It’s been awhile

It’s been awhile since I’ve been over here.  We’ve just been living life as usual.  I guess I haven’t thought much was going on that was blog worthy but now that I sit here to type the things I would write would take much more time than I have available right now.

Jett wants me to create a photo album of pictures of me/us and so as I did a search on my computer for pictures this video popped up.  I have to admit I have watched it over and over again.  I could die of the sweetness.

This is 2.5 months home:

Stories

Today I had the funniest conversations with my boys.  I know I’ll never remember them so I thought I would write them down.  As I’m trying to decide how to relay the humor I can already tell it will be depleted, I guess intonation and cuteness don’t translate well into black and white letters.  But since I’m doing this to cement the memory in my mind you will just have to add a nice dose of adorableness and innocence to your imagination.  And that is what is so funny about these conversations.  The boys weren’t trying to be funny, they were just being little boys.

So this morning, and yesterday morning and actually all day today, I have been trying to get that house put back together after Christmas and painting both boy’s rooms.  Ugh, it’s a mess.  So, as is typical, Jett is my little shadow.  Especially since Michael went back to school, Jett doesn’t leave my side.  All morning long Jett would go upstairs and bring some toy downstairs to whatever room I was in.  Which honestly aggravated me because every time he brought down a toy it was just going to be one more thing I had to take back upstairs and put away. (Yes, he’s four but carrying toys up our long steep stairs isn’t something I usually ask the boys to do.  Every few days/weeks I collect a nice bag of them and carry them upstairs and then nag the boys for the next hour to PUT THEM AWAY.  It’s a battle.)  Anyways, so this morning I was in my closet hanging up clothes and Jett brings in the blanket off his bed.  I have no idea why he decided to drag this blanket, it’s a queen, off his bed, downstairs, and into my room but he did.  (Funny side story, it’s a white blanket and he draped it over his head and said, “Look Mama, I have long hair!” as he paraded around my room with it.  If I’d had a camera handy you’d have a picture of it.)  So… we are in my closet and Jett has brought more toys downstairs i.e. more work for me.  I say to him, “Jett why do you insist on bringing more stuff downstairs?”  He explains, “I can’t help myself Mama.  I just have to do it.  I can’t help myself just like you can’t help yourself from eating Twinkies.  Lots of Twinkies, you just can’t help yourself and I can’t help myself.”   Really the list is much longer than just Twinkies.  Taco Bueno, Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha, Pei Wei, Pier 1 Imports… I could go on.  Luckily Jett didn’t and I didn’t nag him about it anymore.

Later that day, after a run to Taco Bueno, we were chatting about random stuff (which is the only thing my boys seem to want to talk about) and Jett starts discussing about how when he gets older he will never leave me, cause he loves me (aww).  Only he might leave me and then come visit at Christmas.  But to come visit me at Christmas he needs a car.  And he can buy a car because he has lots of money in his “penny bank”.  He has 60, 70, 80 cents in his “penny bank” and he wants to grow up and buy a car so he can come visit me.  (Yes, our conversations are very circular.)  I told him that cars cost lots of money and he said he knew that and that he needed me to take him to a dealership so he could pick out a car.  I explained that there are lots of dealerships and I needed to know what kind of car he wanted.  Without even having to think about it he told me he wanted a sports car.  A, ahem, a pink sports car.  His father would be so…  never mind.

Then tonight we were driving to Pei Wei for dinner, don’t judge me, and out of nowhere Michael says, “Mama I’m still so full of donuts.”  Donuts!  I got a little upset because we didn’t give him donuts and those certainly aren’t what I would consider a healthy snack at school.  “Did you have donuts at school today?”  “No, the hot donuts.  I’m still really full of the hot donuts that Aunt Anne gave me.”  Ha!  He is talking about our trip to Krispy Kreme back in September for my Uncle’s birthday party when the child ate no less than 6 donuts.  And how after I cut him off at 3 his Aunt Nie and Aunt Anne and his Daddy kept giving him another donut anytime he asked for one.  No wonder he is still full!  (Admittedly I was a little disappointed though because I was hoping he would decide he wasn’t full of them and then I would have an excuse to get some hot donuts for myself.  Alas, my 35 pound 5 year old has more self-control than me).

So there we have it, a day where my boys kept me smiling and my heart happy.

On a side note, tonight while we were at Pei Wei we were just finishing up dinner and eating our fortune cookies when I opened mine, it read “You will soon have your heart’s desire.”  Michael said, “The one you love is closer than you think.”  And Jett’s said, “You have the ability to touch the lives of many people.”  I thought all of our fortunes were so special I was going to take a picture and when Michael, after reading mine, asked, “What does desire mean?” I told him and he said, “I desire… cuddles!”  and gave me a sweet hug.  (Scuba’s said, “In the next year you will move into a wonderful new house.”  I never want to move again, I don’t care how “wonderful” the house is, so I ignored that one.)  Towards the end of our meal the manager came over and pointing to Jett said, “I just wanted to give these to you because that little boy is just so cute.  I can’t tell you how cute he is.  And because he has been so well behaved I thought you might enjoy these.”  He gave us 2 $10 gift cards to his restaurant!  I thought that was so sweet!  Now, of course I think my boys are adorable but I have to admit it was kind of nice for someone else to notice too!🙂

We’ve had a wonderful break with our boys and I have just been extra thankful for my family.

4 year pictures

We finally, finally!, got 4 year pictures taken of Jett.  We had to reschedule at least 5 times, it was ridiculous.  And then they called us to say that their printer was broken and that we should probably reschedule.  We decided to go ahead and keep the appointment which worked out because everyone else cancelled but the printer was fixed.  It was kind of nice to be by ourselves.  Unfortunately we got the new girl which led to its own set of problems, the most prominent one being that she didn’t capture great shots of Jett.  Some of the best shots she was either zoomed in too much to make the shot practical or zoomed out too much, so far zoomed out that even by cropping and enlarging it still wasn’t usable.  Oh, well.  We chose the ones you see below.

Portrait Innovations always has their “special” package which gets you lots of pictures of one shot.  We chose the picture below.

Then we got 5×7’s of the following pictures.

And one 8×10 of this one, which in hindsight I wish I had purchased as wallets.  It’s a great picture of Jett but she is so close that I think head looks funny not having much of a body to speak of and then there is glare on his glasses.  But I love his smile.

Blessed

I love Michael’s room.  I love the colors and how everything is coordinated.  I still want to add a few finishing touches but for the most part I am really happy with it.

Jett’s room is a little different, not that I don’t love it, but I love it for different reasons.  Michael’s room is definitely boy, I mean come on – it is hot rod themed.

Jett’s however doesn’t have an obvious theme, in fact I am sure my decorator friend Tracey just wants to turn around the moment she walks in because it seems so disjointed.

Michael’s room was born out of Hobby Lobby and Target.  Jett’s room however tells a story.  And I will share it here with you.

Firstly, I always associate the color green with Jett.  (I think the reason might be that one of the first pictures I ever received of Jett he was wearing a green knit sweater.) Oh my gosh, how could you just not love this face?  It was 5 more months before we brought him home.  Torture.

So when searching for a comforter for Jett’s room I was drawn to color green.

The picture above Jett’s bed is an antique world map (not a real antique world map, that is just what Hobby Lobby called it.  A real antique world map would’ve been cool though, huh?)  I wanted something that showed both China and the United States next to each other.  The Chinese writing on the wall next to it says, “Charm”.  I could have chosen Victory, or Brave, or Hope among others, but I felt Charm described Jett perfectly.  And the blue bear pillow was the decorative pillow on my bed when I was younger.

The wagon was a handmade gift from my grandfather, Papa, when I was one year old.  The lanterns were at Jett’s first birthday we celebrated with him and they are hand painted by my friend Lindsay. Aren’t they beautiful!

The framed print on the wall is a poster made by my friend Jenn from a quote I created regarding how I felt about our miracle of adoption and God’s hand in it.

The blanket and pillow are made by my friend Amy from material Scuba brought home from a trip he made to China before we even began the adoption process but knew we would adopt from there.  And the cute little boy is another souvenir we brought home from China.🙂

The tree doesn’t have any sentimental value, it is just a bamboo tree.  The craft on the top right are some flowers Jett and his Daddy made one morning while Michael and I were at church.

The squares are also made by Amy from the Chinese silk.  In the middle is a round jade family ball that Scuba also brought back from China.  It is made from a solid piece of jade and has smaller and smaller balls inside of it that move independently of each other.  Next to that on the left are Chinese stamps with Jett’s Chinese name.  To the right are two mugs.  The one in the back is a Christmas present from a dear friend Phuong who mentored me for many years before she became a missionary in China.  The mug in the front, along with the brown box were gifts we received from Jett’s orphanage when we visited there.  They said it was a celebration of the city’s anniversary and the mug was made from Xuzhou clay.  It really is a beautiful mug.  (The elephants on the left are Asian elephants bought at Hobby Lobby.)

On the top left you see a yellow and white photo album.  This album was also a gift from Jett’s orphanage and has something most adoptive parents of international children never receive, baby pictures.  There aren’t a whole lot, but what we have we treasure.  And Jett loves to look through it.  Inside the album is Chinese money given to us by a co-worker of my dad who helped to translate emails we received from the orphanage while we waited.  Giving money is a Chinese tradition.  In front of the photo album is Jett’s Chinese adoption certificate.  The first picture is from Jett’s first Christmas.  The middle picture is the one from the orphanage I showed you above.  That picture was emailed to me from one of the orphanage directors and I can’t tell you how much time I stared at that sweet face wondering about the little boy who was so far away from me.  It is still one of my favorites.  The picture on the right is the family picture the adoption officials took to attach to our adoption certificate.  To the right of that is artwork that Scuba’s aunt made, it is his name.

On the bottom row on the far left are two pairs of shoes.  The bronze ones are mine.  When my mom had my shoes bronzed she couldn’t find my first pair of shoes so she had these done, I was probably a year old.  The navy shoes right behind these are the shoes Jett was wearing when we first met him.  The are definitely hand me down shoes that had been worn my many feet.  The white ceramic cross was a gift from a friend of my mom’s and it says, “For this child I have prayed.”  So ture.  The picture in the middle is the famous red couch picture that I think all adoptive Chinese families take at the White Swan hotel.  Jett was wearing the little Chinese outfit we bought him while we were there.  Such a handsome litttle boy.  And the picture on the right is a one year old me sitting on the wagon.

So there you have it, all of the little pieces that make Jett’s room very special to me.  I love how so many loved friends and family have contributed to make it special.

Jett turned 4!

Yesterday was Jett’s 4th birthday and in typical Jett fashion he reveled in the attention.  We had considered keeping Michael home from school so we could do something fun with the two of them but decided that Jett might really enjoy being the center of attention – and he did!  Due to a series of well-timed events my parents were able to be here for Jett’s birthday even though it was the middle of the week.

I spent much longer than I expected to making Jett’s birthday cake, not being highly skilled or having key ingredients will do that to you, so I was glad that I did that on Tuesday so I wasn’t spending all day on his actual birthday making his cake.

We started off Jett’s birthday with a special request breakfast: banana waffles and fruit.

And he also got his special birthday balloons.  We had Thomas, Bob the Builder, and Mickey Mouse. (It would help if I actually had a picture of the balloons but you can still see his enthusiasm.)

We opened presents from my parents after breakfast so that he wasn’t waiting all day to open presents at his party and that way they could spend time with him playing with his new toys.  The big hit was a plush Mickey Mouse doll.

And silly boy also was beside himself because of a box of Rice Krispies because I refuse to buy those anymore (the boys are starving 30 minutes later and they are like cement to clean up.)

We picked Michael up from school about 20 minutes early and went to Chickfila for lunch.  After that the boys took a good nap while we cleaned house getting ready for the family dinner/party.

Jett’s chose corn dogs for his meal and I also had the fixings for chili dogs.  After dinner we opened gifts and then ate cake while waiting for the ice cream truck.

If you notice much of our day revolved around food – a boy after my own heart!

At four years old Jett is really easy going, he is up for pretty much anything and is just really happy almost all of the time.  He is not much of a sleeper and sleeps probably 2 less hours a day than Michael does, but then he will play catch up and just crash for a few days taking long naps and sleeping in late.  He loves to play games and asks me all the time to do Bible Study and arts and crafts – two things I am getting better at saying yes to much more often.  Jett has a mischievous personality and has a great sense of humor, we frequently burst out laughing when Jett is around.  He loves to help cook in the kitchen and says he wants to be a chef when he grows up.  He likes to make up things for me to cook.  Corn Pie was his first invention and now he wants me to make marshmallow milk.  And the corn pie wasn’t bad!  I’m thinking it has to be a regional staple somewhere, he can’t be the first person to have thought of it.  Basically Jett is a joy and delight and we are so thankful for our little boy, our big 4 year old!

Jett’s First Day of School

Last year Jett went to school one hour a week and I stayed with him.  At his annual meeting to determine his eligibility and modifications due to his albinism and low vision the school really wanted him to attend full-time, 7:30-2:45 Monday – Friday.  I am sure they wanted this because they want money due to his attendance.  I don’t believe there is any justification to require Jett to attend school full-time, and I told them so at the meeting.  I was going to allow him to just attend one day a week but I gave in and decided that he could attend 2 days.  So today was Jett’s first day of school and he goes again tomorrow and then on Wednesday he turns 4!

I spent about 2 hours last night typing up letters to his teacher with directions on sunscreen and explaining his separation anxiety.  And then this morning I decided to change some things and retyped them.  Most of the time I never even think about Jett as having a disability but when he goes to school and you realize that he requires a little more preparation and worry on my part it sinks in a little bit.  I was going to have her sunscreen Jett every 90 minutes regardless of whether he would be going outside but changed my mind at the last minute and decided that he just needed sunscreen 30 minutes before recess and pickup.  I gave her No-Ad and Mustela, basically one chemical and on barrier sunscreen.  The No-Ad is for daily use and the Mustela is just in case he is going outside and she forgot to apply the chemical sunscreen.

I also provided 4 sets of hats, sunglasses, and barrier sunscreen to go in his teachers emergency bag.  The teachers have a little bag that they take with them in case of evacuation and every teacher that would have Jett received these supplies plus one extra for the nurse to grab.

For moms that have been there/done this I would love advice on what you have done to make sure your child is protected and the teachers prepared.

To get Jett ready for school we have really been talking about what Jett can expect at school and when I will be picking him up and  Jett has been really excited.  In fact when I strapped him into his car seat this morning Jett said to me, “I am so happy to be going to school today.”  Which made me so happy.

He was in a great mood this morning despite me having to wake him up early.

He wanted oatmeal with apples for breakfast and was very happy to pose for pictures and give everyone hugs and kisses as he walked out the door.  Scuba dropped Michael off at school on his way to work so it was just Jett and me.

The school was packed! Cars were jumping curbs and parking in a field – it was crazy!  Jett was still very enthusiastic and ran down the hallway ahead of me to his classroom.

And he ran in and gave his teacher a big hug!

And put away his belongings.

He was happy and talkative and exploring and then other kids starting arriving and Jett started getting anxious and clingy.  By the time it was time for me to leave he was crying and his teacher had to peel him off of me.  I was sick to my stomach worrying about him the rest of the day.

I picked Michael up from school at 12:30 and we head out to buy Jett a few birthday presents.  Then we head over to pick up Jett.  Somewhere between Walmart and the school Michael fell asleep.

When we arrived I literally had to carry Michael up to the school, he never woke up!  Jett could’ve cared less that I was there – so I guess that’s a good sign?  He did get a little upset once talking about how I left him when he wanted to give me one more kiss but other than that he really enjoyed telling me all about his day.

We went straight to the grocery store to pick out his birthday treat that we are taking to school tomorrow and to buy groceries for dinner (I didn’t want to buy them at Walmart and then have sitting in the car).  On our way home from the grocery store Jett fell asleep.

Tomorrow I get to work on Jett’s cake.  He doesn’t want a cake at all actually, his birthday is on the same day that the ice cream truck comes and all he wants is ice cream.  But I’m an old fashioned girl and I believe that if you’re having a birthday then there needs to be cake.  So when pressed Jett says he wants a Thomas cake with a bridge.  Wish me luck on this one, I’m winging it! I made a trial cake earlier this week and it was a mess!  So I’m changing a few things and hoping that I figure it out.  I’m sure I’ll post pictures.