140 posts categorized "Gwen"

September 26, 2008

Beautiful Love!

It's been a hard week.  First the news of Marc's death then my Grandma's 90th birthday that she just barely missed (we were going to throw such a party!) then the loss of another family friend under circumstances that we're still grappling with.  So it did my heart good to have Gwenny look me in the eye and tell me that the reason she's so beautiful is "love".  Yes, Babygirl, it is!  And you're more and more beautiful each and every day.  Guess that must mean you're loved a whole big bunch, huh!

Beautiful_love

September 05, 2008

Gwen's 3rd GOTCHA Anniversary

3rd_gotcha_anniv

Today is Gwen's 3rd Gotcha Anniversary so I had the pleasure of digging back through the last three years of photos to find other pics of her in September of each of the last three years.   

Gotcha Day was one of the most emotionally significant days of my entire life but the little person I was introduced to that day was a total stranger to me so I couldn't really absorb the full impact of what it meant to be her mom.  Not until now.   

Now I look at all of our photos from that amazing day with a greater appreciation of the bigger picture. First of all, I have to marvel at what was my first glimpse of the little person who would almost immediately own my heart.   She was so little.  So beautiful.  So totally oblivious about what was about to happen to her!    Today,  I have so many hopes and dreams for her and can't imagine life without her but looking at her very first pictures with us, I see a terrified little baby girl.  There's an expression on her face that I've (thankfully) not seen many times since that day.  I'm glad her fears were quickly overcome but it breaks my heart to look back at those first pics and see her pain and know that I wasn't able to comfort her.  Pretty soon, I became the only person in the whole world who could comfort her but on that first day, she had nobody.  Nobody ::::sniffle::::: .

We struggled to find a happy medium in that steamy hot room with all the other screaming babies.  We tried to reassure her, distract her, calm her.  But nothing helped.  The Director of her SWI even came by and told us (via our translator) that Gwen was a very happy girl.  We smiled and nodded but we didn't really believe her.  Still, we hugged her and we hoped.  Exhausted, she drifted off to sleep in my arms and slept on the bus all the way back to the hotel in Guangzhou.  She still slept after I carefully layed her down in the crib in our room.  Then she woke up and gave us a beautiful smile and she's been smiling ever since!

We are so blessed to have this precious girl in our family.  I can hardly even type those words without grateful tears welling up in my eyes.  She's our joy.  Our baby girl.  Our first daughter.   

For all the details of Gwen's Gotcha Day (including pics and video), click here:  http://2happy.typepad.com/double_happiness/2005/09/monday_gotcha_d.html

August 21, 2008

Gwenny reads

Gwenny_reads
We're one of those families who don't fret about our kids watching TV.  Yes, we do monitor what they watch, and we don't let them watch brain-rotting crap but we don't ration their TV or force them to adhere to rigid viewing schedules.  However, to the greatest extent possible, we do try to pick programs with at least some educational value. 

Since our kids don't suffer for want of TV.  They have a healthy "Take It Or Leave It" attitude about television and can happily run out of the room while the TV is on without feeling like they're being cheated out of precious viewing time.   (I have relatives who can't do this -- even as adults!)

In our house, the TV is no big deal so our kids are happy to go about their usual business of fighting over toys, 'dewrappering' and munching crayons, mashing Play-Doh between their toes, throwing mud or just enjoying the simple joy of stripping nekkid and running crazy around the backyard. 

Meanwhile, the TV is blasting away and giving us audio we'll look back on someday and subconsciously designate as the soundtrack of our children's childhood.  Just The Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, Josie and the Pussycats, Pink Panther, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Schoolhouse Rock, New Zoo Review, and Bananas In Pyjamas provided a soundtrack for ours.

So, what are our kids watching when they ARE watching the TV?

To our surprise (and delight), they almost always choose a Leap Frog or Sesame Street DVD and a nice side benefit of this is that both of our little girls know all their ABC and phonics.  They've had these skills for many months but Gwen has just recently figured out that she can use them to READ!  And she's pretty darn happy about that!

We've worked hard to encourage an affection for books and we're thrilled that our girls have a love of reading!  We read to them several times per day and we have at least 100 books (we'll feature some of our favorites in a post on this blog soon). 

There's so much to look forward to but there's plenty of time to get there and we're in no hurry because our girls are still so little. 

Miley Cyrus and David Archuleta will be "old" by the time my girls are able to relate to the music they're making popular today.  Until then, let's just look back at the moments that passed too quickly.  For example, here's Gwenny -- exactly two years ago -- sitting in the same car seat as the pics above. 

Today, she might be able to read but, back then, her best skill was simply looking cute.   Something she was really good at and still is! 

Can you believe it's been two years since this picture?

Gwenny_reads_pg_2a

July 29, 2008

3rd Anniversary of Gwen's Referral

3_referral_anniversary_2
(click for larger view)

Three years ago today, I sat in my house and waited for the FedEx guy to show up with the envelope containing the precious photos and paperwork of the child we'd been referred a day earlier.  Every time I heard anything remotely sounding like a FedEx truck, I jumped up and ran to the door!   By 5PM, I'd responded to several false alarms:  the trash truck, the #31 City Transit bus, the yard trimmings collection truck, and the mailman - but no FedEx guy.   

Fedex_guy_2When he did finally arrive, I ran to the door just in time to see the envelope at my feet and the FedEx truck pulling away from the curb.  I actually chased this nice FedEx guy down and made him back up the truck and get out and pose for this picture! I told him he was "delivering" our baby girl (in that envelope) and he needed to pose for a photo!  He seemed very happy to play a part in this wonderful journey.

I carried the envelope into the room of our house that we used as our home office and sat down at my desk. I turned the FedEx envelope over in my hands and thought about how much our life would change as soon as I opened it. I was so excited to meet our daughter!  To finally put a face with the child we'd dreamed about for so long! 

I carefully peeled the strip off the back of the envelope to expose the contents. I saw a little peek of some white papers inside so I drew a deep breath and reached in and pulled out the forms.

The three photographs you see in the photo collage at the top of this post were clipped to the front of the papers I held.

I'll never forget that moment! I looked at my Gwenny's lovely little face and a little gasp involuntarily left my lips. She was SO darling!   I smiled and my eyes welled up with happy tears because this baby was the most precious little girl I'd ever seen!

Daddy_meets_gwenI carried her picture upstairs and showed Michael his new little sister then I scanned the photographs and emailed them to Daddy at work. He was also very excited to see his Gwenny!

I called Daddy so I could be with him on the phone when the photos loaded and he saw our girl for the first time.   He was so thrilled! He said "She's beautiful!"

It sounds cliche but we really were in love from that first moment.  We could hardly wait to travel to Guangzhou and scoop her up!

That was three years ago and look how much our baby has changed!    She's 14 inches taller,  28 pounds heavier and just look at all that hair!   

Gwen has a really special personality.  Here are some cute things we've noticed about her:

  • She used to call ketchup "kchepy" and it sounded so sweet that we still call it that even though she can now pronounce it correctly.
  • When she sees something miniature, she always puts on a really sweet baby voice and says "That's sooo cute!"  She learned this from Mommy who loves baby things but she thinks this affection should also be applied to anything that is smaller than usual.  Last night, she noticed a Diet Pepsi bottle that was small and picked it up and hugged it close to her cheek and said "Look Mommy!  It's soooo cute!"
  • She just turned four last month and she's absolutely brilliant but she'll only perform a task if it's on her terms.  No amount of guilt or reward or threat will change this!  She knows all her ABC's and phonics and can sound out words (read!) but she staunchly refuses to put her own shoes on.
  • She loves beige colored food:  Chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, chow mien noodles, popcorn, bananas, pancakes, pop tarts.  She won't eat anything else unless it's been squished through the juicer and mixed with something in her sippy cup.  Fortunately, she'll happily accept anything she can slurp through her sippy cup (as long as she can't see what she's drinking).
  • She'll let me decorate her gorgeous hair with anything I want but won't wear makeup, face paint, or jewelry of any sort.    Unlike her sister Madeline, she's not picky about her clothes.
  • She has only three bottom front teeth where everyone else has four.   This is just the way God made her.  There's a really good chance that her birth-mom or birth-dad was this way too.  There's a 65% chance that she'll also be missing the corresponding permanent tooth.   Either way, this isn't a big deal as it's not noticeable at all.
  • She's extremely coordinated and will climb and jump from every surface possible.  She never falls.
  • Almost from the first moment we met her, she's been obsessed with sticks.  She seeks them out everywhere we go and has incredible "stick radar" to immediately locate anything even remotely matching the characteristics of a stick.   
  • She loves to cuddle and will mournfully complain to me each morning that she has "no Mommy loves" when I attempt to sneak away and take a shower.  She puts on her best/most irresistible sad face for this performance and it's impossible not to jump back into bed for five more minutes of snuggling.
  • She loves to help even though her help is usually not very helpful.  But the desire comes from a good place in her heart.   Ironically, that good place is also a really messy place.

July 25, 2008

Gwen's Hearing Test

Hearing_testWe had Gwenny's hearing checked today.  Not that we suspected a problem but just because of her heavy ear wax problem.  As suspected, she passed with flying colors.  Seriously, this child can hear the crinkle of a candy wrapper from another room!   Her hearing has never been in question.

It was interesting how they administered the hearing test.  First, they confirmed that she was "developmentally on target" and able to follow simple instructions.  I laughed when I heard that because I wasn't sure how to answer!   Gwen is BRILLIANT but usually completely unwilling to follow instructions -- unless she wants to.   And she usually doesn't want to.  For example, she won't dress herself because she wants me to do it.  If I don't do it, she's perfectly happy to stay in her PJ's (or run nekkid) all day long.    No amount of brow-beating will change this.  She's just not interested in performing this task.  Period.  Can she?  Yes.  Will she?  No.

So how would she do on the hearing test?  Would she agree to wear the head-phones?  Would she be frustrated that the tones weren't entertaining enough?  Would she be willing to demonstrate that she was hearing a tone?  Would she be willing to do it dozens of times?  I was really skeptical!  But these folks are professionals!  They made the test into a fun game that she was excited to play.   

I wasn't allowed to stay in the soundproof booth with her but could watch and listen from just outside the booth.  There was a window so Gwen could see me.  I heard the Doctor (a nice lady in her 40's with small children of her own) explain the game to Gwen.  She gave her an empty puzzle tray and handed her one piece of the puzzle that fit into a slot on the tray.  The rules of the game were simple:  Put the piece in the puzzle only when you hear the tone

In the picture above, she's holding a pink circle and waiting for the tone so she can put it in the correct slot.  Initially, she was unsure what to do but the Doctor was really friendly and consistently repeated the rules of the game at least a dozen times.  A few times, she forgot that she was supposed to wait for the tone and the Doctor had to confirm with her that she really heard something.  Eventually, she settled into a routine of hearing the tone and quickly looking at the Doctor and and smiling enthusiastically in anticipation.    The Doctor read her response (the smile) and got the information she needed for the test.  Brilliant! 

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