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.