Sunday, April 27, 2008

Here Comes The Sun!

Old man winter has finally given up his grip on us, laying down the last of the snow last weekend. Yesterday, we woke to a beautiful sunny morning with the promise of warmer temperatures.

The plan was to finally have a family outing to the dog park. It's all I had been talking about for weeks and I was particularly excited to see Ian with the hundreds of dogs that were sure to be there...Oh, and Polli would probably have fun, too.

We headed out after nap and lunch, and wouldn't you know it, I forgot my camera! It is the first time in almost 6 months that I haven't had my camera at the ready 24/7. I've never been so disappointed in myself. You'll just have to take my word for it that Ian and Polli both had a great time. Ian pointed excitedly at every dog and got up the nerve to approach a couple of them. He's interested, but still a little bashful. One woman got upset when he tried to approach her dogs, saying... "Watch your child. These dogs are known to nip." Well, then don't bring them to an off leash park!

We made a trip through the Starbucks drive-thru on the way home and Ian somehow managed to stay awake for the drive back. Both kids were pretty wiped out and later, slept without a peep. Polli, practically asking to sleep in her crate, which is a rarity.

As for the rest of the weekend, it was pretty low key, but still fun. Shawn showed Ian how to fill a bucket with the hose, which Ian wanted to do again as soon as he woke up this morning. Hopefully that's a good sign for the introduction to water, since his swimming lessons start next Sunday.

He also got another ride on car. A little like the car my parents bought him for his birthday, this one is smaller and much like the cars they have on the playground at school. He is always sad to leave it behind when I pick him up, so we went to Target and found something similar for inside the house. He calls it his "beep beep".

I should also add that I received a call at work on Friday stating that Ian had fallen, face first at school and had a cut under his eye. They said they iced it and he was acting and looking fine, but had to call by regulation. I was glad they did call. If I had seen it without knowing about it, I would have had a lot of questions. I called later in the day to make sure he was acting OK, and that it didn't need stitches, but they said he was back to his normal self. I tried to get pictures of it, but it's hard to pick up the color of his eye with a flash...without a flash produces a blur of a believe me when I say that Ian has his first shiner. I'm sure it won't be his last! Later in the evening, we were in his bedroom and he slipped on a book and fell backward against the edge of his new toybox. It gave him a gigantic lump on the back of his head, but thankfully it didn't break skin or cause any panic that sent me running for the emergency room. Poor little guy. He had a rough Friday, but made up for it with a really great Saturday and Sunday.

I've added a few pictures that were just too cute to leave out. Hope everyone had a great weekend. Let's cross our fingers that this nice weather sticks around for a while...we've earned a nice summer!

This is the best shot I could get of his black eye. It got a little worse on Saturday, but is looking better already today.

Just do what the movie stars do to make it better... Cover up the owies.

Shawn & Ian were wrestling on the stair landing... Ian is signing "more".

Pushing dad on the beep beep.

Curious of the water. He was soaked after this.

Too cute for a caption.

I can do it myself!

Ian made a fun game this morning out of taking his socks off and asking me to put them back on...over and over.

Can't you see how fun this was?

Ian & Polli chasing each other. Another fun game that cost us zero dollars.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Boy Without a Face

Everyone is always telling us how adorable Ian is. We know that already, so I thought I'd prove that you don't really need to see his face to see what a cutie we've got.

Death by pizza

Recycling his Easter basket.

Getting lost in the story.

I loved this image...All it's missing is Polli's leash.

This little piggy went to Phoenix.

Picasso? Is that you?

Grandma Trish's favorite picture. I'm sure she's crying right now just looking at it again.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ian's World (aka The Cardboard Box Extraveganza)

Ian doesn't spend much time in my TV/reading/craft room anymore, although it was his primary play area when he first came home. The Tivo buttons and craft drawers are much too tempting now and I don't know that he is aware that the TV omits a mesmerizing display, normally irresistable to other kids his age.

He came in to see me after his bath the other night and finally noticed the large globe that sits behind the sofa, exclaiming loudly "BALL!!". I pointed out where he was born, but he had much more fun spinning it and skidding it to a stop with his fingers... maybe he'll be a travel nut like his parents. The world is yours for the exploring, kid! I hope he has the chance to do a lot of exploring it before life lowers it's heavy anchor and there's just no justifying it anymore.

Yesterday, the Postal Carrier was kind enough to ring the doorbell right in the middle of naptime and then leave a package and run off. Why can't they just leave it without ringing the doorbell if they don't need a signature? Needless to say, it cut naptime short and we were able to resume our day's fun. This time, using the delivered box (incidentally Ian's new toybox from his Grandma Trish) as a makeshift slide, tunnel, and breakdancing surface. No one can accuse Shawn of not being creative with everyday objects. One day, I'll do a post bringing together the pictures of Shawn's homemade toy inventions over the months. His art schooling is paying off finally, I guess.

Yesterday, we drove the 500 yards to our neighborhood Mexican restaurant to give eating out with a toddler another whirl. We drove because it was snowing/sleeting (in late April!!) and we were too lazy to bundle up the kid. Anyway, Ian did fantastic in the restaurant. I packed his lunch, which he ate every last bit (tofu, broccoli, and fruit) and then proceeded to polish off all of my rice and beans, washed down with milk. He played happily with the crayons they provide and never really made a mess (or a scene). I was impressed. Could more outings be in our future? Just wait. There will be a day that we try out a movie with him. That ought to be fun!

Back to the snow thing... It has snowed off and on all weekend, which is, of itself, not incredibly common in Seattle, let alone this far into spring... however, three weekends ago we had snow to our late March surprise (and the chagrin of my parents visiting from Arizona). Last Saturday, it was 80 degrees and we were excited to break a heat record for April. BBQ's were sizzling... Margarita's were whirring...Only a few days later, it was back down in the 30's and 40's and snow looked inevitable for all of Seattle. Uggh. We're only 60-some days away from summer and it's snowing? Yes! We woke yesterday to several inches and although it's mostly melted now, there were flurries when I took Polli for a walk this morning. Yesterday officially marked the latest snow and coldest day, in Seattle history, ever. One week ago, we did NOT see this coming. I hope this means we've earned a very nice summer. Ian deserves it after coming from a tropic region of China to nothing but cold and wet for the past 5 months. I'm also panicking a bit because the stores have stopped selling long sleeved shirts and he's starting to grow out of what's in his closet. Apparently the retailers don't think about these things for the segment of the population that is not done growing.

So the pictures below show a variety of things that have been going on this weekend. Amazing since we haven't really gone anywhere.

My poor magnolia blossoms weren't expecting this. Needless to say, they are all but destroyed.

Ian's new thing is "talking" on the phone. His newest word is "uh-ruh" (hello) and just about anything can double as a phone apparently.

That tan blob looks vaguely familiar... It's China!

What a clown. Apparently Ian wants to visit French Polynesia. Me too, Ian!

My parents bought him a tunnel in Arizona only a few months ago...and he was petrified of it. Looks like that fear is gone, or doesn't apply to the cardboard variety.

This is either the Moonwalk, the Macarena, or the Electric Slide.

The toybox goes to good use... as a slide. I saw this coming the second I opened the door and saw the box. Good times were about to be had.

Back from lunch and the box hadn't lost it's allure yet.

Kicking it up a notch... if one box were good, two would be great. And what kid doesn't figure out a way to turn the stairs into a slide?

I was tempted to give this a try. It did look like a fun way to spend a cold wet day inside.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Almost Through Our 6 Month Trial Period

I'm kidding, of course.

Yes, another Month-iversary for Ian! Five months ago today, Ian walked through Sea-Tac Airport immigration and became a US Citizen. It seems like so much longer than 5 months, and if you ask Ian's grandparents, they probably feel like they've known him longer than that, too. He has done a great job of leaving a permanent mark on our family and it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine life without him. Peanut butter without jelly. Cereal with no milk. George without Gracie. (The younger visitors are wondering who's George.)

The only new pictures I have this week are from this morning. Ian was tired and cranky, so for those who think he's cheerful all the time, see the photo proof below. He was pretty attached to his blanket and wasn't super thrilled about his "nana".

Speaking of nanas, he has been adding new words to his vocabulary like crazy, which couldn't make us happier. Banana "nana" is a new one, but he realized that when he says "nana", he'll get a "nana" and doesn't always want one, just wants to try out the word. He also has "book" down pat, "nigh, nigh" along with a wave. He says "nigh nigh" and waves to Polli as we go in his room at night…and yesterday made a detour to our master bedroom to look for Shawn to say "nigh nigh", but he was gone. He has a strong "bye bye" with wave (same as nigh nigh), "ah" for car (also doubles for truck in a pinch), "bmmp bmmp" is beep beep, "sprrn" is spoon, "muh" is milk or any sippy drink (which to the untrained ear might sound like mama when said repetitiously). "Away" is a soft, lullaby of a word that means both Put Away and Throw Away. We have to be very clear about which "away" he's referring to at times. "Buh" is still Polli, and something close to "Baba" is blanket. Although that also means dad in Chinese, he never gave indication that it meant anything to him while in China and he has always called Shawn dad or dada. "Ball" with a faint L sound is pretty obviously ball and applies to just about anything round or remotely ball shaped. Even at freeway speeds, he can spot something ball-ish out the window and makes sure I know he saw it. With buh, muh, ah, baba, bye, ball, bmmp, and book, it's safe to say he has a specific foundation to his speech so far.

I've had a heck of a time getting his Early Intervention appointments started. We're still trying out programs to decide which is best for him. The only programs the coordinator set up for us was Hard of Hearing services, which I'm not convinced suit him. I want to know what non hard of hearing kids get who qualify for speech services. I'd like to try both sides of the fence and go from there. Somehow, I don't think it works that way. Part of me wants to embrace his ear/hearing as part of who he is, but another part of me wants him to have the same options as every other kid. I haven't decided yet which mom I want to be (or should be for that matter).

Nothing exciting happening, but Ian does start swimming lessons in a couple of weeks. We are very excited to see how he reacts to water, and in preparation for our trip to Coeur D'Alene in July, hope it doesn't go horribly wrong. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this new endeavor doesn't undo all this bonding and attachment we've accomplished so far!

Below are a couple of pictures from this AM. Cranky boy…Plus one from "the good ol' days"… on a plane ride in China.

The plane ride home 5 months ago (this is actually Hangzhou to Guangzhou, but close enough)

He desperately needs his own play camera. He was beside himself because I wouldn't give him mine.

His trademark "how could you do this to me?" look (there are those eyebrows Grandma Trish loves so much!)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mom & Dad's Day Out

Shawn and I had a milestone weekend. Saturday, we spent our first, yes FIRST, afternoon away from Ian since coming home. We arrived home from China almost 5 months ago and have yet to have time together away from our precious child. I joke that he is such a joy that we haven't wanted to take time away...which is partially true...but for the most part, we've been dying to get out just to go to a movie and dinner.

Friday, we met at a restaurant at 2:30 for a late lunch/early dinner before picking Ian up from school. It was nice to sit across from each other at a restaurant without frantically sliding everything out of reach from a high chair...or picking up thrown silverware...or sheepishly retrieving misguided toys from the neighboring table's inhabitants. It was nice to sit across from each other and actually eat at the same time. It was nice to sit across from each other at a restaurant PERIOD. In total, it was the 4th time eating out, and first alone, in 5 months. In our previous life, we ate out at least once a week, if not several times a week. Now, Garlic Jim's Pizza is on speed dial as our "don't feel like cooking" bail out.

On Saturday, we had planned to drop Ian off with Shawn's parents for the afternoon while we enjoyed a movie and dinner with friends. This would truly be our first time out with other adults alone since coming home, and my first movie in a theater since September. We had a great time and spent 5 whole hours away...and OH the movie popcorn! How I've missed it!

As it turned out, Ian had a great time with his Grandma & Grandpa. It was a beautiful day (in fact an amazing 80 degree spring day in Seattle) and they went to 3 parks (searching for all too rare toddler friendly play equipment) and had an almost tear free afternoon.

For us, it was a great day spent with great friends. Most of all, Ian proved to us that he can be away from us for meals, bath, and playtime and survive just fine. We were so proud of him. (and I was a little proud of myself, to be honest. I didn't worry, panic, or cry...not once.)

We had hoped to take "the kids" to the dog park near us today, but we were all just too wiped out to make the trip. Polli spent the day yesterday playing hard with her cousin-dog Spirit and spent the majority of her time today sleeping on her chaise lounge outside or napping with Shawn. Shawn and I did some much needed yard work this morning, which felt great. Spring is here (although today was about 30 degrees cooler than yesterday. Bummer).

Yesterday, before the exciting afternoon, I attempted to put together Ian's Cozy Coupe that my parents gave him for his birthday. I was out in the garage before 8am banging away on a plastic car. Ian wasn't interested until he saw me attach wheels...and then was bouncing off the walls with anticipation as I tried to finish quickly. It was easy until it came time to put the roof on. I eventually gave up and presented Ian with his brand new convertible! He's a little too small right now to move it well under his own power and actually fell through the bottom several times, getting pinned under the car. As with almost everything else with wheels, he was much happier pushing it around the back yard, which he did happily for quite a while yesterday and again this morning.

Cruisin' in his convertible

Beep Beep!

Already out of gas!

Ian's got junk in his trunk.

Not a new picture, but a good one of Ian and Grandma playing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Our Littlest Hockey Player (and his gentle side)

We're in a "wake up, go to school/work, come home, eat, sleep" routine this week. I'm still getting over my 4th bad cold in 6 months and am head first in what might be the toughest work project of my career.

Shawn is playing more hockey than usual these days, which brings about today's post. He brought in one of his sticks the other day and Ian had a great time swinging it precariously around the room. In about a year, we'll be able to buy him his first skates and hopefully one day we'll be showing off pictures of our star's beginnings.

He's actually using excellent form in the first picture...and further solidifying my suspicions that he is left handed.

The final picture is an adorable example of how much Ian loves Polli. He put his blanket over her and was rubbing her back while softly la'la-ing what sounded like a lullaby. He was re-enacting when we put him to bed. It was really touching. I think she does so much to teach him sharing and compassion. He loves to do things with her that he enjoys being chased, tickling, sharing snacks, kisses, and this. He even waves goodbye to her as we go in his room to get ready for bed at night. What greater friend is there for a little boy than his dog?

They didn't list stick handling in the motor skills evaluations

"Sweeping the zone" is an important defense strategy.

Ian prepares to hook the competition. The play was stopped...or else he would have gotten 5 for fighting.

A hockey player is only as good as his coach.

A tender moment between Ian and Polli.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Two Important Days In One

Today marks one year since our dossier was logged in, in China and 5 huge months since meeting Xiang Xuan, our son Ian, for the very first time.

Late in 2006, it was announced that China would be making drastic changes to the rules prospective adopters must meet in order to qualify to bring a child home from China. Because of some ambiguous definitions relating to a congenital birth defect I have, we were not entirely sure we would qualify to adopt from China after May 1st, 2007. Luckily, we were logged in quickly and received an official "start date" of April 6th. For families planning to adopt a "non special needs" child, this is day one of their wait, and those families logged in this way on the same day as us have at least another 2 years left in their wait, possibly as much as 3 or 4 years. We planned from the beginning to adopt special needs, so this meant we could begin considering waiting children without the fear of being disqualified first. Our biggest nightmare would have been falling in love with a child and then later learning that we didn't qualify.

Well we did... and less than 2 months later, we received a file on a little boy who's only reason for being left on the front steps of a remote orphanage, was a peanut of an ear that we barely even notice now. In the long run, it will be best for him to make a surgical plan, but for now, we're just glad the road of life twists and turns the way it does, for us and for Ian...regardless of the size of his ear.

Today also marks 5 months since we met Ian for the first time. I've rehashed the happenings of that day so many times, but it never gets boring. Some days it feels like we were just in Hangzhou counting down the hours until our appointment at the Civil Affairs Office, and some days it feels like he's always been with us. There was no way to know that exactly 7 months after our paperwork arrived in China, we would be holding our son for the first time.

Below are a few pictures of our first day, 5 months ago... you've seen them before, but it's always fun to look back on such a memorable day.

There are also a few pictures of Ian's fun new toy... A battery operated bubble wand. He was petrified of bubbles in China, but loves the bubble machine at daycare, so I decided this would make a fun outdoor toy...of course, we had to try it out in the house first.

Shawn has a 4 day hockey tournament and I'm sick (again) and have had laryngitis...and Ian's primary caretaker this weekend. Sorry we haven't been up to more than blowing bubbles!

It was hard to believe this day was finally here... and he was heavier than I imagined he would be!

No going back now, daddy! There's fear in both of their eyes!

Home sweet home... a hotel room in a strange new town with strange new people. He was all smiles from the start.


Running through a curtain of bubbles.

There was bubble residue everywhere... bath time came quickly after these pictures


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ian Gets a Passing Grade

Ian had his 2 year checkup on Monday and got a glowing report from the doctor. He is not all that concerned about his speech delay, but thinks moving forward with Early Intervention is a good idea. The giardia is long gone as is all vitamin deficiencies. All that remains is teething and the normal toddler viruses that have lingered through the winter.

I was excited to see how much he had grown since his last appointment and was in shock when I saw the report. Since his last appointment, he had grown 2 full inches and 3 total since meeting him in China almost 5 months ago. He was also a pound lighter than what he weighed in Guangzhou on November 14th, although he was fully clothed then and in just a diaper now. Regardless, he has grown up but not out, although he is still our little Buddha.

Today, he played INDEPENDENTLY at the neighborhood park and even went down the slide alone and Superman style (head first). Below are a few pictures over the months to give an idea of how far he has come.

The long ride up to Hangzhou tired him out. Still very much a baby when we met him... 19 months

Shortly after arriving home... I can't believe he actually fit in the sink! 19 months

The face of a boy afraid to be put down. Not only was everything new and different, but there was a scary 4 legged thing running around. 19 months

Feet in grass for very the first time...ever. 20 months

No longer afraid of the furry beast. In fact he might have though he was a dog. 21 months

Home with dad. So much to learn, like how to spa. 21 months

Never a dull moment around here! 22 months

First day of school. 22 months

Almost always happy about something. 23 months

Easter & Baskets, not necessarily in that order. 23 months

Birthday smiles. 24 months

Birthday parties, cars, cell phones...what more could a boy want? 2 years old