Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas is in the air

We had a great Thankgiving with my parents in town.  In the 36 hours they were here, we managed to have Thankgiving dinner, watch "The Croods" twice, get allergy shots, eat at El Tiempo, do every attraction at The Aquarium, and tour the Zoo Lights extravanganza... oh, and eat more turkey.  And did I mention we played our Christmas soundtrack?  I couldn't wait.  Oh, and we started the Gingerbread house for Christmas.

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the season of Christmas has finally arrived.

We spent the weekend putting up Christmas decorations.  This is the first year where Sofie really kind-of knows what is going on.  She doesn't have a good sense of time yet and wants everything to happen tomorrow though.  "Mommy, is Christmas tomorrow?"

She has definitely been involved in getting things ready.  She finished up decorating a ginger bread house, watched it sparkle and is eating the ginger bread house covertly.

We (I) watched Home Alone to get in the mood for decorating... and started on the tree.  She found the first ornament she made us at school (a pinecone with red glitter and her name on it) and insists it doesn't belong on the tree (It is hers).  She helped me hang lots of ornaments and icicles.

Then I moved on to White Christmas to finish up.

We unpacked lots of things together & she set them on shelves.  We have so much stuff suddenly.  Wow.  I remember when I had a mini tree and 2 ornaments.

Our elf, Toodles, is back on patrol at the house, cataloging her every move (to her disappointment).  When she has been acting up, we start talking to Toodles, and that makes her even more crazy.  Eventually she calms down and apologizes to us, Toodles, and asks that we tell Toodles everything is ok.  I am kind of enjoying Toodles' visit to be honest.  Little eyes have a way of checking up on the shelf to see if he is watching before doing questionable things.

The hubby has been quite inspired by my Christmas-itis and embarked on a Griswold-friendly adventure with lights, trees,  bushes, wreathes and garland.  I am interested to see what the electric bill will be like... It looks awsome but the fuse keeps blowing...

Happy holidays.  I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Temper temper temper

The word "temper" is funny.

Its first meaning, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is "to make something less severe or extreme." I temper my eggs slowly with hot liquid to ensure that they do not cook too quickly when I make brownies, Hollandais or souffle.  Its second meaning is "the tendency of someone to become angry".  Sofie's temper could fry an egg in a second if I could measure the heat.  She is really feeling put out with us lately.  Her best friend has just moved to Brazil, and I am wondering if this is a side effect.  I am told it is still normal for 4-year-old's to have violent fits of temper (and I have seen grown-ups do this too).  I just don't like it much when it is directed at me.  I am walking on the tightrope already!

Learning how to manage to get what you want through your behavior is a tough sell at the moment. 

We survived the social worker's visit.  We had a follow up last Friday, and Sofie went all silent on us.  I hope the social worker believes that she can talk!  I haven't seen the final report yet, but I am hoping it will be good.  We have made huge progress this year with Sofie including night time potty training, sleep location, vocabulary, fine motor skills, and pre-reading skills to mention a few.  Also she grew a few inches and is a healthy girl.  The nice thing about having to do a yearly update to China is that we get to review all our pictures, pick the best ones, and print them out on actual photo paper.  We get to relive a lot of memories that way.  If I were craftier, it would make sense to make a photo book or something that contains the best ones with comments so we remember these things.  Maybe the hubby would be interested?

My infinite spare time is up.  Have a great one.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Coming up on 2 years

November marks the 2 year anniversary of our forever family with Sofie.  We have come so far.

Last night, I was feeling blue about a few things, and our little Sofie sensed it and turned the tables on me.  She sang, "I love you so much, I love you so much, I can't even tell you how much I love you... You're special to me, your're special to me, I'm so glad to have you as part of my world..." (Barbara Milne -  

I have been singing that song to Sofie almost every day for 2 years. I sing it in the morning when she wakes up along with "Good Morning to You". I sing it in the evening before she goes to sleep (along with "Mamma loves the baby" and "Wo ai ni".  We sing it when she is sad, and now she sings it right back to me to get the message across.  It was so heart warming and it made me feel better.

She has changed our lives inexplicably so much, and I am so blessed with every day with her.  She is so kind and sweet and loving and thoughtful and playful and so many other things.

I wanted this blog to also inlcude a time capture of what was happening in our lives at this time, so I am going to add a few fun facts about where she is...

Sofie can ...
- Count to 39
- Write all her letters
- Sing all the words to Katy Perry's song "Roar"
- Swing almost over the bar by her own energy
- long jump 5 feet
- high jump 2 feet
- pirouette 2 times
- jump from a deep squat
- throw a ball 20 yards
- read "mommy loves sofie" "sofie loves daddy"
- complete the full choreography & song to Sophia the 1st's "I'm not ready to be a princess"
- build lego palaces
- blow bubbles
- make sounds with the flute and the oboe
- make up songs with her own lyrics and remember them
- season meat/pork chops and popcorn
- stir cookie dough without getting flour all over the place
- sweep the floors
- clean her room/make her bed/clean woodwork
- cook imaginary banquets
- make up stories
- direct plays
- act as the leader and the "caboose"
- ride a bike/scooter

Sofie was a lady bug for Halloween and charmed everyone on the block to give her candy.

She is a super special kid.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Birthdays and stuff

It's my mom's birthday today and I am missing her. I know the time will go fast with Sofie and I spend time imagining what life will be like when she is thirty-something. Will she live on the same continent or will she be jet setting like I am today? Will she have a family or will the career come first? What will life be like in 30-something years? What jobs will there be at that time? It is fun to ponder as I am making strategic plans at work for the next 10 years...

Life has been good. I went to Paris for my new job last week and things were fine with her while I was gone. She has been a bit clingy since I got back but so have I.  Everything is changing with my life at work, and I am still trying to figure out the work-life-mom-balance thing.  She continues to be a huge joy in my life. I love her light.

I got some really good news at the doctor this week - It seems like I am mostly recovered from the illness that started about 12 months ago. I have to not get a cold/flu and stay well, but my lungs have recovered so much. The second surgery also seems to have kept things free and clear so far.  I hope to be done with this stuff by the end of the year.

Hope all is well where you are.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The start of fall - Application of Love and Logic

Hello Friends!

As you know, Sofie is an amazing bundle of energy and joy (most of the time joy - sometimes crazy). We are so blessed that she joined our family.  Next year she starts kindergarten, and it amazes me how grown up she will be.  The time where she was a short toddler singing "twinkle twinkle" seems like a distant memory. 

For these crazy times, we ordered the 0-6 Year box set of Love & Logic, which included 2 books and 4 CDs.  It has been an experiment applying these techniques to our 4 year old.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

The whole premise is that you are consistent with your child at all times and let THEM figure out what went wrong & avoid the mishap again.  It is tricky to see that your child is going to have an "accident" - whether dropping a cup on the floor, flipping a chair onto another person, or having dinner time be over because they are flinging food across the room.  You express sadness that the accident occurred, and you let the child take responsibility for himself/herself.  Sofie has had to own up to a lot of these types of situations (when she flipped her chair at a restaurant and hit another lady -we didn't see that coming- she had to apologize and figure out what happened there).  Now, if we say, "Do you remember what happened to you at that restaurant" when she is wiggling like a maniac on her chair, she does and immediately stops.  We have also taken away the 3-strikes-you're-out timeout scheme we had, and there are immediate consequences if she continues a course of action we have requested that she stop.  She can choose between a time out on the stairs or some quiet time in her room until she is ready to "be sweet".  The last thing we have done is given her a ton of decision making capacity so she is in control of what is happening.

In the morning ..."Do you want kefir or fruit first"...
... At bedtime, "do you want to brush your teeth or put on jammies first"...

It has given her a lot of her control back, and she is definitely more willing to do occasional commands more often without a fight.  We also don't spend a lot of time reasoning with her which made a huge difference.

There are still the occasional temper tantrums occurring, but they are much less frequent than before.  I recommend it to anyone.  You can also use this on kids, tweens, teens, and adults. I have had success using it with a difficult colleague actually too.

It has been very exciting.

Sofie recently got a new teacher at school, and it seems like there are bumpy times ahead.  At first, she was getting star daily ratings, and this week, something is going on at school where Sofie is rebelling a bit.  I am not sure if it is the management style or Sofie testing limits again.  I also have been working more (got a new job and my boss was in town last week), so this might be part of it.  I am headed out of town this week so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

A funny thing that has recently happened is that Sofie has been assigning us names & characters and directing our play.  She tells me that I am Soda & she is Hildegard - yes, she made up these names and we dont know their significance - it was hilarious the first couple times.  She uses the names all the time, and sometimes we are bears or mice or monsters or cooking... It makes me laugh.

We are also working on baking/cooking with Sofie.  She has become our main stirrer and seasoner of cookies and dinner.  This morning, we made apple juice together, and the fruit of our labor (hahaha) was delicious.  She sure loves to help us cook.

Anyway, this is the end of my quiet time.  I Hope you have a super week.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saying goodbye to an old friend

On another topic, today is officially day 1 of the 'eat to live' plan. 

I have been doing the plan for the last couple weeks but I had a hard time committing to give up one holy grail addiction that seems to be pretty important - caffeine.  Let me just say, I love coffee. I love its warmth and dark flavor. I love the smell wafting from the coffee pot. I love selecting the right mug that meets my mood and pouring my brew slowly into the cup. Yes, I burn my mouth each morning with that first sip I can't resist. I love taking my time with that first cup in the morning. I will miss it. Decaf doesn't do it for me, unfortunately. I always get heartburn. 

The plan talks a lot about caffeine and it long term effects on the body. I want to be healthy and live as long as I can.

So, I gave it up the coffee cold turkey this morning.  I am feeling the effects of detox already and have a major headache. I am already tempted to make a quick, small pot... To just have a single cup to take the edge off the pain of giving up my morning companion.  They say the pain won't last and that I can do it. I will just have to do this one day at a time and hope for the best. 

Good bye old friend.

Tantrum City

Summer is coming to a close for most kids and I am grateful we have one more year of Sofie at home with us.  Yes, she goes to preschool but everything will be different so soon. I can't believe we will be coming on 2 years with her in our life in November. It will be here before I know it.

We are struggling a bit with her a bit lately.  She is really pushing boundaries and has this tone that really grates on my soul.  If she doesn't get what she wants, the temper tantrum starts.  It doesn't happen consistently but today has been one big tantrum day.  Yikes.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Grey clouds

I am sitting down for a moment and thinking of kindness.

Sometimes I find it really hard in my heart to show it to everyone. When I am harboring some anger and resentment, I don't know what to do with the rage. It boils inside of me and I want to hit things.  What do I do?

I am sitting here breathing and hoping everything will be ok. Despite the lack of kindness some people display, I have to hope that if I keep doing the same thing, they will eventually grow up.  They will see the amazing people they have in their lives who have lifted and supported them during tough times.  Maybe they will never be able to extend the thankfulness and graciousness that I wish they would find.

All I can do is my best.  And visualize light. And be light in my heart and thankful for the goodness in my life.  I guess that is the answer to kindness.  And if I kill them with kindness, then so be it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tea Party Time

I completed a weekend full of fellowship, and it was so good.

When I was caught up in work and 'life' in the past, the first thing that went away was meeting up with friends. It was too easy. That transition between university and being a 'grown-up' broke the convenience of my friends living no more than 3 blocks away.  I moved to a new city.  

It suddenly became 'work' to have to drive that extra 30 minutes to see someone for an hour.

That first year, I made the effort. Through networking, a group of young single ladies came together and we did try to keep that university meet-up kind of thing going on... But then I started traveling and life got complicated. I met someone and moved to Norway and had to start over again.  This was the time before Internet, and it was just different.

When I returned back to the US, everyone I knew was gone from inside the city. The closest friends had moved an hour away & had kids, which made meeting up that much harder.  New friends were harder to find because I was working all the time, and my positions were not always enjoyable (which did not attract happy people to me).  Then, came another move. And then another.  It was hard to remember what having close friendship in my life felt like.

Flash forward to 17 years later, and I am experiencing a renaissance. I am meeting people in my community and it is easy to meet up because we live 5 minutes away. We have similar interests and we see each other 4-5 days a week.  When people come to town, I am making an effort to see them. They helped shape me, and we are connected.  

I make regular appointments with people who are a priority for me, and I show up even though it is work to get there because I have realized life is so much better with them in it.

For the special friends who don't live close, I make the effort to be connected.  It is worth it.

Our adoption process felt like we took everyone on the journey with us (at least my friends), and as we live and grow together, we are each connected through the experience.

It is really nice that I have built the foundation to manage the friendships i have from all walks of life. I am grateful that I have people who know who I am in the deepest recesses of my heart. I am grateful that the right people come into my life when I need them. I realize that friendship and support is necessary to make it through the tough times & it's the icing on the cake the rest of the time.

Go eat some cake with your best friends.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's been awhile

We have been home about a month now together, and things are mostly good.

The trip to Norway was super. It was so nice to have mild weather & see family and friends.  We all had a blast. The weather was good, and there's so much for kids to do in Norway. There was a secret underworld for children that was hidden until we had one of our own.

Coming home, back to normal, was a transition for all of us.  Sofie has acquired some naughty habits (from Norway & school & vacation parenting?) in the last couple months. We are trying to get her to behave better.  The whining & tantrums, when they happen, are epic.  She is stubborn enough to cry for 3 hours in a row at night because she isn't getting what she wants.  But we adore her, and the rest of the time she is so fun.

Her language skills continue to develop and she says the most remarkable things. I am trying to think of an example but am drawing a blank. There are just some times when she talks, she uses huge words in the right context (or not the simple English version - like the difference between to see and to spot. 

My massage/ayervedic  therapist thinks it is all the gunk working its way out. I have been on a rigorous workout/lifestyle adjustment since February and as things get cleaned out, she thinks my lungs will clear out too.

I had my first 2 hour fascia massage on Friday, and it was a booger. I have never hurt so bad in so many places in my life.  However, afterwards, I saw stuff clearing out of me, and I feel at peace. I will keep doing them.

Yesterday, I tweaked my good knee (felt like rubber band snapped on the outside of my knee) while working out. It is swollen and hurts when I stand/walk for long periods of time. I am hoping it is a little sprain. I would hate to be derailed from the fitness plan. I am down like 20 pounds since February, and I need to keep them off plus more. Crossing fingers.

We are looking forward to fireworks on the 4th. Also a family friend is coming to stay with us for almost a month in July, and last Sofie and I will head to the windy city to see family at the end of the month. I love having things to look forward to all summer.

Also, the gym has been a source of joy for me.  The people there are really friendly and social, and it has been really fun to engage. Once I left university, it felt hard to find and make new friends with all the job/location changes, and I have met a fun group of people I get to see almost every day and I really enjoy it.  And working out is pretty challenging too. I feel like I DO something every day.  If you are in Houston and want to hear more, please let me know.

Oh, and they think I am like 29 which is super fun too.

Anyway, have a great one!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Norge Ho!

We have been on a family vacation and it has been lovely for a change in scenery.  I love being able to interact with Sofie throughout the day.  I have gotten to see her playing with other children as well which has been lovely to interact since the hubby handles most of the day to day stuff with her.

She approaches new people with confidence and hopes to be their best friend immediately.  She has become especially attached to a 7 year old who lives across the street from where we are staying, and they became best friends immediately.  The girl across the street gave Sofie a bicycle to ride on (in addition to the scooter & the swings that were immediately available to the duo).  It is a blessing when 2 people come together at any age and have an instant connection,

It has been a pleasure to see Sofie interact with family and cousins, and she belongs with them.

We have also gotten to play with the children of some of our favorite family friends, and it is wonderful to see the children together.  I wish we could be closer year round so the kids could interact and have an actual relationship too.

The weather has been surprisingly good considering where we are... The first year I lived here officially, it rained 365 days in a row.  It is warm and sunny at present.  I am lucky enough to have visited one of my good girl friends who I had lost touch with in recent years.  It is like not a day has passed.

I am so grateful that there are these magical people in life who can be your friend at every stage in life.  Despite not talking every day, we still have an energy together and can appreciate the highs and lows together.  I love it.

Part of me wants to move here, despite the weather & food situation.  I love that children still play in the streets.  I love the sense of family all around.  I do struggle with the language a bit, but I think this would improve in time.  I have been thinking about what type of role I would want to do in order to be the best me. The hubby has been ecstatic since we got here, the happiest I have seen him in a long time, and I would love for him to feel that joy every day.  It would be such a relief to have everyone be happy.

These options are spinning around in my head, and I never know what to choose.  Hopefully the right answers will come to me soon.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Another one?

As busy has life has been, the thought of a second child has been floating around in my head for several weeks.  I first had the thought the day after we got Sofie... but it was too soon.  As we adjusted to one another, the thought remained, but I put it off.  We weren't ready for another child.  I went back to work, and I couldn't imagine the thought of handling two at a time.  I got sick and had a lot of time at home, and I imagined what the second one would be like.

We started looking into it again with China, and it will be exactly the same process.  It is likely it will take another 2-3 years, and if we plan to do that, we should have started yesterday.  Also, we would have to do special needs again (not that there is anything wrong with special needs... Any newly adopted child has special needs compared to a child that has been with you since the beginning).  The cost is frightening (again).

We also have the option to adopt locally, but there is always the uncertainty that the birth parents will change their mind.  It also could take quite a while.  And most of the children up for adoption in our region (per the adoption agency we spoke with) are a result of not pleasant circumstances most of the time.  Of course there are exceptions.  In some ways, it is a relief not to know where Sofie came from.

We got an email this week from Children of All Nations, and Haiti has opened up.  They also posted a video about international adoptions ( that made me want to do it even more.  There are so many children out there who we could help.  The politics make it hard, but for me it is all about love and opening your heart.   So, a little boy or girl from Haiti is on my mind tonight.  It would be wonderful to have a brother or sister for Sofie.  I think our family would be an amazing spot for at least 1 more child.  I don't know how we would handle work, play, etc. with another kid; things are already hectic and harried.  Everyone else seems to be able to do it, so why not?

On the other hand, part of me want to do a career change, and having another child would definitely put me on the back burner. I would also like to relocate to a less polluted more outdoorsy-friendly place.  It is hard to prioritize when you want so many things. :) I am blessed to have so many options.  I also don't know which way is up.  Hopefully the path will become more clear in coming weeks.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adventure, Ho! Passport to the world

Today started off like any other day, except I had an teleconference at 6:30 in the morning.    I woke up that 45 minutes early and was out the door on time.  I made it to the office 30 minutes later, on time. (Yay!).  The conference had some technical challenges, and my part was ok once I got going.  I wonder how many people really watched it and how effective it was... There were supposed to be like 400 people on the line... I am getting off subject.  It was a day like any other day.  There were a couple teleconferences after that, and then we had a special team meeting to discuss some upcoming workflow changes.

We have had it on our list to get Sofie a passport for a year and a half.  Push finally came to shove a few weeks ago when we bought tickets to travel the world.  Suddenly the need was a reality, and we had to get moving.  Her Dad got the paperwork done, and we set an appointment time with the post office.  For small children, both parents have to be there with passports, copies of passports, passport pictures, marriage licenses, social security cards, a partridge and a pair tree.  Oh, and the child had to accompany us too.  Fun times!

Her dad and I coordinated times with the precision of military generals.  We both arrived from opposite sides of town within 10 seconds of one another - an amazing feat.  Sofie looked adorable as always in her jeans, pink belt, pink cupcake t-shirt, red socks, and electric blue shiny patent leather shoes.  She had her hair in an (unintentional) side pony tale.  We were 15 minutes early for our appointment!

I asked the hubby if everything was ready.  He said yes; they have a passport picture machine at the post office we should use & a copy machine for the paperwork.  We grabbed Sofie's hand and walked inside the post office.  It was deserted!  I felt like I had fallen into a magic world with a helpful, efficient post office people.  We asked about the passport appointment and the customer service rep had taken a step out for a moment.  We waited 20 minutes in a little tape drawn box on the floor.  Eventually the passport lady came, and my hubby asked about the passport photo machine & copies of the passports.  DENIED!  Both machines were broken.  They gave us [faulty] instructions to the nearest library, and we also hit the CVS down the street.  The library was open (yay!) and the copies were done.  CHECK.  At CVS, they pulled down the white screen, gave her a whirl on a stool, and took a lovely picture.  They said to check back in within the next 10 minutes for the picture.  I did a quick run around with Sofie and found some toiletries I was missing and a water colors paint set I thought she would enjoy.  We got in line ... The 3 people ahead of us checked out.  That is when things started going downhill. The photo printing machine was broken.  Could we came back tomorrow? they asked. Umm. No.  Was there another place close to here?  No.

So, by this time, it is 11:40.  I have now been absent from work for 70 minutes, and there is no end in site. We head back to the post office to see if they could cut us some slack (ID me, compare my passport picture with my face, and then let me go back to work and let the hubby take care of the passport picture somewhere else).  After conferring with the boss, the rep says they can't help us.  They need all documents to be together.  Once we have assembled everything, we can go to the front of the line.

Now, we get in the car (again) and I check my phone to see where Walgreens is.  I call Walgreens to see if their machine is working (because it seems like passport machines are always broken).  Walgreens tells me it is broken and then they change their mind and say it is working.  They tell me to come now, so we drive a mile and a half away.  We go in.  No one is at the photo counter.  A lady that is familiar with the checkers shouts down that they need someone in photos.  Then she comes over and takes the 1 machine that is working and starts scanning a pile of 100 pictures for making copies in her album. They take the picture of us, and 25 minutes later our passport picture prints out.  Ridiculous. 

We drive back to the post office (again).  It is now 12:15, and there is a huge line. Not out the door long, but 10 people long.  The hubby moves to the little passport box on the floor, and I get in the line.  15 minutes later, it is our turn in the long line.  We are denied by a different passport lady.  She grunts "get inside the box.  I will do passports when the line goes down."  Umm, the stream of people coming in is non-stop.  30 minutes later, we are still hanging out in the box.  Meanwhile, another lady joins our line for the passport.  We start talking after awhile, and I tell her the situation.  I have accepted (kind of) where we are.  You can't change the process most of the time.  It isn't a fight worth fighting for me.  Meanwhile, Sofie has fallen asleep on her dad's shoulder.  The other lady gets more and more frustrated and cuts in the normal post office line to see why we aren't getting processed.

Te passport lady repeats what she said to me.  Without making eye contact. Without stopping what she was doing. Finally around 1:00, business tapers off and we are finally processed in 5 minutes.


The passport process started.  She made us make out a check to the postmaster general for 25 bucks, and I hope that didn't go in her pocket.  I didn't make an issue out of it because I wanted to get the darn passport.

I finally got back to work 2 hours later than I expected ... and there was a train blocking my path to the office anyway... and by the time I returned, everyone was missing.  And the canteen was closed for lunch. 

What is the moral of my story?
- Expect the unexpected when dealing with the post office and global teleconferences
- Don't argue with the post master
- Get everything done before you go to the post office.  The photo taking machine is always broken.
- Apply for passports at least 6 weeks before you travel
- Laugh at the ridiculousness of it all

Sunday, April 7, 2013

If I knew then what I knew now...

I had an idea for a post a few months back, and I hadn't had time to think about it.  I have a few moments today, so I am going to go for it.

One question that people ask is... If I knew how it would be after we adopted Sofie with the transition now, how would we change things?

To bring you up to speed...

  • Sofie is adopted from China
  • She came from a foster home living situation (had same foster parents her whole life)
  • She was 2.5 when she was adopted
  • She is a Special Needs child (cleft lip/palate)
  • She is from the 3rd most polluted city in China
  • 4 million people on the planet speak her first language (which is Mandarin-like, but not Mandarin)
  • We had friends that spoke Mandarin
  • We are an international family already.  

I am an engineer in education, and you would think that I would have done infinite research about foreign adoptions, special needs, how to teach a child a foreign language, how to have your child cope with adoption, etc., etc., etc.

Instead, my husband and I went in mostly blind.  We did the required Hague education that was required.  We did some basic research about cleft palate recovery, reading some amazing horror stories.  You wouldn't believe the kind of terrible information out there - talking about how many children have autism, sub par IQ, horrendous surgery experience, a life long speech impediments after 20+ surgeries. It made me want to stop the process all together, so I stopped reading.

I did read a Chinese culture book to prepare for the trip to China.  We did look up the sights we were going to see in Beijing.  Besides this and the materials, that was it.

We did fine in Beijing, skipping the western restaurants and walking into the most packed restaurants we could find full of locals.  

In Taiyuan, the pollution was BAD.  I couldn't walk outside for more than 10 minutes without having severe breathing issues and chest pain. The chemical smell was pretty terrible from the moment the plane started descending until we left the city a week later.  I hadn't realized it was so polluted and that Sofie would come home with so many heavy metals in her.  

We were told that she would be prepared for the adoption.  Looking back, I see that there is no way you could prepare a little person for such a life altering event.  Her foster parents loved her with all their hearts and did their best.  I am not convinced they had her best intentions at heart by including all kinds of mementos in secret spots in her backpack and around her neck and in CDs and stuff.  These items cause her to break out in hysteria even a year later.  I hadn't realized they would do this.

The language barrier was huge.  We learned a few phrases like "I love you, bathroom, yes, no, etc." in Chinese before we left.  This was all we needed.  We had the backup plan about using our Mandarin speaking friend, but they had big communication problems too since the dialect was so different.  Google Translate (Mandarin basic) worked the best.

Eventually, Sofie started learning English, but those first few months were very hard.  Very hard.    The little reading I did indicated she would be fluent in 3-6 months.  It was more like 9 months for full fluency, and it has been such a blessing now that she does speak English properly.  When we went to the park, I would see how other 3 year olds communicated with their moms and she was definitely behind in that respect.  She is about equal a year and a half later, though she really does like to say as little as possible most of the time.  She isn't into reading books with us most of the time, although she knows her ABCs both singing and written.  She likes to hear stories now which is definitely exciting too.

Sending her to preschool was definitely a good way to ensure she learned English.  She had to do it to communicate with the teachers and other children, and her progress made huge leaps and bounds once she was in school.  I would do it again.

Her fluency journey coincided with an early cleft palate surgery.  The timing was quick because she was accepted into a program, a spot came available sooner than expected, and her overall language development was going to be severely impaired by the current situation (and create really bad habits that would be hard to recover from in the long run).  She really didn't know what was happening.  It was a tough time in recovery. She thought we had done surgery on both arms (instead of her mouth) because there were physical restraints on her to keep her hands out of her mouth. It would have been nice to be able to explain some of that to her.

Regarding her specific cleft palate case, it will likely be 3 surgeries total.  Her first surgery in the US was very successful and the speech pathologist is ecstatic about her progress.  She is a very smart little girl with no autism or learning disabilities.  She did have heavy metals in her body, but they are being leeched out slowly by being in a different environment.  The high lead readings have not caused any serious damage.

From a bonding perspective, I had read some stories about how un-affectionate children from China could be.  Sofie was very much into being held (maybe more than I imagined) and cuddled from the get go.  We taught her how to give kisses.  We have developed a very strong bond.  For me it was immediate.  For my husband, it took longer.  It was worth it.

At the end of the day, I wouldn't change anything except to toss the materials that I read beforehand (except for the Chinese culture book).  It wasn't worth the worry to research cleft palate ahead of time except to find the best local resources for once she got here.  It wasn't worth it to worry about her intelligence.  The bonding happened on its own.  Learning English took time.  We kept our language clear and concise and basic for awhile.

If I could have changed anything, it would be:
- Worry less about how she would be beforehand. Things work out for the best.
- Delay the surgery a few months.  
- Make sure I had dedicated "me time."  I lost myself a bit when I went back to work, and it took illness to find myself again.
- Engage with other children earlier. We waited 6 months.

I would definitely adopt her again and again.

Tough Love

I like to sleep with my own personal space.

Things work differently in China.  Boy is that ever a loaded statement.  I was going to say, "They speak Chinese for one…"  … What does this have to do with sleep?

In Sofie's foster care situation, I believe the family slept together on mattresses placed out on the floor together.  She would snuggle up to her foster grandma every night, and she slept peacefully.  Her grandma slept peacefully too.  We met her foster grandma the first day after the exchange, and she was a wreck.  She hadn't slept a second without her Sofie.

In the US, we typically move kids to their own rooms at an early age and use baby monitors to hear what is happening.  If they move around, then we hear it on the monitor and act.

When Sofie moved to the US, we were put in a special situation. What do we do?  We have a child who has been taken from everything she knows, all by herself, and thrust into this new environment.  She wasn't even allowed to bring her favorite toy or sweater.  It was made easy in China because the baby beds provided were smaller than Sofie was.  Oh, and they only provided twin beds in the hotels.  She slept with me.  When we came home, it became a trickier situation.

We worked on it hard for the first few months, and we got her to the point where she would eventually fall asleep in her room.  On most nights, she would make it through the night in her room.  On bad nights, she would wake up in night terrors, and she would come back to our room.  Then I went back to work, and her world was shattered again.  We kept working on it.  We got to a stable point around the same time she went to school for the first time.  Soon after that, I started traveling for work, and then we had frequent, long staying visitors.  There was always change underfoot, and it seemed to be a crutch that allowed her to move back into our room.  

When my last 2 work trips occurred last year (3.5 weeks away in total over 6 weeks), she was allowed to come back into the bedroom full time.  Then I got sick.  Really sick.  I slept in the spare bedroom. She was glad I was home, but since I had been away & was so different when I came back, things were uncertain for her.  Then my husband got a cold, and she moved in with me.  Eventually, we all moved back to the master bedroom.  This is where we are now.

We had a perfect opportunity to move her back with the "whistle" situation.  I hadn't done much more research by this point, and it seemed like having a good motivator would allow her to make the goal.  She wanted one so bad that she tried sleeping in her room by herself that night. It lasted all of 60 minutes before she cried herself to hysteria and moved back to our room.  Eventually, she took a nap in her room a week later, and this qualified as a step forward so she got her whistle.

After this, I looked at what the recommended process is.  The research says we are going to have to do tough love.  They say start by having one of us (probably me) sleep on the floor by her bed for a week.  When she wakes up at night, one of us will be there.  Then we slowly move step by step out of the room until she is doing it by herself.  I don't know if there is ever going to be a good time for this to really start.  We are just going to have to do it.

I haven't resolved myself yet to making it happen.  We will one of these days, and I will relearn how to sleep without little feet in my stomach.  Then we will visit Norway, and it will all start over again.  These circles happen in our lives over and over again, and we just need to get through them.  I hope I am strong enough to be strong for her too.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My pet weasel

A funny happened today that I had to share.

"Mommy, I want a weasel" says Sofie as we are finishing up dinner. Her dad and I look at eat other blankly.

"A weasel?" I ask, perplexed.

"Yes, a weasel." My mind is racing as I try to think of how to handle the situation. What do I know about weasels besides that they bite?  And the song, "Pop goes the Weasel"

"You want a weasel," I acknowledge, still trying to figure out what to say. A book I read said I should repeat what 3 year olds say so they know I am listening.  "Cats and weasels don't always get along.  Weasels don't make great pets because they bite.  Are you sure you know what a weasel is?"

"yes mommy." she answers in all seriousness.

"let's go look at pictures of weasels" I say, inspired. I figure if we can look at their teeth and show that all the pictures take place outside, she might drop this.

We get the iPad out and go to google images. I search for weasels. She snuggles up next to me and looks at nature pictures for a minute.  I see they look more like chipmunks or squirrels than killer biting machines.  They are cute. I worry a bit more about how this will end.

Then she says, "mommy, those aren't weasels".

I ask, "what's a weasel?"

She makes a blowing gesture with her hand and mouth, and we realize she is talking about whistles.   Phew! Whistles are way more manageable and don't bite!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Highs and Lows

It's funny.  I have experienced one of my biggest highs and largest lows since we got Sofie over the last 24 hours.

Let's talk about the high first.  This is personal, and I don't think I have shared this with anyone.

My whole Sofie adventure really started when I went to a football game in Scotland with one my male colleagues.  He was an avid supporter of the team we went to see, and it was a cold gloomy day in Scotland.  Typically when my husband watches any game, he is uncommunicative and doesn't like to talk about anything except maybe a related football story.  If it is HIS team playing, he is biting his nails the whole 90 minutes and it is inadvisable to talk to him.  He is moody and frustrated and the atmosphere in the house is shitty for the whole game (and potentially half the day depending on the results).

With this colleague, he showed joy for being there, and he was open to talking about just about anything.  He initiated many non-football related conversations (since I have been trained to be silent).  In the middle of the game, there was a little 4 year old boy who was trying to see what was happening with the game and everyone was standing.  My colleague noticed the boy and was touched by the little boy's father who hoisted him up on his shoulders so he could see the game.  My husband wouldn't notice if I were on the floor bleeding to death.

In that moment, I realized I could have this life if I wanted.  I really wanted a little girl and my husband hadn't been keen.  I saw that there were people out there who be interested in little people and talk to me during football games.  It was then that I decided I would start the quest for my little girl and try to improve the relationship we have.

This story comes full circle because yesterday, we went to our first professional football game with Sofie.  The weather was fine, people were wearing jersey's of the local team at dinner, and we realized we could make the game.  We went over, and Sofie was so excited.  We got tickets, walked in, sat down, and watched the game.  My husband was excited to be here and willing to talk.  He noticed the little girl between us on the seats.  Some ladies in the row below us gave Sofie a soccer ball and called her a "cute little thing".  It was a magic moment.  The circle was complete.

So, this morning is Easter Sunday.  The Easter Bunny visited our house and left a carnage of candy and eggs everywhere.  Sofie had a few and was riding high.  My husband asked if I wanted to take her to ecstatic dance.  We have been doing it off and on since Christmas on Sundays.  It gives him a couple hours to himself, and it lets me dance (my favorite thing).  Also, there is room for Sofie to spin and play.  The only downside is that the group spends 10-30 minutes talking about feelings in the middle of the event, and Sofie struggles with the downtime.  She is more of a "go, go, go" kind of girl.

The rules for the dance are that there is no judgement and everyone is free to express themselves.  They advise to try not to talk but to dance.  Noises are ok (like screaming, animal noises, crying, etc.).  They say children are ok and this is an opportunity for us to come together and express joy in a safe way.  They want parents to stay with their kids so they don't get hurt.

This morning, according to the weekly email, the dance started early.  I thought we had avoided the downtime by arriving late.  We got there, and music was playing.  Sofie and I spun together round and round and round and round.  She got comfortable after awhile and started dancing by herself.  She was so joyful and happy, and I was really happy to be dancing and to be seeing her joy.  Suddenly, they turned off the music and asked everyone to get in the circle.  Sofie was there for a second and then went in the middle of the circle and started running around.  The people around me were fine with it saying that she was experiencing the joy they hoped to experience.  The moderator asked me to get her out.  I took her outside to the foyer and outside to see a parrot while they talked.  They talked for 20 minutes or more.  Eventually the music started again, and we danced to a couple of songs.  Sofie was really into it.  Then a woman came up to me and started telling me that parents had to restrain their kids and that it wasn't ok that Sofie would say a few words out loud while she danced.  It wasn't ok for her to sing.  She also said I had to teach Sofie how to do a quiet time if I wanted to be there and told me that it would help if I told Sofie it was a quiet time (like I haven't done this a zillion times).  I thanked her for her feedback.  I had been trying.  Sofie is high spirited and having a dancing outlet has been great for us.  She is 3. She doesn't know her loud voice/soft voice very well.  She likes to wiggle and doesn't do really quiet time.  I feel very judged.  I have been doing my best.  I started to cry when the lady was finished.  I decided that we should leave.  I couldn't get my tears under control.  Sofie was really sad to be leaving because she was having such a great time.   This was the first time I had felt comfortable there by myself without my girlfriend who usually comes with us. I am home now and still feel sad.  I had been wide open to receive, and the negative really threw me.

I thought I had found a place where I could be myself and be happy, but I am still looking.  Maybe another day.  Maybe we make our own playlist and dance at home.  We will see.

Happy Easter.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Life is flying by again

It has been a month since I posted last.  It is crazy.  Once I got back to work, things became really busy.

Health wise - I am doing much much much better.  The pneumonia is gone.  It was a parainfluenza bug plus bacterial infection, plus sinus infection that was continuously circling through my sinuses/lung.  I am still on steroids to breathe & just started some new antibiotic because my sinuses aren't the bestest yet.  But, I am functioning.  I am sleeping my 8 hours and "running around" the rest of the day.  Ok, I am resting on weekends, but I am very active.  I would say I am up to 80%. It will probably take 6 months to get the rest of the way.  I am still on no-fly duty for long, international trips to India, but we do have a trip scheduled for Norway in May.  I might do some work in Oslo while I am there.  I am avoiding Paris for now.  Oh, and we are headed for Chicagoland at some point because my grandparents are having some challenges.

At work, there HAVE been policy changes, and some parts of my job drive me crazy. I do feel like I am in a snake pit most of the time, and it is hard to know who to trust.  The way the company is organized has added a lot of extra layers to get anything done, and the agility we had in the past is gone.  Since I got back, my job has a different slant to it which excites me.  I am getting to be creative & have innovative-thinking goals which excites me even more.  I hadn't seen much draw to innovation within the last couple years, and that we are now thinking about it gives me hope we will remain technology focused.  I also have been directed to start politicking & promoting myself (very uncomfortable with that).  I am trying.

Enough about work - except I have put in some pretty strict boundaries about when I can work, and I have been very meticulous about respecting them.  In the last 4 weeks, I only worked past 5 one day, and this is because there was a special meeting of people in town.  It is really good.

Also, last week, I joined Washington Gym, which is unlike any gym I have ever seen.  It isn't exactly cross fit.  It doesn't have typical cardio machines.  They run 5 sessions a day with groups going over different areas of the body.  They use all kinds of stuff like weights, bands, rings, bars, hurdles, running, rowing, etc.  I went 4 times last week, and although it was hard (and I am really out of shape), they are very respectful of boundaries and past injuries.  Another interesting part with this gym is they reserve the right to "fire me" if I don't stick to the program.  It definitely brings accountability to me, and I need that badly to stick to a program.  The tough love thing could definitely work with me, I think.

The other part of the gym which is definitely challenging me is that they want me to follow the paleo diet.  I have been vegetarian since last May, and paleo is NOT vegetarian friendly.  Heck, I was vegan for a few months even.  The last month I was sick, I started eating fish 1-2 times per week.  That seemed like a lot of meat.  Eating eggs for breakfast and tuna for lunch and fish/meat for dinner is crazy. I have been on meat overload.  I wasn't eating red meat or pork per se, but I did have my first chicken on Friday (bleck) and I tried adding ground beef to my scrambled eggs like they said.  I also had steak last night (like 2 oz).  I am supposed to be eating a whopping 130 grams of protein a day (and 70! grams of fat). I was eating like 20-40g/day.  It is a big adjustment.

This morning I broke down and had a smoothie for lunch with kale, banana, and berries.  The paleo way is to add raw eggs (ick) or protein powder (really, did cavemen have protein powder??)... I used some of my veggie tricks and added hemp seeds and chia seeds.  They seem to have the same fat/protein ratio I am looking for.  I also tried adding almonds which is an internet trick I found.  It appears there are some other paleo vegetarians out there, and I am going to try it there way before I go all meat all the time.  Don't get me wrong, having a bite of beef was ok, it is just having it with every meal is so excessive.  I don't like meat THAT much.

Now to the good stuff.  Sofie is wonderful.  Her imagination continues to grow.  We have been playing castle legos for weeks, and we have built some really neat stuff.  We have also had tea parties with the legos, and there is a lot of drama going on between Cinderella 1, Cinderella 2, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Prince Charming.  And don't get me started about what  bunny 1 did to bunny 2. LOL. And the DALMATION is so naughty.  And the horse ate all the apples.  Hello Kitty did something last week and she has banished to downstairs only, and Minnie is back upstairs at bed time.  The stuffed bunny is hiding in a drum most of the time (who knows why???).  She is growing like mad. She can turn OFF lights now too.  Her 3Ts don't fit her around any more which is pretty exciting.  She eats mostly meat and fruit exclusively.  We got her to eat caesar salad last night.  She does like plain rice and noodles still.  She has been skipping "treats" at night so she doesn't have to eat her brussels, pepper, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.  She will sometimes take bites.  Sometimes no.  She has figured out a trick that if she says she is "going to pee herself" at the table ... once something beautiful has been served, piping hot, at a restaurant no less... she can run around and go to the bathroom.  After last weekend, her dad doesn't believe her any more.  I was on to her weeks ago at home when she would finish a meal and instead of wanting to wait for everyone to be done, she would start whining.  She isn't into hanging out with us - especially if there is no treat afterwards.

Her temper tantrums have been epic.  She pulls out the tears any time we do something that isn't exactly what she wants.  I put in some "tuition" with SuperNanny to reinforce the right principles last weekend.  It annoys the crap out of Sofie that she isn't getting us riled up in "time out" these days. She has gone to exceedingly bad behavior (spitting globs of spit on the stairs, kicking, trying to destroy the stairs, etc.).  I hope she doesn't try to pee/poop on them.  I am not sure if I could NOT react to that.  Then again, if she has to clean it up afterwards, it might be worth it.  She is a handful.

Sofie does have rhythm though, and still loves Gangham Style.  I am not sure how many american kids are listening to swedish house mafia and know all the words.  Lol.

So all in all, our girl is doing super. Her mom is much better.  Her dad is good.  Onwards and upwards.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Back to the grindstone

Well, Monday was my official day back to work.  It was tough.  Yesterday was worse.  There are a lot of new policies, and as I read them I got depressed.  I don't like what I am seeing, and it makes me crazy that there is nothing that I can do to affect it.  My philosophy is so fundamentally different, I feel like I am living a lie.

How can I teach Sofie the right values, when I struggle to assimilate all the demands placed on me on a given day?  How do I teach her to make the right decisions when there is no right decision?  How do I navigate through the snake pit and have my sanity at the end?

While I was sick, I spent a lot of time thinking about the types of jobs that have been created over the last 200 years.  There have been some amazing advances, but there are also jobs that are a bunch of busy work that really don't serve a higher purpose besides having a guy get a bigger bonus at the end of the year for making/saving money. 

Where I fit into this global network is really unclear to me.  I want to make a difference. I want to do something meaningful.  I want to help mankind.  I want to feel useful.  I am failing at the moment.  I don't want to be depressed. I don't want to cry at night.  I don't want to come home and want to get drunk every day. That isn't living.

I need to figure out that balance.  I need to incorporate it with our lifestyle and finances. I need to ensure we have the resources we need for our children.  It is hard.  The path is invisible to me.  I will keep looking.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year (Welcome to the year of the Black Snake))

First off, Happy New Year!  We will most likely be celebrating with our Asian community this weekend.  Otherwise, we might have to hit up China town for amazing culinary goodness.

You can check out your Chinese horoscope for the year here:

My predominant signs are water and metal.  It could be an interesting year.

Things are going better, and I am slated to go back to work next week.  I hope this is the last time that I have to be released for work in a long while!  I am still exercising this week, and although I do get out of breath pretty quickly & my muscles are sore (yay! sore muscles!), I am so glad I am doing it.  It makes me feel really good.

Yesterday, the hubby took Sofie to the Shriners for her annual checkup (can you believe it has been a year since she had the surgery?!).  She is doing wonderful.  She knocked the socks off the speech pathologist who saw her about 6 months ago.  Sofie has learned so many sounds and her vocabulary is out of this world.  The speech path couldn't believe it.  She was amazed.  I am so happy that Sofie isn't going to have to struggle with a speech impediment for her entire life.  It was something that was in the back of my mind as a risk, and it is a great relief to know that she is good.  They won't take a look at her for another year, and by then (right before Sofie turns 5), I expect she is going to be really, really good.  I have noticed on the playground that Sofie's articulation is much better than many of the taller kids.  We still need to work on the vocabulary.  When other parents of kids turning 4 in a couple months talk about what their kids say, Sofie isn't there yet.  Don't get me wrong - she has amazing vocabulary and sometimes I have NO IDEA where she finds the words she uses properly in context (not swear words; just normal every day words that seem pretty advanced for a 3 year old).

Her height was officially 40.7" (103.3 cm).  I don't remember how tall she was when we got her.  I think this summer, the height limit on on the kiddie roller coasters were 38 in and she just made it, but I could be misremembering.  Her weight is up to 33.7 pounds (15.3 kg) - 7 pounds increase since last year (almost a third of body weight - wow).

Her soft palate is looking super-duper.  We will have to wait awhile until the next surgery (5-6 years) if everything continues along this vein.  I wish we could fix it all now for her, but having the plan is really comforting.

Sofers has been vey snuggly lately, and she loves her mommy.  I love it.  I admit it.  I am a glutton for all the love that kid bestows on me.  I am soaking it up while she still worships me, because I know it will not always be like this.  In the morning, I am the first person she looks for and at night, she wants me to be the last person she sees.  I feel for the hubby because he loves her just as much or more than I do, and she hasn't been as snuggly with him.  But, I love it.  She comes home from school and wants to sit next to me & watch a movie or play.  She tells me I am her best friend.  I feel her love shining like a beacon, and it makes a happy thought in my life.  I wonder if this is how my mom felt about me when I was 3.  I wonder if this is how she feels about me today.  I wonder how I am going to let go?

At the moment, Sofie's favorite movie is "Monsters Inc" and she is wearing pigtails daily to look like "Boo".  When I imagined having a kid all those years ago, I wanted her to be just like Boo, and that is what I got.  Sofie is a carbon copy.  It is awesome.  And she has the same infectious laugh that makes you fall on the floor laughing too.  I love it.

Anyway, I thought I would send an update to all.  I hope your lives are doing great & that you have  joy, laughter & happiness every day.  Lots of love.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Time is flying by, and I don't have much to show for it. I spent a week in the hospital, and I had sinus surgery last Monday. I have been home for a week now, and things are still healing. I felt pretty good in Saturday and did some cleaning around the house. Yesterday, I felt awful and slept a lot of the day. Then, I couldn't sleep all night.  This morning came awfully quickly.

I am feeling more normal today.  It could be day 1 without pain pills.  I also polished off my last antibiotic this morning.  The taper with steroids will start in a day or two.  I am in the road to good health. I restarted my diet this morning. Espen went for a short walk outside with me for 20 minutes and I finished. That was pretty exciting. I probably went about a mile. I was thinking I could try to do 2 walks a day to get my blood moving.  It felt good to be outside and get a little sun on my face. It has been a long while since I was outside.

Sofie is doing really good. She is real happy I am back home. She has been mostly gentle with my face avoiding contact wherever she could bash me.  She is a really good, happy girl.  I love her sweetness (you know - when she isn't being naughty).  I can't believe how she is growing.  In a couple week s, I swear she grew 2 inches. None of her 3s are long enough and even the 4's are short.   We bought her a bigger pair of shoes a couple weeks ago, and I think she has just about grown out of those too.  Crazy.

So, things are moving slowly, but they are moving.  I am dreaming about gardening.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Good thoughts

I am headed to the hospital this afternoon.  They still have no idea what is wrong with me.  The doctor thinks the best thing for me is to be under 24x7 observation/medication, so I am going for it.  I don't know how Sofie will take it.  The hubby and I are both having a hard time with it to be honest.  After my awful experience at the hospital last week, I am hoping things will be better.  I hope she is fine.

Please think good thoughts for our family.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tough Saturday

I had a bronchoscopy a few days ago, and the doctor took me off my antibiotics/steroids in order to prepare for it.  He took samples of the gunk in my lungs and sent it to the labs for processing.  In the mean time, I am on sustaining asthma meds with no steroids & doing breathing treatments every 4 hours.  I can't breathe still, and it is hard.

The hubby has a bad tooth that he meant to get a root canal on last week but due to weather related problems had to delay.  He is in extreme pain, and his face is swollen.

We are a challenged duo, and I have no idea how we will survive a fast paced weekend with Sofie.  Oh, did I mention it is raining too?  LOL.

I am taking my breathing treatment now, while he watches her.  It is the first moment I have gotten off since 7:00.  I am tired. I am really ready for this lung disease to pass.  I can't wait to find out what it is and to eradicate it from my system.  I wonder if I will have to go to Phoenix to dry out my lungs?

I am sorry if I sound whiny today.  We have extenuating circumstances, and this has been going on since October 12.  Such a long time.

Sofie is doing really good overall.  She seems healthy and is growing like a weed.  She is past 42 inches and weighs about 33.5 pounds.  Her speech has improved so much, it is amazing.  The speech therapist is so pleased with her ability to make lots of sounds.  I think having me home has really helped her speech development.  LOL. I am not sure she understands everything yet.  We are really struggling with telling stories and having her follow along.  She does really well with books where you identify 1 word at a time.  I am working on things by telling stories in the evenings, and we let her watch the same television programs over and over again until she has every word down.  I only get a little mental by watching the same show 6 times in a row...

So, think good thoughts for us.  We are hanging by a thread.  If anyone wants to come over and babysit (and take Sofie to a rainy park), just give us a call.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back to work - Take 2

Some of you know that I have been really ill for awhile.  I was mostly out of the office from mid October through yesterday.  I did have a brief stint working part time in December, but then the doctor took me out again because he changed all my medications (5) and he didn't want me acting weird as my body adjusted.  It is a lung thing. I don't know when it will go away.  They don't know what it is.  They are going in and taking samples from my lungs on Thursday, and then it could take up to 10 weeks for results.  Yuck.

Anyway, at my last doctor's visit, he said, "are you bored? want to go back to work?" and I said sure.  I am not better, but at least I will have something to occupy my mind during the day.

I went back to work yesterday, and it kicked my butt.  I made sure I only worked my 8 hours (not 10-12 like "old me").  I had to do the drive back/forth (1 hour). I did breathing treatments in the office.  I came home, collapsed, and didn't spend any time with Sofie.  I just didn't have it in me.

Today, I woke up early, went early for my early meeting, and then had a breathing treatment in the office (hate it - we have windows in our offices, and there is no privacy). At about 11:30, I started having a full asthma attack, and my neighbor came into my office to see if I was going to die. He watched me do my inhalers and helped me packup my stuff to come home.  I was very self conscious about having him watch me do my inhaler.  What if he were grading my technique?  (Yes, I am a little crazy).

The good is that I have a full office in my house.  If I choose, I don't have to add the additional hour commute every day.  Also, I get to see Sofie in the morning.  Oh, and the office doesn't have to watch me take drugs every couple hours.

The bad is that Sofie has no idea why mommy can't play with her while she is in her meeting (and won't listen to me tell her that I can't do our morning routine).  We will see how it goes tomorrow.

Anyway, I am hoping I will get to keep working. It is good to be busy and do something useful. I hope I am getting enough oxygen to make good decisions (and that my personality isn't too affected by the meds).

Hopefully we can say goodbye to lung sickness soon.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Sofie is really testing her boundaries lately - especially with her dad.  She will be sunny most of the time and then her alter-ego comes into the house. Boom! Scream! Crash! Wail!  She screams for hours ... without tears ... She hits, she pinches, she head butts,  and she kicks.  Yikes!

Yesterday he spent an hour and a half trying to put her to bed.  This morning, he spent 45 minutes trying to take off her jammies.

She is only like that half as much of the time for me - but all it takes to bring out the alter ego is a look at her the wrong direction.  Or, I tell her something she knows she can't do.

I thought we had mostly passed out of the temper tantrum stage, but it seems like it is back.  It could be related to being home the last week and a half with us full time since school was closed (?).  She went back to school this morning so maybe things will return to normal now.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a happy new year.