Cabin Trip March 2012

We had an amazing weekend at the cabin this weekend. Bobby and I were both able to take a short day at work and head out of the valley around 3:45pm. We arrived at the cabin only to discover that there was still a little bit of snow in a few places!
Cabin March 12-1

We were joined at the cabin by Jamie and Gyan, and their daughter Emily. Bobby made some tacos for dinner, and we chatted while waiting for Laura’s family to show up. They ended up running late, but made it the cabin around Oliver’s bedtime. Friday night we mostly hung out and let the kids play.

Saturday morning, there was still a little bit of snow/ice left, so the kids had a snowball fight, running around the cabin like little crazed monkeys. They had a blast. Eventually we packed up and headed out to Monument Peak East Trail, just outside of Payson.
Cabin March 12-6

It’s a three mile circle trail. Oliver decided right away, that he was NOT going to walk. Oliver normally loves to run everywhere, but take him on a hike, and he throws himself on the ground. So he spent most of the hike on Bobby’s back, although I also wore him for a bit. This is pretty much what I look like on a hike:

Cabin March 12-69

I’m rather fond of this group shot, taken by Gyan using my camera:

Cabin March 12-22

The hike was a touch long for Landon, and for whoever was wearing Oliver. Landon needs to work on his endurance a little, I think. He was flagging hard for the last mile or so. I held up fine, except for when I was wearing Ollie. Funny what 40lbs on your back does to your endurance. I had more fun when Bobby had Oliver, for sure.

Cabin March 12-12

We had lunch at La Sierra Mexican Restaurant, where we often have lunch. Oliver was in fine form, following his usual pattern of inconsolable temper tantrum until suddenly deciding he was fine and eating. We stopped by the Payson Candle shop before loading up and heading back to the cabin.

Cabin March 12-4

Oliver wanted to climb the stairs all the time, but we tried to keep him off of the stairs. He just doesn’t quite have the balance and stability for it. We walked down to the church on the corner and had the kids pose in the usual spot. I accept that Ollie is going to cry when we do this. I’d rather have him in the picture crying than not have him in the picture.

Cabin March 12-27

We took our walk to see the bats under the bridge, but they were not in residence when we go there. Do bats migrate? But the kids had fun on our walk.

Cabin March 12-39

We had dinner and played some board games, relaxed, read some books while the kids played outside. Once it got dark out, the kids played N64 in the loft, enjoying Mario Party and mostly not fighting. Oliver wore his footie pjs, since he was so cold! I can tell, this child is mine:

Cabin March 12-64

Sunday morning we had breakfast, got the cabin cleaned up, packed up, and took our usual pictures on the stairs at the cabin.
Cabin March 12-97

Cabin March 12-100

We locked up the cabin tight, and stopped at the usual hike for the waterfall on our way out of town, since we hadn’t made it there yet this trip. I wore Oliver for the hike down to the waterfall, and Bobby hiked Oliver out. The place was so pretty, as usual.

Cabin March 12-156

Oliver mostly wanted to throw rocks in the water, and he really enjoyed it. We had to keep an eye on him to keep him from getting in the water. Hopefully next time we go it will be warm enough that we can let him get his toes wet.

Cabin March 12-127

Our family picture turned out okay this time. Oliver isn’t screaming, but Landon isn’t looking either.

Cabin March 12-152

Once we were done with the hike, we headed into Payson and then on to home, where my family at least, spent the late afternoon relaxing and attempting to recover!

While we were at the cabin, I practiced a little portrait photography on everyone, and Bobby also got some amazing shots of Oliver. Here are a few of my favorite pictures, all the pictures from our cabin trip can be found on Flickr.

Here are my favorites of each person on the trip:
Landon
Cabin March 12-56

Oliver (I had a ton of favorites, here are three)
Cabin March 12-164
Cabin March 12-90
Cabin March 12-58

Damia
Cabin March 12-45

Emily
Cabin March 12-60

Elaira
Cabin March 12-119

Darion
Cabin March 12-52

Laura
Cabin March 12-111

Dirk
Cabin March 12-115

Bobby
Cabin March 12-136

Gyan
Cabin March 12-140

Jamie
Cabin March 12-123

And finally, courtesy of my husband, Me
Cabin March 12-144

Family shots:
Cabin March 12-148

Cabin March 12-95
Cabin March 12-94

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Landon letter 5.7

Dear Landon-

You are five years and Seven months old. Let me start by saying that, for the first time ever, your Milk allergy has improved. Your numbers are down from where they were last year, and you dropped from a class 4 allergy to a class 3 allergy. On March 5th you were 47 lbs and 45.5 inches tall, so you have been growing as well!

You love your Video Games! I purchased Epic Kirby and you and I played through the game together, which was so much fun. I do enjoy playing video games with you! You love to play on the Nintendo DS, and your favorites are Mario, Kirby, & Sonic.

We recently changed how your chores work in the house. You were earning “stars” and 10 stars got a prize. Now you are earning actual money. You decided to save up for a Kirby game ($50) and have actually been working on that goal! I’m really impressed, and I hope you hold out and make it to $50. You’ve almost bought small toys a couple of times, but reminding you of your goal has you making the choice on your own to put back the toys and wait!

There is a little girl in Kindergarten at your school, but not in your class. She is in your Kid’s Corner (after school care program) class. She apparently has a crush of some sort on you, and always wants to kiss you. When I pick you up, she often says “Bye Boyfriend!” You are not happy about this, and always vehemently deny any association. I’ve been told that she is not allowed to kiss you, and that you guys play together fine most of the time.

You’ve had some minor issues in school. You don’t understand Spanish, not at all, despite spending half a day in Spanish for the year. You also moved down to the second best reading group, which still puts you above the average, but I know you can do better. You are in the top math group, and you really like that. You and I have talked at length, and you have decided you’d rather not learn Spanish. So for first grade, we’re going to switch to the close school, and you will spend all day in English. I think it’s the right choice for you. Overall, your grades are above average, and you are doing very well.

You’ve been through the six week Karate course twice now, and you really seem to like it. Swim class is going well. You are still level six, but they informed me this week that all you lack is the backstroke. Basically if you can master that, they’ll move you to level 7. The issue seems to be that you sink, rather than float, and kick down, rather than up. It’s okay, your father also sinks. And, for the record, so did you maternal grandfather.

You had a case of Strep Throat that wouldn’t quit. It started in January, while we were taking a weekend get-away in Tucson. We went to the Zoo in Tucson, and you were MISERABLE. Sad, complained you were cold, and just were not having a good time. By the time we were done at the Zoo, you had spiked a fever. We kept you resting, and took you to the doctor. You got an RX, but when you finished it, you came right back down with strep. Then you got another RX, and came right back down with Strep Throat again. The third RX finally kicked it. There was talk of taking your tonsils out, but if you can avoid strep for a little while, we may let you keep them after all.

You recently decided that you love science and want to be a mad scientist (or an evil scientist) when you grow up. I find this amusing on many levels. Your hero is Dr. Doofenshmirtz, from Phineas and Ferb. You still really like that show! Which is nice, because your dad and I really like that show as well. Oliver even seems okay with it sometimes! For Christmas you got a couple of science kits, and now regularly beg us to do “science” with you.

A side effect is that you became obsessed with the story of Frankenstein, asking me to tell you the story in the car on the way home from school almost every day. I finally found an abridged copy of the book, supposedly aimed at kids ages 4-8. Your dad and I were both a little upset by some of the things that happened in the book, and aren’t sure that it really is age appropriate for you. That said, you love the book and keep asking to re-read it. I’ve put the book away until you are older, even though you suffered no ill effects from hearing the store once through.

Your Dad and I decided to add to our family via adoption, so we’ve been talking to you about the process and how you will get a baby sister. You want us to name her either Candace (from Phineas and Ferb) or Goomba (from Mario)! I think it’s adorable, although not the name we will probably go with. You are excited to have a little sister.

Ollie and you are getting along most of the time. I think as Oliver learns to talk more, you’ll have more fun together. Currently you are so good with him, and you don’t lash out at him when he grabs at you or tries to take away items from you. We’re working with Oliver to respect you, but you are a wonderful big brother and a great role model for your little brother.

You continue to warm my heart every day. You love to sit with me or to cuddle. You enjoy giving hugs, and you are very sweet. I am so proud of you all the time. I love you very much.

Love always,
Mama

Adoption class!

This weekend Bobby and I spent all of our Saturday in an adoption class hosted by our adoption agency. The class is required training that must be completed before you can receive your child. There were 8 couples and one person whose spouse was unable to attend, 19 people total. The class was long, but good. It caused a lot of wheels in my brain to start spinning, so I’m going to sort of try to express everything in one long, jumbled up post.

First of all, it was wonderful to meet so many other people going through the process. They even had a family come in that had recently adopted two boys from Korea and talk to us. They were a light at the end of a long tunnel. We met some really great people who were at various stages in the process, some of whom already had their referral! We got to see some cute pictures of babies and hopefully make some connections for the future.

The process seems to move fast up until the referral currently, at least for those open to either gender. We have been told over and over again that our referral will take longer, since we are waiting on girl. Our agency said they are seeing one girl for every three or four boys. I know she’ll be worth the wait. Realistically I know it could be December or longer before we see a referral, but for some reason I’ve got a good feeling about it being sooner.

I need to select a book on attachment and read it. I already had a good idea that certain things needed to be done differently with “Goomba” than had been done with Landon or Oliver. When we first bring her home it will be important for her to stay with us, and for the first two weeks or so to not let others hold her to help her bond with us. We need to do all of the actual “parenting” for the first four to six weeks. This will be hard, as we’re very much into the whole “it takes a village” concept, and our boys often ask for food or other items from anyone at Laura’s house, and everyone co-parents. We’ll need to not go anywhere overnight for the first two months. Given that we try to go somewhere overnight once a month, totally doable. We’ll also not want anyone to stay overnight the first month, which is fine as we rarely have company actually stay with us, and Landon can wait on his friend spending the night for one month.

We talked about sleeping. I don’t intend to buy a crib for her. Most likely she’ll go straight to a toddler bed, but we’ll see what happens once she’s home.

We got a better concept of what it will be like to go to Korea. I really, really hope we get to go. The plan is to go, but timing will be everything. We’d most likely only be in Korea for 4-5 days. About two days as a tourist, just Bobby and I, and then we’d get to go meet up with our daughter and her foster mom (or family) for about an hour. In most cases, we’d get to ask questions and play with our daughter, and then foster mom would take her home for one last night. Occasionally the child gets to stay overnight with the new family, but that is apparently unusual. I would totally take her overnight at the hotel, if the option is there, but, in the end, I’m going to defer to what foster mom wants. In the event she doesn’t spend the night with us, the next day they would basically hand us our daughter, and we’d head to the airport. It’s a thirteen hour flight, with a little girl who barely knows us, our daughter. That said, I’d rather she take the flight with us than with a stranger, which is the backup option. I’m really praying we can bring her home before she turns two, so that we can avoid attempting to buy her a one way ticket, and because, I’d like her to come home as early as possible. (of course!) That doesn’t mean I’m not still planning on a three year old in three years. That’s what I just have to keep telling myself.

There was also a panel of adult adoptees from Korea, which provided some interesting insight on how to go about raising our daughter and respecting her birth culture. It was great to hear their perspectives!

The class was good, but a long way to spend a Saturday. I’m thankful our agency provided it and that we could attend!

Landon “names” his sister

Landon wants to name his sister “Candace” I told him I didn’t think we would be doing that. He then told me that he wants to name her “Candon” I told him I thought that might be a boys name.
His next suggestion was “Goomba.” I told him Goomba was cute, but that it was more of a nickname. He then declared that “Goomba” is her nickname. It made me think of how Landon was “Alabaster” and Ollie was “Bear” until we knew their gender and their name. So now in my head I’ve nicknamed her “Goomba” and it’s all Landon’s fault.
Of course, Landon then said that she should have a second nickname, Spikey Turtle.

Eventually, I told him the names Bobby and I liked, and Landon voted for “Eve.”

Eve and Ivy are my lead names at the moment. Bobby’s seem to change. We’ll know what her name should be when we see her. Part of it will depend on what her Korean name is, as we plan to incorporate that into her name, most likely as her middle name.

Other names we are thinking of include:
Dorothy “Dotty”
Gwendolyn “Gwen”
Alice
Ivy
Eve
Kaylee
Kyra (or Kira)
Wren
Meredith “Merry”
Tessa
Cora

International Adoption Journey, on our way to family of five

Many of you already have heard, and may have even helped us through the process so far, but I felt it was time to mention here that Bobby and I are currently in the process of adopting a child from South Korea.

The short story is that we are in process, we should be completing our home study next month, and then we will be waiting for a girl under the age of one to be “referred” to us. At this point we will get a picture and medical information on a girl in South Korea who is eligible for international adoption. This could happen right after the home study is complete, or it could take up to a year. There are less girls available for international adoption out of Korea than boys, so we are not sure how long it will take. Once we accept the referral, (accept that this specific little girl) we will have to wait for paperwork in Korea to be finalized before we can travel to Korea to pick her up and bring her home. It can take another 1-2 years for paperwork to be final, so we will be bringing home a little girl who is between one and three years old by the time everything is finalized and she actually comes home with us.

I was slow to announce all the details until the process was underway, and there is a lot about international adoption, specifically Korea that we needed to learn. At this point I think we are far enough along in the process that it’s pretty much common knowledge with most of our friends and family we see on a regular basis.

I’m going to do a series of posts about what we’ve done and why we decided to do what we are doing over the next couple of weeks or so.

Adoption timeline
12.25.2011 Decided to move forward with adoption
01.12.2012 Pre-Application in to Agency
01.31.2012 Attended Adoption Seminar at Agency
02.13.2012 Adoption Application completed and turned into Agency
02.18.2012 Application accepted
02.20.2012 Home Study Started
02.28.2012 First Home study interview (Couples)
02.29.2012 Second Home study interview (Bobby)
03.05.2012 Third Home study interview (Jen)
03.10.2012 Adoption Class
03.17.2012 Final Home study interview (Whole family in home)

Landon’s five year milk test

So Landon had his allergy appointment today. He was 47 lbs and 45.5 inches tall. Basically we’re to follow the same protocol that we have been, strict avoidance of all milk products, cheese, butter, and anything that might have the Casein protein in it.

However, his allergy actually has gotten better! It’s now a class 3 milk allergy! The doctor felt that with his current numbers there was actually a fifty-fifty chance that he might outgrow it, which was higher odds than last time, when Landon’s numbers were close to the same.

So this is good news, even though nothing changes. We’ll test again next year! Keep your fingers crossed that the numbers are even lower then! Here are Landon’s numbers, for my reference:

Test on:

2/18/2012: 17.3 kU/L Class 3 Ige 165 Iu/ML

2/16/2011: 25.9 kU/L Class 4 Ige 222 Iu/ML

2/12/2010: 24.60 kU/L Class 4 Ige 150 Iu/ML

2/25/09 19.10 class 4H IgE 155H

Test in Feb 08 was 12.57 Test in Feb 07 was 7.98

Some photos of our recent adventures

Feb 2012 park grandma-5

Feb 2012 park grandma-3

Feb 2012 South Mt hike-4

Feb 2012 Zoo-5

Feb 2012 Zoo-6

Feb 2012 Zoo-8

Feb 2012 South Mt hike-15

Feb 2012 Zoo-19

Aurora 6th bday Feb 2012-5

Jens pics-28

Jens pics-17

Jens pics-10

Jens pics-11

Jens pics-9

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