(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 firsts....my 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 it...like 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.