Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Tomorrow is TinyDancer's first day of preschool. 8 (

When we brought EasternStar home, we gave her the choice to stay home everyday or to go to preschool a few days a week for a few hours. Since she was been waiting for a sister "like forever" as she says, I knew that she was going to chose to stay home. But, I guess the novelty has worn off some 8 ) because she has been lamenting that she misses her friends from her old school and that she can't wait for kindergarten to start in the fall so that she can play with her friends again.

I asked her last week if she wanted me to find her a preschool that she could go to a few days a week and she jumped at the chance. (Much to Stranger's chagrin) Luckily, my first choice preschool had an opening so every Wed, Thurs, and Friday morning she'll be in school again in the morning. She is very excited to be starting tomorrow. She wants the entire famiy to drop her off tomorrow morning and she suggested that she and EasternStar take baths tonight because "I want to have a good smell and for my hair to look nice" and requested that we also wash EasternStar's hair since she will be going with her. And then she asked to make sure that Stranger and I were going to shower and was our hair in the morning. And she decided to wear one of her new outfits that I bought her for the spring so that she looks pretty since she will be the new girl.

I guess that I'd better get off of the computer since I have to make sure I get up in time to shower. And wash my hair. LOL

The good thing is that I should be able to schedule EasternStar's therapy appointments while she is at school so I won't have to bring her to them anymore and try to juggle paying attention to therapy and keeping TinyDancer occupied. I guess in the end it is win-win. 8 )

First day of speech therapy

Today was EasternStar's first speech therapy appointment. I'm not really sure what our objective was. We spent about an hour "playing" and going over what she can and can't do communication wise, which hadn't changed much since her evaluation a week ago. Then we were done. I guess the goal was just to get her comfortable with her therapist?

She did enjoy eating the blue marker that she found in her office - so I guess it was a sucessful trip in her eyes! (EasternStar's new "thing" is to find pencils, pens, crayons, and markers that have been lost around the house and eat them. I never knew that I had lost as many pens as she has found in the past week!)

Lightly Row

TinyDancer had her first violin recital of the year on Monday night.

Side note - Did I mention that she recently moved up from the "beginner beginner" class to the "beginner" class? Their terms are "Pre-Twinkle" and "Book 1" but I like mine better. 8 ) The structure of the class is still the same - 30 minutes of playing as a group and then 30 minutes of music theory. She loves both parts which is nice. During the "theory" part they have been working on naming the notes on the D string (don't worry - if I wasn't helping her learn how to play, I wouldn't know which on that one was either) and working on reading music. They worked on "Mary had a little lamb" a few weeks ago - which is played almost exclusively on the D string. She's a little intimidated in the theory part - I think because she is the youngest in the class - and because she loves to observe the "big kids" (ie - 1st graders) in her class.

Anyway, back to the recital, she performed Lightly Row which is a folk song. She has been practicing really hard. I was so nervous for her while she was playing - I don't think I breathed the entire time. I wonder if that ever goes away?


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Speech Evaluation

A recap of our speech eval:

"Your daughter needs speech therapy". ha ha ha

We actually had our speech eval a day early. We went in for PT on Tuesday morning and ..... long story short..... the speech therapist that we were going to see on Wednesday morning had a conflict so she did her eval right after our PT appointment. It was nice to have the eval done a day early, but it doesn't speed up the process to actually getting into therapy. She has to write up a report (which should be done tomorrow) and then send it in to our insurance company. They in turn have to approve us for therapy and give the OK to the hospital. Then they (the hospital) are supposed to call us to set up appointments.

That is quite different from what happened for PT. For PT, we showed up for our eval and were told "she needs PT". And they were able to schedule us right away to start the next week. Don't you love red tape? Our insurance rocks so I'm going to call them on Monday to see if we really need to have prior approval to set up our appointments or see if I can push our paperwork through quickly.

We were given some paperwork to read through that gave suggestions on how to get the ball rolling on our end. Stuff that makes sense but sometimes you have to be reminded of - like repeating things. A lot. "Here is your cup". "Take a drink from your cup." "Give me your cup." "Put down your cup." And using shorter sentences. This is hard for us as we've always talked to TinyDancer in full, grown up sentences - and that works for her. It is obviously too much for EasternStar so we have to adjust our talking style. That is going to be a challenge because we are people with a lot to say! 8 ) We'll just have to figure out how to say it with less words. 8 )

And as is the case for the rest of her body, the speech therapist thinks that she has low muscle tone in her face. Poor thing. Muscles that are supposed to be tight are loose. Muscles that are supposed to be loose are tight. We need a tiny baby gym in our house to give her a total body makeover. 8 )

Of course on the way home from PT/Speech eval, she starts babbling in the car. Saying sounds that she has never said before. And singing. I looked back at her and said "Seriously?" and she laughed.

Happy News!

Congrats to my BFF, N, over at http://allgrownuptoo.blogspot.com/. They are working on a domestic adoption and they were matched today. I am so excited for them! They have had a long road to parenthood and I don't know anyone more deserving than them. I am so excited! I think I'm more excited right now than I have been since we got our court date for EasternStar!

Prayers for a safe delivery and that their little one is home soon.

Monday, January 11, 2010

High-ho, High-ho, It's off to speech we go!

Whew! Another busy day for us! EasternStar had her 3 month International Adoption Clinic appointment and then TinyDancer needed to be picked up from Grandma's. We got home just in time for me to hand the kids over to Stranger and I headed off to work. I came home long enough to pick up TinyDancer and then off to violin we went. We got home around 7:30 and ate dinner and chatted for a few minutes. The best part of my day was chatting with TinyDancer and Stranger over homemade burritos. She is so grown up!

But, this post is about EasternStar.

Our appointment today was with an occupational therapist and we mostly talked about speech development. Or lack thereof. EasternStar has no words. 8 ( She makes two different sounds - "ma" and "da" - but that is it. The charts say that she should have about 6 words by now (19 months). I'm not a fanatic about following what charts say that our children "should" be doing at specific timepoints, but she hasn't shown any improvement since we've been home (which granted is only 3 months) but she is starting to get frustrated by her inability to communicate which has lead to her hitting to get our attention. I have NO patience for hitting. None. Zip. So we received a referral for a speech evaluation. As soon as I had time this afternoon, I called to see if our referral had been received yet and we got an appointment for Wednesday. Yay! Our speech department can be tough to get into so I was really happy to get such a close appointment for the eval. Hopefully we'll be able to get into treatment quickly as well.

Otherwise her development is progressing very well. When she was first evaluated, we had been home for about a month and she was 16 months old. Her social and personal skills have improved from 14 months in October to 17 months right now; fine motor skills have improved from 15 months to 19 months (right on track!); gross motor from 9 months to 14 months. Good thing we are already doing physical therapy! 8 ) And speech, sadly, stayed the same at 10 months.

From a not looking at the charts standpoint - she is a totally different kid! When we met her in May, I knew that I saw mischief in her eyes. I just didn't realize the *extent* of the mischief that was in there! She is literally a walking tornado. She goes around the house, wrecking havoc, moving from one area to the next - dumping out blocks, pulling pots out of the cabinet, pulling towels out of the linen closet. There is so much to explore she can't focus on one area at a time! It is great - exhausting to clean up - but great! It is impressive to see her in action. 8 )

She continues to be incredibly happy and easy going. She loves going on "adventures" as we call them - going out and running errands. She has gotten very social and as we pass people at the store, she bats her eyes at them and smiles. She isn't so social that she will go to anybody - if she isn't within the safety of her stroller or a shopping cart she does stay close to mom or dad. Or TinyDancer. She adores TinyDancer!

Her eating is improving as well. She still has picky moments, but she seems to have grown tired of eating the same things and she is wanting to eat off of our plates. She has tried several vegetables and fruits. So far the blueberries have stayed in, but everything else has come back out. That is progress because when we first came home, anything that could be considered a fruit or vegetable was immediately thrown onto the floor (except for leaves and grass - somehow those made it in and stayed in). At least now she is interested and is trying them before they get thrown! 8 ) Baby steps. She still has no interest in any type of pasta or rice. I think she gets enough carbs from the junk that she will eat, so I'm happy to see the fruits and veggies area improving first.

We do think that she has some reflux and we are treating that with some medication. The meds should kick in in a few days and we'll see if they help. It's hard to see your baby rubbing at her throat and clearly uncomfortable and not be able to fix it. Hopefully help is on the way!

It is awesome to see how much she has changed in just a few months and I know that we'll continue to see advancement across the board in the upcoming months as well.

We are almost done getting our laptop set up to be our main computer and I should be installing the camera software towards the end of the week. I hope to be able to upload pics after the weekend.

P.S. Check out the temp in Tyumen at the top of the blog on the right. It is currently -22F. MINUS 22 Fahrenheit! MINUS! I'm glad we were there in May and September!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Stranger and I have a not-so-secret-anymore secret. I guess it is more me really:

We found out about this one just days before we left to pick up EasternStar. Literally, days.....as we were packing! For us, this is biological baby # 6. At first we were excited and a little freaked out. We left to pick up EasternStar expecting to miscarry this one since that is what happened in May. We were surprised and excited and terrified to come home and this one was still with us.

Each day, each week, we are still surprised and excited and terrified that this one is with us. We've made it to 25 weeks and so far everything is going well. We've (I've) had ultrasounds every 4 weeks and the baby looks great - the growth is right on track and so far all organs appear to be in tact.

We (I) haven't said anything on the blog mostly because we're terrified to think about it, much less talk about it. It was right about this time when I was pregnant with SleepingAngel that we were starting to feel "safe" - to get comfortable and excited and then everything went to hell in a handbasket. I don't know that we'll ever feel "safe" with this one. I guess that you could describe how we feel as a bit manic-deppressive. Sometimes we are excited to think about three little ones running around tearing up the house - and sometimes we are breathing into a paper bag, waiting for the other shoe to drop, sure that *something* is going to go wrong. It's an awfully long and lonely roller coaster ride!

This is why we are shuffling things around in our house soon. Despite or terror and wanting to just bury our heads in the sand and wait and see what happens in April, we're trying to be adults and prepare our children. TinyDancer had the option of having her own room or sharing a room with EasternStar and she wants to share a room and give the baby it's own room. So we are getting ready to start moving things around in TinyDancer's room and shuffling toys from her room to the basement playroom so that EasternStar can join her at the end of February. That will give EasternStar about 6 weeks in her new room before this one arrives. We're starting to purge and move toys around now because Stranger is going to get really busy in Feb and March (call every 3 days - yuck!) and this one should be here in the middle of April.

So far, this one hasn't shown us a gender yet. At each ultrasound "they" (I hate calling babies "it") has had their legs crossed and legs tucked up against their bottom. But, we still have a blog name - this one will is RainbowBaby. For those not from the "grief world" the definition of a rainbow baby is:

Rainbow Baby - "Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.


Please pray for this one and for us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

I found this link on one of the blogs that I read:


Any book that you read from the library counts and there are 4 levels - 25, 50, 75, or 100 books. I'm aiming for 25 "grownup" books. My girls love to pick out books at the library - we probably bring home 10 a week and we read them all (over and over and over!). If I tracked just their books I'd probably reach 100 by the summer!

I'm going to attempt to add this to my sidebar and add a link to my list of books. We'll see how that goes! 8 )

2010 Books read
1. The sweethearts knitting club - Lori Wilde
2. Fairy tale weddings - Debbie Macomber
3. 16 Lighthouse Road - Debbie Macomber
4. 204 Rosewood Lane - Debbie Macomber
5. Witch & Wizard - James Patterson
6. There goes the bride - Lori Wilde
7. All of me - Lori Wilde
9. 311 Pelican Court - Debbie Macomber
10. The Midnight Club - James Patterson
11. The Hungry Season - T. Greenwood
12. The Murder's Daughters - Randy Susan Meyers
13. 44 Cranberry Point - Debbie Macomber
14. The Christmas Cookie Club - Ann Pearlman
15. The overnight socialite - Bridie Clark
16. Moving is murder - Sara Rosett
17. Look again - Lisa Scottoline
18. 50 Harbor Street - Debbie Macomber
19. 6 Rainer Drive - Debbie Macomber
20. The shadow of your smile - Mary Higgins Clark
21. 74 Seaside Avenue - Debbie Macomber
22. 8 Sandpiper Way - Debbie Macomber
23. Exclusive - Sandra Brown
24. The Switch - Sandra Brown
25. One Night - Debbie Macomber
26. They are watching - Gregg Hurwitz

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year - New Us!

Part of the reason that the blog has been so quiet the past few weeks is that in addition to celebrating the holidays with our family, we also got a jump start on our goal for 2010. We've decided that we are suffering from TMS - TOO MUCH STUFF!! We'll be shuffling some things around in our house soon (more on that later this week) so we decided that now is the perfect time to start getting rid of the junk that we've collected over the past 7 years (that's how long we've been married). We have lots of things that we haven't used in the past three and a half years (that's how long we've been in our house). Thinking back to the number of times that we moved while we lived in Texas (roughly seven moves in 5 years!) - I can't believe that we've carted some of this stuff around this long and that we haven't done this before. Granted, we have accumulated some junk over the past 3.5 years as well.

We've already packed up all of our Christmas decorations and that's where we started with the purging. We paired down 6 huge tubs of stuff! My mom's neighborhood has a neighborhood garage sale in May so we're setting all of our "junk" aside for that.

After the Christmas decorations, the first two rooms to get purged were the living room and our bedroom. We bought a wardrobe that looks like this:
and we sold our old dressers. I'm kind of nervous about sharing a wardrobe with Stranger as we have different ideas about what the word "neat" means but our room looks so much bigger now that it only has one dresser, a bed, and two nightstands in it.

We bought this dresser for TinyDancer:

and we had some money left over so we bought this for our living room:
I've been looking at this piece for months and when we went to get TinyDancer's dresser I was excited to see that it was on sale. Yay! No more shoes floating around the house! We had a shoe basket by the door, but it just wasn't working for us - the basket was too small and there was no room for a bigger basket in that area.

We are almost done with the living room - tomorrow TinyDancer and I are going through her games and puzzles and then that room will be done.
I have some great pictures of the girls - but part of our TMS project is to pare down our computers. We have three. Yes - three! A desktop, an older laptop, and a awesome new mini laptop. We're moving everything to our mini laptop and then we're selling our desktop and laptop. I can't upload any pictures right now as I got an awesome new camera for Christmas (Thank you Stranger!) and I only want to install the software once. I'm waiting until we move everything to the mini laptop and then I'll do the installation. I think that is our next project, so you won't have to wait too much longer!
We'll keep you posted on our progress.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year

Happy New Year! We've had a lot of fun over the last two weeks, but the girls are missing their usual routines and bedtimes. Everyone is worn out!