Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Day In the Life of LJ

There is never a dull moment around here! Today began with Lexi deciding she was a big girl and could feed herself her oatmeal. She would not take one bite from me until I had to play tough-Mom and put her down and then try again. Ordinarily I would welcome her trying but I was trying to speed up the AM routine in order to get her Daddy's truck to the shop. We finally had a meeting of the minds and managed to get to the shop and Daddy dropped us back off at home. Later, she ate last night's dinner that was NOT appealing yesterday but was "yummm.... yummmm" today. (I'll never figure this child out! LOL!)

After her nap I came in to this precious little one...

... "Hi....!!!"
and more "hi.... "
and then ... "MamaH!"

Later we headed to the "pool!" out side the back door! Lexi thought it was hysterical to dump water on her own head!

And of course... time to stop to blow Mommy kisses!

And take an extra close look at the camera...

Then time to dump sand on her head... (mixes nice with the water from before!)

and some "cheesiness" for the camera... she has begun to "strike a pose"!!!

After cleaning up and dinner, we headed back out to check out the Very Hungry Caterpillars we are watching over... (we uncovered them from their protective netting for a closer look!)
Lexi was very interested in them but was a bit hesitant to touch them since mommy keeps saying "be gentle". I'm raising an environmental conscious little girl who will love to protect butterflies as much as I do. I love to watch her curiosity and personality emerge. It's so much fun to watch her enjoy the little things in life. We could all learn so much from the eyes of a child...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finally... Vacation Post Part 3

I know I sound like a BROKEN record when I say... blogging is harder these days! I just looked back to see that my last vacation post was on the 18th! Here it is the 29th and I'm finally getting back to the story...

Anyhow... once Geoff and Lexi returned on Thursday all was well and good in my world again. On Friday, we took Lexi to the beach where she just loved playing in the water and sand. We finally took her in for a nap and got her ready for a very special reunion picnic! As I've posted over the years that I've had this blog, I've met some very special women. We've had a few meetings over the years during the wait. My first one was Philadelphia. This is where I met the most of them but then we added a few special women along the way and now there are 14 of us who keep in touch all the time. We planned this spring to met in Amelia Island. Everyone but us was staying at the Comfort Inn. I opted to share expenses of the vacation with my sister and get 8 nights on the beach instead of 3. It worked out super well because Carolyn got to meet all my special friends and their daughters too.

We had a picnic on Friday and then later hung out at the pool at the Comfort Inn. On Saturday morning we all met at the beach and played with the girls in the sand and surf. Then had lunch at a restaurant in walking distance from us. Later we all retreated for naptime and baths and then met at an Irish Pub for dinner. (All the girls were wearing a cute green ladybug dress that was given to us by Stephe!... Thanks sweetie!) It was awesome! After dinner, we took the girls to the beach and took pictures of them in sand wearing white dresses that one of the girls made each baby! (Thanks Kathy!) The picture above was done by Stephe and emailed to us all.

On Sunday, we had to pack up to leave but we did go by the beach to say goodbye to everyone who was there. We plan to meet somewhere at least once a year as a group. This year we had 10 of the 14 of us present. Next year we hope for 100%. It was amazing to see all the beautiful girls. I've watched them all come into our group beginning with Sophia to Susan and Riz and not last but least Mei Li to Evelyn and Jesus! We all have relied on each other over the wait, during and now after the adoption. I am so blessed to have crossed paths with such an amazing group of women! That weekend will certainly be one of the highlights of our first summer with Lexi! I hope to post more pictures of our entire vacation just as soon as I can find more time (LOL!) to do it!

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Birthday Boy!

Sara and Chris had Brennen's birthday party today. Sara has been planning it for months and because it is so hot she decided to rent the pavilion at the rec department because it has plenty of room both inside and out and had air conditioning. Well... with temperatures around 100 degrees the air conditioner still had a hard time competing with the heat. It was a great party but it was hot and because it was so hot all of us missed the signs on sickness and after the party was over we realized that even after being inside, Brennen was still burning up! His fever was 102.6! Poor fellow! I look back at the pictures we took and how he was behaving and can clearly see a sick little boy! I wish we could do a do-over! When it was time for him to open presents, he laid down and tried to go to sleep. Me and Sara helped him open all of his presents. Next year, the party will be at my house indoors! I've already told Sara that I insist!

Brennen's official birthday is not until July 2 but given it is so close to the 4th of July they opted to have it the weekend before his official day. We gave him a train table for all of his Thomas the Tank Engine stuff. He loves Thomas! I can't believe our first grandson has grown to be two so quickly! He is and will always be so special to me! Of course Christopher Evan is loved just as much but Brennen has that title of being the first. Sara and Chris have beautiful boys! And we love the both so much!

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Playdate with Dj and Andrew!

This morning we got up and got Lexi ready for a very special play date! My very good friend Samantha and her family were home visiting her parents for the weekend and they wanted to meet Lexi. So we headed to a really nice McDonald's in Richmond Hill for breakfast. Well... it was play mostly! Samantha and Dan have two boys! They look almost like twins! The kids played and had such a great time! All of us adults had a great time as well. Samantha and I have endured a lot together... I was her mentor when she started teaching and we taught 5 great years together! Then she moved to Atlanta, met Dan, got married, and then we shared the trying to get pregnant time of our lives. Samantha was finally able to get pregnant and had TWO boys while we waited for Lexi! So you can only imagine the history we have together providing support, love and friendship over the years. To see our children playing together was a dream come true! It was a really special day!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Meeting New Friends and a few Pests!

Today my parents had two very special visitors! Linda and John from Charleston! I don't know how they all met but some of my earliest memories are of Linda and my Mom and all of us kids doing things together. Even after we moved to Ga. they have stayed in contact and visit each other from time to time. So this morning, when Mom called to say Linda and John were coming I wanted to make sure they got to meet Lexi. Lexi really enjoyed having another Nanny and Papa to play with and we all enjoyed a nice visit.

At one point, I dressed Lexi in our 4th of July outfit and took her outside to take a few pictures so that I could make a card to send some family. Richard was helping me and we were both watching for mosquitos BUT near then end when Lexi discovered the birdbath I thought the speck of black on her forehead was a piece of dirt... once we got back inside I quickly realized that that "dirt" was indeed a mosquito! She reacts so badly to mosquitos and they swell up so terribly. I felt just awful. I ended up using the picture but had to Photoshop the mosquito out of the picture.

It was a good time dispite the mosquito!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father's Day Gift... late but never too late!!! (Tissue warning!)

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Salt Water Pool + Formula = Yuck!

4 months ago today, Lexi was placed in our arms. so much has changed since then. As I type right now she is literally running from room to room squealing with joy! She is our sweet happy little girl! However today she made this 4 month anniversary memorable for me in more ways than one! I decided to get out of the house with her today and take her swimming at my sister's pool. I timed it around her nap thinking that I could enjoy floating in the pool during her nap and then enjoy some LJ time when she got up. Well... LJ had other ideas. She only napped for 30 minutes (are you kidding me!!!!) to her usual 2 to 2 1/2 hour nap! She wouldn't eat lunch or take a bottle. So we headed to the pool. I've said before how much she loves the water and today was no exception. She had a great time. I had a new set of "floaties" for her and she loved how much freedom they gave her (even if they are as big as she is!!) ! She actually would grab my hands and lean into the water until she fell in. Then I could turn her loose a few steps from the steps down into the water and she would "swim" to the steps. I kept telling her to close her mouth or she would not have enough water in Aunt Carolyn's pool to swim in. At one point she decided to find her first "prince". She leaned over and kissed Carolyn's pool frog. She was so impressed with his kissing "power" that she tried it again upon my request! Sorry LJ.... princes do not come for 17 month old baby girls! But your day is coming.... many, many years from now! (and even longer if your Daddy has anything to do with it!!)

Well, after a few hours, we left and went home. I thought it would be best to give her some milk before I put her down for her afternoon nap since she had not eaten or drank much before swimming. She drank about 3 - 4 ounces and then sat up. No big deal... normal Lexi when she is done until the spout of spoiled milk began!!!!!!!!! It erupted from her like a volcano! I was stunned as the warm yucky milk just kept coming and coming and coming!!! Her little dress was covered in milk... my shirt covered!... my skirt ... covered... dripping down my legs... to my flip-flops.... yucky!!! Yuck! Yuck! Finally I got up only to leave a trail of yuck all over the hardwood floor and the rug in the middle of the room all the way to the kitchen sink! I was stunned! Finally, we just started to strip our clothes off! I headed to the shower with a half naked Lexi in my arms and we took our first shower together. She thought it was great!. Me on the other hand could only think of the mess to clean up! I got her dressed and cleaned up and put her down for her nap and spent the next hour cleaning up the trail of puke from the recliner to the sink! Running the laundry... soaking up yuck... rolling up the rug.... cleaning the floor... vaccuming... more mopping... Ahh..... rest assured next trip to the pool I will make sure she drinks less salt water! She's not sick by any means tonight. It was just not a good combo for her. Tomorrow I will be using our carpet cleaner to deep clean the rug (more fun!!!).

The whole day was not worth the hassle! It took me 3 trips to load the car! One time I came back in only to discover Lexi licking the window by the door ... the window that Sable slobbers all over every day. Double yuck! (Mental note... clean the window MUCH more often!!!) It seems I spent about 40 minutes total loading/unloading and washing stuff just for our 2 hour splash in the pool! I did however have some precious time with her prior to the volcano vomiting spell. I really enjoyed her and know that she will eventually not drink too much salt water from the pool and throw up all over me. But for the next few trips.... I can guarantee I'll be more careful to NOT let her drink the pool water!!! Today was an example of the surprises of Parenthood! I'll still take it anyday over no LJ Day!

P.S. I forgot to mention that with all the "packing" for a day like today, I forgot the bathing suit for Lexi... hence the shirt and swimmy diaper! LOL!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy 17 Month's Lexi!

Lexi is 17 months old today! She started my day extra early today for some reason (waking earlier than usual as I watched her jumping around in the crib!) She was full of energy while I on the other hand was suffering from an allergy flair up! I fed her breakfast of eggs and yogurt and we headed to the living room. I was just feeling so tired and miserable that I laid on the couch and watched her play.. She was great and allowed me to let my medicine kick in. We didn't go anywhere today or do anything special. Lexi's new thing is to fuss at us in "baby talk". She's pretty good at it too. She's heard me tell the dogs they are being "bad" too many times apparently so that word is going to be squashed in our house for awhile. If we don't do what she wants now, she points her finger and says very clearly "BAD!". It's cute but not really. We don't want to raise a little bossy child. I even had to put in the the pack and play today for hitting Sable. So... is LJ about to enter the terrible twos stage??? I hope not! Usually as long as you are doing what she wants she is a complete and total joy to be with but sometimes we have to do other things and that's when fussy little Lexi appears! Like this afternoon while I tried to make dinner... she was not a happy camper as I fried hamburgers but yet once it was time to eat them she was! She is certainly full of spirit and personality and each day reveals more and more to us. She is strong willed and SUCH a great MIMIC! I was telling my Mom tonight that it is a good thing that we do not swear in our house. Otherwise, she'd be saying more than "bad" when she gets upset! LOL!

In the picture above, she is wearing an adorable Baby Gap outfit my sister bought her last week. LJ just loves to wear a hat! I put on a cute little 9 month outfit on her today after her bath that had a hat that we got from my sister's friends Jennifer and Leslie. It was adorable! She walked around the house with that hat on. Our little one loves her hats and sunglasses! She is still tiny. Most of the clothing she wears is 6-12 months in size and some of her shorts and pants are still 3-6 months. She is certainly healthy and is gaining weight but she is going to be petite no doubt about it! She wears a size 3 1/2 shoe and boy does she love her some shoes! (It's one of her favorite words!)

So at 17 months old here are a few details of note...
* last week I taught her to say "good girl"
* she makes my heart swell with love every night when she blows me kisses and giggles so sweet when I "catch" her kisses!
* She is about 19 lbs now!
* Her daddy to her is better than chocolate chip cookies
* She can say approximately 35 words (when she wants to!)
* She has changed my Mom's name of Granny to Nanny (no other grandchild has done this before)
* She gives such sweet little puckered up kisses now and just loves to tell people "bye, bye" (I get annoyed with rude check-out people who ignore her!)
* She hate the grass unless it is her idea to walk there
* She loves to play in water anywhere... bath, pool, beach, waterhose and does not care if she gets splashed!
* She loves hats and sunglasses and pretty dresses and outfits but does not care if she gets dirty (just like Mommy!)
* She is perfect!

She is ours and we are so thankful to God for every second with her!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day Geoff!

Father's Day was extra special this as everyone can well imagine. Finally, a Father's Day with Lexi home with us. She has lived in our hearts for song, that it is just still surreal that we actually have her! We didn't have a major change in our day with her but just enjoyed our time with her. I made Geoff a favorite meal of his (Garlic Shrimp with linguine) for dinner tonight. We got him a new shirt for work and gave him cards. I had a few other well intended surprises for him but we are still adjusting and finding time to do extra things is hard. I'm still going to complete the ideas soon and will share once it is done. So instead, I quickly used "Shape Collage 2.1" to make a heart shaped collage of just Lexi and Geoff. She loves her Daddy dearly! And so do I!

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary to us! Today marks 10 years since we were married! The funny thing is the second I knew we were falling in love, I made sure Geoff knew I could not have any more children. He thought he was okay with that until we babysat for my niece when Joshua was a baby. I have to tell you, it took him a while to talk me into opening that part of my heart again. I had avoided baby sections of department stores for years! Long story short, we tried IVF, domestic adoption but were ultimately led to International Adoption. The hand of God led us to Lexi. So 7 years after we began this parenting a child (aside from Sara) we can celebrate an anniversary with a child of our own. WOW! It's been a little more than 3 months since Gotcha day and each day brings a new surprise and new wonder to our life.

So tonight's post is to US... 10 years together! Tomorrow we will leave LJ with Mom overnight and celebrate only to hurry home on Sunday for Geoff's first Father's Day with Lexi. It is not his first Father's Day as he has assumed the role of Father with Sara from DAY ONE. He loves her like a biological daughter but this first with LJ is also special. She is his and mine and she is our precious little girl!

But tonight... Happy Anniversary to us! 10 years! 10 very special years!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vacation part 2


The only drawback on this vacation was limited cell phone signals and no Internet. It really soon became okay with me and was actually liberating not being so tied to my computer! The condo was nice and very close to the beach. Carolyn and I soon fell into a familiar routine of getting up, packing up for the beach and taking the few minute walk to the sand. The beach is my favorite place in the world. It's calming, relaxing, and just a pure sign that God created heaven and earth. For me, it's as close to heaven as you can get on earth. I know Carolyn feels the same.

HOWEVER... I missed LJ like Crazy Cakes! I was not nearly as talkative or outgoing and was pretty much a stick in the mud. Sorry Carolyn! One day, I think I made up for all the sleep I have missed since we got LJ. We bought a great beach umbrella and piled up under it everyday and slathered on the sunscreen. The day I rubbed SPF 50 on my sister's back, I had to tell her that I never thought I'd see the day! LOL!

I didn't take pictures. I didn't even pick up my camera. I just longed for Geoff and Lexi to return. By Wednesday night I had had enough. I texted Geoff at 11:00 pm and told him "I miss my baby and I will never leave her for this long EVER again!" He texted me back and told me he would come back Thursday afternoon. Yea!!! Thursday I was a happy camper and back to me.

On Friday, we all got up, packed and headed to the beach! LJ in tow! My life complete with LJ and Geoff. Lexi loves the beach. Her earlier hesitation on Sunday was gone. I took her in the water and she eagerly pointed out every wave as it came to us and screeched with joy when I dipped her in the middle of the waves! She cracked me up when after every dip she would say "yummm!" as she tasted the salt in the water. We looked for shells and played in the sand. She loved stomping my attempts to build a sand castle. She was precious in every way. It's such a joy to know that your child has a love for things you love. I can only imagine the joy we will have together discovering treasures on the beach and playing in the water. It was also precious to watch her walking down the beach with her Daddy holding her hand with her beach bucket dangling from her hand.

Our vacation had many purposes. We shared the expense of the condo with my sister and allowed us all to have more time at the beach. It allowed Carolyn and Lexi to bond more and gave me a few days to myself for the first time in 3 months. (Our 3rd month anniversary of returning from China was the first day of our vacation!) Plus, we were able to make to a very special reunion. That will be the Part 3 post. I know this is a lot to read but I need to record it all for Lexi. She will read this blog someday and I want her to be able to read all about our life together. As always, I try to keep up on things for her.

(pictures will be posted ASAP!)

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Play Date Today With Melissa

I woke up this morning to the sound of "Mama, Mama, Mama" and it brought a smile to my face. I had planned with Melissa to go swim with her and Matthew today but it was raining and then she called to tell me that Matthew was going to visit his Grandpa. We decided to go anyhow and visit with Melissa. We went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant where Lexi showed off her newest trick... drinking from a straw! (just last weekend at the Panda Reunion...details will follow... I asked other mom's how they got their daughters to drink from a straw!) Yesterday, LJ spent a few hours with my Mom while I spent some time with Christopher Evan and Mom taught her how to do it! Go figure!

After lunch we went back to Melissa's where she proceeded to allow Lexi to do all things her Mommy will not! She gave her her own set of keys to play with, then let her play with a real camera, and then the real telephone!!! I sat there and said, "the next thing you know, she'll be playing with the remote!"... should have kept that to myself as she headed upstairs and came back with a spare remote for LJ. It's no wonder that every time Melissa left the room Lexi would call out "Mama". We tried to teach her how to say Melissa but Mama was the best she could do... looks like LJ has found her second Mama. LOL! Hey, doesn't everyone have one? I did growing up. Her name was Marge. I loved her so much!

Lexi did a little half naked swimming on the pool steps since the sun did come out and then ran around naked in Melissa house and peed on her bathroom rug!! Geoff would have stroked! We finally left and LJ fell asleep before we even got out of town. The remote was a hit! She refused to go to bed without it so Geoff gave it to her thinking she would crash and go to sleep and we would get it later. No such luck. I had to be the bad guy and take it so she would go to sleep. So with the keys and the remote, we can put up all the toys in the house for awhile!

I had to check Melissa's blog tonight as I KNEW she would find some cute way to show some of the pictures she took of Lexi. She is awesome at digital scrapping and is my digital mentor (knowingly or not!). So I totally ripped these cute pages from her blog! (THANKS MELISSA!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back tracking for awhile...

On June 6th we left GA for week's vacation on FL. The freaky weather for this year followed us! The longer we drove the harder it rained. My sister, Carolyn, was not far behind. Her hubby, John, who was supposed to go with us postponed because he is (in the best of my non-military understanding) a rear-brigade commander something or another (sorry no disrespect intended!!... my memory and intellect leave me!) and because of 3 tragic losses in the GA National Guard that are currently deployed he could not join us. My BIL is the epitomy of a patriotism to our country and had to do what is necessary in his line of duty. We missed him all the same. HOWEVER.... the fast-forward BACK to 2008 when he stepped on the beach on Tybee Island!.... Scretch!!! The black clouds formed.... and less than 10 minutes of us setting up in a sunny spot did the bottoms drop out of the sky and thunder and lightening begin!

So... as the black clouds followed us, Geoff made the comment that John should be MADE to come to FL to step on the beach and reverse the curse! As soon as we got to our condo, the bottom fell out and it rained like cats and dogs!!!

During this time we learned that #1: the condo had two stories!! Yikes! A toddler hazard! and #2: our cell phone signals just totally 100% stunk!!! and #3: because we had no cell phone signal... we had NO internet as well!!!

Our BARGIN condo was challenging from the start... and did I mention that the coffee table was glass??? We quickly disassembled that thing for the safety of LJ!

WELL! As soon as the rain stopped and it cleared pretty good, I announced that we should take LJ to see the beach! Well, I guess all Mama's have ideas of how things things will go so I got out the stroller and we all gathered our shoes unaware of the PUDDLES OF WATER ALONG THE WAY!!! Our short 2 minute walk to the beach was paired with puddle jumping skills! I ended up taking off my shoes and at the last minute we ditched the stroller but it was too late. (I'll explain later!)

Lexi took one look at the beach and was thrilled! We showed her shells, sand, and surf and were just thrilled with her curiosity! We didn't spend too much time because it was late and we needed to eat dinner. So we headed back to the condo and made our way to Fernandino Beach. We ate dinner at Brett's and Lexi did great! About the time the bill came, as usual LJ became restless and she and I took a walk. We went down to the docks and looked at birds and fake sharks and then headed back. I took ONE look at Geoff and knew something was wrong.

Screech!!!!! ..... okay remember the beach visit with the stroller??? He twisted his back and pulled a muscle that "froze" up during dinner!!! He was in pain! I could see it behind the silly grin but it was not my Geoff! Carolyn had no idea. He finally admitted that he had pulled a muscle. We walked around the downtown area for awhile but then headed home. The longer the evening went, the worse his back felt!

Lexi on the other hand was having a hard time adjusting to the new surroundings. She wimpered every time we put her down. It was understandable. We have only been home exactly 3 months to the day when we leave home and go to a strange place for her. We all did what we could to help her adjust. We blocked off the stairs and gave her as much one on one time as she needed. Fortunately, she is a "creature of habit" and she went to bed easily! Our girl LOVES her sleep just like her mommy!!

We awoke on Sunday morning and poor Geoff could barely get out of bed!! It took awhile and he was in great pain! Little LJ could not understand why her ever-present Daddy could no longer pick her up! To speed this along, Geoff agreed easily to go to the Urgent Care on the Island. He felt terrible that he was so useless to everyone! I drove him and for the first time left her with someone other than my Mom! I do trust my sister and because we had all visited the beach the day before thought nothing of the two of them going down to the beach. I started to gather sunscreen and towels and floats... only to be told bluntly by my sis that in no way would she take LJ to the beach without US! She said "you waited 3 years for her and I will NOT go without you!". I was thinking at the time that LJ knew her and that she knew LJ and that it would be okay. I guess no two people think alike.

When we finally make it back to the condo with meds for Geoff, my sis was sitting at the top of the condo stairs dozing off as she awaited us to come home. SHe knew from all of our conversations that LJ tends to want to nap about at 11:00 am so when she started to rub her eyes, she put her in the pack and play. LJ went right to sleep! But Carolyn stayed at the top of the stairs to make sure LJ did not get out and fall down the stairs. Now that's an Auntie on Duty!!!

Later in the day, we took her to the beach and LJ just loved the waves and the sand! We have a gazillion pictures of it! I felt so bad that every move Geoff made gave him pain. He did well and did NOT complain but it was hard for him. So... by Monday AM we decided he should go back to GA and because LJ was so out of sorts, she went with him to stay with her Nanny for a few days.

That was last Monday... the rest will continue ASAP.... along with pictures of our adorable little LJ!

This is one of my favorites... one day I will scrapbook it... It captures the pure wonder of a new experience. Wonder.. pure and simple. (That or her thinking... "wow, what a BIG BATH TUB!!"

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New Look!

YES! But can't take credit! I asked my dear friend Melissa to have her way and give the blog a new look. (THIS MORNING!!!.... and by TONIGHT... new look!) She is a precious friend! I need to work on a side bar of blogs we follow with her but blog address is http://thesandssidebar.blogspot.com/. Melissa is my partner in crime with digital graphics addiction! Although, I think she is worse than me at the moment mostly because Matthew is older and Lexi is so young and so new to us! Melissa is my "teacher" for Photo Shop Elements and many other technological things!

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Busy Summer

I am going to get caught up on this blog SOON! But in the meantime... I've uploaded pictures from the last 2 weeks on our Shutterfly site. (http://lexijayne.shutterfly.com/) We've been on vacation and having a Panda Reunion and all kinds of things!! Hopefully tomorrow I'll get some news up!