Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Adventures of Bella Bean: life at warp speed**edited

I can't believe that we have been home less than 2 weeks. I can't remember life before Bella. She is growing like a weed. She is incredibly funny. She is incredibly active. Some random thoughts:

1. Don't buy anything before they get home. Okay, maybe not, anything. But hold off on as much as you can. For example: we bought a high chair...she wants to be like the big kids so it goes unused.

2. Sleep is over rated:) We are adjusting but sleep is a sticking point. She actually is improving though.

3. This is what my Tuesday looked like: Woke up at 5:50. Took shower. Dressed in clean clothes. Got Bella dressed. Went down stairs. Observed mess created by dog #1 (has not happened in 8 years). Cleaned up mess. Got Bella breakfast. Got older children out the door for school. Sat down to enjoy cup of coffee. Bella climbs on my lap (so sweet). Bella pulls full cup of coffee on me, upholstered chair, rug, and somehow did not get anything on her (thank goodness). Clean mess. Change into clean clothes #2..... All before 7am:)

3. Cont'd What Monday night looked like.... Observe Bella with car keys. Two minutes later keys gone. Proceed to tear house apart to find keys. No luck. Decide to start at square one... there they are...she had put them away:)

4. Bonding is an on going does not happen overnight even when it feels like it does. Small little reminders surface to remind me that she is not use to having a mommy of her own:)

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Day we Met

Travis delivered Bella to us. You could hear her crying two blocks away. (Not exaggerating). When he came to the gate she had stopped only to start up again when she saw us. She cried for a good 20 minutes with me holding her and just saying..."it's okay, ishy, ishy, ishy." she calmed a little bit and we pulled out silly string. I pointed and shot and it unintentionally went all over Jason's face. We all were surprised....shock value...she stopped crying. After that we just played quietly along side each other with some Polly Pockets that I picked up on sale. I have no idea how long we played, but it was for a long time. She slowly relaxed. We ate a snack and took a short nap. When she got up, I expected more of the same...but she was fine. She has been my "cling-on" since. While in country we made the decision that we would not use a care giver. We would only leave her with Jason, me, or Eliza. We felt it was too confusing for her. Other families used them with no long term problem. We just thought at her age it was too much. Are we done with the bonding way. She needs to learn to trust that I will come back if I go, she needs to learn that I love her no matter what - she was told "no" sternly after biting me and she simply crumbled, that hurt my heart more than the bite...she is still processing so much and will probably process forever but we are doing well. Better than I expected. There are moments that I just hurt for all that she has lost-things that she is completely unaware of at the moment, some she is not unaware of. she went around the house calling for a friend still in care. I pulled out the pictures to show her. She used her special care giver's name...and again I pulled out the pictures.

I will post later on adopting an "older" child. Funny that she is considered by some to be older. She is a baby. Everything is so new. But I will leave you with just a thought...if you are torn, or thinking about increasing your age...we were and did. We are also so very happy we did increase the age. Had we not listened to our hearts and gotten a little nudge from this mom....we would not have our sweet baby.

More later.... Bella is restless :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life on the Run

Home! Our trip was amazing. Ethiopia is beautiful. Bella is amazing. The whole experience is braided in heartwarming and heart breaking. Some of the families that we traveled with will be life long friends. Gladney is the best. They love the kids (I know you hear that all the time, but they really do). I will right more about the experience, later. I love my little shadow, even if my back hurts, I am sleep deprived, my pants have jam prints on them, and the house is not as cleans as it use to be. She is smart, strong, beautiful, and every bit of two. With that said Iam off to play dolly with my sweet child.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2 days

2 days and I am not posting about the packing, the medical proxy, the filling of the freezer, the humanitarian aid, the excitement to bring Bella home, the fear of the unknown. No, I am writing about every day life with an athletic teenager. I woke up this morning way too early thinking about Andrew and this is my way of working it out.

The above picture was taken when he had a 103 fever. He was sick for a good 9 days. This was 2 weeks ago. He improved just in time to participate in soccer tryouts. He is a captain of his team and he takes it so seriously. First jamboree, 3 games, he collides with a boy from another team. The other boy loses several teeth and Andrew has an imprint on his forehead from those teeth. (First year that mouth guards are not required. Maybe they should rethink that.)

That was Friday of last week. Second scrimmage (please not... they have not even played an official game) a boy from the other team kicks his foot. So he has been nursing it. No big deal, right? Wrong. It really hurts. He has a really high threshold of pain. He had it x-rayed. Nothing. Doctor suspects it could be a stress fracture. Bone scan scheduled for next Tuesday. Where will we be???? Half the world away. So every morning, I ask and he tell improvement. None. Nada. Advil doesn't seem to help. Its not even swollen. He has not been able to practice. He is a bear. He is mopey. He is feeling like he is letting his team and coach down. he sits on the side and does sit ups and push ups. He site at the dinner table an has a ball cradled btwn his feet. What to do?

So this morning I could not sleep. Woke up and started to go through me emails. My devotional this morning is about... being in His peace when things go awry or are crazy. Okay that hit home. So this morning...I am putting one foot in front of the other. I am checking off my to do list. And I am going to stay in His peace. There is a great plan. Maybe it is some other young man's time to shine. It is Andrew's time to be quiet and watch from the side lines. (and who knows maybe its nothing:)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Preparations are underway. (8 days and counting)

Prep continues.

We have our travel plans down. Driving to NY, flying out Emirates. Staying at Ayat 2. that seemed to be the easiest part of the planning.

We have Jason's father staying with the boys. We were going to get a recently graduated college student to stay with them but then Andrew got sick. A nice little reminder that they may need more than a chaperon at night.

We have all of our documents ready. Bela's clothes are collected and ready for packing. Humanitarian aid is almost completely packed.

Some of the other preps-

Made a 2 paper chains with Zach. One for when we leave and one for when we come back. Even though he is 10, he has enjoyed the visual.

Dogs to kennel-that way when Bela gets home she is not traumatized by two friendly but large dogs.

Stocking freezer for father-in-law and beyond. I am going next Wednesday to Make and Take. Check it out if you have one. You can make full dinners (feeds 6-8) or half dinners (feed 3-4). What's nice is you have the flexibility to make what your family will like. I like to keep a couple in the freezer for those nights that time gets away from me, or we have a late game. They are good and so much better than pizza or fast food and much less expensive than take out.

Collecting small (inexpensive items) to put together a bag for each boy so they know that we are thinking of them. We can not count on being able to talk or connect with them. So this is our way of just touching base with a quick I love you each morning. The small items include magic tricks, a book, candy, Gatorade jelly beans, a gas card, a dunkin donuts card (remember I have a 17 year old).

Getting a few gifts together for in country staff:)

That is just a few of the prep items. Some of the more fun ones. We are 8 days away from getting on a plane and 10 days away from meeting our little one. WOW! We got a picture yesterday... could she possibly have gone from 2 to 16 over night? Love the eye roll. Truly, when I see this baby smile, I think I will cry (now, that will be be confusing for her, won't it?)