Monday, December 28, 2009

Too Much Fun!

Our family had a very busy few days (as I am sure many other families did as well)! This is our Christmas celebration in pictures...

Wednesday began our celebrations with a barn party at my parents house...

Payton (still) did not like visiting with Santa.
And he was not amused by the candy canes...
but a tractor and a Gracie-dog, now that is just right!
We gave Daisy a Christmas carrot,
and kept toasty warm by the fire.
We left the barn party and went straight to celebrate Christmas with our 6th annual "Girls" Christmas (my four best friends from hs and our significant others). Payton and Chloe loved this box and having Uncle Frank drag them all over the house. Payton stayed up until 130 am!!!!!! He truly is a nite owl like his mama.
On Thursday I spent most of the day prepping for the big chili dinner I have hosted every year since Wes and I were married. Both sets of our parents and my sister join us after the Christmas Eve barn service. It is wonderful.
Santa visited our house Christmas morning. He brought Payton and wonderpet flyboat! His favorite! Payton was also treated to all sorts of goodies by his Aunt Brooke. We were so busy Christmas morning that Payton did not open his presents from Wes and me. We left our house at 830 am and went to my parent's (stop 1), then Wes' grandmother's (stop 2), the my Godparent's house (stop 3), and finally Wes' Aunt Gloria's (stop 4). It does get to be a little excessive, but if we did not show at one of these locations, I know that there would be a lot of family drama since all of these places are within 30 minutes of our house. I love seeing everyone, but I miss the quiet Christmas we used to have as kids (we never left the house and Brooke and I got to go outside and use all of our new horse gear on our ponies). Now we do the Christmas marathon...

The only Christmas photo of our family(see above).
The day after Christmas I finally got to meet Eli. Sarah and I have been friends since we were 3 and it was so wonderful to meet her little man! Payton loved playing with him too!
Later in the evening we had our last Christmas celebration with my Mom's family. Things can get a little exciting...
Just look at Payton!
Check out the video above to see Payton bustin' some moves!

It was another wonderful Christmas season as we rejoiced the birth of our King. (Which reminds me that I have to get video Payton kissing baby Jesus in our nativity set... it is too cute!) I miss the Advent season already and lighting our candles each nite. It is a beautiful time of year. Now we eagerly await Epiphany and we are excited to see what families we will join this year for our mystery dinners (but I guess it won't be too mysterious for my family since I am coordinating the Church Epiphany dinners thsi year.)

We are also celebrating Kwanzaa this week. So to everyone else that is celebrating the African-American community this week... we wish you a Joyous Kwanzaa!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Big Snow of 2009

Our farmette buried under 24" of snow.
Carmen's tunnel.
I love this picture!
Payton's boots and Mama's boots.
Daddy and Payton's shadow on 2 feet of pristine snow.
Payton's Snow Angel.
My Boys.
This boy loves to sled!
But he is not a huge fan of walking in the snow.

Scroll down for video of Payton requesting MORE sledding! Payton laughed and laughed so we sledded and sledded, and by the time we came in I felt like we just completed a 10 mile run.

Mittens Complicate Things

Pre-Mitten Signing More Post-Mitten Signing More

Payton's signing has improved so much and he is applying signs to communicate about many things and it really does limit frustrations. I know exactly what he wants when he looks at me and signs "eat." These are videos of Payton applying the sign "more" to reading books and sledding. Precious. Although I 100% buy into research that suggests that learning ASL improves language development, many people are convinced that it will keep him from talking and discourage his signing. I try to use it as much as possible since he does not get exposure anywhere else. I know a few people out there in blog-land use ASL with their babies. How has it gone for you?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our West Virginia Christmas in E-town :)

It was a white Christmas... a few weekends to early!

(This pic is actually from this week, but I just thought it was so cute :)

Our family always celebrates Christmas the first Saturday in December in West Virginia with Wes' parents. However, the roads were terrible Saturday morning so we decided not to go to his parent's cabin, but to stay local and celebrate in good ole E-town with the whole family. We had a fabulous time, complete with chicken dumplings and delicious pie. We exchanged gifts and tried to take pics with the kids. Unfortunately, both Payton and Bryden (our nephew) were feeling pretty yucky and cranky. Payton hardly stayed awake to open his gifts. I love this family tradition and enjoy spreading the Christmas cheer all throughout December.

Trimming Many Trees

Marta and Denait trimming the tree.
There were so many of us that you can hardly see the tree!

Payton was not thrilled about getting a tree this year. No smile out of this boy, but I went ahead and snapped the shot.

Our tree does not have ornaments or lights, but that does not mean we haven't done our share Christmas tree shopping and decorating. Payton, Wes, and I cut and loaded up our truck with three Christmas trees last Saturday. Only one went to our house. We took the other two to Eritrean families that just arrived in the US in September after spending years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Another family from our church joined us in there tree decorating. The children trimmed the tree and the adults enjoy some delicious injeera and spicy chicken. We all had a great time as we enjoyed celebrating the Spirit of Christmas. Our new friends are fabulous and we are grateful for the lessons that we have learned from them! Saturday was one of the best Christmas memories I have had in a long time ;).

Monday, December 14, 2009

First Family Christmas Gifts

I couldn't decide what would be an appropriate gift for C (Payton's First Mom). It is so hard to send just a little something to someone who gave our family its greatest blessing. Everything seems inadequate. I ended up ordering C a pewter ornament for S.hutterfly with a pic of Payton on it. I did not send anything for her daughter, A. Dom. Adoptive Moms, what did you do for the holidays (or did you do anything at all) for your child's first family? Is my gift appropriate? Should I send more? Should I send something for A (she is 2 now). If so, what? We have had very little communication with C, so I am not sure if she is requesting my letters from the agency or how much info she wants. I would imagine that she thinks about Payton a lot around the holidays, and I want C to know we definitely are thinking about her and A.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bad Mom?

Wes took Payton for his regular check up with the allergist. After a quick look in Payton's ear, the doctor said Payton has an ear infection. So maybe all this fussing wasn't because of his molars, but due to his ear infection. This is the second time we have taken him for a well visit only to find out he has an ear infection... does this make me a bad mom?

This morning he woke up with a 101 temperature but seems to be acting okay. I am hopeful the the temperature is associated with the ear infection and not the flu. The doc says we will know if his temp keeps rising even though he is on antibiotics.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

14 Month Update

This will be brief, but I thought I should try to make a note of Payton's changes this past month.

-He is up to 19 lbs! Maybe we will be able to turn his car seat around by the time he is 16 months old!
-He independently signs: milk, eat, more, music, finished and is working on frog and dog.
-He is not talking as much these days as he uses his signing for most communication, but he still occasionally says Mama, baby, doggie, and juice.
-He kinda walks (he takes 10 steps and falls down). Balance continues to be a challenge for Payton.
-He can climb in and out of his rocking chair and Grandma Kemper's and into his toy basket (see above pics). He also enjoys riding the rocking horse at Grandma Kemper's house and his Rody at home...and of course, his real pony, Daisy!
-Payton can point to his nose, eyes, and hair and he also recognizes the differences between "Payton's eye" and "Mama's eye" and points to the correct one. In addition, Payton can distinguish between the cow, horse (although we say Daisy in our house), and sheep on his nursery decor.
-Payton tries to do puzzles and can get the circle piece correct. He also loves to stack random objects.
-I gave Payton one of my old cell phones and when I say "Hello" he puts his hand to his ear and looks at the phone. So funny.
-He still plays games like peekaboo and "NiteNite, Wake Up." He will start these games, little ham!
-He REFUSES anything but a bottle!!!! I am going CRAZY with this obsession of his. It is incredibly frustrating.
-Payton is getting 4 molars right now and cried more yesterday than I have ever heard him cry. It was heart wrenching. I nearly broke down and cried too!
-Along with the teething comes many more tantrums. Payton has at least 4 meltdowns a day lately. They are short lived, but if something does not go his way, he protests... and loudly! We had two incidents at church this morning (and there was no nursery available because we had our service at G.olden C.orral (long story). Thanks, Payton.
-Payton does not sleep well. One of us gets up with his at least twice a night to soothe him back to sleep. We thought we had figured out the sleep thing and then the molars ruined it for us... again! We are all tired!

Month 14 and a half in a nutshell!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nosy Stranger or Waiting Family?

(Christmas Card Preview :)

The Christmas season is upon us and Wes and I are having fun watching Payton experience the lights and cheer of the season. Last year he was so tiny that he really did not do much at Christmas other than sleep. This year he is still tiny (about 19 lbs) but certainly capable of having an opinion about everything! Taking our Christmas photos this year was a challenge...3 dogs and a 14 month old just has frustration written all over it. But we got the job done and ordered our photo Christmas cards, which I hope to mail soon! (BTW Friends and Family: My computer with all my addresses CRASHED and has yet to be salvaged. I am trying to find every one's address, but please don't be offended if your card does not arrive; it probably means I could not get a hold of your address. Please accept my apologies! The people that send us cards will get their cards first because they have your home address on them :)

Back to Christmas fun...
While Payton was dressed in his cute little Christmas outfit, we decided to take Payton for his first real visit with Santa. We were able to get one photo of Payton pointing at the camera before he turned around and saw the big guy dressed in red. Once he realized Santa was holding him, the screaming began! We tried to spark up a conversation but Santa was not jolly at all! Santa did not even give Payton a chuckle or a Merry Christmas, instead he handed him a lousy candy cane that Payton cannot eat.

We caved and purchased the overpriced photo, mostly because I felt guilty that he never got a picture last year (long story...). As we were paying the ridiculous $26 fee for 4 tiny pictures for the grandparents, an older lady started saying how great it was that we adopted and went on and on about what a nice thing we did. I get so uncomfortable when this happens because it is just NOT the case. We LOVE Payton and he is OUR son, but we chose to adopt him because we were ready for a family and we chose adoption as the way to build our family, not because we wanted praise for changing the world. She then went on about her sister's "adopted" children and how she loved them "like her own." Every (adoptive) Mama out there CRINGES when they hear this. My fake smile quickly faded. I should have said that we love Payton because he is our child, not "like" our child. Instead, I simply said, "We love Payton" and left. I am never clever enough to think on the spot like that and come up with a great response... even though these sorts of things happen to us all the time. And I also know that she was trying to be nice, but sometimes we just get tired of nosy people asking about our adoption just because we look different. The conversation ended abruptly as I just walked away. I am still not sure the best response in these situations...and what do I say as Payton gets older and more aware and sensitive to these comments?

After the Santa fiasco, we headed to dinner at a new restaurant in town. (The food was great, but the service was very slow... I think they are still trying to figure some things out, so we were gracious.) As most moms of toddlers know, waiting for one hour to get your food is just a little long... and somewhat painful. As the dinner progressed, Payton's patience quickly dwindled and before we knew it he was enjoying singing loudly, banging his spoons, throwing his food, etc. SO I started sing goofy songs with him. I was totally engaged in our little exchange when a stranger walked over to our table and said, "I hate to the be that person, but..." I was fully expecting her to say, "Your child is obnoxious and loud and you cannot sing so would your PLEASE LEAVE!" Yes, Payton was being that loud that I would have totally understood someone asking us at that point in the evening. But, that was not what she said. Rather, she said, " Did you adopt him? She immediately continued with, "I know this is a personal question, but we are in the process of adoption." We then welcomed her to sit down and she shared her adoption experiences with us. (I gave her our blog address, so I hope she is not too embarrassed upon reading this post.)

By the time we left dinner, I was so excited for her. They are waiting on their referral for a child from Ethiopia! Their referral could come at any minute! I am totally sending up prayers for them each nite for a speedy placement, but I am also stoked that we will know another transracial family in the 'burg with a child similar to Payton's age. I have thought about starting some kind of play group for transracial families in our area because so many other "mom blogs" (of people who do not live near us) I read have raved about how great these groups have been for their families, but I just don't know how to go about doing this. So maybe this can be the beginning of something, or maybe there is already a group that I just don't know about?

The bottom line is that I realized how differently I reacted to similar inquiries. It's just that Wes and I remember being a waiting family and just craving the understanding of sharing with others who had experienced all that the adoption process (good and bad) entails. I love to talk about adoption... with people who share our heart for adoption, not just view it is a "nice thing to do" or as "an almost family."