Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Collin had heart surgery? Wow..I didn't know that!

This was a statement made by one of my eighth grade students during a discussion in Science class yesterday. Another student said, "he looks and acts like any other kid".

I hope more China adoptive families facing the terribly long wait will open their hearts to kids like Collin because, he is "any other kid".

Getting off my soapbox now.

What Collin is doing now: sleepily watching Kai-Lan after a lot of playing outside today and a warm bath!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pick a letter, any letter!

This is Collin's phrase lately. He demands this as he holds out his bucket, containing the little multi-colored plastic letters, in front of you. When you pick one, he says "good job, you picked a ___" and says the name of the letter and the sound it makes. He repeats this process until we get sick of it and divert his attention to another game. The pictures were from tonight when he wanted to play a game with his letter flashcards. I laid them out on the floor and he had to match his plastic letters to the flashcards by laying the plastic ones on top of the letters on the cards. His favorite letter, for whatever reason, is W, and he only has trouble with naming one letter and sound - Y. One would think a 3 year old would have trouble with the vowel sounds, but he can distinguish his "sticky letters", as he learned to call them from his letter movies. They are sticky because they glue words together-makes sense, and he "gets it" so they must be on to something!

What Collin is doing now: watching the UNI vs. Mich. St. game with daddy..go Lucas!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Extended weekend

Cheap fun..homemade tents!!!!
This morning, as I was getting ready for school, I heard my cell phone beep with a new text message. It was from a teacher friend of mine commenting on how we had the day off. I sent back a text asking what in the world she was talking about. Apparently, while I was in the shower, a global connect call came from school saying that we had no school today due to a power outage. You may be surprised, but my first thought was, "oh, no!" You see, we have Grandparents' Day and our Science and Art Fair on Thursday. I was needing the time today to get gifts made for grandparents and time for my science students to finish up last minute details on their project backboards so that they are ready in time for judging Wednesday morning. Now it will be a rush to get everything done, plus catch up on lessons planned for today that did not get accomplished.
Since we had the extra time today, we went to our local hospital and **finally** had Collin's lead test done. We opted for the lab versus our health dept. since the lab does the finger prick, and the HD only does the blood draw. We chose the lesser of two evils and went for the finger prick. Collin did great. He practically laughed through the entire thing. The lab tech was wonderful, explaining that he was going to "paint" the circles on the card red with his finger. He thought that was pretty cool! When he was done he asked the lab tech if he could do it again!! He chose a Cars bandaid and collected his prizes - a Tootsie Pop and an Easter egg filled with Scooby-Doo bandaids - and were on our way, only after Collin oogled at the ladies' Easter themed Christmas tree in the lab decked out with Easter eggs and spring ornaments. It even had egg garland and pastel-colored lights! I don't know where people come up with these things.
We had a treat for lunch - McDonald's - and Collin ate every bit of his cheeseburger, minus the bun, of course. He had to eat his lunch in his tent, which he calls his "house", while watching Kai-Lan. Grandma and grandpa came over for a visit and Collin showed off his crazy letter sounds and recognition skills. At least he's obsessed with something educational..and he is obsessed. Erik and I have both Leapfrog letter movies memorized, along with Collin. I'm seeing kicking k's and jumping j's in my sleep and singing the "every letter makes a sound" song over and over in my head! The plastic letters are in Collin's sight throughout the day, and if he sees us without a letter, you can bet we're going to get one. His favorite letter is W, so he will usually hand me two W's and say "Here's your wuhs, mommy. You got to keep them." We now have him saying the letter W instead of calling it by the sound it makes, although it was cute.

Time for nap!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Spring!

We were finally able to play outside on Thursday after school. Collin was able to ride his bike, with the wagon attached to the back of course, and his 4-wheeler. My intentions were to pull a few weeds in our landscaping. An hour later, I had a 2 huge piles of weeds, leaves and dead plant matter that I had raked out of all of the landscaping in our front yard. It was so nice to get it done and now we can enjoy the yellow daffodils that are springing up near our front door. Collin was lovin' the daffodils and actually asked me to go inside and get my camera so I could take pictures of him with the flowers!
What Collin is doing now: sitting on Erik's lap practicing his letter sounds..latest obsession.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

6 months ago today...

the little face we had been staring at, known to us as CHI-9, and whose name, Li Bingyang, given to him by the Children's Welfare Institute of Xiamen City in Fujian province, finally became our wonderful reality.
A perfect stranger living on the other side of the world, now entering our lives to be our forever son. Our meeting could not have been more perfect and we realized that the years of waiting leading up to this moment, though difficult and hard to understand at the time, were for one reason..Collin.

Boarding our first airplane two days before, we felt anxious, but most of all, excited. With each of us only flying a couple of times before, it was the biggest adventure we would undertake as a couple. Traveling to the other side of the world in itself was amazing, but we were going to become parents in the process!
I will never forget the words of our guide upon meeting her at the airport in Collin's province that day. As we were riding the escalator up to the airport exit to get into the car that would take us to Collin, she said "We will be going straight to the hotel which is about 30 minutes away. You will have some time to get the paperwork in order and then you will meet your son." I hoped she didn't think it was rude, but at the moment I couldn't help it. I had to turn away from her and I immediately broke into tears with the reality of her words. This was really going to happen and it was wonderfully scary.
Although we had his picture, I still wondered what little Li Bingyang looked like, how little or big he would be, would he be scared or not, and most of all..would he like us?

At 4:30p.m. that Sunday on the 18th floor of the Lakeside Hotel in Fuzhou, China, our little boy literally RAN into our lives and every hesitation and fear we had about becoming parents through the miracle of adoption melted away.

Fast forward to today, 6 months later, and Collin is an inquisitive, funny, loving, tender, and smart little 3 1/2 year old. It was easy and natural for me to physically prepare for motherhood. Since I love to shop, getting Collin's room ready, buying the clothes, shoes, toys and puzzles, sippy cups, etc. that he would need on our trip and when he came home was a cinch. What I was not prepared for, and no one really can prepare for it until it happens, were the emotions motherhood brought. Although my son did not come from my body, he came from the deepest part of my heart, connecting us as if we were biologically related. He is mine and when he is hurting or upset, so am I. When he is scared, I wrap him in my arms and calm him from his fear. When he accomplishes a goal, I am proud of him.

I was once asked where his REAL mother was. I AM HIS REAL MOTHER and I am thankful for it every day...I could not ask for anything more!

What Collin is doing now: piling his noodles and alphabet letters on the living room floor.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mr. Independent

A few months ago, Collin became hooked on the Thomas and friends website. He loves to play the games on it but, of course, someone (usually daddy) had to help him navigate the site on a laptop. Erik and Collin would do this while I made supper. Erik would let Collin press the keys and move the mouse with his help. With a lot of practice (this became part of the nightly routine) Collin has become really good at using the computer on his own to play his games.

Now he is allowed to play his games on mommy's pink laptop on his own. He needs help getting to the site, but once there, he gets around pretty well by himself.

This morning we had a post-placement visit with our social worker. For those of you not in the adoption world, specifically China, this is one of 3 post-placement visits that China requires. We had a 3 month visit, today was our 6 month visit, and in September we will have our final 1 year visit. The China adoption authorities like reports on how the child is adapting to their new home and family. The social worker we had been working with for the past 4 and a half years is now working with foster families so we have a new adoption social worker. I'm sure she loved getting our file because we have been told several times from our previous social worker that ours is the biggest file in their entire office..we don't doubt it!

The visit went well and the social worker, accompanied by an intern, got to know Collin and commented on his outgoing personality as he was trying to get them on the floor with him to play trucks. I only had to apoligize to the worker once as Collin was tossing around a play hay bale that smacked her right in the head..oops. Good thing it was at the end of the visit and not one of her first impressions!

What Collin is doing now: lining up his trucks and filling the backs of them with trains.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Collin's Singing Debut

Collin's preschool class (3 and 4 year olds) sang three songs at Mass this morning. Collin sang very well despite not wanting me to leave when I took him over to school to meet his classmates before Mass began. He was clingy and crying and saying he wasn't going to sing. Thank goodness Ms. Nikki, the aide, came over and took him from me. I left and went back over to church, hoping he would march in happily with the rest of his class when the time came. HE DID! He looked very handsome up there in his Easter outfit. Grandma and grandpa were in church to see Collin sing also. After church we went out to eat, and as a special treat for doing so well, Collin got soda with his lunch. He slurped down his first cup full in nothing flat..helps when he puts two straws in it!

On the way home, Collin was very tired, so we changed his clothes and he laid down in mommy and daddy's bed to watch a movie. Once the movie was over, it was time to close his eyes and go to sleep. He DID NOT want any part of it. He was mad and said so, and put the sheet over his head. As soon as he did this..he fell asleep. I snapped a picture and then uncovered his head, of course.
What Collin is doing now: napping because he was NOT tired.
Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Have noodles, will play for hours.

I recently purchased a small plastic wagon for Collin at DG. It's just a cheap little wagon, but I thought it would be fun for playing with outside this spring and summer. Once we got it home, he was having nothing to do with leaving it in the garage until it was nice enough to play outside. We had to bring it in the house to play with. He had been putting his trains in the wagon and pulling them around. I was afraid he would dent my dining room floor when he was dumping out the trains on it, so I gave him some macaroni noodles to put in his wagon instead of the trains. The noodles have been a hit! He scoops them out of his new bucket (also a DG purchase) with his shovel into the wagon and totes the noodles around for a bit. Then, he scoops the noodles out of the wagon back into the bucket. I have also noticed the noodles in the back of some of his trains and his Handy Haulers. He has only tried to eat one noodle and discovered that it was pretty nasty uncooked. He ended up spitting that out into the trash! Today after school the wagon was hitched up to his bike and he had fun hauling it around the driveway. Daddy put his picnic table together while we were playing outside and he was excited about that also. He was ready to bust out the playdoh to play with on his new table, but it was time to go inside and start supper so that had to wait.

Collin has been having "play conversations" lately, which is a new thing. His trains will talk to each other while he plays with them. I have heard him have one train ask "why?" and the other responds "because, that's why". Daddy says this a lot. I have also heard him have one train ask the other "are you okay, honey?" Sometimes I just sit out of his sight and listen. It can get quite hillarious. I remember when I was so glad that he could put two and three word phrases together in English, and now he is having conversations with complete sentences..he amazes me everyday!

Erik picked Collin up from the babysitter's today. When I dropped him off at preschool this morning he told me that he wanted daddy to pick him up and not me. I am able to pick him up sooner so I usually get the task. When I asked him why he wanted daddy to pick him up, he said "well, 'cause you have to share me, mommy". So true!

What Collin is doing now: watching Dora and squirming because he has to go potty and doesn't want to stop watching Dora to go.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cousins sleep over

Collin's cousins, Leslie and Kamryn, spent the night tonight. My sister was in a jam so the girls came over to spend the night. Collin has a blast when he is around other kids, and especially when they come to HIS house. We see a totally different personality come out when he has cousins or friends over. It's quite funny. A little wild man inside of him comes out and he says and does the funniest things. This lasts for a while until he gets jealous of the other kids playing with his toys, then comes the meltdowns, tears, and lectures about sharing our things with our guests.

He ate better for supper since he saw the girls eating and asking for seconds AND THIRDS. Playtime after supper went well until the kids found a ball and began fighting over who got to play with it, so we moved on to bathtime. I am very thankful I don't have to bathe three kids each night!

After their bath, the kids each got a scoop of ice cream in a mug. They thought that was the coolest. I thought it was the best way to keep the ice cream off of my couch!

Now all three they are laying on a mattress on the living room floor watching THE CAT IN THE HAT. This is a favorite when the girls come over. I think Mike Meyers as THE CAT is very freaky! Of all people, Erik pointed out that it was fitting that we were watching this particular movie since today is Dr. Seuss' birthday..go daddy!

Collin insists he is sleeping in the living room with the girls all night. We shall see how that turns out.

Until next time,