Recipe for a Forever Family: Take One Mom (formerly from the Midwest), Add One Cutie Pie (formerly from China), then slowly Stir in Two Big Drooly Dogs.

Just remembering...

I finally organized all of my pictures. I have almost 500 in my computer photo album and about 450 are from China or of Maeve since then. I kept everything, blurry shots, off center shots, even the accidental pictures taken in the hotel room of the TV. Today I thought I would post a few pictures from the China trip and then later in the weekend I plan on posting more current pictures of Maeve.

Waiting in the airport for the long flight to China. Excited, thrilled and terrified barely describe how I felt at the time.

Sound advice on the Great Wall of China. :)

Walking into my room in Chongqing it all becomes real.

The bus ride over to the Civil Affairs office. Less than a hour before I become a MOM!!

Mom & Dad are just as excited on the bus as me. They are about to become grandparents for the 6th time. Yeah!!

I see her for the first time! I know it is her immediately!! (Maeve is in the pink in the middle with her back to the camera. The nanny with the red stripes is holding her.)

Love at first sight on my part, not so much on hers.

We are so happy, she is so not. :(

Grandma gets to hold her for the first time, while I put on my baby carrier.

One last picture at the Civil Affairs Office then it is time to go. A family at last!
"Wish you have a happy life in future."


The Weekend

Just a quick update with some pictures from this past weekend.

Saturday, we attended an event with one of our Mommy groups. All the local police and fire departments were out and giving presentations to the kids. It was a huge hit, as all the kids were able to check out police cars and fire trucks up close, not to mention the many picture taking opportunities. Maeve did pretty good overall, just a few tears when I tried to put her on a police motorcycle. It was a very cool event.

One thing new this week. Maeve's new thing is crawling under and through things. She gets the biggest kick out of it. Mostly that means crawling through my legs and anyone I am talking to at the moment. But the poor dogs are getting it too. If they are standing, Maeve will try to crawl underneath them. Both are being good sports about it. Baby is the hardest hit, as Maeve has suddenly decided that she is her new jungle gym. So picture poor Baby, laying in the living room minding her own business. Maeve walks over and crawls on top of her. I'm in the kitchen and can see it, but it takes me a couple of seconds to walk out there to intervene. Meanwhile, Maeve plants her bottom on Baby's head and starts bouncing up and down. I pick Maeve up telling her she needs to leave Baby alone, while Baby follows us...seems she likes Maeve bouncing up and down on her head and was ready for more. Silly dog. Don't worry, I really don't let Maeve bother/abuse the dogs or vice versa. They still get more kisses than me and both dogs have definitely come to expect them too. :) 1 comments

Picture Day

Maeve has been doing so well that I decided it was time to try to have her photograph taken professionally. I have checked out all the local photography shops and just fallen in love with all of the special backgrounds, shots and just really neat things they do with baby pictures. So, today at 3:40pm, we had an appointment for pictures. This is how it went (note there are no pictures on this posting should give you a hint.)

- Scheduled appointment for Maeve during a normal "happy" time for her. We have gone places before at this time and she has been wonderful.
- Prior to appointment, feed and change Maeve with no problem. Dress her up in her pretty dress and load a happy, smiley baby into the car.
- Drive happy, smiley baby to the photographer's studio and arrrive without a hitch.
- Arrive 20 minutes early just so Maeve can adjust and get used to everything. She settles happily in at the play table and smile and babbles at everyone that goes by.
- The photographer introduces herself and Maeve smiles and babbles to her while I fill out a form, no problem.
- It's our turn, so in I go with a happy, smiley baby. Realize that the flower on Maeve's dress is missing.
- Run back out to car and retrace our steps until we find it (thank goodness). Meanwhile Maeve is still smiling and the photographer is being incredibly understanding.
- Reattach flower and walk into studio for pictures with happy & smiling baby.
- Photographer positions us (I'm in the first pose with Maeve) and Maeve is happy and smiling.
- Photographer gets her camera and makes a funny face at Maeve which causes Maeve to flash the biggest smile ever.
- Photographer raises camera to capture moment and Maeve bunches up her face, turns red, opens up her mouth and screams.
- Longest 15 minutes of my life now commence as Maeve continues to scream, big crocodile tears streaming down her face. No amount of consoling or toys (I brought plenty and the studio had tons) would do. Photographer was really great, trying every trick known to humankind, but to no avail. Finally we give up and agree to reschedule. I walk out of the studio with my crying baby.
- On way to car, all tears magically evaporate and Maeve smiles.
- On way home, still red & puffy in the face from her crying jag, Maeve smiles and giggles the whole way.
- Once home, Maeve is ready to play, smiling the whole time.
- Realize Mommy needs a nap badly, wonder how early is acceptable to put your child to bed. Oh boy, what a day. 2 comments

A Milestone Day

Shortly after returning from China, Maeve took her first steps, three in total. Since then she has steadily progressed and by last week she was cruising furniture on a regular basis and taking short (eightish steps at a time) walks on her own mainly in our living room. I knew she was ready to make a huge leap forward, so I bought her a pair of shoes (and a cute pair of sandals) last week. Still she was only comfortable walking in the house and mainly the living room. If she fell too hard, she would cry for me to come pick her up. If I walked into the kitchen (it is an open floor plan so she can still see me) she would cry until I came back, but not make any attempt to follow me into the kitchen.

All of her behavior is normal for her age. Maeve's comfort zone is me, so as she experiences new things she has one eye on me at all times. To help her through this, I have been encouraging her to get back up and to walk/crawl to me when she is upset versus me going to her. Most of the time she is crying because she is unsure, not because she is hurt or truly upset. With a little (okay alot of - you would think she won an Olympic gold medal from the applause in my house when she picks herself up after a little tumble) encouragement, Maeve is gradually expanding her comfort zone and becoming more and more independant (in a toddler fashion, not quite ready for her first apartment yet.) :)

Today, I could really see this. Midday she started walking nonstop. No more crying when I left the room, she simply followed me. My snuggler became a wiggle worm today as she did not want to be up in my arms at all, but down on the ground walking away and away and away. Needless to say, I was in chase mode for most of the day. She still waddles a bit like a drunken sailor and the slight decline at the bottom of the driveway had her working on her balance, but she appears to be a "walker" now. Wow! From first steps less than four weeks ago (not to mention barely crawling less than six weeks ago) to walking nonstop. This is what people mean when they say, "children grow up so fast". She isn't even 14 months old yet and I can see this.

Everyday I wake up with a smile and remember how lucky I am to have her in my life. Maeve continues to amaze me daily with everything she does, whether it is the way she reaches for me with her beautiful smile when I take her out of the carseat, finding her cute ticklish spot under her chin or the crazy, contortionist ways this little girl likes to take a nap. Each day with Maeve is full of new discoveries. And each night I go to sleep dreaming of what the next day will bring. 1 comments

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers out there and a special wish for a speedy referral for all those who are waiting!!

Here are some pictures from our first Mother's Day together.

Big poofy dresses and car seats do not mix, but we managed. :)


Update Time

Just a quick update on Maeve and her antics...

We started a couple new classes this week including "Mommy & Baby" swim classes & Gym-minis at the YMCA. Maeve had a good time at all of her classes, although the first few minutes tend to be a bit iffy. When I take her somewhere that is somewhat chaotic, with children and parents all over, she clings to me with an iron grip and whimpers a little bit. I wonder if she was comparing it too the last time we were in such a chaotic environment with nannies, crying babies and new parents? She knows I'm her Mom, but she is still working on the trust that I will never let her go. Once we settle into class and she realizes that I'm not going anywhere or handing her off to anyone, she has a great time. She even let me take her underwater three times at her swimming class. :) Maeve is still in and loving Baby Sign. She hasn't signed anything yet, but I can tell she recognizes the signs I make for her bottle, eat and crackers. Hopefully she will be signing up a storm within a few weeks. Overall, our schedule includes one to two activities a day now. Maeve loves our outings, especially when there are other children involved. She is starting to go up to the other kids and smile at them now.

We are still working on her eating habits. Lately, Maeve's favorite foods include, anything in her bottle, any type of crunchy crackers, the dog's food and various pieces of dirt and stuff on the floor. :) Oh well, we are working on it. Right now, I'm encouraging her to eat more solid foods, using positive reinforcement. We are eating together so she can watch me eat and I usually make her a little of whatever I'm eating so she can try it. Today, I tried a new recipe for "eggy toast" and she actually ate some of that, then threw the rest on the floor for the dogs. That, by the way, is her new game to play at mealtime. Throw the food on the floor and watch the dogs run for it. Now the dogs are outside while we eat. The good news is she is gaining weight and will drink down just about anything in her bottle, so thanks to a great suggestion from another Mommy (Thanks Michelle), I make "smoothies" for her. Basically a jar of baby food and milk mixed together. She drinks a couple of day, so I try to do one fruit and one vegetable. Who knew she would like a "green bean smoothie" ?!

My doctor called with the results of all of her testing and I am happy to say she is a very healthy little girl. Not looking forward to our next round of shots in a few weeks, but we will jump that hurdle when we get there. Overall, Maeve is doing really well. Any delays she experienced from basically being in a crib for the first 12 months of her life have mostly disappeared. Verbally she is doing well too. Right now she only says "MaMa", but she talks up a storm in baby babble. We carry on entire conversations that way. :) With all the baby babble happening, I think her first new words will happen soon.

When I first brought Maeve home, she was doing well, but you could see the difference in skill sets when you put her next to a baby the same age. Now, I'm happy to say she is catching up quickly. She blends right in with the crowd (of babies of course). One mother I met when I first brought her home and hadn't seen for a few weeks told me she could not believe how much she had progressed when we saw each other again a few days ago. I agree. My little Maeve is strong, resilient and able to overcome so much in her life so far. She continues to amaze me everyday. 3 comments

New Shoes

Now that Maeve is officially walking (well, eight steps, fall down, eight more steps, fall down type of thing), I bought her some new shoes. One minor meltdown later, she loves them. Maeve was so funny when I first put them on her (aside from the meltdown.) She stomped her feet, wiggled them around and just stared at the them. Of course she wanted to taste them too. After a bit she was laughing and stomping around, clearly enjoying her shoes.

Here are some pictures. It was really hard to take a nonblurry picture. This child is in constant motion. :)



Maeve kindly posed for a few photos to model just a few of her many, many hats.

Of course Maeve insisted on first things first! Negotiation of the terms. I'm surprised she did not insist on legal representation, but it appears that as long as I kept the crackers a coming that she was happy to be my modeling Diva.

Then, it was down to business. A little raspberry anyone?

Here she is in her beach hat. She wore this later when we went swimming. Actually, it was more like, I put it on, she took it off, I put it on, she took it off. Overall, a very fun game to play with Mommy. :)

Then she did a little modeling of her cute little green cap with the bumble bee on it. Uh Oh, I think the crackers are running out.

One more quick one in a cute tweed hat that is waaay to big for her, but Mommy just had to have.

No crackers, no pictures. Off she goes to play with her toys under the watchful gaze of her doggie, Smudge.

Of course there are more pictures of her antics today. I'll post again in a day or two the rest. 2 comments

Pictures & a quick update

Maeve is better, but still recovering from all of her vaccinations. My little trooper has been in a pretty good mood considering that she has been running a fever on and off and is tired most of the day. We are taking several mini-naps to keep our spirits up. I love mini-naps. :)

I say she is a trooper, because, of course, this is the week that I'm checking out childcare places. Today, I found a winner! I still have an appointment tomorrow that I will check out, but this woman was great and I loved her place and overall attitude. Now the hard part, figuring how I am going to leave Maeve with her. Of course, I still have a few weeks on my leave, but still this is not a fun thing to think about. :(

Well, enough of all that. Here are a few pictures that I snapped of Maeve over the weekend when she was in better spirits. I am trying to get her to wear hats, so I can do a fashion show shoot with her this weekend. We'll see...


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