Friday, August 30, 2013

Bonding with the Puppies

Ashton loves the pups.  And they love her... when she has food.  Here was our day today!
Could they be any more attentive?

I swear she loves the attention!


Even Peyton joined in.


What a ham!


Lau lau came over and bought her a pillow pet panda.  She loved it... but so did Arwen, Amadeus, and Skylar.  Ami laid on it first and Ashton got huffy about it and pulled it out from under him.  I told her no and to share.  Then Arwen laid on it and she went over and Arwen scurried away before she could get close.  But when Skylar got on, she paid her no heed.  I'd like to think our encouragement of sharing got through, but I think she just was more distracted at the time.


Is it safe for us to lay on it?


Ashton let Skylar lay on it.

Look how cute Arwen is on the pillow.

You think this pillow is yours, don't ya?
Regardless, my babies are adorable and I love seeing Ashton with them all.

As for Ami, he's still on his chemo and we'll have his first check up on Wednesday to see how things are progressing.  Image and video hosting by 

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

From LID to Now

This photo cracks me up, looks like she's giving a tour!
A year ago today was a big day for me.  One- because it was my company's 50th anniversary celebration, which I coordinated.  It was a success and I was very proud, but it was a long day.  Two- and more importantly because we were LID.  We had our lock in date.  I became paper pregnant and our official wait began.  I didn't know we were LID until September 1st, but the date of 8/29/12 was burned into my brain.  I knew I could be matched at any time after that.   I didn't know if it was a long or short wait.  I had no hint of any idea of a true time frame.  But I was ecstatic about getting through all the paperwork.

Now here we are!  I've got a beautiful baby who has been with us for over 4 months.  She's a delight!  
I love her profile.

It still doesn't sink in that I have a daughter, that life has changed.  I mean, it has... but it all went so well... the transition was painless!  It's like she was always here in spirit and then finally materialized.  It's so strange.  

I had no idea what I was in for, how hard or easy it'd be.  What she would be like.  Even when we were matched, I was still scared and clueless.  Now, it's no sweat.  She's just a joy... tiring - yes, but still a joy!  

I love her smile, her laugh, and her heart!  She's an amazing girl, beautiful inside and out and I still can't believe she's my family.  She's my little girl.  I'm so in awe of her.  
In the middle of showing us how she can jump!

It's so amazing the things she can do just under 2 years of age.  Just last night she was jumping all around her room.  Not jumping off the walls and jump after jump.  But during our Mommy & Me class,  we encouraged her to jump in place for the first time.  (Never thought about her jumping or not... and in the pool she more walks off than jumps into our arms.)  She did a couple of hesitant jumps in class.  Home a couple hours later, she remembered how to still jump.  She'd give me a devilish smile and jump.  I'd clap she'd run in my arms all proud and then back up, pause and jump again.  She barely makes it off the floor; and she doesn't crouch down (like they were trying to have us jump from in class - like a frog), but my girl jumped... all on her own.
She looks so thoughtful :)

Also, last night before bed, she started trying to balance on one foot.  During Mommy & Me she just watched.  I'd try to hold up one foot and she pulled up both feet instead and I was holding a monkey.  But then for some reason, everything clicked at home and she was doing her flamingo pose on one foot.  She had no balance and would fall over after a couple of seconds, but I was so proud of her.  Maybe she didn't pick it up in class, but she remembered and alone with me, she showed me what she learned.  I was elated!  I never knew that the class made such an impression on her!  I so need to sign her up now, some how some way.

Today we celebrated L.I.D. "sorta" by giving Ashton her first bubble bath.  She loved it.  She loved how slippery she was.  She thought it was a hoot!  She kept making faces during her bubble bath.  It was so much fun to see her enjoy the simple things so much!

This whole week has been a change, last week she was going to bed "early".  We'd rock her and then she'd point to her bed we'd put her in, she'd say "bye" and we'd leave the room.  Usually we'd have to rock her until she's out.  But this new change, we didn't know if we liked it or not.  Was she growing up?  This week we rock her FOREVER and she seems asleep but the moment we move she's up and crying, not wanting to go to bed.  So, every night is a long time rocking and her not truly asleep and us leaving with her wailing until she sleeps from being exhausted from crying.  I suppose it's normal not to have a normal sleep schedule and it ever changing, but it does take a toll the inconsistency of it all.  But if that's our biggest problem, we're doing just fine. :)

I'm looking forward to a long holiday weekend with my little pirate!
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mommy & Me Dance Class

Today I found out about Mommy & Me classes.  Introduction dance for 18 months to 2 1/2 years of age.  They learn dance movement and motor skills.

I've been waiting forever to know when she could start dance, thinking she had to be older.  Never knew there was anything like this out there.  I was excited!  But I didn't know how she would take it.  

Every Mommy & Me classes I was finding were between the hours of 9-10 in the morning.  Not all of us who wants to partake in Mommy & Me classes are stay at home moms.  

I finally found one that started at 5:30 and it was on Wednesdays - today, so I'd have to boogy to get there on time!  They allowed to pay for a trial one time visit.  So I thought, why not?

I couldn't wait for the day to end.  I was so eager for her to do the movement class.  She loves music and she can't sit still so this should be a shoe in, right?

We arrived and had to wait in the front lobby waiting area.  A waiting area for a toddler... yuck!  She was pretty good as I brought her snacks and drink, but she wouldn't remain still.  

Then we went back to a studio.  And we began sitting cross-legged and did butterflies with our legs.  I had to assist her, but she did pretty well.  We did animals, from cat to frog, to bird and snake.  Ashton was really good with the snake (crawling was no problem for her) and the frog (she didn't squat then jump, but she'd jump) and looked up trying to find the bird.  We ran back and forth a lot... she didn't gallop or do marching, but she ran like a pro.  She smiled a lot and had fun picking out a colored bean bag for the bean bag dance.  She didn't put it on head or foot or any of the other instructions; but she did manage to put it on her elbow when told.  It was amazing how sweaty I got chasing after her and trying to get her to do the movements.  They also gave us wands with ribbons to wave around.  She kept getting tangled in hers and stepping on it.  She wanted to use it like a pencil and draw on the ground.  But she had fun none the less.

I really wanted to take photos of her during class doing all the things she did, but i was too busy participating with her.  That's why they must call it Mommy & Me. :)

It was fun and I think she really liked it.  But it's still a bit pricey and far to drive.  I'm hoping I can find one closer to home and still after work.  We shall see.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Little Audrey

I don't know why, but he in these glasses makes me think of Audrey Hepburn.  I just need her in black leggings and top or a little black dress... But I love her expressions!  She's being so animated and letting you know whether she likes what's happening or not. I don't know what she was looking at, but she looks great in a pair of shades.





She's also learning to spin... learning being a loose word :)


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Saturday, August 24, 2013

DTC a Year Ago

Hard to imagine a year ago today we were just DTC.  Now we have a daughter!  I never imagined we would have been matched last year.  I thought my present we'd be lucky to be matched.  It's crazy to think.

Yesterday our girl turned 22 months old.  We're just 2 months away from her 2nd birthday!  I have so many cute things planned.  I hope it all pans out well.

Yesterday was also teacher-parent night.  We learned she doesn't sit well in class... yeah we can't get her to sit still here either.  We also learned she loves taking her shoes off and on and taking other kids shoes.  Yep, she does that here too.  They wanted us to tell them how to help with these situations, and I was hoping they could tell me.  But she's doing fine.

As for what Ashton is up to... She loves swimming... even if it means diving into the carpet.


She loves to chatter on the phone... anyone's phone.  She even uses our calculator as a phone!

And she loves to go up... but as you can see, her Daddy wants her to push him up instead.


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Flipside

I am so grateful for fresh, new days.  It helps scrub out the hard ones.  You appreciate the good moments better.

Well, yesterday was my husband's birthday and I took him out to a surprise dinner.  My mom babysat Ashton.  It was so heartbreaking as she didn't want us to leave and keep saying our names begging to hold her.

But when we got into the car, I told him where to drive.  He had no idea where he was going... if it was a movie, a comedy club... I directed him to a lovely restaurant where we ate on the terrace next to a water fountain.

This was our third date night, going out without Ashton.  Our first was over a month ago for our anniversary.  Then one night was for an after work get together.  Now was for my husband's birthday.

It was funny, we sit down and what he wants to talk about is our little girl.  We managed to try not monopolizing our conversation about our daughter.  We talked about our favorite trips, moments, food and where we want to go in the future, with or without our girl.

Then we rented a movie and went home.  Upon coming home my mom was rocking our girl to sleep.  But she heard us come home and was eager to see us.  We all hugged and she had the biggest grin on her face.  She kept my mom busy with going up and down stairs together, going outside, and taking a bath.

I rocked her to sleep.  She was so cute!  She was so happy to be with me and went straight to sleep.  So unlike the night before.  And she needed her beauty sleep... because today was picture day at the daycare.  

I was surprised that they did class portraits so early, but we'll see how they came out.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not an Easy Day

Yesterday was a crazy day.

First, yesterday Amadeus went to a internal medicine doctor who could help tell us the plans for treating this cancer.  There were 3 ladies in the exam room making over my baby.  They wanted to get some blood tests to see what had changed since his operation, as far as white blood count and so forth, so see progression or change of medication.

We should get those results late today or tomorrow.  From there they'll prescribe a chemotherapy tablet.

I asked what his best case scenario is, and she predicted 3 years.  I was shocked, I thought she'd saya  full life if he was in remission.  But 3 years?!?  He's just a baby.  He's only 5 years old and could live another 10-15 easily... if it weren't for this cancer!!

I'm really hoping she's wrong and that he will live a long and happy life.

What she did say was that was the average and of course not written in stone.  But he'll be on medicine for the rest of his life.  We won't know if it's working or not until we treat him for a month and then take a blood test.  Then we'll go from there.

Worst case is a few months, but we're optimistic that this isn't likely since he has small cell lymphoma and it's a slow growing cancer.

So now I wait to hear from them about his blood draw and then his prescription.  This chemotherapy won't have him loosing any fur, but it can cause bone marrow thinning and liver failure!  Oh boy!

But again, my baby is young and strong... and that is the thing our specialist said, that all animals that have the small cell lymphoma aren't in pain, and act normally, just have the growths.  I'm glad he's not hurting or that the future for him looks pain free so far.  I just pray that he will be in remission very soon and live a long, long life.

After his visit we brought him home and then picked up Ashton.  We then had to go to a viewing of a friend from our theater group who died after a battle with cancer.  He never got to meet Ashton.

It was nice to see friendly faces, but Ashton was getting a bit tired of not running about, so we left after a bit. 

Then we got Ashton home and had the hardest time getting her to bed.  We thought she was just stir crazy for having been held for so long at the viewing.  So after a lot of rocking she finally got to bed.  But I felt uneasy about it.  She was breathing funny.

Like she was trying to poop in-between breaths.  It wasn't loud or any grunting, but it was there.  I noticed she was off.

An hour later she was wailing.  We could tell she was in pain.  It had to be gas or constipation.  We gave her gas drops and apple juice.  After another hour she finally went to sleep.

She was all smiles this morning.

But yesterday was, just in general, a hard day!
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pre-Birthday Celebrations

Last night my mother took our family out to dinner for my husband's birthday, which is Tuesday.  Ashton was in a really good mood.  She was enjoying eating and listening to the music, as you can tell.




We stopped by Mendard's on the way home and Ashton got to ride in the truck cart.  It was fund for her most of the time, then she wanted to push it like she usually does.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Arming for Battle

He sticks his tongue out when he concentrates.
On Wednesday I picked up my Ashton from daycare.  When I got home I was feeding Ashton and my husband got home shortly thereafter.  Then my mother walked in the door.  My mom lives across town, but she pops in a lot so didn't think much of it.  But then she came to my side and my husband came to my other and said "We have to talk about Amadeus' results."

I immediately crumbled to the floor.  I knew what he was going to tell me; he didn't even tell me and I knew... cancer.


His stitches should come out next week, but you can see the size of his lymph nodes.

I was shocked.  I wasn't expecting cancer.  When we had him tested a year ago, cancer didn't come up in the results.  So I was sure it was just an infection from his teeth cleaning last year.  But nope.  It was just a coincidence.

Mom came to watch Ashton while he went to tell me the news about my sweet baby boy, my little chihuahua.  He has lymphoma.  It's going to cost us a lot to get the care he needs, but we don't know what that is yet.  So we're going to a specialist on Monday.

Anyhow, Ashton was really sweet and came up and gave me a hug for the first time without me asking for one.  She saw me crying and wanted to make me feel better.  Not how I pictured her first hug of her own, but very touching none the less.

So how I've sorted this out in my head is, Ami can go into remission.  He wasn't given a death sentence.  We've battled cancer before.  And we're more prepared how to cope and fight it.  Ami is very young and strong.  He's got a great chance, and we're not going to spare any expense to saving his life.

I have to pray that God has it under control and will provide the things he needs to get better.  It's going to be a long time until Monday is here.  I can't wait for answers rather than just this waiting.  Monday can't come soon enough.
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sneak Peak

We won't get the photos to our Red Thread Session for about 4 weeks.  And we're fine waiting.  After waiting for Ashton, waiting a mere month for photos is nothing.

However, we did get a sneak peak of what will be waiting for us.



Here is Ashton running in my mother-in-law's knitted hat and sweater.  Kay knew only a month that we were adopting a little girl from China.  She died 5 months before our referral.  A couple weeks after she passed we found a drawer she started for Ashton.  Inside was this hat and sweater set she made just for her.  We thought how amazing and sweet to find something she did just for her.  I worried it would be too small for our girl (ha ha), but knew we would always treasure it.  Ended up being to big in the beginning, we had to roll up the sleeves, but is now fitting her perfectly.

We knew we had to take it to the photo shoot.  Luckily, it was only 73 degrees out, so it wasn't too hot to wear for photos.  Thank you, Denise, for capturing this moment!

She looks angelic, and I know Kay is running right beside her!
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Leading Up to the Big Day

Everyone knows that when you try to plan for anything, nothing goes as planned.  You are guaranteed hiccups.  

Well, a fellow China adoptee blogger was facebooking about her Red Thread Session... in which I learned about a great organization that takes photographers from all over the nation that donate time and services to newly adoptee families to capture their new forever family in photography, called Red Thread Sessions.  And of course with my blog called "The Journey Along the Invisible Red Thread" and how much that Red Thread proverb means to me and the idea... it felt like a match made in Heaven.

I spoke to a couple photographers.  I was going with one then something came up - it fell through; and we found another photographer.  This photographer was great.  We emailed back and forth for a couple months, our schedules and lives not ever being able to schedule a date.  Finally, we were able to mark a date.

Of course leading up to that date (yesterday)... sigh!!

We were going to have our pups and Ashton in the photos.  I was so excited to have all 5 dogs in the photos with us.  Unfortunately, we can't add cats (they're indoor) but we're used to that.  However, Amadeus had surgery last week and it didn't even occur to me until the day after his surgery that I couldn't take him with these BIG stitches in his throat.  And if he can't go to the shoot, none of the dogs should.  So they were out much to my dismay.

I was really bummed about that, but thought, the session would go easier this way, less to worry about.

I felt Ashton's bangs were getting too long just begininng to get into her eyes... but I loved the wispy look it gave and didn't want her to have a blunt cut.  I also wanted her back to not start a mullet, so I took her get her haircut the day before the photo shoot.

Disaster.  Her bangs are uneven and her hair is much, much shorter, everywhere.... it wasn't what I wanted at all.  If it were just a cut, and no photos... I wouldn't care, hair grows, but I was working towards a goal, and I felt I butchered it.  




Her hair went from being cute to boyish.  I was really upset for a time, kicking myself for trying.  But she's still beautiful and at least she wasn't scratched in the face again!

The day of the shoot... guess what!?!  Yup, she scratched her own face!  If I kept her in a bubble she would have still scratched her face.  But it wasn't too bad and I know Photoshop is better than any concealer.  At this point it was just funny.  And it really wasn't too bad.  She's had, much, much worse!




Then my husband comes home and we're about to leave.  He starts to shave and his shaver brakes.  It didn't just loose a charge, it won't charge, it won't start... it died!  So he has to shave with my leg razor!

We started wondering if we were getting "signs" not to go!  But we went anyway! And I'm so glad we did.
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ashton Bonding with the Pups

Just some cute pics with Ashton and the pups.

With Dawson

Wishing to walk Dawson

Begging with the pups, Ami has his eye on it.

Wanting to sit with Arwen

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Friday, August 9, 2013

The Night After Surgery

My poor Amadeus.  Yesterday he was in surgery for his swollen lymph nodes.  The vet expected to find swollen tonsils too, thinking the infection came from doing his teeth a year ago.  We've been fighting this infection with medication since then and are finally stepping it up to surgery. 

When the vet opened him up, he found swollen lymph nodes wrapped around his veins.  He was able to get out two sections worth, but not more in fear of giving Ami nerve damage.

He was so pitiful.  It was hard to look at my baby.  When he came home, he had 2 bandages around his legs, his neck shaved and his swollen lymph node on his right side, was bigger from surgery then topped off with big black stitches!   He looked like a little Frankenstein.



When he came home he was drugged, of course, but still whimpered as he couldn't get comfortable   I laid with him all night for company and petted him off and on.  He kept snuggling up to me.  He also whimpered if Arwen left his side, so we kept her with him alone on the bed with me keeping an eye/ear during the night in case he started to hurt or if she wanted to play.  But all was good.

Ashton was wonderful too.  She knew he wasn't feeling well, we told her he was sick, but wasn't sure she understood.  She was really gentle and petted him lightly.  We then took her out and my husband watched Ashton downstairs as I did with Ami upstairs.

It will be a few days until we get the results of the biopsy to know what kind of infection he has and how to fight it.  Right now I just want him to heal as quickly as possible, because I know he is confused and in pain.

I just wonder how long he'll have to be separated from the pack. I don't want to leave his side, but I don't want to miss out on my little girl's time either.  But right now Ami needs me and Ashton is very happy having Daddy all to herself.
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

4 Month Gotcha Day Anniversary

Today is our 4 month anniversary of having Ashton with her forever family!  She fit in so well since day one!  I was ready for her to be difficult and unattached, but she never cried when she came to us.  It was the perfect Gotcha Day.  She just absorbed us in and has "gone with the flow" ever since.  I really think her orphanage prepared her for us.  She seemed very familiar with the book of her family we sent her.  And here we are now!


Oozing with personality already!
Her hair has grown so much since, she was 13 pounds and is now over 17.  She's grown several inches, but is still in 3 month clothing.  But who cares, that means she's getting her money's worth out of them!  

She still loves her feet played with, she still loves to move and she still loves to eat.  But now she loves animals, babbles up a storm, and loves to be silly.  The girl has so many faces, from shy and sweet to tongue out and scrunchy face.  She has done her famous scrunchy face since day one... we love it!  We tell her "Do scrunchy face" and she does on cue and we all laugh and she laughs too.
(Scrunchy face video here... I can't get it to upload now)

I need to get an updated scrunchy face video.

Anyhow I have a video posted of us playing with her feet on Gotcha Day, but not of the actual Gotcha moment.  Yes, I have it on video, but I want to edit it and add music and stuff... and as I don't have an iPad, I don't have iVideo so I don't know what I can use that is as versatile for what I want.  But we'll see.

As for now we've been busy with her and healing from our sunburns.  That alone is enough to stay exhausted.  But she's as entertaining and loveable as ever!
Playing "embarrassed" with the camera.

Today Amadeus got stopped off to the vet for his surgery! They'll remove at least 1 lymph node and test it to see why it's not going down and what meds he will need to take to stop the infection.  My poor baby!  I hope he will be okay.  So of course I'm anxious today until I hear he's doing well.  Even though we have Ashton in our lives, our furbabies are just that, our babies!  And Ashton babies Ami too!  It's so sweet.  She loves to give them hugs, kisses, throw them food, and pet them.  Anytime she sees a dog she gets super excited and it makes us so proud that we have an animal loving daughter!

I hope that she will be extra gentle with Ami tonight.  If not we'll have to separate the two, but she really has an affinity for him.

I hope today passes by quickly so I can be with Ami and take care of him.  He's battled this infection way too long.  I just want him better!
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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

More than the Cute, Little Princess

Now and then I post articles that either tug at my heart or I think is important to adoption or may be relevant to my daughter.  This is one of those times.  

Now everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I love diversity, that's what makes this world a beautiful place.  As far as the kind of Mom I am, I really down play telling my girl she is beautiful, she is cute, she is a princess... everyday when I take her to daycare I hear the titles for her "princess" and "cute" and "tiny" and everyone wants to paw over her.  She's going to get this in life, I know, but I'm doing my best to cut out as much as I can.

Why, you may ask?

I want my girl to have brains and focus on her inner qualities and not just trying to be pretty or feel like the only attention she gets is because she is "so stinkin' cute".  I want her self worth to come from inside.  That's why I call her "my little pirate" or "Thumper" or "rabbit".  

I think my daughter is beautiful, don't get me wrong, but I don't tell her how cute she looks in her outfit, or that she looks like a princess... I just ask for hugs and kisses.  I ask about what she is doing.

I don't want my girl labeled as just a pretty girl, small girl, princess, whatever... I want her valued for her inner strength, her ease of life, her love of dogs, her determination to do what she wants...  She will have so many hardships with being labeled "adopted", being in a "multicultural family", for being "small", for being "cute", for being "different".

Now don't get me wrong, none of those are bad connotations.  When I was a little girl I wanted to be called "beautiful" and "princess" and "cute" too.  But it's all superficial and tends to have children want to fit in more and maybe dress provocatively for attention or dumb down knowing they just have to be cute... I don't want that for my girl.  I want a strong, independent mind that doesn't care if she is in a dress or in jeans, but just wants to be in the moment around her, not worrying if she is looking this way or that or how to get the attention (flattery) she used to get when...

There is this excerpt from "Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World" by Lisa Bloom.  I don't think I'm allowed to reprint it here on my blog without permission.  But it is a VERY GOOD article and expresses way better than I what I'm meaning.

Now I know we need a good balance of being our inner princess and being a feminist.  I'm not saying she can't be a princess or that she can't ever be told she's so cute.  I just don't want that to be the ONLY things told to her over and over... which I do hear all the time.  So, I'm trying to balance that out best I can to give her a balanced look at life.

http://latinafatale.com/2011/07/21/how-to-talk-to-little-girls/

I'm very proud of my little girl; and I do tell her what a good girl she is and how much she's loved.  I do my best to encourage and praise all the smart things she does and laugh with the silly and strange.  But I never call her princess; and I don't only tell her how beautiful she is.  My girl is way more than that.  And I hope my friends and family will do the same.
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Discovering the Light Switch

What is funny is there are thing around all the time, but become a fascination once Asthon notices it for the first time.  

Ashton love light switches.  She wants to turn on or off any light, open, close the garage door button, pull the fan chord... it's a delight.

Well, we have a floor lamp and the control is on the floor and we use our feet to turn it on.  The lamp is in the corner of the room and behind the side of the couch... that little "cove" is where all the dog toys are.

Ashton has never bothered their toys or really gone to that corner.  She was sitting on the couch last night and I took my foot and turned on the lamp.  I guess she never noticed before, but she certainly did then!  She was exclaiming, "Mama!  Mama!"  over and over!  She was just thrilled at the thought of a foot light switch within her reach... but it wasn't as she was on the couch.  The wheels were turning...


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