Thursday, August 28, 2008

LIL EXPLORER







ALWAYS BITING THOSE NAILS


TIME FOR A HAIRCUT!


HURRY UP MOM! I'M TIRED OF SITTING!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I WON A MAJOR AWARD!

I've never won a blogger award before. I feel soooo special cuz I won TWO! I won, I won, I WON!! (remember "A Christmas Story"?)



The Brillante Award is from a wonderful blogger friend, Sharon, who recently adopted a BEAUTIFUL little girl, Bailey, from China. Sharon is an awesome encourager and she always knows how to lift my spirit. Thank you Sharon for thinking of me! She said this award is for blogs who made her 'think, laugh and cry' and is for 7 recipients. I give this Brillante award to:

1. Wendi: who has adopted 3 gorgeous siblings from Colombia and always has a very inspiring message or funny moment with her family.
2. Kayce: who is waiting to adopt a daughter from China and is full of life.
3. Adrienne: who adopted a handsome little boy from Russia and who I admire for her strength and perseverance.
4. Amanda: who has such a positive outlook and interesting tales of their missionary travels.
5. David: Amanda's hubby who is a good friend and has grown so much in his relationship with Christ and has many inspiring messages.
6. Michael and Carrie: who recently adopted from Russia and are always encouraging
7. Mark: who is a good friend and has thought provoking posts and great photos of their two adopted boys from Taiwan and Vietnam.



Beverly gave me this next award which is based on creativity, design, interesting content, and contribution to the blogging community. Bev is a witty, "not afraid to tell it like it is" type of person and I love reading her interesting posts. She also has a beautiful, creative daughter who has the most interesting conversations! Thanks Bev for giving me this award. So now, I give this award out now based on the following...
1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of Artey pico blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) To show these rules.

1. Tiffany's Blog: Tiffany takes great photos of...everything! And she has two beautiful kids adopted from China.
2. Amy: Amy is an AMAZING photographer and I wish SO much we lived closer to her! Her specialty is babies!
3. Lori: Lori's photos look like something out of Southern Living or Vogue. Everything she does is beautifully arranged and a result of so much thought and love. I admire her blog!
4. Chanda: Chanda is a good friend and has many creative adventures with her 3yr old and family!
5. Sam: Sam is Chanda's hubby and is my Mac Geek friend who is also a very talented artist!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

RETRO FUN



I saw this on a friend's blog so thought I'd try it. If you go to Yearbookyourself.com you can upload your photo and see what you'd look like as a teen back in the day. This is what I might have looked like the year I was born, 1968. Below is the real me as a teen in 1986. The photos aren't that great because I photographed them through plastic.

HIGH SCHOOL 1986


DATING 1988

Friday, August 22, 2008

FUTURE PROCTOLOGIST

Update: Just so you all know...Nate says "Butt" for "Bellybutton". He'll pull up his shirt, point to his bellybutton and say "Butt!" Since Harvard doesn't have a bellybutton (obviously), he points to other parts of his anatomy, yes, the obvious one AND his behind...which I suppose looks somewhat like a bellybuttton to him, and proudly exclaims, "Butt!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

THE NATESTER


These are exciting times with the Natester. He is doing and accomplishing new things almost daily. It's so fun to watch and wonder, "What's next?" (aside from the crayon graffiti...that wasn't too fun to scrub walls). We've taught him how to fold his hands on the table and sit there for a minute or less to get the wiggles out. I just say, "I want you to fold your hands and get some self control while I do this" and then he'll do it. He's using two word sentences now like, "Need help" or "Love you" or "Happy People!" (that's from a local commercial for "Express Flooring...the Happy Home People"). He's using more signs and also saying the word for things that I didn't realize he was getting. Those Baby Einstein dvds are really helping him learn his words and associate them with objects. He's learning how to pretend play instead of just stacking or building things. Lately, he's been carrying around his toy cowboy gun and he'll say "Bang! Bang!" and pretend to shoot it. He's also playing more with this trucks and cars like you would imagine a little boy would. In the past, he wasn't too interested in them. I've also caught him trying to sing with me. 
In fact, he's recognizing and putting things together so quickly, I'm having a hard time keeping up with him. He can climb into and out of his booster chair too and is learning how things work and function, more quickly than he used to. It's funny to have a conversation with him because he'll babble on, but he'll point to something like he's talking about it and use pauses or breaks between words along with other hand and facial gestures. It's hilarious because even though I can't understand what he's saying, he obviously has something specific in mind!
I'm really enjoying this learning and development phase......he's just so darn cute to watch!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

THE WRITINGS ON THE WALL

A few days ago Nate got into an art box while in Room Time. He just dumped all the contents out but that was it so I picked up everything and put it back where he couldn't reach it......at least I thought I did.

Today, when Room Time was over, I walked into his room and saw that he was playing with his toys. I noticed he had scribbled on a cardboard box with a red crayon.

At first I thought, "Oh no! I must have overlooked that when I was cleaning up his art box."

Then I thought, "Wow that's really good that he just colored on the cardboard".

Then when I turned around, I saw it..............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!







Nate decided the cardboard canvas wasn't adequate so he began displaying his artistic talents all over the walls, door, his dresser, our suitcase.....basically anything BESIDES the box.

So, to sum it up...we were BOTH punished today. Nate, because he has to learn sometime that it's unacceptable to color on walls. Me, because I get to spend the afternoon on an intimate date with Mr. Magic Eraser since I was careless and left a crayon within his reach. ARGH!

Here's another photo for fun of Nate at the Cracker Barrel. He prefers to do things the more complicated way. ha!

Monday, August 18, 2008

STEM CELLS

I just saw this very interesting segment on the news about Cord Blood Stem Cells. Basically, these are stem cells taken from the umbilical cord after a baby is born. The cells are frozen and can be used to treat children or adults for various things like cerebral palsy, brain injuries, chemo treatments, etc. There are private banks where these are stored but these are very expensive so now they are encouraging public banks. Usually these cells are thrown out as waste. Please note...these are NOT embryonic stem cells....they are stem cells from the umbilical cord after a birth.

I don't know much about this so I started doing a little research. Here's some info I found from a website public cord blood bank

Are cord blood stem cells different than other types of stem cells?

Yes. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are the "youngest," safely available stem cells and they are the product of another miracle - a live birth. Freezing these cells essentially stops the clock and prevents aging and damage that may occur to the cells later in life. Another source of stem cells, embryonic stem cells, has been at the heart of heated debate. Currently, embryonic stem cells are not being used to treat humans. A third category of stem cells is adult stem cells, such as those found in bone marrow. Adult stem cells serve very specialized roles in children and adults and are not as proliferative as those found in cord blood.

What is cord blood?
Cord blood, which is also called "placental blood," is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth and after the cord is cut. Cord blood is routinely discarded with the placenta and umbilical cord. Your baby's umbilical cord blood is a valuable source of stem cells, which are genetically unique to your baby and family.

What are stem cells and how are they used?

Stem cells are the body's "master" cells because they create all other tissues, organs, and systems in the body. The stem cells found in cord blood are the building blocks of your blood and immune system and most readily replicate into:

Red Blood Cells - which carry oxygen to all the cells in the body,

White Blood Cells - which fight infection, and

Platelets - which aid in clotting in the event of injury.

There are three sources where stem cells are commonly found, they are:

Bone Marrow,

Peripheral Blood (the blood that circulates through your body), and

Umbilical Cord Blood.

Another website I found is: http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org/ Apparently these cells can also be used for transplants in people other than the donor. It's less successful than if it were the donor themselves, but still available. I thought this was all very interesting information. Have any of you heard about this or have other links to this info?

DON'T LET THE PIGEON STAY UP LATE



This is Nate's FAV book written by Mo Willems. It's hilarious and a great read, especially when you add all the drama to it. Nate was reading to himself just a minute ago and adding all the appropriate voice dynamics as he turned the pages. I tried to catch it on video but wasn't fast enough. Mo has other books he's written and another blogger friend turned me on to them. He's also done shows for Sesame Street and other things...a funny, talented artist! Check out his web at: www.mowillems.com

SMALL TOWNS OR BIG CITY?

Thanks everyone for the very interesting comments on my last post! It made curious to know how many of you are from small towns or grew up in small towns vs. cities. I grew up in Phoenix and my first experience living in a small town was after we got married. We graduated from ACU in Abilene, TX and although the town was approx 100,000, to me it felt more like 10,000! Growing up in a city of over a million people is very different.

For one, you don't say "hi" to everyone you see...only to people you know. If you do that in Phoenix, people look at you weird and wonder what you're up to. In Abilene, EVERY person I passed at school, in the mall, in a store, wherever..said "Hi". It took a long time to get used to and I remember when my parents came up for our graduation, a girl passed me and said "Hi" and my mom asked, "Do you know her?" I said "No, that's just what they do here." Nothing wrong with it or with Phx....just different ways of doing things in different areas. When we lived in L.A. area for a couple of years, I could not get used to people staring. People are not afraid to make eye contact in the different burbs and I don't think I ever got used to that. In Phoenix, you might look around but you didn't hold someone's gaze. If you did, it usually wasn't for a good reason...like if you cut in front of someone and they gave you "the look". I did notice that people didn't honk much in L.A. (unless you had Arizona tags). One of my co-workers told me that was probably because they didn't want to get shot! She was kidding....I think.

When we got together with several young couples in Abilene, the guys would go off and do one thing and the girls would hang out in the kitchen or other area and talk about "girly or mommy" stuff. It was different if it were just 2 or 3 couples but when you got a big group together, guys and girls would go off and do separate things. In Phoenix, couples did things together at someone's house...played cards or other games or watched sporting events or just talked. This happened every time you got together, not just at holiday parties.

In smaller towns, everyone knows everyone's business. Our secluded neighborhood in Tucson is like that too and it drives me nuts. I'll take my dog for a walk and someone will say, "Oh! I saw you out there doing this and that the other day or I heard blah blah blah about you (how they knew this "blah blah" I'm not really sure). I'm not used to people knowing or commenting on everything I do and my instant "city mentality" kicks in. I guess I just mind my own business and assume other people are minding there's but not every place is like that. People also don't live in neighborhoods longer like they used to. We knew almost everyone on our block, growing up, but that's not always the case in the city anymore. And the block we grew up on isn't near as nice or safe as it used to be.

There are a lot of nice things about small towns but I'm used to the city and that's where I'm most comfortable. I like churches that have 1000 or more attendees, the bustling crowds at the malls and movie theaters, city lights and places that are still open past 9pm, everyone doing their own thing. Don grew up in small towns and cities so he's adapted to both. I can see how cities are just as daunting to people from small towns too (after living in a couple). Tucson is border line small to me and they just hit the one million mark. However, we live on the nw outskirts of town so it feels smaller. If they had better freeways, we'd travel to the other parts of town more!

Do you live in a small town or city? What do you like or dislike about them?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

WHAT DO YOU THINK??????

I found out that the mom who enjoyed mothering Nate babysits several kids every day and that's what she's used to doing. I also noticed that those who felt I was overreacting, deal with kids on a daily basis so they also don't think twice about it.

I, on the other hand, do not deal with kids daily so it is odd to me when a total stranger decides to play "mom" to my child when I am right there to help him myself, if needed. If I had stepped away from the table or had left him in a class or nursery, that would be different.

Also, if it were someone I knew, that would be different, and I would probably not hesitate to help or clean up another friend's child, but I would not do it to a stranger's kid without asking them first. And she didn't just wipe his face off...she continued to instruct him on his eating and drinking and cleaning as though I were not sitting right across from him. It was not as though I had other children to corral...I was simply eating my pizza and watching this strange lady tell my kid how to eat, hold his drink, wipe his face, hold his plate..... and mind you, Nate is more than capable of doing all this by himself..yes even wiping his own face. Call me old fashioned but I do believe it's polite to ask first if the other mom is sitting right in front of you, and you do not KNOW them.. Granted...I know the lady was not trying to be rude or insulting...she simply did not think to ask me if I would mind if she assisted my child. I wouldn't have been so annoyed if she had. To be honest, I think I'm more annoyed with myself for not speaking up and saying something like, "It's ok, he's fine. I'll take care of him in a minute, thanks."

In fact, I just had a conversation with another friend who recently gave birth and she was miffed when someone she knew of (but not well), picked up her baby and walked off, without asking her first or even telling her where they were going (and no it was not family). We had a well meaning couple who took Nate's hand and led him to the church playground without telling us first and I was in a panic trying to find my child. We've had other instances where well meaning people have given things to Nate that we do not allow him to have (like M and Ms, cookies, KoolAid), WITHOUT ASKING US FIRST.

So....to spark a lively debate....what are your thoughts on all this? What are your pet peeves when it comes to your children? Should people ask before they pick up your baby/child, give them things, or play "mom" if they're strangers and the mom is right there in front of them? Have you had a situation where something like this happened to you and how did you handle it?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

FIRST PARTY

Nate went to his first birthday party this week. I think I was more over stimulated than he was. The whole thing was a blur of kids and presents and arcade games with whirring sounds and blinking lights....and that was just at Peter Piper Pizza! I think I'll wait to go there when my kid(s) are old enough to entertain themselves. It was too crazy trying to talk to my friends and keep an eye on Nate. Or maybe I'm just older. ha.

Nate sat on the bench and a little 5 yr old girl sat next to him. After awhile, she got up to play and her mom remained on the bench next to Nate. There wasn't any room before that so I sat across from him. Then to my surprise, this lady started "mothering" Nate! She kept wiping his messy face and helping hold his drink and on and on. I was surprised to find that it was EXTREMELY annoying to me because I kept thinking.."Hello! I'm his mom and I'm right here!" If he needed my help I would offer it but I'm not going to totally baby him. I would never have done that to her child with her sitting across from me and it amazed me that she didn't even hesitate...especially since I had just met her at the party! Finally I had enough and got up to sit next to Nate (there was a spot open at that point) and took over. Geeeeeez!! Here's some photos below:

HAPPY KIDS LOADED WITH SUGAR AND CARBS


THIS LITTLE GIRL KEPT STARING AT NATE AND FINALLY ASKED, "IS HE CHINESE?"


THEY ENDED THEIR STAREDOWN BY DIVING INTO THEIR PIZZA


NATE LOVED SKEEBALL!


RIDING A MOTORCYCLE


TATTOO HE GOT FROM PETER PIPER....MY LITTLE WILD MAN!

IN GOD WE TRUST

Here's your chance to let the media know where the people stand on our faith in God, as a nation. NBC
is taking a poll on "In God We Trust" to stay on our American currency. Please send this to every Christian you know so they can vote on this important subject. Please do it right away, before NBC takes this off the web page. Poll is still open so you can vote.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10103521/

Thursday, August 14, 2008

WHERE DID HE COME FROM?

I keep up with other bloggers who've adopted and ran across this recent one from a couple who adopted a boy and girl from China who are only 8 months apart in age. I've copied and pasted her blog post below because it's a reminder to me of unwanted questions about Nate that I'm sure we'll have to deal with eventually. It's a shame that families have to deal with this kind of stuff and hopefully it will help you be able to support and stand up for families who are subject to this insensitivity.

----------------

Tiffany's Blog

About a month ago I was in a UPS store sending 4 packages and I took Lily and Ty with me. You can imagine this was a fun outing.... with a 2 year old, a 3 year old, a worn out mom, and 4 packages.

Thankfully the store had a small play area. Lily and Ty were thrilled about that and kept busy the entire time. I was thinking YEE HAW... I've found a place I can get my mailing done and keep them entertained..... always a plus when I can get my things done and keep them happy.

The lady helping me happened to be the owner of the store. She started with the usual questions about them being brother and sister (see questions above) and then went on and on. It all happened so fast and I SOOOO wish I could go back to that moment and deal with it differently.

Her questions came faster than I could stop her. All while I am trying to keep Lily and Ty from hearing her, checking the shipping labels she is handing me, and process that this ignorant woman is asking me all these questions.
Here are the questions she had for me... these are all after we established the validity of them being siblings....

~Did their parents just not want them?
~You must have a lot of money to get two of them?
~You are lucky to get 2 cute ones because some of them are ....well... you know.... just not so cute (her words not mine).
~Why did their parents give them up when they are so cute?
~Was something wrong with them?
~What do you know about their mom and dad?
~Were they in an orphanage and was it just awful?
~Were they mistreated, starved, etc?
~Did you try fertility?
~Could you just not have children?

I am not sure I answered any of her questions... I felt like I was frozen and this woman is just rattling off questions at me and I can't answer. I have been asked many of these questions before by strangers just never all at once like that.
I really don't remember leaving the store or what I said to her while in the store...

I just remember that Lily was VERY quiet for a good part of the day and it hurt my heart so much to think she might have heard any of it. It was a HUGE awakening to what lies ahead. I am certain the questions will always be there....
What did I learn from the whole thing........we just need to be better prepared.

http://lilyfeifei.blogspot.com/

WHO DOES #2 WORK FOR?

Da boy! That's who! Nate was playing and got suddenly quiet...I looked over and it appeared that he was straining to "move". So I whisked him over to his potty (which he was not too happy about...apparently I interrupted what he was doing). He sat there for a minute or so and then the phone rang. I ran over to check caller ID and when I came back, I smelled something.

"Did you poo poo in your potty?"
(no answer)

"Do you need to poo poo?"

"No" (and shakes his head)

I lift him up to see if he already went, and sure enough....there it was!! A big 'ol poo!!! He pooped in his potty for the very first time!!! YEA!

Holy cow, you should'a seen the celebration.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

HEALTHY ATTACHMENT

Found this interesting info on signs of healthy attachment. So far, Nate has scored on nearly everything. We've been working with him regularly to help him bond with us. He's always been extremely cautious around people, esp strangers to him and would cry and cling to us. Lately he's been more accepting of people he sees all the time (like at church) or we prep him ahead of time if we go to visit someone he's not as familiar with. He's also been giving us more kisses and will come over and pat our shoulder or back like we do when we're hugging or comforting him. If I kiss Don, he runs over to me wanting a kiss too! Lately he's also been running over to me, wrapping his arms around my legs and gives me a hug..something he wouldn't do before. Here's the list of healthy signs below and how Nate scores.......

1. Joyful the majority of the time. (YES, SMILES/ LAUGHS)
2. Seeks out primary caregiver for comfort and to meet needs. (YES)
3. Likes to be cradled and held facing primary caregiver. (WHEN HE'S TIRED OR AFRAID...sometimes he likes a quick snuggle when he's playing and then he's good to go.)
4. Makes good eye contact with primary caregiver and initiates eye contact--both close & distant proximity. (MOST OF THE TIME)
5. When primary caregiver makes eye contact, the child smiles back, showing signs of being happy with the interaction. (YES)
6. Smiles and exhibits pleasure when seeing self in the mirror. (OH YES!)
7. Frequently engages in playful interactions with primary caregiver (interactions initiated by both parent and child.) (YES..LOVES IT WHEN WE PLAY WITH HIM)
8. Uses different cries to alert primary caregiver of needs and wants; easily consoled by primary caregiver. (YES)
9. Accepts limits placed by primary caregiver. (YES)
10. Willingly allows primary caregiver to hold bottle, hand feed, and nurture. (YES...WHEN HE WAS SMALLER)
11. Melts into primary caregiver when held; lays head on shoulder; holds on when held; faces primary caregiver rather than away. (WHEN HE'S TIRED OR IF WE'RE READING/ WATCHING A SHOW)
12. Enjoys cuddling, hugs, and kisses given by primary caregiver and initiates cuddling, hugs, and kisses without wanting something in return. (YES)
13. Can co-sleep without major difficulty. (NEVER DID THIS. HE SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT IN HIS OWN CRIB...WAKES UP HAPPY)
14. Prefers primary caregiver to all others. (YES)
15. Imitates primary caregiver regularly (actions, language, etc.) (YES...MORE SO LATELY)
16. Content to sit on primary caregiver’s lap or stay in primary caregiver’s arms for an age appropriate amount of time. (YES)
17. Settles quickly when held by primary caregiver. (YES)
18. Enjoys skin on skin contact. (YES)
19. Prefers close proximity to primary caregiver but not in an anxious, desperate way. (YES)
20. Consistently sleeps well and peacefully. (MOST OF THE TIME. SOMETIMES HAS NIGHTMARES BUT IS COMFORTED QUICKLY)
21. Wants to please primary caregiver because he knows it will make his parent happy. (YES)
22. Reacts appropriately to pain; wants primary caregiver to nurture him when in pain or sick; easily consoled. (YES.NOW HE SAYS "HURT" AND WANTS ME TO KISS HIS "OWIE")
23. Uses food appropriately. Recognizes when hungry and full. (YES FOR HUNGRY BUT WILL EAT EVERYTHING EVEN IF IT'S TOO MUCH)
24. Shows true personality to primary caregiver and family and friends (discovering a child’s innate personality takes time.) (YES)
25. Initiates “sweet nothing” talk with primary caregiver. (YES..ALL THE TIME)
26. Shows appropriate stranger anxiety. (YES)
27. Displays age appropriate anxiety at brief separation from primary caregiver but is able to be reassured. (YES)
28. Reunites happily with primary caregiver with eye contact and physical contact. (ALMOST ALL THE TIME)
29. Show signs of feeling safe in social situations; able to play and interact with others, but stays close and checks in with primary caregiver regularly but not in an anxious or desperate way. (YES)
30. Is gentle to self and others. (YES, UNLESS ANOTHER CHILD TAKES AWAY HIS TOY!)
31. Gets along with other children & siblings most of the time. (YES..SAME AS ABOVE)
32. Is okay with primary caregiver leaving the room for short periods of time. Conversely, cares that primary caregiver has left the room and shows happiness when that person returns. (YES)
33. Speech/language skills are developing appropriately. (SLOWLY BUT SURELY)
34. Angry outbursts/tantrums are infrequent, short in duration. Parent can soothe child. (YES...ALMOST ALL THE TIME)
35. “Normal” discipline methods/parenting techniques are effective. (YES)
36. Child can identify his own feelings (at an age appropriate level.) (NOT SURE YET)
37. Child can identify the feelings of others (at an age appropriate level.) (WILL CRY IF ANOTHER CHILD IS CRYING)
38. Child can delay gratification (at an age appropriate level.) (NOT SURE WHAT THIS MEANS)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

MY HUBBY


I stole this from Jen, who stole it from someone else. ha!

MY HUSBAND!

What is his name? Don

How long have you been married? 18-1/2 yrs

How long did you date? 3-1/2 yrs. I was 18 when we started dating.

How old is he? 42

Who eats more sweets? definitely ME!

Who said I love you first? he did...at a concert

Who is taller? Don

Who can sing better? both but I have better rhythm. haha.

Who is smarter? He has more common sense than I do.

Who does the laundry? Me!

Who pays the bills? Well we both earn the money, I just write out the checks

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? I do

Who mows the lawn? What lawn?

Who cooks dinner? Both, but he's a better cook and I'd rather eat his food.

Who is more stubborn? Probably both

Who kissed who first? THAT has been an ongoing debate for the last 22 years!!

Who asked who out first? I asked him out with a group friends and then he asked me out on an official date.

Who proposed? He did. In front of our whole church of 500 people!

Who has more siblings? We both have one sibling

Who wears the pants? I would say we are pretty equal.

HOW BLESSED WE ARE

Sometimes I forget how easy we have it with Nate. One of our blogger friends, Jim and Adrienne, adopted a 14 month boy from Russia last year. He was raised in an orphanage with little contact and multiple caregivers (as is usually the case in any country) and had struggles with attachment, trust, skin to skin contact and just plain love. I remember how aware Nate was at that age and that awareness continued to increase so I can only imagine the things that their son was going through. This couple had a recent post to describe the things that they experienced with their son and the frustration they've gone through in having to parent differently than most people do to gain their son's love and trust.

We did not experience a lot of these things with Nate because he was in foster care and had a great deal of one-on-one attention and care...and we got him at a younger age. I am grateful for that because it made things easier for both us and him after we brought him home.

You can check out J&A's post here: http://our-journey-to-parenthood.blogspot.com/

Please continue to keep them and other families in prayer as they strive to provide a loving home for orphaned kids.

UPDATE: Also wanted to note that chinese foster families are different from the U.S. There are several couples who live in a commune type environment (think college dorms/ suitemates). However, the kids are not shuffled from family to family..house to house like some are in the U.S. Nate was cared for by one couple and also had exposure to other "foster families" at the same time. Our adoption agent noted that they must have worked with him consistently and given him one-on-one attention because of his excellent coordination skills. That care and attention also made a difference in his attachment and how quickly he bonded to us.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

MAHNA MAHNA

Totally random Sesame Street fun. A friend had this on their blog and I forgot about until now. ha!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

LITTLE LIN HAO





Did you guys watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics? At the end when the chinese athletes walked in, there was a little boy, Lin Hao, walking next to Yao Ming. He was an earthquake survivor and Don and I totally thought he looked like Nate in a few years! Similar eyes, mouth, expressions..etc. Not surprising since they're both from the same province. It was interesting to think that might be what Nate could look like at age 9.

This child is not only a survivor but a hero. After he managed to free himself from the rubble, he went back into it to rescue two of his classmates!

NEW ART ON ETSY





I just added new art to my Etsy shop. These are a couple of series, "Powerful Words" and "Moments With God". I've never been enthused about the inspirational art in the stores. It all looks the same and I like things that are unique and colorful.

Ok, so my "Moments With God" are black and white but there's a story behind them. The photos are ones that I've taken. Two of them were at La Jolla Beach..actually called Wind and Sea beach (and yes it was windy). I found this cool little hut there and there were some interesting rocks near the shore. It was quiet and peaceful when I visited so that was the motivator for this series. One of the photos was taken in Rocky Point, Mexico at sunset...again beautiful and peaceful. We were collecting shells that covered the beach there. The last photo was taken at Malibu at Paradise Cove. They have a funky restaurant there that had awesome banana macademia nut pancakes! The weather was overcast and misty and felt like you were alone in a dream world.

For the "Powerful Words" series, I wanted to do something abstract, modern and colorful rather than bland and boring. The scriptures are so motivating and moving...I felt that color played an important role with them.

Well, I have to get back to my family. Nate's Room Time is over and it's time to make burritos for dinner. Yum!!

Hope you enjoy!
www.deniseart.etsy.com

Thursday, August 7, 2008

FINALLY....MY ART PRINTS FOR SALE!!




Several of you have asked where you can find prints or products with my art on it. Unfortunately, I don't always know which retailers are buying my artwork. Sometimes, retailers in specific areas of the country have picked up my art (like Florida, etc), so they're not available everywhere.

As a result, I've finally gotten around to opening an online shop where you can purchase 8"x10" prints of my artwork! The shop is on Etsy, basically an online "mall" that sells handmade items and is extremely popular. They have the coolest stuff! My shop is: www.deniseart.etsy.com

I've added just a few things to get the shop opened and will be adding more artwork regularly. If you see some art on my website that you would like to have added to my Etsy shop, let me know. Also, if an item is sold, don't worry! I can re-list it for you. Etsy charges a small fee for listings so I will only be listing prints one at a time. If you want a print in a larger size, let me know and I will "make it so" for you.

All my prints are printed on high quality Fuji archival paper, unmatted and unframed, sealed in a clear cellophane envelope and shipped flat with sturdy backing.

Hope you enjoy and have fun browsing!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

GOTCHA DAY CELEBRATIONS



Tonight we celebrated Gotcha Day by going to one of our favorite chinese restaurants, Linh Nam. A few friends joined us and brought some fun books for Nate to enjoy. He LOVES books. It took a few minutes for him to warm up, but finally he started looking at his books and having fun. We had great chinese food and I made a cake that we shared for dessert. While we waited for our food, we showed the Gotcha Day dvd to everyone that our agency made for us. Actually, ours is a copy that Doug & Renee (another couple in our travel group who we are friends with) gave to us because somehow we lost ours. Doh! It made me teary-eyed to watch it again. Our waiter was so friendly and accomodating. It was a fun night celebrating.

LOOKING AT THE COOL BOOKS HE RECEIVED


HILARIOUS BOOK THAT INVOLVES YOUR FACE!


COOL STARBUCKS CUP FROM NICOLE! (I was eyeing this for weeks in the store)


WATCHING THE GOTCHA DAY DVD


READY TO EAT!

HAPPY GOTCHA DAY NATE!!!!!!!!



A year ago today, we walked down to a hotel lobby with 7 other nervous but excited couples and our beautiful son was placed in my arms. This past year has been filled with so many new things. We did not have the slightest idea of how to be parents..much less to an instant "almost toddler". I think I had only changed one diaper in my life and I had no clue how to make formula. But we figured it out and survived.

Today we remember all the people who donated their time and resources to help Nate find a home with us. We thank our agency, Children's Hope International who encouraged us during the long wait and our happiness at Referral. Most of all, we thank God for matching us up with this boy and entrusting us to raise him as His son. Everything came together for a purpose and at the right time.

Happy Gotcha Day Nate! We love you lots!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

NATE AND THE GREAT TUNNEL

video

HARVARD





Poor Harvard doesn't get much blog space. Here's a post dedicated totally to our other boy!