Thursday, December 31, 2009

first taste of Taiwanese beef and noodles

We are in the Orlando area visiting Kevin's family for Christmas. Tuesday was our first Hannahversary, and we spent it together with family. We dined at a dinosaur themed restaurant called T-Rex at Downtown Disney that is a lot like Rainforest Cafe. Hannah was pretty overstimulated and looked around the whole time, but wasn't afraid of the dinosaurs. I walked her around to visit some of the dinosaurs. We watched some preteen girls petting a baby animated brontosaurus. I asked if she'd like to pet him. Hannah stretched our her arm and was ready to touch him, but pulled back and buried her head in my neck. Think she changed her mind. I asked if she'd like to see more dinosaurs, and she enthusiastically said "more" with a big nod. We visited several more dinosaurs, always with requests for "more."

Today we went to Sun Pearl Bakery, a Taiwanese Bakery in Orlando. I read reviews online that they had great noodles. I had beef, Kevin pork, and we both had boba milk teas. Mmmm... the smells of the spices of the soups we so good. We could close our eyes and the smells took us right back to Taiwan. Hannah loves her noodles, and made several requests for more. She had her first boba tea. I tried to keep the big straw at the top of the glass so she wouldn't suck up any unexpected boba, but she did get one piece and immediately spit it out into her bib with a surprised look on her face. We also picked up some rolls and pineapple cakes to snack on with the family. There's a huge Asian grocery in the same strip mall. We bought some trays of candies and dried fruit for Chinese New Year. I also found some thousand year old eggs in the refrigerator case. Kevin's excited to share them with his family, but I'm not so sure that they'll share his level of enthusiasm.

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First trip to Disney is Saturday!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas morning snapshots

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After Christmas Tea Sale

For my friends who are also Tea Collection fans, the big after Christmas tea sale is on now. I've also found a coupon code "teaten" that works to save you an additional ten percent off. I'm putting away a few things for Hannah for next fall, and couldn't resist getting a few things from the new Korean inspired line for Hannah for this spring. Cute cute cute prints! Getting the sets instead of separates are a good deal if you like everything in the set.

I checked out the Hanna Andersson online sale but there wasn't anything that I just had to have.


Another mom told me about Corky and Company coats that she buys for her daughter on Ebay. I bought this pink and brown swing coat for Hannah and love love love it. So warm and so cute, and the quality is great stuff!

Have you found some great deals in after Christmas sales? Tell us all about it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

visiting Santa Claus

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A couple of weeks ago we made our first trip as parents to see Santa Claus. We ventured to the mall about eight o'clock on a weekday night, and were fortunate to pass by Santa when he had no one in line waiting for him. Kevin held Hannah and talked to her about who this white bearded man in the red suit was. Hannah was very cautious, but was interested in looking at him. I asked, "Can Santa hold you?" "No," she quickly replied and held her dada a little tighter. Kevin sat down with Santa on his big chair and they talked to Santa about what a good girl she's been this year. She didn't cry, but there was no way that she was going to agree to let this strange man hold her. Kevin and I both didn't want a crying kid with Santa photo, so we all jumped in the photo. No smiles from Hannah this year, but she did take a coloring book from his hand.

Monday, December 21, 2009

1 of 253

The US state department has released their statistics for international adoption in fiscal year 2009. In 2009 there were 236 IR-3s and 17 IR-4s issued for Taiwan born children totaling 253. Hannah Claire is one of those 253. Six of those children came to our state. Feeling blessed to know a few of those six! Pretty interesting to peek around these statistics and see how much things have changed in the last few years with the China slow down, Guatemala changes, and Ethiopian surge.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hannah's first phrase

Dada and Hannah visited me at work this past week. As Hannah approached me she said to her Dada, "I see Mama!" (Mama beams!)

my world... an explanation

I've had a lot of uncertainty in the last five months. My old job was really stressing me out as professional hours were cut with the company freaking out about the recession. I didn't loose any hours, but I was often doing the job of two people instead of the job of one and a half that I was already doing. I was miserable. I decided that I needed to take a professional leap of faith and something less stressful for my own mental health, and found a job that paid just a little better, had more management responsibilities, lower volume, a drastically different corporate culture, but required me to work worse hours, ever other weekend, and included a 45 minute commute in good weather... and well over an hour in bad.

After working at the new job for three months, I discovered that I didn't like the direction new company was taking my profession, I felt like I wasn't fitting into the corporate culture, and the long drive stole precious hours of Hannah time away from me. I didn't like one of the company's new initiatives that made me feel like a used car salesman, and had an incident with a supervisor that pushed me over the edge. Do I want to move my family to live closer to this job so I would have more family time? Nope. We really value the close relationship that Hannah has with my parents, and don't want to take her away from that. After being gone for four months, I hadn't been replaced at my old job... but they were working hard to find someone for the role. When I left, my old supervisor told me that there'd always be a place for me at old company as long as he was there. But a job close to home might not always be available. What to do... what to do.

I contacted my old supervisor, and was offered my old job back like it was before. I gave new job two weeks notice and started back at old job on Thursday. Then, I learned Thursday night that old job wants me to work every other weekend instead of every third like I'd had with them for nearly five years. Not happy about this news. Old job is pretty stressful, but the better hours for my family life were the plus side. What to do... what to do. Suck it up and stay with old job, make the hours thing a bigger issue and threaten to quit (again), or find another new job with another 30-45 minute commute?

The grass wasn't greener on the other side of the fence. It was just another shade of brown.

My priorities are so much different now than what they were two years ago, but in a way I'm still sorting out what is an old priority from what is a new priority.

I long for the optimism I had fresh out of college. I had excellent role models and was stepping out to make a difference in the world. I wish I could pick up the pieces and put together the remains of that person. She's inside here, somewhere. I'm working on finding her.

All this stuff obviously isn't adoption related, but it's life. My life. Real life. Things changed a lot when I became a mother. I learned that becoming a parent comes with a lot of guilt, and being an adoptive parent just adds on an extra layer of that guilt. Did I feed her any vegetables today? I should have been more patient when she was trying to use the cup and was spilling milk on the carpet. There's still a poop smear on the bathroom floor that hasn't been mopped up in three days. Does that make me a bad mother? I'm the only mommy that has never been to story hour at the library and Daddy always gets to go. What am I missing out on?

So, there's my world... an explanation of what's on my mind these days.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Video: littlest chef

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We had family Christmas with my family Sunday afternoon. It took over an hour and a half for to open presents with our 22 month and 9 month olds. There were so many new things for the babies to play with... blocks, cars, Elmos, toy food, pots and pans, and books galore.

The video quality a phone isn't so hot, but I just had to post this to thank Uncle "Pip" and Aunt "Tata" for the cooking supplies. Our littlest chef loves to put her food in her pots and whisk them around! Can't wait for all of the fun when she can use these with what Santa brings her. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

my girl

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My girl. The girl that sits in the bathroom sink, watching me intently as I put on my makeup. While I'm looking in the mirror putting on mascara, she's grabbed my blush brush and is using it on her cheeks. At night she's still the baby in footed pajamas that I microwave bottles of milk for. My girl likes clean hands, and holds up her sticky fingers silently asking me to wipe them off for her. She likes to be chased, fakes coughs, and points at me and says "achoo" when I sneeze. She can spot a cat three houses down the street and quietly says "meow" to herself. She holds my finger as we s.l.o.w.l.y cross streets with her little steps. She pours me pretend tea and feeds her babydoll invisible food from a spoon. My baby blows kisses to me from her crib when I tell her "Night night. Wo ai ni." Every day she's different. Always growing. Always learning. Forever changing. But she'll always be my little girl.

Friday, December 11, 2009

little Santa and the nativity

Today we went over to my mom and dad's house to try for Christmas card photos again. My parents' tree is right next to a big bay window, and I thought I might be able to get some good natural lighting. The timing wasn't right and the sun was too high, so there wasn't good lighting by the tree. Fortunately, little Santa found plenty of things to play with.

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My Great Grandmother made this nativity for my family when I was really little. I remember playing a lot with it. The hands and faces of the people are made of felt, and we stretched out a lot of the hands by having the people carry around baby Jesus. The camel's legs don't want to stand up very well, the palm tree's can't hold the weight of the leaves, the shepherds have lost their crooks, and the pipe cleaners of the star are bent out of shape, but this nativity wouldn't be quite so special if we hadn't played so much with it. Grandma is surely looking down upon us from heaven, and I'll bet she's tickled that little hands with cookie crumbs have a hold of baby Jesus.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Disney Christmas photos

So much going on and little time for photos these days. Hannah is on the go and doesn't look at the camera or sit still for very long, so that makes for difficult and very brief photo sessions.

We tried to have Hannah's Christmas photos taken professionally at a studio several weeks ago, but she wouldn't smile for the photographer. She looked darling in a little red dress and tights, but who wants to buy a photo of their child with a blank expression on her face?

We're going to Florida to visit Kevin's family right after Christmas, and I had a little dress made for Hannah's first trip to Disney World. It's so stinkin' cute that I had to get out the camera today, and even called Nana to come over and check out our little mousekateer. Hannah likes the ears and liked looking at herself in the mirror, patting her Minnie ears. I'm not sure this is what I want to use for our Christmas photos, but it was fun!

Disney Christmas outtakes

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Kevin started a new family Christmas tradition with Hannah. We're going to have her pick out an ornament every year for our tree. This year Hannah picked out a large and LOUD red jingle bell.

Added 12/11/09:
By request, here's links to the Etsy sellers that made the dress and the Minnie dress and the Minnie ear hair clips.

Video: first snow


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We had a little white stuff on the ground this week. Kevin opened the blinds to let Hannah look out her window and she exclaimed, "Ohhhhhhhh!" He bundled her up and took her outside to get the mail on our first snow of the season. It's a little long, but fun to watch her look at everything, and you can hear a few squeals of delight at the two minute mark.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

poop

Today Kevin called me at work to tell me that Hannah used a new word all on her own with him. "Poop. Poop poop poop." She filled up her diaper and wanted that mess off. I praised her on the phone and told her what a good girl she was. Kevin said she smiled and nodded proudly. YAY! I've never been so happy to hear all about poop! I can see the light at the end of the diapering tunnel!

Review: Baby First TV

We have thoroughly enjoyed subscribing to BabyFirst TV. The programming is commercial free and designed for infants and toddlers. The shows are brief and focus on thinking, language, imagination, feelings, numbers, sensory skills, and soothing images. Hannah especially likes the live action shows Harry the Bunny, Tec the Tractor, and Squeak. It's nice to turn on for 15-30 minutes at a time to keep her busy while putting some laundry in the wash, doing dishes, or making dinner. Hannah loves the music and will dance and bop along with the characters.

Here's an episode of Squeak that we danced like kangaroos and elephants to on Sunday afternoon.