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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Three Cheers for Amelia!!!

Amelia deserves three BIG, GIANT, ENORMOUS cheers! Why, you ask? Well, not only did she sleep through the entire night last night ( actually the past three nights and I've had to wake her up at 7:00) and she also took not one, but two naps in her crib today!!! If you can't sense my excitement, just know that I felt like doing cartwheels around the house this afternoon. I'm not convinced we're in the clear yet as far as her sleeping issues, but great progress is definitely being made!

While I have high hopes the lack of sleep in this house will soon be a thing of the past, Amelia has decided that she's not sure about Jeff. She refuses to take food from him and throws a fit if he's holding her while she can still see me. I'm sure this is just a phase, but it does make for some pretty tense moments. Shortly after Graham came home, and Jeff returned to work, Graham also went through such a stage. Thankfully, it was short lived, and he realized just how great his Daddy is. Hopefully Amelia and her Daddy will be able to spend some quality time together this weekend so she can soon come to the same realization that Graham did. I have to wonder if Amelia questions if Jeff will return each day when he leaves for work in the morning. I wish I could get into the mind of a 10 month old baby who's world was recently turned upside down...

Both Graham and Amelia are also finally on the road to being healthy again. This rotten cold they're both fighting off just didn't want to leave which means that today was the 4th day in a row that we've all been stuck in the house. I'm really, really, really hoping that they'll be well enough for us to rejoin civilization tomorrow. It's been a long week for all of us and we've got a busy weekend coming up so waking up healthy on Friday will be perfect timing!


Amelia has discovered the play kitchen..."Graham's play kitchen", he really wasn't thrilled about this. Speaking of Graham, I have no clue why he's putting socks on his fire truck in the background!
Graham shows Amelia how it's done! I wish I could explain the crown on Graham's head. He's recently decided he needs to wear it almost all the time...perhaps he's trying to impose his authority over his toy kingdom?

A future musician?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Graham and Amelia

The past few days have been spent quietly at home because unfortunately I've got two sick kids. Graham came down with a cold on Friday and by the time he woke up on Saturday morning, he was miserable. His little sidekick, Amelia, quickly followed suit and woke up miserable herself on Sunday. Yesterday was so horrible for her that I was once again on the phone with the pediatrician this morning. I had an appointment for her this afternoon, but was luckily able to cancel it as she appears to have started on the road to recovery. I've got my fingers crossed that tomorrow morning I will be awakened by two happy, healthy kids!

Because we've been stuck at home, Graham and Amelia have spent more time playing side by side than usual. As a result of this, I feel like I've earned a new title. I am no longer just Mom, I am now the Referee Mama! If I got even a dollar for every time I had to step in and ask Graham to stop taking toys from Amelia or vice-versa, I would be rich! My favorite line that I've had to use countless times over the past few days though, is something I never in my wildest dreams imagined myself ever saying..."Graham, get off of your sister! No, Amelia is NOT your pony!" At the time it was anything but funny, but now when I think back to that interaction, I have to laugh thinking about Amelia's confused face as Graham, complete with cowboy sound effects, tried to take a ride. And no, I don't have any pictures of the pony ride...there is no time to grab my camera when a 30 pound toddler is trying to ride on his baby sister! :)

Amelia trying to give Graham a hug

Graham really isn't trying to hurt her, he's trying to hug her

Amelia on Monday in the midst of her very miserable day

Sunday, April 26, 2009

10 Months Old

Today, Miss Amelia turns 10 months old! We haven't even known her for a month yet, but already the changes in her are amazing! She's much more confident in her crawling, she pulls up on EVERYTHING, and she's even trying to stand up unassisted! I can only imagine what the next month will bring for her! Here is a short list of her likes and dislikes at 10 months old:


Likes:
-Food. Any food is great according to her. Any time of day, any place. If offered to her, she'll eat it!
-Watching Annie
-Gerber Puffs-the bigger the pile the better
-Big Brother Graham
-Fisher Price Little People
-Giving extremely slobbery kisses (watch out though, she likes to take the occasional bite of a nose!)
-Shopping with Mommy while riding in the stroller (WOO HOO!!!)
-Pink Plaid Bunny in her crib
-Laughing at Graham
-Smiling almost all of the time!
-Giving hugs
-Snuggling

Dislikes
-Annie licking her
-Sleep
-Having her face washed
-Sleep
-Graham splashing her in the bathtub
-Sleep
-Graham taking toys away from her
-Did I mention sleep???

I'm having a really difficult time coming up with a list of things that Amelia doesn't like. So far, she is displaying such an easy-going laid back nature. Other than her serious sleep issues, she's really slipped right in and acts like she's been part of our family forever!

Happy 10 Months Miss Amelia-we love you lots!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Three weeks home...

It's hard to believe that exactly three weeks ago, we spent our first night at home as a family of four! Amelia continues to delight us with her playful and sweet nature. She LOVES to cuddle and give wet slobbery kisses. I think one of Amelia's favorite things about being home is her big brother Graham. If she had her choice, I think she'd spend her entire day grafted to his side. She watches him constantly and laughs at almost everything he does. Graham enjoys his constant audience but is still working through the fact that he has to share his Mommy and Daddy.

Amelia eats like a champ and has recently decided that even green vegetables are ok! After having the experience of an extremely picky eater under my belt, I can truly say it's a treat to have a child who eats without a battle! Basically, other than the ever present sleep issues, we feel so lucky to have such an easy going, happy little girl. As you can tell by her giant grin in the majority of her photographs, she spends her days smiling! Here are a few pictures from the past few days...

This is one of Amelia's favorite things...her textured baby animal book.

Notice the puff on her chin...she spent quite a while looking for her missing treat and I didn't have the heart tell her it was stuck on her face. It just looked too cute!

Check out her drool! Amelia is in the midst of some serious teething (she already has 8 teeth!) and she drools like no other baby I've ever met!


I'm not really sure what was going on here, but they sat like this for several minutes enjoying each others company.


It's been so much fun to watch these two interact!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I did it!

This may not sound like a big deal to many, but today I conquered the mall with two kids and a double stroller and I did it all alone! This morning was challenging to say the least, so when Amelia woke up from her morning nap, or shall I call it sleep interrupted by waking every 20 minutes, I decided we had to get out of the house.

Graham was in need of a haircut so we headed to the mall. The most challenging part of our excursion was getting both kids out of the house and safely into their car seats. Amelia clearly has to be carried, and Graham insisted he be carried, so I must have looked like quite the sight as I carried two squirmy kids and a diaper bag into the driveway to load them up. The kids did amazingly well at the mall. In fact, it was the most restful part of the entire day! Graham somehow made his sucker from his haircut last over an hour so he didn't make a noise while I wandered around and Amelia appears to actually enjoy shopping so I wasn't too worried about how she would do. Now that I've taken on and conquered the mall outnumbered by toddlers, perhaps the zoo is next!

Driving her car this morning

Graham and Amelia cruising around in the limousine stroller


Amelia thought the cheese on her tray was hysterical...she really couldn't stop laughing for some reason

Monday, April 20, 2009

We Survived!

After having Jeff home from work for the past three weeks, today was his first day back in the office. I was admittedly nervous about how the day would go-how many times Graham would take a toy from Amelia, how many times Amelia would wake up from her naps, etc. Other than being exhausted from the lack of sleep (Amelia still doesn't like to sleep at night), I thought it went pretty well. I tried to be organized and tried to think three steps ahead of Graham and we were all alive when Jeff walked through the door this evening. I realized that our days are going to look pretty much like they did pre-Amelia, only I need to allow at least twice as much time to accomplish any single task. By the end of the day, both Graham and Amelia were a bit squirly so I was extremely thankful for Kelly, who dropped a delicious dinner off for us this evening!

The only time that Graham become frustrated with Amelia today was actually cause for me to laugh to myself. Amelia babbles constantly-mamamama, babababa, or dadadadadada. At breakfast this morning 'dadadada' was Amelia's preferred sound. Each time she did this, Graham looked at her, and explained 'Dada Jeff at work'. Graham really believed that she was calling for her Daddy and he wanted to let her know where he was. This went on for some time before Graham gave her the dirtiest look, raised his voice a bit and said it for the last time all day 'Dada Jeff at work!'. It was almost as if he grew so impatient at the fact that he was repeating himself so many times! As a side note, we have no idea why Graham refers to his Daddy as 'Dada Jeff' but each time Graham's speaks to him or about him, it's 'Dada Jeff'.

These two giggled like crazy while I got breakfast ready. I absolutely loved listening to their laughter from the kitchen.

Another cute picture of our happy Amelia


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leave it to the big brother...

to announce when it's time for Amelia to have her diaper changed!

As Graham checked her out, he loudly announced 'Amel ya ya poopy!'.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The cousins meet...

Today we had a cousin play date at our house. There are now three grandkids in our family and ever since Amelia has been home, each one has taken their turn being sick. So, in order to not cross contaminate the kiddie germs, we kept them apart. Today, though, since everyone is finally healthy, we got them together for lunch and a walk around the neighborhood. They're very close in age (27 months, 9 months, and 4 months) so it's going to be great fun to watch them start to spend more time together.


And this, is just a picture of a happy Amelia after her bath tonight. For the past week, she has screamed hysterically the entire time she was forced against her will to sit in the tub. Tonight though, she smiled, laughed and seemed to actually enjoy herself. We're not counting on this, but maybe, just maybe, she'll sleep a little bit better tonight since she wasn't so traumatized by the tub?!?!?! We can hope, right?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy Friday!

Despite the constant feeling like we're walking around in a haze as a result of some serious sleep deprivation, we managed to have a great day. Both kids are healthy, Graham's tantrum's were few and far between today, and the weather was PERFECT...life is good!

Amelia and I ventured out on our first mother/daughter outing to the mall this morning. She's in need of some new shoes so we began the hunt. Despite not finding what I wanted anywhere in the mall (yes, I'm picky!) Amelia proved herself to be a delightful shopping partner. She happily sat in her stroller, babbled to me about the cute clothes she saw, and was a great helper when I needed her to hold things.

We decided that a picnic dinner at local lake with a great playground would be a fun way to spend the evening since the weather was just too perfect! Graham and Amelia both loved the playground. Graham enjoyed having some freedom to climb over, under, and through things, and Amelia was introduced to the joys of a swing. She loved it! Actually, both kids really love to be in a swing...I'll have to remember this when I'm going crazy and need to contain them both! :) We took a long walk around the lake after the kids were tired out and they handled being next to each other in the stroller very well. Amelia likes to have constant physical contact with Graham though and she continued to fling her legs into his lap. Graham decided the best way to deal with this unwanted leg in his space was to lean over and bite her toe...oops! No worries, I was more upset about it than Amelia was!

Amelia's first time in a swing!

Graham loves the swing too!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who needs sleep???

Last night, for both kids combined, we were awakened on 10 separate occasions! I wonder if sleep deprivation has caused anyone to officially lose their mind?!?!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We've finally turned a corner...

Amelia woke up a different kid today!!! Honestly, the change in her is so drastic it's almost as if a miracle occurred! Yesterday morning we took her to the doctor for her 9 month check-up. Thankfully, this was already scheduled, as it was timed perfectly with our feelings of complete helplessness as we tried to nurse our girl back to health. Like we were told at the hospital this weekend, she just has a nasty virus that needs to continue working through her system. The doctor did suggest that while her stomach is so upset, dairy is difficult to digest. So,we put her on a soy based formula temporarily until things are back to normal for her and it seems to have done the trick! Other than her current virus though, the doctor was very impressed with Amelia and how advanced she appears to be-crawling, cruising along furniture (the robot walk according to Graham), feeding herself, and attempting to stand up in the middle of the room is pretty good for a 9 month old!

Since the pictures have been so sparse lately, here are a bunch. Enjoy!

This might just be my favorite picture of Amelia so far!

We took advantage of the picture perfect spring weather today and watched Graham play with bubbles on the deck.


Annie is thrilled with her new friend!


Graham refuses to stop climbing into this bouncing baby seat. He gets himself stuck every. single. time. This morning I told him I was too busy to get him out and that he would have to wait until I had my hands free. I'm hoping he was bored enough to not climb back in there. I'd say he looks pretty bored, don't you? :)


They love to hang around the piano. I'm not sure how much longer Amelia will fit underneath though.

This morning Graham went through his drawers and started dressing himself. No worries, I didn't let him leave the house in this ensemble!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Still sick...

Unfortunately, Miss Amelia is still sick and she's still unable to keep anything in her little stomach. We have an appointment tomorrow morning with the pediatrician and as doubtful as it is, I'm just praying they have some magic remedy for her. She's miserable, we're exhausted, and we just want our happy girl back. For the first few days after we arrived home, we saw the sweet, playful side of Amelia, and right now, we have an understandably irritable girl who refuses to be set down for even a minute. Please keep her in your thoughts...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Another eventful day...

Today was a first for us...a trip to Children's Hospital. Miss Amelia had a very rough time last night showing us that even one ounce of formula was too much for her body to handle. So, we did what any concerned parent would do; we called the after hours nurse line for our pediatrician hoping for some advice. Not once, but twice, we left messages with the answering service there and not a single nurse called us back :(. I called the clinic as soon as they opened this morning, descried the horrible night we just had, and they advised us to take Amelia to the hospital. Once there, after some blood work (not fun for anyone) it was determined that she was dehydrated and low on sugar and an IV would be necessary. Amelia was really not feeling well by this point and generally just ticked off with all the poking and prodding so the IV was pretty traumatic for both Mommy and Amelia. She's got a pretty rotten case of the flu, so hopefully the extra fluids she received today will give her the extra strength she needs to fight this thing off. We're all in desperate need of some sleep, so hopefully, tonight goes better for all. Most of all though, we just hope that Miss Amelia turns the corner and is soon back to her happy self.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An eventful night...

I'm glad that last night is behind us. Graham was hysterical at bedtime-screaming to be let out and allowed to sleep with Mama and eventually trying to throw himself out of the crib. Once he finally fell asleep, he woke up at least every hour screaming for his Mama. It was a full out tantrum on a scale that I hope to never see again. Amelia went to sleep nicely, but woke up in the middle of the night throwing up then repeated herself several times. And because that isn't quite enough, the big boy in the house has come down with a cold (the really bad 'man cold' version). Triple the fun in the Olson house!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Amelia in action

Here are a few random snap shots from our day. Considering how laid back our days have recently been, I think we packed quite a bit in! I took Graham to school, Amelia got to make her first trip to the hardware store with her Daddy, and we all spent some time at the park enjoying our beautiful spring weather. And, we did all this completely sleep deprived. Not too bad if you ask me!

Amelia has now successfully napped 4 times in a row in her crib!!! WOO HOO!!! We're not even close to expecting her to make it through the night, but we're going to try having her sleep in her crib tonight....wish us all luck!


Amelia was giving orders to her baby. Really, she was deep in conversation here and the babbling went on for quite a while!


This is a random video clip of Amelia playing with her Daddy. She's been stripped of her cute outfit at this point thanks to her REALLY enjoying her dinner!
video

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Making Progress

We're making progress in our house! During the day Amelia is a happy girl 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time she screams because I'm washing her face after an especially messy meal. Actually, every meal is especially messy with her because she insists on running her baby food covered fingers through her hair over, and over and over again. Nice.

Amelia successfully took a nap IN HER CRIB this morning!!! She peacefully slept for over an hour until Graham opened her bedroom door and loudly called "Hi Amel-ya-ya!". She doesn't fall asleep in her crib on her own, after she's rocked to sleep she's transferred to her crib, but we'll take it! Since Jeff loves playing with his iTouch so much, he so kindly volunteers to sit in her dark room with her in case she wakes up panicked by where she is. I didn't think I would ever appreciate Jeff's love of surfing the internet as much as I do right about now! Our crib training appears to be paying off! In case you were curious, night time sleeping is still a major issue though...

I know I've mentioned it before, but Amelia is very mobile. She crawls quickly, and each day becomes more adventurous regarding what she tries to get into. This morning though, I actually held my breath as I watched her try to stand up completely unassisted in the middle of the room. She wasn't able to do it, but giggled as she toppled to the floor and tried it again and again. I am so not ready for my 9 month old baby to be standing without help.... I'll do my best to catch her on video trying to stand up because it's actually pretty funny!

After lunch today, both kids were in a good mood so Jeff and I decided to try our luck with a quick trip to Costco. On the way to the store, I turned around to check on Graham and Amelia in the backseat, and this is what I saw....

They were holding hands!!!!!!!!!!!
We managed to grab the few things we needed in record time and both Graham and Amelia remained happy as long as the cart was in motion. The highlight of today's Costco adventure for Graham were the many samples he was allowed to try. He loved his waffle sample so much that he tried his best to get Amelia to eat it too. Too bad she's just a baby and can't eat a waffle yet, but I do have to give Graham credit for attempting to share with her all on his own!

"Want some waffle, Amelia??"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sleeping Beauty


Amelia is sleeping so peacefully here for her afternoon nap...what you can't see is Jeff sitting 6 inches from her killing time in the dark by surfing the internet on his iTouch! We're making progress though....Just 2 days ago Amelia wouldn't sleep unless she was on top of one of us, now she'll settle for sleeping next to one of us. She did happily play alone in her crib this morning for nearly 15 minutes while I was in and out of her room putting away laundry, so we're moving in the right direction. With any luck, she'll be sleeping soundly in her crib before too long!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A real update...

I've got a bit of time, so here is the much awaited update....

The flight home went better than expected. Amelia wasn't happy, but she was no where near as upset as Graham was. For much of our journey home, and even the first few days home, Amelia seemed to be understandably in shock. We were told in Korea that she is a very happy, playful girl, so we were waiting to see even a glimmer of that personality. Yesterday, she appeared to open up a bit, and we got to see her smile and really laugh for the first time which was so much fun!

As far as sleeping goes, nobody in our house is getting much of it. Amelia HATES her crib and becomes hysterical if we try to transfer her from sleeping in our arms onto her mattress. She prefers to sleep directly on top of somebody. This is how it was done in Korea, so that's what she is expecting each time she goes to sleep. Only then, will she sleep for 90 minutes at a time...I know that this extreme level of exhaustion is only a temporary thing and with time, as Amelia becomes more comfortable with us and we're able to build her trust will she sleep more peacefully.

Amelia is a fantastic eater which is such a treat! Getting a single jar of baby food into Graham was a real battle, so this is is a nice change. The only thing that makes me sad, is that she really doesn't seem to enjoy her bottles, and selfishly, I love the cuddle time that a bottle allows! She'll guzzle them down in the middle of the night when she's half asleep, but during the day she could care less. I'm thinking this might have something to do with her jet lag. With Korea being 14 hours ahead of us, and Amelia being used to drinking her bottles during the day, her body could still be adjusting.

Graham is doing as well as can be expected. He's extra clingy right now as he seems to believe that I'm going to disappear again for a week. That, and the fact that when I did finally return from Korea, I brought a baby with me, has him acting out a bit. We've instituted a sticker chart for him with the hopes that if he feels like he's working towards something it might encourage him to follow directions a bit more often. Currently, he's only three stickers away from a popsicle! :)

That's about it from our house right now. As we become more organized around here and more efficient at handling our two mobile children, I'll be more diligent at updating the blog on a regular basis. We're beyond thrilled to finally have our little princess home with us and I can't wait to share more stories of our 'new' life!

Happy Amelia!

Amelia loves this toy phone. The problem, is that Graham also loves this toy phone...

Since Amelia hates her crib, we've started having a bit of play time in there. A bunch of toys and Graham kept her distracted for 10 minutes and then she wanted out. Small steps...


They're actually looking at a book together. Too bad this peaceful interaction only lasted about 30 seconds!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oops!

I just took a long time and posted four video's of Amelia on her blog...at least I thought it was her blog. As it turns out, I accidentally posted them to Graham's blog. It takes forever to correct this mistake, so for now, check out Graham's blog http://www.journeytobabyolson.blogspot.com/ for Amelia's update. From now on, I'll be more aware of where I'm posting and Amelia's updates will continue right here on her blog.

Friday, April 3, 2009

We're home!

We arrived home yesterday afternoon to fantastic group of supporters waiting to greet us at the airport. Thanks a million to all of you who took the time to help us welcome Amelia home! We are beyond exhausted right now, but I know that many are anxiously awaiting pictures of our little princess. I'll write more later, but until then, enjoy these photos compliments of Jeff's cousin, Mark.




Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Farewell to Seoul...

I'm happy to say that tomorrow morning, we'll begin our long journey home! Although we've been gone less than a week, it feels more like an eternity. Jeff and I are both going through Graham withdrawal, and we are very anxious to get home and unite our family. I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to the actual process of getting home though. Last night when Jeff and I were talking about our upcoming long flight, he actually used the word 'petrified'. Yes, it really was that difficult with Graham, and I'm hoping and praying we don't have a repeat of that.

After visiting with Amelia today, it seems as though our concerns may not be unfounded. Let's just say that she wasn't a very happy camper with us. Amelia was playing with some toys on the floor and I sat down next to her. She stared at me, then crawled back into her foster mothers lap. The social worker then suggested she and the foster mother leave for a bit allowing the three of us some time alone. Amelia did NOT like this new arrangement. Her lower lip immediately began to quiver, then she stuck it waaaaay out (her pouty face is actually kind of cute!), and then the tears arrived. Big tears, rolling slowly down her cheeks... I wanted to cry right along with her. She was just so sad. Jeff was actually able to put her to sleep though, so at least we know it's possible! At this point in the process with Graham, he preferred to hit our faces, so crying and falling asleep is a huge improvement! The foster mother and social worker came back about 30 minutes later and were both very surprised to see Amelia sleeping in my arms. According to Amelia's foster mother, she's been very sensitive lately, almost like she knows a big change is coming. I handed Amelia back to her foster mother (who was tearing up) and away they went without her opening her eyes. We'll see Amelia again tomorrow morning at 8:30, when we pick her up for good. Please send good thoughts to Amelia tomorrow. She is going to be so afraid, and I can only hope that peace will come over her sooner than later. If you've got any good thoughts left, Jeff and could surely use them as that 14 flight from Seoul to Chicago seems pretty daunting right now. As you can see in these pictures, Amelia clearly was not impressed with Jeff and I...






After we said good-bye to Amelia for the day, we met with Graham's foster mother, Mrs. Im. We spent an absolutely wonderful hour with her! She ran up to me with the biggest smile on her face and hugged me. We then went into an office with a translator and the first thing she said to us was just how blessed Graham is to be a part of our family. I corrected her, and told her that we are the blessed ones...Graham has brought us more joy than we ever thought possible! I thanked her over and over for giving our little guy such a wonderful beginning and she got all choked up. I then presented her with the gift we brought for her-a copy of Graham's blog book. Jeff and I both agree that we've never enjoyed giving someone a gift, as much as we enjoyed presenting the book to her. She was speechless, then her tears started. She rubbed Graham's picture then actually kissed the cover. She then admitted that she was so distraught after Graham left that she couldn't foster anymore children. She did ultimately change her mind though, explaining to us that having babies around heals her pain. In fact, she had her 5 month old foster daughter with her at our visit today. This woman is truly Graham's angel and I feel so lucky to know her. She did have a few special presents for Graham and I'm certain he's going to be thrilled with each and every one!



So, that's about it from Korea. We're currently packing up our suitcases and double and triple checking that we've got not only our own passports, but all of Amelia's visa documentation as well. I've become paranoid we're going to misplace something and after all the time it took for us to finally get this visa, those documents can't leave our sight! Our flight leaves Seoul at noon on Thursday which is 10 pm on Wednesday night in Minneapolis-good vibes are welcomed and much appreciated! :) We hope to see many of you at the airport when we land on Thursday! The only thing we ask, is that we aren't swarmed immediately....the first hugs and first introduction to Amelia is reserved for her very proud big brother, Graham! The next post will be from home-WOO HOO!