Saturday, March 29, 2008


It's naptime, at least for a little while longer. See, the boy hates to take a break from his busy day for a much needed nap. I know he needs it because if he gets a nap he's cheerful and cooperative all evening long. If he doesn't get a nap he's cranky and fussy until bath time. I prefer child #1.

I've scoured the internet for naptime ideas. I pull out all the stops daily. We turn on a CD that would put Richard Simmons to sleep. We bring many books to read. We enlist two, count 'em, two, Elmos for moral support. Most days, he cries when he realizes it's time to go to his room. Once there he settles down and looks at his books but he asks repeatedly to go to the potty. I usually give in and take him to the potty once cuz who wants him to wet the bed? But I suspect its a tactic to get out of bed. Often he cries again after potty when I take him back to bed. Usually it takes 30-75 minutes to get him to sleep. At that point, it's almost too late to nap or he won't want to sleep at night.

So how important, really, are these naps? Do I just deal with it and let him get up if 30-60 minutes of quiet time don't result in sleep? Or do I keep doing whatever it takes to get him to sleep? How late is too late to nap? So many questions.... Any thoughts?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Story Time at the Library

This morning we were off bright and early to go to Story Time at the Library. It was a fun combination of songs and stories, followed by coloring and free play. Micah wasn't sure about some of it, but warmed up when the toys came out.

We borrowed a couple of DVDs from the library's collection. Here's Micah watching the Elmo-sizing DVD. Notice Elmo watching himself on TV. Eerie.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

We had a wonderful family weekend. On Saturday, we went over to the elementary school and played on the playground. The boy loves to slide.
Libby got to go along. She was excited to be out with the family.
Micah eventually tried out the big slide.
Mama even got into the act.
Did you know Del Monte makes Elmo green beans? Talk about marketing to 2 year olds! And the box can be recycled - LOL. Do you like my new hat?
On Sunday, we all dressed in our finest and headed off to church. Mama rang bells and Micah really enjoyed the children's sermon.
Christ is risen - Alleluia!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Transition Topics

So many people ask "how's it going?" Here's a rundown on how we're transitioning in some areas. If you're wondering about something I don't cover, just ask in the comments and I'll blog about it next time.


This has been our toughest challenge and our greatest improvement. The first week home Micah resisted sleep in all its forms. Bedtime started with a couple of hours of screaming, then a couple of hours of sleep, 3 or 4 more hours of screaming then a couple more hours of sleep. Mama, Baba and Micah were all running on empty in the sleep department. We were working on establishing an after dinner routine that led up to bedtime. After we had been home about a week, he started sleeping through the night, though he still had to cry himself to sleep. Now, when we turn of his nightly viewing of Elmo's World, he reaches up and allows me to carry him to bed. He will play and roll around in bed for 30-60 minutes and finally settle down to sleep. If he wakes, he will again settle himself back down to sleep. Not ideal, but so much better. We are still co-sleeping as this seems to be aiding in attachment and is giving him the confidence to go to sleep. We've even slept four nights in a row with no shoes on!


Micah's a pretty good eater. There are very few things he'll refuse to eat, though he still loves starches most of all (mama's boy, again). He'll eat his bread or rice first, and he has loved every veggie we've given him, especially green beans, peas and spinach. Proteins are a different matter. But if we give him time, he'll mostly clean his plate.

Car Seat

Remember that horrendous torture device called a car seat? He shrieked all the way from the airport to home, the first time he encountered it. It only took 5 M&Ms to pacify him the next time we put him in it. Once he realized that if he's in the car seat we go somewhere, he was good to go! Now he loves to go in the car and seems to accept the car seat as a necessary thing to taking car rides (no M&Ms necessary).


He is picking up English words every day. He is a great mimic and will say or sing whatever comes out of our mouths (we'll need to watch that in the future). He can say "no, more, yes, shoe, help," and I'm sure a few more I can't think of. A few words he says paired in Mandarin then English, like guo guo dog, mao mao cat and qiu ball. He knows the names of his dog Libby, Elmo, Mickey, Big Bird and Grover. He sings the first line of the Elmo's World theme song and the "now I know my ABC's" part of the alphabet song. I think song may be a great tool for learning words for Micah.

He can identify his mama, baba and both sets of grandparents by their titles in Mandarin. For those who don't realize it, maternal and paternal grandparents have different names in Mandarin.

He understands even more than he can say. Yesterday he was closing the TV armoir and I told him to open it back up. He did.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday!

Today was Good Friday and a good Friday for our family as well. We had run over a nail with the Jeep so this morning we went to the tire store to get a new one. Of course they have to order our special Jeep tire and it won't be in until next week. (Um, I guess that wasn't the good part). They were also unable to fix the tire on Micah's little truck that keeps falling off. He looked at all of the tires in the store, but they were all too big. It was too cute.

Then we all packed up into the PT Cruiser and went to work with Baba. We had fun visiting with all the people there. Micah thought it was a little funny that everyone dressed like Baba. We had lunch at the PX and Micah took a nap on the way home. He was still asleep when we got home and I wasn't willing to break up a good nap so I put the seat back and napped along with him.

After nap we packed everybody back into the car and went to church for the cross walk. About 60 people walked from church to a local park carrying two crosses to symbolize Christ's walk to Golgotha. Micah had blast riding along in his stroller. We opted to walk back to the church as well and had some fun family time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boys at play

Playdate with Sheridan. Note the pictures of Micah loving on Sheridan. Sheridan said, "Micah! No cuddle!"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One Month


Friday, March 14, 2008

Put on your own oxygen mask first...

I haven't found time to read Scream Free Parenting by Hal Runkel yet, but this chapter title caught my eye. Put on your own oxygen mask first. As we've flown so much recently we've heard that phrase over and over. Why do they say that? Because in case of emergency if you don't put on your own oxygen mask, you won't be able to help your child and you'll both end up dead.

As we've been parenting for a scant three weeks, I can see what he means. I've got to take care of myself in order to better care for Micah. I can't wait to dig into this book.

Since no post is complete without a picture of our little guy, here he is helping Baba install the coat hooks:

Anniversary Dinner with my boys

It was a pleasure to spend our third anniversary together with our forever family. It's funny how having a child changes your priorities and practices. I often make sure there is a sappy card and a gift for HunnyB. This year I had nothing for him. He wrote me an anniversary note on the refrigerator note pad (points for creativity!). Usually, we go out for a steak dinner on our anniversary. This year we decided to eat in. The boys grilled steaks and Mama made veggies and rice (a new staple in our diet). It's a different kind of romance, but I wouldn't trade this anniversary for anything!

Here are my boys grilling in the back yard:

Monday, March 10, 2008


Wow - I've gotten behind! We've been busy. The good news is that while Micah still fights going to sleep, once he sleeps, he will sleep through the night. We're still co-sleeping (Mama sleeps in his room with him) and that seems to be promoting bonding between Mama and son.

Last Friday we made the trek to the north side to hang out with our buddy Sheridan. Sheridan was so excited to play with Micah since Micah slept through their initial meeting. After Sheridan's nap and a quick snack, Sheridan took Micah by the hand and said, "let's play!" Much fun ensued. They boys share a love of Elmo and enjoyed playing with Big Elmo and Singing Elmo. Sharing is tough when you're two, but they did an admirable job of trying.

We had dinner with friends before attending First Fridays. Hal Runkel spoke on Scream Free Parenting. Not scream free children (bummer!), but scream free parents. We were awarded the Scream Free CPR Kit for being the most recent family to return from China. We look forward to implementing these tools to be the best parents we can be for Micah.

As usual it was great to catch up with friends and make new friends among the First Fridays gang. It was surreal being there as a forever family and no longer waiting. It's amazing how the wait has melted from my memory.

We were invited to spend the night with Sheridan and his family. We warned them that we were only sleeping a few hours a night. But Micah chose that night to start sleeping through the night. It was Sheridan who woke us at 4:00 am. "Aunt Karen, Micah night-night?" LOL

Saturday morning allowed the Mamas to go shopping unencumbered while the Babas watched the boys and the pups. We returned home Saturday evening and Micah again slept through the night. Yay! Unfortunately we left our camera, so posting pictures will have to wait. The pictures here are courtesy of Michael.

Editing my post to add the pictures taken with our camera:

Sunday morning we all got up and went to church. Mama rang handbells and the boys watched. Micah was very good during the whole service and even listened to the children's sermon on loving your neighbor.

We're starting to settle in to everyday life as a family of three. Yesterday we even went to the park. Maybe we can do this parenting thing.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Home 5 Days!

We've been home five days! Can you believe it? We didn't really take pictures at our homecoming, but Michael posted a nice recap of our grand arrival at the airport (with pictures). Go here to see them.

Sleep continues to be an issue. Micah goes to sleep with a little encouragement, but wakes up a few hours later and cries for 4-5 hours until he finally goes back to sleep. This is hurting mama and baba more than it seems to be hurting Micah. Yesterday we decided we needed some semblance of a normal life and went out to lunch at Chik-Fil-A and then shopping at Target. He slept a little better last night so I think it helped. Here's a picture of our little crew after we finally fell asleep! (Notice he still sleeps with his shoes on.)

Micah had his first doctor's appointment today. He seems healthy, but had to get two shots and a fingerstick. Ouch! He didn't like it much, but seems to have bounced back. He fussed through his nap time and we took a long walk around the neighborhood this afternoon so I'm hoping for better sleep tonight.

Here are a few shots from our first days at home.

Monday, March 03, 2008

We are home!

Sorry for disappearing on you all. We lived through the long plane ride. I think that one's kinda like childbirth. You don't want to talk about the gory details and you have to forget about it or every family would only do it once! Micah slept very little and usually at times that we couldn't sleep, like as a meal was being served or before takeoff. That meant mama and baba didn't get much sleep. Micah fussed quite a bit on the long flight from Tokyo to Detroit which annoyed mama, baba and many others nearby.

Going through immigration was no big deal after all the work we went through. The first officer processed us into the US and referred us to another officer for Micah. We gave that officer the unsealed (as directed) envelope from the consulate in Guangzhou. He tore it open, looked at a couple of things, stamped a couple of forms and said, "Have a nice day!" Kinda a inauspicious welcome for the US's newest citizen.

Northwest managed to break the handles off our cool stroller from China. *sigh* The rest of the trip we had to push on the broken pieces - ow!

We proceeded through customs and security in a sleep-deprived haze. We had about an hour to wait for our next short flight back to the ATL.

Micah seemed overjoyed to be in the US. He was laughing and clowning around on the plane. Mama kept him occupied while Baba took a half hour nap. Then Baba returned the favor. About 30 seconds before touchdown (literally - I could see the ground) Micah fell asleep.

There were family and friends there at the airport to meet us. My parents, our pastor and his family and our dear friends Kim, Michael and Sheridan were a sight for sore eyes. It felt so good to get those hugs. I love you all! We collected our luggage and went to the Northwest office to file a claim on our stroller. Much to Sheridan's chagrin, Micah slept through the whole thing. Sheridan kept touching and talking to Micah to get him to wake up. He's been waiting for this boy for a while!

Micah didn't wake up until we put him in the car seat for the ride home. Children in China don't ride in car seats. He's never been in one and he didn't like it. He kept clawing at the harness like he was being choked. It was a long ride home. We got home, along with my parents and he was back to his sweet, charming self. He did a round of mama, baba with the photo album and really seemed to recognize his lau lau and lau ye (grandma and grandpa).

Sleep didn't come easy that first night. He fussed and cried for over an hour. Once he went to sleep he only slept for a couple hours and then woke. He was up for about four hours before mama finally sang him back to sleep. I've got to learn some new lullabies! I was boring myself!

We continue to adjust to life at home as a family. The days are really fun and the nights are sheer torture. We're trying to sleep in shifts so we can get rest while his body clock adjusts and he learns the ropes of life here. More on that later, I'm sure.

He's asleep right now, so I'm gonna hit the sack in case is doesn't last. Night, night!