Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday thoughts:

Eliza did wonderful at speech therapy today w/ the use of a bowl of chips as a motivator (1 chip for each successful attempt at a sound). I think the teacher thought I was nuts, but hey, whatever works. Proud of my little girl!

Eliza really enjoyed hiking up Grandfather Mountain (NC). She was very purposeful in her foot placements and even pushed my hand away when I attempted to help her up or down onto some of the high rocks. I thought she'd hold us back from keeping up with the rest of the family, but she really motored along. These were very narrow, windy, rocky trails too! I told her I was proud of her and asked her if she liked hiking...a few minutes later, as clear as day, I heard her say "uh huh". I smiled to myself.

At the top, while waiting for the brave members of the family to return from crossing the Swinging Bridge (no thank you), I met a Chinese female dr. married to an american man. They just returned from Guilin, where Ava Meiying is, 3 weeks ago. She had previously practiced as a dr. working w/ some orphanages in Ava's province, Guangxi. Of course, she told Eliza that she is a very lucky girl. She was excited that we were going to adopt a 7 yo from Guilin. Don't you know I was sitting there wishing Ava was there to experience the vacation with us...and poof, up that man and woman walked! Do you think they were angels sent to tell me that Ava was there with us?

On top of that...10 minutes later, a couple walked up from Amarillo w/ a 6 and 7 yo from China. The younger daughter was adopted in '04 and they adopted the 7 yo last year as a waiting child (she had a brace on her lower leg, but still managed to make the hike). They were sweet and beautiful. They were excited that we were going back to China for a 7 year old too! I wish I had asked if they had a blog.

Eliza withdrew around my brother and his family and was quite content playing w/ Barney and some of the toys we brought off on her own, but overall, I think she had a very good time and had no problem taking in the cabin and change of routine. She thought it was funny that I was up on the top bunk enjoying my a.m. coffee one morning and tried so hard to climb the ladder herself. Once Daddy helped her up, she was full of herself and played up there by herself for about an hour!

Lastly, Hogan was amazing on his first vacation with the family. He was so quiet and well-behaved. He was super gentle w/ my 5 yo nephew who has a great fear of dogs. He even got my nephew to play ball w/ him. He was quite the site whever we went. Everyone had to stop and pet him along the hiking trails. He even had his photo taken by an asian family (ha, remember all the photos we'd take in China that I'm sure they wondered what was so special to merit a photo?); and by many other families. He was an inspiration for many people who were trying to conquer their fear of heights. They would stop and tell us that they saw Hogan sitting and almost looking right at them and it calmed them down as they made the trek. He is definitely going into training to be a service/therapy dog. It's his calling and he was so happy to be top dog for the weekend. You should've seen how sad he was when he came home and realized he was just a dog again. Oh, but we did find one imperfection: he gets car could've been the twisting road up thru the mountains of NC, but after 4 yacks up and 4 yacks back home...dramamine will be given next time.

The bunkhouse a/k/a cabin

Discovering the fun of the top bunk!

Hiking, having celebrity status and photo sessions is tiring!

Barney, mommy said you couldn't come hiking with us. It's not fair.

I should've had a sign hanging on Hogan that read:
Conquer your fears. Bridge walk assistant for hire!

Finally, back home and showered up...shiney, swinging hair!

And look who was there to greet us...she missed us!

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Monday Moments" to share:
Eliza came and told me "bath" and led me to the bathtub this morning!
She responded to "no" several times over the weekend!
She's now taking off her own diaper when it's wet
(you know what comes next...wet carpets)!
When "someone" came in thru the front door and didn't remember to lock it behind them, twice Eliza scooted out the front door w/ a very satisfying grin on her face.
Both times (fortunately) she was caught in the act and managed to open the front door and come back inside when we said "no".
We're off to a good start for the week...
her chatter continues and now includes some repetitive vocal responses
(yes, please, thank you, hi)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Eliza has had a very vocal week. Lots of what appears to be conversations with me. Here's a few videos of some major accomplishments just this week: responding to me about whether she needs a diaper change, followed up with getting me a clean diaper; and also the types of "conversations" we've had.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

This was the first year that Liza was awake for any July 4th fireworks and did she ever love it! Eliza sat on my lap, eyes as bright as ever. She giggled and pointed to the sky non-stop and clapped right along with me. A few times, she reached her tiny arm around behind my neck and gave me a backwards hug as tight as she could in shear joy. It was one of those moments of connection that I will treasure. She loved the fireworks. I was only worried, sensory-wise, for a minute because I also knew that she loves bright lights and colors and rythmic she proved me right!

The kitten is now separated from her mom and has been growing up in her new-temporary home on our screened porch until she joins her permanent family (friends of ours).
In the meantime, she loves watching Eliza jump on the trampoline and stalk Liza as she reads her magazines...and chew on Liza's toes... We've been spending lots of time on the screen porch shaded by the old red oaks and watching the kitty play!

Swimming...I've got to bring my camera. She is now swimming w/out a vest and tries so hard to keep a float. She loves to sit indian-style on the bottom of the 3 foot section and slowly release air (bubbles) from her mouth. She comes up from the bottom laughing away. She took water in her nose and didn't like it, but blew it out and then went back under. She's been really watching and mimicking the other children as they splash and dive and swim. It's been a fantastic couple of weeks of growth.

On July 4th, she actually was interracting w/ another 4 yo named Joseph at our pool. He is the cutest, funniest little boy. He's always played alongside Eliza for the past few years, but never really pushed his way into trying to play with her like some of the other 4 and 5 yo's are doing now (i.e. why doesn't she talk, why won't she play with me, why is she ignoring me...). It's been a sort of unspoken play between them. Well, on this particular day, he was telling his gramma and me to watch him as he went under water. So, Eliza started doing it along with him and I could see that she was opening her eyes under water and looking around in amazement. At one point, she pushed off from under water and "swam" to him and with arms extended out, reached for his hands. It was so neat. He laughed and did it back to her. Then she turned and did the same thing to me, poking me in the belly from under the water. She came up laughing. Another moment of connection that I will treasure.

Summer days...other than the pool, "we"'re enjoying my new obsession steam cleaning the carpets. I'm ocd about vacuuming every day so it's only fitting that I'd enjoy steam cleaning too. My carpets looks beautiful! We're riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, reading books and speech therapy starts this week too. We're eating lots of summer veggies and my favorite, lettuce-tomatoe sandwiches...and playing with the kitty. I'm daydreaming a lot about Meiying and how it's all going to go when she we first meet (the good, the frightening and the grief) and about having her home. That's about it! ...Oh and I saw the Jersey Boy's production Sunday night w/ some of my girlfriends. It was fantastic! The Jersey language was a bit much, but the songs were fantastic. You forget how many hits Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons had. I could see it again.