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11 posts from December 2005

December 31, 2005

Gwen finds mom and dad's reading glasses (yes, we're getting old!)

Gwenny_glasses

I took the idea for this picture from Lissa. Her Lydia is so cute! <click here to see how cute!>

I think Gwenny is pretty cute in glasses too!

December 25, 2005

Christmas 2005

This was our first Christmas with Gwendolyn and even though the holiday was pretty insignificant to her, it was very significant to us.

Christmas is a time for 'family' and this year has been all about growing our family. What a joy to have her home with us!

Christmas was in Santa Fe this year. Andrew's parents live there and I'm always amazed to see that no matter what direction you look, everything you see in Santa Fe looks like a post card!

The adobe houses are the color of a golden honey graham cracker and the sky is the bluest I've ever seen. The sunsets are so intense that you'd think they weren't real if you weren't seeing them with your own eyes!

The food is so good and the art is so amazing that I hardly notice that there are virtually no conservatives, angled roof lines, or plush green lawns. Eventually, that would bother me but for a few days every year, I'm very excited to be in Santa Fe!

Gwen had no idea what all the fuss was over presents.

The festive paper and brightly colored ribbon and bows could have just been the newest package for diapers or baby wipes for all she knew! She didn't know that each box held a small treasure -- something to eagerly anticipate, dream about and, ultimately, joyfully unwrap.

We plunked her down in the middle of all of our packages to snap this picture but only one package was hers. We showed her how to tear the paper and she delicately complied with our instructions.

Finally, her gift was revealed and it couldn't have been a better present because it was a towel and washcloth from her Daddy's childhood neighbor and dear family friend in England (Pat and Dilys) and it met all of the specifications of a beloved "lovey". I can't think of a better first present! She loved it!

Christmas Dinner - Clockwise from the left: Granddad, Daddy, Gwen, Mommy, Uncle Chris, Michael and Granny. We had beef and lots of veggies with apple crisp for dessert.

After dinner, we put the dishes in the dishwasher and Gwen helped. Of the 400+ pictures we took during this trip, this one is one of my favorites. Be sure to click on it to enlarge it. I love the way it shows all of us engaged in an ordinary task. Working together as a family. It's a good picture!

For most of this year, I've dreamed of the moment I would hold Gwen near the Christmas tree and see the soft glow of the lights reflected in her dark, shining, eyes. I got to do this on Christmas Eve and she was so beautiful that I had to choke back tears. I didn't have a camera handy but I'll remember how she looked forever anyway. Just as I remember how my son looked 17 years ago when I saw the glow of his first Christmas tree reflected in his eyes.

Andrew's mom is really special. She paints and sings and always takes such good care of her family. Gwen loves her "Granny"!

Gwen's Uncle Chris is pretty special too. Here he is modeling a bicycling accessory. We were really excited to get to meet his girlfriend, Kate, and we're not sure how we managed to not get a picture of the two of them together! It was fun to meet Kate after hearing so many fun things about her.

Gwenny's Granddad is pictured here. He enjoys historical novels and Santa came through with many good choices for him this year! Gwen didn't care too much for his books (no pictures) but liked playing with his glasses or going on tours of his house with him. Her two favorite activities were learning how to work the light switches and observing the chiming of the clock!

This was Gwen's first Christmas with us but Michael's last Christmas as our "kid".

You always hear people talk about how quickly time flies but you don't realize how true those words are until you have a child and watch him/her grow up! It doesn't seem like it's been 17 years since Michael's first Christmas.

Many people emailed me and asked to see a full length picture of Gwen in her Christmas dress. Here it is. The dress seemed a bit large for her but it was super pretty anyway. I hope you agree. :)

December 16, 2005

Gwen is talking....maybe

This morning, Gwenny pointed at her baby dolls and said "b'dolls!" Then, as if to convince me that it wasn't just a fluke, she said it again two more times.

Later this afternoon, while I was throwing clothes in the dryer, she was a few feet away at the baby gate and when I peeked around the corner to see what she was up to, she saw me and announced "Hi Mama!"

So, she's added a few words to her very limited vocabulary of "baby", "again" and "No! No! No! No!"

She's also been pointing at everything and saying "spurdity!" for about a month and we assumed it was baby babble but finally figured out that she's saying "It's pretty!"

She won't really repeat any of this on command. I wonder if it really counts as speech if she won't use it regularly. Most of the time, she communicates by pointing and grunting or answering yes/no questions with "okay" or "no" and the appropriate head nod. All in all, I think it's pretty amazing for a child who's only been hearing English for just a little bit more than 3 months.

Even though she's not speaking much, she does seem to understand everything we say to her. We were coming home in the car last night and it was dark and I was a little bit concerned that she was falling asleep so I put my hand in the back seat and tried to touch her and determine if I was touching a sleeping child. It was useless so I simply asked her to touch mommy's hand and, sure enough, she did! Then she giggled. My darling girl amazes me every day.

December 14, 2005

Mommy? Why can't I mess up your desk?

Back when I was naive enough to think I could work from home while caring for Gwen, we rearranged our office to keep baby on one side of the desks and mommy and daddy's computer equipment and junk safely out of the way on the other side. This worked well until Gwen got tall enough to reach the top of the desk and start pulling stuff off!

For a few months, we've pushed our stuff toward the middle of our desks so her little hands couldn't reach but that pretty seriously limited the available real estate on the desktop and we needed another solution.

The answer? Plexiglass! 12 square feet of it!

We attached it to the front of the desks and now Gwen can see us but can't get her hands (and tongue) on our stuff! Pretty clever, huh!

Very important! Please read this!

This is Emma. She was home from China just 8 months when she died.

Her adoptive mother is charged in her death. This is the 2nd China adopted child in recent months to die or suffer horrible injury (blindness, permanent brain damage) because she was shaken by her mother.

Please remember as you look at my blog (and everyone else's) that life with baby is not always as rosey we depict it here on these pages. Gwen has her moments and I'm not embarrassed to say that she's really made me angry more than once. When those things happen, you have to get your emotions under control. If that means that you have to put your baby in her crib or playpen while you go into the backyard and breathe into a paper bag, then do it! Don't shake your baby. Don't hurt her, please. When the moment is over, you'll be so sorry you did this and even if you don't kill or seriously injure her, you'll teach her a horrible lesson about how to deal with frustration!

If you don't already have your baby, please keep in mind that things will not be "happily ever after" when you come back from China. Everyone around you will continue with their life as usual but you won't. Your life will look NOTHING like it did when you started this journey. In most ways, it'll be amazingly better but in some ways you'll be shocked to realize that it's miserable. If you already have your baby, you can probably confirm this. Eventually, your new child will fit perfectly into your family but don't expect it to be smooth for several months. Some people say it takes one month for each month the child was not in your care. So if you adopt your child at age 13 months, it could take another 13 months to have her blend in and bond to your family like she would if she was born to you. Please give the process the time it needs and please seek help if you feel overwhelmed. Consider putting your baby in day care for a few hours each week (or longer) if being a stay at home mom is hard for you. There's no shame in that! If you're really pulling out your hair and just need someone to talk to, email me and we'll chat. I'll even call you on the phone if you need that support! Just count to ten before you react with violence to your child. You waited so long to get her, 10 seconds of cooling off time should be easy to give her now.

Please don't shake your baby.

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