Saturday, August 30, 2008

First week down!

Well, I finished my first week of work, and I survived! The week went by pretty quickly. Wednesday we had a convocation at school with all of the staff from all of the schools. That lasted most of the morning and afternoon. The speaker was the real Patch Adams (for those of you who saw the movie). Very cool. It was a fun morning. We also had a nice BBQ after that. Then myself and the other nurse that will be orienting me went to my school for a few hours to get some things in order. I also had a chance to meet all of the incoming Kindergarteners, so that was good as well.

Thursday and Friday I was alone at the school (my orienting nurse has her own building, and needed to be there the first two days of school). I knew I would be able to handle any nursing issues, but the paperwork was the only thing that scared me! But I survived. Every teacher and staff made their way to me to say hello and introduce themselves. I saw about 12 kids the first day for injuries and 30 kids the second day. Not bad! I even got my room a little organized and hung a few new posters and things to brighten up the room. I only have one seriously medically fragile kid, so that is a no biggie. My school has 200 kids - a nice small elementary school. But I do like it - it seems to be a good fit. This has always been my favorite age. I have always cared for kids under the age of 11 - with just a rare occasion of teenagers a few years. I love the kids that believe in Santa Clause.

So anyway, that was my week. I am tired this weekend, and glad I have three days to get recovered before next week. My parents left this morning. We were sad to see them go. We enjoyed having them this passed week, and truly could not have done it without them! They made our life so much easier while we adjusted to once again being a two working parent family.

Wednesday Finley had her hearing test. She didn't hear the low sounds, but they believe that it was due to a large amount of wax in both ears. Finley has always had a problem with wax, and since you aren't supposed to use Q-tips deep down in, it is not surprising to have to get her ears cleaned out every so often. So on Thursday morning she went to the pediatrician to have her ears cleaned out and boy did they remove a ton of wax. I am sure she is hearing so much better. We will continue to put wax remover in her ears, but that never helps for long. Poor little girl!

Thursday Arlington had her meet and greet with her teacher at her school. Mat was able to come home and take her, so that was great! He hadn't been inside the school before, so that was great he could go with her. He took lots of pictures, and I put them below. Arlington was really excited when she came home telling us about the kids she got to meet while she was there. I think once she is in the routine she is really going to love it.

We did find out, though, that Arlington's bus ride is going to be nearly 50 minutes. Can you believe that??? That really is upsetting us. For some reason, her Kindergarten Enrichment is one of the first pickups for school. She is getting picked up SO early. But there isn't much we can do. I am going to pack books in her bookbag for her to look at to help pass the time. But we are not pleased. Such a long time to be on a bus to a school that is only THREE MILES away. Sigh. And she isn't going to be on the same bus as her little friend here in our neighborhood (which she doesn't know yet). Ugh.

This weekend we will be getting all of the things together for the kids to start school next week. The babies will be starting preschool on Tuesday and Arlington will be starting Kindergarten the same day! Mat is staying home from work on Tuesday to let Arlington catch the bus from home so she can ride with a friend on the first day. That will help. Then Arlington will start her Kindergarten enrichment class on Wednesday and will catch the bus from there. So many changes! I will be worried all next week until I see the kids are relaxed and in a routine.

So that was our week thus far. This morning I was able to take Mat and the kids passed the school I am working at, and we had breakfast at a restaurant near there before my parents headed home. Next week I will try and remember to take my camera to work and take pictures of the school and my office. I have my nurse to orient me all next week, which will be good, and can even have her a second week if I want! I am getting spoiled!

Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tired Tuesday

So it has been awhile since I have worked, and getting up early these last two days has been hard! Ha! And I have 196 left to go. I better "buck up"! I am sure once I get into the routine, it won't seem so bad.

My new job is going fine so far. I had a computer class on Monday - myself and the other 5 nurses in the district - and it was hard and boring. But once I learn the program, it is going to come in REALLY handy! And today I had a few meetings, met a few parents and started being oriented to the mounds of paperwork that I will be responsible for. I started going through the kids files and getting my Kindergarteners all set. Tomorrow is a meet and greet with them (a popcicle party) so I wanted to see who still needed to turn things in. And I had a chance to see my office! It is small, but it will do. I have a nice little place. I already bought posters and things to decorate it with. Ha! I will have it looking cheery in no time.

Tomorrow is a large orientation for all staff in the district all morning, a BBQ, and then I can spend a little time in my office tomorrow afternoon before heading home. Then Thursday the kids start! AHHHHHH! I will have someone with me for at least a week or two to help out, however, she won't be with me the first two days of school. So this should be interesting......

Anyway, we had a really nice weekend. Sunday we went to a cool little seafood restaurant near the water. It was yummy. Mat and my dad also took the kids to the beach Sunday morning and they had a blast. My mom and I used Sunday to go to breakfast, scout out my new school, and go shopping for school clothes all day. It was fun! Not a bad weekend!

The kids are doing great. Arlington starts Kindergarten one week from today. I can't believe it. She is back to being really excited. She can't wait to go. And she is even excited about Kindergarten enrichment before she heads off to her class. So that I am happy about. I will be anxious to be a couple of weeks into this whole thing and us settled into a routine. Then I think everything will fall into place.

So here are some pictures of the beach and our trip to the seafood place. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hi ho, Hi ho, it's back to work I go!

Yes, you read it right. This SAHM is going back to work next week. I never thought I would be saying that so soon after deciding to stay home from with my kids, but the time has come to return. I have been home 8 months with them, and even though I have enjoyed this time very much, a job that I think I have always wanted has come along. I was kind of hoping that this job would wait and come along NEXT year at this time, but nothing ever works to plan.

Anyway, I will be returning in a school nurse position starting next Monday. I have been fooling around with the idea of returning for a few weeks, and decided to see if there were any school nurse positions out there. This job came up and I thought, "I am going to apply and see where it leads". Well, it lead to a quick interview and a hire! Not what I was expecting! The interview went very well, and the district seems really great. There were two positions open - high school and elementary. I told them I was interested in both but the elementary was my first choice. And elementary is what I got! The school is small. 200 students grades K-4. And it is a wealthy district with above average students. I think I am going to really like it. We will have to wait and see. The unknown is always hard.

But this does mean that my kids will be returning to daycare. I had plans to put the babies in preschool a few mornings a week, but now they will be attending full time. Arlington will be attending "Kindergarten Enrichment" before her actual Kindergarten class starts in the afternoon, so she will be catching the bus from there. I thought she would be more upset about that, but she wasn't. She is very excited to be returning to being with kids. The summer can get boring, so I think any thoughts of playing with other kids sounds good at this point. The babies will be fine. The one I worry about the most is Finley. Our little sickly Finley wasn't well for 2 whole months her last stint in daycare, and that worries me a bit. But she is older now, so maybe she will do better. Who knows! All we can do is wait and see!

So that is my news. My parents came in Friday night to spend the weekend with us, but now that I am returning to work, they are staying here all next week with the kids. Daycare and school for them doesn't start until September 2nd, so I start a week earlier than they do. This is a busy week too! Cainan has his speech evaluation on Friday (then he will receive speech therapy at his preschool - the birth to three program will see him there), Finley has her hearing screening on Wednesday (which my mom will take her to), we are having our drywell installed on Tuesday, and Thursday Arlington has her meet and greet with her teacher (which my mom will take her too). So I do wish I was going to be home.

But hardest more than anything - I will miss my baby's first day of Kindergarten. I was really the saddest about that. Mat is going to stay home from work that day and put her on the bus from home and meet her when she gets home. He will take a lot of pictures, but this is honestly pulling on my heart strings. I know what I am giving up by going back to work, but I have also been reminded (thanks Becky) about what I am also giving my children with going back to work. This is the right decision for me and for my family and once my children are in school full time, I will be gone the same hours they will. So I will be there every day they get home from school, all of their holidays, all of their summer. So I am not missing out. Like I said, if this job started next year, it would have been perfect. But I didn't want to take the chance that a school nurse job might not be there for me when I was ready.

This kids are all doing really great. We had a great week. We weren't too busy this week. We attended an end of summer party at our local library and that was a lot of fun. We have been doing a lot of yard work - planting more grass and getting the yard where we want it before the winter comes. We are getting very close!

Today I took Arlington shopping for her first day of school outfit. She got a chance to try on many different things and picked whatever she wanted (well, within reason!) She picked a really cute dress, and I got her a hair accessory and tights to match. She is going to look VERY cute. :) It is fun shopping for "big girl" clothes - very cute stuff. I even got Cainan and Finley a little something for their first day, so all the kids get new stuff!

Finley has been doing some funny things. She calls herself "my baby". I call her that, and so when she goes to bed each day she will say "good night my baby". She is a weirdo. And every nap time, she asks to see Cainan before she goes to bed. She will go up to him (while he is laying in bed) and say "good night, don't get up, go to sleep, shh". She is hilarious! Cainan just looks at her like she is a crazy person.

I started to talk to Arlington this week about "Stranger danger" since she is going to a school that is up to the 8th grade. We talked lightly about it, but it freaked her out and she started crying. Not the reaction I was expecting! Now she thinks someone is going to take her, so she doesn't want to go to Kindergarten. She takes things very different than I always expect! Sigh. We have to re-approach the subject apparently. And I taught her how to spell her full name - first (which she knew), middle and last. She picked it up in one day. I have also taught her the new phone number and address. Since we moved she didn't realize that meant our address and phone changed. So now she is all set. Her name is SO long - a total of 25 letters. Cruel, right??? But she knows them all.

Here are some pictures from the last couple of days. Arlington has a picture of a basketball on her cheek because that is what she chose at the face painting station at the library party. She had all these choices, and she picked a basketball. But, she had been watching "Air Bud" earlier that day, so I think that is what lead her to that choice!

Enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What a fun weekend we had!

So this weekend was really fun. On Sunday we decided to go to a local fair. Now remember, I really do live in the "sticks" so these are not big city type fairs! We used to go to the San Diego fair - now that thing was impressive. This, well for those of you who live in Connellsville, this would be like the Indian Head fair, maybe slightly bigger, but not much. :) But it was really cute and fun.

We just went to the fair for a few hours in the morning. We watched these Ox pull these large cement blocks. The kids couldn't get enough of that! I never saw the babies sit so long in one place. They were really into it. I have to tell, you though, it was weird. Why did the cows do this? I have no idea. And it was also very funny! Some of them did not want to cooperate. Can you blame them? Would you like to put 4800 pounds of cement for no good reason? But it was neat to watch.

We had lunch there and then Arlington got to ride three rides. Fair rides are scary at best, so we stuck to the mild stuff. Even Finley rode her very first fair ride AND her first ride without mommy and daddy. Finley isn't a rider, but she loved these little boats that went around in a circle. And Arlington was with her. Finley did not want to get off. IT was hilarious. I am glad she went. Cainan, though. He passed. :)

We also saw some animals at the fair. Finley liked looking at the animals, as did Cainan, and Cainan actually wanted to pet a few. But Finley wasn't crazy about touching them. She was fine just looking. Arlington, of course, loved every minute of that fair and was very sad when we had to leave. We told her next time we would stay longer. Oh, and the girls got their picture taken by a local fire department person while we were there. You will see that picture below.

Monday was also a fun day. We started the day with a playdate here at the house with our neighbor (and fellow 5 year old) girl. Arlington was so excited to have her over. Her mom had to run some errands, so the little girl came to play for a few hours in the morning. This was the first time she got to see the babies too, and they all had a great time together. I am so happy Arlington has found a little friend here in the neighborhood, and one that will start school with her. We got very lucky!
Then, my cousin's Kirsten and Alissa came down from New York City for a visit. (this is Kirsten who is Frenchy in Grease) Or should I say - over. Yes, NYC is to the west. :) Anyway, we had a good time. They got in around 12:30 (we are only about 2 hours out of the city) and stayed until 7pm. What a great day. The kids LOVED, LOVED, LOVED them. They couldn't get enough. Kirsten and Alissa are fun people to be around - what can you say? The played with the kids all afternoon, we had dinner and then I took the girls for ice cream. It was fun. This morning the kids are still asking for them. Finley keeps saying, "I miss Kirsten, I miss Alissa" (in her baby talk). Then she will say, "where the girl's go?" Too funny. Arlington, too misses them today. She loved having them here.

Today is a down day for us. It was supposed to rain so I didn't plan any activities. It only sprinkled, so oh well. The kids are being SUPER good today. I am so impressed! I am getting a lot done around the house thanks to that. We played outside for awhile, and believe it or not - no one cried or fought. I think that was a first. Tomorrow we are thinking of going to a local fair the library is having - something Arlington is looking forward too. Then my parents arrive Friday. They were just coming for the weekend, but I have a lot of things planned for next week so they are going to stay and help.

So that is our news! If you didn't catch "Cainan's Story" you can read about it below - my post from earlier today. Enjoy the pictures!

Cainan's Story

I will post my regular post tonight. This one is just about Cainan. So check back!

I have been asked in the past about Cainan's story, so I thought I would share it around his 1 year anniversary home with us. It is exciting to us, and I love sharing it!

In June 2005, Mat and I made the decision that the time was right to adopt a child. We had always planned on adopting at least one child but wanted to try and have biological children first. We had Arlington in 2003, and started trying for a second child late 2004. Our attempts were not successful, and so we decided that before Arlington got too old, we wanted to give her a sibling. So adoption came into play. Arlington was 2 1/2 at the time, so the timing seemed right to start the process. We took the summer and talked about and researched all the countries we were interested in. We briefly looked into domestic adoption, but because we weren't "childless" we were told our wait could be 5-7 years. So we went the international route.

The countries we considered were: Guatemala, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea. We briefly looked at Russia, but it was very expensive and required two trips, so we ruled that out. Guatemala was my top choice at first. It was close to where we were living in Florida, and we could apply for very young children. But, in the process of persuing Guatemala, Florida starting stopping some of their programs due to problems they were having with the Guatemala government. We were sad, but our next choice was clear - China. Mat actually made the decision in the end. Vietnam was our third choice, 4th Taiwan,5th Korea. Korea was our last choice because at the time we wanted to adopt a little girl, and were told because we already HAD a little girl, we couldn't apply for a little girl from Korea - we would need to apply for a boy.

So, anyway, in August, we made our decision on China, attended a seminar for our agency - Great Wall China Adoption - and loved it. We signed with them the first weekend in September, and had our homestudy done the next weekend. (I had done a lot of the PRE-paperwork over the summer, knowing what I would need to do once we decided on what agency we wanted, so we were all ready to go). Our homestudy went off to the government (USA) in the beginning of October, and then we waited. We had to wait for approval from our government to adopt a foreign born child, and it would take anywhere from 2-8 weeks (that was the norm). While we waited, guess what? I found out I was pregnant. Yeah, yeah, "that always happens". Well, then we weren't sure what to do. But the government (both US and China) helped us "secretly" with that. And what I mean is - good old West Palm Beach which never seems to do anything right - instead of taking the usual 2-8 weeks to get us our paperwork took 5 MONTHS. Yes, 5 months. Unbelieveable. We didn't get our paperwork for approval until March (after many phone calls to the office and getting state reps. involved - then ended up firing the person in charge!). And in the mean time, China's program slowed from a 6 month wait for a referral for a child to a 1 year wait for a child. So we were fine.

China has a lot of rules about adoption, but a big one is - the youngest child in your family must be at least 1 year old, OR be home (adopted) at least 1 year before you can adopt a second child from China. So we thought we should be fine, or at least CLOSE. I wasn't going to be traveling to China anyway, so it was no big deal. Our agency was aware that I was pregnant, and thought it would be fine to continue, so we did.

In the meantime, also, while waiting for the lovely government form, I found out we were having a girl. That made us decide that we wanted to adopt a little boy instead. The fact that you cannot adopt healthy, as well as special needs boys from China, is simply not true. We were told that the wait for a healthy boy was no longer than that of a healthy girl. So we switched. We also switched the age groupt to 12-18 months of age. That would make Cainan our middle child and Finley our baby, and all the kids would be spaced nicely (yeah, that worked well).

So on March 21, 2006 our paperwork was officially logged into the system in China and we began our wait. Time passed quickly for us - Finley joined our family in July 2006, and we had a busy summer and fall adjusting to being a two child family. But we continued to wait for our little boy from China. Each month the wait seemed to increase. We went from waiting 1 year for our referral, to 1 1/2 years, to 2 years, etc. It got a little crazy!

In the fall of 2006, we decided that we wanted to take the special needs route for our little boy. We put an addendum on our application on what special needs we would be able to handle, and sent it to China. But our wait continued. The time just kept getting further and further away for our trip to China.

Then in March, 2007, Mat and I made a hard decision. We saw that the wait was getting over 2 years at this point, and our kids getting older. (meaning at the earliest we wouldn't be getting a child until fall 2008). Did we want to continue to wait? Was it right for our family? We just didn't know. We decided to give it until December 2007, and see where we were in the wait, and then make the final decision.

So in March, I started to look around at other agencies who had children with special needs referred to them. These children are at every agency - China sends a list of special needs kids to all the agencies that will accept them, and then the agency takes applications for people who are interested in adopting them. But then there is another China rule - you can really only adopt a child through your agency. Files can be transferred from one agency to another, but if you switch agencies, you have to start ALL over and pull your paperwork from China. Confusing, and frustrating, but true.

But, for fun, I loved to look at the little kids profiles and see who was being adopted on different agency lists. This is how I came across Cainan. I found his original agency's website just by chance. And there was his little face. This is a small agency and they had gotten 5 special needs children to place. 4 girls, one boy. All 4 girls were scooped up immediately, but there this little boy sat. His face - staring back at us on the screen. How could anyone pass him up? I read his profile - he was 10 months old, cleft lip and palate level three, unrepaired. No other health problems. He was the perfect child for us - I couldn't stop going to that page.

So, I contacted the agency by email. Mostly as a curiosity as to why he had not yet been adopted. I was gived the story of how it was because he was a boy, and no one really was interested in the little boys. The agnecy head and I chatted via email back and forth a few times, and she asked me if we were interested in adopting him. I told her yes, but that we were already signed with another agency and our paperwork had been in China for a year already. So she told me that what she could do was send his file back to China with a note that she found a family to adopt him, the name of our agency, and then CROSS HER FINGERS that the file got transferred. I contacted my agency and asked them if this was possible and they said yes, but very unlikely that they would ever see the file. My agency also sent a letter to China requesting the file. They told me it was a 1/100 chance that we would get this little boy. They told me that China is starting to close the door on "agency to agency file transfer" so not to get my hopes up.

So we didn't.

I tried to put him out of my mind. We went on with business as usual. But I would still think of him - still look at the picture I had saved on my computer, and read his profile. I decided to write a letter to the head of our agency about us and about the little boy we wanted so desparately. (she lived in China). I did hear back from her, and she told me that she was personally going to make sure she did everything she could to make sure that file got to us.

Time went by - nothing.
April, May - nothing.

Then, on June 1st (a day before Cainan's birthday) we got a call from our agency. The person on the other end of the phone said, "you are not going to believe what I am holding in my hand". I about melted to the ground - they had his file! IT worked. I couldn't believe it worked. Someone was looking out for us and Cainan because even the people at our agency were shocked!!! We received his complete file, more pictures, and we were on our way!

And we did know at this point that Finley and Cainan were going to be only 30 days apart in age. That was going to be our biggest challenge. But it worked out the way it was supposed to work out.

Usually the time passes slowly when you are applying for a special needs child. First you have to get pre-approval from the government. That can take a few days to a few weeks. We got ours in 2 days. Then you have to wait for our Letter of Acceptance - meaning China says, okay, you are officially approved to travel for your child. That can take anywhere from 40-180 days or longer. Ours took 22 days. Then we have to wait for travel approval, and that took 2 weeks. So on August 9th, a little over 2 months after we first found out that we were able to adopt Cainan, Mat and Aunt Betty were on a plane to get him.

Official adoption day - August 13, 2007. Almost 2 years to the day we decided on China as the place we would find our child. They all returned home on August 22nd, 2007 and then the rest, is history......

Tonight I will post my regular post and pictures and all! See you soon!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I get a lot of questions from time to time about different things about our family, our kids names, our adoption process. If there is anyone out that that has a question for us, please feel free to ask and I will answer the best I can! I think it is a fun way for you to get to know us a little better and opinions/thoughts to be shared!
So ask away! :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Weekend at last

Well, today we said goodbye to Aunt Betty as she headed back to Pennsylvania this afternoon. We were sad to see her go. The kids enjoy her company so much, as do we. It was great having her here and huge help to me this week with all of the doctor appointments and soccer camp. I couldn't have done it without her. We look forward to the next time we get to see her.

This week was a lot of fun. We stayed busy the whole time. Wednesday I had to take Arlington to the doctor in the morning because my MIL had discovered a bump on her neck while Arlington was visiting in Pennsylvania. It wasn't bothering Arlington, but I wanted to have it checked out. It turned out to be nothing. Just a large lymph node, probably from a prior cold. The doctor could feel several in her neck and said when kids are skinny, they tend to stick out more, and they can increase/decrease in size SLOWLY after an illness. So she said as long as it didn't get larger, red, or hard, it was nothing to worry about. My mom has one in a similar spot, so it could just be an inherited trait.

Anyway, Finley's "stitches" also got checked out and she is all healed. Now we just are putting vitamin E and sunscreen on it daily to help prevent a dark scar. It is pretty small, so as she grows, and her eye brows fill in more, it shouldn't be that noticable. I am sure that will be the first of many scars that girl will receive!

Arlington did FABULOUS the rest of the week of soccer. We have a soccer star on our hands! Ha! She enjoyed it every day, and I got a chance to meet some other mommies in the area. I cannot say it enough - the people here are REALLY, really nice. Our neighbor Michelle has been really great to us, and I appreciate her including us in introductions to other parents this week. And I think Arlington and their daughter are going to be good friends. I am so happy to have them so close!

But soccer went really well. Arlington scored several goals during the games they played, and really got the hang of it by the end of the week. Mat and Aunt Betty went to watch her play on Friday and Mat took a ton of pictures. Arlington's team also won the "world championship" they played on Friday and she got a little certificate! She had so much fun. She wants to wear her cleats every day - she cracks me up.

Thursday we went out to eat at Ruby Tuesdays (boring but yum) and Friday we went down into Mystic and ate at the famous Mystic Pizza restaurant. For those of you who don't know - Julia Roberts first movie was "Mystic Pizza" Or at least I think this was the movie that put her on the map. She wasn't even the main character. Anyway, it is a typical 80's movie, but it was filmed here and the restaurant is a cool little place. The pizza is fabulous, and they serve other stuff as well. It was PACKED. But we had fun. After we ate we walked around the village a little before heading home. We parked on a street that all of the houses were historical - the oldest was from 1816. Pretty cool. The houses were beautiful and very well maintained.

Today was a pretty quiet day. Mat is going to be an assistant coach for Arlington's soccer team this fall, so he had an instructional meeting this morning. Then around 2 pm Mat and Arlington took Aunt Betty to the airport. Oh, before they went, Arlington and aunt Betty made a castle that you will see below. They were busy for a few hours and it turned out great!

This evening is a pancakes for dinner and relaxation evening. We have been watching the Olympics so will be checking that out this evening. We have to see Michael Phelps win his 8th gold medal (especially after Friday's exciting race) and see the girl's gymnastics. My favorites!

Tomorrow not much is up - probably yard work and we may check out a local fair that is going on. Before we know it Monday will be here!

Enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Adoption/Gotcha day

Just wanted to post a "then" and "now" photo of Cainan. Last year on this date he was getting his first day in with his new family. He never cried, and did well right from the beginning. And he has never ceased being a good eater! Tonight we went out for ice cream to celebrate our first year with our boy. I also am getting him a book called Letters of Love From China Check it out!

Here is his picture after just being with Mat in China a few days:

And here he is this summer! Amazing transformation!

Too all of those families that traveled with us - happy anniversary to you as well! We have loved sharing this last year with you and watching your children grow and develop into wonderful little people. And for all of you still waiting know that it is worth all the wait in the world.

Happy Adoption Day!!!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy (day early) adoption day!

Tomorrow is officially Cainan's one year anniversary since he was joined our family. On August 13, 2007, Mat and Aunt Betty were in China to bring our boy home! What a difference one year makes! I will try to post "then and now" picture tomorrow if I can get it organized. We just are going to have a little celebration. We are going out for ice cream tomorrow night. Aunt Betty is here visiting us this week, so that worked out perfectly! We are happy she is here to celebrate with us. One year, six surgeries, 7 pounds, 4 inches later, he is a very different boy!

This past weekend we were in Pennsylvania picking up Arlington and Aunt Betty and going to the Pletcher family reunion. It was a lot of fun. It has been at least 10 years or more since we have seen some of them, so it was great to get a chance to catch up! And it was nice to see some of the relatives we see more often, but not as often as we would like. The picnic was followed by a really great fireworks display put on by Mat's cousins- it was a great night. The babies went home to go to bed before the fireworks, but Arlington stayed with Mat and I and really enjoyed them. She also lit her first sparklers. That made mommy very nervous. I hate those things. But she did well.

We flew in and out of Pennsylvania this weekend - we left early Sunday morning and headed home and were happy to be settled back in. Arlington missed her grandparents. But what was funny was Finley. About the last 1/2 hour of our drive, she called our for "Gramma" (Mat's mom). She wanted "Gramma's house" over and over. When we finally pulled into our garage, I never heard her wail so loud!!! She was so upset that she was at her house and not at Gramma's house! Too much.

Monday Arlington started soccer camp. I took some pictures and put them below. She is having a blast. It is for 1 1/2 hours every day this week. She is exhausted but happy when it is done. She has another little friend (our little neighbor) who is also there, so she is having a great time. Arlington is a participant, as well - she will do what they tell her, and it is great! I love watching her play.

Monday Cainan had an ENT (ears nose and throat) doctor appointment. That went pretty well. One of his tubes has fallen out. It was just lose in his ear. The doctor took it out. Since it isn't on the side of his cleft, they aren't going to put it back right now. We see the doctor again in 6 months and then they will decide if it needs to be placed at that time. He had a hearing test and passed no problem. And he did really great during the test - participated very well.

Today Cainan and I had a long day because it was our trip to Boston for his craniofacial appointment. Boston is 2 hours away, so we knew we had a lot of driving. Cainan is a great traveler, and didn't give me any problems the whole trip. Boston is the craziest city in the country. Worse than New York city when it comes to driving - I kid you not. People park where ever they want. It is nuts. But Boston is a beautiful city! I can't wait for Arlington to go to Harvard and we can visit often......

Anyway, the appointment went well. It was a short appointment, which I expected. We got the clear that we don't have to have an appointment again for another year. Yeah! He won't have any surgeries until he is 4-5 years old, so until then, we just have to have a clinic appointment once a year. Very good news. The new doctor is nice - actually knows Dr. Stelnicki - our last surgeon - very well, and spoke highly of him. That actually means a lot coming from a Boston Children's doctor.

So that is about it for now. Oh, we took the tape off Finley's dermabonded wound, and everything looks pretty good. She is going to have it looked at tomorrow so we will know then. Nothing much is up for the rest of the week, thank goodness! Aunt Betty is with us until Saturday, which is great. She has been a huge help this week with all of the appointments and camp going on. Now I don't have to interrupt the babies schedules or nap times.

Enjoy some pictures!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Hello everyone! Just a reminder that I won't be posting this weekend because we will be in Pennsylvania for a few days picking up Arlington and attending the reunion. So I will post again next Tuesday.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finley has a boo-boo

Does this post title surprise you? Our little mischeif maker hurt herself this past weekend! It was Saturday night and all was quiet at our house (ha!) and the kids were just finishing up dinner. Finley was on the couch next to Mat, bouncing around, and sure enough, she bounced right off the couch! She landed on the corner of our coffee table (of course) and it made the worst sound! She cried a little, and then we noticed that her forehead was bleeding pretty good! So we got her cleaned up and I took a good look at it, and we decided that it would probably warrant stitches. So off to the ER we go (couldn't go to urgent care – it was after 6 already, sigh). We got lucky in the fact that the ER wasn't busy at all. We got to the ER around 7pm and were on our way home by 8:30, which isn't bad! It never did really stop bleeding, either, which was fun in the car. Anyway, we got lucky in the fact that because it wasn't IN her eyebrow, but above (not in any hair) they could use Dermabond (click on the word to read more about this product). They use it a lot of times these days instead of stitches, and I love it! It is completely painless, and is especially great for little ones. So what they did is apply some cream that decreased the swelling and numb the area. Then after about 20 minutes, they came in with the Dermabond pen, pushed the wound together, and closed it. Finley was a model patient – she never moved or cried! We were so happy that it was able to be used instead of stitches. And it was purple – Finley loved that!

So she will have her wound covered for 7-10 days, and then we can remove the steri-strips and bandaid and start washing that part of her head again. Sigh. I am just glad she wasn't more seriously hurt. Her eye was pretty swollen on Sunday, but by today – I don't see any swelling at all! And she hasn't been affected one bit. She hasn't touched it, or bothered it at all, and is her same self.

Cainan is doing well. Not much to report on him. He has some doctor's appointments coming up next week. We are seeing our new ENT and craniofacial specialist next week. I am anxious to get those two appointments out of the way. Both of them are far away, so they will be all morning affairs. But then we should be done for a whole year, which will be great. I am going to look into getting him back into speech therapy in the fall once Arlington goes back to school. I still think he needs it. He does not speak very clearly and doesn't pronounce words the same way Finley does. So he needs more work.

Arlington is still in Pennsylvania visiting with the grandparents. She is having a great time. Since we last left off, she has gone to another theme park, a water park, and a science museum She has also gotten to do some more school shopping and has gotten some more clothes for the fall. I will post pictures of her adventures when she returns. She still has a trip to the children's museum and the zoo to look forward to, and a day at a family friends pool. She is never going to want to come back to us!

This weekend we did finish working on a segment of the yard we wanted to complete, and now have MORE grass to water. What were we thinking??? No, it is good. And tonight, we are going to finish another little section, and then hopefully next week finish the last little section we want to complete before the fall. We will see. Like I said, endless project! But it is fun – we enjoy it. Now if only it would rain more so that I wouldn't have to water so much, I would be happy!

Today is my mother in law's birthday, so I wanted to say happy birthday to her! She is an amazing woman, and I am lucky to have her in my life. My children are lucky to have such a wonderful person as a grandmother. So happy birthday Sally! I hope you had a wonderful day!

Enjoy some pictures.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ah the weekend

I love weekends. I do! I know I don't work during the week, but the weekends are great because Mat is around all day for two days in a row and we seem to get a lot done during that time. This weekend is all about yard work. We are fertilizing our new grass and reseeding some areas this weekend, and also seeding some extra areas that needed new grass. We are going to have this yard in shape eventually! It is an endless project. I look around and see so many things we want to do. It is hard to stay focused on just one project. But I am trying!

Arlington has one more week left on her vacation. She is having a great time. We have talked to her several times this week and she is doing well. She attended vacation Bible School, got to go to a theme park, a small zoo, ride a horse, attend a fair, ride some water slides, and hang out with her cousin. She is having a ball. This next week she is spending the week with my parents and they have a lot of great times planned. She is even going to get to see her new baby cousin and her aunt and uncle and spend some extra time with them this week. She will love that. We miss her, but time is going by fast and soon she will be home again!

The babies are doing great. Finley is just an ornery little thing. The other day I was feeding the kids lunch and they were having ham lunch meat ripped up into small pieces. Finley wasn't too keen on eating it and was throwing it everywhere. I made her sit and eat some of it while I put the dishes in the dishwasher. Then we started to head upstairs to go to nap. I looked down at her, and in both of her ears was the ham!! Her ears were full of the ham! She stuffed it in there. I said to her “Finley, we don't stick things in our ears” She looked at me and smiled and said, “hide it”. What a riot.

We have also discovered that Finley is afraid of thunderstorms. I had to tell her this whole story about the thunder is just “clapping” for the rain, telling the rain “good job!”. I don't know if she bought it. She is much more afraid of everyday things – more so than Arlington. Finley also doesn't like the shower. I throw her into the shower occasionally just to rinse her quickly from being outdoors (instead of a bath) and she cries bloody murder. You would think we were killing her. She backs way into a corner and says “no shower!”

Cainan is doing well. Quiet as ever. He isn't as mischivieous as Finley is. He is more of a follower and will do some of the crazy stuff she does, but only because she does it first! He has become rather defiant though, when it comes to doing things! Terrible twos – here we come. His first answer is “no!”. Great. But he is doing fine. Today he was having a snack outside of grapes and was sitting in a chair at the top of our (sloped) driveway. He stood up, and dumped the cup and all of the grapes came rolling down the hill. He cried so hard! He tried to eat some of them – yuck! But we stopped him.

This week we had his 1 year social worker visit for his adoption. I can't believe that on August 13th is will have been 1 year since we officially adopted Cainan in China. I hope to have a celebration that day. The nice thing is – Mat's aunt Betty, who traveled with Mat to China to get Cainan, will be here during that time so she can celebrate with us. We look forward to that.

The pictures below are of the day we spent at the theme park, Kennywood, with Arlington. I wanted to share them because we had such a fun day there. I didn't have the pictures of us standing in line for the "big" roller coaster that she road. I was terrified - she loved it! It has been awhile since I have ridden one of Kennywood's famous wooden roller coasters!

There are also a few other pictures as well – including one where Finley drew all over her legs. I was with her – she was sitting and coloring. I had given her some paper and crayons. Where she found the marker, I will never know! She came over to me and said, “I drew on myself”. Yeah – no kidding. Her shirt says (in the picture) - “Don't look at me, it was already broken.” How fitting!

This weekend we are also going to try out a new church, I think. Since we don't have Arlington with us, we are going to try our local congregational church to see if it is the right fit for us. If not, there is a presbyterian church not that far away that we will try the next time.

Other Saturday ramblings: Our grass is coming in pretty well. The old owners wouldn't even recognize their old yard! We think it looks great. I can't wait to install the play area and remove the old one.

I am working on the girl's quilts for their beds. I was going to machine quilt them and that went badly. They are too big and my machine is too cheap! Oh well. I am going to finish them by hand. No biggie. It just is going to take a little longer. But I will take some pictures of their room once they are finished.

I went to a “seed and feed” store today. That was an interesting trip for a “city girl” like me! There were some interesting folks there, but I needed to get straw for our newly seeded areas of the yard. They had live chickens for sale there! Cainan went with me and he liked seeing them. It was a crazy place. But fun.

Mat and I have seen/watched some movies lately. We went to the theater to see Batman. I really enjoyed it. I can usually take at least one super hero movie a year, and this was the one. It was well done. We have been watching the “John Adams” miniseries that was on HBO. I also recommend that – it is very good. We saw “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay”. Yeah – that was an interesting one. I don't recommend that one, really. It was okay, but weird.

We DIDN'T like the following rental: 10,000 BC. The BC should stand for “Bull Crap”. That is how accurate some of it was. And we rented the “Solomon Brothers”. Cute in some ways, but uncomfortable and dumb in others. I wouldn't recommend it either.

Anyway, I am done rambling on!

Enjoy the pictures!