Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Speech Teacher

In a word: AWESOME! We met Ruby's new speech therapist for the first time today and she is really fantastic. Warm, engaging, really creative, and made it fun for Ruby. She had a nice folder for us that included all her numbers and info, a schedule, and a chart that shows us at what age kids usually pronounce a particular sound (vowel/dipthongs). Very nice to have and I am loving her organization skills! Ruby is ahead on some sounds (sh/ch/b/k/g) but behind in others (w/t/f/r). But she did very well with Miss Kyle today and I am feeling so good about the coming sessions. Wonderful to have such a great teacher! At the end of the session she walked Ruby over to look at all the different games and puzzles she had on the shelf. She let her try them, hold them, and see what fun she is going to have on future visits. Ruby liked this and we all agreed we would have lots of fun next time. So grateful for this great opportunity for my baby! Next up is starting school! She begins in 2 weeks. Fingers crossed it goes as well as summer camp.

Family Bonding

And what are they bonding over, you ask? Jeff's new Droid phone. A very high tech, robot sounding cell phone with games and goodies galore. All were fascinated, as you can see. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Simple Pleasures

It was a busy week for me and Ruby. Very fun, but exhausting none-the-less. We went to the Crayola factory, the zoo, Sesame Place...and visited with friends. So this weekend Jeff and I decided to just kick back and relax. We did nothing, really. Cooked a bit. Baked. (I get really inspired this time of year with the ripe tomatoes in the garden and the promise of fall around the corner!) We also sat outside and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. In fact, we sat around all day Saturday just talking and reading magazines while Ruby splashed away in her pool till her heart was content. The yard and garden was a buzz of activity with butterflies and little yellow birds flying around and flowers swaying in the breeze. I just love the sunflowers. One night Jeff made his famous chilli and I baked bread and Sat night we made gourmet pizzas with Naan bread and fresh tomatoes from the garden. Yummy! We had the place all to ourselves so the quiet time was welcome. Sunday we went over to our friends Charlsey and John's for a very casual pool hang and cook out. The kids had so much fun. My brother and nephew were there too and we all enjoyed ourselves on one of the last days of summer.

We've been reflecting a lot lately on this amazing year with Ruby. How she just melted into our hearts and lives so naturally. How very lucky we are that she did. In just 2 weeks it will be one year since we met her. Wow. A year already? The time seems to fly by so fast. And yet, it feels like she has always been here. So much we have shared these past 11-1/2 months. So many incredible, unforgettable moments. But the ones I cherish most are also simple. Snuggle-buggle (as we call it) when we spoon and snuggle close...  holding her little hand, touching her sweet face...and when she will randomly reach up and touch mine with such love in her eyes. Such a sweetheart! I love when the 3 of us lay in bed being silly...reading books or snuggling up. I love watching her have incredible fits of laughter... oh how I love that smile! And how she will bat her eyes and really charm you when she wants something. MY does she know how to work it! I love her pout and how she will dramatically throw her arms down and sigh (and drop whatever is in her arms) when she doesn't get her way. Of course, I hold in my laughter at the time, but it is ridiculously cute. I love catching her on the floor with the dog. Just sweetly laying eye to eye, side by side and petting her. And I love watching her with Daddy. Yesterday in the pool she swam over to him spontaneously for a hug. She said "MY Pa". It just melted Pa's heart. And mine. So many magic little moments that color our days. And we are grateful for every one. :-)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weekly Recap

Posing for Mommy

Taking pictures of Pa.

Time continues to whirl by at lightening speed. I thought I'd start a weekly recap to record our goings-on in possibly a quicker/easier fashion. Here goes the first round...

Monday - my Mom and David were here for a visit. I let Ruby at home with my mom and Jeff and took my brother to Sesame for some sister and brotherly bonding. Tough day. While I love that kid IMMENSELY, it is growing harder and harder to take him places - especially by myself. My intentions were good, but perhaps pushing a 200+ lb kid around in a wheelchair through a crowded water park in 90 degree weather wasn't such a bright idea. Yea. I know. What was I thinking? My heart also ached to see all the looks (rude, scared, and/or curious stares) we got when trying to sit him down in the baby pool. Worth the effort to spend time alone with Dave, but, yea, kinda of a hard day - physically and emotionally.
Tuesday - Nothing special and yet nice. A kind of calm and chill day and Ruby & I just played around the house, had our own little music class, watched a movie, did some painting, etc.
Wednesday - Took Ruby to an indoor amusement place called Giggleberry Fair. Cute place with arcade like games, a merry go round and a pre-school room with water table. She loved it. Went for lunch at Peddler's Village and did some outlet shopping. Scored a pair of black boots and hat (shown in pics above) and cute fashions for back to school. Soooo cute! She was such an angel I bought her ice cream, too. Great day!
Thursday - Went to the Grange Fair with friend Dawn and kids. Fun, but HOT and overpriced for a local carnival. Still, she went on some rides, had fun, and really enjoyed all the animals. Went out for Thai food with Ruby and the hubs for dinner and had a whole day without TV. Yea! Also started back on a vegetarian diet. Feeling real good about that. It just feels right. Here are pics from the Grange Fair:
Kids on the rides. Brie's brother Drew is so sweet with Ruby.
Mom and Ruby take on the big slide.
Happy happy girl on the bouncey bungee jumping thing.
Checking out the pigs.
And her favorite animal...the Alpaca. She loved these and the chickens.

Friday - Ruby's last day of summer camp. Off now for a few weeks till school starts. Did not accomplished much on my free morning.  Checked email, blogged, caught up with a friend on the phone. Ah well, at least it was time to chill. No big plans for tonight but seeing Jeff's cousins tomorrow and my friend Kimi and family on Sunday. Should be a nice weekend!

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Impromptu Beach Trip

Sometimes the best things in life are those that aren't planned. My friend Dawn called me up last week and invited us to go to the shore with them for a long weekend. Her husband wasn't feeling great and didn't feel like going and she already booked the place and didn't want to lose her deposit. We had a blast! Went to Wildwood Crest, NJ again. It was supposed to rain most of the weekend, but we really lucked out. No rain all weekend! Yea! LOL, cause we moms brought ten tons of crafts and toys in case it did. Ah, well, always good to be prepared for anything!

Our gang consisted of my friend Dawn, her daughter Brie, her son Drew, Drew's friend, plus Ruby and I. Someone for everyone to hang with! The kids were GREAT. It took us awhile sometimes to get going anywhere with 4 kids and 2 adults, but it was really fun. The kids really behaved well and the girls enjoyed their time together. It's so darn cute to watch them together. Here is their rendition of Ring Around The Rosies. I love it!
It was a challenge to get the kids to sleep at night with all the excitement, but we did manage to get them down one night and were able to share some wine and chit chat on the deck. In fact, in our honor (LOL) someone lit off fireworks RIGHT IN FRONT OF US on the beach. It is quite impressive that the kids stayed fast asleep! It was a great time and so very nice of my friend to share it with us. Here are some shots of the kids...
Squeaky clean and sand free after a busy day at the beach.
First sleep over. 
Love how Ruby is reaching out for Brie's hand here.
And then Brie did the same. They do this on their own and it is so precious.
Finally getting sleepy!
Beach time! They were so serious it cracked us up. Just very busy with their shoveling. 
The hotel had an AWESOME pool with a big baby pool the girls loved. Ruby calls this picture the train. Both girls are such water babies and had a ball both in the pool and the ocean.
I just love this one. Two very happy little girls.
And my happy little bug with her juice "box".

While I am looking forward to fall this year and getting back into a regular routine, I have to say it's been a real fun summer. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Ears

Much to post about this weekend and all the fun we had at the beach. But for now just a quick post. Ruby's recovery has been great. The ear tubes are tiny little tubes placed in her ear drums to alleviate pressure and release fluid. It can dramatically help a patients hearing loss and I can tell she is hearing much better now. She is singing along to both her Thai and English dvds and saying more words and sentences than ever! So beautiful to see that it often brings tears to my eyes! There have been no problems whatsoever since surgery - even with all the swimming. We've been really good about using ear wax and her drops. She seems to think the orange plugs are an accessory (which she of course LOVES) and she doesn't mind the "tickle drops" one bit. In fact she just lays there and giggles. The other night when I was putting them in she was rather quiet and so I asked if she was okay. She just looked at me and smiled and said "Okay, Mommy. Happy ears!" Melt. My. Heart. I said, "oh, honey, are your ears happy now?" She smiled again and said, "Yes. Happy."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Friends

The kids. Each one as cute as the next!
The Moms. Girls night out at a fab Mexican restaurant in the city.

I joined a local group of adoptive parents many months ago. Finally had the time, energy, and will to leave the house long enough to not only meet them but join them for a Mom's Night Out. What a blast!
A few days before we went to their group picnic and got to meet all the kids with their moms and dads. Such a nice group of people. Most of the kids are from China and a few are from Ethiopia. Not everyone was there that day but we got to meet most. Such a nice time. A few of the Moms took photography classes and are REALLY good. Here are a few shots they took of Ruby:
My favorite. Compliments of Deb Coons McGuigan.
My other favorite. :-) Compliments of Jen Miles.
Loving the slide.

So nice to make new friends and be welcomed into this very nice group. Another member of the group (not pictured) is going to shoot Ruby, Jeff & I in a few weeks down at the shore. Can't wait!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Quickie Update

After the last post I thought I'd do ya a favor and keep it short. Really, there is not much to say except that she is recovering well. Had a little fever yesterday (I think she got a bug from my nephew and it is unrelated to the surgery). So a little sleepy/cranky yesterday, but otherwise fine! Very chatty the last couple days and jumping around a lot. Think her equilibrium is much better already...she's always been a bit clumsy and that seems better. Also seems like she is trying out new sounds...singing and talking a lot. Some is still babble and some words are still only decoded by me, but I think we are on our way! It will be amazing to see her in the coming weeks with her newly improved ears!

In other news...it is confirmed! We are potty trained! Just about. Still using a diaper at night.  In big girl pants every day for the last 2 weeks. I am thrilled!  I went out yesterday with her to ToysRUS and finally got her a camera. All that anticipation and she played with it for 5 minutes! ha! We did have distraction here last night with our friends Charlsey and John here, my bro and all the kids so that I'm sure had much to do with it. Probably better off cause Princess Ava and Princess Ruby took turns melting down yesterday - mostly Ruby - every 10 minutes of the last hour of our play date. Probably would NOT have shared the camera!

Rubes is still sleeping like a rock so I am officially hitting the ground running! Every morning I lay in bed and think to myself :THIS IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! GO GET OUT THERE AND EXERCISE! Most days I answer back to myself: BUT I'M SOOOO TIRED! Today I am not. I am sneaking out b4 anyone is up and walking the dog a few miles. I can't take being out of shape any longer! So I let Jeff know to listen for Ruby and I am off to a healthy start! Hooray!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Luckiest Parents On The Planet (sorry...another very long post!)

Okay, I'm sure most parents feel that way (or SHOULD) but we have really felt that way since the day we met Ruby. Especially today. For one, our baby is okay. So relieved! Went through the surgery and post-op like a champ. The doc came out in less than 10 minutes to say it went very well and her ears are fine.  Great dr. and the whole staff there is fantastic with kids. Ruby had no nausea or pain (that we can tell so far) and no complications. For two, she is the most amazing child we have ever known. We are constantly in awe of her. So strong, sweet, happy...under nearly any circumstance. Okay, unless you ask her to share one of her favorite toys or books! :-)

When she was given meds (they called "giggle juice") the nurse warned us it tasted bad. Rubes took it down with no fuss. When she took her blood pressure she told Ruby it was going to give her arm a hug. (Smart lady!) Ruby loved this and after the first time said AGAIN! She thought the toe thing (to test her oxygen) was fun, too. LOL, this kid thinks everything is an accessory! The one nurse said she was the best patient they ever had! Of course, not taking anything away from our angel, but they do a GREAT job there. Had Dora on tv for her to watch, lots of sweet nurses, stickers and popsicles at the end.

The doctor,  radiologist, and every nurse we met warned us that kids wake up from anesthesia cranky, scared, out of it, and often screaming and thrashing about. Not her Rubiness. Our sweet baby woke up with a stretch, a yawn, a scratch of her nose, and a smile. So proud of her! She was groggy, but not cranky or scared at all. So glad she didn't get sick! (Jeff and I think she's got an iron stomach now that she got past that giardia). The nurse couldn't believe how sweet she woke up. This lady was there through it all and was the best. She actually insisted on carrying Ruby all the way to the car and gave her an extra popsicle and stickers. Said Ruby made her day! She sure made ours too!

But let me back track here...
This is how we started our morning: Got her up 5 minutes before we left the house. Changed her diaper while she was still out and left her in her jammies. She wasn't allowed to have anything to eat or drink so they advised me that this was the best way to go. I woke Ruby up gently as I picked her up. I said, "Ruby's gonna sleep in the car, honey. We are going for a little ride this morning...Ruby, Mommy, & Pa." Her reply? "Sleep. Car. Okay!" All with a sleepy little smile on her face. Such a darling. We got in the car and this is what I saw every time I turned around to look at her.
How can you love a little person so much and be sure your love couldn't possibly get much bigger than what you are feeling... and then -with one sweet smile - you love her even MORE than your heart ever imagined possible??? I was as thrilled as she was when they invited me to snuggle up with her on the hospital bed. Daddy sat right next to us. Was so glad he was able to break away from work and be there with us.
These are the cute jammies they gave her. She loves yellow and trying things on lately so she was very excited about the clothing change. So cute is this kid. She acted like this was some fun excursion we were on. I so love that about her. Just treats every new day and thing like a great adventure...eager to see what is next. So much she is teaching me! 
Her favorite things came with us: Penguin (all time fav), Abby Cadabby (newest favorite), her butterfly pillow of which she can not sleep without, and her Disney princess blanket. 
When the nurses came to wheel her away I thought my heart would break. Ruby was so sweet and handled it great so I held it together. The nurses asked her if she'd like to take a little ride with them. She was a bit woosie at this point and gladly went. Those same nurses made a point to come out later to tell us she did great and was soooo cute in there. Silly and happy and just fine. I think she charmed just about everyone in the clinic today!

How blessed we are to have you in our lives, sweet Ruby! Thanking God you are healthy and happy and bouncing around now. (Been watching her, Tinker Bell, and Princess & The Frog while typing this so it's taken awhile). She never got sick on the way home, has held down food all day and is now dancing. She is - quite literally - bouncing back!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Big Day

I shouldn't be nervous. I know we are in good hands. Meaning with God and also at Children's Hospital where we are getting Ruby's surgery done in the morning. She needs ear tubes put in both ears. My heart is tugging in different directions. One part is wondering about how her day will go. Will she be in pain? Be afraid?  Have a reaction to the anesthesia? Get sick from it? Have complications???

The other side tugs for the joy of her having a new world open up to her. A world she can hear clearly. Confusion cleared up. Both halves of my heart tug equally, but the worrisome side somehow pulls more emotion. I hope it won't be too bad of a day for her. God, guide our little sweetheart through the day tomorrow. Let her wake up with wonder and joy as she hears the world a whole new way!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Picnic With Ruby & Ryan

What a nice start to my week. Jason had Ryan and I offered up to take the kids for the day. We started off with a little book reading which ended up with one jealous little miss in the end so I decided we better hit the park for some fun and distraction! They were SO good. I loved looking in my rear view mirror and seeing two smiling little kiddos in the back. We sang songs and played "Wonder Pets" the whole way there. I was "Tuck"- haha - and my little super heros in the back were busy saving the "butterflies" from the so-called "jar"! Such imaginative little minds! They were such sweeties and I have to say I was most proud of myself for handling 2 kids and a dog all by myself. (yes, you seasoned moms with several kids can laugh here).

Actually, before I go patting myself on the back I have to say I ALMOST pulled it off perfectly. Had my bag and the car packed with all the necessary ingredients for fun: picnic lunches, juice boxes, waters, sunscreen, bubbles, side walk chalk,...you name it! Got them to the park and systematically pulled out the stroller, packed it with our stuff. Then got Ruby out and strapped her in the stroller. Got Ryan out and had him safely holding on to the side. Got the dog out and.... and...and...sh*t! Where's the leash? Yes. I forgot the leash. So I had to call my brother to come and bring it out. Luckily, we live close by.

SO. Aside from my little leash snaffu, we had the perfect park day. We ate our picnic lunch overlooking the lake. So pretty and the kids ate well. Then Jase came for a few minutes (with leash in hand!) and watched the dog while me and the kids fed the ducks and geese. It was great. It was nice out and a bit overcast and breezy.  The lighting was sooo pretty. Got nice pics even with my very limited photography talents. LOL. Of course, my subjects are pretty darn sweet!
Excited to feed the ducks
Ruby asking for "one more" piece of bread for the ducks. LOL, she said this every time.
Cutie pies holding hands
Little ham
Ryan being so sweet with Ruby
After we fed the wildlife, Jase went home and we hit the rest of the park. Ruby in stroller, Ryan walking nicely beside, and Chloe (the dog) walking along the other side. All so well behaved! We went to the swings and slides and had a ball there as well. We hit the POTTY - yes I said potty! - and had success there before heading back. Didn't want to post about it until I was sure, BUT we are about at 95% success with the potty training! Hurray! Wasn't sure it would ever happen and none too soon with pre-school just a mere 5-6 weeks away! Anyway, our play date at the park was so nice. Gotta love the lazy, hazy days of summer!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Party For Ruby

For all of us, really. For Mommy & Daddy it was a day to introduce her to family friends who never met her before and enjoy their company. For Jeff's Mom and Dad, it was a day to share their granddaughter with those closest to them. And for Ruby, it was a day to be showered with love and attention. Jeff's parents threw a wonderful party for Ruby this past Sat. It was a beautiful day. Nice weather, good food, great company. LaRae and Woody's friends are so lovely! They were so generous with their kindness and gifts for our Ruby. Rubes had a fun day and, I must say, we adults had fun too! 
Our party girl with Jeff's cousin, Doug. She sure loves the men. Gonna lock her up when she's a teen!
Lil Diva with her new hand bag. Jealous dog behind her like, yea, how come SHE gets all the attention?
Sharing a moment with Pa.
Lovely ladies
Nice fellas...with 2 girls on the go
The Buxton kids 
Yummy treats!
Jeff and his sis
The girls...me, Rubes, Tammey
Our hostess "Martha" aka LaRae (Jeff's mom)
Ruby got nail polish in one of her gift bags and when she wanted to put it on immediately, Ben and Jerry thought they could help. LOL, see below.
Nice work, boys! haha
Cute girls Addy & Ruby running around and playing
Addy LOVES to paint nails & was all too excited to do Ruby's nails. Ruby was all too happy to oblige! Luckily, she did a much better job then the men! :-)
Ruby got loads of cool Kailan books and toys from Addy and her family and lots of great books, toys, dolls, bears, and clothes from the other guests. We love her Hello Kitty lunch box from Aunt Tam and the Disney princess book and bag of princess goodies from Carrie. Also a really cool Build-a-Bear from Scott and Sue. Such wonderful things! Ruby loved them but I think her favorite present was this doll (below). She grabbed my camera and this is the first thing she took a picture of:
"Baby".  We haven't gotten to the point where we actually name things yet, so it's just Baby. The thing is hilarious cause you put the bottle in it's mouth and it sucks loudly. If you pull it out it cries for like 30 seconds. Ruby gets seriously annoyed when it cries which I find really funny so Mommy will sneak the bottle in it's mouth and then take it out once in awhile just for kicks. tee hee.
Sweet girls playing piano together. Addy is quite good and Ruby was loving it and singing along.

A fun day and a wonderful party! Thanks Grammy & Pappy!