Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shadow Bait

I read a photography tip once for photographing your children with your pets. Put a dab of peanut butter behind your toddler's ear so the dog will lick your toddler, inducing a Kodak-moment giggle. Friends, I ask this simple question: what toddler doesn't already have a dab of something crusty, crunchy, sweet, sticky, or otherwise yummy to any self-respecting golden retriever stuck to himself somewhere, likely in multiple places??? It's to the point that before I put Owen down in the Exersaucer, I have to be sure he smells, um, unappetizing. Wipe him down, face and hands...even lotion and sweat is reason for licking, as far as Shadow is concerned. Poor Owen, here he is in the Exersaucer after we had gone to the Olive Garden...probably has garlic oozing from his pores. He's going to smell like a fragrant, fresh-from-the-oven breadstick for at least the next 24 hours. On that note, he did enjoy his first sampling of the fettucine alfredo, although we mostly stuck to the mashed banana we brought, breadstick, and Gerber puffs. Sorry buddy, it'll be a little while before you get that yummy salad. (Photo credit for this one goes to Emma...she was right there down on his level, snapping away. She loves to take pictures!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Emma's Missing Something

Yep, she's lost her first tooth! I was holding a sleeping Owen, Jeff was watching some little golf game on TV (oh that's right, the US Open?), Sophie was on the computer, and Emma was watching the movie "Spirit". She came quietly upstairs to show me a bit of blood on her fingertip, and then pulled back her lip to show that the tooth that has gotten wobblier and wobblier over the last month had now come out and in its place was a bloody hole! This was a moment! And everyone was busy! I asked her where her tooth was, and she said it was on the coffee table. I made as big a deal as I could while not waking Owen, and then I told her to go tell Daddy, who also celebrated with her, but I was thinking that tooth was going to disappear somehow before we could save it. When I finally made it downstairs, the first thing I did was ask Emma where her tooth was, and she said, "Sophie put it in a bag for me." Sure enough, there it was on the counter, in The Baggie, properly written on in Sharpie with the date, and identified as the all-important First Tooth. I don't know if I was more thrilled for Emma reaching that milestone, or proud of Sophie for taking care of her sister in this way. I told Sophie this later, and she just shrugged and said, "That's what you always did for me." Awww. I just love this girl. And now, this moment of Exersaucer-enabled blogging has come to an end. :) Owen needs Mommy.

*** morning, she comes in to show me what the tooth fairy left...and then pulls down her lip and asks, "Mommy, is there any more tooths that is gonna come out soon?"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How I Love This Face

Just took these today. For my friends at Trinity Elementary, home of the Tigers, notice the bib..."I'm a little Tiger." And in blue and orange! Couldn't resist! Owen has switched over to our time zone, I think, almost. At least no more play dates with Mommy and Daddy from around 2-4 a.m. He saw our pediatrician today for the first time and things look good. He also will see the plastic surgeon on the 29th of June for a first visit about his palate repair surgery. We are so thankful we were able to get in earlier than we'd first thought--hoping to have this done and him well on the road to healing before school starts. I dread it and yet I know it will be wonderful for him to have it done. I am honestly amazed at how wonderful his lip repair looks. I am forever indebted to those sweet nannies who painstakingly fed him with his cleft lip, and then cared for him after his breaks my heart to think of him going through that without me and yet I know that they loved him and took good care of him. I follow the line of his upper lip with my eyes as I hold him in my lap and I am just in awe of what can be done for these children, and that it was done for this child, in an orphanage, at only three and a half months old. China did not make money on him. I can't see how they would have broken even when you consider his care, and especially his surgery--I am so grateful to the orphanage of Chenzhou for caring for my sweet, happy son.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cutting to the chase

My little shopper is all shopped out. As I've gotten over the jet lag the past few days, we've been to Target a couple of times, and of course Kroger. Owen loves to ride in the cart. We've been to Wal-Mart this morning, something that exhausts me too, so while he's recovering I have a minute to post some pictures from Gotcha Day with our prize find in China...Chen Li Wen...our little guy.

When we flew into Changsha, the capital city of Hunan Province, we were taken to the Grand Sun Hotel before we went to the Adoption Center to meet Owen. This hotel room had a crib in it...AHHHH!!! It really is going to happen!!!

This was one of the two nannies who came down from Chenzhou with Owen. It is a four-hour trip. This was our first glimpse of Owen. He was peacefully sitting there with his nannies in this little outfit that said "Happy Baby" on true! Only when he's hungry does he complain.

Somebody pinch me! The nannies were very kind. They had several things to give us. One was something I'll have to show in another post...a package with the clothes Owen was wearing when he was found. Breaks my heart. What a treasure to have for him. He was loved, I know this. They also gave us a small gift bag with a map of the city of Chenzhou, marked with the location of the orphanage, a business card of the orphanage director--they indicated he would very much like to have updates on how Owen is doing--pictures, etc., and a little stamp ("chop") engraved with Owen's Chinese name, hanging on a red braided cord. Virtually everyone in China has one of these that is their unique stamp used to sign official documents, etc., and it is stamped with red ink. That was one thing I wanted to be sure I got for Owen while we were in China, and here it was given to him from his orphanage...what a treasure to receive! We felt he was very well cared for and loved while he was in Chenzhou, and have heard good things about this orphanage before from a friend whose baby was there and traveled with us when we went to bring home Emma. I'm so thankful for all the blessings along the way to our boy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No place like it...

HOME. I am sitting at my computer for the first time since arriving about 36 hours or so ago. Very tired and jet-lagged still, but feeling so blessed. There's a little boy sleeping upstairs (and a big one, too). Two girls playing in the bonus room, one who woke up at 6:00 a.m., one who woke up after noon some time. We are all out of sync, luggage just inside the front door, counter strewn with clutter accessed just as we've needed things because who has time to do any decluttering yet? We are still in post-travel survival mode. But all these things will get done. We made it. There is a list of prayer requests on my sidebar...and just having taken a peek at them, every one of them was answered, plus a whole slew of them that never made the list. *** Thank you, friends and family, for lifting us up. Thank you, God, for answering the tiniest of human requests, like when I was at my limit upon arrival and I just asked, please, I need two things, very soon: 1) to see someone from America World, and 2) to find a bottle of water I can drink. Both happened in less than 5 minutes, after an endless day of travel. Yes, I'm thankful. Yawn...the boys are still asleep, but not for long, I'm sure. Enjoy the pictures...more to come.

Moved my requests here:

***Safety--all the way!

Health--for us and for Owen coming out of the orphanage and being exposed to all the new environments and germs.

A smooth process--there are so many things to accomplish on this trip...appointments, paperwork, flights, etc.--may it all be as glitch-free as possible.

Bonding with Owen--that he will feel the love we have for him and that his little heart will somehow sense that he is safe and secure with us, even though his whole world, scenery, sensory input--everything--has changed dramatically.

Peace--that fear or worry would not gnaw at us (ok, ME) for any reasons. :)

That our girls (especially Emma) would know that adding Owen to the family does not in any way diminish our love for them, and that this trip would be a wonderful learning experience for them. Also that Emma would gain a sense of the incredible country she comes from, and delight in seeing "all those Chinese people" (what she said she was most interested in seeing on our trip! Um, time to step up the cultural education, Ann.)

Thank you!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Be still my heart...

He said "Mama". He has a good teacher, of course, who knows the value of lots of review. :) Yep, and this morning when those big brown eyes were maybe two inches from mine and he said those two syllables, we all heard it unmistakably. Then again several times again throughout the morning. He has been sort of warming up to it the last few days, but he hit a home run straight into Mommy's heart today. Then Sophie laid down on the bed with him and he cuddled up with her, burrowing his head into her chest...such a little loving baby! He fell asleep cuddled next to me just now on the bed..his life is good. Mine is too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Owen in shorthand

Still on the iPhone so I will be brief as this is tedious. Owen weighs 19.5 pounds, 29 inches long, is wearing 12 month clothes but 18 are working fine. He does not know how to feed himself...I think his cleft palate required special attention and he just waited until they fed him the softer stuff by spoon. I sat with him on the floor for a good hour yesterday with bits of Ritz cracker and he figured out how to put it in his mouth pretty well. Amazing how quick he could learn this simple thing...seems like he should have been able to do this before. He is eating most everything as long as it is soft. He can sit up, pull up to a stand, sort of scoot/crawl but not really crawl--it won't be long. He wakes up with a smile and even his fussing isn't very fussy. Just very sweet. We go shopping on Shamian Island this afternoon and our US Consulate appointment is tomorrow. We are home in Nashville around 5:30pm on Thursday, June 11. I will kiss the ground when I walk in my front door. I love China but I am a homebody and it is hard making bottles in a hotel room when you can't drink the water or wash clothes, dishes, etc.

Gotta go love on my girls...


We're Here: Owen is Great!

We are in China ending our first week as parents of three kids, the newest one being a cute little guy we have all fallen in love with. We are so sorry that we haven't been able to Bly as planned. I am going to have all summer to catch up on photos. China has blocked both of the blog sites I use, and we are doing this now from Jeff's iPhone. We will see if we can get pictures to work next; may send them to a blogger friend in the US who will post for us. The short story is this--we are blessed, God is good as always, and Owen is more precious than we could have imagined. More (much) more when I can really type!