Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Celebration

The last day of school calls for a celebration, don’t cha think? And what better way to celebrate than with ICE CREAM!

Well, frozen yogurt actually, but you get the point.

We joined Molly’s good friend, Allison and her mother (who is my good friend, Kim) at a yogurt shop where you build your own sundae. Was it a hit? Of course it was!

Allison, Sam and Molly smiling for the camera…a requirement to fulfill before getting their yogurt.IMG_9122

Molly took no time in getting through her sundae.IMG_9129

After yogurt it was time for a little fun. And a lot of pictures. Because we are mothers.That’s what we do.

Sam and Molly get ready to draw on the chalkboard.IMG_9131

Molly now likes drawing people with hands that have all five fingers. In order to do this, the hands get really big in proportion to the body. Love it!IMG_9132

My friend Kim had summer goody bags for the kids. Molly couldn’t wait to dig in to see what she got.IMG_9133

Giving Kim a thank you hug!IMG_9134

Allison and Molly sharing some love.IMG_9137

The great thing about Molly’s friends is that they not only tolerate having Sam around, they really love him. Warms my heart.IMG_9140

Mom and her kids.IMG_9146

Sam licking the last bits of yogurt off his lips.IMG_9148

Told you we were going photo crazy. Everyone needed photos taken with everyone else. Kim and the kids…IMG_9149

The kids with each other…IMG_9153

…and one last shot of me and my babies. IMG_9160We are soooooo looking forward to summer.

And more yogurt.

Or ice cream.


Last Day of Kindergarten


Where did that year go?

Back in September, my little baby was only reading words. Now my big girl is reading books.

Back in September, my little baby was writing her letters, her name, and a few favorite words. Now my big girl is writing stories and creating books.

Back in September my baby could count to 100 (on a good day). Now my big girl can add, subtract and even do a bit of multiplication. She can even do story problems, for goodness sake!

Back in September, my little baby was the new kid on the block with only a few friends. Now my big girl has more friends than I can count.

Back in September, my baby had never set foot on a  school bus. Now my big girl rides the bus like a seasoned veteran. She even understands that the back of the bus is the coolest place to be (luckily there are only kindergarteners and first graders on the bus or I would be very worried!).

Back in September, my baby was an only child. Now my big girl is big sister.

I do enjoy seeing Molly grow, learn and become more independent. I love having conversations with her at a more complex level of understanding. I marvel at the creativity and imagination that she has developed. And I definitely take great pleasure in having a child that is old enough to help empty the dishwasher, clean her own room and take out the trash!

But I also miss my baby. I guess all parents do. I’m not sure why. Babies are a lot of hard work.

Still there is just something sweet and special about that stage of life that makes it hard to say goodbye. Sigh.

Time marches on, however, and my baby is growing up. See for yourself:

Molly on the first day of Kindergarten: August 2011IMG_6538

Molly and Max on the last day of Kindergarten.IMG_9125

Molly gets on the bus one last time as a Kindergartener…IMG_9127

…and gets off as an official First Grader. At least according to her.IMG_9128

She’ll still be my Kindergartener until she goes to school in the fall! I’m in no hurry!

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Just Keep Doing It

Do you ever keep doing something year after year simply because you started doing it? I mean you kind of want to stop doing it, and there is no good reason to keep doing it, but because you’ve done it so long you are compelled to do it again.

Well this is THAT post.

You see, when Molly was little I was so excited about shopping for new baby clothes that I rushed right home and blogged about it. I mean, who wouldn’t? (Don’t answer that. It’s supposed to be a rhetorical question. If you answer, I may feel even crazier than I already do.)

Molly got older, shopping became routine. But somehow I kept posting about new clothes because it was what I always did. Shop. Blog. Repeat.

Well here I am five years later and twice each year I am still blogging about new clothes. I am no longer excited about kids clothes, and really have nothing witty to say about them.

But I am posting more pictures. Because I started doing it along time ago. And I kept doing it. And now I just can’t figure our how to stop doing it.

So here they are:

The Spring and Summer Collection of Molly and Sam.

Try to contain your excitement.

Molly got all new socks and underwear this year.IMG_9086Can you believe that I am posting pictures of socks and underwear on my blog? Me neither. Somebody stop me!

New dresses that look remarkably similar to old dresses.IMG_9087


Cute tops and shorts.IMG_9092IMG_9097

Bicycle shorts to wear under skirts and dresses because modesty is important at our house. Even though I already posted pictures of the underwear.IMG_9099

New bathing suit. A summer staple.IMG_9100

4th of July outfits. Now those are kinda cute and interesting because I now have 2 kids to dress all matchy-matchy.IMG_9102

Bathing Suit and Rash Guard for Sam. Who is afraid of swimming pools.IMG_9106

Adorable overalls! I guess the baby things still do excite me!IMG_9108


Shorts and Tees. Boys are sooo easy.IMG_9111




PJs and socks.

IMG_9123With all of the pink princess stuff Sam has had to endure, I got his some all-boy pajamas. Their ain’t nothin’ girly about sculls and crossbones. Arg!

Overpriced kids footwear.IMG_9721

Boom. There it is. Spring and Summer clothes.

And you’ll see even more in the fall.

Unless someone can find a way to keep me from doing this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Solely Sam

I’ve been wanting to write a post devoted solely to Sam for quite some time. But it feels so overwhelming. I don’t feel that I can smith together just the right words to accurately and completely describe this incredible, dynamic little boy.

Words are so inadequate and they feel so limiting.

But I’ll give it a try.

I guess I’ll start by saying that when we adopted Sam I was woefully ignorant about all things boy. Growing up, I had a sister. My only child was a daughter. I had a whole bunch of friends who also had daughters. Heck, even my pets were females. what to expect from a boy.

I was in for so many pleasant surprises.IMG_7374

Personality  Sam is laid back, easy going and almost always full of joy. He looks for reasons to smile and laugh and is just naturally happy. He has never met a stranger and charms just about everyone he meets. His infectious personality makes everyone around him just a little happier.

Sam bounces and skips and hops and jumps wherever he goes--he never walks. He will jump off of anything and has no fear of trying new things. He oozes self-confidence. He loves to follow Molly and copy everything she does. And he holds his own while playing with all of her six year old  friends.

I never expected a boy to be cuddly. I thought boys were too busy boys things like throwing rocks and wrestling with Daddy to care much about cuddling. But Sam is a cuddle bug. He thoroughly enjoys snuggling and being carried. He even jumps for joy when I pull out the Ergo baby carrier.  He loves to kiss and be kissed and he makes this momma feel so loved.

Sam does have his moments…he is two years old after all. He can pitch a fit with the best of them. When he wants his way he will crouch down in a squat then hold the squat while he jumps up and down screaming. I find it entertaining and even amazing to watch. I mean how can you jump up and down while holding a crouched position?

Sam will usually burn himself out pretty quickly. I just laugh…is that all you got? I’m used to Molly, who can go on for hours. A few  minute tantrum seems like a breath of fresh air.

Sometimes the tantrum will last longer. In that case I will scoop Sam up and make him sit in a chair for maybe 30 seconds. He screams the entire time, but as soon as I pick him up he nuzzles in my neck and all is good. Seriously, it’s that easy.

Growth When we adopted Sam, he measured 31.5” and weighed 24 pounds.Six months later he is 33.5” and weighs 26.5 pounds. He’s not breaking any growth records and is still on the small side, but his growth curve is good and we think that he is the absolutely perfect size. He fits well into 18 month clothes, although I am buying 24 month/2T to get a little more wear out of them.

Sam loves his clothes. He gets excited when he gets something new and has to go show them off to everyone around. But he gets equally excited when you pull out one of his old favorites like his Doggie PJs or his t-shirt covered with all kinds of trucks.

Sam’s feet are very big for his size. When China sent me his foot measurement I figured it was a measuring error. No way could a kid that size be wearing a size 7 shoe. I was so sure that I brought size 6 shoes to China, figuring they would still be too big. Wrong. He wore a size 7 on Gotcha Day and is almost ready for size 8. Little guy, big feet!

Eating While we were in China, my travel group gave Sam the nickname of The Garbage Disposal. This name partly reflected the way he ate--with a bunch of chewing, grinding and food flying everywhere--but also reflected the quantity of food that he could put down. This hasn’t changed.

Sam eats more than Molly on any given day. Some days he eats more than me. He never eats more than Dad! It’s amazing to me that he has only gained two pounds as

His favorite foods are pizza, macaroni and cheese, waffles, yogurt, watermelon and ice cream. He also loves anything sweet. Unfortunately, he came to use with several cavities so we really have to limit the sweet stuff and brush his teeth a lot!

It took Sam a while to really appreciate American food. He was eating solid food in China and definitely had a palate for it. Slowly but surely he adapted to a more American diet, however he loves it when we go out for Chinese. He gorges himself. His favorites are steamed buns (just like his Mommy!) and these little shrimp and scallion dumplings things. Of course noodles and rice also rank up there pretty high.

And can I just say that the drooling has finally ceased! The bibs have been put away and I can actually see the shirts that my son wears each day. Hallelujah!

Sleeping The two things that Sam excels at are 1) eating, and 2) sleeping. He is by far the easiest child that I have ever seen when it comes to sleep. He needs to be cuddling me in order to fall asleep (darn, I hate that Smile!) but it always takes him less than 5 minutes until he is out cold. Put the boy in a horizontal position and it’s lights out. He sleeps 10-11 hours each night and takes a 2-3 hour nap each afternoon.


Sleep issues can be so difficult, especially for parents who are pushing 50 pretty darn hard. We are so lucky that Sam is a sleeper and pray that he stays that way!IMG_8787

Speech/Sign Language Because of his cleft, Sam can’t say too may words yet. He is great with vowel sounds and with the letter M. His first word was Mama--be still my heart! It was so incredible to finally hear that word come out of his mouth on April 10, 2012. Yes, I di mark the day on the calendar!

Sam has lots of other words, too. You just have to live with him and have a lot of context to understand them. But at least he is trying. In the past month he has really begun to imitate the intonations of our speech, even though he can’t pronounce the words exactly right.

Most of the consonant sounds are difficult for Sam as the air needed to generate sounds goes out through his cleft and nose rather than through his lips. We have discovered that if we pinch his nose closed, he can make new sounds. He was so proud when he clearly said baby and baba (Chinese for Daddy….or poop depending on the tone!) He will now pinch his own nose and say words. I cried the first time he did this. My heart was so happy for him!

Although intelligible speech is still a ways off, Sam is a signing whiz kid. He has over 60 signs now and uses them all of the time. He will even put several signs together to get his message across. I usually only have to show him the sign once or twice and then he has is it down and never forgets it.

Sam's most used signs are sister and ice cream. The two things he wants the most. One of them he gets a lot, the other only once in a while. Can you guess which one is which? I bet you can! He continues to be undeterred and asks for ice cream several times a day!

Playtime Sam is all boy. Even if he plays with all of his sister’s pink toys! He loves balls. He loves to throw them. He loves to catch them. He loves to bounce them. He loves to kick them. He loves to roll on top of them. He loves big exercise balls and tiny little super balls. He’s never met a ball he didn’t like~

He is also very physical, jumping off of anything he can climb. I am surprised that we haven’t been to the ER yet, although I know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of time.IMG_9084

Sam runs. Everywhere. I don’t think he knows how to walk. At least I’ve never seen him do it. He loves to chase and be chased.

Sam adores playing with his sister. It’s nice to have Molly and Sam be playmates, entertaining each other during the day. In my fantasy world, I thought that I might actually get stuff done around the house during these times. But I am usually doing one of two things: watching them play together and thinking how lucky I am to have two great kids or I am breaking up arguments and settling turf battles wondering why I ever decided that I needed two kids.

Routines Sam thrives on routines. He likes to know what to expect and is always ready for the next step, as long as we stay in our normal routine. He knows that bath is followed by lotion and then pajamas and then his lip massage (to reduce the scarring). If we miss a step, he quickly reminds me!

He is also very linear. He loves to put like objects into lines, whether it is blocks, dining room chairs or food on his dinner plate, like things go in lines. IMG_8739

In a similar vein, pairs must always be together. Sam goes around the house collecting shoes and lines them up in pairs.IMG_9059


I never have to worry about closing closet doors, or kitchen cabinets, or shutting drawers,or even pushing in chairs. Sam’s sense of order compels him to do all of those things for me. Seriously a big help because I am always leaving things open or undone. Now I have a shadow to complete my tasks for me!


Gosh, there is so much more I could say. Want to say. I know that this sounds like one big love fest. It is. We  are head-over-heels about this little guy. If it sounds like it’s almost always sunshine and puppy dogs with Sam, well then I’ve been successful. Because it truly is.

I worried about adopting a young child—let’s face it, we’re old. I worried about adopting a boy—so out of my comfort zone. I worried about adopting a special needs child—could we hand all that it entailed?

All of my worries we unjustified. Sam is a joy and such an easy child to care for and to love. We are blessed to call this child our son. Truly a gift from God. And we are grateful that he is ours!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

China Friends Play Group Kicks Off the Summer

With Sam’s surgery and all of the other things on our hectic schedule we were unable to attend the last few Mandarin classes. We even missed a really fun playgroup with the China Friends. Which I find heartbreaking, because I enjoy them every bit as much as Molly.

Luckily, we were able to make it to the most recent playgroup. Although this is Molly’s group of friends, Sam tagged along and enjoyed being in the thick of things.

This ‘kick off to summer’ took place at a local park. The girls played, had a scavenger hunt, made crafts and had lots and lots of yummy snacks. What’s not to like about that?

Here’s Sam enjoying the park.IMG_9065

Here’s Sam sliding on the curly slide.IMG_9066

Here’s Sam climbing the play structure.IMG_9067Wait a minute….this was suppose to be a post about Molly’s playgroup!

Okay, now we are back on track! Here’s Molly and one of her teammates on the scavenger hunt.IMG_9068

It was a seriously hot day, but the girls gave it their all and found everything on their list.IMG_9069

Luckily, their was some nice cool juice as a reward.IMG_9070

Oh, and a cupcake.IMG_9071

Molly loves her some cupcakes.IMG_9072

Oh, yes she does!IMG_9073

Other members of the playgroup were also enjoying the day. Can these girls get any cuter or more sweet?IMG_9074



Sam snuck in to get some snacks. Of course. The boy was born to eat.IMG_9077

We must have been in need of some socialization because we were the last to leave the park. We hung out with Avery and her mom for about an hour after everyone left.

Molly, Avery and Sam watching a movie on the iPad. At the park. Instead of playing on the playground. Something seriously wrong with how technology has taken over our lives. IMG_9078But on the upside, it kept them occupied while my good buddy Christine and I caught up!

Welcome Summer! So glad that you are finally here!