Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lexi's First Birthday Party Date!

Talk about devine intervention...


We recieved two invitations this week for a baby's first birthday party and then a "girl's afternoon off" jewelry party. Turns out both parties are in a remote area of our county on the SAME street! Keep in mind, we have totally kept Lexi secluded almost completely to our home since a few weeks after we came home from China.

I awoke this morning worried because for the first time all week, I remembered that the little girl turning 1 was the daugher of a friend at work that Lexi just LOVED the few times I took her to my school. She literally left me and pursued David. To everyone else it was "cute", to us it was like an alarm. We realized immediately that she was NOT bonding to us nearly as much was we thought. Then we began to seek help and advice. The advice was avoid social situations as well as allowing other people other than us to pick her up or do any kind of need for her. We have been doing this every since. I rarely take Lexi out in public. We did take her to church on Easter but I kept her with us and only when she got restless, I took her to the nursery and stayed with her.

Today was a great test. We were invited to Emma's first birthday party and accepted. I decided that if Lexi still reacted to David as a caregiver we would take her home but she surprised us and was clingy among strangers. She eventually would venture out but came right back to us. The book we have been reading refers to this as "parent juice" (basically a reassurance to the child that Mommy or Daddy are there for you). Lexi would try to explore but soon retreat to us. It was exactly what we needed to see. A sure sign that she is bonding with us.

Then on the way home we stopped at the second invite but yet did not hang around very long. We knew Lexi's schedule was being totally disruppted and wanted to get her home. But she was entertaining, friendly, and pleasant. We enjoyed getting away from the house a bit and in the end came away feeling better about our bonding process. It was a good day!

A Cute LJ Story...



Okay, so last Thursday I was here alone with Lexi trying to get her through until Supper time. We were snacking on White Cheddar Cheetos. Lexi likes one per hand. I went into the kitchen and was about to give her another one until I realized she still had one in each hand. I told her, "you don't need another one.... you still have one in each hand silly!" Well, next thing I know she puts one in her mouth and is reaching for another with her free hand! I had to fork one over and then grabbed the camera to capture the moment! Silly, I know but just evidence of how intuitive our little girl is!


Then this photo was taken that night after bath time...



Look Dad! I have hair like you! (My goodness how fast her hair is growing!!! We still can't wait for pony tails!)



Friday, April 24, 2009

2 Months ago...

Lexi was placed in our arms in China. It's surreal to believe that it's already been 2 months. We also have been home 7 weeks as of tonight. Wow! Time just flies. The funny thing is that it is hard to imagine life without Lexi. It feels as if we have known her forever. We fall more in love with her everyday. I know that not every moment has been easy nor will the next ... for however long... be. But I find comfort in knowing that every day gets easier. She is very clingy with us and after being without a child in the house for so long, it is different and sometimes difficult. I'm sure she is still adjusting to us as well. Everyday I wonder if she thinks of us as parents or babysitters. At two months into our journey with her home, I find myself realizing that no amount of preparing for an International Adoption really prepares you. You dream of how the experience will be and think you'll instantly bond and all you need is love. But the truth is IT IS HARD WORK! You work every day to to make things work and no two days are the same. But in the end the rewards are so incredibly amazing! A smile here, a quirky little thing she does, the utterance of new words... the list goes on and on!

So Happy LJ Day to us! 2 months and still moving forward! When I think of the little scared Koala bear placed in our arms verses the now outgoing very demanding strong willed child we now occupy our home with, I'd much rather see the latter.

I love...
her precious smile,
her frog face (which comes less and less these days).
how she tries to sing when we play "Down By the Bay"'
how she runs to us both when we come home,
how she gives open mouth kisses (working on that!),
how excited she gets when she gets to put on her shoes,
how she smiles when you put a bow, hat or sunglasses on her head,
how she giggles when I give her kisses,
how she loves to play peek-a-boo,
how she makes the exact sound I make while hugging her giving her sugars,
her sweet voice,
how she says "night, night" and then sleeps all night!,
the way she says "PaPa" and points at my Dad's picture,
how she mimics so much of everything we do,
how she can BLOW her nose at 15 months!,
how she waves hi and bye and blows kisses,

.... there are so many things but these are favorites. I now find myself boring people at work telling them of the silly things she does. (which some will be future posts here AS I HAVE PICTURES... BUT am too tired to do all that tonight!)

So... tired as I am, I couldn't miss posting SOMETHING pictures or not on this special day. We are bonding and falling more in love with each other and becoming more of a family every day. Like I said earlier... it's a process and not one that occurs the second you get the baby. It's something we work for because we know of the rewards that we recieve. I'm trying to be honest and open to what we are going through because I think everyone who goes through this should know ahead of time... and hopefully if we are honest, open, and share our feelings we can help others be prepared. We love Lexi so much and our love grows deeper every day but there is an adjustment period and we are as normal as you can get. We have weekly conversations with our post adoption counselor and are so thankful for the support. I just feel that I need to share these things with anyone who comes across our blog so that those who follow in the IA path will be more prepared. I guess that is the teacher in me. I hope our experience and me sharing can help someone else somewhere down the road.


So with this... I can go to bed and enjoy the last few moments of our Happy LJ Day!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ah-Choo!!

The sniffles have come to the Smith household... all three of us now but it began with Lexi. Poor baby has sneezed and sneezed for the past 3 days. Yesterday she ran an low grade temperature. So far we're keeping it at bay. So... here's a story from today in pictures.


"Mommy my nose is stuffy and it's getting all red like Rudolphs."

"This is just what you need baby girl!"

"Thank you Mommy, I think I'll try!"

"That's much better Mommy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15th... Tax Season Over!!

Over 3 1/2 years ago who would have predicted that we would go get our daughter in the middle of tax season! Thankfully, Geoff works for a wonderful company that did NOT freak out and were very understanding!!! They gave him much flexibility and support. I have to say though that this week has been the worst! LJ has not seen her Daddy since Monday. I know it is only Wednesday but we have only been home 5 weeks! I've had to "live" through tax seasons (I'd guess 9 of our 11 years together) and this year was the hardest. Hard because we are just adjusting as a family and hard because most of the adjusting comes down to me. And Hard because a new baby needs her Daddy... and because a new Mommy needs a little bit of Daddy to take over. But Thankfully, we made it! I've never been so happy to see a tax season over!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Okay... just one more...

Okay... so she's even cute from the back!!




We got a video baby monitor from Shannon, Geoff's secretary, yesterday. Boy have we been tuned into Lexi-vision! We have learned so far that the child we THOUGHT just rolled over and went to sleep when we put her down has a whole different side! She flips... She flops... she flips and flops... and flips and flops and goes from one end of the crib to the other before settling down. But we see this as a good sign that she is self-soothing. Tonight we put her down and it took about 10 minutes for her to settle down and sleep and about an hour in, she woke up crying. Geoff ran a wash cloth in to her crib... she grabbed it and rolled over back to sleep. She never ceases to amaze me.





My morning discovery...



Someone is learning to undress herself!





Finally, mommy took off that big ole dress!


Mommy and Lexi's first cake. Mommy did most of the work and Lexi watched and tried a few chocolate chips.

Could not resist...



Walking along...


What's this Mommy?



I think I'll touch it....



Yikes... it is prickly! Mommy, I don't like pine cones!



I think I'll leave the pine cones for the squirrels!

Saturday Fun!


Curiosity!

Beauty!

Mommy's Sugar Baby!

Eyes of Wonder! (Or is it ... "Daddy... this is a sale flyer for Gymboree! They have the cutest outfits for me!!" *sigh*** Daddy loves to spoil his baby Lexi! Of course Gymboree always has a sale!)

Lexi and I had a fabulous morning today! It was like magic! We sang, danced, played and just loved each other to the hilt. Then naptime... the opposite child woke up cranky, moody, and just fussy. I chalked it up to cutting 5 teeth at once and just kept on a-going. We met Geoff at the church for our first family photo. Lexi did a wonderful job (or was it a fabulous photographer??). Our first photo was the one we chose. She has the cutest expression on her face! We didn't plan to order a family picture other than the free one they give you for showing up to be a part of the church directory. But Lexi's Daddy got sucked in... we now have a nice canvas family portriate coming! It will be awesome above the mantel.

After we got home, I could not resist trying to get some photos of her in her little dress. The pictures were some of my favorites. She was in not the best of moods so I couldn't get all smiles but they are Lexi. Not always smiling, sometimes serious, sometimes full of wonder, and sometimes cranky! But always lovable!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Random Cuteness







I haven't posted since Monday so I thought I'd just put up a few pictures I've taken this month. So far this week things have been okay. It's not been fun going back to work but with Mom here with Lexi I have not worried myself to death. I have been using leave early passes a lot and coming right home. I guess this will be my new "normal" after Spring Break next week.

Lexi is cutting 5 teeth right now including two molars on the top! It's amazing how fast this child's teeth are coming in and how much her hair is growing too! She amazes us with her progress every day. We are still working on the concept that dried oak leaves are not for eating! LOL!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Back to Work is Bitter-Sweet!

Ahhh... today was THE day! It's only been a month since we've been home and I had to return to work. I really, REALLY thought long and hard about trying to take another week off (after all, next week is our Spring Break!) but decided with the love and care of my Mother that I would give it a go.

I was ready (SURPRISINGLY!) by 6:30 to leave for work... yet I still clocked in two minutes late even though Lexi Jayne was still sleeping. I just didn't want to leave. I made my first call to Mom after my first class around 8:50 or so... she was up and had eaten breakfast. She listened to me talk to her on the phone and even held her own hand to the phone (mom says) to act as if she had her own phone. She knew who I was!! She smiled!! Mommy got a little "baby juice"! (I'll explain that term later in another post)

I didn't call again until my lunch break around 12:00. (Keep in mind, I was updating Geoff when I called both times to keep mom from having to talk to BOTH of us!! LOL!) She was sleeping just like normal! She is a little time clock! Her routine is easy to follow right now. I know it will change but for now, I know her just as sure as the sun rises and sets.

So this afternoon, as soon as I could leave I headed to the dog groomer to pick up Sable and Patches who were in for a long overdue doggie hair cut day. I brought them home but couldn't resist calling mom to tell her I was on my way. I told her that no way were the dogs going to interfere with my first day coming home to LJ and that they were going to be made to stay in the car until I came and got me some LJ sugar! I actually drove in the garage and they were so busy playing that they did not hear me so when I came in I surprised them. Lexi looked at me and grinned and then came to Mommy! Now after many, many years of hearing that stupid song from Lionel Richie "Dancing on the Ceiling" and even Geoff's previous version of me "falling through the ceiling" during the wait did the original words make sense... I could have danced on the ceiling at her wanting her Mommy! She is such a sweetie!!

Mom gave me the update from the day and then left us alone to continue our bonding. She and I played and played. After awhile I brought out a toy that was just given to me today from a sweet friend at work. It was in Lexi's words a "night, night" toy. It plays music like the little lamb in her crib that Sara gave us years ago. Taking into consideration her routine, I listened to her and put her in her crib with the new "night, night" toy and she quickly took her afternoon nap. And so did Mommy... after all, it was a short night as I anticipated going back to work!

Later she woke up and I got her up and we played and danced in the kitchen. Then she ate dinner. Making great eye contact with me as she ate. More "mommy juice!" and then after a bath, Daddy came home! She loves it when daddy comes home!! After some daddy time she wanted more Mommy and then more daddy ... we took turns until bedtime when it was MY turn to tuck her in. She went down easily as usual and we began to recharge for tomorrow... packing lunches.... cleaning floors... replacing toys for new ones... planning... and planning and having some mommy/daddy down time.

I could not have asked for a more PERFECT first day back to work. I know I owe so much to my Mom for making it a great day for LJ. We all did good! And now, I have to head to bed and get ready for day two... day two... ahhhh... Come on Spring Break!! Mama misses family leave already!!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Rainy Day Photo Fun!

It's been raining here for the past few days. Yesterday, Lexi and I had some photo fun! I dressed her up in an adorable dress that Cindy (my sister's very good friend) gave Lexi. She was really all smiles and the pictures are just adorable!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Just for Fun Photo Shoot
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow


Then I had another good friend (Melissa) do some practicing with PhotoShop Elements to create these! I hope she can teach me some PhotoShop tricks soon!



You can see all of Lexi's pretty dress pictures at http://lexijayne.shutterfly.com

Wink!

First of all, things have been better this week. Lexi has been more on target for us the whole week has been a lot less stressful for all of us. Well, on Tuesday I had Mom come over for a few hours so I could go grocery shopping and not take Lexi out. I have also been planning small trips like this to get her ready for when I return to work next week. Well, I noticed Lexi trying to wink at me later after Mom went home but didn't think much of it and wasn't exactly sure if she was really trying to wink. But then on Wednesday, I noticed her doing it a lot when I feed her or give her a bottle. Then it dawned on me. I called my mom and asked her just what she and Lexi had been doing while I was away. Mom just laughed and said, "we do lots of things". I said is "winking" one of them? Sure enough, Mom has been teaching her to wink. It's too cute.


video