Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Jedi Masters

my Jedi masters

We trick or treated with Hannah for the first time tonight. Our little Yoda liked riding on Luke's shoulders and waving her lightsaber around. Hannah can't say trick or treat yet, but we'd prompt her to say "please" at neighbor's doors and wave bye-bye when we left. We went to Nana and Papa's house to enjoy a few of the treats. Hannah was very eager to use her words "more" and "please" for bites of a Kit-Kat. Towards the end of the night she put candy in the bags of a few trick or treaters.

I couldn't get Hannah to look at the camera tonight. She's too busy using the force and looking at trees, leaves, birds, kids, cars, etc etc etc.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

She looks pretty pleased with herself,
doesn't she? And she should be!!!

Today we went to the peds office for Hannah's second flu shot. No fun, as she saw the syringe and knew what was happening as Mama pulled down her pants so the nurse could put the shot in her thigh. Dada held the top half and Mama held down Hannah's bottom half. Interestingly, she screamed more when the nurse was putting on the band-aid then when she got the shot. After the band-aid was applied Dada held her and Mama signed "all done" and said all done several times. Hannah broke out a smile and signed "all done" and the crying stopped immediately.

Today our speech therapist was very pleased with how far Hannah's vocabulary has come in a short period of time. New words this week are please "peas", up "bup", door, more, juice "oooce", and others that I can't remember right now. Seems like she'll repeat new words back to us for about a week or two before she uses them independently. Hannah is quickly learning that Mama gives her what she wants when she says "please," and she's stringing "more please" together in order to score yummy treats. She likes the results of "up" because we'll quickly help her climb into the chair she wants to sit in, or up on the couch, or when she wants to be held. This next week we're working on open, close, on, and off.

Until we had this experience with Hannah, I would have imagined that physical therapy and speech therapy was about the therapist teaching the children new skills. For us... the sessions have mostly been about the therapist showing US how to engage our child to encourage her to try new words, use a specific kind of play to specific muscles, and a lot of praise to encourage Hannah to keep going.

Last week Hannah got to touch bubbles that she speech therapist blew into the air. She'd blow more bubbles when Hannah attempted to say "bubbles." This week Hannah knows what the bubble container looks like. She used her words "more," "bubbles," and "please" several times to ask the speech therapist to blow more. Then the speech therapist closed the bubble container and encouraged Hannah to mimic the word "open." When Hannah said something that kinda sounds like open, the speech therapist opened the bubbles container and blew some more, closed the container, and started all over again. Participating in this is so exciting now that she uses new words all the time and thinks it's such a fun game.

pumpkin booty - for Andrea T.

This "pumpkin booty" shot is for Andrea, the Happy Hippy. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tea, anyone?

For anyone out there who loves Tea Collection, coupon code "fall15" scores you 15% off. Even Kevin comments that he likes Hannah in the "daily tea" line as they are made well, fit Hannah's petite frame like they were tailored just for her, and the styling is Asian inspired. There are some short sleeve dresses on sale, so the 15% off helps you score a super deal. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

redirect: an adoption story in photographs

I'd like to redirect you to an adoption story in photographs. Tisra and her husband are in India adopting their daughter Dorothy. Tisra is an artist and is blessed with many creative friends. One of those creative friends is Jess, a professional photographer, that has come along with them. Jess has been posting photographs on her blog at Speckled Bird Art that have captured the anticipation, the joy, and the frustrations that come a long with international adoption. I've linked to the posts with the tag adoption. Be sure to click on so you can see the amazing photography.

Halloween party

Halloween Party peeps

We went to a little Halloween party tonight hosted by two nerds (those pocket protector wearing parents are lucky that I didn't take their photos), Cleopatra, Cinderella, an elephant, and a Ninja.

Updated 10/25/09 at 10pm: The nerds proudly blogged HERE with a photo of their costumes! Love it!

Yoda prepares for an attack

My little Jedi master had to draw out her weapon.


Ninjas are dangerous, and Hannah defended her parents against an attack.

(photo credit to Amy - thanks!!!)

We gave the ninja, Cinderella, and Cleopatra peace offerings of giant disgusting gummy worms, centipedes, and octapus tentacles. These treats were brought to the party to protect us from tricks. Unfortunately, I don't think that the mother (yes, the nerdy one) of Cleopatra, the ninja, Cinderella, and the grunting elephant was very amused by the disgusting treat that her children loved. Threats have been made. I fear revenge is near in the form of a small but very loud and annoying Christmas present for Yoda.


We went outside this afternoon right before naptime to take a few photos with Hannah's beloved pumpkins that she calls "ballz." Of course, it started raining again as soon as I took my lens cap off. I got one good shot in before we had to go back inside.

my little October pumpkin

While waiting for Hannah to decide for herself to follow us back inside, something really frightened her. There was lots of frantic scared crying. I ran back around the corner to see what had her all worked up with panic on her face...

and what did I find?

Apparently worms that wiggle ever so s.l.o.w.l.y are horrifying. How scary!!! She's not afraid of flies, of beetles, or scary looking monsters. But... the sight of a wiggly worm caused panic. Go figure.

Hannah, let's make a deal. You take care of the spiders, and I'll take care of the worms. Sound good?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

flying bug

flying bug

This one's dedicated to Lora... just to get a rise out of her. :)
Our flying bug is 21 months old today.

Taiwan's birth rate and other statistics

This article in the Taiwan News has me thinking a little bit tonight. The article mostly focuses on Taiwan's declining birth rate, but some stats at the end of the article have the gears of my brain spinning. "In terms of marital status, 132,450 newborns, or 96 percent of the total, were born to married couples, while 5,489 or 3.98 percent were born out of wedlock, and 28, or 0.02 percent, were deserted babies or orphans. Taitung County in eastern Taiwan had the highest number of illegitimate babies, followed by neighboring Hualien County and then Keelung City. The number of babies born out of wedlock marked a 0.22 percent decrease from the 2008 level, but an increase of 1.06 percent from 1997, according to MOI tallies."

So... 3.98 percent of babies in the first 9 months of 2009 were born out of wedlock and 0.02 percent were deserted. Let's just round that up to say that 4 percent of babies in Taiwan were born to unmarried mothers this year. I look around me, and I see unmarried pregnant women everywhere. What are the statistics in the US?

The CDC National Center for Health Statistics reports that 4 out of 10 births in 2007 were to unmarried mothers, with 6 out of 10 births to women ages 20-24 were among unmarried women. The press release goes on to list statistics from other countries... which are interesting to look at as well.

Thinking tonight about how it would feel to be an unmarried young women in Taiwan, choosing to continue a pregnancy, knowing that I'm very much in the minority.

W-sitting revisited

This post is the sequel to a previous post on 10/8/09. If you're new here, make sure you've read that one first.

Today the physical therapist said that Hannah has made great improvement in strengthening her core muscles. By using the prescribed exercises, the physical therapist expects a lot of improvement very soon, and doesn't expect that she'll need to continue physical therapy for very long. Our girl's on the right track. Yay! We can tell she's made great strides as well. Hannah prefers to walk all of the time and is picking up her feet, falling less often, and has better balance control. This week she walked down our sloped driveway without falling for the first time. Yay! We've still got lots of skills to work on, but we're on track.

The physical therapist shared with us a journal article on W-sitting published in Advance, a physical therapy news magazine. I found the full text of the article online here. If you have an interest in W-sitting, this is the best and most complete article I have read on the subject.

1) Sitting on a large ball to encourage trunk control. Unfortunately, Hannah hates this and cries when we sit her on top of the large exercise ball. She does better when sitting on top of a kick ball.
2) Sitting Straddling Leg to encourage trunk control. You tilt the child sideways by rolling your leg and tilting the child's pelvis. The child is to curve her trunk upward and maintain the head upright. Hannah's much more comfortable sitting on our leg with this tilt exercise.
3) Half kneeling. Encourage child to play kneeling with one knee down and the other leg with the foot flat on the floor. Position for 30-60 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
4) Stepping up and down on a curb. Start with a raised surface that is only 1-2 inches high, then moving on to something higher as the child grows. Stepping up onto Kevin's Wii fit is just the right height for Hannah right now.
5) Place obstacles around the child approximately two feet apart (soft cushions, telephone book, soft toys, etc) and encourage the child to walk around, over and step on the objects. No problem! We've got plenty of kid-friendly clutter to throw around on the floor, Ms. Physical Therapist!
6) Learning to walk backwards or to kick. Hannah can't do these activities yet. The physical therapist encouraged us to try to get Hannah kick some of her beloved balls and to introduce a pull toy. Pull toys encourage children to walk backwards because they want to watch it move as they pull the toy. Hummm... I have a feeling I'll be checking out pull toys at Target before the end of the week.

Our daughter came to us a modified W-sitter (one foot behind her and one leg straight out) with poor muscle control, and we didn't know this was a bad thing. So... now you know. No W-sitting allowed. Ever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

the tale of two costumes

Choosing a first Halloween costume for Hannah was really hard. I looked at well over a hundred photos online and racks of costumes in stores looking for the right one. Late one night, my dad and I even instant messaged eachother back and forth with costume suggestions. I liked flower pots, lobsters, mice, ducks, bumblebees, pirates, Elvis, lambs, and the list goes on and on. At the time of this debate, Hannah wasn't walking steadily... and we figured that she'd need to be carried. We decided that Hannah and Dada needed to be costumed as a pair. So... this is what we came up with!

my little yoda

I know, my little Yoda is a lot cuter than the real thing. This Jedi master really likes running around with her lightsaber. Looking forward to having both of my Jedis in costume together!

Nana wasn't at all excited about the thought of her cute little granddaughter costumed as a little ugly green creature. I decided that we needed keep Nana happy and find an alternate costume for trick or treating at Nana's house. And I LOVE costumes... so I didn't need any more encouragement to find Hannah an alternate that Nana would like.

my little love bug

I love this time of year. Love it.

happy fall

Saturday, October 17, 2009

living vicariously through Dada today

Today Hannah attended her first wedding with Dada and two grandmas in town from Florida. Kevin says that everyone commented how well behaved Hannah was. She loved looking at all of the people, picking up little silk leaves that the flower girls dropped down the isle, and dancing at the reception. Mama stayed home to work (grumble grumble), texting requests for more photos of her girl at the wedding, and sanitizing the workplace down as I know I'm encountering people with H1N1 spreading their sneezes and coughing here, there, and everywhere.

Before heading to the wedding, Kevin took Hannah to get her first dose of H1N1 vaccine this morning. They waited an hour and a half... mostly OUTSIDE in the cold before the line went into a building. Wow.

Kevin said that Hannah went on the defense as soon as he pulled down her pants for the shot. She saw the nurse coming at her with a syringe, knew exactly what was happening, and started trying to swat her away. There was some screaming and crying, but that all dried up just a few seconds after the poke.

Speaking of tears, my loving husband shed a few today, too. At the wedding he got weepy thinking about the father of the bride's feelings today. Just melts my heart! Night night. I'm going to go hug that man I love and go to bed.

spotting Ni Hao, Kai-Lan at Target makes my heart feel super happy

The first shirt came home with me, tucked away for when Hannah can wear a 2T. For you Target frugalistas out there, Kai-lan items two and three were on sale at store today. $11.88 and $4.88, respectively. I found three Kai-lan Megablocks items and a play tent, too.

Anyone else feel this way when you see Kai-lan? I've been hoping for so long for this show to really take off. Yes, it's partly about having Hannah identify with characters on television that share her ethnicity. Even more so... it's knowing that my child's peers are also at home eating Cheerios and drinking juice from their sippy cups while repeating how to say "jump" in Mandarin and learning about dragonboat races.

Woah. This is my 700th blog post. Kinda makes me feel ultra-nerdy tonight.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

old married couple plus a kid

Today Kevin and I aren't celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary. I was gone working from 8am - 11:30pm and barely saw Kevin today. We didn't buy eachother gifts... not even a card. We're so romantic, choosing to get new bath towels last week instead. The ones we'd been using were wedding presents, look tattered and grungy, and didn't match either of the bathrooms we have in this home. My parents asked a few days ago if we'd like a babysitter for Hannah so we could go out on a date. We thought about it and concluded, "Well, that wouldn't be any fun without her."

I decided to look back tonight at what we did for the last two years on our anniversary, looked at some wedding photos I posted two years ago, and remembered old times when we went on dates and got real anniversary gifts. We're just an old married couple now, plus a kid.

Hannah had speech therapy today. The speech therapist left a book titled First 100 Words that they were working with, and Kevin said that it was really effective. Hannah pointed at pictures of words she knew, and asked "Whazzat?" to many items. Great book! I worked with Hannah on the word banana last weekend during snack time. She's trying really hard and getting pretty close. Another new word is ice. She said ice on her own, and I ran to the freezer to grab an ice cube and put it in her hand right away. "Yes, ice! Ice! YAY!"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

pumpkin train

I'm a little pumpkin orange and round. Here is my stem, there is the ground. When I get all cut up, don't you shout! Just open me up and scoop me out!

Saturday morning Nana picked up Hannah for a playdate. They stopped by the farmer's market and our little bug went ga-ga over the pumpkins. Nana called from the market to tell me that Hannah called them balls and wanted to pick them all up and carry them around. She warned, "You'd better get your pumpkin patch trip in! Not much time left!"

Yes, Nana! Today (Sunday) we went out in search of pumpkins. Well, I call them pumpkins but Hannah says they are "ballzzz." I dressed her for some camera time and we headed for a local lady that sells pumpkins along the highway. Gotta get the camera out for the good shots before she's full of boogers and has dirty hands and knees. I've been thinking this stand on my way to work every day as her pumpkins are piled on an old wagon, and thought I might be able to arrange pumpkins in front of a wagon wheel for a few shots. Unfortunately, it was barely fifty degrees and too cold to take photos of my little bug without a jacket on for very long. I'll be posting my pumpkin patch photos on my photography blog as I work on them. Kevin bought a BIG pumpkin for Hannah and a widdle cool looking nubby pumpkin, and then we headed out to lunch at Cracker Barrel. Mmmm. Hannah can really put away the chicken, green beans, mac and cheese, cornbread, and apples.

After lunch we went to the New Haven and Little Erie Railroad just east of Fort Wayne. It is a privately owned small gauge railroad that hosts pumpkin train rides on the weekends in October.

former Craigville Train Depot

This old building was the former train depot in Craigsville, Indiana.
They must have had the building moved. Very cool.
There is an old bench outside that is covered with
lichen and looks awesome behind my lens.

waiting on a train

Here's Hannah waiting for the train in front of that bench I love.

pumpkin train 1

When we got on the train, Hannah wanted to sit
in her own seat and didn't want us to hold her.
When did she decide that she was such a big girl?
She's sporting her new Stride Rite shoes. The physical therapist would approve.

pumpkin train 2

Chugga chugga chugga chugga choo choo!
The train went around the track one and a half times,
and then stopped at a pumpkin patch.

pumpkin walk 3

Wow! Look at all of these big orange ballzzzz!
Notice how her eyebrows perk up when she's excited, and she drools. Heehee!

pumpkin walk 2

There was a maze mowed through the fields and woods.
We decided to take a little walk.

pumpkin walk 1

Aaaa! I found another big orange ball!

We ate a couple of apples while waiting for our return trip on the train. Once again, Hannah had to sit in her own seat. We loaded back up into the car, had some juice, and she drifted off to sleep... dreaming of pumpkins all the way home.

Go Blue!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I've titled this photo "perseverance."


Our greatest glory is not in never failing,
but in rising up every time we fail.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until about three months ago, I had never heard of W-sitting. When we picked Hannah up nine and a half months ago in Taiwan (she was 11 months old, 8 months adjusted age) she was great at standing and pulling to a stand, but not so hot of a sitter. She preferred to sit in a W or hurdle style (modified W with one leg out front), but was more often in the hurdle style. It gave her better support and allowed her to tip over less frequently. I thought it looked kinda funny, but didn't think much of it until our pediatric nurse practitioner brought it to our attention three months ago. Hannah was held during most appointments, so they didn't get to see her sit. I don't even remember anyone asking me about how she usually sat... that is until she started showing walking delays.

Today, our physical therapist's assessment is that Hannah has underdeveloped oblique muscles due in part do to W and hurdle sitting. W sitting allows children to sit in a stable position without having to think about balance.

I did a quick google search and came across these two articles on W-sitting.
Just Say No to W-Sitting
What's Wrong with W-Sitting

The way she explained it is that if your oblique muscles are weak, you have a hard time learning to balance on one foot. If you can't balance on one foot, you walk with you knees held stiff.

Our assignments are to correct the W and hurdle sitting with the command "fix your legs" to encourage Hannah to sit Indian-style or with her legs straight out, practice sitting on a ball, and practice walking up and down Kevin's Wii Fit step.

Shoes. Sigh. Or as Hannah says, "Shoezzzzz!" Our physical therapist doesn't like most of Hannah's shoes. Most are soft sole Robeez or Pedipeds. Sob sob! I love those Pedipeds, and I thought I was being a good mama by buying soft soled shoes so she could feel the floor. Guess that's just not what's right for her. She says that Hannah needs shoes that have a lot of heel support and a flexible sole. These OshKosh shoes from Target had a flexible sole and some heel support. The physical therapist's favorite shoes from Hannah's shoe basket were Stride Rite hand-me-downs we bought from Lora and Allie that look kinda like this, but are still a little too big for Hannah.

I'm reading through the service report from today. "Hannah was a little reluctant to participate in activities requiring hand on facilitation." That's okay, baby. I don't like strange ladies putting their hands all over me and dissing my shoes, either. Hopefully she'll warm up to the physical therapist a little more next week.

Three day weekend! Ahhh!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009



My little bug's verbal lightbulb has turned on. She's trying so hard to mimic us and repeat back what we say. Hannah's digging positive reinforcement, and her eyes light up when she is praised. When Hannah's not mimicking, she's jabbering on... looking at us like she wants to have a conversation. You're right, Amy. It's magic!

Today was Hannah's first day of speech therapy. I was at work, but called on my lunch break to be able to talk with our therapist. Kevin reports that Hannah quickly warmed up to her. The first session was mostly an information gathering session for the therapist. We know have a little purple (How appropriate! Hannah can say purple!) speech therapy folder where we are to document her new words, when they were used, and if she said it on her own or was she imitating us.

Our first physical therapy appointment is on the agenda for Thursday. I'm really looking forward to the therapist's opinions about Hannah's walking delays. She's progressing, but so slowly. Since we've been back from our Colorado vacation, Hannah has just now preferred to walk instead of crawl at 17 months adjusted. Kevin reports that she climbed on the coffee table today for the first time. I could do without the climbing... just walking would be nice! (joke)

smile in chocolate

Saturday, October 3, 2009

purple fish

Thursday night after work I met Kevin and Hannah for dinner. That girl can sure put away the lo mein noodles and tofu out of our hot and sour soup! After dinner we watched the koi and she pointed at them very excitedly. "Look at those, Hannah. Those are fish." "Ish! ISH!!!" she exclaimed over, and over and over. When I got her out of the car seat back at home, she grinned up at me and said, "Ish!"

Friday at work Kevin sent me a video. They were watching Petey the Paintbrush on BabyFirstTv paint with purple, and Hannah said purple! "Puh-ple! Puh-ple!" I'm so excited that she finally thinks that sounding out words is fun! She's so proud of herself, and so are we.

I have just the book in mind for reading to her next week. :)