Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet Girl

Our little gal is going through a hard time right now. She seems to be fearful that we're going to leave her, so she's holding on to us with all her strength! She wants to be held quite a bit of the time, and if she gets down to play she wants us down on the floor with her. When we attempt to put her down, she'll often have a meltdown such as this one! We continue to reassure her that we're not going anywhere and hold her as much as we can. We have hopes that soon she'll relax a bit. On top of that, she had a mysterious fever last week, and now a cold and another fever! Poor baby!
However, despite her fears, she's is such a little smartie! She says 7-8 English words (ma, da, more, night-night, uh-0h...), runs skillfully, stands on her head, uses a spoon and fork with help... she has surprised the pediatricians who can't believe she's barely 13 months old! She's also hilarious and loves to be the center of attention. She shows off by blowing kisses, playing peekaboo and dancing. We're so proud of our smart, sweet little girl and continuously thankful for her foster mother's outstanding care!

Water Babies

One thing Allie loves is water. She has no fear. She loves going to Normandy to swim and doesn't flinch at having her face wet. She also loves playing with the big kids in our kiddie pools in the yard (almost as much as she loves wearing her brother's bike helmets!). She fits right into this family!

Ben's Countdown

Ben starts kindergarten in just a few weeks!! While I am approaching the day with much apprehension and sadness (it's the end of his preschool years, he's a big boy now, he's leaving me!!!), he so far seems excited. He decided to make a Countdown to Kindergarten in which we listed all the things he wants to do before school starts. I was thinking maybe we'd put 3 things on the list, but he had other ideas. It's actually been fun to working on "checking things off"! Hopefully when his teacher asks about his summer, he'll be able to think of something to say!

Sam's Garden

Our first attempt at a garden this year has been so much fun. We've all helped, but it's been largely Sam and Jeremy's project. Now that we are getting fresh veggies daily, he is just so excited. He loves to pick them and eat them right in the backyard! He's so proud of the carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, potatoes, peas, green beans, tomatoes and lettuce! We're still hoping for some zuccini and peppers, and our sunflowers are starting to open up as well! He loves food so much,
he may just be a chef one day!

A Visit from Great-Grandma Dot!

We were so excited to have Great Grandma Dot come all the way from Evansville to meet Allie! The two became fast friends over games of This Little Piggy and Patty Cake. She made Allie a sweet little stuffed Humpty Dumpty toy, which Allie carries all over the place. She also got to know Uncle Matt and Grandpa Coleman a little better!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Carrots from our garden!

5, 3 and 1

Wow, so we are in reality mode here. Most of the newness and excitement has worn off, and it feels like Allie has been here for much longer than about 6 weeks. Jeremy is working long, hard hours in the heat. The kids and I are trying to fill our summer days with a balance of fun and continued bonding. Having kids ages 5, 3 and 1 can get a big crazy!!
We continue to venture out more and more. Allie seems to do really well getting out and about for short periods of time. She loves going to the pool at Normandy, doesn't even flinch at going under! She had a playdate yesterday with a little girl her age and they were adorable together. She had her first visit to Grandpa Toodie's house and her first library storytime. She LOVED the storytime, we will be returning. I couldn't believe how social she was while we were there!
She still gets overwhelmed pretty quickly and continues to be extremely clingy to me. Extremely! Nearly every time I put her down she has a stretching fit on the floor. Sometimes we're able to distract her long enough for me to get something done, sometimes not! She definitely requires a lot of patience at this point! I continue to remind myself of all she's been through in a short period of time. However, I'm very thankful for her great sleep habits, she sleeps 8:30pm-8:30am pretty regularly. Refusing morning naps now, but usually takes about a 90 minute afternoon nap. She's also a fantastic eater!
Ben is doing GREAT with Allie. He's extremely patient with her and is a true help to me. He'll jump in to "distract" her when she's fighting a diaper change or when I need to go to the bathroom. He sings to her and keeps saying, "I just can't believe she's here Mom!". I'm so proud of him, he's truly growing up. He's riding his bike without the training wheels, it's so fun for the two of us to take long bike rides all over the neighborhood. I'm still shocked that Kindergarten starts in 5 weeks, but he's so ready.
Sam is, well, he's 3. He's struggling with not being the baby anymore. He is definitely jealous of the attention she gets, and retaliates by pushing her, taking away toys, etc. But he loves her and kisses her feet and can't wait to see her every morning. He's really growing up too, and does more and more things on his own. He's hilarious in the things he says and does!

Feels like summer is going way too fast! First week in August the boys both have a camp they get to go to each morning. The second week in August we're going on vacation to Lakeside on Lake Erie as we did last year. We're so looking forward to it! When we get back, we'll have one more week of summer before Ben gets on the big yellow bus for the first time! He'll go every afternoon to Loveland. Mid-September Sam will start back to preschool, he'll go 3 afternoons.
My time alone is over for now...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Visitors Welcome

Thanks everyone for allowing us some time and space to let Allie get acclimated! We've been living in kind of a bubble since she came home, staying home most of the time and keeping life very low key. I think it's been a very good thing for all of us, especially her. (I have to admit I've gotten used to doing less and am loving it!) She's doing so well I think in part because we are not rushing in to anything. The most we've done is a quick trip to Target or the park; it's crazy to think that Jeremy and I have been the ONLY ones to feed and change her; I think it's really helped her bond with us. We've been able to hold off on restaurants, the pool, Kings Island, etc. We'll get to these things all in good time!
While we are still taking life slow, she's definitely up for visitors in small groups for short periods of time. So for those of you who have been holding off, thank you, and let me know when you want to come meet our gal!

July 4th

It's a tradition for us to go to the Loveland 4th of July Parade. We weren't sure how Allie would react to the noise and crowd. She was a quiet observer at first, but by the end she was clapping along with everyone else. I think she's proud to be an American!

River Rascals

We took the kids to the Little Miami River at Nisbet Park on the morning of the 4th. It's something the boys LOVE to do, just hang out by the water, throw rocks, and wade around. Allie loves being outside, so she was thrilled. She climbed on big rocks, explored a bit, and of course fell in the river just like her brothers.

Allie's Korean Tol 1st Birthday Party!

First birthdays are a really big deal in Korea. Based on our research, they call their first birthday parties Tol parties and a lot of planning goes into them. Since she had just come home 3 weeks prior, we decided to keep hers very small, but also incorporate some of the Korean Tol traditions. We had a banquet display of candy and other desserts, along with balloons and a banner. We had a photo display. We also served some Korean food such as Spicy Korean Soup (yum!), spring rolls, dumpings, rice, and kimchi (pickled vegetables). She liked the food, even the spicy stuff!
We also incorporated a ceremony called the doljabi in which she is presented with different objects that represent various predictions about her life. For example, a spool of thread represents a long life, rice means she'll never grow hungry, money means she'll be rich, etc. She chose the rice and a ball---so she'll never go hungry and do something in the sports world?!?! :)
We also dressed her in her hanbok, which is a traditional Korean outfit. Hers was a gift from her foster mom. A bit big, but adorable. I was unsure how the party would go since we are new to Korean food, traditions, etc. and we weren't sure how she'd handle her biggest crowd yet-10 adults and 4 other kids, all immediate family. I have to say it was really amazing. She did great and it was a really special occasion. We also showed her homecoming video, which you can also see here on our blog.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Finally, Pigtails!

Hard to believe Allie has been home over 3 weeks already! Seems like she's been with us forever. But then I realize that we've lived a pretty sheltered life with her so far. We've had a few visitors and made a few outings, but there are still many firsts to attempt. We've not taken her to a restaurant yet, haven't gone to the pool yet, etc. We'll get there! Once Jeremy went back to work, she began a phase in which she was VERY clingy to me. Hence I haven't gotten around to updating the blog in a while! According to what I've read about attachment, she's at a point where she is attached to us enough that she's now fearful that we'll leave her. There was a week stretch where she was just so whiny and clingy that we were all very stressed out. We tried to be patient, but it was definitely an adjustment for me taking care of 3 kids by myself, all the while lugging a 22 pounder around while I cook, etc! The past couple of days have been better, though, and she seems more relaxed and happy. I'm hoping we've turned a corner!
We discovered recently that Allie came home with a CD full of nearly 200 pictures of her while in Korea in her foster home, dating back to October!! We're so thankful to be able to see her in her foster home and get an idea of what life was like for her. It's so very cool to see her develop along the way, something we thought we had missed out on. She is smiling and happy in nearly every picture!
Here's a couple pics of our "stairstep" kids-ages 1, 3, and 5!!! And of course, the pigtails. :)