Reflections on New Year's Eve

12/31/2008 09:00:00 PM Edit This 2 Comments »
I've never been much for New Year's Eve parties. Instead I like to enjoy a safe, quite night at home reflecting on the past year but rarely making resolutions for the next year. After all, why start out the new year KNOWING there is something you should accomplish and more than likely won't. I'd rather just think about the past year and hope for prosperity, good health and happiness for everyone I love and now especially for Lexie. So I'm sending those wishes out to all of you too.
(Mommy & Lexie at Angie's House)

Now for the reflections. Of course they revolve around the amazing little girl I am so proud to call my daughter and am honored to have the raising of. I have hoped and dreamed of having a family for most of my life and I still find it hard to believe I was exactly 2 months shy of my 46th birthday when we landed in the US as a true legal family. I had often wondered why my dreams of meeting the right man and having a family in the more traditional sense never seemed to come to pass and then when I started pursuing adoption several years before this, things didn't work out like I had hope either. Well all I have to do is look into the face of my daughter and I know the answer. God knew my daughter hadn't been born yet so I just had to wait. So much for setting goals or planning the future. God has a plan and you'd better not mess with it or you'll just cause yourself a lot of frustration and heart ache and then still end up where he planned all along. I know without a doubt that Lexie is the child God meant for me to have so I just need to trust that I had to go through a lot more of my life than most woman do to be prepared to be Lexie's mom. I was fortunate to do so much before God gave me Lexie that I feel like she must have a lot of surprises in store for me that the 46 years leading up to her are going to prepare me for. We shall see. Life is never dull around my little fire cracker.
(Lexie at the Baby House on our 5th day together)
So in review, 2007 was The Year of Lexie. The first 5 months were all about the anticipation of traveling for Lexie. Then finally, finally getting on that plane to meet Lexie. Then two months of the challenges of living in Kazakhstan, praying the adoption would be successful and the wonder of getting to know Lexie. Next settling into life WITH Lexie. The adjustments to having her in my daily life plus all the medical testing and issues at first and simply learning how to be a mom to this amazing little girl. And all the first birthday as a Mom, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. It all went by so fast it seemed like she'd always been in my life because she was so perfect for it but everything seemed so much better and richer and just plane more fun because I was sharing it with her.
(Lexie Jan 1, 2008 -My Kazakh Beauty smiling with all 4 teeth)
Then on to 2008 The First Full Year of Being Lexie's Mom (see I can still manage to get a first in.) It was really hard because I simply didn't want to work let alone leave her with someone else to enjoy all her new discoveries but I started her in daycare in Jan. It was actually a really good thing for her and I guess for me too. She is such a social little person that she is just so happy interacting with the other kids. There are only 4 or 5 kids from 1-3 years old in her in home daycare so she isn't just one of a big group. She learned a lot from the older kids as well as how to share with the younger ones since she doesn't have to share much of anything at home. She has grown a lot emotionally, socially and developmentally with Kristie and the kids so I know I made the right choice. Some time this year it may be time to move her on to a bigger more structured environment but I'm sure she'll do well where ever she goes.

(first day of dance class Feb)

(last day of dance class June)

The Mommy & Me tap/ballet class we started in Feb was also a wonderful way to enjoy Lexie while she learned to express herself creatively through dance and music. Plus she looked so darn cute in the outfits I just loved taking her there. We both had fun and I was really sorry in Aug when she started classes again that she was put in the regular class without Mommy. She really surprised me yet again with how much she retained from the couple of months that we took the first time and how well she's done on her own. She's still one of the youngest in the class but she just loves Miss Tanya and does just about anything she tells her to do. Of course they are already talking about taking measurements for the costumes for the dance recital in June and I'm hoping the moms in this class won't be as fanatical about everything like they were in '08. I guess I'll put up with it since Lexie seemed to really like preforming last year.
(The Recital - so cute)
In between the first day of dance and the recital we also had her first birthday celebration even though it was her second birthday since I missed her first birthday by 8 days. We went down to Houston for that as well as for her Baptism so she could share that special day with her cousin Blake who was also Baptized at the same time. Being able to share her special moments with the family is really a treat since all my brothers and sisters live way south of Washington state. We even worked in a trip to visit my oldest brother and his family in Mexico. It was wonderful that Lexie finally got to meet cousins Dylyn & Damian as well as Uncle Kyle & Aunt Irma and play with the rest of the family since everyone but Casey made it down. It was great for me too since I got to turn off my cell phone and just relax. I feel it so important for her to spend as much time as possible with the whole family so I've really made the effort to see everyone as often as possible. Of course, now she just doesn't understand why she can't see CoCo or Z-Z or Brook-Brook all the time. She so loves spending time with her cousins that it really makes it hard to get on the plane when I know she'll wake up the next morning and ask for them. This morning she woke up and with a little quiver in her voice said "CoCo and Z-Z too, I lost them!" Poor baby. How do you explain to a 2 year old about distance?

The biggest change for both of us this year was Mom moving down to Houston in Sept. She's lived with me since Dad passed away 3 1/2 years ago. She needed to live on her own which she's never done in 70 years. It's simply too expensive for her to live here so Cypress (a suburb of Houston) seemed like the best choice and her new house is just a few blocks from my sister and her family. So I'm very proud of her and know she'll do just great but we both miss her and Lexie goes into her room almost daily and checks to see if GaGa is back.

The rest of the year went by in a blur. Aug Lexie had tubes put in her ears to help prevent the constant ear infections she'd had plus with the hope of improving her hearing. Which it did. She's become a chatter box ever since and it's just astonishing what she's picked up in such a short time. My birthday then Halloween onto Thanksgiving and Christmas which where spent in Houston helping Angie after her gal bladder surgery in early Dec, all happened faster than I would have liked. It seems like it's hard to savor the moments when they whiz past you but I do my best to enjoy it while I can. I've decided to make a list of what I love best about Lexie right at this moment to help me remember how I was feeling and what she was doing at this time in our lives. Here goes:

What I Love About Lexie

1) That she's mine and I'm her's and she won't let me forget when I pick her up at daycare and she runs to me saying "MY Mommy - MINE!!!"
2) Her big brown eyes!
3) When she eats something she likes and says "alicious!!"
4) When she checks the dogs heart beats with her stethoscope and even when she checks every stuffed animal in her room to delay getting into bed.
5) When she see something small and big and she says "mamma & baby" then she'll pick up the little one and hug it to her cheek.
6) Her "That Girl" flip hair-do.
7) When she says "oh NO" when she drops something or something goes wrong with all the passion and drama of an Oscar winner.
8) When she sees something she likes and says "oh, sooo cuteeee"
9) How brave she is. This child has no fear.

10) When she gives me an unexpected kiss or hug - those are truly the best.
11) How she will dance anywhere and I mean ANYWHERE!
12) How she sweet smells....okay most of the time.
13) When she says "Hi" and waves to everyone. I call her my WalMart greeter!! She'll also shake hands with someone she knows and says "ice to meet you."
14) Her smile. First her beaver smile since she only had her top two front teeth for months. Then the bottom two came in and her smile got even cuter. Now she has a mouth full of pearly whites and she is her most charming when she smiles her big bright smile. And you can't forget her laugh or even better her giggle.
15) When she sings Jingle Bells or Twinkle Winkle Little Star just out of the blue.
16) Going to dance class with her. I miss the Mommy & Me class when I could be in there with her. But now it's fun to watch her interact with the other girls more. It's one of my favorite 45 minutes in the week.
17) How she loves all her cousins and can't wait to see them and then how she will mimic them whatever they are doing!

18) How she can make almost anyone smile. It's fun to be out shopping with her and she gets people to smile or talk to her. She's really charming and loves to flirt.
19) When she says "me do, me do!" or "me too, me too" and "gotcha" and "mama do."
20) Just recently everything is "my favorite." Needless to say Christmas was full of "favorites."
21) She's very polite so I get lots of please, thank you, escuse me and especially "thank you very much."
22) If anyone burbs she will put her hand over their mouth and say "cuse you." It's pretty darn funny when it's Grandma!
23) How when I'm telling her something she doesn't want to hear she'll grab my lips and push them together saying "shhhh, shhhh mama." Luckily she can't hear my laughter with my lips pushed closed but it works pretty well to get me to stop scolding her.
24) How much she loves glasses and people wearing them.
25) How whenever she comes home she runs over to her hat collection and chooses her hat of the day (or hour or minute in some cases.) Pretty soon shoes and gloves maybe a scarf or apron will be added to her outfit but she simply must put on a hat.

26) How she constantly amazes me....a new word, grasping a concept so quickly and using it correctly or sometimes incorrectly, she'll just give a hug or kiss right at the perfect time or how she can count to 13 and identify all the letters (which I think is pretty darn brilliant) or how she's just so darn smart.
27) When she sings along with a show or song on the radio and she'll always sing the last word of the sentence or phrase very loudly often humming the first part.
28) Her sense of humor, she is a really funny girl.
29) When I said something I shouldn't and she repeats it, especially when I don't think she's listening. Nothing like hearing Crap from your two year old in the back seat.
30) When she puts her pointer finger up to her lips and says "hummmmmmmmm - thinking."
31) How happy she makes me. Just simply happy.

I guess I'll stop at 31. That makes one for each day of the month even though I could go on and on. I know it sounds selfish but I'm kind of glad I'm a single parent to her right now since it means I get all her love, hugs & kiss and attention. Of course I also get to make all the decisions, the hard ones and the fun ones and then have to take responsibility for the bad ones but it seems like a fair trade. I'm sure I won't always feel that way but for now it's just great. I know I make her sound like a perfect child and of course she's not. But to me she's pretty close and I also choose not to dwell on the not so cute things that she does, as any two year old will, and simply try to enjoy this wonderful child I've been blessed with.
That seems about right for how my year went and how I hope next year goes as well. Wonderful little moments with Lexie followed by bigger moments. What more could a mom ask for.

Happy New Year to everyone from Lexie and her Mommy.

PS - I'll have to catch up on Christmas and add more pictures later as my brother-in-law was helping me clean up my computer and now I can't get to any of my pictures older than June of 08. We're sure they are still in the hard drive, we just don't know how to get to them. I am trying not to panic since I know he was only trying to help and of course didn't do it on purpose. I love you Jim. So I'm taking my laptop to the computer Geeks and praying for success.

Santa is Coming to Town

12/18/2008 10:41:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »

HoHoHo - Merry Christmas from Lexie and Mommy too. Things are definitely feeling like Christmas around here and I'm surprised to see that Lexie is actually getting a lot of it. Of course who wouldn't love seeing lots of lights and presents and "kismos twees." She is really enjoying all the activities and I just love watching her. Tonight Angie, Mom and I took the kids to go visit Santa at the My Santa Experience and it was lots of fun. You don't just wait in a long line to sit on Santa's lap for 20 seconds and hope your child doesn't totally freak out which is what happened with Lexie last year. While we were shopping this Thanksgiving at one of these super outlet malls here in Houston I found this My Santa Experience store and I'm really glad I did. The kids first go into one room where they write their letter to Santa with the help of a friendly elf and then mail it in a very special mail box. It actually goes straight to the north pole so when the kids open the mail box the wind and snow blows on them. Way cute!

Lexie was so excited when she got to mail her letter. She loves wind so when it blew snow in her face she couldn't stop giggling!

Next was the craft room where they had several little projects they could choose from to make. They all did something different but did a great job. Mommies got to help since glue was involved and we didn't want any big messes or eating going on. Lexie took hers very seriously.

Then we were off to meet the big guy, Santa....well one of his best helpers since he had a heavy Texas accent! First Cody talked with him and of course he told him what he wanted and that he'd been good.

Then Mackenzie was next. She told us before she went she really didn't want to talk with the helper Santas that she only wanted to talk with the real one. But when it was her turn she was very sweet with him and even gave him a big hug. Later she said he seemed like a nice man so she wanted to be nice to him.

Finally it was Blake's turn, who had been dancing around the room with Lexie having a good old time but as soon as Angie tried to get him to sit on his lap he did his famous go limp so you can barely hold him let alone get him to sit down. The plan become to have Z sit on one leg and Cody kneel down in front and Blake put on his lap as Angie moved quickly out of the shot (can you tell where she went off to?) So we have one with him looking confused, the next with him starting to cry and the last with his mouth open clearly beyond upset. That was my personal favorite but Angie didn't agree with me.

Then this Santa has a second set up where there are a couple of trees and a bench so they tried Santa behind them so Blake couldn't see Santa and first with Angie in the picture even though she didn't want to be in it. They got a couple of good ones but Blake was really done with the Jolly Old Elf. So this was as good as it got.

This whole time I was doing my best to keep Lexie out of the shot since of course she wanted to be with her "favorite" (which is her favorite word these days) cousins. So she was dancing and singing Jingle Bells and having a good old time. I didn't get to take any pictures of this since no cameras were allowed in this room. But she went right up to him. She got very shy but never cried or was worried. She smiled a couple of times on his lap but they never got a picture of it. I liked the one where she's talking to him....I just wish I knew what she said.

We moved to the second set up between the trees and of course they wanted me in it. That was the only part Angie and I both didn't like. If we wanted a family photo we would of dressed for one and told them that was what we wanted. But when Santa is standing there telling you to sit with your children you....well sit with them. Anyway, we finally got Lexie to smile on camera and then she hugged him on her way out.

After that a snack was in order so there was Mrs. Claus in the next room with giant cookies for the kids to decorate and take with them. Well Blake didn't care what it looked like he just wanted to eat it. This was clearly his favorite room. The other kids had fun icing theirs and Lexie really got into the sprinkles. She shook on at least half a bottle on hers.

I have to say they saved the best room for last - at least as far as the kids were concerned. The final room was the snow room. It was that stuff which is cool to the touch but doesn't melt and will clump up for a snow ball but when you throw it then it breaks up. They had a blast. They threw snowballs at each other, then tried to build a snowman and even skated around on it. It was really fun and they stayed in there about 30 minutes while Angie and I looked at the pictures. A really nice feature was that they give you all the shots on a USB memory stick and a release so you can print more up where ever or email them to people. Overall it was a great experience rather than a chore you have to get done. I know the kids said they had a ball and are really really glad they went! Of course Lexie said it was her "favorite!!"

Tonight when I put Lexie down to bed she clearly was still thinking about the evening since she couldn't stop talking about it. Even with the lights out, her music on and snuggled down with her blanket, she'd be quite then I'd hear "Santa...snow...wind...snowman." So sweet. I'd tell her we had to go nigh night and she'd be quite for a few minutes then I'd hear "jingle bells jingle bells" after I stopped laughing I told her we really needed to go to sleep. An hour later she finally drifted off but it's great to know she'll have sweet dreams tonight!

Well we are off to my sister Lynn's house in Louisiana. She and Brooke can't make it here this year to be with the family for the first time ever so we are going to celebrate Christmas there this weekend then drive back here for our second Christmas. Hey two Christmases are always better than one. So more early Christmas pictures to follow. I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope your holidays are filled with family, joy and love!

PS - Lexie says "Mawee Hismas and evewthing!!!"

My Dancin' Queen

12/10/2008 09:27:00 PM Edit This 2 Comments »

Well, we are still here in Houston because my sister Angie had to have gal bladder surgery and she can't pick up her youngest son Blake for two weeks. He just turned one and weighs in at a svelte 33 lbs!! Jim, her husband, is a pilot and has been on call since 3 days after her surgery. It went well but she's been in a lot of pain plus she has to figure out what her body can tolerate to eat since without her gal bladder it can't process fats very well. So no Christmas dinner or even cookies for her. She has of course pushed herself a few times in the last week so I'm just trying to keep her from ending up back in the hospital.

In the mean time, my sweet Lexie Lou is having so much fun with her cousins that I am going to have a really tough time with her when we head back home and it's just the two of us. The Dancin Queen pictures are of her on Monday when she woke up and saw her ballet shoes that I brought so she could dance with Mackenzie, who also takes dance. Well she insisted on putting them on and you'd think they had dancing dust in them or something. She cracked me up because she just couldn't seem to stop dancing until she just about passed out. Way cute! Then that evening Lexie & I took Mackenzie to her gymnastic class and Lexie just sobbed when I wouldn't let her got out on the mats with Z. This place is a huge warehouse with about 25 classes going on at the same time and families can watch from behind a 2 foot wall. Well Lexie was having none of it. She keep crying "me dance with Z-Z" to the point that I had to take her outside. She clearly misses her Wed morning dance class. Poor baby. Once she stopped crying we talked about it and I told her she can't "dance" with Z but she could dance with me behind the wall and she agreed....until we went back in and she started sobbing all over again. She was just pitiful. So outside we went again. She finally gave it up more or less the last 15 minutes or so of the class so we could watch Z do her thing. Z was very sweet with her when she was done by giving her a big hug and then letting her take a bow on the mats before we left (I was putting my camera away so no picture of her big moment.)

We also got to have lunch with Cody & Mackenzie at their school. You can bring the kids lunch and sit in the cafeteria with them, so a couple days after Angie got home, Lexie and I went to "big school" for lunch. She had fun with Z since she was first but we had to wait 30 minutes before Cody's lunch time so we colored and she added a few stickers to the picture (after first trying them out on herself) and then she had to do a little dancing around even there. She is always in motion it seems.

Another morning Mom & I took Blake & Lexie to the playground in their neighborhood to give Angie a little quite time to rest. Lexie even rode on a big girl swing for the first time. They were both ready for naps when we got home.

I've also keep the kids busy with Christmas projects which I do with them every year but usually we don't get to do it until just before Christmas and it's always a rush job. So it was fun to have time to enjoy the project even if Angie did make us do it outside and cover everything including the kids. Wimp!! As you can see my artists took it very seriously and really had fun too. I'm sure the family will enjoy these treasures for years to come.

I have to say, even not being in my own home and doing stuff with Angie's kids and having to take business calls, I finally have a feeling of what it would be like to be a stay at home Mom and I LOVE IT!! Now I've just gotta find a Sugar Daddy who could keep Lexie and I in the style we are used to!!