Monday, February 22, 2010

From the North

We were blessed with a visit from the North and fortunately it had nothing to do with snow!  Kelli and Aiden came for a visit on Saturday bringing fun with them.

IMG_3486 If Duc senses you can read you are fair game.  The boy has really gotten into reading books the last month or so.  Before this I would two words and he would rip the book out of my hands and start flipping pages.  Not any more…he wants every word, every page covered.

IMG_3490 I LOVE this sneer!  How cute is this face!  IMG_3496 I can only imagine what the boys are talking about here, but I’m sure it wasn’t good.IMG_3506 Duc LOVES to look at images. If I don’t pull the camera out every day he will go over to the camera and say “pic-tur”.  After I take his photo he wants to review it on the screen just like he did with Kelli in this photo.  I love this photo.  I love the light, the crisp color and the way they are both oblivious to me.IMG_3511 I’m not really sure Duc is sharing.  I think he picked it out of Aiden’s cup.  Oh well.  At least he let him eat a few of them:)IMG_3515

IMG_3516  IMG_3524


IMG_3553 Yeah, this is my little rascal after he took Aiden’s cookie.  The boy has been eating me out of house and home lately.  On Friday night he ate an entire adult serving of bulgogi (bolgoogee—whichever spelling you prefer—it’s a Korean dish of sautéed spicy beef). 

Kelli, we had an awesome time!  I was in bed shortly after the CNY party and I slept 11 hours!!!!  That’s the most I’ve slept at once since my flight on Korean Air to Vietnam over a year ago!  Can’t wait to see you both again! 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Easy Does It

Thank you to those that provided advice and support after last week’s post.  I truly appreciate it.  I’ve been a parent for 14 months + 2 days and I’ve learned that there isn’t a one-fit parenting method.  I’ve learned that what worked last week may not work this week or any week following it.  It’s an evolving process and I took this time to re-adjust my parenting.

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Because he insists on being a big boy I forget that he isn’t too far from baby.  A lot of our troubles seem to be around meal time—throwing food, utensils and dumping food on the floor.  Some of that may be toddler related, but I knew that he didn’t always behave that way.  Duc began feeding himself when he was 9 months old and a few months ago he migrated from finger food to eating with utensils.  Lately though he had begun handing the fork over to me.  In my hurry and stressed state I didn’t realize that was my son’s way of trying to connect with me at a time when I was distracted and short on time.  So, now I am back to feeding my son.  Often time he takes the fork away from me a few bites in and if he sees my attention drift from him he prompts me again by passing me his fork.  IMG_3703 copy I’m even updating our bedtime routine for some more mommy-babe time.  I hold him close in the dark and sway while the music plays.  I can feel his little body relax and when he is ready he says “night-night” and I lay him down without tears. 

I’m still stressed and I’m still working longer hours, but I am making sure that the time I do have is devoted to him.  Quality, as we know, is often more important than quantity.IMG_3642

Today, Michael and I took him out while we did some photography around town.  He hung out, happy as a clam, playing with his cards when we took pictures of this and that.  We let him out to run on the trail and I was amazed that Duc could run as long and as fast as he could.  His little feet flew!  Oh,and Michael taught him to throw snowballs at mommy…not nice boys.IMG_3694







It was a good day and a nice end to a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


At least once or twice a week Duc wakes up sometime between 9:30-11 pm.  He could settle himself back to sleep, but I always wait for the sound of his stirring.  I can’t wait to rush in and swoop my baby up.  He greets me usually sitting up, but with his eyes closed and arms outstretched knowing to expect mama will come to comfort him.  I pick him up and he settles in against my neck and chest.  Swaying quietly in the dark I relish these moments when my baby is quiet and wants to cuddle.  Standing there tonight I noticed how long his body stretched against mine.  Even when his head was against my shoulder his legs swung halfway down my own.  My baby is getting big and I’m holding on to each possible second with him that I can.  I’m going to be sad when he no longer wakes up and needs his mama.  I’m going to hate it when he no longer grabs a book and plops into my lap while I sit legs crossed on the floor.  I’m going to miss peek-a-boo and the high-pitched giggle he releases when a belly laugh rolls up from his toes and out through the top of his thrown-back head.  Yeah, I love these moments.  I want to take a week off and stay up all night just watching him sleep. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy V-day

IMG_3367 I’ve had a reoccurring dream for the last 15 years, a nightmare really.  I dream I am in college and I show up to class to learn that I have missed the entire semester and have shown up on the day of the final.  I am mortified by this and afraid of what the teacher must think of me.  I wonder what happened to all the other classes—why am I finally here now?IMG_3369

It’s been a long while since I’ve had the dream, but I had it again this week and it has always been pretty indicative that things are out of control in my waking hours.  The week before my last post was bad, despite the inner calm I had.  This past week it all went to hell.  I have picked up my camera twice in the last 8 days (incidentally both Sundays) not because there was nothing to shoot, but because I really didn’t want anything to remember this past week by.  Stuff at work has gotten progressively more challenging and not in a this-is-good-for-me-and-I-need-to-stretch-myself kind of way.  Too much to do, taking too much of it home at night.  On Wednesday daycare reported that Duc had been aggressive with the other children and when the teacher attempted to correct him he slapped her in the face.  Parents don’t want to believe that our children are the barometer measuring the stress of our lives, our homes, but they are.  At that point I knew I was in trouble and Duc was feeling it as much as I was. IMG_3371

I know this won’t last forever and I know at some point the stuff at work will cycle to a close, and trust me, I try to remind myself of that every time that ball of anxiety tightens in my belly.  Last night I was feeling anxious about it all over again so I cruised the web to distract myself.  I was looking up some photography sites and came across the blog of a photographer who’s infant son was recently killed by pertussis.  I sat there sobbing as I felt the pain seep out through her words, her photos.  And it hit me, despite life’s daily stresses I still have my son, I still have my family.IMG_3372

I am so grateful to my family—especially the women.  There are no other boys in my family so neither my mother or my sister know the joys or the struggles of raising a son, especially not one that is headstrong and hellbent on showing himself and everyone else that he can do things ahead of his emotional age.  And that is the struggle—a child that developmentally is 3 years-old, but who emotional and physically is still 18-20 months.  He is frustrated.  A lot.  This weekend has been especially difficult—he is refusing naps when he normally takes 2—1 1/2-2 hour naps each weekend day.  Come 6:30 pm he begs me for “night night” and I am more than happy to oblige.  If anyone has learned how to teach their child not to throw please advise me!  He loves to throw his food, his pacifier, and anything else he get his hands on (he threw a fork at me during dinner which ended his dinner and put him in time out).  At the same time he is clingy and cries if I won’t hold him constantly.  Normally he is pretty good about playing by himself, but this weekend he wouldn’t pick up a toy unless he was throwing it.  IMG_3379 copy

Thank God for chocolate!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


IMG_3194 There has been a growing unrest in my soul, a sense that I am on the brink of something.  A feeling that scares me and excites me as I wait for for “it” to reveal itself.  I’ve come to realize that these feelings often lead me to a deeper level of understanding myself that I did not know existed, a well of strength or a promise of a chance for growth.  I’ve never been a fan of change, but it was a feeling not unlike this one that lead me to realize that I was strong enough to be a single parent.  That I was strong enough to parent two children.  It’s that feeling that lead me to pick up the pen and sign the forms and why I continue to sign time and time again.  And here it is again, but this time it doesn’t involve children.IMG_3205 copy

I find myself searching the internet, looking for answers, looking for connections, looking for the key to unlock it within myself.  I should also know by now that it reveals itself at the right time.   In the weeks and months before my ‘ah-ha’ adoption moment I had conversations with strangers and friends alike leading me down the path.  People entered my life precisely when they were supposed to, guiding me without ever knowing it.  I had dreams of children that looked nothing like me and I could feel, I could feel this incredible attachment, a love, for these children I had never seen before.  IMG_3227 copy

But at the same time, despite the unease within, I’ve been more content, happier than I ever recall feeling before in my life.  Despite what you may think, it is not related to Duc.  He does bring joy to my life, but the feeling I have is deeper and something coming from deep within.  I realized a few weeks ago that I am no longer wishing my weeks away.  It actually came as a surprise when I woke up a few Mondays ago and groaned and wondered how long the week would be.  It struck me, it had been weeks if not months since the last time I thought that.  I’m finally learning to enjoy each day and the challenges and blessings that come with it.  IMG_3230 copy

In December I felt a shift within.  When things got tough, I got zen.  It has actually been a joke at work—how can I remain so calm when things are not going well with our project.  Even though I had a rough patch this week (between Duc and I both being sick and sleep deprived the crap at work was just the icing on the cake), I still feel most incredibly content.  IMG_3288 copy

I don’t know where this will go, this feeling.  Perhaps it is just a seed that must wait for the time of rain before truly germinating, but until then I remain open and excited about the direction my life is heading.  And hopefully Duc doesn’t mind being along for the ride.

Friday, February 5, 2010

He doesn’t listen

He doesn’t listen.  Every day I ask him, beg him, slow down!  Mommy isn’t ready for you to be a big boy.  Mommy isn’t ready to give up on the “baby” that my son used to be.IMG_3085

To be fair, he never misled me.  He made it pretty clear from the first day that he would do things on his time which often means earlier than I am ready.  It’s not his fault and most parents would be thrilled to have a child that runs forward and never looks back.  Not that I am complaining…as an adoptive parent I was prepared for the delays (not that I am saying he won’t have some that won’t present when he begins reading and attending school), not for the child that insists on being ahead of everyone else.IMG_3087

Before Duc I didn’t know about children or the milestones.  Every time he would do something I was thrilled because I knew he was reaching milestones.  It wasn’t until other parents began telling me that their child was xx months old before doing something.  While I waited to travel to Duc I received a LOT of photos and I am so grateful to the mamas that traveled to their children or visited his orphanage that would send me photos and videos.  It sustained me during the wait.  I carried those photos with me every where and I slept, and continue to sleep, one of those first photos next to my bed.  Shortly after referral I visited a local jewelry store, an old mom ‘n pop place that I love.  Something about it feels so homey and comforting—don’t ask why because I really don’t know.  I had ordered a man’s ID bracelet with his name engraved.  Of course, I had to spell it out and since his entire name is Vietnamese they asked me about it and I was all to proud to produce the picture.  The woman waiting on me asked his age—he was 3-3/1/2 months at the time and was already pushing himself up.  She told me her son just started to push him and he was nearly twice Duc’s age.  At first I thought it was a fluke, but I’ve seen a pattern.IMG_3100 copy

Because he started walking early the daycare placed him in the toddler room several months early—he was only 10 months old.  At that point they took the bottles away and started him on a sippy cup.  We put our baby bottles away around the time he was 13 months.  It was sad.  I didn’t dwell on it long, I just packed them away and hoped that I would someday use them again.IMG_3116

And now, well, now he is a big boy.  He stopped using toddler ware and is now using silverware just like mommy.  He unscrews the top of his sippy cup and drinks it like I drink mine.  He doesn’t like sitting in his booster/baby seat for meals, he insists on sitting in an adult chair and sometimes I let him.  And yesterday as I worked on 1-2-3’s with him I noticed that every time I would say 3 he would say 4.  When I said 2 he said 3.  He is beginning to see the relationship between items and it is so interesting to watch his little mind make these connections.IMG_2930

Today I picked him up from daycare early.  We are in the midst of a winter storm and the roads were beginning to slicken so I decided to pick him up early.  It was still nap time when I snuck into the room.  I tiptoed over to the cot where he was sleeping and just sat that there watching him.  We’ve always been able to sense when the other is near which is why it is nearly impossible to sneak into his room at night and watch him.  He slept for another 60 seconds before opening his eyes and smiling at me.  He reached out to grab my hand and we stayed like that while he finished waking up.  It was probably the best part of my day.IMG_3030 web

Thank for your feedback on my last post.  I really appreciate your support and advice.  Things at work will hopefully settle down soon and Duc, well, what can I say?  When he is sick it doesn’t just impact him.  He was up all week and several days ago I began feeling sick.  As I sit on the couch I have a fever and feel awful.  I would really, really like it if we could make it through ONE month without one or both of us trekking to the doctor’s office.  It’s expensive and tiring.  Say a prayer that we both improve quickly.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


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I’m trying to grab my camera more, even if it is late at night:)

Duc is sick. Actually, he is still sick. He hasn’t really improved since nearly 4 weeks ago and I hate to keep dragging him to the doctor just to be told it is “viral”. It’s not viral and I suspect he has bronchitis. The coughing…oh, the coughing. I’m amazed he keeps his food down at all.

Something about Wednesday makes me very tired. Work has been tough, really tough. Long days and some challenging personality types. I have someone who keeps trying to rub my face in what she suspects are mistakes. I’ve been able to hit back with proof that I’m not negligent and highlight her own ignorance of the facts. I’m always pleasant, but I usually try to be nice to everyone. I pulled the gloves off today so she (and others) could see that I wasn’t going to be forced into a corner and I DO KNOW exactly what I am talking about. I hate that I have to waste so much energy defending myself and my work instead of actually focusing on what we can do to make our product better. Yucky yahoos (I’m trying to not curse in front of Duc so yahoo is my new word for a-hole and yes I know it makes me sound like an 80 year-old man cursing).

IMG_3142 copy These photos were taken without flash with only the light of my bathroom light. I blew out my ISO (not totally maxed out for the camera) so the photos are a bit grainy. I actually like a little grain though:)

Not much to say tonight. I’m pooped. I’ve sat and watched TV the last two nights after putting Duc to bed and I am so thankful for brainless TV. It distracts me from my messy kitchen.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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