Friday, February 27, 2009

I Just Wish Someone Would Have Told Me

Tomorrow Molly will turn three. She is thrilled. In fact, we have been counting down to her birthday since the first day of January. Each morning we dutifully take our red marker and cross off another day. If you’re keeping track, we now have 58 red X’s on the calendar.

Why, you ask, is Molly so excited? Does she like birthdays, presents or parties that much? No, she is excited because she is finally going to sleep in a big girl bed! A fact that she has reminded me about every day for the past 58 days.

She has been ready to make the move to the big girl bed for quite some time. She stared asking when she was two. But, I took the same route with the big girl bed that I did as I did with potty training: wait until she really, really wanted it, and then make her wait another six months.

Cruel? Maybe, but she had so long to look forward to potty training only took me a weekend. She was motivated. I anticipate that the transition to the big girl bed will be the same. No problemo.

I have spent several weeks picking out new bedding, furniture and accessories for Molly’s big girl room. I have a visual in my head of what I expect her room to look like sans crib: Where the big girl bed will be placed, where the new chairs will be place, heck, I even know where I want each toy.

I even have a plan for the unveiling of the new room. I will put Molly down for her nap in my bedroom and then while she is sleeping I will go into her room, take out the baby furniture and transform her room. When she wakes up, she can walk into her room and it will be a brand new place.

I realize that Molly is making this transition and have done a great deal of planning for it. I understand that she is now going to be sleeping in a bed. Bust just last night something occurred to me. My baby is no longer going to be sleeping in a crib. Why didn’t anybody tell me this!

I know it seems straight forward: Crib comes down, bed goes up, Molly sleeps in her bed. No more crib. But nobody told me that tonight, when I lay her down in her crib, I will be doing it for the very last time. Waaaaah!
Wow, was I overcome with emotion when this little realization hit me. Molly has been telling me for quite sometime, “I’m still a baby, Mom, but not for much longer!”

Not for much longer, indeed.

I guess I prepared Molly for the transition, I prepared the room for the transition, but I never looked at the fact that I am not ready for the transition. Again I say, Waaah! What happened to my baby?

Today, Molly and I spent some time taking some last pictures of her in her crib and highchair (yea, that’s leaving tomorrow as well). Molly didn’t understand it, but I needed it. It’s my transition, I guess.

Good Golly this parenting thing can be hard sometimes. I just wish someone would have told me.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fairy Tale Party

Last Saturday, Princess Molly attended her friend's Fairy Tale Birthday Party. She was so excited that she could dress up and play with lots of kids...not to mention the fact that she could get all sugared up on cake, ice cream and other party treats without mom stepping in to say, "Enough!"
She had a fantastic time and it was all that she could talk about for days. Having her birthday only a week away just added to her excitement. She is ready and raring for her birthday. So ready, in fact, that we have been counting down to the big day on our calendar since the first of January. There are a lot of big red X's so we must be getting close!
Here are the party pics for you viewing pleasure. Since I don't feel comfortable posting pictures of other kids on Molly's blog without permission, I'll limit the photos to just our little princess.
Entering the castle.
The castle cake personalized with caricatures of each child in attendance. Can you spot Molly? Of course! She's the one with the pigtails in the lower left window!
k h
Excited for the festivities to begin.
h Eating her royal magic beans while sitting on the princess throne.
Getting every last bit of cake and ice cream into her mouth...she's so dainty.
Looking overjoyed about taking a picture with the queen mother.
Listening to a fairy tale story.
Ready for the royal games to begin.
Running in the balloon relay.
A great ending to a great party.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Road Trip!

I’ve got to be honest with you…our trip to Myrtle Beach last summer was, well, complicated. We took a little girl who was smack dab in the middle of the oh-soooo-terrible-twos out of her routine and gave her way too much freedom. We were pretty much ready to come home by day two of the trip. Seriously.

We did have moments on that trip that were fun, but the trip as a whole was taxing, at least for us parents. We made numerous rookie-parent mistakes and the challenge of having to figure out how to not tick off our two year old seemed to suck all of the fun out of many activities. Ironically, we were planned our next beach vacation as we drove home from that trip. Sick.

A few weeks ago, we finally got to take that beach vacation: Two weeks in sunny Naples, Florida. Aaah. Surprisingly this trip was a joy, start to finish. We never thought of coming home early. Not even once!

I must say that having the terrible twos behind us was the biggest help. Molly was pleasant, adaptable, excited and agreeable to just about everything. We also learned from our Myrtle Beach mistakes.

For example, when going to Myrtle Beach we left the house at 4 am. We figured that Molly would sleep a good portion of the way. Yea, right. She woke up at 4 am and didn’t sleep a wink in the car for 14 hours! We paid dearly for it the next day. That's when we almost packed up and came home.

For the trip to Naples, we had Molly skip her nap and put her in the car at bedtime. We drove through the night and much of the next day. Molly slept like a champ both a night and at nap time. And no nasty attitude the next day either. Score one for the parents!
When we went to Myrtle Beach we decided not to bring the Pack n’ Play. There were 2 beds in our room. Molly would be fine in a bed, right? I guess you don’t transition a sleep deprived child from a crib to a bed while on vacation. Bedtime was an “adventure” and there were frazzled nerves and sleepless moments (well, hours) for everyone.
We brought the Pack n’ Play to Naples. Naptime and bedtime were a dream, literally. Just popped her in and she slept like a log. It was also a good corral when she needed a time out, which wasn’t often.
When went to Myrtle Beach, we decided not to take the travel high chair. We were on vacation; we'd eat out most of the time. As it turned out we ate in a lot of the time. We spent most of our mealtimes trying to round up a child who thought eating on the fly was much more fun than the big girl chair.
We didn’t bring the travel high chair with us to Naples either. I knew we’d be eating some meals in, but I just accepted the fact that Molly would eat on the run, so to speak. And she didn’t disappoint. Having those expectations going in though, made mealtime more tolerable. She wandered around and I accepted it, and she eventually cleaned her plate. Everyone was happy.

In Myrtle Beach we had an over stimulated, underfed, sleep deprived toddler who was totally off of her daily routine. That could only mean one thing: meltdown. Yep, we had our share of those. In Naples, we had a well rested, well fed toddler that thrived on all of the stimulation of the trip. And we had no meltdowns. What a difference six months and some life lessons made.

Now on to the pictures; that’s what you really came here for, right? I have to warn you, we basically hung out at the beach and the pool, so lots of photos of those moments…kind of redundant, but cute, nonetheless.
So, here is our trip to:

This is something I NEVER see in the winter where I sky. Just seeing the sunshine and bly skies everyday made every minute of this trip worthwhile. And made me a lot less crabby than I have been in a long time.

Day 1: The Beach.

Molly gets reacclimated to the sand and surf.

Day 2: The Beach, again.

"So may shells, so little time. C'mon Mom, we'd better get shelling."

Molly's shelling strategy was more about quantity than quality. She collected bucketfuls.

Heading home with my haul.

Another thing Molly's never got tired of doing: wearing our flip flops. I don't think that she'll ever grow into these.

One of Molly's classic camera poses: the crossed leg, little lady pose.

Day 3: The Beach, yep, again.
Helping Daddy set up the beach umbrellas.
Random act of cuteness.

Day 4: The Everglades
Molly on the lookout for alligators.

"There's one over there, Daddy!"

This big guy was about 12-15 feet long. All of the alligators we saw were in the wild. We'd just pulled the car off of the road and looked over the guard rail. Voila, alligators. Surprisingly, Molly thought this was great.

Day 5 : The Pool

Actually, the pool was a daily outing. Here's our little fish getting ready to go.

No fear of the water with this kid.

We heard the infamous, "No, I do it!" statement from Molly fairly often when it came to swimming. She wanted no help from us. Her new tricks were a somersault and totally submerging herself so that she could touch the pool bottom. I don't know if I should be proud or frightened.

Day 7: The Beach
Mommy and Molly

A rare family shot, thanks to a passing beachcomber who volunteered to take our picture.

"The water is too cold. You fill up the watering can, Daddy."

"Yep, I have him wrapped around my little finger."

Day 9: J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island
I squatted down so that I could get in the shot with Molly. From that moment on, any time that I whipped out the camera, Molly squatted for the picture.

Another squat shot.
Daddy and Molly.

Day 11: Tigertail Beach, Marco Island
Hmmm, there's that squatting pose again.

And again. I'm not quite sure how to break this little habit. To quote Molly: "Oh, well."

Well, that's about it. We had a fantastic time.
Oh, by the way...we have our next beach vacation planned: The Outer Banks in early September. Anyone want to join us?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Two Year Ago Today

On February 2, 2007 at 12:47 pm our phone rang. The voice on the other end of the line said, "Hi, this is Amanda from CCAI. I have some really good news for you today!" Amanda told us that she was looking at a picture of a beautiful little girl. That girl was our daughter, Guan Hai Yan.
For about the next 10 minutes, Amanda filled us in on all of the details. She also sent an email with Hai Yan's picture. We kept checking our email during the conversation to see if the picture had arrived. It seemed to take forever.

About half way through the referral call, the email finally came and we were able to see our daughter's face for the very first time. She was simply the most beautiful thing that we have ever seen. I know that we are her parents so we are a little biased, but OH MY! That cute little mouth, perfect little nose, dark eyes, soft hair. How could you look at that sweet face and not fall completely in love?

On February 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm we sat on beach chairs in Naples, Florida watching the most incredible little girl running in and out of the waves along the shoreline. That little girl was our daughter Molly Michelle HaiYan.

She still is the most beautiful thing that we have ever seen. But now in addition to that sweet face, we are blessed to know the actual little soul that goes along with it. Molly is lovable, thoughtful, funny, enthusiastic, strong-willed, energetic, passionate, demanding and smart. In short, she is the best thing that has ever happened to us.

The journey of the past two years has been amazing and so much more than we could have ever imagined it would be. We are, and always will be, so in love with our little Molly. Good Golly!