Any guesses as to where we'll be going? We've been planning trip for several months and are sooooo excited!

No photos for a long while. Mama's tired from the stress of a new job situation, the 40 minute commute, trying to keep up with the house, and just doesn't have it in her right now. I'll leave you with something that warmed my heart. Kevin and I were picking up toys in our great room today and putting them away. Kevin remarked that he wished that she had a bigger place to play. I tentatively suggested, "Have you ever thought about giving up your computer room and turning it into a play room?" It was hard for me to suggest this to a man that sees working on his computers like some guys work on their 70s muscle car in the garage. Always tinkering, needing some new part. Well, I could hardly believe it when he admitted that he'd been thinking about it, and it was a good idea. It was one of those moments in our relationship when I stopped in awe that he's grown up so much since becoming a dad. I never thought that I'd hear him volunteering to give up what he once referred to as "the only room in the house that's all mine." It's going to take some work to get rid of a lot of parts and a lot of junk that has been held on to, but I think we'll be much happier when we get the toys out of the great room that we LIVE in. And... we'll have to do something about the tangerine walls and black leather curtains before we call it the playroom.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Redirect: Another country, not my own

Here's a link to an article for the Boston Globe written by Mei-Ling Hopgood on parents' embrace of the "home" culture of their international adoptees. If you read the article, I'd love for you to share your thoughts in the comments of this post.

Monday, August 24, 2009

early intervention evaluation

Today a developmental and an occupational therapist came to evaluate Hannah for early intervention services. We had a phone call on our answering machine Sunday night that they were changing our appointment time. I was able to switch things around at work to arrive home 15 minutes after the appointment began. I tried to sneak into the front door hoping Hannah wouldn't make a scene and come screeching and crawling to me like she often does when I come home. Instead, she was eagerly playing with developmental toys, looked up briefly at me, and then kept on playing with the two women and their big bag of toys! In the end, the therapists expressed what we already knew. Hannah has great fine motor skills but her gross motor skills are delayed. They also classified her as language delayed, but all other areas check out fine. Next week we'll have an eligibility determination/individual family service plan meeting to see if we qualify, and then choose what therapies we'd like to receive and what therapists we'd like to receive them from. I'm scoping out the First Steps physical therapists and speech pathologists that service our area to be able to tell them who'd I'd like, and we'll go from there. I have a strong feeling that we're not going to have problems qualifying because they considered Hannah's walking to be markedly delayed. Now I'm wishing that I would have pushed for this much earlier. I'd encourage any parent just thinking about the possible need for early intervention services to go ahead and pick up the phone now, rather than wait and look out for more red flags of delays.

In other fun news... I've picked out Hannah's first Halloween costume. Any guesses to what she'll be for her first Halloween? I'm eager to read what you think I'd choose!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

deal sighting: summer clothing at Babies R Us

Last night at Babies R Us in Fort Wayne they had a buy one get one for one cent sale on their sale priced summer clothing. I bought two two packs of Carter's Play All Day wear for Hannah. Four outfits, two dresses with matching diaper covers and two bubble onesies, for next spring for $9.01!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Video: chopsticks

This video was taken with my iPhone so there's not much sound.

Tonight after work Kevin met me and we went out to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants. Hannah had edamame for the first time and quickly caught on how to shell her own beans and this kept her very busy during dinner. We ate with chop sticks, and Little Miss Copy Cat was allowed to experiment with my chop sticks while we were waiting for our bill to come.

While shopping tonight, Kevin placed Hannah inside a cart with a big rubber ball to keep her occupied. When it was time to leave the store I took the ball away and it went back in the bin. She cried out, "Ball! Ball!" and the whines started. Great. Now we've started plus fifteen years of whining for things in stores. She quickly forgot about the ball, found other things to look at, and the cries stopped.

Here's a few photos from my phone of Hannah playing on her play mat. She's started stsacking blocks this week, and wants to stack everything she gets her hands on. The new stacking record is seven blocks high. Kevin says she's building towers of blocks right next to eachother. Yep, I think the Zhua zhou at Hannah's first birthday party was right on when she picked the digital multimeter. She wants to be an engineer.

Uh... we missed our dog Sedona's birthday. Wow. Never thought I'd forget the babydog's birthday. Maybe that's why she left a little present on Kevin's computer chair (of all places!) last week. Sorry, babydog. She hasn't been in the limelight for many many months now, but she still gets snuggle time on the couch when we're up watching a movie or a show. Sedona gets plenty of treats, as Hannah willingly shares her snacks with her dog.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

16 month check-up and "fun" with social security

This morning Hannah had a check-up at our peds office lugging my big Hannah folder around with us with all of her paperwork. It was no big deal to change her legal name in our medical records, just had to double check that they got it right. "Yes, two first names and one hypenated middle name."

I was excited about having Squirmy weighed and measured. She weighed 19 pounds with a diaper on and was 29 and 1/2 inches in length. I couldn't wait to get home to chart that... wondering if we're back on the US chart for weight yet. Lookin' good, big girl!

Hannah stacked four little blocks during the appointment showing off her fine motor skills. She walked down the hallway for us in order to get her hands on Mama's iPhone. We talked a lot about Hannah being slow to walk, as that is the only real issue that she has. Our nurse checked on her flexibility, and showed me how her range of motion in her hips and legs is well beyond normal. We're waiting on my new health insurance card to show up so we can provide it to First Steps Early Intervention and get the ball rolling with Hannah's assessments. The nurse practitioner thought that the super flexibility and walking delay should be plenty enough to have us qualify, and she's be sending her recommendation back to them as well.

After naptime we went to the social security office. As I anticipated, I interacted with a less than bright government employee that didn't know the rules concerning what I was wanting. Of course she was quick to tell me what documents I needed that their form didn't say were required, and had to call a supervisor over when this mama was insisted that this couldn't be true. In the end, the staff tells me that her Taiwan passport/US visa and certificate of citizenship are enough to get Hannah's social security card in the name that she entered the country, but that our county court's readoption documents aren't enough to get her a social security card with her current legal name. They want a new state birth certificate with her new legal name, and then we can change the name on the social security card. OR... a new certificate of citizenship in the new legal name.

We kept Hannah busy with photo books, pens, paper clips, a book, keys, and a game of peek-a-boo during the half an hour spent at window number #1. Fortunately she was being cute and didn't fuss and cry too much. This mama DID NOT appreciate the comment, "She's so cute, I'd like to bring her home with me." I'm thinking all the time about what Hannah is hearing from strangers, and even more important is our response. "I don't think so. She's our daughter and she's always coming home with us."

Anyone else besides me feel funny about US created birth certificates for their international adoptees? Like... why do we have to create legal fiction for our children to make it easier to obtain social security cards, register for preschool, and so on? I wasn't there at my daughter's birth, and I place value on the names listed on the original documents.

Here's another rant. The social security administration employee suggested that we wouldn't want to get a social security number for Hannah in her original name because it would be a "foreign born immigrant number." I think my eyes about popped out of my head. "HELLO?!?!?!?!? That's what she is! What's wrong with that?" The social security employee shut up and didn't respond to this exasperated mama. Did this lady think it would be so much *nicer* to have a number that signified that Hannah obtained her card with an Indiana birth certificate so she'd have an Indiana number? Anyone ever heard of anything like this where someone insinuated that an immigrant social security number was less desirable than a number assigned by what state one lives in?

I want to end with something fun rather than my grouchiness. Hannah had strawberry and chocolate flavored milk for the first time this week. When she drinks it, her eyebrows go up and she has a delighted look on her face while sucking down the brown or pink moo juice. Daddy says she's thinking, "And WHY haven't you served me this before?!!?"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

28 steps

Hannah Claire took 28 steps tonight in my parents' living room. 28! I got so excited while counting her steps that I skipped from 20 to 30... counting to 38. Kevin readily told me that I couldn't count and skipped a 10 numbers. Whoops.

With the help of our friend Amy (aka "the baby whisperer"), we learned that we needed to find out what "carrot" works for Hannah. Amy taught us that the TV remote does pretty well. "Here, Hannah. Walk over here and let's play with the TV remote." A crazy toy with spinning LED lights works pretty well, too. But... the number one carrot to get Hannah to walk is offering her one of our iPhones. I hope she figures out walking quickly. We don't have insurance plans for these carrots!

Hannah ate so much tonight. BBQ chicken, corn cut off the cob, canteloup, Ramen cabbage salad, bread, ice cream, and blueberry pie. When she eats a lot her little belly sticks way out. I was really amazed that she had room for dessert in that belly. I asked Hannah, "Where'd you put your pie? Where's your pie?" She lifted up her dress over her face and showed me her belly! Cracks me up!!!

For Sale: Glenna Jean "Scribbles" 5 piece crib bedding set

Our little girl is getting so tall! She's lifting her leg up attempting to climb out of her crib, and looks like she just might accomplish it. Today we lowered her mattress to the very bottom to keep her safe. With that, now we're not using any of her original pink and brown crib bedding that I've loved so much. I've put up the set for sale on eBay (item # 200373828234) if you know anyone who might be interested. The set is called "Scribbles" by Glenna Jean and retails for over $300. I'll start eBaying some of her name brand clothing and shoes as well in the next few weeks.

Friday, August 14, 2009

More Beach Baby

Indiana Dunes State Park

A few commenters have requested beach baby photos with blue water. The beachy wash out process took out all the blue from the water in a previous post. Unfortunately, the coastline is filled with steel mills and smokestacks. The water just isn't that blue.

I processed another beach baby photo below a little differently. This two layer process keeps a little more blue in the water.

beach baby with Daddy

Redirect: Just Trying to Get Coffee

Reading blogs, and taking notes. I really liked how TongguMomma handled this line of questioning when she was just trying to get coffee. Here's a follow-up post a few days later.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

beach baby

I've been traveling for training with my new job lately. This week Kevin and Hannah joined me on a little trip to the Indiana Dunes. We'd never sat Hannah down in sand before, and what better place to find lots of sand then in some sand dunes! First I have to comment about how much more crap supplies one has to bring with them to the beach when you have a child along in comparison to what we used to bring to the beach before Hannah. It was a workout indeed just hauling our stuff from the parking lot to the water's edge.

We saw a smart mommy with a SNOW SLED. She brought a SNOW SLED to the beach to haul all of her crap supplies across the desert. She said it worked really well... that is until the kids start screaming that they want you to pull them on this sled across the sand.

While hauling Hannah across the sand, she was very excited about the swarms of seagulls on the beach. "Birdzzzz! Birdzzz! Birdzzz!" We sat Hannah down in the sand, and of course she cried. Little Miss was mad and tried to get the sand off of her hands. I picked her up and sat her on a straw mat until she calmed down. I started playing with a bucket and a shovel. She was interested in pouring sand really quickly and stopped crying, but wasn't going to sit in that stuff. Daddy decided to take her near the water and sit her down on some cool hardened sand. They sat together and watched the waves and all of the people. Eventually, she started scooting her bottom towards the water, and didn't get upset at all when a wave brought water up to her toes... then up over her bottom. She splashed a little and it was great fun. Hannah decided that the sand was fun and not so scary. Daddy brought the sand toys back out towards the wet sand, and they played and played while this mamarazzi had a grand time with her camera.

beach baby

I haven't had time to play with many of the photos yet, but here's the one that I worked on tonight. Hope you all are squeezing out the last drops of summer fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

prayers for southern Taiwan

I search the internet for news on Typhoon Morakot and a little agricultural village in southern Taiwan. I wonder how they weathered the storm. I wonder if they have drinking water, power, and safe housing. I worry about what crop damage does to the local economy. I pray, and I cry a little bit too.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Product Review: Zip-It

We've lived in this house for over four years, and I can't count the number of times on one hand that my bathtub drain has been clogged. I've bought bottle after bottle of Drano like products that help a little bit but never get my drain running like it should. We've even paid too much money to have a plumber over. He unclogged the drain, but a year later it was getting clogged once again.

Kevin found a non-chemical solution at Lowes that unclogged my drain for only $2.19. I'm so impressed with a long piece of plastic with teeth called Zip-It that pulled out a disgusting amount of soggy hair balls out. HERE'S A LINK to another blog where they made a video to show how easy it was to use.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

savoring the last drops of summer

staying cool in the pool
I know. Nearly went a week and no bloggy bloggy! I'm recovering from the brain overload that comes with a new job, and when I'm not working we're savoring the last drops of summer. Kevin and I spent the morning working on our neglected yard while Hannah played at Nana's with Legos. After nap time, we went outside to blow bubbles and got out the baby pool. Hannah was very excited to get into the pool and knew exactly what it was. She yelled at me while I was stripping off the diaper and taking off her socks and shoes to let me know that she wanted in that pool, and like now!

This photo below just cracks us up. Personality plus!

August - in the pool

We're having fun counting steps as Hannah takes off on two feet. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.... (falls down) YAY! Good job, Hannah! Let's go again!" The new record is eleven steps in the grass this afternoon while we were blowing bubbles in the back yard.

After Hannah was finished with the pool, she tried to get back in the house on her own through the dog door. Silly girl!

dog door entry attempt
We had our initial meeting with First Steps early intervention to fill out all of the paperwork, and we'll be scheduled with therapists to evaluate if she qualifies. We'll see.

Hannah's getting so much taller, and is growing out of clothes for the first time. I'm starting to remove items from her closet that she's too tall for. The 6-9 month jammies and everything 6 month (except shorts) no longer fit. I'm hanging up 12 month things for this winter. Daddy likes tights on his little girl, and we've discovered the Hanna Andersson loose tights and love them. He's also happy because she said babbled the word "blitz" while trying to climb into the refrigerator tonight. Daddy hopes Hannah will start watching the Colts on TV with him this fall.

爸爸節快樂! Happy Taiwanese Father's Day! Amanda and Lawrence shared that in Chinese, Daddy sounds like "BaBa." August 8th also sounds like "BaBa." Neat-o!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

snippits from this weekend

Friday we went to the zoo with Amy and the kiddos and then hung out at their place for a wonderful summertime dinner. Chicken on the grill, cucumber salad, cherries, corn, cookies, mmmmm. Hit the spot! We figured out that Hannah Claire will take several steps... if you dangle the right motivation in front of her face. Amy (aka "the babywhisperer") has it all figured out. Hannah loves remote controls for the TV, and we don't let her touch one at home. Hence, Hannah will take several steps to Amy in order to gain control over the remote. Duh... why didn't I think about that? Give her what we don't want her to have!

My favorite pics of Amy's kiddos are posted here on my photography blog.

We spent this weekend at my grandparents' lake home. We stopped at Target on the way for Hannah gear. We don't have a pack and play, and needed one for Hannah to sleep in. Co-sleeping is not an option with this kid who thinks being in bed with Mama and Dad is party time. While browsing the shelves looking for the latest Ni Hao, Kai-lan toys... look what I found on the bottom shelf? Isn't she cute?

cute toys on sale at Target

Hannah played hard with toys and walked a lot yesterday. The new record is a whopping NINE STEPS unassisted. She had lots of family to count her steps and cheer her on every time she decided to walk. "Clap clap clap! Go, Hannah Claire!"

When she wasn't walking, she was driving boats. Sometimes looking at video like this makes me catch my breath. She looks so little in that big captain's chair. She's growing out of 9 month onesies now. She's so long that it takes a little strain to snap them closed over her diaper. 6-12 month shoes still fit, but only when wearing thinner socks.

Hope you all had a great weekend as well!

I start training for the new job tomorrow. I'm excited... but had so much fun with friends and family these last three days... I wish my brief unemployment lasted a little longer.