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12 posts from September 2008

September 15, 2008

Elmo (more Maddy Art)


Click to enlarge image and read text.

Yep, it's more of Maddy's fancy artwork.  She spends the entire day doing this sort of thing.  Really, that's every waking minute not taken up by pre-school, park, nap and dinner.  Her fingertips are permanently stained by the crayons and pensa but the beautiful smile on her face appears to be just as permanent!

Maddy has natural talent but her drawings don't come straight from her pretty little head.  I'm not an artist (far from it!) but I show her how to draw the things you've seen on this blog.  I demonstrate once and she's eager to give it a try on her own and that's what you see posted on this blog.   Pretty soon, her skills are going to far surpass mine so I'm very grateful to everyone who's commented (or emailed me) with a link to a good drawing instruction product for children.   Since my own skills are so basic (and crappy), I'm excited about trying some of these products myself! 

Art is fun.  I'm really happy that Maddy has a very special hobby to pour her heart and soul into.  I wish Gwen had something as special but I suppose she's more the typical four year old with wishy washy interests in a hundred different things and no special focus on any of it (yet).    So far, her interest in crayons hasn't extended beyond peeling the paper wrappers off and snapping them in two! 

Adoptive Families Picnic in the Park

Thanks to Salsa Mom (who organized everything) 72 of us got together this weekend to eat donuts, show off our cute kids, ride a train and soak up some warm South Bay Sunshine at a park in Los Gatos.

Here are some pics from the day.

(clickj image for a larger view)

It was wonderful to see so many friends (some old and some new).  Most of these families have blogs.  How many faces do you recognize in the picture on the lower left?  (no fair answering if you were there!).

September 12, 2008

Our Family Portrait (Maddy's Art)


Maddy is an amazing little artist.   Last night, she created this masterpiece all by herself!  Click it for a larger view.  Keep in mind that this little girl just turned four on July 31st!

She sits here in the playroom and draws pictures every minute she's not at preschool or sleeping.  All the practice is paying off as her technique improves by leaps and bounds every single day. 

Most kids have some interest in art but very few can pick up a crayon and draw something without being taught a few of the basics.    Even if it's just stick figures, it makes a world of difference to give them some instruction.  We started by showing Maddy how to draw a person's face by drawing a circle with two eyes and a nose and mouth.

She practiced her faces this way for more than a week but when she was ready to add a body, all her people had arms and legs sprouting from their head!  So I taught her to draw a neck then a square for a shirt and rectangles for sleeves and pants. (a triangle for a skirt for a girl).  A few days later, we added hands (small circles with fingers) and "L" shaped legs and feet.   Just this little bit of instruction made so much of a difference!  Before long, she'll be teaching ME!    

Our favorite art supplies are Crayola products.  They have a bunch of stuff that is "twistable".  Non-toxic crayons, colored pencils, even markers that don't break or lose their point or have messy paper wrappers or lids to get lost.  Most are washable and many are erasable.  Our most recent favorite is "Crayola Slick Stix".  They're almost like drawing with Mommy's lipstick but there are more colors and you don't get in trouble afterwards!

September 10, 2008

Maddy's Surgery (She's fine!)

It's been quite an adventure.  Not an especially fun one but an adventure nonetheless.  Here's a quick pass at Maddy's Big Day. 


So, there are the highlights.   It was a pretty amazing experience but not one I hope to ever have to repeat.  Frankly, it scared the hell out of me. 

I used to be a deputy sheriff and I knew that I couldn't knock on any mother's door and ask if she was the mother of So-And-So without giving her heart failure.  So I always prefaced my first question with a statement that her kid was fine.   Why don't Doctors lead with this declaration too?

At one point, the Surgeon came to the waiting room and asked me to step outside and I fully expected him to tell me something devastating -- something that would change my life forever (I've gotten this type of news before).  My heart was pounding so hard that I could barely process his words and when it was finally clear that Maddy was actually okay, I was too relieved to voice any protest about his absolutely crappy message deliver technique.  Why didn't he just say the surgery was successful first

Maddy did really well.  Her palate is closed and now the inside of her mouth looks just like everyone else's.  I'm happy about this but I'm also just a little bit sad because the tiny flaw they fixed wasn't a flaw to me.  She was already more than perfect in my eyes and in my heart.  And that little fissure in the roof of her mouth was the sole reason she was on the Special Need list at the exact moment we were looking for her.    I don't expect anyone to understand what I mean when I say I'll miss her cleft palate.  I know how strange that sounds but I love every part of my children and the unique parts tend to stand out the most.  This part of Maddy is gone and even though I'm not sorry about that, I'll miss it.

This is part of Maddy's story and all the pictures above are for her.  Someday she'll want to know more about this and I'm glad I'll have photos and text to share with her.   

I didn't think I could possibly love her more but my love for her grows deeper every day and this was a very special bonding experience for us.    Daddy and I are not in competition for the love of our kids but Maddy has always been "Daddy's Girl" so I'm especially honored that she specifically asked for me after surgery and I'm glad I could be there for her and give her comfort.  She was so strong through all this but also so vulnerable.  I'm very proud of her.  We would never expect such a young child to be so brave but she was amazing.  Bless her sweet little heart!

Heartfelt thanks to the many friends and family who prayed and hoped and wished and held their breath with us while we navigated this particular obstacle.   We're always grateful and humbled to have such good friends.

We're happy to have this event behind us and now we gratefully resume our regular old life.  Whatever that might be this week.

September 08, 2008

Maddy's Gift (surgery update too)


Yesterday, Maddy brought me a piece of paper with a rainbow and a heart and said "Happy Birthday Mommy!  I made you a card.  It has a heart on it because I love you!"

It wasn't even my birthday (not until Thursday) but it was the best present I've ever received anyway.  Her priceless gift is pictured above.  All the artwork in this collage is from her drawings this week (she's 4 year and 1 month old).  The photo of Maddy is from this last weekend.

Maddy has grown to be such a talented, independent, generous little girl.   She loves to draw pictures and give her beautiful creations to everyone who is special in her life.  She takes a picture to school every day.  She'll carefully fold it in half and write "Miss Amy" on it and tell me that "Miss Amy will be soooo happy!"  Sometimes I want her to give the art to me but I appreciate that she wants Miss Amy to have it even though I'm a little bit envious.  But I'll never let on!

My baby girl has her surgery at 7:30 AM tomorrow morning.  Much earlier than we ever imagined!  So early that we'll have to leave the house at 5:15 just to get there at the 6:00 check-in time.  And we'll have to go alone since Daddy must stay home with Gwen to get her off to Miss Amy's class without us.  This will be the first time in Gwen's post adoption life that Mommy has not been there to greet her when she wakes up.  It's the first time Daddy will ever fix her hair, pack her lunch, and take her to pre-school.  It's the first time he'll pick her up and fix her dinner and put her to bed.  Obviously, I'm really stressed about how they'll both deal with all these 'firsts'.  Meanwhile, Maddy will be at the hospital and she'll want Mommy and her needs are greater than anyone else's right now so I know where I have to be.  I'm actually relieved that the choice is so clear cut.  But it doesn't keep my heart from wanting to be at home to care for the other half of my family too.

It's times like these when I wish our family lived closer.  Our adoption community friends are amazing and we love them so much but we don't really have anyone who lives close enough to help us navigate these rough waters.  Thank Goodness they're not rough very often!  We do appreciate the comments and private email messages containing warm words and prayer promises.  We are so grateful to have such amazing friends and we tell our kids every day how much they are loved by people they don't even know!

I'll be away from the computer for a few days so don't worry if you don't hear anything.

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