Sunday, January 27, 2008

A couple of seconds...

The girls in China with Kiera (above), the girls with Kiera yesterday (below)

Hello and thanks for stopping in to check up on us.
Things are going well. The girls have adjusted well to their baby sitter now that Rett has gone back to work part-time. The girls continue to learn more and more each day and jabber constantly, which is hilarious. They are putting their words and phrases together more and more in addition repeating everything you say.

We did celebrate a couple of seconds....our first second was the fact that we celebrated our second month with the girls. Time flies. We have been together just two months yet it feels like forever.

Another second was attending our second Chinese New Year Celebration presented by our local international adoption group. We almost did not go last year because we were childless and felt the wait was going to be forever...seeing all of the cute children could have been depressing. We enjoyed it last year AND EVEN MORE THIS YEAR!

It was great, a whole new group that had been waiting to see the girls. One thing that we thought was hilarious were some comments we overheard. Two different people came in saying "we have to see the twins, everywhere we go and people see our daughter, and they ask if we have seen the family with the twins." Well, everyone got to see the twins.

It was also a very enjoyable evening because we were able to see Lynn and Kiera from our travel group. They drove up from Cincy to the event with her daughter Kendall and her friend. Kiera is extremely cute and stole the show. Next year Chris and Sarah will have Jaxson home which will be fun!

Well, I will keep this short, it is getting late and tomorrow is Monday, I cannot wait to start another exciting work week :(

Thanks again for stopping by and enjoy the pictures.

Their many faces!

Trying to stay still after having their toes painted....(below)All the girls at Chinese New Year.

The girls trying new things at Chinese New Year...they loved the hula hoops.
They will climb on and into anything where their little bodies will fit, here they discover the laundry baskets.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

As written by Abby

Here's another picture from the "mug shot" gallery. Did you know Mama and Baba have me say "please" so that I look like I'm smiling? They do...and I humor them!

Ok, so Mama says we need to do today's post. Things have been busy around here! Mama went back to work half-days. This makes her sad, but we think it's getting easier. Baba takes us to Jerry's house to play. We love playing with his girls Jiselle and Jessica! We have a great time! As soon as we get there, Laney has to have Baba carry her in, or she gets really upset. It doesn't matter to me if Baba takes me in, or if Jerry carries me. I just want to get upstairs and START PLAYING! That's why I point upstairs as soon as we're inside!

Mama or Baba picks us up around lunch time. We fall asleep in the car almost every day because we're SO tired from all of our playing! Being a kid is a tough job! But we perk up when we get home and can EAT! We have lunch as a family most of the time and then Mama puts us down for our "Nite nite". It's hard to settle down some days, but once we do, we sleep hard!

The afternoons are spent playing with Mama. We drive her crazy sometimes saying "Kyler," and "kitty, kitty" but we know we're cute. We're adding new words every day! I like to say, "OK!" and "Oh, maaan!" It makes Mama giggle every time!

Laney has been trying to use the potty more and more. It doesn't get me all excited. I don't even pay attention to them most of the time. I do notice, though, when Laney looks at Mama funny, because Mama jumps up and says, "Laney? Do you have to go potty?" like a hundred times and hurries her in there. They clap and cheer each time she goes! As if that is a big deal or something! I go too, when I'm on there! I don't see what the hype is about that!? Oh well, it gives me more time to play and full choice of the toys!

Here's another picture of me, just to remind you of how cute I am! I'm working hard on a Valentine's Day project for Baba! Shhhh, don't tell!

At night, when we go to bed. Mama (or Baba) will read us stories. Right now, we can't get enough of The Very Hungry Caterpillar! Did you know he gets a tummy ache? It's so sad! Laney and I both say, "Oh no!" when it gets to that part! It is ok in the end though. But I won't ruin the story for you. Oh, and Goodnight Moon is great too! There's a tiny mouse (or mow as we say it) on almost every page! We love it!

Mama told us that we're going to celebrate the Chinese New Year this weekend. She said we'll get together with other families that have kids from China and have a party! I'm not sure what she's so excited about, but I guess I'll tag along to make her happy!

Well, that's about it from me. I have some playing to do before Baba gets home. Because, let me tell you...the minute he gets home, I'm all about Baba. Don't get me wrong, Mama fixes a mean snack, but Baba....well, he's my Baba. I love him!
See, here we are playing in our ball pit! Isn't he the best? He even climbed in!

P.S. Laney says HI! and "I lub you!" (She forced me to type that!)

And Mama said I HAD to include a picture of her too! OH MAAAAN!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It never ends....I am having flashbacks!

The picture is Abby's mugshot.

I will explain. You see, the paperwork never ends. When we returned home it was recommended that we obtain Indiana birth certificates and register the adoption with the State of Indiana. We agreed that it was a good idea and hired an attorney to do this (since it was not something we could do our own). The director of our agency is an attorney and is taking care of this for us (and we appreciate it very much!!!).

Another issue was/is Social Security cards. We went to the Social Security Office on New Year's Eve, figuring that there would be very few people there. We were right. There was only one person waiting. We took the applications for Social Security cards and all of the required paperwork per the instructions (and per information from our agency). The lady behind the counter disagreed and said we needed Indiana birth certificates. I showed her in the directions where it said the paperwork we provided would suffice and she took it just to humor us and said she would be in touch if more was needed. Well, we received a call. She needed another form of identification for the girls. So I will move on to the next issue, which corresponds with this one....

Between applying for Social Security cards and receiving the call that more documentation was needed, we received the girls' Certificates of Citizenship. They are very official and came in a huge envelope. Inside it was another envelop that said "A message from the President of the United States" printed on it. Inside that envelope was a letter from George W. Bush congratulating each girl regarding their new status as a citizen (it was a form letter but who cares, it is official and cool), their official Certificate of Citizenship and an instruction sheet telling you what to do if a name is misspelled or if you change your name.

The good news is that the Certificate of Citizenship is a document that the Social Security Office can use to process everything for their SS cards! The bad news is that they misspelled Abby's middle name on the Certificate of Citizenship. So, here we go again MORE STINKING PAPERWORK!!!!!!!!!! For the record, her middle name is NOT LuLu. And for the record again, the CIS office is the same office that we had a hard time getting our I-171h form from and the same office that forgot to forward it to China and which resulted in momentary heart failure while we were in China (read previous posts) when the mistake was discovered. (Sidenote - I have a theory why there are so many illegal aliens...if we have this much trouble, I cannot image what they must go through in order to become legal citizens...)

To correct the Citizenship and Immigration Service's (CIS) mistake, we had to do the following....send copies of the paperwork they already have (which they looked at and still spelled her name wrong originally), a two page application telling them what THEY did wrong, two color photos closeup with white background (thus the mug shot at the top of the post and I have a hunch will not work, I just have a gut feeling they will want passport photos even though it did not say that) AND a written explanation from us telling them what they did wrong. We are being punished because of their mistake...I love government. But they were nice enough to say on the application that the $380 fee would be waived if it is their mistake, how sweet.

SO, I went back to the Social Security Office today. This time I waited 45 minutes in order to stand at the counter for 1 minute for them to copy Laney's Certificate of Citizenship. After that I went to the post office and mailed all of the paperwork to the CIS to correct Abby's Certificate so I can give it to the Social Security Office so we can get a Social Security number.

And I almost forgot...just to add salt to the wound, our friend Lynn, who was in our China travel group, used a different Social Security Office. She simply used her daughter's Visa and Adoption Registration form from China (all things we provided to our Social Security Office) and was able to get a Social Security card. Something is wrong with this pictutre, but I will stop rambling, can you tell all of this just bugs the snot out of me? I just keep repeating I love government, I love government, I love government....

You may ask why we are so concerned about the Social Security numbers...well, as you are aware, they are needed frequently now days to function in our society and Social Security numbers equal other things that occur on or before April 15th.

So, here we are again, we wait, praying that the stars align so that all of this is resolved. But during this wait, we have two wonderful little girls to keep us company to make us forget about all of the stupidity and bureaucracy.

Thanks for checking in...tune in for more interesting posts from Rett in the near future. Oh, and here are some pics.

Fun with the diaper box!

Kyler, our other daughter, modeling one of the girls' birthday tiaras.

Lunchtime, ravioli and beets, YUM?!!! (below)


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ahhh, the life (long post)

Ok, we've had a bit of a rough week. Poor Laney has been dealing with congestion due to the lovely Indiana weather, I'm sure. Anyway, after noticing some other symptoms, I went ahead and gave her a dose of some medicine. Well, we found out just a few hours later, that she IS truly my daughter. She broke out in hives. I knew that's what they were the minute I saw them. My heart ached for her. First, I know how uncomfortable hives can make you. I was also so sad because I was the one that gave her the medicine! I wanted to make her feel BETTER not WORSE!!!

Well, the hives didn't end up slowing her down one little bit. She never once scratched them or whined. I actually think they gave her a boost of energy! She was a new super hero....HIVE GIRL! She could leap through the air in a single bound! She could fly off the couch with NO tears! She could run hysterically down the hall and erupt into mad giggles. So, no, I didn't really end up making her feel worse.

That was two days ago, and the hives are all gone today! Yay! Both girls are still a little congested, but it doesn't affect them much.

With all this going on, I do have to share a delish mommy moment. I was putting clothes away in their bedroom on Tuesday. We had the music cranked to a great Christian station and the girls started boppin' all around. So, I did what every Mama should do...I put those clothes down and danced like mad with them! We giggled and twirled and snapped our fingers (ok, I snapped, but the girls gave it a valiant effort) and acted like total goofballs in the middle of the day.

After our crazy dance episode, a beautiful slow song about living life to the fullest came on. I scooped both girls up (no easy feat) and we slow danced together under their chandelier. As we danced, I cried (yep, still emotional). This was one of those moments I had lived two years for. I am fortunate enough to come from a family that loves to dance. I remember many times where my mom, dad, and I would be in the kitchen dancing to whatever song came on the radio. We'd dance the Jitterbug, the Charleston, and other dances with names I will never know. My mom and dad would dance together, and then one of them would pull me in and we'd all dance together. Or, my dad would twirl me around and show me how not be so bossy and let the guy lead!

Well, all of those memories came rushing back and I just danced with my daughters and cried. It was a surreal moment. They laid their heads on my shoulders and let me just flow and turn with the music. Even six months ago, I could have never imagined a more perfect moment in time. It's one I'll never ever forget. Somehow those moments wrapped up years of memories, family ties, and emotions that spanned both the US and China. And it was beautiful.

So that has been my week. Exactly one week from today, I start back to work part-time. It's going to be hard. Even during those evenings when I'm flat exhausted, and Tony's tired, and the girls want to do nothing but whine, I don't want to trade it. I have truly LOVED my time at home with the girls. I've been able to be selfish and just soak up every little goofy, fun, and endearing thing they do. (Like when Laney picks up her pretend cell phone and says, "Yellow" for hello. And when Abby scrunches up her nose and says, "UP" about 100 times a day because she wants to feel safe in your arms) I know it will be fine once we get into a routine, but I'm just not ready to go back. Stay tuned to see my emotional trek back into the workplace.

The pictures, are, well, just because I know you'll want Tony to post from now on if I didn't include them.

"Aww...Kyler...good girl" (This is what the girls say EVERY time they see her)

This is actually Abby, not Laney, saying "Hello!"

Here, Laney fell asleep standing up in her crib. TOO funny!

Bath time is WAY fun now! Too much fun sometimes....they even get in trouble now!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!

Last night we celebrated the girls 2nd birthday, their first in the USA. As a result, we combinded traditions from China and the US into this small party.
The girls have been blessed with a wonderful extended family and friends. As a result, they received numerous gifts for Christmas. With their birthday just a week after Christmas, we told everyone no gifts for this small party. The reason we call this a small party is because we only invited our parents, Tony's Grandmother and brothers/sisters. We went to one of our favorite eating establishments, Joe's Pizza, for their small party.

As you will see in the pictures, the party had no "theme". The girls have not connected with a favorite cartoon character or etc... They do like watching monster trucks and like our dog and cat. As a result, the cake had monster trucks, the plates/napkins had dogs on them and the balloons had cats on them, all things they easily recognize.

Other than the extreme cold outside, it was fun inside. The girls had a great time. We made them individual cakes (a US first birthday tradition). Since the girls don't like having their hands dirty, it took a little encouragement for them to dig in. After eating cake, Tony's grandmother gave the girls jade that we purchased in China. It is tradition in China for the oldest family member to give jade to the child after 100 days, 1 year or 16 years of age. Since this was their first US birthday, they received their jade this year. It was a fun birthday party. We may try to have a 2 1/2 year party later in the year for everyone.

The girls continue to do extremely well. The are VERY active, are learning more and more every day. We still get questions amost daily regarding their ability to communicate with us. Rest assured, they know more english then some adult Americans...well that is an exaggeration, but they are SMART little girls and are adapting just fine. We crack-up laughing at their new faces, attitudes, gestures and etc. every day. They are so darn cute.

Enjoy the pictures (can you tell who wrote this post?). We'll try to keep updates coming on a more regular basis. Have a good day and a Happy New Year!

They love black olives!

Hangin' out before the party....