Sunday, June 24, 2007

Back to reality...

Well, it's late on Sunday evening...we're back from our short jaunt to St. Louis and I'm trying to get revved up about starting a new job tomorrow. I'm kind of excited, but very nervous too. You always fear that after your first day, the guy who hired you is scratching his head and going "what was I thinking?!" I'm one of those people who veers back and forth between total confidence in my abilities and total despair that someday someone is going to see that I have no redeeming skills whatsoever. But we'll see how it goes tomorrow. I suspect I'll spend most of the day filling out paperwork and trying to get used to a new computer.

Anyway, we had a fabulous time on our little vacation. The weather in St. Louis was very hot - near 100 every day - but we managed. We spent a day at Six Flags Over St. Louis (huge theme park) and stayed pretty much on the water park side most of the day. Here's Emma...ready to jump into the wave pool...

Then we spent a day at the world-famous St. Louis Zoo...I've been there many times, but this was the first time with Emma. For some bizarre reason, Emma has decided that snakes and reptiles are her favorite attractions, so we visited the Reptile House twice. I loved the penguins the best and the big cats. Here's Emma trying to catch some cool in the shade...

Unfortunately for my wallet, the zoo has a special Build-A-Bear Workshop on the premises. That place is like a crack house for Emma. But we were on vacation, so I caved in. Meet the newest member of our family...Pam the Panda!

Our last day, we went to a children's museum called The Magic House. By this time, we were dragging a little, but Emma still enjoyed it...

I have to say, we didn't go all that far from home and didn't spend a ton of money, but it was still a nice vacation. I think at this age, your kids just want to spend time with you and don't care all that much where it is, which is nice. I'm sure that might change when I try to drag Emma to Colonial Williamsburg a few years down the line (a painful rite of passage many children have had to endure, including me!)

Anyway, have a fantastic week...hope everyone is enjoying the summer!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


First of all, thanks for all your posts and emails regarding my last blog entry. I'm relieved to report that the test I had on Monday was negative. I burst into tears when the doctor came in with the good news. I have to have another test in a couple of weeks, but I'm not as wigged out about that one. Even if it turns out to be something, it wouldn't have been as dire a situation as the one I was facing earlier this week. So enough about that...

The kitchen is coming along...I have a couple more doors to hang on it and then I'll be done. I feel like I could build a house after this!

The other big change in our lives is that Emma has started at a new school. We live in a large metropolitan area that unfortunately has one of the country's worst public school systems. The downside of living in an urban area, I guess. I have always loved living in the city, but knew I would be facing some major decisions when Emma went into kindergarten. I just can't believe that happened so fast!

Anyway, attending public school here was out of the question. I firmly believe in public education, but I'm not letting my child lag behind in a sub-par learning environment. So my choices were (1) joining the thousands who flee to the suburbs; (2) enrolling Emma in a private school or (3) enrolling her in one of the dozens of charter schools here. I didn't really want to move. She was accepted in a couple of private schools, but the financial aid fell short of what I could afford. So I turned to charter schools. There really was only one I was interested in...a French immersion school that has an outstanding academic reputation. She was accepted earlier this year and started summer school there this week.

The whole foreign language immersion thing is really interesting. I mean, these kids walk in and pretty much all the teachers speak is French. But after just two days of class, when I dropped Emma off this morning, she turned to me and said "Au revoir, Mami!" Can you believe it?! So my little girl is on her way to fluency in French.

Anyway, here's a photo I took of her this morning on the way to school...

Tomorrow we leave for a four-day vacation to St. Louis...I wanted to get in a short trip before I start the new job on Monday. À tout à l'heure!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Emma has outgrown the little Fisher-Price kitchen I got her when she was three, so I decided to surprise her with a new one. I found an incredible deal on this Melissa and Doug wooden kitchen that I knew she would love. At right is a photo of how the kitchen is supposed to look...

Of course, the description of the kitchen said "easy assembly." I'm convinced if you could order a nuclear power plant over the internet, it would say the same thing. But I've developed some talent over the past several years in putting stuff together, so I threw caution to the wind and ordered the kitchen.

My first clue that there was trouble ahead was that the kitchen came in three huge boxes. After I unloaded the 39 pieces and huge bag with 12 different kinds of screws, my confidence began to flag. Nevertheless, I charged up my power screwdriver and me and my little "helper" got to work.

After three hours of work, here is what we have...

AARGH! I've never been so frustrated in my life. It's not that I can't understand the instructions...although they are a bit obtuse at times. It's just there is so much to do...the assembly manual is 30 pages long! Plus, like most kids things, this comes with really cheap screws and if you make a mistake and try to remove a screw, they get totally stripped in no time. I'm actually going to go to the hardware store and get some better quality screws tomorrow and hope I can get them to work. I think Emma was hoping I'd get this thing assembled in like 20 minutes. At this rate, it might be closer to 20 hours.

All kidding aside, this is a weekend I could have done without stress. I have been feeling a bit under the weather for a few weeks and went to see my doctor (I was due for a physical anyway.) When she heard my symptoms, she ordered a couple of tests "just to rule some things out." Some extremely serious things that have me totally totally freaked out. I have been to some really dark places in the past week...I'm not afraid of death really, but I'm so terrified of leaving my daughter alone. I get nearly hysterical even thinking about it. My first test is tomorrow morning...this is as scared as I've been in my entire life. Hopefully it will all work out, but your prayers and positive thoughts are appreciated...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Walk for Hope

Every June, our local FCC chapter holds a charity walk to benefit Chinese orphans. We've raised thousands of dollars over the years and, obviously, it's a cause close to my heart. It's always a fun event, so I was relieved that Emma's pneumonia is in retreat and we could go.

It was a beautiful morning and we had so much fun walking around the park and catching up with all our friends who have adopted from China. There are three friends of mine who I met during the long wait...we hooked up at an adoption seminar back in 2000. We have been to every Walk for Hope together since then...we even went the year we were waiting for referrals. It's been a tradition that we take the girls' photo every year sitting together on this wall. Well, we didn't do it when they were one because they were too little to sit on a wall...but every year since they were two.

Anyway, here are Emma, Jenna, Kimmie and Christina at the WFH when they were two years old...

And here are Jenna, Emma, Kimmie and Christina today at age five...

We always try to get them in the same order on the wall, but no one ever seems to remember what that is! It is so amazing how much they have all grown.

Here are a couple more photos of Emma with her friends Amy and little Ella, who Emma considers a little sister...

Well, we're resting a bit now, but it's getting warm, so we may hit the pool this afternoon...have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dr. Mommy blows it

Well, Emma APPEARED to be well on the way to recovery from her weekend under-the-weather spell. She went to school on Monday and we went to swimming big deal.

Tuesday morning about 9 am, I get a call from the school nurse telling me Emma was running a fever and wasn't feeling well. So I hopped in the car and went to get her. Although she was a bit lethargic, I wasn't overly worried. I was giving her Zyrtec for her allergies, which is what I assumed this was. Fast forward to Tuesday night...Emma pretty much coughed from the moment I put her to bed until we got up at 7. It was a sleepless night for both of us. Needless to say, at this point I thought this might be something more than allergies.

So yesterday morning, we got up early and went to walk-in hours at our pediatrician's office. The doctor looked at her ears, listened to her heart and lungs and then pronounced "Emma has pneumonia." CRICKEY!!! PNEUMONIA!!! How could I have missed that? I felt like the worst mother in the world.

He prescribed a Z-PAK antibiotic, which I have to say, is miraculous. Emma barely coughed last night. We're still home today because she's pretty tired. But hopefully she'll be fine by the weekend.

So for the first time in years, I feel like a stay-at-home mom. We've actually been having a nice time, despite Emma's condition. She's been resting and I've been reading and we've played together a lot. We made a trip to Target earlier today and I caved in and bought her a new Barbie (no doubt because of my guilt over misjudging the seriousness of her illness!)

Anyway, here's a picture of my sick little girl...still cute and cheerful, despite her mom's incompetence!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Swimming lessons

Emma was still a bit under the weather today...she's still coughing a little and isn't eating a whole lot. But she went to school and we started swimming lessons right after school/work. She really wasn't looking forward to a matter of fact, she burst into tears a few weeks ago when I told her I had signed her up for them. But she really needs to learn how to swim, not just splash around in the pool. So we're taking lessons every weeknight for the next two weeks. It's a major pain, but I figured she'll learn more taking them over a period of two weeks, rather than every Saturday over a period of two months.

So here's my girl trying to get psyched up for her first swimming lesson...

Fortunately, Emma's friend Jia is taking lessons with us, so I think that helps bolster Emma's courage a little. Here are the two girls picking up some last minute pointers from the instructors...

I was a little freaked because the lessons were being taught in the lap pool at the local swim complex...the pool is four feet deep everywhere and Emma is about seven inches shorter than that. But she climbed into the pool and hung onto the side like all the other kids...

I think what made things go smoothly was that Emma's teacher was a really cute lifeguard named Adam, who looked a lot like Emma's big celebrity crush...Zac Efron from the movie High School Musical. Emma was in heaven as Adam guided her around the pool...

Things didn't go totally swimmingly (ouch!) Emma wouldn't put her head under water, no matter how much cute Adam tried to persuade her. I think the main thing I want her to accomplish from these lessons is getting comfortable putting her head under water. Hopefully, that will happen sometime this week...I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Puny weekend

Emma is sick today. She starting coughing last night and began running a fever, which I swear, she hasn't done since she was like two. It broke overnight, thank goodness. But she's really puny energy and no appetite.

I'm not sure which is worse...having your kid sick during the week, when you have to miss work and school. Or having her sick on the weekend, when you're housebound during the days when you need to be out going to the grocery store, mowing the yard and doing all that weekend stuff.

Anyway, I hope she starts to feel a little better and we can get out and about tomorrow...for both of our sakes!

Here's a photo I took last weekend when my girl was the picture of's hoping she looks like this again soon.