Wednesday, September 30, 2009

two months, two weeks

I woke up this morning to the phone ringing at 9:15am. It was a call that we've been waiting over two months for. Our First Steps physical therapist was calling to schedule our therapy appointments to start next week. You'd think I would have jumped out of bed and danced a jig, but I was so sleepy and out of it I asked if she could call back later, anytime today when Kevin would be awake. "He's the stay at home dad, and he should schedule the time, but we're both still sleeping." I felt badly, but there's no way that the sleeping bear next to me was going to be coherent enough to schedule an appointment. She called back later in the afternoon, so now we're booked for speech therapy on Tuesdays and PT on Thursdays. Yippie!

TWO MONTHS and TWO WEEKS elapsed between when I made my first phone call to early intervention until when our first therapy session began. I had no idea it would take this long to start services, and I wish very badly that I had picked up the phone for an evaluation when I first suspected walking delays. I'm sharing this not because I want to complain (Ahem, already did that in one of the intake coordinators nice little surveys!) but because I want to stress to parents to go ahead and make the call to early intervention services if they think their child is starting to show some delays... or just in general for international adoptees that come home as babies and most likely have some delays due to institutional care. A free evaluation doesn't hurt, and Hannah thought it was a blast to have two women come over to our house with a big bag of toys to play with for an hour.

I was also very surprised that our First Steps therapy co-pays will only be $15 per session BEFORE our insurance is billed. I'll be thrilled if these co-pays can count towards her deductible, even if they don't ever pay anything for the sessions. I'm just throwing this out there because I don't want to think that there might be parents out there that didn't want to call for an evaluation because they were worried about what costs might be involved.

Today was a fun day. We shared raspberries for breakfast. We read books, ran errands, visited Papa at work, got a sucker at the bank, walked outside with the popcorn walker, chased our shadows in the grass, she watched me get my seasonal flu shot (and was VERY interested in what that man was doing to Mama's arm!), went out for dinner, and played with toys at Nana's before bedtime. Good times.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


bw bond

For the most part, I have very little guilt about being a working mom with my husband at home with our child. From the get-go with our relationship, Kevin and I knew that I would never be a stay at home mom. And that was always totally fine with me.

In college and for the first several years of our marriage, I didn't think I wanted to have children. (Insert your gasp here.) Actually, I was pretty sure I didn't. Now that's not something you planned on reading here, did you? I wasn't keen on the idea the idea of having children until Kevin and I had a dog together. That most likely sounds crazy to most people, especially those of you who are cat people and not dog people. Whatever. That's how it happened. Insert Sedona the babydog into our lives, and I got it.

Anyway, back to the guilt thing. This did me in today. Open front door. Feet are in major pain today after standing 10 hours straight and all I want to do is sit down. She sees me. She squeals with delight. Here she comes. Step. Step. Step step step step step step step step as she picks up speed and attempts to run to me with her hands stretched up wide. I pick her up. She pats my chest and exclaims, "Mama!"

I'm so tired. She wants to play but I need to have late dinner and sit down. We have dinner. I try to read "A Mother for Choco" to her but she's rubbing her eyes. Time for bed. I change her diaper, make a night time bottle, jammie her up, attempt brushing Hannah's seven teeth through her tightly clamped lips, and put away some of her laundry while she settles down for the night.

I wish I had more time with you today, sweetheart. We'll have tomorrow together.

9 months

9 months with Hannah Claire - love in the air

Nine months ago we met our daughter. She was placed in Kevin's arms and she studied him... very interested in this new face. I hovered, watching with teary eyes. Then she stuck her hand in his mouth, and everyone laughed. She didn't cry, didn't seem scared, and just seemed to go with the flow and wanted to explore the new surroundings and faces. The grieving came later that night in the hotel room. I don't think any of us slept more than an hour at a time that night.

We've passed another mark this month, as well. Hannah has now been with us longer than she was at St. Lucy's. She was a little over eleven months old when we brought her home, but as a preemie weighing only 2.6 pounds at birth... she spent her first two and a half months of life in a hospital.

I took this photograph while Kevin was tossing Hannah in the air Saturday night. The photograph is not cropped. That's what I caught in my lens.

Our new speech therapist called and scheduled Hannah's first appointment for next Tuesday at our home. Yippie skippy! I'm so thankful that she's starting to think that repeating back words and sounds is fun. Tonight's attempted words were "Go Dog Go!" as we cheered and clapped for Sedona as she raced through the house. Still waiting to hear from the physical therapist.

Happy nine months, little bug. We love you so much.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ditch it

all smiles with Mama

Today we traveled to a local pumpkin patch. We entered the drive, observed that there wasn't anyone else there, eyed the line of pumpkins along that drive, and left. It was nearing the golden hour, the weather was mild, and I was itching to take some photos after several days of dreary rain. We drove to a home that usually has pumpkins for sale, and they didn't have anything out this year. Oh no! The our golden hour time was running out, so we went to a nearby park to see what we could come up with. Who would have thought that my favorite photos involved letting Hannah walk and crawl down a cement drainage ditch? I didn't get any pumpkin photos today, but I do love the ones from the ditch! I'll be posting photos here on my photography blog as I work on them.

ditch it

This week Hannah called out "Papa" to my dad. He's really digging that, and especially likes it because Hannah hasn't said "Nana" yet. Nana is hard at work to remedy the situation and with enough bribes healthy encouragement I'm sure Hannah will be saying "Nana" very soon.

Kevin took a great video this week of his first "conversation" with Hannah. I won't post it because it contains shots of nakey buns in the bathtub, but it is SO funny. I think I've watched it 50 times on my phone. Here's the text from the conversation.

K: Where's Hannah?
H: Hannah (laying down in the tub) sticks her head up to peek at Kevin.
K: Hi, Hannah. Where's Hannah? Hey, you. Are you ready to get up?
H: Na.
K: (laughs) No?
H: Yeah.
K: There's no water in your tub. Are you ready to get up?
H: No.
K: No? Do you want to get dried off?
H: Na.
K: Ok. Hannah, are you ready to get up?
H: No.
K: No?
H: No!!!
K: You're lucky you're cute. Hannah, let's get up.
H: No.
K: Do you want to stay in the tub and play?
H: Yeah.
K: Yeah. Ok. Well, I'll leave you to it then. Bye bye.
H: Na. Na. (Big cheesy smile.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You know how much I love government offices.

Hannah's state certificate of birth arrived in the mail. It says that she was born in China.

Brief geography lesson:

Republic of China (ROC) does not equal China. ROC equals Taiwan. The People's Republic of China (PRC) equals China. Sigh. Just when I thought we were nearing the end of all the paperwork. At least all of our names are spelled right. To my Taiwan adoptive mama friends, does your child's state birth certificate say "Republic of China" or Taiwan?

Better news: When I came home from work tonight my messy kid was walking quite fast! Kevin says that she suddenly picked up a lot of speed today. She'd still prefer to crawl, but it's so fun to celebrate with her as she finally starts to go-go-go!

Still trying to get Hannah into therapists. I'm expecting to spend a lot of work time on the phone tomorrow with my First Steps peeps. They keep advising me of my rights and sending me forms that they completed, but two months after we started this process we still don't have the kind of therapists that we need. They keep wanting to get us a developmental therapist until physical and speech therapists are available. Grrr. Better get some answers tomorrow, or watch out... the mama bear will start to growl.

Updated 9/21/09 at 9:38pm:

Yes, yes... we'll have the birth certificate corrected, of course. Just kinda funny... one more thing that can get messed up does get messed up.

Mama bear's First Steps update: Get this. I call the service coordinator and leave her a message at 9:15am and she doesn't call me back at the work number I left her all day long. At 6pm I check my cell's voice mail during a quick break at work and find a message. ARG! Lady, when I say call me at this number at work... that doesn't mean call my cell phone that's turned off while I'm working! Grrr! The service coordinator says that my physical therapist and speech therapist of choice both have one opening for us, but she's still waiting on a change of service plan paper to be refaxed to her. One of the assessment therapists faxed it last week, but it wasn't readable. The service coordinator asked for it to be faxed again, but the assessment therapist had already turned over the paperwork to somehwere else and the forms had to be hunted down and had not been faxed back yet. It's crazy I tell you. Crazy! Mama bear left Ms. Service Coordinator a stern voice mail message to tell her 1) listen to your messages and call people back at the number they explicitly leave you, not other numbers of your choosing 2) I'm expecting a phone call Tuesday back at work with confirmation that you have received the necessary form and are scheduling our therapy sessions. Thank you. Grrr.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

treeline splendor

We're home! Hannah was a really good girl on our flights back home. No puking, very little crying, and lots of playing peek-a-boo with the nice people sitting in the rows behind us.

These photos are my favorite from our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. They were taken along Old Fall River Road, a winding dirt road that is one way up and open only during the summer months. I fell in love with this little spot with it's large boulders, tall grasses, brightly colored plant life, and view of the mountains. Makes me wish I was a little chipmunk that could live here in this beauty year-round.

I have larger images of these "treeline splendor" photos on my photography site. I'd like to order a canvas print of one of these images. I'd appreciate it if you could take a look at them on the photography site and tell me which you think I should order to hang in my living room. I can't decide! I've turned off comments on this post so you can leave the suggestions all on the photography site.
treeline splendor collage

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

elk watch

Today we drove to Estes Park, Colorado, to spend a few days enjoying the high peaks, the rocks, the trees, and the wildlife that surrounds us while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. I've posted a few of my favorite photos of the day on my photography blog so they can be displayed in a larger size.

HERE'S A LINK to a few portraits of Hannah watching Elk graze on a golf course in Estes Park.

to some of the wildlife we watched today. I love the sound that elk make. Hannah's eyes got really wide and she said "ooooooh!" after hearing our first loud elk call.

Smokin' Dave's BBQ and Taphouse was delicious. We found the place using Yelp, one of our favorite iPhone apps. Best pulled pork I've ever had. If you're ever in Estes Park, be sure to go. There's a 15% discount coupon on their website, as well.

blessed with friendship

We flew into Colorado late late Friday night. Hannah did pretty well on the planes and only cried once for about five minutes, although it seemed like ETERNITY as I imagined other passengers with thought bubbles above their heads thinking "shut that kid up," "what horrible parents," and "I paid hundreds of extra dollars for first class and I have to listen to their screaming kid." Thank goodness I brought and extra outfit and a change of jammies. Outfit number one was soaked in water from a leaky sippy before we got on flight number one. Outfit number two was puked in Detroit when the ultra sensitive gag reflex kicked in during a snack. Little Miss traveled in her jammies from Cincy to Colorado, and it worked out alright as she slept during almost all of the flight.

We traveled to Colorado to meet up with a family with a little boy who lived with Hannah at her orphanage in Taiwan. They are very close in age and would have spent a lot of time living in the same nursery and playing on the floor together. His mama KB and I have spent many hours sharing, worrying, and obsessing on the phone together and over hundreds of e-mails. Kinda funny to know that the kids referred to me as "Bloggy Sarah." Our families got our referrals at about the same time and we literally raced each other get our documents back to the agency once we were approved by the orphanage. Kevin and I were so happy when their adoption was finalized, but wished we could have been done at the same time so we could meet our children together in Taiwan. Then, when they were in Taiwan they learned that our adoption was finalized and took a photo with Hannah with a sign that read "Hi, Mom and Dad. Congratulations! I AM YOURS!" Now cool is that?!?!?!

old friends on red rocks

It's been fun watching the kids play together, share toys, and steal them too, laugh, scream, and cry. Hannah's "boyfriend" likes to run up to us and say, "Boo!" It's totally adorable. Kevin chases him through the kitchen and he runs to me and hugs my legs for safety. Hannah has a non-stop audience with little ones watching her every move and wanting to play with her. "Mama, baby Hannah said wazzat." "Can I brush baby Hannah's hair?"

mamas and their babies

We've toured the Air Force Academy, took the train to Pike's Peak, dined on succulent homemade crapes filled with fresh fruit, shared spring rolls and noodles and Pei Wei, worshiped together at church, and eagerly put whiny kids (theirs AND ours) to bed at the end of a long day to watch a movie.

our family with Hannah's boyfriend

It was hard to say goodbye today and I got a little teary-eyed. I am so thankful that God joined our families together on our journey to our children. We've certainly been blessed!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rocky Mountain Way High

Hello from our family from the tip top of Pike's Peak... feeling a little dizzy but loving the views of America the beautiful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

toddler togetherness at the Taiwan Tea House

Today we ventured to Indianapolis for our final post placement report at our homestudy agency's office. Not going to miss explaining my parenting decisions to a virtual stranger, for sure.

We were to meet some special peeps for dinner and had some time to pass. We went to Target and did a little shopping. Now that Hannah knows how to use a straw, she got to share one of my favorite treats with me, the frozen Coke.

I talked on the phone with our First Steps service coordinator today while in the car. The physical therapist that we requested has an opening for us {hooray!!!} but she hadn't called any speech therapists yet {boo hiss!!!} I found out that a hang up was that the intake person said that she hadn't gotten a copy of my new job's insurance card yet that Kevin had e-mailed to her over a week ago. We sent a photo of the insurance with our phones and hopefully things will start moving now with therapy appointments. Many thanks to a certain very special speech therapist {Hannah is blowing your kisses} who volunteered to take us on in case a speech therapist in our service area is unavailable.

We stopped by an Asian friend's favorite Indy Asian grocery store called Asia Mart, and were pleasantly surprised to find Taiwanese pineapple cakes, boba, boba tea straws, and some box mixes for tea gelatin desserts that looked good.

Now on to our peeps! We had a delightful dinner at the Taiwan Tea House with our friends the Bains and Andrea who will get to be united with her daughter in Taiwan in a few months. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food and boba teas, but the center of attention was obviously our toddler daughters and not the food! They behaved really well considering all of the adults talked for so long. Mary shared her little books with Hannah and knew her name. Mary even knows how to wink! Just don't ask her to share her daddy. Mary does not like to see HER daddy hold other babies. Mary started to get upset when Steve held Hannah, but decided it was okay if Hannah's daddy held her.

Next time we go to the Taiwan Tea House I want to have some turnip cake. I really like turnip cake! The girls really liked our soups and noodles. Kevin and I both liked our red milk teas. Our waitstaff was very friendly and very interested in the goings on of our Taiwanese American sweeties, and we really enjoyed talking with them.

After dinner I took a lot of photos of the girls to try and get one where they were both looking at the camera, smiling, and with both girls sitting ladylike with no diapers showing. This proved to be very difficult, as Mary was ready to go go go and show us all how she can skip along the sidewalk.

Mary and Hannah
Mary and Hannah Claire

busy Mary...
Mary decides to lay down on the concrete while Hannah
hitches a ride AND gets to play with Andrea's keys

the mamas and their girls, minus one
Amy with my Hannah, me with Amy's Mary,
and Andrea (missing Libby very much!)

Thank you for coming, everyone! We'll have to do this much sooner than later.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

pumpkin patch photo planning (now try saying that 4 times fast!)

I'm gearing up for fall photography, trying to decide where to go to for a little pumpkin patch photography with my little pumpkin this fall. I'd like to share with you a link that lists you-pick pumpkin patch farms by state HERE. If anyone has first hand experience with some pumpkin farms in the Indiana... especially in the Fort Wayne and Indy, I'd love it if you could let me know what you liked or didn't like about the place. I'm looking for loads of pumpkins, Indian corn, bales of straw, etc., would like to take a hayride (gotta drug up with antihistamines for three days before this allergen-filled event and maybe even wear an N95 respirator), and would enjoy apple cider and other misc. goodies for sale.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I'm at home working this weekend (bah!) and Kevin called me tonight from my grandpa's lake house to tell me a little story. Grandpa made the family some of his famous milkshakes tonight and was sitting with Hannah. Kevin saw that he was trying to get Hannah to drink a milkshake with a straw, and told Grandpa that Hannah can't do that yet. We've tried to show her how many times. Grandpa laughed and said that it looks like she's going a pretty good job! She was slurping up milkshake through the straw and lovin' it!

We have our 9 month and final adoption post placement appointment next week, and tonight I digiscrapped these photo pages to go with the report.

july 2009 scrapping

beach scrapping

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

sweet little voice

Here's a little video from about a week ago when Hannah and I were hanging out on the couch together reading books and working on some words. She started babbling to me so sweetly while sitting on the couch like a big girl that I had to get a little of it on video. My iPhone doesn't have a great mic for video, so you'll need to turn up your volume all the way to hear her sweet little voice.

One week from today we'll be in the mountains!