Thursday, 29 April 2010


For the last day of Poppa's visit, I decided we should go to Cantigny, because I knew my Dad would enjoy the 1st Infantry museum, and I knew Tommy enjoys it there, so win-win. Unfortunately, the last day of Dad's visit was a Monday, and of course, museums are closed on Mondays, which I remembered as we drove in the gates of Cantigny and saw the sign reminding visitors that the museums are closed on Mondays.

Happily, Cantigny is a big place. They have a nice playground and picnic area where Tommy played with Jjaja and Poppa for the remainder of the morning. We had a picnic lunch, then went over to the tanks, where Poppa and Tommy played while Mom and I went for a walk of the gardens. When we got back we found out that my peace-loving boy had quickly abandoned the tanks in favor of sitting by a waterfall. So Dad and Tommy ended up spending a good half an hour just watching water fall. We left early and went down to the Naperville Riverwalk and strolled around for the rest of the afternoon. After that we put Poppa on a plane. Tommy was very sad to see him go, and so were the rest of us.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Go Cubbies!

First things first: we are Dodger's fans. LA will be number one in Tommy's heart. However, since we live near Chicago going to Dodgers games just isn't an option. So, instead we ventured out to Wrigley for a very cold baseball game. It may have been poorly timed for an afternoon napper, and we may have completely underestimated the wind-chill at Wrigley, which led to a bit of misery. But, once we all had hot chocolate and Tommy was buttoned up in my coat (with me), and my Dad sang him about 52 songs so he would sleep, everything worked out just fine. Except the other team won.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Having My Say...

A while back the Tribune did an article that had some unfair and untrue words about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. I was pretty steamed, so, I sent a little note to the editor. Read it in today's edition. Scroll down to the post "Family Photo." I did not choose that heading.

Voice of the People, April 22, 2010 -

Posted using ShareThis

p.s. Does anyone get the paper in hard copy? I would like to have this in real newsprint. Let me know!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Still Up in the Air

I've started to get more questions about our adoption decision, and unfortunately, still don't have a great answer. There are a few reasons for that. For one, I hate risk when it involves money or my feelings. Adoption is obviously all wrong for someone who hates risk, since it is all risk all the time. The only thing that got me through our last adoption was an incredible (considering how much I researched adoption) obliviousness to how much could go wrong. Now I know too much, not just about the risk of countries shutting down, or judges saying no, or losing all of your money, but also of the many vile things that sometimes happen to make adoption happen- and things can get quite ugly. There are certain activities that I don't want my family tainted by, which means we have to be extra careful as we move forward.

Now is the time for us to make another leap of faith- choose a program, a country, and so forth, that will lead us (hopefully) to our next child. But, it seems like every time we get close to choosing a direction something changes in the big picture, and we begin to question our almost-decision.

I thought adoption number two would be so much easier. I was so wrong.

Without going into too much detail, we are seriously considering two different options. We have applied to a program, but have not heard back from this program yet. We also are making some important phone calls this week looking into another direction, but there appear to be some serious roadblocks. Icky roadblocks. The kind I don't want to get involved in. So, we are praying for clarity, and wisdom. Pray with us if you would.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Tommy's Party!!!

We did it! 16 kids (4 and under), a two bedroom apartment, a gluten-free cake, 68 balloons, two tents and two tubes, and a ton of candy equals one great party!

I felt a little weird throwing a party for Tommy at his young age, but we are making up for lost time here, so I wanted it to be memorable. Also, right now birthdays are all fun for him- sometimes kids who were adopted have very mixed feelings about birthdays as they grow up- so I want to make these early ones all joy. To that end, I invited the kids from the nursery at bible study (the gang he hangs out with every week), and it turned out to be quite a few. I am so thankful it didn't rain. The weather was gorgeous so we were able to use our back and side yards for wiggle room- so necessary with that many kids.

We started out with playtime outside while we waited for everyone to arrive.

Then we came in for a buffet of gluten-free snacks: fruit, rice chex, puffins, tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole- all of Tommy's favorites. The kids all crammed into our living room, and many of them sat around our little coffee table. Tommy sat in the center and, unbeknownst to me,treated everyone else's plate as his own personal buffet. I was a little embarrassed. I got him a perfectly good plate of food, but omitted strawberries because he had eaten a ton of them at breakfast, and I didn't want him to get a strawberry rash. Yet, a few minutes into "snack time" I glanced down at his plate and noticed a pile of strawberries. Magic! Apparently as soon as he settled in he proceeded to take a strawberry off of every single kid's plate at the table. After finishing those off he helped himself to the chex and puffins on the plates around him, even though his plate was full! My little scavenger. You can take the boy out of the orphanage, but it is hard to take the orphanage out of the boy.

Then we hunted for goodie bags, and did a big group picture. It actually went pretty well, considering.

The cake was actually good, and Tommy sort-of liked it. He enjoyed blowing out the candle at least.

Then we went inside to play in the balloon room. It totally worked.

Last but not least we did presents. Tommy is going to have a ton of fun in the next few weeks- he loved everything, and we had to take each thing away so he would move on.

While the idea of the party was a bit confusing to Tommy, and at times, difficult, because he is not so fond of seeing other kids play with his toys, overall he had fun. And fun was all I really cared about.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Tommy's Birthday

Well, Tommy had a good day. A really good day.

This morning he woke up to a special surprise- Jjaja and Poppa sleeping on our futon!

Next up, a special breakfast, then a trip to the Morton Arboretum.

We were all blown away by how great the children's garden there is. He had a blast throwing rocks, playing in the water, going down the slides, running across the bridges, and playing in the music garden.

We stayed there way longer than we intended, but it was completely worth it.

For dinner we went to the all-aboard diner. He had so much fun watching the trains, and, of course, having a train bring him dinner.

He wasn't into the ice-cream though. Too cold! Oh well, plenty of time for ice-cream later...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Letting Go

This weekend I gave away Leah's high chair. It was hard.

I'm a huge fan of Freecycle. If you aren't, you should be. So when we found out that Leah was on the way I started watching Freecycle for those baby essentials. Jeff and I were both still in grad school, and used but free sounded much better than full-price at Babies R' Us (aka the devil incarnate). The first thing I scored was a high chair from a lady down the street from us. Jeff and I had a lot of fun sliding that high chair down Sherman, laughing about how silly we must have looked.

Soon after our diagnosis was confirmed some friends of ours came and cleared out our baby stuff. They stuffed the dresser I had pulled from the alley and intended to re-stain and use as a changing table (Jeff is good like that), the baby swing, and some other miscellaneous stuff. I don't even know what it all was anymore, I was just so thankful to see it go, and to not have to do the work myself. But, I kept the high chair. I couldn't give it up. It felt like giving it up was like admitting that I would never need a high chair because I would never have a baby.

We lived in a one-bedroom apartment, and didn't have a ton of space. Most of the time that high chair sat in our room. I saw it every morning, and every evening. As hard as it was to see, I couldn't let it go. It ended up turning into a place to stack junk, and it stopped looking so much like a high chair. That wasn't so bad.
Then came Tommy.

He used that high chair. He ate and explosively pooped in it three times a day. I washed that cover a million times. I spent so much time disinfecting it. But, he loved it. It held him in place while he did his favorite thing in the world-eat. He looked so cute exuberantly pounding on that tray with his little plastic spoons. My baby enjoyed it. It served its purpose.

When we moved the high chair came with, as Tommy was still using it up until we left Evanston. But, our new kitchen was far too small to accommodate it, so Tommy transitioned to a booster chair. It was time anyway.

The high chair went into our little storage unit. A storage unit I need for other things, because, our new apartment is pretty small and so are the closets. The high chair wasn't getting any smaller in storage, and so when I heard that Jeff's boss just had a baby, I asked Jeff to find out if he needed a high chair. He did.

As anxious as I was for that space, I have to say that when Jeff got out the high chair to dust off and get ready for transfer, it made me sad. It had been so long since I had seen it, and for all that time while we were grieving and working on the adoption it had been my odd symbol of hope. The big hunk of plastic that reminded me what I longed for and what I was working towards, why I was getting up every morning.

I cried a little. It surprised me. But, it was good to let it go.

Good-bye symbol. I don't need you anymore. I have the real thing.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Problem Solving (aka- HELP!!!)

Ok, parents of boys, this post is because I need your help.

Tommy is almost two (few more days) and becoming very "two" with each passing day. Most of it is easy to deal with- but there is this one thing...

Tommy has figured out how to pee on demand. That would be great if he didn't store it up to pee on himself/the wall/the carpet/the bathroom rug when I changed his diaper. He has done this multiple times in the past week. I know it is on purpose, because I can see the intense look of concentration on his face as he tenses his muscles to do it. Then there is the twinkle in his eye that follows success. Yep, it's on purpose. Today I started changing him on his table, and he began begging "toilet, toilet, toilet." So, I took him into the bathroom and gave him the choice of the big toilet or the little potty-training toilet. He chose the little one, sat down, stood up and then peed all over the rug. I asked him to stop, he did, and then he started again. GRRRRRRRR.

The supreme irritation in all this is that I'm not making any attempt to potty train him, because I don't feel like fighting that battle right now. I decided to wait so that he could chose it on his own. The only time I mention him going in the toilet is when I explain to him why he has to wear a diaper (he increasingly is unhappy with having to wear one).

Has your boy done this? What did you do?

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Well, Tommy's first Easter in America was quite an event.

We started with a family breakfast: gf pancakes for Tommy, and caramel-apple French toast for Mum and Dad. (Food pictures posted in honor of Auntie Colleen).

Tommy's plate

Daddy's plate


First, you have to find your basket.

Where could it be?

There it is!

Then a little Easter egg hunt in the backyard. Including the discovery of jelly beans.

Easter eggs!

Next church, followed by another Easter egg hunt in the backyard.


Over to Dave and Julie's for food, fun, playing with the dogs, AND another Easter egg hunt.

Mmmm... Mum made caramel-apple cheese cake for dessert

What a day!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A Little Cuteness

I noticed the blog has been devoid of Tommy cuteness lately, so here he is in all his glory:

And some silly things he has been up to lately:

Sitting on his little potty while fully clothed and making a "ssssssss" sound.

Tooting, and then saying "Daddy Toot!" whether or not Daddy is actually present.

Waving and saying "bye bye train" every time he hears a train go by. And sometimes when he doesn't.

Asking for mustard and ketchup on the strangest things. Today, he wanted it on top of his peanut-buttered pancakes (he did not get his way- I have limits). He also enjoys both condiments stirred into plain yogurt, although he preference is to eat them on their own with a spoon. He sometimes asks for them at every meal.

Saying "No (insert activity)" while performing said activity. This happens often, because he has quite a fondness for attempting to do things he shouldn't. For example, he knows he should not touch strangers while we are waiting in line at stores. However, he finds the decorative pockets on women's jeans very intriguing. Thus the other day he stretched out his little finger towards someone's jean pocket, while saying "no bum."

Thursday, 1 April 2010

April 1

The weather is gorgeous right now- high 70s, sunny, and all around amazing. My tulips are coming up. My home is sort of organized. I have most of my stack of paperwork under control. I have an amazing husband and the cutest boy in the world. But, today, I am sad. April 1 is one of those Leah days, and wow, I miss her.

Nothing changes that.

The pain has dulled. It isn't fresh or cutting, but it aches. On days like today, it aches more.