Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow Day

Like a lot of the country, winter weather has hit here with a vengence. We had an ice storm last night and we're supposed to get like a foot of snow this afternoon and this evening. YUCK! I'm not ready for winter. Emma is thrilled, of course, because school was cancelled today because of the ice and, if the forecasters are to be believed, will be closed tomorrow because of heavy snow.

We managed a quick run to Target and McDonald's in between the ice and the snow. And we spent this afternoon decorating the Christmas tree...

It's been a tiring day for both of us and Emma is taking one of her rare naps (that don't involve a moving car) right now. So a little peace and quiet for mom...I think I'll read for awhile and pick up the house a little before the next round of shoveling and entertaining Emma.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Emma and the Big Guy

Wow, I can't believe I went this long without posting anything...I had every intention of checking in while we were on our long Thanksgiving vacation out east, but I guess we were having so much fun, I didn't have time!

Anyway, I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday...we sure did. Emma had so much fun hanging out for a week with her cousins and it was nice to spend time with my parents and my sister and her family. There was plenty of eating and shopping, which is par for the course for our family!

I'm sure the highlight for Emma was going to see Santa at the mall...she went to see Santa for the first time last year, but she was still a little apprehensive when it was our turn. We coaxed her to go up to him while Brennan and D.J. were still visiting and that seemed to break the ice...

Then she had Santa all to herself...

She told me afterwards that she asked Santa for two things that she had failed to mention to me previously. I thought I was done shopping, but I guess not...I have to get her at least one thing she asked Santa for!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Emma and Peter

After school and work today, we went to our favorite children's photographer to get Emma's Christmas pictures taken. While we were there, the photographer asked Emma if she wanted to hold her bunny rabbit (named Peter!) Emma was a little hesitant at first, but then fell totally in love. The photographer took some great pictures of the two of them...I snapped this one while Emma was just getting to know Peter.

Well, I have to get back to packing...we're off tomorrow to spend a week with my sister and her family in Boston. Emma's so excited about seeing her cousins!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gee, it's FUN being a mom! (WARNING - gross!)

Okay, yesterday was just one of those days. Shortly after we got home from school, Emma told me her tummy hurt. What this normally means is that Emma has a big poop she needs to get rid of. So she sat on the potty and did go. But as she was sitting there, she said her tummy still hurt (I'm sure you can all see where this is going...) So I'm leaning in close to her, trying to see if she has a temperature or anything and -BLEECH - suddenly there's blue vomit all over her, me the floor, the toilet. I guess that fruit punch after school wasn't such a good idea. It was really shocking to me because Emma hadn't thrown up since she was one year old.

Anyway, after like two seconds, Emma looked up and said "it's okay, Mommy, I feel better now." Geez, I would THINK SO! So I stripped all our clothes off, plopped her in the tub and started cleaning up.

It's funny, during the long wait for Emma, one of the (many) things I worried about was how to deal with a sick child. I mean, I would rather see someone get decapitated in a movie than see them throw up! And I just never get sick. But it's weird...when you're a parent, you're more worried about how your child is doing than you are about being soaked with vomit. It's not fun to deal with, but it's not horrible like I thought it would be.

Anyway, it must have been something she ate, because she didn't have a temperature and was asking for dinner an hour later. And she was back in school today, bragging to her little friends about how she barfed all over the bathroom. They were VERY impressed!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thank goodness that's over for another year...

Emma doesn't have school today and I'm off work for Veteran's Day. Unfortunately, the day has not been all fun...Emma had to get her flu shot this morning. Shortly after getting up, she asked me what we were doing today and I told her we had to go to the doctor and then we were going to spend some time with her friend Helen and her mom. Of course, the first words out of Emma's mouth were "Do I have to get a shot?" I know a lot parents would dodge the question by saying "we'll see" or something. I've done that before. But this time I just said yes. Well, turn on the waterworks! She cried for like 15 minutes, pleading with me not to make her get a shot. I just kept saying it would be over in a second and wouldn't hurt much. Strangely, she stopped crying right before we left, didn't protest on the way to the doctor's office, and didn't shed a single tear while she got the shot. Weird! Anyway, here's a picture of her in the recovery room...

To help her recover from the trauma of this major medical procedure, we went to this big children's indoor play center with Helen and her mom. The girls absolutely LOVE this place! Emma's favorite is the ball pit.

The appeal of the ball pit has always escaped me. I seriously doubt I would love rolling about in a small area filled with hard plastic balls while scores of children hurl themselves and the balls all over the place. But Emma totally digs it. Emma and Helen also enjoyed building a big tower in the contruction room...

As you can see, they toiled away on their building project AFTER they visited the face painting room.

Emma totally conked out in the car on the way home. I carried her from the car into the house and just plopped in the easy chair and let her sleep. I don't care how long you have your kids or how old they get, there's something so incredible when they're sleeping in your lap. I'll never get tired of that.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Family FotoFun Friday challenge

Donna's FFFF challenge this weeks is HATS! This is one of my favorite pictures of Emma. She has on a cheesy Burger King crown instead of a hat...but it's on her head and she still looks cute to me!

The most exciting weekend of all time

Of course, that's not entirely true. Okay, it's not even remotely true. But we did have a little fun this past weekend. On Saturday, we went to the playground with our friends Mary and Helen. Despite a rivalry that mirrors that of the Red Sox and Yankees, Emma and Helen always seem to have a great time together...

On Sunday, after church and a swanky lunch at McDonalds, Emma and I tried to make a dent in the carpet of leaves in our yard. Emma was actually a big help raking the leaves (hey, it's never too early to put them to work...that's my philosophy!)

It is so depressing to me to spend an afternoon raking and bagging leaves (one of my LEAST favorite chores) and then look outside two hours later and see your yard covered with leaves again. I should just hire someone to do it, but I'm too cheap.

P.S. in the background of the photo of Emma raking, you can see where our garage used to be...they poured the concrete last week and as soon as it solidifies, they'll start building the garage. It's not too soon for poor mini-van is not used to being exposed to the elements!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Four years ago today...

...I was pacing up and down the hall at work like a caged tiger. No, not because it was Election Day, although it was, and I had already voted, but I couldn't care less. Because I knew this was the day I was going to get the call that would change my life. My DTC date was September 24, 2001 and I had been waiting more than 13 months for my referral. The referrals for October were almost two weeks late coming out at this point. There were reports that the referrals were late because September AND October were going to get their referrals this time (boy, those were the days!) That ended up not being the case and the October people would have to wait another few weeks. But barring some catastrophe, I knew I was in this batch. I was still worried though. A year before, my friend Dana was supposed to get her referral and the CCAA had mistakenly included hers with another agency's packet of referrals. That agency couldn't just forward it to had to go back to the CCAA and then to her and it was another three weeks before she got it. So in the back of my mind, I knew there could be a screw-up of some kind.

It was late morning and I was checking the September2001DTC CCAI yahoo group like every 30 seconds. Finally, the first referrals appeared - they were calling people! I ran out to the front desk and told our office coordinator (and my friend) Valerie that the referrals were coming and that if anyone called for me, she needed to ask who it was so I'd be ready. I can still remember how the anticipation was almost dizzingly unbearable.

A bit later, I was walking back to my office talking to my friend Kerry when Val ran toward us. "Your agency's on the phone!!!" Val and Kerry asked if they could stay and we went in my office and closed the door. I took a deep breath and in this embarrassingly shaky voice, I said "This is Donna." The woman on the other end of the line laughed. "Don't be nervous...this is Elaine at CCAI and I'm looking at a picture of your beautiful daughter!" Relief flooded over me...there was no mix-up or lost dossier...I was a mom!

I tried to concentrate as Elaine gave me the details...her name was Yin Yi Qian...she was born on February 24, 2002 (just over 8 months old and the same birthday as my niece D.J. who was traveling with us to China!)...she was at Yiyang SWI in Hunan 6 months old, she was 13 pounds and 25 inches. I tried to ask a couple questions that she didn't know the answer to, but I wasn't really into asking questions at that point. She said she was emailing me my daughter's photo as we spoke and I would get more details and pictures via Fed Ex tomorrow.

I hung up the phone and Val and Kerry hugged me and congratulated me. Then I turned to my computer to see if I had gotten an email from CCAI was there. I looked at my friends and said "we're going to see Emma for the first time." I have to be totally honest here...I had tried to steel myself and my family and friends for the reality that the referral picture might not be great and that Emma may not look all that cute in it. I mean, they don't call them mug shots for nothing. I admit there were times over the previous year that I would see someone's referral photo and think "Oh, that's too bad." I mean, you knew the baby was going to be adorable once they saw her...but often those pictures are not so adorable. So I had tried to tell myself that just because the referral picture wasn't lovely, that didn't mean my daugher wasn't lovely. As it turned out, I needn't have worried myself, because when I clicked on the photo attached to the email, I was about to lay eyes on what was, and remains to this day,













About three seconds after the picture came up on the screen, complete anarchy broke out. I burst into tears, Kerry started screaming and Val ran out into the hallway yelling to everyone "DONNA JUST GOT HER REFERRAL!!!" Soon there were like ten people in my office, looking at the picture and hugging me. It was so unbelievable.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur of phone calls to family and friends and hours of staring at that picture. I can say with all honesty that getting that call and seeing my daughter's picture for the first time was the most incredible moment of my life. I think I lot of people would wonder why actually getting her in China wasn't the most incredible moment. I think that's because I was so nervous and apprehensive on the day I got Emma, I was almost sick. I remember almost nothing of gotcha day. If my sister hadn't recorded every second of that day on a camcorder, I would probably have no memory of it at all. It was that surreal.

But I remember in great detail almost every second of referral remains the single greatest day of my life. I didn't know it at the time I got that call, but exactly four weeks to the day, I would be on my way to China to get Emma. And my life would change forever...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Am I too strict here?

Emma was playing with her state-of-the-art Disney Princess cell phone last night. She was having an imaginary conversation with her "boyfriend" Rashaan. Rashaan is a really cute 6-year-old boy at her school (Emma has always preferred older men.) Anyway, when she finished with her pretend phone call, she told me that Rashaan had called because he wanted to go out on a date with her.


Okay, that's what I wanted to say, but I refrained. I told her I thought maybe she was just a little too young to go out on a date. But I asked her where she and Rashaan would go on a date. She thought for a moment and said brightly "Maybe you could take us to the playground and to Chucky Cheese!"

Frankly, that sounds better than some of the dates I've been on...I won't bore you with the details of the time a guy took me out to an elegant dinner at Long John Silver's on our first (and only) date. I swear, that hush puppy is still lodged in my colon somewhere.

Anyway, call me Mommie Dearest, but I don't think I'll let Emma start dating quite yet. It's really freaky how soon kids today start thinking about stuff like that, though...