Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pajama Day!

Today was pajama day at Ian's daycare...I was so jealous! He proudly wore his dirt bike PJ's, which made getting him ready in the morning a snap. I wonder why I can't send him in jammies every day...It's not like he's in business meetings or making deals with executives. They actually let the kids outside in their PJ's, which I wasn't expecting. They did sand art and I'm sure Ian played his normal game of "move bark chips from one truck to another", which isn't exactly jammy friendly. Never the less, he turned out OK.

After school, we went to The Keg, one of our favorite restaurants. I get a free dinner voucher from them every year for my birthday and had to use it before the end of July on a M-Th, meaning we had to bring Ian along or never use it at all. We took him, PJ's and all, and he actually did pretty well. He was all about the ranch dip they brought with carrot sticks and might have a new favorite food. Ranch, not carrots. Everything was dipped in ranch for the rest of the evening. About 10 minutes before we left, he started to get loopy and hyper, but otherwise allowed us to eat our meals and didn't throw a toy or crayon once. We've decided he's more of a Chinese or Mexican kid and not really ready for a steak and seafood joint, but it was worth a try and we didn't regret it.

More exciting news!!! Although he is on a waiting list for a new childcare center, I approached his current director and asked why he is still in the 1's class. Originally we decided to put him in with the younger class until a spot opened up in the 2's, but also because he was still playing catch up, was a new walker, and not talking. Well, that has all changed in a big way but he was still with the younger kids. Including him, there were 4 kids, Ian being the oldest by a lot and NONE talking whenever I was there. His speech therapist agreed that this sort of environment is not helping him. So, I approached his director and asked about it, and by the next day (yesterday) his cubby was moved to the 2's classroom. He was in with that group all day today and was extra happy when I picked him up. Except that his cubby is now no longer within his reach for "drive by" blanket sniffs, he had way more room to run, play, interact, etc. We couldn't be happier (for now). Hopefully it will only be a couple of months before his number comes up at the other center.

Working backward still, when I picked him up from school yesterday, we went to Target (big shock) and there were these neat wooden toys in their dollar area. They're actually $2 each so we picked out several train segments and a couple of trucks. He LOVES them and will hardly let them out of his sight. He can link them easily and, well, it was a great $8 spent. When Shawn came home from work, Ian pulled him down the stairs and to his new toys to show him how he could take them apart and put them back together. He also had to have all pieces involved with reading time and dinner.

While at Target, he pointed out everything red (Ray-d). He also knows yellow and blue...and said white tonight (yes, Ian that ranch dressing is white).

I almost forgot about his first trip to the library yesterday. He loved it. I was overwhelmed. But we had a great time and I now know where to go and who to ask for certain types of books for him. I also want to take him back for storytime, but as usual it's in the middle of a weekday. Thanks once again businesses for discrediting us working parents.

Below are some pictures of pajama day morning and Ian showing off his new toys.

Laying in his favorite chair with his essentials: blanket, book, and one of his new toys

It didn't take long for one of his new train pieces to become a makeshift bowl

Putting together his train his PJ's and hat (yes, he'll actually keep it on his head now)

I tried to get a video clip of this but it didn't turn out... He was doing a dance and jumping around like crazy

Still loving the train and no drama when it comes apart, which was a big issue early on with these types of toys.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Strike Comes To An End!

There may be a few people out there ready to call 911 to report that I've gone more than a week since posting an update. The last time I went this long between posts, we were waiting for files to arrive at our agency for review... almost a year and a half ago.

I've been on a bit of a strike because my work schedule has been thrown off with exhausting meetings and a bit more "overtime" at home with Shawn also in work overload.

Ian has been in a bit of limbo in terms of exciting adventures since coming home from Idaho. After thinking about it, I've decided that's a good thing. The fact that he has fallen into a bit of a lull might just mean he's closing the gap on everything he (and we) missed out on in his first 19 months.

Speaking of closing the gap, he had a long delayed speech therapy appointment. We had to cancel twice due to hectic schedules and the amount of change he has made since she saw him last is remarkable. We're to the point that he understands more than he doesn't and is talking up a storm. He is due for another hearing test and I'm curious to see how his results compare to December's. He shows almost no negative impact from his Microtia/Atresia and we just don't even think about it much. Before we travelled to China, I never would have believed it if someone told us our experience would be so problem free. We feel like the luckiest parents to have such a great kid.

He still loves his books (and loves to REEEE-T!) and couldn't care less about TV. He likes fruit and anything with protein, but not a big fan of bread (half of what they feed at school). He loves milk and water (but has a sweet tooth for smoothies and ice cream) and loves to brush his teeth.

Grandma Trish started her Friday duty last week and it went great! They played, read books, strolled the neighborhood, and even stopped for ice cream. He's looking forward to another great day this Friday (and many Fridays to come) with her. Thanks so much Grandma Trish! We can't tell you what it means for you to have this time with Ian.

Below are a handful of pictures from the week. The last few show how Ian prefers to eat breakfast... Bowl, truck, dust pan, train... anything goes. All I know is, kids forced to eat at the table lead boring lives!

Hanging out in the jungle (aka the backyard)

His legs look so long here! Hard to believe he could fit in the sink less than 9 months ago!

Giving dad a ride on his red convertible (mom, the roof never did fit, but he loves to push it around the yard as is)

Trying on Shawn's hockey helmet. Just think...only another couple of years until he can start getting on the ice!

His breakfast was transferred from plate to bowl, and now to truck... and sorting fruit from eggs back into the bowl.

Now that the fruit is sorted out, he can enjoy his egg-in-a-truck (and yes, that's dirt in the truck. A mom can only do so much... dirt+food=antibodies...or so I keep telling myself).

The fruit moved from the bowl to the dustpan (part of a toy and not really used for sweeping).

...And then from the dustpan to his train, which he rode around the room and ate until his fruit was gone. Whatever gets the job done!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Week After The Big Week

It was a quick, yet uneventful week of coming down off the vacation high. Ian started back to school and fizzled quickly, waking Friday AM with a low fever and having a rough day at school. We've noticed that he has always come down sick on Fridays. Either he is maxed out by the time Friday comes or it's just a coincidence. He was fine the next morning with a 15 hour night of sleep and a good sized #2, like anyone would be. Regardless, Grandma Trish starts watching him on Fridays next week...and then swiftly reports for jury duty (the first requirement of the newly retired, so it seems) for the first 2 weeks of August.

Shawn's middle brother Matt's kids Cade and Taylor were still in town visiting the grandparents this week and came to say their final goodbyes to us and Ian yesterday. We had a great dinner at our neighborhood Chinese restaurant and the kids had a great time playing with Ian. So far all of the teenagers from our vacation (4 in all) said they would like a baby brother if he could be like Ian... cries for a few seconds and that's it. He must be out of the ordinary if teenagers can't get enough of a 2 year old. I can't really remember wanting to be around babies much when I was that age (except for my own niece & nephew Ryan and Ashlee). Yeah, Ian's pretty special. I agree.

Today, Ian had class 2 of his Toddler 2 swim class. He has shown marked water confidence in the past 2 weeks and Shawn has even let go of him in the water a few times without incident. After this series of classes, we'll probably take a break and do our own water lessons until he is ready to enter the 3 year old class, where there is NO in-water parent. Scary! At the rate that he has overcome milestones and fears, that should be in no time at all. After Shawn left for his hockey game, Ian and I took the stroller out for a walk in the neighborhood. It's the first time in months that I've used the stroller and Ian was out and pushing it himself half the time. He also met my friend Katie's boxer Zoe and drank half of my Vivanno smoothie from Starbucks. I'm not big on giving him juice, but he's gone over a week without a single drop, so this was a special treat. We then came back and played with his new favorite toys: Buckets, rocks, and water. He's so complicated.

The pictures below are a hodge podge of shots from this week. I didn't pick up the camera once until Friday, so this is an accomplishment. I had to get one of Ian and Cade, which I really wanted since I realized I didn't have a single picture of them together from Coeur d'Alene. It will be a year before they see him again. I can't begin to wonder how different Ian will be then... a whole huge year from now!

I bought him these color wonder markers and he looked at them like "what am I supposed to do with these?" Makes me wonder who is really doing all that cute artwork I bring home from school.

Same with the crayons. He loves his books, but is not at all creatively inclined when it comes to crayons and markers yet. He was much more interested with putting them back in the box.

Ian jammin on the piano with his cousin Cade. You've gotta love that hair!

I love it anytime I can catch his beautiful smile. For those who haven't noticed his alligator crocs... this is a good shot of them. When I ask him to go get his shoes, he always grabs these.

Another smiley shot. This is an hour after his normal Sunday bedtime. Does he look ready to go to sleep? Your answer is the same as his "NO!". Great, he's learned that dreaded word...and seems to know what it means. He's a real kid after all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Vacation Fun

A cute video of Ian and Shawn on the swings. It's pretty grainy. I think we're edging closer and closer to getting a video camera. Maybe if I'm really good for the next few months Santa will bring me one.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ian's First Family Vacation

We're back from our big family vacation!

Besides the trip to Arizona in December to meet my parents, Ian hasn't really been anywhere. This was going to be his first big family adventure and summer vacation. Were we ready for this? We thought so, but who knows with our bunch. Things were bound to get a little silly. We rented a big house on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho and planned to spend 5 days with Shawn's parents, his brother Mark and his wife Shannon, and their kids Alec and Ashleigh; Shannon's brother Rick; Shawn's middle brother Matt's kids Taylor and Cade visiting from Alaska; family friends Tim and Cassie with their girls Marlee and Aiden. Counting us, that's 9 adults and 7 kids. I never said this was supposed to be a relaxing vacation!

Ian made the almost 300 mile drive with a 2 hour nap and one toy....and only one 10 minute meltdown toward the end, which I consider a huge success. He was instantly intrigued with the house and the other kids, and it was instantly apparent that he wouldn't be at a loss for things to do. Every time I turned to look for him he was with a different kid doing something that looked like way too much fun.

Day One:

Arrived and settled. Ian enjoyed a canoe ride with Shawn and Grandpa Tom, saw a real live boat, played pool, danced around like a crazy man, and lounged. We were worried that he wouldn't go to sleep in a strange room, especially with us in there with him, but it only took 10 minutes to get him to sleep and he was fine all night.

Ian with dad and grandpa in the canoe. He loved it and just sat still and looked around.

Playing with the big girls. This is the closest he'll get to tubin' for a few years.

Playing with Aiden, Marlee, Ashleigh, and Cassie. He got really wrapped up in the loopy silliness.

Playing with Aiden. This was the face we saw all week. Happy boy!

Day 2:
Silverwood Amusement Park and Bouldercreek Water Park. For those who don't know, this is the Northwest's answer to Six Flags. There are 2 really huge roller coasters, one under construction, 2 not so huge, and tons of other rides. The water park was the best part though. It really can't even be explained here. Essentially, there is a toddler and little kid area which has little water slides, water jungle gyms, and then a giant wading area, which Ian could have spent the whole day in. There is also a lazy river and 3 wave pools. Then the big water slides... they really hit all age groups and everyone loved it (just ask Shawn to see his bruises from the fun they had in the wave pool). Ian didn't want to leave the water park and it made us wish we had bought 2 day passes. For me, that day was the highlight of the trip.
It was also my birthday and we had a great ice cream cake and pinata for the kids. During all that fun, uncle Mark brought a bass to shore for Ian to meet and later, after he was asleep, they found a giant toad, which I wish Ian could have seen. It was an action packed day and one of my best birthdays ever. I won't mention the birthday attack I received in the wave pool at the water park. I should have expected such a sweet birthday present from my dear husband.

This night, it only took him about 5 minutes to fall asleep and again was a log until 6am.

Riding the carousel with Grandma Trish. He was most interested in watching the horses that go up and down.

That's my boy! Chillin at the water park.

Extreme water sports.

The toddler section of the water park was great. The hard part was getting Ian to come out of the water. If our entire vacation were spent here he would have been perfectly content. Thank goodness for Trish. She's the only woman I know who will go in the water fully dressed without a second thought.

Ian takes a turn at the pinata. He got his first physics lesson though, and the fish swung back and hit him in the face. He wanted nothing to do with the bat or the pinata after that.

The birthday girl had to take a few swings, too.

Ian drives uncle Mark's boat. He was in a real live boat and made sure everyone knew it was a boa-T

Day Three:

The weather turned very windy and while it was still warm, the lake was no condition for the adventures we had planned ahead. The kids and big kids of the group planned to hit the lake for some wake-boarding and tubing, but it was too choppy and wouldn't have been much fun. We headed into town to relax at our favorite coffee shop this side of Rome, Java on Sherman. They make a drink called the Bowl of Soul which is essentially a Mexican chocolate mocha with a bunch of spices. I have the Java magnet on my fridge and think about the Bowl of Soul almost every day. I can't believe it's been 5 years since I've had one. We hung out there while Shawn checked his email and then unfortunately headed back to the house since it was too windy to enjoy the lake park.

We hung out at the house for the rest of the day until it was time for Shawn and I to take Ian up the hill to meet our friends Wally and Dawn Pfeiffer, who live in Portland part of the year and Coeur d'Alene part of the year. They have a large parcel of land that looks over the lake and a beautiful vacation home. Ian met their granddaughters, one who is his age. I'm not sure that he realized they were there. Dawn and Wally wrote a letter to our agency on our behalf when we started our adoption process. Because of their enduring generosity before, then, and since, we brought them a few things from China, but haven't seen them since Ian arrived home. They met and played with Ian for a few hours and we enjoyed the view and the company until it was time to head back down to the lake.

Ian's latest night up to date, past 10:30pm, he went down without a single peep. Simply grabbed his blanket, closed his eyes and rolled over. Nigh nigh.

I couldn't help but include a picture of our bowls of soul. I love this coffee shop...a trip to Cd'A isn't complete without a visit.

Ian does some people watching in the window of our booth at the coffee shop.

He missed out on the toad from the night before, so uncle Ricky was nice enough to buy him this frog while we were in town.

Reading a story with Aunt Dawn.

Day Four:

This was our last full day in Coeur d'Alene. It started out calm and warm, and we enjoyed breakfast on the deck as a full group, minus the guys who were out fishing. Ian continued to have a ball with his cousins and uncle Rick. We packed up lunch and headed out to Wally and Dawn's dock further down the lake where we boated over to a park and had a picnic lunch. Shawn gave shoulder ride dives to some of the teenagers and the kids finally got some time on the tube in the lake. I was the wimp and never swam once, and didn't even get to see the lake (which takes hours to navigate in it's entirety). I was working to make sure Ian didn't bore the older kids and also wanted to watch him near the water since his life vest was too small and he hated it.
By now, we were pretty fried (literally and figuratively) so we decided to pack up our things and start heading home. We decided it would be better to make the drive back when Ian could sleep the whole time and we were really missing our own bed.
After a round of hot dogs and smores by the fire, we headed out and made it home in exactly 4 hours, almost an hour faster than it should take. Ian slept the entire drive and our heads were on our very own pillows by 12:30am.

Ian missed out on the toad, so Shawn went in search of something a bit more his size. This is the closest he got to touching it, but backed away at the last second shaking his head and saying "".

Hanging out in uncle Wally's boat.

I felt like this was one of few moments Ian and I had together on this trip. He was such the socialite. Can you tell he hates this life vest?

Playing catch with uncle Ricky. As you can tell, Ian was not prepared for the catch part.

Goofing off with the big girls.

Having a man to man talk with dad.

And then he was back to the girls again.

Wally sets a great example for water safety.

Cooling off in the lake with dad and uncle Mark


Hanging out with his cousin Taylor

Warming up by the campfire with cousin Ashleigh

No vacation would be complete without marshmallows. A smore kid in the making.

Make a wish: "I wish I could stay in Coeur d'Alene forever!"

All in all, it was a wonderful week. There are a few things we would have done differently, but for the most part, it was a trip for Ian, which he loved. Aside from getting to sleep, he didn't cry or fuss even once the entire week. He was nothing but smiles and excellent behavior all week. He loved his cousins and aunts & uncles. He was outgoing, smart, adorable, and interested in everything. He started picking up words and concepts like he never has before, and was essentially the perfect child this week. We kept saying on the ride home how proud we were of him.

We're already thinking about our next vacation, but this time somewhere tropical and with his other grandma and grandpa included. Maybe a house on the beach in Maui. We'll see. If this trip did one thing for us, it made us realize how nice a vacation spot would be. Who needs a bigger house here when we can invest in something like that. Another "some day" idea to think about.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Boy and the Balloon (and the other bulldog)

Our neighborhood owner's association puts on a Fourth of July BBQ every year and we almost forgot about it. Luckily, we live across from the park and don't often miss the set up of big events like this. Being that it's mainly a kid oriented event, we usually don't go. Last year, we went, but took Polli... had a slice of pizza and soda, then left. We had a reason to go this time!

They put up about a dozen different giant inflated know the kind, slides, obstacle courses, ball rooms, etc. Ian is still a little small for these. By next year, he will be bigger, more agile, and fearless, but for now, he still needs us right there with him.

He mostly enjoyed screaming "bike!" every time a kid rode by on a bicycle, and was on the constant lookout for dogs. He also quietly watched the kids ride by on ponies, ate an entire giant hot dog, and even drank from a bottle of water by himself.

He was happy to sit and people watch (just like his mama), but the highlight of his day came when Shawn got him a helium balloon and tied it to his wrist. He ran through the grass laughing like it was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to him. His face lit up like I haven't seen in a long time.

He took 2 long naps yesterday and stayed up later than he's ever been up (10:30pm) to watch fireworks. I walked him around the block after dark to see what neighbors were shooting off. He wasn't afraid, but held my hand tightly, and eventually asked for "ups" and I carried him, very quiet and eyes everywhere. He seemed more interested in the kids riding by on skateboards, and snapped out of his trance when a minivan drove by and he exclaimed "busss!", which is his 2nd favorite word to "bike" right now.

He was fast asleep within 10 minutes after arriving back home. I told him that before long he would be begging to get fireworks...There's plenty of time to be interested in them later. Polli on the other hand, was a mess. I wish I would have kenneled her. She was excited, stressed, hyperventilating, and inconsolable. She's still catching up on her sleep...and a few minutes ago, was running and barking in her sleep. Still chasing the thunder and fireworks. Poor girl.

This morning, Ian and I walked to Starbucks and a little 5 year old girl came over and asked what's wrong with Ian's ear. I told her that when he was born one ear was smaller than the other, but that he can hear. She said, "oh, so it's just different, huh?". I said "Yep, and it's OK to be different. Kind of like how you have freckles and your sister doesn't". She said "Yeah, just like that", and ran off. It was cute, and made me glad to have the practice talking to kids about his ear, but also warmed my heart to see that kids are so simple. She didn't want to know how it happened, or what kind of surgery he'll need, or how we're prepared to deal with it socially... she was just curious, and got the whole "it's OK to be different" answer.

We continued around the block and passed the Karate studio, where Ian was again mesmerized by the kids kicking and yelling. For the next block, he was walking and kicking, and laughing at his new skill... a black belt in the making. The best start of all is that this morning he jumped and both feet left the ground. Another big motor skill that we've been working on. My boy's growing up so fast!

I think you can click this image to enlarge it. There were too many cute shots of Ian enjoying his balloon to pick just a few.

Ian meets one of Polli's English cousins. This bulldog is 12 weeks and really made me want another dog.

Hard to believe that 8 months ago, he had never even seen a dog before.

Drinking without help. I think half the bottle went down his shirt right after I snapped this shot, but it's a start.

Later in the day... trying on dad's hat. He hates having hoods or hats on his head, so to get it to stay on long enough for a picture was a huge feat. I can't believe Shawn's adult hat almost fits Ian. Can you believe his original file listed him as having a "high risk" low head circumference? Whatever!