Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It hardly seems possible...

...that one year ago today, we FINALLY held our little girl for the first time. After months of only clinging to a few snapshots it hardly seemed real to finally have Amelia in our arms. Amelia's foster father first handed her to me, her Mama who was crying tears of extreme joy. She looked up at me with a sort of half smile that I know recognize as Amelia's 'mischievous smile' and I instantly stopped crying. At that moment, the extreme anguish and frustration over our wait to bring Amelia home vanished. We were in Korea, our princess was in our arms, and in just a few days, we'd be heading home. We made it!
Jeff snapped this picture the instant Amelia was placed into my arms...

Amelia soon fell asleep in my arms and I realized that as much as I never wanted to put her down, she also had a very excited Daddy who was waiting for his turn to cuddle with his princess. So, I handed Amelia off and she continued to sleep in her Daddy's arms...

Amelia's first moments with her proud Daddy

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chalky Chapstick

I don't like chalk. I don't like the way it feels, I don't like the way it sounds when it leaves its mark, and I don't like the way it smells. But, I've never met a kid who doesn't enjoy leaving their artistic mark all over a sidewalk or driveway with it, and Amelia and Graham are no exception. Amelia took her love of pink chalk to new level this evening. She spent a LONG time applying the stinky stuff to her lips so she had a lovely, opaque layer of it all over her mouth. All I have to say is...Gross!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


One year ago, Jeff and I were approximately half way into our 14 hour flight to Korea. We left O'Hare from gate M7 which really isn't significant, other than the fact that this was our second time leaving from M7. I have no idea why I remember this specific detail, or why I even snapped this picture, but when we left to pick up Graham, this was the gate, and now for the second time, we found ourselves nervously waiting for the boarding call of the Korean Air, O'Hare to Incheon flight at gate M7.

14 hours on a plane is a LONG time. There really isn't much to do other than sit and think, or unsuccessfully try to watch a movie or read a book in an attempt to occupy your mind. Despite the fact that with each hour that passed, we were that much closer to Amelia, this plane ride seemed to drag on forever. Although I would board the plane an experienced parent, my fears were still so close to the surface. I felt equipped to handle messy diapers and a fussy baby, but I was flying across the world to pick up my 10 month old daughter and I anxiously wondered if she would like me. I knew from past parenting experiences that her love for me would develop slowly over time, but would she even like me? Would she be afraid? Would she trust Jeff and I enough to open herself up to the unconditional love we so desperately wanted to shower her with? Our love for Amelia began the day we saw her sweet face for the first time. Amelia on the other hand, had no idea how much her life was about to change.

As we finally began our decent, I couldn't wait for Korea to come into view out my window. I wanted to get off that plane and get Amelia into my arms where she belonged. I knew that our journey as a family with both a son and a daughter was about to unfold, and I couldn't wait for it to begin. Korea had already blessed us with one miracle, and I couldn't wait to meet our second little miracle.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Yesterday, (before the stomach flu took me down) we had lunch with my Mom at the most adorable little cafe called 'Cupcake'. As soon as we walked in, we were met with toddler height bakery cases filled with the most beautifully decorated cupcakes in mouth watering flavors like 'salted nut roll', 'peppermint patty', and 'chai tea latte'. Despite the fact that this place had not a single highchair or booster chair (I didn't know places like this even existed!), it was pretty easy to get Amelia and Graham to eat their lunches with the promise of having their very own cupcake for dessert. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen two grilled cheese sandwiches disappear so quickly! Both kids were thrilled with their choices and I'm sure they won't mind going back in the future so we can sample our way through those bakery cases!

Studying the bakery cases. Yes, Graham is wearing a super hero cape, it goes pretty much everywhere with us these days. :)

Amelia chose this kiddie sized vanilla cupcake with chocolate mousse frosting. Notice Amelia's bracelets? This girl is seriously in love with her plastic costume jewelry...a girl can never have too many bracelets, right?

Graham chose a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and chocolate chips

Grandma and Amelia sure do love their cupcakes!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

One year ago...

One year ago today, we were celebrating, we were crying, we were relieved, we were thrilled, and we were shocked, but most of all, we were beyond excited...all because of one early morning phone call letting us know that it was finally time to bring Amelia home.

The adoption process has highs and lows like I never imagined. The lows are very low and the highs are so unimaginably high, that I can think of nothing else in life I've experienced to compare it to. It's an amazingly emotional journey that truly is a gift. Now, a year later, I can look back on the painful wait to bring Amelia home, and I realize that those long weeks just made our meeting and home coming that much sweeter. Would I have given anything to bring our sweet girl home in record time? Sure! But, for reasons I may never completely understand, Amelia needed to be in Seoul for those extra weeks soaking up all her birth country had to offer her.

For the next week, I'll be taking a trip down memory lane. Back to the long plane rides, back to the vibrant city of Seoul, back to holding our sweet Amelia for the very first time, and back to the magical moment when we united our children and became a family of four . I'll admit to being an emotional person to begin with, and when it comes to my children and the road that led us to them, my emotions are at an all time high. How can I not be emotional and eternally grateful that life has allowed me these two amazing, precious children? We are so blessed!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mommy and Amelia Day

The way today started, and the way today ended, couldn't possibly be more opposite. Graham was spending the day with Grandma which meant Amelia and I were on our own. I had big plans for us...mostly shopping with a stop for lunch with Uncle Peter and Miles. Amelia was unusually quiet all morning and refused food. I couldn't figure out what was wrong though because at that point, she was still in a pretty good mood. She refused to eat even a single bite of lunch and when the meal ended and I went to take her out of the highchair, I was met with the explosive diaper of all explosive diapers. I rushed her into the bathroom and quickly realized that her outfit was not salvageable. Miles was kind enough to share his onesie with her so at least she was wearing something more than a diaper. I got her home, put her down for a nap and was quickly summoned back to her room for another diaper issue. Right up until bedtime, the day continued just like that for Miss Amelia.

About 4:30 I got a call from my Mom letting me know that Graham had thrown up all over the backseat of the car...lovely. At the time, he was acting fine, so we wondered if perhaps he was just carsick. As luck would have it, no, Graham was not just carsick. It's currently after 8 pm and I've lost track of how many times he's thrown up. Between all of Amelia's messy clothes, Graham's messy clothes, and all the towels, sheets, and blankets we've been grabbing to contain these messes, our washing machine is on over drive. We've got piles of towels outside of each bedroom so when we're called for, we can be armed when we run in.

I'm expecting tomorrow to be interesting. Both kids went to bed clearly miserable and wanting to do nothing other than be held. That's not a problem when both Mommy and Daddy are home. I'm not quite sure how things will play out when only one parent is available for two needy toddlers. Wish us all luck!

Amelia...pre-stomach flu

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Pictures

Other than school and playing at home, I really don't have much to report on today. But, I know the kids have many fans that look daily for pictures, so here they are!
Happy girl with her new princess and magic wand

Amelia is enjoying a few seconds with Graham's precious instrument. You can see him in the background reading a book and he clearly has no clue that Amelia is playing with the violin. According to Graham, the violin is not something to be shared.

The highlight of the day for the kids, was receiving a package in the mail from their Great Grandpa and Nanny. They were delighted with their sticker books and their very own copy of 'The Princess and the Frog'! The movie couldn't have arrived on a better day. Daddy Jeff had an unexpected dinner meeting so relaxing with our new movie after dinner was the perfect way to end our day.
Graham was reminding Amelia that they movie they are holding, is the one they watched at the theater on a "REALLY big TV"!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Five Little Monkeys

Amelia and Graham have a "Five Little Monkeys" play set. They both know the rhyming story and they both love to play with the monkey's. The similarities end there though, regarding how they each play with these monkey's. Graham chooses to follow the story and have the monkey's jump very high then fall off the bed (over and over and over) and bump their heads. Amelia on the other hand, chooses to take a more nurturing approach. She only likes to play with the Mommy monkey, who happens to wear a pink dress and a flower in her ear. Amelia likes to tell me that the monkey is ready for 'night night' then she prepares the bed by carefully placing the pillow and the monkey. Finally, the Mommy monkey is covered carefully with a blanket and given a kiss good-night. Once again, I am amazed by the difference in how boys and girls choose to play with toys! At least in our house, the gender stereotypes are holding true.

Getting the bed ready for Mommy Monkey

Mommy Monkey needs a blanket

Tucking Mommy Monkey in

And finally, Mommy Monkey receives a good-night kiss!

Just because they're cute!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Easter Bunny

I had the idea today, to dress Amelia and Graham up in cute spring clothes and take them to the mall to visit the Easter Bunny. Both kids seemed excited by the idea, in fact, we've passed the bunny on previous shopping excursions, and both Amelia and Graham waved happily to the bunny from their stroller. Graham took his impending visit with the bunny very seriously and created a painting especially for his fluffy friend. Amelia just went along with the plan because that's what Amelia does-she does what Graham does. When we arrived at the mall, Graham confidently walked right up to the bunny, shook his (her?) hand and presented his masterpiece. The bunny seemed impressed, and offered Graham a "thumbs up". Apparently, the Easter Bunny at our mall is mute and communicates by playing charades. This frustrated Graham as he was hoping the Easter Bunny would ask him what he should bring him. Since when does the Bunny take orders?!?! While all this was going on, Amelia was becoming increasingly panicked. She was clinging to Jeff and wouldn't even look at the bunny. We thought she might not be so hesitant if Graham was right next to her, but we were WRONG. We will never forget, that Amelia does NOT like the Bunny. She doesn't like the Bunny near or far. I'll be surprised if this girl ever looks at a stuffed rabbit again. Poor Amelia! :)

Being silly before the Eater Bunny visit

Graham presents the Easter Bunny with an original, one of a kind, painting

This isn't going well....

Being consoled after her Easter Bunny encounter

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ice Cold Water!

By accident, we realized that Amelia loves to be splashed with ice cold water. Before you watch the video clip, I will warn you that Amelia is loud...very, very loud. These are happy shrieks and squeals you'll be hearing, but our little cutie has very good lungs, so consider yourself warned. For those of you that aren't interested in Amelia's high pitched squeals, you can just enjoy the photo of her happy face and imagine the soundtrack that goes along with it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Despite the fact that not a single person in our family has any Irish heritage, I still felt like dressing the kids in green and getting in the holiday spirit! We had lunch at General Mills with Daddy Jeff where the number of employees also dressed in green was quite impressive. Unfortunately, at 20 months old, Amelia doesn't understand the fun traditions of certain holidays, and Graham walked around today saying "Happy Patrick Day!"'ve got to give him credit for trying! We ended our day with a picnic dinner at the park with our friends where we dined on gourmet burgers and fries from McDonald's with yes, another delicious Shamrock Shake!

I have no idea what's up with Amelia's smile here, but we sure are lucky to have such happy kids!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shamrock Shakes

Really, on this eve of St. Patrick's Day, is there anything more delicious and festive than a Shamrock Shake? And, if by some chance, you haven't heard of a Shamrock Shake, I suggest you run quickly to the nearest McDonald's and try one for yourself! :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Back in the Backpack

We had a great day today! We spent the morning enjoying the zoo with our friends Laura and Laney. The kids tired themselves out so completely that they both took lovely, long naps when we got home! Jeff arrived home from work early enough for us to quickly eat dinner and head outside to enjoy the sunny, warm weather! We took a long walk and ended up visiting a new playground. Before we left home, we decided that since we had a long walk ahead of us, the best place for Amelia was back in the Ergo carrier. This way, we wouldn't have to worry about Graham bothering her leg, and we wouldn't have to worry about her using her cast as a weapon against Graham. It worked out for the best. Amelia was thrilled to be on her Daddy's back, and Graham loved being in the single jogging stroller. I'm so thankful tonight for being able to 'spring ahead' with the clocks this past weekend. It's giving us more time at night to get outside and actually have fun! Bring on more spring weather and relaxing nights as a family at the park!

YAY for a 20 month old who stills thinks being carried in a carrier is great!

The only thing Amelia can enjoy at the park these days...swinging

Even Graham loves to swing. No more baby swing for him though! I know this is so cliche, but I honestly don't understand how time is passing so quickly. I see so little of 'Baby Graham' in this picture, he's definitely turned into a little boy...and a great one at that!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sick Prize from Korea

Yesterday in the mail, Amelia received a sick prize from her Halmoni and Haraboji all the way over in Korea. She was thrilled to tear open the pink paper and discover that she now has another baby to take care of! Amelia sure is a lucky girl to be showered with gifts from one end of the globe to the other while her leg heals!

Amelia is moving around better, but we're still anxious to get that cast off. We experienced GORGEOUS spring weather today so we spent a good part of the afternoon at the playground. Graham had a great time running around and Amelia enjoyed the swings then became frustrated that she couldn't get down and run around and I can't say that I really blame her. 19 days and counting...

Meeting her new baby

Graham also got a treat from Korea...a new firetruck!

Amelia has several dolls and none of them ever goes unnoticed. After breakfast today, Amelia fed each of these dolls a bottle then moved to the other end of the couch where two more dolls were apparently waiting patiently for breakfast.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Movie Night!

Tonight we attended our first movie at a theater as a family of four. When I was explaining to Graham this morning what the plan was, I realized he had no clue what a movie theater was. The kids watch very little TV so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that he didn't know such a place even existed. I had to explain that it was a big room, with lots of chairs, and a giant screen. Needless to say, he was very excited for Daddy to arrive home from work so we could leave. We saw Disney's 'The Princess and the Frog' and both kids LOVED it! It was actually a very cute cartoon with a great message. Amelia danced happily in her seat to the jazz music nearly the entire time and Graham was so mesmerized that he hardly touched his popcorn! I'd say that our first public movie outing was a success. Too bad toddler friendly movies are hard to come by these days!

Getting ready for the movie to start. Sippy cups and individual bags of popcorn, does it get any better? Amelia insisted on having her own chair, but she's so small that the chair kept folding up on her. So,the compromise was that she had to share her chair with the diaper bag and all our coats to help weight it down!

This photo has nothing to do with our movie outing, but I think it's cute, so I'm including it. Amelia is physically able to walk, but she still prefers to crawl. She played peek-a-poo around the corner with me for quite a while this afternoon and couldn't stop laughing!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Big Day

The big news of the day is that Amelia has started to walk again! It's all on her own terms though...if I ask her to walk without an incentive, she sits down and says "No! No! No!". But, when I turn my back and she thinks I'm not watching, she happily limps around the room. She had a great time at school today, even climbing to the top of a play structure and insisting on using the slide! Hopefully, Amelia has turned a corner and the next few weeks won't be quite so miserable for her!

Climbing at school

Amelia getting ready to kiss her new baby. This special dolly came in the mail from her Auntie JoAnn complete with hot pink cast...what a thoughtful sick prize!

Amelia walking-I had to bribe her with my blackberry :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Watching Grandma

My Mom did an interview on the news last week and this evening, I showed the clip to Amelia. I didn't know how she'd react, if at all, to seeing her Grandma on the screen. Amelia instantly perked up, broke into a giant grin, and started waving at the computer. Each time the interview ended, Amelia would ask for more. After playing it 3 times, I picked up the laptop to put it away, and she began to cry. So, I gave it back to her, put Grandma's interview on repeat, and proceed to take care of some laundry. :)

Very interested...

Still very interested, but getting tired of being up on her knees

I'd say that Amelia is a true fan - She remained positioned exactly like this for nearly 10 minutes!

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's definitely a Monday around here...

Today isn't the best Monday we have on record. Amelia took 3 very wobbly steps this morning, so I'm hoping that means her pain is decreasing. Her frustration, on the other hand, has gone through the roof! I'm seeing behaviors from her that I've never seen before-hitting, screaming, slapping, throwing anything she can get her hands on, and her new favorite activity, kicking. Kicking is apparently a lot of fun because her cast makes a lovely loud noise as it hits anything it comes in contact with. I'm doing my best to keep the kids several feet apart today, not because I'm concerned that Graham will accidentally bump her injured leg, but because I'm worried about the bodily harm that hot pink leg of hers can cause! My parental patience is certainly being put to the test today so it was with great pleasure that I scheduled Amelia's cast removal appointment for April 2 at 9:45. April 2 also happens to be the 1st anniversary of Amelia's Gotcha Day, so we'll certainly have a lot to celebrate that afternoon. 25 days and counting....

After lunch Amelia was ticked off so she sat on the couch with her blanket over her head. Apparently, for a 20 month old, that's a good way to punish the parent who wouldn't hand over jelly beans. I figured I could make her laugh though, so I was prepared with the camera for when she emerged from her self-made cave.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Amelia's adjusting...

It's been a pretty quiet and uneventful weekend around our house. Amelia is still not able to comfortably put any weight on her leg, so walking is definitely still out for her. She crawls occasionally but still prefers to stay planted in one spot and be carried from room to room. She does pull up to a stand while in her crib, but I think that's because the mattress has some give to it. I'm really hoping that each day brings improvement and comfort for her so she's moving around again very, very soon!

We were able to encourage Amelia to stand up at the train table this morning. She's got most of her weight on her hands, but at least she got up on her feet, even if it was just for a few moments and even if it was because we were enticing her with jelly beans.

I know if I had to wear a cast, I would want my toes to look cute, so I figured Amelia would want the same....her first pedicure! :)

Our adaptive hockey team. And no, despite Amelia's lack of pants (what fits over a cast anyways???) and Graham's shorts, the weather really isn't that warm here. Graham decided that if Amelia didn't have to wear pants, then neither did he. Since we didn't leave the house today, a hockey jersey and pair of soccer shorts was his outfit of choice.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pretty in Pink

This morning Amelia and I headed to the pediatric orthopedist. We were unable to secure an actual appointment, but since Amelia absolutely needed to be seen today, we were told to come first thing in the morning and just wait until we could be worked in. So, I packed the diaper bag full of every treat imaginable, stickers, books, and of course Baby, and we began our wait of undetermined length. In the end, we sat in the waiting room for just over two hours and Amelia was an angel! She didn't fuss, whine, or show any frustration at all. She patiently sat next to me, holding her baby, drinking milk, and requesting that I read "Maisy Goes Shopping" every 10 minutes. Our girl is quite the trooper!

We were finally called back and unfortunately, this part wasn't very enjoyable for Amelia. Her foot had to be held at a 90 degree angle to her leg while her cast was put in place. This clearly caused her a great deal of pain and she arched her back and screamed the entire time. Honestly, I can't say I blame her one bit. Amelia is now sporting a hot pink, water-proof cast (yes, she can actually take a bath!) and will be, for the next 4-6 weeks. We were also given a 'shoe' to put on the end of the cast so when Amelia feels like walking, she can do so without wearing down the bottom of her cast. Supposedly, her leg will feel well enough in a few days to try walking, so hopefully, we'll be able to coax her into trying. In the meantime though, she sits on the floor, in one spot, unable to move. We tried encouraging her to crawl this evening, but she's not into that mode of transportation. I'm sure after a good nights sleep, and a few more hours of being frustrated that she can't reach any of the toys, will motivate her to figure out how to comfortably be mobile again.

After the doctor this afternoon, Amelia was not a happy girl. Despite Graham pleading with her to "just stand up and walk!", she sat glumly in this exact spot quietly sorting animals.

Finally, some smiles! Big doses of ibuprofen, a nice long nap, and the promise of french fries certainly do wonders!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Broken Leg :(

Amelia has a broken right leg. I wasn't in the room when it happened, so I'm not even quite sure how it came to be. Amelia and Graham were playing at the train table while I was making dinner and the next thing I know, I heard Amelia screaming. She was sitting on the floor, and I assumed Graham took a toy from her or something simple along those lines. I carried Amelia around for a while then put her in the high chair for dinner. She wouldn't eat and only stopped crying for a few moments here and there to drink some milk. I got her out of the high chair and put her on the floor and she crumbled to the ground crying again. The poor thing couldn't even put weight on her leg. It was then that I realized something was really wrong. I immediately called the pediatrician and they told me to bring her right in.

Jeff was unreachable at work function this evening, so I loaded both kids into the car and away we went. Two hours later it was determined that Amelia's right leg has a clean fracture in it. The technical term for her break is a 'toddler fracture' as this is apparently fairly common in children this age. Tonight, they placed a splint on her leg and tomorrow we'll visit an orthopedist for a hard, I'm sure! Thankfully, I was able to rock Amelia to sleep and I'm hoping she's able to rest soundly for most of the night. She's not on any pain medication at this time though, so I wouldn't be surprised if tonight ended up being a long one for all of us. Please keep our little princess in your thoughts!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Zoo Day

We met up with our friends Maddie and Kelly to enjoy the animals on a day that felt so much like spring. The sun was shining, the thermometer went above 40 degrees, and Amelia and Graham had a great time observing the animals-it was impossible to not be in a great mood!

As I was driving home from the zoo I was really enjoying listening to the kids in the backseat. For once, they weren't fighting in their car seats!! Instead, Graham was 'reading' Amelia books, and she giggled with each turn of the page. This laughter was of course was all the motivation Graham needed, and his interpretations of each picture got livelier and livelier. My mind began to wander a bit and for some reason I found myself thinking back to last March. At this exact time last year, things were pretty tough. Our government was being extremely slow with issuing immigrant visa's and the Korean government was taking their sweet time with paperwork as well. I'm sure the blog posts from a year ago were filled with desperate ,whiny ramblings. But, in my own defense, I was desperate to have my baby girl home. I knew then, that things would eventually work out, but in the midst of such an agonizing situation, nothing brought me peace. I wish the 'Melissa of March 2009' could have had just a peek into the life of 'Melissa of March 2010' because life just can't get any better right now!

The theme of today's trip to the zoo ended up being 'fish'. Last time, Amelia was afraid of them and today, she couldn't seem to get enough...go figure.

Checking out the sting rays-Graham later asked me why he couldn't get in the swimming pool with them!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Children's Museum

Normally, on Tuesday's we have school. But, there are no classes this week which meant we were free today. Lucky for us, every other week the Children's Museum hosts 'Toddler Tuesday' which means they don't allow any school groups in. Today was the day and we were happy to roam around without being crowded out by the field trips. Since I know people really come here for the pictures rather than the commentary, today I'll give you a lot of pictures with not so many words. So, here it is, our morning at the museum!

Amelia and Graham playing in the dinosaur nest

Amelia was very specific about which dinosaur toys she would touch. She actually said "Icky!" and wrinkled her nose up at a few of them!

Paleontologist Amelia...the goggles and vest are a required uniform for digging up least according to Paleontologist Graham

Digging for dinosaur bones

Taking in the view of downtown St. Paul

Trying to be a mail woman/construction worker???

Apparently, they have a large family to feed

Face paint...Amelia will clearly have to refine her lip stick application technique before the teenage years hit!