Monday, March 09, 2009


Elizabeth has my sweet tooth. She loves cookies, candy, chocolate, you name it. Sam does too. David doesn't. E has learned quickly the value of helping make cookies and that you get to lick the spoons and bowls. She loves this. Sam does too, but is now old enough to actually help. E and I made cookies a few weeks ago and she had a great time. I think she got a bath when we were done though.

By the way, I love her hair in pig tails! They are so cute and bouncy and funny. Even when she is fussing or whining at me, she is still super cute, so her hair is in pig tails a lot! David really likes when they pig tails come out and her hair is still sort of in the shape of the pig tails.

Monday, March 02, 2009

More Peas Please

We usually have peas for our vegetable for dinner. They are my favorite, the kids too. David is getting better with them. The other day Sam put a pea in his tooth gap. It was so funny, we all cracked up. Elizabeth laughed too, then promptly did the same thing! Of course when I had the camera out, she wouldn't do it again.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Wow, it has been a long time since I have posted on here. It just gets too much, with Facebook, emails, scrapbooking and this blog!

The kids are getting so big and E will even occasionally play with Sam.

Tonight we went to the Milwaukee Domes for their evening concert series. We met our friend Matt there and his mom, Debbie. It was great to see them and fun to see the concert. It is pouring rain here today and it was raining in the Domes too. The kids had fun dancing and playing with Uncle Matt. It was great to see flowers, grass, plants and smell the wonderful smells. The show dome was decked out with Lego creations and trains.

In two weeks we will go to Children's Court to re-adopt Elizabeth. Then we can get her her WI birth certificate, then her social security number, then her US passport.

At the end of March, (3/31) will be her one year anniversary with us! I think we will mark the day with a trip to Chicago and Chinatown and a dinner party here.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Some recent pictures

It is really hard to get a picture of Elizabeth actually smiling. I was really pleased to get this one. I also love the polka-dot shirt.

Bridget and I took the kids to the museum last monday. They are sitting in caterpillar cocoon.

This is at her two year old birthday party. Grammy made her a turtle cake. You can see pictures of the turtle cake at:

I like this blog because it is an outlet for me. I get things bouncing around in my head and I need to get them out and writting a post is a good way to do that. Every now and then I get a comment that further helps me sort things out. I know the most of you like me to post pictures so you can see how big and how cute the kids are. Here are some recent pictures.

Bitsy Foot Update

We took Bitsy in today to see the Orthopedic Doctor for her re-check. We had not been there since September. They said she was doing really well and we don't have to come back until July. Great news. The real story is that our appointment was for 12:40. We got there on time and were taken back to the room right away. Then we waited until 1:15 to see the PA and then till 1:30 to see the doctor. Both were in there for about five minutes.

She still needs to wear her brace at night and we need to keep doing her stretches. So far we have really lucked out with our "special needs" child. It has been a lot of trips to the doctors, but no surgeries and things are healing up really well.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Angelina Jolie I am not

Christmas Eve we went out for dinner with my parents before church. The waitress was really taken by E and how cute she was. Sam too, was a real charmer that night. It is pretty obvious that she is adopted. My parents gushed about how this was her first Christmas here and all that. The waitress goes into this thing about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, about what great people they are because they have adopted children from other countries and they are such good people for that. Then she goes on to say that David and I are just as good of people because we adopted E and rescued her. These conversations always make me really uncomfortable and I never know how to respond. I think I said something like, it is really different for normal people to adopt, or thanks. The truth is, we wanted a daughter. We wanted another child. We were not motivated by these altruistic tendencies of wanting to rescue a child from a bad situation. We wanted two kids, we wanted a girl, we wanted a relatively healthy child and we wanted to go to a country with a good adoption process and China fit those criteria. Yes, E benefits from our desires and yes she is in a better place and yes we got her out of a not so great place. We all win. But, really, the process started because we wanted a daughter, not to rescue a child. Now I am not sure of the motivations of celebrities. I don't know them or their situations. I do know they seem to sail through the process in such a short time, unlike those of us who struggle through the process for years. Money can be a useful thing.

So, there it is, my selfish confession. I need to think of a good comeback the next time someone compares me to Angelina Jolie. Like, "Yes, I know I am beautiful just like her". Or, "no, I am not like Angelina, my husband is much more handsome." Or, "thank you, I did it all for the good press it brought me too.". Or, I could respond like I did to the waitress, "Can I have the fish fry and a Pepsi?"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

E is Two!

Yesterday was E's birthday. She is two! Man is she ever two, but that is for another post......

Today we had her party and she enjoyed it. Grammy Fran made a turtle cake, actually two turtles. She was really excited and wanted to eat them right away. She got great pink and girly toys too!

Here is a picture of her eating the cake and ice cream.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Big Girl Bed

Yesterday we moved E into Sam's room. We took the bunk beds apart so now they both have a twin bed. She seems to like it and Sam does too. He was really excited to have her in there. Hopefully it stays that way. This morning Sam was calling me in the monitor, "Mom, come down and get Bitsy, she is keeping me awake all night!" "Mom, come down and get her!" He tried to tell us she was up all night, but they both slept all night. Now they are both sleeping. It is so quiet here.
We are hoping it helps her sleeping issues. Maybe when she wakes up in the night she won't be scared and alone, since Sam is there. Also she has more room to move around with her brace and won't be bumping the sides of the crib with it when she rolls over. Also, if she is upset, I can just go lay with her. It was worth a shot, her sleeping had gotten so bad, no one was sleeping, so it can only get better from here.

This morning, E helped me make banana muffins. It was really messy, but she had a good time. It may not look like it from the pictures, but she still just gives me the stink eye when I take her picture.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Since today was Monday, Elizabeth had Grandpa School. I volunteer in Sam's class and E gets to go play with GPK. He usually has some field trip planned. Today it was the Mitchel Park Domes. For those of you not from Milwaukee, they are three big domes filled with plants. E loved it. He said she ran around touching and smelling all the plants. She did not like the arid dome too much since everything was prickly. While they were there a mom looked over at her and said, "Where did you get her?" My dad said, "my daughter brought her over this morning." She said, "no, what country?" Dad said, she was available locally. The woman figured out Dad was not going to give her any information and she stopped asking. I have not had any rude people like that yet. Usually people are really curious, but nice. I thought Dad handled it really well. I am glad he was so quick with his comeback.
This picture has nothing to do with the story, but it was taken on Saturday and I know you all like to see pictures.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Nature vs Nurture

I imagine we will always wonder this with Elizabeth. What of her traits are nature and what are from nurture. It is more of a question with her than with Sam, we know about his gene pool. Since E has an older brother, her house is filled with Lego bricks, Matchbox cars, penguins and triceratops. She does love to play with those things, but she really loves the toy kitchen. We have had it since Sam was young and it was never really played with. Now, E loves it. Today she got out her baby dolls and was for the first time playing with them. She made beds for them and was taking care of them. I have not encouraged this, just made them available to her. I got her a tea set over the weekend, and she was so excited to have dishes for her kitchen. On Sunday we were at my brother's house and she really enjoyed playing with the babies, stroller, and kitchen there. The picture above is at their house. She loves that duck and was trying to play with it and the baby carrier at the same time. I think this girl thing is just nature. When Sam was this age I tried so hard to get him to play like this, but he would not. Sometimes he would when he played with friends that were girls. So for Christmas and her birthday I think it will be an explosion of pink and girly for Elizabeth!

Here are some recent pictures:

We just love her hair in pig tails, she always pulls them out and we also love this post-pigtail look!

On Sunday we went to the Christmas tree farm. The kids were all bundled up. E's snow pants are way too big, but I can't find them smaller. She did not like all the winter clothes.

Pretty in Pink for Church.

After E goes to bed we like to do special things with Sam. He has been really into playing Monopoly. This time he won big. He had all the money, all the properties, hotels on all of them. Daddy and Mommy had nothing. He loved it! The game is helping him with his math skills too. Shhhh, don't tell him he is learning and having fun!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life Is Good

Sometimes you just need some perspective. I complain so much about things and about E and how much harder she is than Sam. She is just different and I probably don't really remember Sam at this age. He was probably trouble too and I have just forgotten. We got a box of clothes today from Mae. She was one of E's "sisters" in the orphanage. Her parents Maureen and Stu are just great and we miss them a lot. One piece was the pajamas E is wearing in the picture. It is cheesy, but reminds me that Life is Good.
The wrapping on her fingers is to keep her from picking at her face. In case you were wondering.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


People always ask if E is a good eater. Probably because that is a normal question to ask of kids, probably because she is so tiny and they wonder if she eats and probably because she is from China and they might think she would have had a hard time adjusting to our food and only want to eat rice with chopsticks. I always say she only likes to eat what ever Sam is eating. Grandpa Kent calls it, OPF, Other People's Food. Sam is so good about sharing his food with her.

Speaking of Grandpa Kent, she has been having a great time going over to visit him. He has come up with silly games to play with her and she loves it. She still adores Grammy too. I can't even mention their names in front of her because she gets all excited and goes to look out the window for them.

Now that E is walking her personality is really changing. She is a bit more independent and getting really funny. She is also a huge tease. The funny thing is that I can give her directions and she follows them. I am not used to that at all. Sam and David never follow my directions. I can hand her something and tell her take it to Sam and she will. They can even be a few steps. She will go in the bathroom drawers, take something out to play with and then put it back in the right drawer. This is amazing to me. No one else in our house does that. I hope I can keep her love of putting things away strong.

The kids and David went to Discovery World to see a display of Star Wars robots.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Happy Halloween

Ok, I know I am really late in posting this. Halloween was so much fun this year. Sam wanted to be a penguin and he said E did too. So Sam and David went to the fabric store and got ALOT of fleece and a pattern. The pattern was for kids and for adults, lucky me! So I made a costume for me too. We decided it would be way too much fleece to make a penguin costume for David, so he was the zoo keeper. Since E had just learned to walk, she made a great penguin, waddeling around. Sam was so cute too, I was so proud of him that he wanted to be a penguin and not something violent or scary. He is such a good kid. I hope that this love of fleece and animals will continue for a while. I am not sure though. Over the halloween week, we had a lot of events and chances to wear our costumes. First was trick or treating in my parent's neighboorhood, then there was the parade at Sam's school and the halloween party at the discovery world and then Jenna's birthday party and neighboorhood block party. The kids loved dressing up and everyone loved their costumes. They won the contest at the discovery world for best costumes!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


It has finally happened. Elizabeth is walking. As of yesterday and then deffinatly today, she has figured out that walking is her prefered method of walking. Up till now, she has been walking while holding my hand, or along things to hold on to or just a few steps between people to catch her. Now, she is walking all over. She is still doing the "Frankenstein" walk though, you know, where her knees don't really bend and her arms are straight out in front of her. It is fun to see her moving all over, upright. She is almost 22 months old!

I'll try to post some pictures soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Recent Pictures

Even though I had promised David all of you, No more yard sales, we did it again. This time, I put it together in a week, we had some help and it was moderatly successful. I was able to get some nice handme downs for Sam and his friends. We made some money and got rid of some of our stuff and other stuff. Not much was left at the end.

Over the weekend we raked leaves and then filled a pumpkin bag. It was E's first time in the leaves and she liked it. Sam dropped them on her head and she thought it was funny. Trying to get a picture when they are both looking and smiling is impossible though.

We went apple picking. E did not like it too much. I had her in the back pack and it was cold out. We did manage this picture when she was not crying to go home. Sam loved it. He was climing ladders, trees and his dad to get at the apples. We have been enjoying the bushel full since. I made applesauce which was yummy and we have just been eating them.

Catching Up

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. Things are just moving along normally for our family this fall. We are getting ready for Halloween, Sam is enjoying school and it is getting cooler outside. A few weeks ago E had her six month follow up with the Cardiologist. That man is thorough and a bit over the top. He said I need to watch her diet so she does not become obese. Seriously, she is wearing 12-18 month clothing and is almost 22 months old. His concern was that she gained 6 pounds in six months, but no height and he does not want her to continue on that path. I tried to explain that when we got her, she was 16 pounds and was just catching up. I also told him we are not feeding her donuts and candy all day, that she eats a well balanced diet. the good news from that visit is that she does not need surgery at this point and we don't have to go back for a year! We were so relieved.

Also at six months home, we had to do a post placement homestudy and it gets sent back to China. We also use that report for the re-adoption process and to get her WI birth certificate and US passport. The visit went well, our social worker, Jill, was really pleased with her development and how well adjusted she seemed to be. E was in great spirits that day and showed off all her tricks for Jill. We just need to find an extra $400 to pay for the visit and report.

E is still not walking on her own. Her friend Marisol who turned one this week is walking better. Her friend at Sam's school, Coco (their brothers are in the same class), who also just turned one, is walking better. I think she could do it, but she prefers to keep me close and hold my hand and walk. She is talking a lot though and has several words. She says "Ba" for Grandpa, and "Bee" for Auntie Bridget. Her word for Grammy is similar to her word for Mommy. Sam is "Mam". Daddy is Daddy. She also says, Gus, Duke, Dog, Juice, More, Eat, No, Done, Down, Bottle. She has signs for, apple, more, all done, eat, juice. She will try to repeat anything we say too. It is fun to see it emerging.

We have a wedding on Saturday and the kids are staying overnight at my parents. It will be her first overnight. I hope she is OK. I am sure she will be. She loves going over there. David and I are looking forward to the night out!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Book Review

Several people had suggested reading the book: Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best. I wish someone had suggested it BEFORE we adopted Elizabeth. So for those of you out there waiting, I am suggesting it. Go read it. Now, I must disclose that I have not read the whole thing. I am sort of reading random parts that apply to where we are. It would have been so helpful to have before we went. I think it should be required reading. Those online classes did nothing. Now, she talks in pretty general terms and her toddler was adopted from Guatemala or somewhere like that, so the situation is pretty different from China adoptions. Anyway, there are a lot of good things to think about, do and prepare for. While I am suggesting reading, I suggest limiting your online yahoo group reading to a minimum and read things that are actually helpful like this book or others that might be out there. I found it very helpful to read a mom's blog who was about a month ahead of us. I wish I had read this book before, but I am reading it now and catching up. So there is my suggestion for reading.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fate came to dinner

Grammy just called and they had an interesting meal tonight. They are up at Pike Lake and went out for Chinese. The waitress (not Chinese) saw GPK's Beijing hat and asked if they had gone for the Olympics. They said no and told them why they had been in Beijing and when. When they were done eating and just sitting eating their fortune cookies (I have to tell you about Sam and fortune cookies) a nice young couple came over to talk to them. They apologized for listening in on their conversation, but it was a small restaurant with few people in it. They said they were really interested in the conversation because they had been researching adoption and struggling with infertility issues. If you have met my parents, you know they are always happy to talk about China and Elizabeth, so they were more than happy to chat with this nice young couple. She gave the woman my number and my blog. So, Sara(h) if you are reading this, call me! I would love to talk to you.

The woman said it must have been fate that brought them both to the same restaurant at the same time. GPK with his Beijing hat and the nice couple with their questions. It is amazing how God seems to put the right people in out paths at the right times. I hope that my parents were able to be encouraging to this couple and I hope she calls and we can help them too. David and I talk about how we would love to bring home more babies from China, but know that is not possible for so many reasons. Instead we want to be able to help as many other families as we can. Elizabeth is such a joy and blessing to us and I wish the same for others too.

Here are some pictures. They have nothing to do with this post, but I know you readers will be disapointed if I did not post a pic or two. She took her pig tails out in the car (she alwasys does).

Sam is helping her to walk. She is so close to walking and will take several steps (5-6) between me and another willing person. Sam likes to help her practice. In this picture we are at church.

Here is the story about Sam and the fortune cookies that I mentioned above. Last week we were having No #1 Chinese for dinner. So yummy, but not at all like we had in China. Anyway, we were eating our cookies and Sam said, "it seems like a lot of time people in our family get the fourtunes that end with 'in bed'". David and I cracked up laughing. It is a silly joke that we have done for years and I had no idea Sam actually noticed. I should remember that he usually notices everthing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Check up with the Orthopedic Dr

Today Elizabeth had a check up with her Orthopedic Doctor, Dr. Lyon. He said she was doing really well. She still needs to wear her silly shoes at night, but does not need to go back to see him for four months. She is really close to walking on her own, but all she wants to do is take my hands and walk all over. When I am holding her, she will grab my fingers and leap from my arms so she can walk all around.

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school. Sam is a big first grader this year. It seems much older than a kindergartner. He seems to think it is much older too. He described yesterday as "awesome". After school we went for ice cream. That is our tradition. Ok, it does not take much to deserve a trip to Dairy Queen, but the first and last days of school are special and deserve ice cream. So are the 19th, 37th and 124th days. Oh, and any other day in between. Just kidding, I don't think we get it that often. Our friends Levi and Soraya joined us. Levi started Jr. Kindergarten this year and Soraya is in first grade like Sam. They are at St. Sebastian's though which is just down the street. Carmen and her kids were supposed to join us too, but they were all sick. Thanks to Sam, but unbeknownst to his mom he had picked up a virus somewhere, shared it on Tuesday when we were all together. He did not get sick until last Thursday though. Luckily for him he was ok by Tuesday for school. Unluckily for his friends they were all a few days behind him. So far Elizabeth and Daddy have been spared.
I have included some pictures from the first day.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Holy Guacamole Batman!

When we were in the process of adopting Elizabeth I read all sorts of stories from other people. It was funny to read posts about "interesting" questions they would get about their adopted children like, "is rice their favorite food?" "can she use chopsticks?" "how much did she cost?" "does she speak Chinese?" So far I have not gotten too many questions. Since I don't like things to be awkward I usually answer peoples questions before they ask. I know they are in their heads. For example, when we are at the playground and people look at E and ask how old she is I usually reply, "she is 20 months and we have had her home from China for five months." I usually also say something like she is just really little or something. They look really surprised that she is so small for being 20 months and she is still not walking.

On Wednesday we were at Sam's school for his meet and greet with his new teacher. One of the kids in his class asked me if E was going to speak Chinese when she grew up. I asked him if he was going to speak Chinese when he grew up. I told him that if she took classes in Chinese or if he did then they could speak Chinese when they grew up.
So, is rice her favorite food? No. Pasta and fruit are on the top of the list. She also LOVES guacamole! As Grammy would say, "I bet she did not get that in the orphanage!" She will eat it as her main and only entree for a meal. She tolerates rice, but prefers noodles. Below are some pictures from lunch. She had a bowl of guacamole and was so happy to sit with her bowl and spoon and eat the whole bowl!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I guess I was wrong

So I guess there are people out there that do read this. I got a few comments posted from people I did not even know that they do read this. They are waiting for their children from China too.

We have one more week home with Sam. He starts school after labor day. Sam loves Elizabeth, she sometimes likes him. She gets excited when she sees him after he has been gone all day. She sometimes likes when he plays with her. She really likes when he shares his treats with her. That is her favorite. I posted a picture of E eating licorice that Sam gave her. She is easily overwhelmed and Sam can very easily be overwhelming. I get so excited when she is giggling and laughing at Sam. Usually she is upset with him and wants me to rescue her. I know it will get better. She really only likes to be with me anyway. Still, Sam is so good and does not get mad at her or frustrated or anything. I am so blessed with him and could not ask for a better big brother for Elizabeth. I think too that the age difference is still pretty big, as they get older I am hoping they will play together more.

Speaking of not being friends, E's cousin Jenna was here today. They are not really friends yet. Jenna tried to pull her nose off twice and bit her toe once. We took them to Target and Sentry and put them in those carts with the two seats attached. E was reaching over and pulling Jenna's hair. Both Bridget and I were encouraging E to do this since Jenna is always picking on her. Some day down the road, they will be friends.

Here are some recent pictures.

The remote is my favorite toy!

My brother is nuts! He has stickers all over his face!

I think I can get these stickers off, let me just stand up and get a better view!

One thing my big brother is good for is treats! Mommy alwasy makes him share his treats, this time it was licorice. I think it is my favorite!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Someone actually reads this blog!

Often I post to this blog and I think I am just posting for me. Or for E and Sam when they get older. It is really cathartic to write out some of the things bouncing around in my head. I always hope people are reading this and sometimes people tell me they read something here. I know my mom reads it. Sometimes I put weird things in just to test if any one is reading this. Unlike an email, no one has to respond and you can't really tell if people are reading this. I do have to admit, I don't read other blogs much, so I can't complain about people not reading this. My father in law has a blog, I check it every now and then to see if there are articles about the family. The ones on theology I don't understand much. I do check out other blogs from our group of families that traveled to China together. It is nice to see the kids that came home with Elizabeth.

So tonight at church ( Devin, who had attended with us and moved to Denver was back for a visit. He brought his girlfriend and his parents came from Iowa to meet her and to worship with us. Since they live in Iowa, I have only met them a few times. Only when they came to Milwaukee to visit Devin and his sister who also lives in Milwaukee. It turns out they have been reading my blog! I guess Devin has been too and sending it to them when I update it. So, to the Yoders, thank you so much for reading this! I am glad you finally got to meet Elizabeth and it was great to see you all today.

It would not be a complete post with out a picture of E, so here it is from yesterday. Sam got out his old chair and set it up for her. He made sure to put the umbrella on it for her so the sun was not on her. He takes such good care of her and is a great big brother.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Day At The Park

Today the weather was beautiful, mid 70's, clear blue sky, slight breeze. David is buried under a pile of homework from his current summer class. I took the kids to Jacobus Park in Wauwatosa for the morning. They have a big swing and E loved swinging in Sam's lap. Sam was all over the playground and E found a steering wheel and stayed there for a very long time. Then we took a walk. Sam rode his bike and we explored the park. Sam is getting so big. The concepts he understands, the things he does, are so incredible for me. We were looking at the map to see where we wanted to go in the park. We plotted out our route and set off. Unlike a state park, the trails are not marked with colored signs. We headed out and the path split a few times and Sam was insistent we were to go left. I was not sure. We went back to see the map and Sam was right. I guess he was paying more attention than I thought. I also just love to watch him play with Legos. He will start with a pile or bag of random pieces and then in a few minutes, there is a cool car, ship, boat, or something. Then each time I look back it is different. Most of the time Sam is sort of all over the place, but with Legos, he will sit or lay on the floor for a while working with the Legos. Then he has a story for all his creations.

Like most of the world, we have been watching the Olympics. This is the first time ever they are somewhere we have been. It has been fun to watch and say, "We were there!" Sam loved the opening ceremonies, as we all did. He stayed awake for most of them too. My parents had us over and we ordered out Chinese food and watched on their big screen TV. Elizabeth stayed awake for most of them too, but not to watch them, just to be with me. Sam has not been too interested in the sports part of the Olympics, I guess they are not as exciting as the opening ceremonies were. He is getting better about watching them.

Here is a picture of Sam and Elizabeth swinging at Jacobus.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Opposites attract, hopefully

Ever since we found out Bridget was pregnant with Jenna we thought maybe our girls will be the same age?! Then when we got our referral for Elizabeth and found out they were two months apart, we were so excited! Bridget and I made all sorts of plans for the girls about how they would be best friends and play together. We also bought them matching outfits and started buying toys and things in pairs, one for each girl. Now that they have been together for about four months, they could not be more opposite. Partly it is their background and Elizabeth is just coming from a way different place. Partly it is their personalities. Elizabeth is very slow to warm up and a lot more quiet than Jenna. Elizabeth is also a bit delayed and is more like a 13-14 month old, not 19 months like her chronological age or 21 months like Jenna. Jenna is so physical, she likes to run, climb and jump. E is not walking yet, but really wants to. I think it is a blessing and a curse for them to be so close in age. We expect them to be best friends, but at this age they don't really play together anyway, maybe when they are four? We also are temped to compare the two. This is not fair since they are so different, and E has a lot of ground to make up to catch up to Jenna. Plus all things being equal, they are just really different. It does make it fun to watch them. It is fascinating to see them with the same toy and how Jenna plays with it and then how Elizabeth plays with it. Then to see them fight over the toy. Just kidding, that part is not fun. It is amusing though that E is starting to fight back and not just take it from Jenna. It will be fun as they get older to see how their relationship develops. Hopefully opposites will attract and they will not feel compared to each other or feel competitive.

Here are some pictures from Monday when Jenna was over. Elizabeth took Jenna's role and was the ham! Jenna took Elizabeth's role and looked at me like she had never seen a camera and did not know what to do. I had put both their hair in pig tails, it was super cute!

Friday, August 01, 2008


Elizabeth continues to grow and figure things out. Lately she has been dancing to music. It is so much fun to see her dance and enjoying the music. Yesterday we went to State Fair. She seemed to like it, especially when Auntie Bridget gave her a ring pop. There was a high school marching band that all the kids really enjoyed. Sam had a huge ice cream cone and she was yelling, "Mam, Mam, Mam!" and sticking her tongue out for a lick. Mam is her word for Sam. On Wednesday Grammy brought over a little pool and she loved it. Sam and Jenna were jumping in and out, splashing getting all wet. E sat on a little basket so she did not get too wet and very methodically scooped water from the pool and poured it into a pan. They all had a great time in their own way. The other thing she has really enjoyed is playing in the sand at Pike Lake. When we pull in, she gets really excited.

Sam and I went down the big slide at State Fair. It was a blast!

Elizabeth and her ring pop! Thank you Auntie Bridget!

The kids playing at Pike Lake. Sam would build the towers and she would knock them down.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


In the last week or so things have started to click for Elizabeth. Maybe for us too. She seems to be recognizing more things, routines and words. Now when we pull up at home she makes a high pitched "oooooo" noise. When I put her in her car seat, she grabs the buckle to help. She has started saying all done and doing the sign for it. She does this all the time, when she is in the cart at the store and is all done, when she is in her crib and does not want to sleep, when she is in the car seat. It is really sweet and funny. The "D" sound is a big step, up until now she only really had "m's" and variations on the ma sound. Now she is saying something for dog, Sam (sounds like mam), me or mine, all done and of course mama. She also has some signs to use for more and banana (which I think means any fruit). She is a stubborn little one though and tends to try whining first. We are trying to be firm and make her try to use a word or sign that she knows.

Things are clicking for us too. We need to keep reminding ourselves that we are on a very long journey to attachment. We read some articles last week and I will post them if I figure out how. They talked about the difference between bonding and attachment. I guess I thought they were the same. David summed it up as, bonding is love (which she has) attachment is trust (which she is working on). The attachment part will take a while and we will always be working on it. I was getting pretty tired and sought the advice of other parents in the FCC (families with children from China). They all said that the clingyness we are going through is very normal and to be expected. The articles said the same thing. Actually if she was not this clingy, that might signal more problems. I think one issue I am having is with other people. If you have not experienced adoption, either personally or through a close friend or family member, you don't know the ins and outs of attachment or the trauma the child has been through and its lasting effects on their brain. Even though E does not "remember" being abandoned on a doorstep at three days old, the effects of that trauma are there in her brain. She may no longer "remember" the orphanage, but she has the effects in her brain of being left in her crib, not always being attended to, having several caretakers. Her brain is hardwired wrong. Now we need to undo all that. We need to provide for her all the attention, physical contact, love, snuggling, parenting that she missed out on for 15 months. We need to overcompensate for what she missed out on. So to onlookers, it may seem as though we are spoiling her or giving in to her too much or what ever. To her, she is learning to trust us and learning that we will meet her needs every time. And we will meet her needs when she wants, not when the orphanage schedule dictates. So now that we have more information, we can counter those that mean well, but don't have as much information on the subject.

My mom just emailed me and said she remembered reading an article a while back (long before we were heading to china). It was about children adopted from Romania and all the troubles they were having. The line that stuck out to her and she thought was so applicable was, "You can't put these kids in Gap clothes and take them to Disney Land and think they are just like any other American kid". It is so true. I have to keep reminding myself of that. I keep saying, "Sam wasn't like this" or we might compare E to her cousin Jenna, but we can't, their lives are so different and their needs are so different.

So things are starting to click and it is really exciting. She seems so much bigger and older just in these few months. She is less like a baby and more like a toddler. She is almost 19 months! I can't believe it!

One last click comment. My camera is MIA right now, so no click of the camera and no new pictures to post. I think it is in Chummy, so I'll look this weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Congrats to Karin

My good friend Karin just had her second baby. Maya Beverly entered the world last night at 9:51 PM, 7 pounds 20 inches. Baby, Mommy, Daddy and big sister Lauryn are doing well. I can't wait to meet her. I am planning to go on Tuesday and will take pictures and post them.

Welcome to the world Maya!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

One in, One out

On Sunday Sam lost his first tooth! I know this is Stolpe Adoption blog, it should all be about E. No, I can post about Sam too! It sort of has to do with her too. The one in, is E popped out a new tooth this week and Sam lost one!

He stayed up at Pike Lake with Grammy and Grandpa this weekend. We came home with E on Saturday. He had some much needed time with his grandparents. He was starting to have some behavior struggles. He kept saying, "I don't want to talk about it". I think it was more, I don't understand why I am upset and I can't talk about it. I don't know that he could admit or realize he is jealous or upset with his sister. He loves her so much and always wants to be with her. On the other hand, he just does not get the same amount of attention from all of us. For over six years he was our only child and the only grandchild. He was the center of universe. Now he has a baby sister (who is a bit demanding) and a cousin who is crazy busy and therefore demanding of our attention. Sam is old enough to be independent and is on his own a lot. I spend so much time telling him no, not now, I have to take care of Izzy, no, Sam, maybe later, No, Sam stop doing that, she doesn't like it, No Sam, No Sam, No Sam, No Sam. I feel so bad and try to give him more attention when she goes to bed. But I am tired from working overnights and from being with them all day. Also, sometimes she is not too cooperative about going to bed really well. So, thankfully Grammy and Grandpa offered to keep him and he loved it and had a great time. This week he is at YMCA Day Camp and loving it too. He needed time to play with other kids his age too.

So, he finally lost a tooth. He was the last of all his friends. Even Soraya, who is six months younger has lost a few. The one next to the one that fell out is also loose, so it is in the middle. The new one is coming in already. He has a cute lisp now!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

July 3 was David's birthday. For the last 10 years, we have watched the fireworks on David's birthday down at the lake front with a million people. Even before that, we went every year since I can remember. This year was different. We were just too tired from everything going on, I was worried about E and the fireworks and Grandpa Kent was still at Pike Lake. We decided to go up to Pike Lake and celebrate there. Grandpa made incredible wings (David's birthday dinner every year). Sam picked out a cake and we enjoyed ourselves. E loved the cake, or should I say the frosting! David seems to be lightening up about the blue food thing. It is about time! On the fourth, we went in to West Bend for the parade. E liked it as long as I kept the cup holder on the chair filled with teddy grahams. Sam loved it as usual. It was also the first year in several that we did not go to the Tosa parade. I did miss that. Nigel, Jenna and Bridget did go though. At night we climbed the "Tall, Tall Tower" at Pike Lake to see the fireworks. It was really neat to see them all over the area. You could see about 30 all over the area. They were all small, but still incredible to see that many in all directions and to try to guess the cities.

David said it was a great birthday and was not disappointed with the change in traditions. Grammy got him some CDs that he really wanted and I got him the XL chair he really wanted so he can better enjoy lounging at the camp fire.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine

This is a line from an old Pete Seeger song. I think of it when Izzy gives me kisses except I don't like wine. So maybe it is kisses sweeter than chocolate. I think of all the things I took for granted with Sam and now have to teach E. Sam was bonded and attached before he was born. He nursed and cuddled and wanted to be held. We have had to teach E that we are her parents and we love her. We have had to teach her how to be held, how to snuggle and that bottles are better when you are held close in your parent's arms, not lying flat on your back in your crib. Sam knew from birth that at every cry or whimper we would come and take care of him. E had not known that, but she is quickly learning. Because she spent the first 15 months with out being attended to right away I feel I should not let her cry too much. I probably go to her way quicker than I did with Sam. I just feel bad for her first 15 months. Today a girlfriend told me to just let her whine and she will learn not to. I just can't though.

It is just so different with an adopted baby. So much of what I knew is out the window. Sam is six. Before I had Sam I worked in daycare, after Sam and even now I work as a nanny. I know how to take care of kids of all ages ,but it is so different with E. She brings a whole new set of issues to the table. She is wonderful, funny, beautiful and exhausting. Sometimes I feel like I have a newborn, not a toddler for all her needs. I feel guilty for being tired and wanting a break. After all I wanted her and worked so hard to bring her home.

In the end I must be doing something right, she is very attached to me. She always wants me to hold her, leans back to me if someone else has her and wants to be held close. She puts her arms around my neck and holds on tight. She also has started giving kisses. She puckers her little lips, it is so sweet. She will kiss Daddy, Sammy and me. The other day she kissed Grammy! That made her day! I imagine as she gets more comfortable she will loosen her grip on me. For now though I am exhausted and my back and arms ache, but I still want to hold on to her just as tight as she is holding on to me.


Elizabeth was lucky enough to be dedicated twice. We figured with her start, she needs as much as she can get. Also, our church wanted to do one and we had already planned one for the June 21 party. The one at church was so meaningful to have that body of people who have cared for us through the whole journey to her affirm their commitment to her and to us.

The party on June 21 was great fun. We had been planning it for two years! For those of you that came, thanks. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves. The weather was great and most everyone seemed to have a good time. Both of Elizabeth's grandpas did the dedication. It was very moving and special to have them both there and both share the experience. This dedication was special too with all our family and friends to share in celebrating her and renewing their commitment to her. I am overwhelmed when I think about how many people have care for us and for her for so long. The support along the way and the support that continues is just amazing. Elizabeth seemed to like the party and all the people. She was best when I was holding her though.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Catching up

Sorry I have not posted for a while. So much has happened and so many cute pictures have been taken. She has finished with the casts, six in all. Now she has a brace on her feet. It is not fun and she does not like it. She is getting used to it. Hopefully Mommy will get used to it too.

Last week we had a Stolpe Family reunion. She loved playing with her big cousin Hannah. It was nice for her to meet the rest of her family. Grandpa Norm was so glad to finally meet her. Uncle Erik seemed smitten with her and she liked playing with him. We spent all last week up at Pike Lake. She was ok with it. The bug really like her though. I think it is because she is so sweet! Sam loves it up there and I think she will too eventually. On Saturday we had her big party and dedication. It was so great to see everyone and for them to meet Elizabeth. We had family up from CHicago and mom's cousin came from MN!

Today I put pig tails in her hair for the first time! She was not too thrilled with it, but tolerated it. I have been waiting for so long for pig tails, so it was a big day for me. Sam liked them too.

We discovered she can use a straw. I gave her my strawberry milkshake and she loved it!

Pig Tails!