Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I really really really want to WIN!

The sports radio station I listen to is giving away a trip for 2 to see the Milwaukee Brewers play in San Francisco in July (airfare, hotel, game tickets, tour of the stadium). In order to win, first you have to be the 14th caller when you hear a certain sound clip. They've been taking qualifiers for 2 or 3 weeks now. I tried for 1-2 weeks to qualify, maybe 2-4 times per day but I could never even get through, it was always busy. Then late last week I finally got through! Caller number.....12. So close! I got through again the same day, caller number.....11. Got through again once the next day, caller number.....11.

I tried a few times yesterday morning but it was always busy again. Then about 4 p.m. I tried again....busy, busy, busy, ring ring! You're caller number.....14!!!!! Woo hoo!

So now I'm qualified with a bazillion other people to win the grand prize. I'm sure they have well over 100 people in the running, so my chances of winning are slim, but at least now I have a chance! Jay and I could really, really, REALLY use this trip! We rarely get time out just the two of us, and there's no way we could afford something like this either. You know I'm a football gal :-) but I do follow the Brewers and while I would rather do just about anything than watch a baseball game on TV, I do enjoy watching baseball live. I've never been to San Francisco, that would be awesome.

I know there are so many more important, serious things going on around the world, but if you want to say a small prayer that I would win this trip, I would sure appreciate it! I'm not holding out too much hope, I never win stuff. But someone has to win and it might as well be ME!


This little girl will be 5 on Sunday!

Yesterday was the 4 year anniversary of the day we left for China to adopt Lindsey, and Saturday will be our 4 year Gotcha Day anniversary.

Saturday, May 24, 2008 planned and one - not so much!!!

Lindsey got her hair cut about a week ago. I've been living vicariously through her and her long hair. :-) I've always wanted long, straight hair, but that style does not look good on me at all. Her long hair was beautiful but shortly after brushing in the morning it would look stringy and the ends needed to be cut too. I thought for summer and her upcoming birthday I would get her hair cut a little bit shorter. It turned out great, she looks beautiful. :-)





Remember this from when she got her hair cut about a year ago?.....

She gave me the EXACT SAME LOOK again! That is SO Lindsey!

Allison was having fun playing with the water cooler and running around.

Now onto the unplanned hair cut - I think you can guess what I mean!!!! Background story: Allison will be transitioned to the school system for speech therapy next fall when she turns 3, but they are doing all the evaluations now before school is out for the summer. Various people from her "team" have been over to do their evals, and when the occupational therapist came out, she was actually really impressed with Allison. She didn't think she had any delays in that area. One of the things she did was have Allison try to use scissors. She did a great job! I had no idea she could use them, I know I tried with Lindsey at this age or even older and she could not work them. (Now one of Lindsey's favorite things to do is cut up old magazines and papers, etc.)

So the other day I put Allison in her high chair and gave her some paper and scissors and she was having a great time cutting up paper. She was happily doing that for over 1/2 hour! Of course when I turned my back for a bit she cut some of her hair. It wasn't a big deal, she basically only thinned it out some and you couldn't even tell really. You would think after that I would learn, right? WRONG!

Yesterday morning I put her in her high chair again with paper and scissors but this time I put her hair back in a ponytail and stayed right next to her at the computer while she cut. She was having a grand old time again. Well I got complacent and forgot and went to get their clothes ready for the day. We were going to visit daddy at work in about an hour. I came back in the kitchen to find Allison had taken her hair out of the pony tail and had cut quite a bit of hair off her left side! YIKES! This time she cut much more than last time.

The other mistake I made was giving her sharp pointed scissors. I bought each of the girls a pair of scissors at WalMart the other day and I accidentally got the sharp pointed ones instead of the blunt scissors. I think the blunt ones would have cut her hair too but maybe not so much? I don't know, but the deed is done. Just looking at her you still can't totally tell. But it sort of looks like she has a mullet! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! :-) I won't be able to pull it back in any way for a long time otherwise all the short pieces will show and she'll be almost bald on that side (or "bolt" as Lindsey says for some reason instead of "bald"). She wouldn't let me get a good picture, she kept turning her head, but you can sort of see how short it is on that side:

I think it's going to be a good year before I can pull her hair back again. Sigh. I'm thinking maybe by the end of summer I can get her hair cut into a little bob or pixie style and then go from there. There's really nothing that can be done about it right now. Maybe when she's ready for another bang trim they can fix it up a bit.

Does anyone else have a good "my kid cut their hair" story? Lindsey cut her bangs once, pretty short, but they didn't take very long to grow out again.

Have a great weekend! Keep those scissors away from your toddlers! :-)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Weeping with those who weep

Everyone knows by now about the terrible tragedy in the Steven Curtis Chapman family. I've been crying on and off all morning. I'm just so heartbroken along with everyone else. SCC has always been my favorite Christian artist before Chinese adoption was a part of their family or mine. And now of course now there is the China adoption connection. I am just so sad....I can't fathom the grief. I just have no words....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The rest of the story....

I have some other things I want to blog about, so I'm just going to finish up the rest of our trip to Allison. Thanks for traveling down memory lane with me!

November 1, 2006

At a park in Kunming - my sister Ginny holding Lindsey, me and Allison, and our guide, Helen

November 2, 2006

November 3, 2006

November 4, 2006 - In Guangzhou, someone is tired

November 5, 2006 - At Lucy's

November 6, 2006 - Sunday Night Football - Monday morning!
You KNOW I was loving that! :-)

November 7, 2006 - Last day in Guangzhou

November 8, 2006 - Coming into our local airport - HOME!

November 9, 2006 - Siblings together at last

In Guangzhou it was hot and we were in summer clothes. The day after we got home it was nice enough to go for a walk. The next day, we got this.....

That is Wisconsin for you! Despite the snow, it was great to be home! I loved both of our trips to China, and I hope to go back some day, but in my eyes there truly is "no place like home".

Thanks again for reliving my trip with me!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gotcha Day - October 30, 2006

Family of 5 (minus 1 - Ben was back home in the US)

Doesn't Lindsey looked thrilled? :-) Don't Jay and I look shell-shocked? :-) Our Gotcha Day for Allison was a totally different experience than it was for Lindsey. Lindsey's 4 year Gotcha anniversary date is coming up on May 31. I will probably blog more about it then.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

October 29, 2006

My sister Ginny, me, and Lindsey at our hotel in Beijing...

Lindsey at the Great Wall....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back to China.... my memories that is. :-)

Here we are at Tiananmen Square for the second time in our lives (that just blows my mind). It was Lindsey's first time there. :-)

October 28, 2006

Praying for China after the deadly earthquake...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! For my present, Lindsey decorated this cake for me:

She did it at the local grocery store where my son works. He had the idea for the cake which was sweet. Thanks kids!

I also got to sleep in a little bit then Jay brought me coffee in bed. The girls came in for hugs and to say Happy Mother's Day, then they all left, shut the door, and I read a book and drank a few cups of coffee in peace and quiet. :-) Took a shower then the day began. :-)

My in-laws came over for supper. Shortly after they arrived I went to get Allison up from her nap. I opened her bedroom door to find her wearing nothing, clothes and diaper on the floor. I'm pretty sure she slept like that, buck naked, because she had majorly wet the bed. Thankfully she went there (everything easily washed) and not on the floor. No picture unfortunately! :-)

I had a really nice day, although it was very bittersweet as this is the first Mother's Day without my mom. :-( Yesterday my 3 sisters and I walked in the Soleburner (5K run/walk) to raise money for cancer. It felt very good to be honoring my mom in that way and spend the morning with my sisters. We have always been close but this past year has brought us even closer and we have spent so much more time together. After the walk we went out for coffee and then visited my mom's grave.

Mom, I love you and miss you so much! Happy Mother's Day to the best mom EVER!

Happy Mother's Day to my MIL also, she is a wonderful MIL and I have absolutely no complaints. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, to those who are waiting, waiting, waiting for their little one from China especially. And Happy Mother's Day to kitty mothers (you know who you are, Wrigley and Quincy's mom!!! ~smile~)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Flashback - Oct 27, 2006

In my last post I have a picture of me, Jay, and Lindsey in our local airport on our way to China to adopt Allison. Here we are the next day, in Beijing! Happy that the long trip was o.v.e.r.!

Here is Lindsey having a meltdown on the plane right before we arrived in Beijing. Can you see why we were glad the flight was o.v.e.r.? :-) (Actually she did very well on the way there and this was the only meltdown she had on that flight. Notice I said on THAT flight. LOL)

Monday, May 05, 2008

This and That

First of all, THANK YOU to all who left such nice comments on my last post. I'm so glad I opened up and shared about this. Since I wrote, Allison said her first 2 word sentence, a very simple one, but 2 words together nevertheless - "Bye, Bapa!" (Bapa is Grandpa) She also added a word or two to her vocabulary. Tracy, I do know about the apraxia website and email group - I am a part but lurking for now since I don't even know if Allison has this. When her therapists first mentioned the word, and I did some initial research, I thought it sounded a lot like her. But now as time goes on I'm not so sure. Allison always seems a step behind her peers, but she grows and develops on a typical timeline, just as though she is 6 months younger than she is, if that makes sense. So we keep the diagnosis in the back of our mind but time will tell on that. Kit, *I* have watched the Signing Time videos and have learned from them :-) but Allison is still really not interested in TV yet at this point. (Unlike her sister, who, ahem, loves watching TV.) Anyway, thanks again!


This Saturday I am walking in a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society with my 3 sisters. As most of you probably know my mom died last July from pancreatic cancer, just 3 weeks after she was diagnosed. So this cause is very important to me. I hesitate to ask here, but I'm going to anyway. It's totally up to you if you want to help out. So far I only have 2 sponsors! If you or someone you know is affected by cancer, and you'd like to sponsor me, you can go HERE and donate. Thanks so much!


If you read the comment on my Draft Day post, then you already read this, but it's so good I have to say it again here:

Did you hear that Brett moved to the 'Twin Cities'?

YUP...He wanted to get as far away from professional football as possible. :)


We've been home from China for almost exactly a year and a half, and I still have not printed out the pics from our trip!!! I thought it was bad when it took me a year after our trip to Lindsey to print those out and get them in an album. Of course with her trip, Ben took over 1200 pictures! He didn't come on our second trip (his choice) so we don't have quite as many pictures. So what's my excuse, I don't know. But I am finally going through day by day and choosing pictures to print. I thought I would share one from each day of our trip, one per day or as I get a chance to post. As I said before, I am just so itching to be in China, so bear with me as I relive our trip to Allison. :-)

Here we are at our local airport waiting to fly to Chicago and then on to Beijing! (October 26, 2006)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

More About Allison

There is something about Allison I have never mentioned here. I just felt like it was too personal and wanted to protect Allison's privacy. But now I feel like maybe it's not so personal, and I would love to connect with other bloggers in similar situations. I hope that maybe I can encourage someone when they need it, and someone can encourage me when I need it. :-) I would also love to be able to talk about Allison's accomplishments here. So here goes:

Allison has a severe speech delay. She sees a speech therapist every other week, and on the opposite weeks she sees an occupational therapist. The latter is for some sensory issues and fine motor delays that she originally had. She has almost fully "recovered" from those delays now, but she is still behind in many ways, so she still sees the OT. Her therapists have mentioned the possibility that she has verbal apraxia but she is too young to be diagnosed yet. (Some children her age can be diagnosed already, but due to various reasons it is too soon to say Allison has this.)

I wanted to discuss "what not to say" when talking to someone whose child has a disability. If you have said any of these things to me, I am not upset with you. :-) I'm sure I have made MANY "open mouth, insert foot" comments to people going through various issues. When you've never gone through something yourself, sometimes it's hard to know what to say and what not to say.

When I tell someone that Allison has a speech delay, the most common response is:

"Oh, my (son/daughter, niece/nephew, neighbor, friend's child) didn't say a word until she was 3 and then one day she just started talking in complete sentences! Don't worry, ALLISON WILL BE FINE!"

Especially if I just shared that I was discouraged, that response is *not* helpful. First of all, it is dismissive of my feelings at the time. Second, just because said child eventually talked, that doesn't mean that my child will. Or she may, she may be fine in the end, but it may takes years of therapy to get to that point. Just please don't tell me stories of children who were "fine" in the end. It may seem like it would be encouraging, but it's really not, because again there is no guarantee my child will end up the same as the child you are talking about. Not every child with speech issues has a speech "delay". Sometimes, as possibly in Allison's case, they have a speech "disorder" and it's not a simple "fix" or not just a matter of time.

I'm not sure how I feel about this next one. I can't count how many times people have said to me, again "my son/daughter, niece/nephew, etc." wasn't talking by age 3 and someone asked me, "well have you had his/her hearing checked? My son/daughter, etc. wasn't talking and we finally had his/her hearing checked and lo and behold, he/she couldn't hear! They cleaned out her ears and now he/she talks great!" I'm sure there are many people whom it would help to bring this up, but I think *usually* if someone has been dealing with a problem for any length of time, they will have researched that subject to death and there's not much new information you can tell them. So anyway, YES, we had Allison's hearing checked shortly after she started therapy and her hearing is fine.

Another thing that drives me crazy, is when people say "Well Lindsey talks so much, she probably just does all the talking for Allison." That is just not the case here.

Or, "well she didn't hear any English for her first year of life, that's probably why she isn't talking". Lindsey didn't hear any English for her first year of life either and she had no speech issues. She started talking within a month of coming home. There are also many children adopted from China who were over a year at adoption who talk just fine. This may have something to do with a child not talking at first, but we've been home with Allison now for over a year and a half. This is not the problem.


All that said, Allison is making GREAT progress lately! She is up to about 25+ words and seems to learn a new word and/or sign almost every other day. Now I know for a typical 2.5 year old, 25 words is not much. Both Ben and Lindsey were talking in complete and sophisticated sentences at Allison's age. But considering that at Allison's 6 month follow-up meeting in January she had only 1 or 2 words, this is big. Her receptive speech gets better and better all the time too. When she first started speech therapy late last summer, she really didn't have a clue about much of what you told her or asked her to do. Now she responds properly and quickly to most things you ask of her.

Here are some of Allison's words: Mommy, Daddy, more, off, read, open, water, ball, bye, please, hi, oww, yes, eyes, potty, walk, brush, juice, baby, wash, push, shoes (she says "eh-shoe", sounds like a sneeze!), socks, uh-oh, and eat. And some of the signs she knows: more, eat, open, milk, brush, potty, drink, shoe, book, read, please, shoes, bike.

One thing about Allison's speech delay, is that every new word is such a triumph! I get so excited about every new development. It's very rewarding. Allison has such a sweet personality (although she sure can stomp her foot when she's mad, it's actually pretty comical!). She's a very happy little girl and cute as a button. She makes me laugh, and drives me nuts. LOL She is SO into everything, gets into the same things over and over and over and over until you think it's never going to end (is it???). She's been such a joy and I am very thankful she's my daughter!