Friday, April 30, 2010

Summer Friday Mornings with Papa!

4.30.10: I finally got a lot of really fun (some down right funny--or we think so) of Izabella's life. But I don't have time to do the video, gotta run. BUT I had to share this picture from this morning. She LOVES reading the paper with Papa. But for obvious reasons it's very hard to read a paper with a little girl on your lap. So this morning I told Dan--just give her a circular flyer to look at and put her in her chair next to you and she'll have a great time. So he did! Little did I know how precious it would be.

Here's a glimpse. It's does't get much better than this!

A couple funny stories I never will forget.

Caught with fingers in the "cookie--oops I mean "green bean" jar! As you know most children get caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar. My Izabella however, steals green beans from the green bean pot. I had them on the counter waiting for Dan to get home to put in the microwave--when she came over to me with mouth wide open--and what was inside--you guessed it a mouth full of green beans. She smiled ear to ear and said, "Yummy Mama!" I was bewildered at how she got to them--and that she would. Although I shouldn't be too surprised--she LOVES any food that's green! Beans, Broccoli, Peas, Lettuce, Celery...etc. She really loves any vegetable or fruit and will often eat a whole salad worth of it all--as she sits on the counter next to me as I chop and prepare a salad for dinner. Infact, the other day--I turned to rinse the lettuce--when I returned turned back around the three little baby cucumbers I had laying on the cutting board each had a bite out of the end of them. too

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

Wordless as well!

And the winner of the Snow-Fighter of the Year! My husband!

4.21.10: I am so proud of him! He works so hard and takes his job very seriously. And as you know he works VERY hard! Yesterday they had their end of winter meeting at his work and he WON the "Snowfighter of the Year" award. He is so disappointed every year when he doesn't win--so it was soooo good to know they acknowledged him this way! It is decided on by the bosses and the bosses it's a big deal.

I'm so proud of you honey!

Almost 6 months Home...

4.22.10: Monday will be our six-month Izabella Anniversary! Six-months ago on Monday--we met this precious child. I was looking at the video of that day this morning--it seems like yesterday--yet a lifetime at the same time. She fits so perfectly into our home. And time will tell--but for now--it seems she's happy being an only child. I was so worried during our wait--that she would mourn deeply the crazy activity of all the kids in the orphanage. That she'd be lonely in our "all adult" home. But, it's just a feeling, cause she can't answer that question yet--she seems to just love all the attention and time she gets as an only child. Of course that could change with time. We'll see, but for now, my heart is full knowing we have not deprived her of something she had--only given her more than she ever dreamed of. And that her life is full...just as it is. Certainly, ours is.

I will post on the 6-month day--my heart. But for now I want to share some things about her where she is now--at 35 months (just one month shy of her 3rd Birthday):

•she now goes up and down the stairs holding on with one hand! I am so proud of her! And I feel better knowing she knows how to safely navigate the stairs safely. Mind you she's still very cautious about them--which is also very good.

• She has too many words to post. But here are some new ones she uses regularly. I do it. Almost done. All gone. All done. I love you too! Thank-you (both in chinese and english), Please. I coming! You coming? I dance. I sing. I find it. Bow. Pretty! Hot! Cold! Bike. Eat. God, I love you, Amen. Montana, Sadie, Mama (sometimes it's mom, she even called me Lis the other day--like Dan calls me), Papa (sometimes she calls him Dan -- like I do. She identifies all kinds of things, trees, birds, airplane, tree, water, fountain, it always amazes us when she knows the word for things. We have a book of opposites--she knows all of the opposites (i.e. Long, Short. Hot, Cold. Above, Below. Up, Down. Old, Young....etc.) At our 6-month post-adoption report meeting with our social worker she identified 95% of the items in the "baby words book". Many of which surprised me! Oh yeah--"doctor fix it" "ouch! hurt!" Sad. Happy! All words are said with such expression too! It's so fun to watch.

She loves to read! She will even point to the very line of the words on the pages that I'm reading from. I don't know if this is coincidence or she knows. Time will tell.

She's very close to potty trained. She now can get up on and off the step stool, and onto the potty all by herself. We're working on remembering to flush.

She's hates bedtime--would go, and go, and go if you'd let her.

She LOVES school.
The teachers all love her and are amazed with her progress. She is so good about taking instruction from them (probably an orphanage trained behavior), listens so well and is now singing the songs and doing the movements with the songs in the mom/daughter time at the beginning. For a couple weeks she was just an observer.

She feeds herself and can (and loves) to drink out of a big girl cup (no sippy cup).

She can button and un-button. And depending on how hard the zipper is to zip--she can zip her own jacket.

Very active--
She loves to take walks, slides on the slide by herself. Likes to swing on the swing--but not too high! Even did the "step-pods" the other day. Her gross motor skills have really gone through the roof.

She is so good about picking up her toys--and remembering to take her things back up to her room at the end of the day.

Loves her clothes--shoes, bows, dresses, anything.

She's great at playing by herself--
and is such a trooper when it's "work-time" for mama.

Dora is her favorite!!
Kia Lan is second favorite!

Matching! She loves to match things--socks in the laundry, matches her headband to her shirt color. She wanted a fruit cup today. On the box is a picture of both kinds. She pointed to a picture on the box. I grabbed one. She said, "No. Match." and pointed to the picture again. I love it!

So many things--she's doing soooo wonderfully! Simply amazing!

Here's a cute video of her last night with her bubble mower! She LOVES it! When I brought it out for the first time--her eyes got REALLY BIG--and she put her hand over her mouth and said, "OH! Mine? Mine? Mine?" She was sooo excited!

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Life!

4.12.10: My last post was that nothing BIG happened this weekend--well that's true as far as Izabella goes. BUT, for my little brother's family it was a VERY BIG weekend! My little brother became a grandfather yesterday! His daughter Ashley had a little boy--Ryan Steven Parker, born 4/11/10 weighing 6 pounds 15 ounces and 20 inches long born at 6:00 pm 4.11.10! And as his mother posted "He's absolutely perfect!"

It's hard to believe my little brother is a GRANDFATHER within months of me becoming a Mom! Goes to show you--there is no "normal" in life--it's just ours--each our own unique path and perfectly so. I am so unbelievably happy for him and Ashley! I used to call her "peanut" and now she has a "peanut" of her own. She'll be a great mom--I'm sure of it!

I have not seen my brother happier or prouder other than the day he married his wife Dodie! Here are couple shots--one of him at his wedding last summer so you can judge for yourself--but that smile is priceless on both days--very big days in my little brothers life!

So with that said--Congratulations Grammy and Grampy Cota! You should be so proud of your little girl and that handsome little Ryan!

Love this shot!

This is my little brothers family--(from left): Ashley--Ryan's Mom, Mindy, Dodie, Donny and Britney. That is prior to yesterday--add Ryan Steven Parker, grandson!

Grampy and Grammy Cota and their new grandson Ryan!

Proud Parents Ashley and Eric and Grandparents, Don and Dodie Cota

"He gives Beauty for Ashes...Isaiah 61

4.12.10: It wasn't a BIG weekend..just simply hangin' out with this new Family of 3. I love that. I did, of course takes some pictures of our time together and want to share them. But with them I feel compelled to share this verse as well. I don't remember who, but someone shared this with me sometime just before or since we got home with Izabella. It touched me deeply and means so much to me. No matter what your ashes are from--you should know that God will give you much JOY from them and although that is hard to realize while you're struggling and in the depths of despair--it is the HOPE that will pull you though. It happened this way for us--and as much as we are so happy now--there were so many dark days on the way to this I feel this is testimony to God's promise.

He gives Beauty for Ashes, Strength for Fear, Gladness for Mourning, and Peace for Dispare -Isaiah 61

Monday, April 5, 2010

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

4.4.10: Our first Easter together was so sweet!

We had a really beautiful Easter morning with a little egg hunt and then a basket from the Easter Bunny and a couple sweet Easter gifts from her cousin Katie. Then we had a whole bunch of chores to do before we could attend church. We didn't get them all done, so Papa was very stressed, we tried to convince him to join us--but he opted to stay at home and get his chores done. We missed him so much--but Izabella and I had a great time--and my niece Katie joined us--and really enjoyed the service. That was a blessing in itself.

As Izabella sat on my lap--clapping with the music. She never does this out in public or in a crowd--she always just sits there and takes it all in--no matter how much I urge her to join in, she won't, so this touched me deeply. I believe this was God singing in her heart. She would raise her hands like others as well--to open your palms and soul to God and the Holy Spirit-and the singing--now that was precious. Immediately after the music worship, the sanctuary went silent and we all prayed. Izabella immediately put her little hands together in prayer and said, "God..." :) It was so touching, I love this child. It was a really long service--1.5 hours and she was sooo good! I was so proud of her.

For me, it was the most moving experience to have her sitting on my lap--praising the God that brought her to us! I kept thinking how this was a moment I had dreamed, and dreamed and dreamed of and it was finally here. My feelings are indescribable. But God needs no words, He knows my heart and it is a deeply, deeply grateful heart.

The sermon was about "Life, What's the point?" The message was to replace that question mark with God. I couldn't help but think--my life has never had more of a point! And YES that question mark was there for so many years--and removed the day I saw her face in that dream and ultimately wrapped my arms around her in China. Gazing into her eyes--I can see the rest of my life...fulfilled with the gift of a precious chinese princess from a land half way around the world, that I never dreamed would be so deeply fulfilling. You think you know, but you really don't until this precious gift is placed in your arms. I touch her skin and hold her little body in my lap and I am so humbled by the fact that God chose us to parent this amazing child! Thank you God! Thank you!

Here are some pictures of our day. After we returned home Papa had finished his chores and returned home from a little much deserved bike ride on his Harley, took a walk upon request from Izabella around the block and then we all went to DQ for a sweet treat to end our day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

He Has Risen!

4.3.10: We went to our first easter egg hunt today and met the Easter Bunny for the first time! It was a good day--and she did great with a little help from Papa!

More important than Easter Bunnies--this year, more than any other, I am in awe of how Jesus has carried us through the storms and joys of this journey to Izabella. There were many, many times when clearly there were only one set of footprints in the sand--and they were His--while He carried us to this destination--a family of 3--forever.

We will attend the Easter Family Service tomorrow. Can not wait!

Here are a few shots of our day together. I hope your Easter is full of praise and joy for the sacrifice He made for us to be forgiven and able to live a life without the burden of mistakes--just learn from them.

Which brings me to another thing that rings true on this day--I am reminded--much like God's sacrifice of His son for us--Izabella's birth parents sacrificed a life with their amazing, beautiful daughter to save her life. I will never ever forget them and what they did for her and ultimately for us. I look forward to the day we will meet--if not on earth then I pray they come to know the God that carried us and her through this time--and we will meet in heaven and all be united with this precious girl.

My favorite shot of the day!

A bit bewildered initially--taking it all in!

Despite HUGE signs that said "NO ADULTS ALLOWED"
Papa wouldn't let his girl alone in the mob of kids. It was pretty sweet.

Is this little one precious or what...that basket is almost bigger than her.
When I brought it out (empty--it's been full of candy and toys from dear friends of ours for a couple weeks now) she cried and said "more. more. mine. mine" Like what happened to all my Stuff! I explained we would fill it up again today and she was fine but wouldn't put the bucket down even in the car. Pretty cute.
Blue lips and all she's pretty sweet. We hooked up with the Easter Bunny after the egg hunt--no one was there so it was good--but literally the second we were posing for the picture--there were loads of kids and families waiting! Guess they thought it was a good idea too. Like Santa there was no way she was doing this alone. :)

PS--the blue lips in this picture is from the ONE piece of candy we let her eat--it was blue taffy!!!

Opening an egg in her bucket.
See the death grip on that basket?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fun Friday-Part 2: Papa disappears....

4.1.10: We were suppose to have a biopsy today--but the scheduling person didn't schedule us for surgery she just put us in for a check-up!!! OK, I usually just go with the doctors on things--but yesterday I realized I'm very protective when it comes to her! Of course. This doctor is highly recommended--has even adopted from China herself 12 years ago now--Dan and I both see her--pre-adoption--and we trust her.

Our first visit 3 weeks ago was frustrating--cause she wanted to give her another dose of 'Scabies" medicine--she's already had 2 doses (internal and cream)...that was in her records I gave her. Then she rubbed one of the sores, to see if it would swell (????what...I went a long with it), of course it did not! I asked her to do a skin scrapping--since that is what our ped recommended and thought she would do--she said she couldn't unless they were (ok I don't get how we could do this..but) not NEW and un-itched--so she can't do that. She'd have to biopsy one of them--and that would traumatize her(no kidding!)--so she said to try this steriod creme for 10 days and come back if needed and they'd have to biopsy." Ah...yeah....the steriod creme made it worse not better--I rescheduled for yesterday--and told the scheduling person we need to schedule an appointment and we had to do a biopsy!" Yeah--she didn't schedule us for that!

I was relentless about the biopsy to the nurse when she came in ( I just knew we'd have to fight to get an answer--mothers intuition I guess). I also told the nurse that's what we had prepared Izabella for all week--and we expected this to happen so we can get to the bottom of this.

It's driving her crazy! I think itching is a form of self-torture. Your body is relentless--and as someone with exema bad--I know this trauma and it just plain stinks. So...I'm very anxious to get to the bottom of it. MIND you, I AM NOT excited about (nor is Dan) traumatizing my sweet Izabella--but I know this is the only way to figure this thing out! It's been 5 months of this...enough is enough.

So....the doctor comes in. Izabella says to her, "boo-boo, fix it, fix it" Breaks my heart when she says that (which she says to me multiple times daily)--cause I can't--but she can--so please just do it! And she says, well, lets just rub the sore and see if it swells!!! WHAT???? I said, " already did that last time!" She said, "oh we did?" I said "yes--we really need to just biopsy this thing like we discussed last time." She then again explains the trauma--and then says the real reason for no biopsy today--"well, my partner has the surgical suites today--so I can't do it today!" Oh for crying out loud--you're kidding me! I was furious! I said, "We have been preparing Izabella for this for a week and now she's gotta wait again? And of course we have to pay another office visit too right?" She said, "Yes ,that's right." I said, "Well why did we even come today then? This visit is completely un-necessary." She said, "Yes, you shouldn't have come in today. You should have asked to talk to the nurse who would have pulled her chart and consulted with me. She goes on to explain, "Schedulers are just admin people they know insurance and business stuff not clinical stuff." I said, "Ok, well enough, I understand that, but why didn't the scheduler refer me to the nurse when I told her we'd have to biopsy--like you told us last week." She said, "Well because she can't schedule surgery without a doctor's request." I said, "Yeah, but the nurse could have gotten the doctors request. This is crazy." I didn't say anything else, but I think she saw and heard the disgust and frustration in my voice. Then she said, "There will be no charge for this visit." She was obviously PO'd at me. Then she explained we'd need to apply a numbing creme 1 hour before biopsy so she won't feel anything at ALL--this is for children especially." I said, "Yes, ok, not a problem, absolutely." The creme was just $13--we bought it at the schedulers desk--handed to her by the nurse--along with a special bandage to apply. Scheduled another appt. for another week and half later and headed out the door.

UGH...clearly the doctor was NOT happy with me about not paying for an un-necessary visit due to her staff error--but that in my opinion is not RIGHT--insurance or now insurance--down right ridiculous! I am still so furious with all this. Dan has suggested we find another dr. I'm not so sure that's a bad idea. Ugh....she's a good doctor--just clearly not very organized or supported by a very good system. So...we'll have to manage her care--like it seems so many mom's have too! And pray the results are good and easy to fix once they know what it is.

I cry as I write this part, I am so afraid right now of the results. The doctor in the first appointment told me it could be something else--and if it is--it's not good. She told me what it was, I didn't get it (medical terminology), I asked the nurse to write it down for me. She said it wasn't on her file so she didn't know...oh God...this is insane. I'm sure this is all minor compared to other needs. But it's so raw to us! This is why I am anxious to get to the bottom of it. If it is serious--we need to catch it and get it under control now, not later!

God has moved mountains for this little girl. I know He is able in this too! So some prayer for her as we wait yet again til the 14th of April to find an answer and please pray the results are such that it's a simple fix. I would so appreciate it!

In addition to all this--Dan took time off to be there with her--and that was all for not as well--but we made the best of it. I had brought a picnic lunch for us--thinking it might be a relaxing thing to do, even if it was on our deck--after she rested. So we went to the park--Papa has not been there with us yet. So Izabella and Dan had a blast! I need say no more! Pictures and video tell it all!
It's a bull-dozer! Just like the one papa drives! How perfect is that!

Izabella wants Papa to go down first!!!
At first Papa resisted (in a very fun way, playing with her)!

Then with a nudge from a little girl on a big nebraska guy's leg..

He was off--and she had to add a little push to be sure he was going!

And a final nudge to the head...

And he's "gone"! Weeeeee!
Papa! Papa! Where are you Papa?

Here's some video from the other end of the tube!

Fun Friday....

4.1.10: Who needs an $20 bubble machine when you have a cousin that will blow them for you?
Way better!