Tuesday, November 15, 2011

September - October Update

Hello November! I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is a little over a week away. Where has the time gone?!? September was a good month for us in that we were able to take our first “family trip” together since Wesley has been home. We were flying back east to visit Brian’s family in New Hampshire. The weeks leading up to the trip gave me a ton of anxiety but as it turns out, it was all for nothing. Wesley hadn’t been on a plane since we flew him home from Seoul and we had no idea how he’d react. Then, we had to deal with the issue of him sleeping somewhere other than his own crib – something else we haven’t done yet. And finally, he was going to be meeting a lot of family members (and a few very close friends) and there was some concern of him being overwhelmed. Well, the little dude was a Class A Champ. We decided to bring his car seat on the plane and when we initially got him in his seat he freaked out, and of course everyone started giving us the stink eye. Although this is EXACTLY what we had expected, Brian and I started sweating profusely, then I pulled out the infamous “hammer” that Wesley doesn’t go anywhere without and some snacks and low and behold, the crying/screaming stopped! Who knew?

The rest of the flight was great. We were prepared with many of his favorite toys/books as well as some news ones (thanks to the advice of some of my mom friends) and of course snacks and we were good to go. Brian’s mom was able to borrow a pack-n-play for us to use for Wesley’s nap and sleep time and it was perfect! We all slept in the same room and he did awesome! We had a fabulous dinner our first night in Wolfeboro at Brian’s mom’s house where Wesley was able to meet Brian’s sister and her family as well as some family friends and Brian’s mom’s partner, Ben. Wesley and our niece Mikayla really hit it off. The two of them ended up spending a lot of time together during our stay in Wolfeboro, NH. It was really cute.

Brian's family playing punch ball with Wesley

I got the punch ball!

Wesley and Mikayla hanging out.

One very important visit while in New Hampshire was a trip to see Brian’s grandmother “Gram” (who just turned 100 by the way on November 3) so that Wesley could meet his only Great-grandparent. Brian’s Aunt Fran put together a lovely lunch at Gram’s house and we had a wonderful visit. Wesley managed to entertain everyone by doing summersaults and singing his ABC’s. He was also quite taken and intrigued by Gram’s walker and kept trying to swing from the arm(s) of it. That’s my son.

Gram, Me, Wesley and Brian

Wesley checking out Gram's walker.

Aunt Fran and Uncle Bob

I always love it when we visit Wolfeboro. It’s a very special place to me for many reasons: 1) It’s Brian’s hometown. 2) Many people that I/we love live there. 3) People that live there just seem to have a better quality of life (it is “THE Oldest Summer Resort in America”). 4) It truly is a beautiful New England town.
Our flight home wasn’t as smooth – we had some delays and a few other hiccups along the way, and got home around 2am, but again Wesley was a trooper. All and all, it was a great trip and we had a wonderful time!

Brian's mom, brother-in-law, niece and sister.

Mr. and Mrs. Santoro, good friends of the family (they're basically family).

Hanging out at a local park in Wolfeboro with Wesley.

Our Wolfeboro family - we miss them all so much already!

In August of last year we found out that neighbors of ours across the street (in our old neighborhood) were adopting a little boy from South Korea from the same agency that we were using. Since then, we met their son Aiden (who is a cutie) and as it turns out both boys now go to the same daycare. We finally managed to get the boys together for a play date after we returned from New Hampshire. They had a blast!

Aiden and Wesley getting ready to go down the slide.


The boys hug before we say our final good-byes.

Wesley was desperately missing his best girl Kira (our goddaughter) since the last time we got together, so her mama and I made plans to meet up at a place called Apple Hill not too far from where we live. Kira and her parents, Alison and Jim made the drive from the Bay Area up to Folsom and then the five of us headed to the Foothills towards Apple Hill for some fresh apple goodness, fun and more! Our first stop was a place called Rainbow Orchards. They are known for their hot, fresh apple donuts. Mmmmm, just writing about them makes my mouth water. We ordered some for the kids and a few (or more) for us adults and some organic apple cider and had a nice little snack to start our trip.

Kira and Wesley snacking on their warm, fresh apple donuts. Mmmmm!

Then, we headed off to High Hill Ranch where there is literally something for everyone. Arts, crafts, kettle corn, apple pies, pony rides, train rides, and let’s not forget the infamous Fudge Factory. The kids went straight for the train ride (Wesley’s first EVER). Lots of fun and laughs for all! Kira was a brave little gal and went on the pony ride – Wesley was completely fine admiring her from afar. Then, Uncle Jim scored some brownie points by buying the kids some fish food to feed the trout (I think that’s what they were?). All of the activities and excitement started to get to Wesley and his sugar high from the apple donuts had definitely worn off, so it was time for us to hit the road. So, we said “Good-bye” to Apple Hill and hit the highway.

Wesley's first train ride. Whoa!!!!

Maybe I'll lean in to get a little closer to my girl. . . Hee, hee!

Kids feeding fish - is there anything cuter?

Thank you Auntie Alison for holding Wesley's arm so that he didn't go into the lake.

From their point-of-view. LOVE this one!

October was also a good month for us in the sense that I started working again at the end of the month. I took a contract job for the next 3-4 months with a local credit union in their Marketing Department while one of their employees is on maternity leave. There is a full-time position currently open in the department that I’m vying for while I’m on contract, so we’ll see. . . I really like the people I work with/for and I’m enjoying the job thus far. It’s so good to be using my brain again and to get the creative juices flowing. I will admit that although it was stressful being out of work for three months, it was nice to spend some quality time with my little peanut. He and I got even closer these past few months and I really got to experience his ever-developing personality. He is smart, funny, caring, loving and I couldn’t imagine a little boy more perfect for our family.

As Halloween began to approach we took a trip to our favorite pumpkin patch, Zittel Farms. My parents joined us again in our quest for the PERFECT pumpkin. Our first stop was to visit some goats grazing on some grass (behind a gate of course). Then, the “search” began. We took a few breaks to take some pictures and a wagon ride or two. Then, the search continued. A stop at the petting zoo is a MUST! And, finally we were on our way with one GIANT pumpkin.

Looking at the goats with Grandy (my Mom)

Family photo

How did we go from THIS. . .

To THIS?!?

I LOVE the petting zoo!

We called Wesley the "Pig Whisperer."

Halloween was really fun this year for Wesley; he really “got” the concept. His daycare hosted a “Trunk or Treat” event a few days prior where the kids dressed up and Trick or Treated (in the closed off parking lot) from decorated car to decorated car getting treats along the way which really helped prep him for the real deal. We’re in a new neighborhood now so we weren’t sure what to expect - Brian stayed home to greet the Trick or Treaters and Wesley and I headed out to get his “treats.” Once we went out into the neighborhood, we saw that it was pretty much empty which made me a little sad, but once Wesley started knocking on doors, our neighbors were so thrilled to see him, it really made their night and ours. He got such a kick out of the whole ritual, it was a precious sight. We hit a handful of houses and then headed home to keep Daddy company. Wesley was able to answer the door a few times which also was exciting for him. Then, it was time for our little dragon to head off to bed.

Me and Wesley at the Trunk or Treat event.

Our little dragon.

Mezmorized by his claws.

That’s our September and October and yes, I know that we’re already halfway through November so that post is already late – but I promise it will get up before December hits. Really! :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Forever Family Day - Home 1 Year

Today our family celebrated a milestone – one year ago, Brian, Wesley and I took a very long plane ride from South Korea back to California to begin our lives as a family of three. It started with an emotional goodbye at the adoption agency in South Korea with Wesley’s foster mom. We had exchanged gifts, expressed our gratitude, but really how do you properly thank someone for taking care of your son for the last 14 months? It was hard. Harder than I thought it would be. Lots of tears. Then, all of the sudden a group of musicians and the three us were all whisked away into one of the “Love Vans” from the agency and we were off to the airport. Wesley was hysterical – not only was this his first time in a car, but he was just taken from the only mother he’s ever known. He cried so hard he vomited all over Brian. We thought he wouldn’t stop crying and then all of the sudden he stopped and fell asleep in Brian’s arms. We wondered if he was ever going to bond with us.

Surprisingly the flight home went smoother than we expected but after 10+ hours of flying and not much sleep for either Brian or myself (Wesley slept 6 hours) the thought of putting Wesley into the car again for 2 ½ hours was starting to hit us. However, it went okay. 30 minutes of crying and then a little sight-seeing and then a nap. Finally, we were home. We came home to a decorated house, filled with food, treats and well wishes from our fabulous friends which made the long trek not seem so bad. It was wonderful and thoughtful. My parents came over for a brief visit to say “hi” to their new grandson and shortly thereafter, Wesley fell asleep from all the excitement.

Brian on the flight with some precious "cargo."

Wesley and Brian napping on the floor our first day home. Note the matching camo. :)

I don’t think any of us had a clue of what was in store for the next year, heck the next 24-48 hours! That night was one of many long nights in the beginning, but it did get better. And, “yes” Wesley has bonded. We’ve had some tough times, but I’d like to think the wonderful times outweigh those. There have been some challenges, but I think it has made us better parents. I have seen a whole new side of my husband that I never knew existed. I’ve watched my parents and my mother-in-law with Wesley and it brings me a level of joy that I can’t even describe; they are the grandparents that any child would be lucky to have.

Wesley and his Nanie (Brian's mom).

Hanging out with Pops and Grandy (my parents).

Over this past year, we’ve watched Wesley develop into a sweet, sensitive, funny, energetic little boy that totally fits into our family. I love that he is cuddly and likes to hug everyone. I love that he thinks it’s funny to wrestle me, not Brian, but me – really? Mom? It’s “Friday Night Smack down” in our house and his “professional” wrestling name is “Spicy Kimchi.” I love that he loves to eat. The child will eat anytime, anyplace, anything. I love that he loves books. I love that he likes to kiss both me and Brian (because you know there will be a day when that’s not cool). I love that he loves to dance and the boy has rhythm. I love his sense of humor. The kid is funny and is always up for a laugh. Sometimes I’ll just look at him and smile and we start laughing. I could go on, let’s just leave it at. . . I love him. And, one year ago today he was the best thing to happen to Brian and me and we will forever be changed and thankful.

Wesley and I did a little "photo shoot" before bedtime tonight - I think he was going for the "dramatic" look.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

May - July Wrap Up. I'm Back!

I can’t believe it’s already the first week of August and that it’s been almost 3 months since I’ve posted. Actually, I can when I look back at what’s transpired since the last post. Here’s the abbreviated version (feel free to stop after this, it’s going to be a long post) – we sold a house, bought a house, Wesley turned 2, we moved out and moved in, Wesley had ear tube surgery (both ears) and I was laid off from my job. In between the majority of this we’ve been working on unpacking and redoing/remodeling the “fixer upper” of a house that we bought, which I do not recommend with a 2 year old.

Let me start by saying that although it’s been a hectic couple of months, we (especially Wesley) have all hung in there and we’re doing fine. Now, down to some of the nitty gritty from the events mentioned above. Before we moved out of our old house, we threw a birthday bash for Wesley. Since he was still in Seoul with his foster family for his 1st birthday, this was the first birthday he was celebrating with us so treated it like we would his 1st birthday and invited close friends and their kids in addition to our family.

Since we were going to have a wide age range of kids coming, we planned a variety of activities for the party from a bounce house and t-shirt decorating station to a piƱata and ultra cool bean bag toss game (custom made by our friends Jose and Shannon). I also hired a face painter to come for a few hours – some of the adults even took advantage of her skills! It was a beautiful day and we all had a blast. Wesley was a bit overwhelmed (this was the most people we had at our home to date) and as I think back, I believe he was fighting an ear infection, so he wasn’t completely himself but he enjoyed the day.

The following weekend was Wesley’s actual birthday and Brian, Wesley, my parents and I went to dinner at our favorite Korean restaurant for dinner. After some amazing grill-your-own food; Wesley had japchae (Korean noodles) and veggies, some of the waitresses came over to sing a special B-day song and present a yummy dessert to the Birthday Boy. Of course he cried, but it was really cute. Although he’s lactose intolerant, we let him have a little bit of the ice cream sandwich treat – truth is, we couldn’t pull it away from him!

Then came moving day. Brian and I consider ourselves two fairly “together” and organized individuals. Let me tell you that the day before moving day was complete packing chaos. Thank goodness for my mom. She offered to come over and help and we were so grateful for that extra pair of hands. Things are just so different when you’re living with a toddler. You’re so much more limited in what you can and cannot do and what you can and cannot live without. Needless to say, we were up packing until 12:30am the night/morning before the move – I felt like I was back in college cramming for an exam. The move itself went very smooth despite the fact that it was raining. The movers hauled booty and were done in no time. Then you have that moment of “holy cow, what did we just do?” hit you as you look around at all of your stuff. It’s a bit overwhelming, especially knowing again that it’s a whole different ballgame with a toddler in the house.

Fast forward a few weeks – we’re still unpacking. Wesley’s room was the first to be completely set up and unpacked before we ended the day on moving day – that was a given. Wesley has been on and off sick since we moved including one trip at 4am to the Emergency Room. He’s now on his 7th ear infection however relief was right around the corner! On June 21 I brought him to the hospital to have ear tube surgery in both ears. The procedure itself was very fast – it was going under the anesthesia and coming out of it that took awhile. Once he was home and had some lunch, we could immediately see improvement in his demeanor. And, knock on wood, he’s been a new kid ever since. When I look back I’m sad for all the suffering he had to go through to get to this point. He was miserable. So many sleepless/restless nights. It was hard on all of us, but for him it had to be awful. I’m just thankful that it’s hopefully behind us.

July has been pretty uneventful because we’ve been so wrapped up in working on the house. We did spend the 4th of July holiday at my brother’s house celebrating both America’s independence and my nephew Jaden’s 7th birthday. Wesley had a blast hanging out with my nephew Brooks and playing outside with water toys.

The poopy news in our house is that on July 15th, I was laid off from my job of almost 3 years. I worked at a small advertising agency and when new business isn’t coming in; unfortunately cuts need to be made. So, I’ve been busy looking for a new gig. The end of the month started the series of anniversaries to celebrate in our home. Most were associated with Wesley’s homecoming – 7/22 Travel Call, 7/28 Travel Date and 7/30 First Meeting. Then, Brian and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary on July 31st.

My parents came over and watched Wesley so that we could go have a nice dinner out. Sadly, this is only the 3rd date we have had since we brought Wesley home almost a year ago (the other 2 dates were for both of our birthdays). Clearly, we need to get out more.

Well, I think at this point we’re pretty much up to speed. I just took Wesley to his 2-year Well Child Care appointment with his pediatrician (a few months late, he’s very popular). Despite a mini-meltdown with our favorite doctor, all went well. Wesley is off the charts when it comes to height (stop laughing Dad) at 3’ 2.5” and is keeping up with the pack (and stretching out nicely) with his weight at 31 lbs. 8.4 oz. Honestly we thought he’d be heavier. LOL! Wesley’s speech has been on fire these past two months. Explosive would be a better word. You can’t get the kid to stop talking! He goes to bed talking. He wakes up talking. He truly is my son. Some of his new favorite words/sayings are: all done, banana, Mmmmmm!, please, Boo (this is his new name for Daddy), yeah, No! and bye-bye. And, the newest obsession is the ABC song. It is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. He’s got the rhythm of the song down and a handful of the letters. I’ve got to get it on my Flip Video. It’s precious.

We’re now just days away from celebrating Wesley’s Forever Family Day. I can’t believe that it’s almost here. The fact that a year has passed since we brought our sweet boy home. This post has been long enough, so I’ll save the emotional, mushy, reflective thoughts for Thursday. But all I can say is that our lives have never been better and it’s all because of a little boy that let us in his world and in his heart.