Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Santa Claus is coming to town

This is officially our second Christmas with Sofie, but it is our first Christmas where she  kind of understands what is happening around her.  She helped me trim the tree, and she is fascinated with stories of Santa.  "Santa Claus is coming to town" is here favorite song at the moment. She also likes the story of Rudolph. We have a gingerbread Christmas puzzle. She is dying to make Christmas cookies with me.  Last week she helped me make an apple pie.  She is in happy anticipation of all the presents in Christmas day. We also have an elf on our shelf (Toodles) who is monitoring her every move and reporting back to the big man.

Despite our efforts, she is still a normal 3 year old with temper tantrums. She learned to whine within the last month at school and I have a feeling we will be hearing that for another 20 years. She is growing and developing and singing and dancing and drawing and writing and is just an amazing little girl.

I wish I could capture all her Sofie-ness to make sure I will remember it at a later date. Today she announced she is only a little bit of a friend with her classmate Sara. She is addicted to cheese sticks and almonds. She ate butternut squash ravioli, hotdogs and corn for dinner. Oh, and she had a beloved cheese stick.  She ate pumpkin bread and salmon yesterday (likes salmon and fish in general a lot).  She had a temper tantrum for 30 minutes this morning because she wanted to watch mickeymouse instead if putting on her shirt for school (her favorite maroon apple shirt).  Did I mention she is obsessed with almonds?  She ate her whole lunch today (2 peanut butter sandwiches on wheat, a banana, yogurt, fruit, almonds,  2 juice boxes, and a halloweeny treat). The letter of the week is "s". We were supposed to bring a picture of something that starts with "s" but I think we forgot. Her s's are looking and sounding good.

Her hair is long enough for pigtails, french braids, and a chignon if I had hairpins. It is still a little thin in the front, and she has heavy bangs.  She uses food as product in here hair (forgoes napkins) which provides extra textures and achieves great heights with natural product. The smell isn't the bestest. Hahahhas. Her eyes sparkle, and she never is still for a moment. Even in here sleep, here limbs are in constant movement. I don't know if it it bone growing or what, but that kid moves, she bounces. She leaps. She strides. She runs. She never meanders, walks, or grazes. She is a kid with purpose and innovation and creativity. She is a problem solver. She is amazing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


This week, Sofie has been pretending that she has a little sister named Baby.  She actually started pretending with her Dad when they were playing at the park.  He actually told me which is even more surprising given the general reluctance to add to the family in the first place.

Last year when we got her, I was ready to start working on #2 straight away.  Now, I am open to it but I try to imagine how it will work - and how the child would find us (China, US, Africa, somewhere else).  It is a little daunting to think about starting over again.  Also, I don't know what age we would start with... if we do a local adoption, we could get a little baby, and that would be interesting.  We were at the doctor last week and there was the cutest little African American 9-month-old baby you ever saw.

Part of me also is interested in getting an older child, but that would be hard too.  I don't know how it would work.  I know that getting older children can be pretty complicated and that many of them don't work out.  I have some colleagues at work who foster-to-adopt and it has been real hard for them.  They thought they had a child and then the parents wouldn't relinquish rights and it has been awful for them and the child.

What to do?

Monday, November 19, 2012


The are many times that I know we got extremely lucky with our child. Today is one of them.  It just strikes me randomly, and I know I rhapsodize about her all the time, but I can't help it.

Sofie is so beautiful. Her inner light shines through. She is thoughtful and caring. She does random acts of kindness to us and the cats (and strangers). Last year, she was a big kiss blower - quite the hit at airports, supermarkets, and parks. This year, she is a hugged and kisser. Today after dinner, she came up to me and hugged me, kissed me, and told me she loved me.  It was so sweet.

Yesterday, she was loving all over Pita. She nuzzled her nose, caressed her face/ears, gave he sweet kisses and loved all over her.  She was so gentle and delicately touched her... So not a 3 year old thing.

She is a wily combination of her dad and me.  Her curiosity, love of music/dance, singlemindedness and independence all scream of me.  Her inability to watch tv unless there is total silence, throw random stuff, and grumpiness in the am are like her dad.

Being a mom has helped me frame gratitude in a whole new light. I know I am not the best mom but I do the best I can with her. I am thankful for every minute. I imagined life with a child, and it is amazing how close the picture was to my reality.  It is an amazing thing and I am so thankful.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Count down to gotcha day

Last year at this time, we were on a plane, headed to Beijing.  We thought we were ready to go, had everything we needed, and the excitement and anticipation was killing us.  I even brought my InStyle magazine so I could take pictures at the great wall.

We had thanksgiving dinner the week before since we had so much to be thankful for.  The house was clean. Her room was clean. Our neighbor was putting together furniture for her room while we traveled. I had just finished the mural.  My girlfriend was housesitting.

This is the anniversary of the beginning and the middle.  It signifies our growth, our love, our hope, and our belief that everything works out.  We boarded the plane out of the country as individuals and came back as a family.  It didn't matter that we didn't have the same blood, speak the same language, or live in a different country.  It didn't matter that our cultures were different.  It didn't matter that we had different needs.  We had love and an unspoken & unwavering understanding that everything would be fine.

One year later, I learned some Chinese. I can lift 35 pounds with one arm. I can deflect a temper tantrum 80% of the time. I am an artist, a teacher, a singer, curriculum director, snuggle buddy, friend, wife, crafter, ball tosser, dribbler, chef, laundress, leader, rock star, hero, princess, nail tech, groomer, stylist, driver, storyteller, decorator, maid...  And I occasionally work when I am not sick.

Journeys ... Sometimes you know when they are coming and not where they lead.  You stay on it because you love it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Still sick

As I am nearing our 1 year anniversary of leaving for China, I am still sick.  This has been a beast - cold, bronchitis, pneumonia... I guess I have overdone it big time.

Sofie has been a trooper because her dad and I have both been sick.  I feel bad about not having enough activities for her to use up all her energy, but it will come eventually right?

So much has happened this year.  I am so glad overall that we got her.  It was worth every minute.  all the heartache we have had since has also been worth it.

I wouldn't change it for the world.

We are lucky to have her, and she is lucky to have us.