Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bedroom Transformation

We have finished the bedroom that Kim and Rose will share!  I love the end result.  Kim loves it too!  And I think Rose will love it as well!

Here is a picture of the room before--Kim and I were already starting to sort the keep, give-away, trash boxes--the girl is a pack rat treasure collector!

My parents came and helped paint.  They also purchased the new bedding, lamps, and shelves, as a "welcome home" gift for Rose.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  You're the best!

Ta-da!  Here is the after picture!

The bottom half of the bunk was previously being used in our guest room.  The duvet covers are from Ikea:

A new coat of paint for the desk:

A little reading corner--the chair was only 20 bucks and is surprisingly sturdy:

And new reading lamps and cute little shelves (also from Ikea) for holding books, glasses, retainers, lip balm, etc!

It makes it seem so real that Rose is coming home! 

Every time I walk by the room I smile and think of her--here.

Only 17 days until we leave!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Doctor Is In

When I was little I dreamed of becoming a doctor.  Marcus Welby MD was my hero! 

I also wanted ten kids. 

At some point, I realized the two didn't go along so well together, especially when you throw in the idea of being a stay-at-home mom. 

Well, I almost have the ten kids (give me some time, I'm sure I can talk the old fart into it it'll happen!).  And, in my own mind I'm also a very good doctor.  I often joke that my favorite pediatrician is Dr. CrazyForKids--Dr. Myself. 

I don't use medication unless truly necessary--perhaps buying in bulk isn't such a good idea for me--I realized today the ibuprofen we've been using expired in 2006-oops!

But I do really appreciate the wonders of antibiotics when necessary.  I feel blessed to live in a country that has excellent medical care, and doubly blessed to have medical insurance.

Dr. CrazyForKids says this:  When a child has a flu/chest cold, and then the flu/chest cold goes away, that's good. 

BUT if that flu/cold comes back, either as a chest cold or ear/sinus infection, WITH a fever, it's not good. 

Vu has the NOT GOOD kind.  Poor guy has pneumonia.

As I was tucking him into his homemade steam tent tonight I thought I'd share pics in case anyone out there has a wee one who is sick.

A tent can easily be made by hanging sheets/blankets around a bottom bunk.  I've also used a child's play tent or even hung a sheet over a card table. 

I put the vaporizer up on a storage box.  Vick's Vapor Rub on the chest and on the bottoms of the feet, then cover feet with socks (tried and true from my grandmother). 

Poor little guy. 

Patrick also has an ear infection and Hubby's down with a bad cold.  I told everyone to get it out of their systems because we leave in 2 1/2 weeks!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Legendary Mattress Sliding

In case you're new to our blog--the history of Mattress Sliding, created by Joe, who now smiles down from heaven, especially when he sees his siblings enjoying his fantastic invention:

Legendary Mattress Sliding

Mattress Sliding was invented by Joe, who was the world's best babysitter (at least, according to the children). The kids were always excited when mom and dad were leaving because it meant Joe would make "Orange Julius" milkshakes and let them watch lots of mom-disapproved-cartoons.  Joe would have wild wrestling matches, piggy back rides, then make Will mix up a batch of cookie dough so they could eat it straight out of the bowl--raw.

Eventually, I knew all of this. 

What I didn't know, at least for the LONGEST time, was that he also let the kids do his new invention of Mattress Sliding.

Yes, the name describes the activity. Mattresses are taken off the beds for sliding--down the stairs.

IMHO this is not the safest way to allow children to play! Especially when the parents are not home!  And I put the stops on it once I found out HOWEVER, it remains the ultimate family adventure on certain occasions and since Joe invented it . . . it's hard to argue against.

Two twin mattresses line the stairs, while a crib mattress and plenty of comforters pad the landing--hopefully keeping arms and legs from breaking!

It's crazy!  It's fun!  It's Mattress Sliding!

And now, pictures from the most recent event, which included the addition of a sleeping bag:

It's Crazy!  It's Fun!  It's Mattress Sliding!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Truly Unique American Gift

I have a few boxes of these stashed in our luggage. 

I love having unique American gifts and Girl Scout Cookies are perfect!  We are also bringing a Pendleton Wool blanket for our daughter's foster family--we wanted something nice that will last--tho we can never truly thank them for the years they have raised our daughter. 

While gifts are not required, we enjoy keeping with the tradition of bringing a small gift for adoption officials. 

I'm still wondering what else to bring and I'm open to suggestions!

Especially considering the fact that my cookies might be all gone by the time we travel!

I owe the Girl Scouts quite a bundle for the boxes I've ordered, so I guess I will have to re-read my own advice from 2009: Letter to the Girl Scouts and do the Do-Si-Do.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Have Passports. Will Travel.

Look what we have!

A big sigh of relief to have all our passports, with the necessary Chinese and Vietnamese visas, safely back in our hands.

I want to give a big shout-out to our awesome courier! 

The Paper Midwife --run by an adoptive mama!  Jill provides excellent customer service for a reasonable price.  We also used her to authenticate our dossier and I highly recommend her services!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Shouldn't Include A Shop Vac

I certainly know how to romance my husband!  I bet you can't wait to find out how I romanced him with a shop vac!  You pervs! 

So, I'll tell you.  It all started Valentine's morning.  I set the mood by coming down with a bad case of pink eye.  Nothing like a swollen, red, goopy eye to romance a man!

Hubby came through much better than me with his dinner-plate sized Valentine's cookies that he makes every year for me and for each child.  And yes, this year he made one for Rose too, which is now safely stashed away in the freezer, waiting for her when she comes home. 

He gave me this funny card and tons of chocolate.  My sweet Honey!

So, the pressure was on for me to come through with a romantic evening!  Luckily, my eye was feeling better!

I made our traditional red-foods Valentine's Day dinner.  Spaghetti with red sauce, red apples, red jello, and yummy, red-pink, homemade bread.  Delicious! 

Then, I put all the kids to bed--early.  Patrick even went to bed extra early because he said he was so tired!  He is often the last one to fall asleep, so this was truly a miracle.  A sure sign that cupid was working overtime with the help of the sandman--romantic evening was lookin' good!

With all the kids tucked in, Hubby and I cuddled up on the couch, ready to watch the movie The Notebook.  Romance was lookin' very good!

Just as hubby pops in the DVD I hear crying upstairs.  I think it must be Vu having a nightmare.

So I go upstairs to guide him back to bed and part way up the stairs I smell the most HORRID smell in the world.  HORRID!  BEYOND HORRID!!!! 

And then, I see that Vu is still sleeping, but Patrick is up.  And Patrick is sick.

Remember all those RED foods we had for our Valentine's feast?  They are now nicely displayed blender-style RED on the white carpet in his bedroom.  Definitely NOT romantic!

Oh, but it gets better.  Poor Patrick has other . . .  ummmm . . . gastro-intestinal . . . issues.  And those issues are now also all over the carpet.  Definitely, definitely NOT romantic!

I really cannot describe the war-zone I witnessed, but let me just say this.  In my 28 years as a parent, this mess takes the cake--or should I say the toilet?  Bad, bad, bad!  Beyond bad.  REALLY bad.

And I think I said this once, but I have to say it again.  We have white carpet.  White.

I won't go into ALL the details, but let's just say that after showers, loads of laundry, and multiple rounds of the carpet cleaner there was still more work to be done.  At one point we gave up on the carpet cleaner and pulled out the shop vac.  It will forever now be known as the poop vac.  Definitely, definitely, definitely NOT romantic.  And for the record, it was equal-opportunity trauma. Hubby did not get to play the part of the husband on the Valentine's Day card above. 

The Notebook was forgotten.  Patrick and I ended up sleeping downstairs on the couch (where only hardwood floors exist) while Hubby slept upstairs, trying to recover from his psychological damage with the shop vac. 

As for the tradition of red foods on Valentine's Day?  I'm not sure that tradition will endure.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dreaming in Chinese

I haven't yet had a dream of the day we meet Rose.

But I have been dreaming in Chinese.  I think all those CDs are really starting to make some headway into this hard brain of mine.

I've also been enjoying this book--

And I have watched several Chinese language DVDs (made for kids so perfect for me).

I think I will actually be able to say quite a few things when we finally get to China.

Let's just hope someone will actually know what I'm saying--especially Rose.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Countdown To China

Lizzy made a paper chain to count down the days 'til travel.

It now resides in a place of honor--where we can see it and smile many times every day.

Each child looks forward to their turn removing one more link.

Thirty-four more days!  Sweet!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shabby Chic for Asia?

Is shabby chic still in?  How about just plain shabby? 

I have this amazing idea! (I know, it's amazing just to hear that my brain is working at full capacity.  It happens.  From time to time.)

Anyhoo, it all started when considering how to pack for our trip.  9 people.  17 days. 

44 pounds is the weight limit for luggage in China.

And the weather?  92 degrees in Vietnam, 55 in Guangzhou, 22 in Beijing. 
Yes, 22. 

While considering this quandary I was in the laundry toom--my sanctuary for thinking.  As I was folding a pair of Vu's sweatpants, I noticed they were getting worn out, so I put them in the Goodwill box.

Then . . .  it happened!  My great idea!  (Imagine a halo of light shining down on my head!)

Instead of donating the pants to Goodwill, I would just take them with us to Asia!  And once Vu had worn them, I would just leave them there, right there in China--making room for things to buy!

I realized we can take all our old clothes to China!  And just leave them there!

We can all come back naked!!!! 

But we will be sporting lots of stylish Coach purses!

I'm a genius I tell ya!  A genius!

Sidenote:  I'm pretty sure I'm not the first to come up with this idea.  But please, let me bask in my glory for a day. Or two.  Thanks.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Returning To Vietnam

In all the excitement of TA I didn't mention that before we go to China we will stop in Vietnam so Vu can visit his orphanage.  He will see his nannies, his best friend (the orphanage director's daughter) and one of his "babies," along with several other children who remain. 

Vu is thrilled. 

I am thrilled for him.  But I am also nearly certain that Vu is going to be tense and anxious the entire time we are in Vietnam.  I expect raw emotion, the tumbling return of memories, and later, intense grief.

And fear.

Why fear?  I think he will fear that he is going to be left behind.  No matter how many times I've told him he will never go back to live at the orphanage, no matter how often I've assured him he will always be in our family, he cannot quite believe it.  It's a fear that lessens as the years pass, but it's a fear so raw, I worry it can never be extinguished.

My guess is that once we are in Vietnam and he is surrounded by the memories, sights, smells, and tastes, he will also be surrounded by his deepest fears.

And yet, we will go because I know he needs to see those he loves in Vietnam.  And his nannies need to see him.  His nannies raised him for six YEARS.  When we walked out the orphanage gates with Vu, over three years ago, we promised we would bring him back to visit. I could tell by the look on the nannies faces they didn't believe us.

I cannot wait to see their faces now!  It will be joyous to return with Vu, so they can truly know he is happy and healthy.  They will see that the six years they poured into him has resulted in a boy that continues to fill the world with love and laughter.  They will know that when we say we will return again, we really will.

And in the end, Vu will discover that he won't be left behind.  When our plane takes off from Vietnam this time, Vu will know, as much as he ever can, that he really is in our family--forever. 

Celebrating Chinese New Year and Tet in full style with lots of Chinese and Viet food.  YUM!

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, February 3, 2011

We're Going To China!

It's been a CRAZY week!  TA and CA (travel approval and dates), airline tickets and hotel reservations.

We aren't traveling as soon as we had hoped, but we are happy and excited to know we will have our little girl in a few short long weeks!

We leave March 15th!

Let the countdown begin!

If you are wondering what the picture has to do with our adoption, there's a little story behind it.  I was driving home from a vacation last summer, looked down at my watch, realized it was Friday afternoon and I had forgotten to call USCIS to check on our fingerprints.  In a panic, I took the next exit (the fish hatchery), made the kids stay in the car (because they are loud and I wanted to be able to actually HEAR the USCIS officer), I stood outside in the blazing sun (on hold), and eventually learned our application was approved!  It was a good day!  So goes the life of an adoptive parent.