Monday, July 30, 2012

Free fall

We have been audited and need to provide more documentation about the adoption. I had my few moments alone while daddy and Sofie were shipping to find all the docs an copy them. Also, I need to finalize the readoption in our state and was making updates.

During the paper process, I found the picture book her foster parents and adoption agency put together with shots of her old life. I had the bright idea of showing them to her and ... Sadness and desolation followed. She wants to move back to China, wants her old parents and doesn't want us. I am heartbroken.

I know she is happy. It will take longer for her, I guess.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Growing up so fast

They said it would happen, and I was talking with my mom this morning and realized that we have had so many cool things happening lately with Sofers so I thought I would bring you up to speed.

Since we met her, Sofie learned how to:

  • Breakdance (hilarious but amazing - she can balance on one hand and kick her legs up... she also spins around on her butt in circles) - I believe she learned these moves from our Kinect Dance Program
  • Sing many songs - Twinkle Twinkle, ABCs, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old McDonald, Bingo, Everyone Poops (a mommy classic made up to the theme of "soft kitty"), Happy Birthday, Wo ai ni (Another mommy made up song), the Moon comes out (ok... i know, i make up a lot of songs), and more.   She knows 20-30 of them.  I giggle every morning when she is belting out "Everybody poops" and wonder what they think of that one at preschool.
  • Identify most of her letters.  It is true.  She is only 3 and has been in the US for 8 months.  Wowsers.  Partial reinforcement from School and from home.
  • Count to 12. She also can count by 10's to 100.  
  • Make the "p","b", "s", "l", and "d" sounds.  Lots of speech therapy.
  • Catch & drop kick size 4 soccer balls (thanks daddy.  She narrowly took out my coffee the other day because he taught her to do it in the house).  She can also catch much smaller and bigger balls.  She also dribbles basketballs skillfully & showboats with a soccer ball with daddy like a pro.  
  • Watch TV.  I know. We are going to hell.  When we first met her, she would watch maybe 20 seconds.  We have her up to almost 30 minutes now.  40 minutes if there is kefir involved.
  • Stir chocolate chip cookie dough.  Measure in teaspoons and measuring cups.
  • Lock/unlock seatbelts on planes, cars, car seats, high chairs, strollers, etc.
My time is up.  The kids are home.  Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Visitor Etiquette

My husband has invited various friends and family members to stay at our house almost non-stop since March.  The minimum time to visit has been at least 14 days and has extended to up to 30.  I am tired.  It is hard to work a full time job, have a newly adopted child, and cope with having strangers at your house for extended periods.  In retrospect, I should have said no blinking way.  I try to get along and be reasonable, but my patience has worn thin.  I want to write about things I wish I had said to get it out in the universe because I can't do this again.

Of course it is lovely to see you.  I know that you paid money to fly to visit us.  However, we don't come and stay at your house for over a week when we come visit.  When we do stay longer than a week, we paint your house & do tasks around the house to be helpful.  Since you insist on staying at our house, these are the rules.

- Activate your bank cards/ATM cards/credit cards before you come.  We are not a minibank.  If you do borrow money, pay us back and buy us a present for the inconvenience.

- When you come, rent a car.  If you do not plan to rent a car, plan your budget accordingly to account for transportation to/from our house.  Do not expect my husband to drive you everywhere at any time.  We are not going to be able to drop you off in another city 3 hours away for a fun weekend away.  It isn't "easy" to do that. Do not expect us to drive you to destinations more than an hour away without providing some gas money.  Do not expect us to wait in the car while you shop (again) at another mall (again).  If we have to work, do not expect for us to cancel our work to drive you to the mall.

- You are on vacation.  I am not.  Please don't demand that we keep your hours because I have to keep my job in order to provide a place for you to sleep your vacation.  Please be aware that being loud after I go to bed is a problem.  Also, our child must go to sleep at a normal time.  Please do not interfere with the schedule.

- Do not make snide comments about how much I work. I am extending my resources for the hospitality for your visit. If I didn't work as much as I do, you wouldn't have the luxurious guest amenities you have.

- When you come, budget to take us to dinner at least 1x per week that you stay.  You are staying at my house for free.  I am saving you $100-300/day in hotel fees. I am saving you $50/day in food fees.  You are using my resources (electricity, water, gas, waste, linens, appliances, coffee, food, etc).  The least you can do is pay for dinner at least once per week.  Even more would be appropriate - especially if you expect to go out to dinner a couple nights a week.  We eat at home most days because we can't afford to go out to breakfast/lunch/dinner every day.  When you expect for us to do this with you (because you didn't rent a car and you don't feel like cooking/buying food or do not enjoy our food), please be aware that you are changing our lifestyle while you are here.

- I am not your maid service.  If you need to clean something, wash it.  Do not leave crumbs around my house.  Put your plates in the dishwasher.  We live in the South and there are bugs.  When we told you do not open food in your room, we meant it.  When you left the candy/chips/cookies open in your room, we got an ant/cockroach problem.  It was real thoughtful of you to leave special guests.  We had to invite an exterminator to visit regularly because you wouldn't respect our rules.

- If you plan to eat dinner with us, come down when we eat.  Otherwise, do not under any circumstances text us to bring you food in your room or on the balcony.  We do not do room service.  We are not a hotel.  If you want to stay at a hotel, we can recommend some with room service.

- When you have gone shopping, bought 3 extra suitcases, and have so many clothes you can't carry them home and have to pay overage fees, don't expect us to feed you indefinitely and definitely don't complain you don't have money.  Don't expect us to drive you to the airport in 2 cars.  Don't expect us to carry your suitcases to check in, and it is not ok that you expect us to pay the overage fees.

- If you break or ruin something, replace it.  Don't pretend that you didn't know you broke it and leave it.  If you stain something, let us know so we can try to fix it.

- It would also be ok if you offered to babysit one night during your visit so that my husband and I can go out to dinner. We have even less alone time than usual with your visit, and it really feels like you are taking advantage of us.

- We are open to going out and doing things with you.  Do some homework before you come and don't expect us to be your tour guide for the 2-4 weeks you are visiting.  You are independent when you are home. Be independent when you stay with us.

- Explore the US.  There are many things to see in the US, and there is a world out there waiting for you.  Our place isn't the most exciting place to see.  Make us a 4-6 day stop and then keep on going.  We will have more love for one another if you think about this.

Ok. I said my peace. Thanks for listening.  If I have offended you, think about how you would feel in my shoes.  They have been heavy lately, and the financial impact of your visit is going to be impacting me for at least another 6 months.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Going to grandma's

So, on Sunday, I had like 30 minutes in a row to shower & groom myself (Note: Since I became a mom, even the most mundane tasks like taking care of my eyebrows seem to be a challenge)... anyway, I came downstairs afterwards and all the chairs around the kitchen table were running 90 degrees off to the table, facing the back wall.  Sofie & her dad were wearing shoes and backpacks and pretending to fly on planes to visit Grandma & Grandpa.  I saw it, heard her making the zooming sounds of a plane flying, saw her jump up, smile, exclaim "Hi Grandma! Hi Grandpa! I missed you. I am so glad to see you.  I love you. Bye".. She and her dad took the trip many times that afternoon and it warmed my heart.  Apparently, she bullied Espen into putting the backpack and shoes on.  She also sat him on the plane.  I love that little girl.  I had to share.

Also, my hubby and I had a date on Sun night, and I got ready for it. Sofie was so excited, she had to get dressed up too.  She picked out her favorite dress, put it on carefully, found her necklaces, put them on, followed me into the bathroom and watched me apply makeup.  She was standing so still & watching so intently, I couldn't resist asking her if she wanted some makeup too.  I put some aqua eye liner on her top lids, giving her cat eyes.  It matched her dress even.  She looked so beautiful.  Then we did some fun hair stuff for her too.  After we walked downstairs, she put on these "platform" espadrille sandals & picked up this very small metal lunchbox for her purse & was ready to go.  She was accessorized to the max.  We all looked like a million bucks on the way to the babysitter. It was priceless.

Tonight, our visitors came back and are staying for an indeterminate amount of time (why oh why can't my husband just ask).  Sofie and I had a quiet night, and she was playing a lot while I folded the mountain of laundry that intimidates my hubby.  I got her to help me fold a twin sheet the right way. Then she discovered that sheets make excellent parachutes, and we had a ball.  There was hide and seek. There was wind. There was giggling.  There was tickling.  It was such a great stress reliever after a very long day with grumpy people.  How did I get so lucky?  She even fell asleep early tonight.  Bliss.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Home without visitors/travel/etc

This is the first weekend in a very, very long time (months and months) where:
1) We have no visitors staying in the house
2) I am not leaving the country/traveling
3) I am not coming home from international travel
4) We have no visitors arriving tomorrow (they are coming on Wednesday, LOL).
5) No one is sick... except if you don't count my hubby having back probs
6) None of the combinations above are happening at the same time

It is a nice thing to have the house to ourselves.  My hubby took pity on me and let me take a nap today from 11 - 2:30.  It was amazing.  I got sleep.  It was amazing.  He took Sofie to the grocery and I got some peace and quiet.  It rained so hard while I napped that it woke me up (and I was feeling bad for Pita because she was outside) but I didn't feel bad enough to go out searching for the cat.  The hubby told me that it didn't rain where he was, so that was good too.  I was feeling bad he was carting around Sofie in the rain, but it was ok.  Oh, and the house didn't flood.  Also good.  Some parts of Houston got 14 inches in 24 hours (YIKES) and I am glad it wasn't us.

My carpal tunnel is acting up, I believe due to the last month of crazy work schedules.  I got a massage last week and my therapist told me that I need to make sure I stand up every hour and stretch for a couple minues... I tend to go 6 hours without moving I think and it isn't so good for the body.  I have some bad spots in my left shoulder, right elbow, ribs, lower back and right hand.  This week I tried to take it more easy, remembered to set an alarm to go off every hour a couple of the days, and the hubby put pressure on me to come home after 10 hours.  I made that one 3 out of 5 days which was a big improvement over the last couple months.  It is hard to balance work, Sofie, him and myself.  I struggle big time.

Sofie has been wonderful this week. When she smiles completely, I see her heart & her happiness and everything is worth it.  It makes my heart smile too.  Real, honest to goodness, legitimate smiles.  She is amazing.  We had a super special day on Tuesday where we made chocolate chip cookies (learned ingredients, measures, stirring, sneaking bites out of the bowl, portioning out on cookie sheet, baking, cooling, etc.).  It was awesome.  Then we did some very cool dancing to "Water Music"and Sofie showed off her BREAK DANCING skills.  She is too cool for our house!  I need to get her enrolled in dance classes this fall.  She scooted her little butt in a circle while her legs propelled her around.  She also jumped forward on one arm and kicked both legs in the air (and didn't fall over).  Way too coordinated. Did I mention that the hubby taught her to drop kick a size 4 soccer ball in the house this week?  We had a narrow miss with my coffee this morning.  She has the best fine motor skills ever.  I say this while she has the most bruised legs i have ever seen because the practicing to do this show boating for mommy has taken its toll on her little body.

What else?  She is talking more and more.  It is amazing.  She is working on "t's" and "d's" with the speech therapist (really hard).  She can't say "c" or "k" sounds yet.  Her p, b, and q sounds are great.  S, f, and j are good too.  Did I mention before that she is talking in full sentences (and sounds just like me?!?!?!)?  Does everyone groan when they hear certain phrases coming out of their kid's mouths that sounds very groan up?  Not cursing, but just situational stuff?  It makes me laugh and shake my head.  I love that kid.

Hope you have a good one.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


The unimaginable happened this afternoon.  The hubby started talking about wanting to add another child to our family.  To be honest, I didn't see it coming.  He has been quasi-overwhelmed by the addition of Sofie to our family, and his friends that are visiting have been putting the pressure on adding a 2nd child to the mix.  He sees how well she plays with the other children and thinks she could be lonely and really want another brother or sister, and he is willing to do it for her.

When we first got Sofie I was ready to start the paperwork.  Now, I don't know which country we would get another child from and how we would pay for it.  I don't know.  Will ponder this weekend.


We have had some friends of my husband arrive this week, and it has completely changed the dynamic of the house.  It is one of his best friends in the world, his wife, and their 2 kids who are 7 & 9.  Sofie took about 4 hours to warm up to the girls, and now they are best friends.  It amazes me that the kids can play together while still speaking different languages (Norwegian vs English/Chinese).  My conversational Norwegian is pretty rusty, and I am working on it.  The adults do speak a bit of English, but they really want to speak Norwegian because you know.. they are from Norway.  Why would you speak a different language to your husband & husband's friend, right?  It was totally crazy when they first got her on Monday because I had just returned from Paris, and I could remember no words.  What came out when I tried to talk was a smattering of English, French, Spanish and Norwegian, with the occasional Chinese for good measure.  I have swiss cheese for brains.

Anyway, I have everyone fooled that I understand what the *blink* they are talking about - ok - sometimes I do- but after 6 hours I just get a headache and need to hide out.  Yesterday was long.  I took today and tomorrow off too so I could spend some quality time with the family and I am not sure how I am going to make it through.  I need to just stop being a baby and get on with it.

The good news is that Sofie wants to be just like the other grown up girls, and so she has moved forward again with her eating/temper tantrums/sleeping/etc.  To be honest, with 2 grown up girls, she is having the time of her life keeping up with them.  If one feels worn out, she can just be active with the other one.  Totally ideal situation.

Anyway, headed to Galveston. Have a nice weekend.