About Me

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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tired Tuesday

Thankfully, someone is FINALLY sleeping.

Greetings from one tired Mama. We've been dealing with some pretty heavy behavior issues where sleeping is concerned these past few weeks, and J and I are walking around like zombies. Last night, after going down peacefully to bed at 8 and after 45 minutes of silence, the Noodle decided to "make her presence known". The crying started and then she quickly moved into the wailing of "Mamaaaaa! Daddyyyyy!", the shrieking, the standing up in the crib and the yelling so that for the next hour and half, until 10:10 p.m. to be exact, we had yet another full-blown temper tantrum on our hands. She finally caved to exhaustion but then decided to go for round two at 4:00 a.m. That one lasted until 5:15 a.m. J and I are totally at a loss as to why this is happening, how we should handle it and what we can do to prevent this from becoming "standard practice". Thankfully it is not happening every night, but still once or twice a week is soooo unlike her.

Each night after the consistent bedtime routine, before she goes down, we remind her of what "good going to sleep" looks like (i.e. quiet body, eyes shut, no yelling, crying or temper tantrums, etc.), how once we give her that one last kiss and cuddle then we're not coming back in and how if she does have a temper tantrum, then she'll not be able to play with her car (HIGHLY motivating toy right now--and it seemed like there should be some consequence for totally inappropriate behavior, even if it is delayed). When we do go in to check on her, during the beginning of the tantrums, she employs all kinds of "stalling" techniques--kleenex for the eyes, covers on, covers off, bear in the crib, bear out of the crib, etc., etc. and is able to completely stop the behavior IMMEDIATELY. The behaviorist in me feels that this is just classic manipulation and a child being strong-willed. If there was something really wrong, then she wouldn't be able to stop crying just because one of us walks into the room. Sooooo we're waiting her out and gritting our teeth in the process. Even if it takes an hour and a half because, hey, if they pick me up and settle me down after an hour and a half, then I know they'll eventually cave, I just have to keep up my display of emotions.

My mantra to J and myself is that "the behavior will get worse before it gets better. It will get worse before it gets better." Her speech therapist also reminded me today that we need to give it 3 days of the same response to the behavior and then see if that doesn't make a difference. Anyone have any old N*nny 911 or Supern*nny shows for us to watch?!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kitchen Greens recipe

A sorority sister of mine gave me this tasty recipe for any kind of greens you may have--collards, kale, beet greens, etc. I used it for our dinner tonight. Thanks Sister B...it was delicious!! The Noodle ate the entire thing, in fact that was about all she ate tonight.

Creamed Kitchen Greens
Blanche greens 30-60 sec. in boiling salted water and then cool in ice water; saute 2minced shallots in 4T butter until soft; sprinkle with a touch of flour and whisk around; add 2C warmed heavy cream and whisk; let simmer down about half and then add S and P and a little nutmeg.

I had found a nice sounding recipe that combined the potatoes and turnips, but when I went downstairs into the basement (where I kept them to keep them cool) I found that they had shriveled. Bummer. I used the recipe for the potatoes and made a mashed potato gratin. That plus the pickled beets J had made (delicious!) and the BBQ short ribs in the crock pot (ala Dr. G), we had a yummy meal. It was a bit heavy for summer, but hey, we used the veggies we had. We won't even think of the fat or calorie content.

Sorry the picture is not better. I tried to keep the food separate...I HATE it when foods touch or run together...pet peeve of mine...but alas it didn't work.

Reading all around

A somewhat lesser-known fact about our family is that we while we do have 1 T.V., we hardly ever watch it. We also rarely watch movies, therefore our T.V. doesn't get much attention. When the switch was made to digital T.V., we had to go out and buy a better set of rabbit ears because we don't have cable but still wanted to be able to turn on the tube every once in a while. When people find out this little nugget of information, they often ask, "But what do you do in the evenings or to 'tune-out'"? We always answer...READ!!! Books, magazines, the newspaper. There is a huge pile of J's magazines littering our house and I've always got a stack of books to dive into. I guess this behavior is wearing off on the Noodle...not that that is a bad thing!

Where is that Goldbug?! I know he's in here somewhere!
Chomping on some felt pizza while I read Mama's paperback--life is good.
Letters, letters everywhere.

***I do have to admit that when we go on vacation and stay somewhere with cable, we do enjoy it...tremendously. TLC, Discovery, HGTV, The Food Network. We get so sucked in and while we mean to only watch it for a half hour, the next time we look at the clock, it is waaaaay past our bedtimes. Just reinforces how if you have it, you'll watch it. It is only because of our vacations that I know anything about Jon and Kate.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CSA Week 2

Can I interest you in a potato?

When the Noodle and I arrived home after getting the produce, J was out in the garden picking spinach. There was just enough for one portion. The Noodle wasn't even out of her car seat before she ate the entire thing. Interestingly enough, when we're inside, she REFUSES to eat it...won't even touch it. Hmmm...must be something about the extra soil.

This week's bounty included: red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, "kitchen greens" (not quite sure, but I think this includes a little bit of everything like kale, collards, beet greens, etc.), beets, turnips, garlic scamps, new potatoes and onions. We had some of the red leaf lettuce for dinner tonight. Literally fresh off the farm.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kale recipe and prayer

Indian Spiced Kale and Chickpeas

1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
kale, ribs removed and coarse chopped
1 C chicken/veg broth
1tsp ground coriander
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4 t garam masala
dash salt and pepper
1 can chick peas drained and rinsed

Heat oil in pan and cook garlic to release flavors; stir in kale and cook/toss a few minutes; add broth and seasonings and cook until kale is tender; add chick peas and heat until peas are warm. Serve immediately.

Yum-O. Had this as part of Father's Day dinner tonight. The Chinese Noodle was into the flavor, but not so much the texture of the kale (sucked each leaf and then promptly put them back on her plate). She totally chowed on the chick peas though. J gave it 2 thumbs up. Another quick, easy dish. Perfect.

On a different note, I had noticed last week that there was a spot in the roof of the Noodle's mouth. The surgeon had told us that there was a chance that a fistula (opening) could form, due to a weak area in her mouth. I called for another appoinment with him, and sure enough, that's what it is. Big sigh and groan. We have another appointment in early September to see if it grows and if so how much. Sounds like another surgery is probably in our future. The good news is that this surgery is not nearly as involved or as intensive as the last one, but still requires going fully under, a stay overnight, etc. Our prayer at this time is that the fistula would remain small and not grow, and that it would not impact her speech and articulation as she continues to make progress.

Father's Day Weekend

Happy Father's Day to J, Papa and Grandpa! We love you and are so thankful that you are in our lives!!
I feel so blessed that the Chinese Noodle has three such excellent examples of men in her life (mine too, I might add). She is learning what the Lord is like by the examples that these three demonstrate: acting in a loving, kind, caring, honest, hard-working, dedicated, consistent, and compassionate manner. I've heard an old saying that you tend to marry someone just like your father (or mother). I pray, for her sake, that this is true. Thanks for being such wonderful role models--for all the girls in your lives.

An annual Father's Day weekend tradition...riding on Grandpa's train.
Spending time with Grandpa, Great-Uncle D and Great-Aunt T
This is what I think of my daddy.
Helping harvest some veggies for dinner.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Typical two-year old

If I doubted that the Chinese Noodle was a full blown two-year old, this week certainly set me straight. Tuesday night J had Vestry at church. The Noodle and I had had a fun night playing. She was cooperative about taking a bath, brushing teeth, putting jammies on (and then promptly taking them off again), etc., etc. Basically it had been a good night. We sat on the potty (more on that in a minute) and had a fresh diaper. All was good in the world. I put her down and she was quiet for a few minutes and then it started. "MaMaaaaa! MaMaaaa!" Now as an aside, she's been doing this quite a lot. She'll call for me, I'll go up and then she'll start laughing because she wants the interaction. After the 3rd or 4th time, I told her no more. That's when the temper tantrum started and the shrieking at the top of her lungs began and both lasted for an hour and a half. I kid you not. Did I also mention that it was warm that night and that of course, the windows were open? Yeah. So...about 9:00 J comes home and of course hears all the carrying on. He goes up and she is screaming "Nooooo DaDa!!! MaMaaaaa". This went on until
9:30, when all suddenly went quiet. Sheer exhaustion.

Now I know there is a lot of press out there about making sure you're meeting your (adopted) child's needs and that they need to know you're there for them, but in this case, it was pure, two-year old behavior. Bad, bad, bad behavior at that. She knows that when she needs us and calls for us, we're there. When she woke in the morning, it was all smiles. Humph.

The Noodle has also been very interested in the potty lately. She'll sit on it before and after bath and will ask to sit on it periodically throughout the day. I brought down the little potty for downstairs (our bathroom is upstairs), but currently it has only been used to hold Memory cards, store her play camera or as a perch for her doll. The other morning she got into our linen closet and got out the extra rolls of T.P. Unwinding them is sooo much fun, don't ya think? She's also really into "helping" me when I'm changing her diaper. I definitely see some potty training in the not so distant future...

Lastly, the C.N. has adopted some favorite catch phrases. One that we hear at least a million times a day is "I do!!!!!!!" As in, no I want to do it, no let me, no I can handle it. It is usually accompanied by a snatch or grab of something. The other favorite saying around our house lately is "No ____(fill in person's name), my ____(object i.e. food, drink, bow, stuffed animal, doll, book, etc.) This is done in conjunction with a finger wag. She will also say "No no no" while wagging her finger. In our defense, she did do the whole finger wag thing the first few days we were in China, so I think she must have seen the nannies do it at the orphanage... hopefully I don't do it that much?!?!

So what's your opinion? Does this sound like a two-year old to you?

Bok Choy recipe

I have a vegetarian cookbook that I really like. Tasty, simple, diverse. I found the recipe for Bean Sprouts and Bok Choy there. While we are not vegetarian, it really appeals to me from a health perspective, so we try and eat 3-4 non-meat meals a week. I do have to watch it, however, because my dear hubby DOES like his meat. I often find him skulking around the kitchen, about an hour and a half after dinner, saying that he feels a bit "peckish" since the main course was just veggies. Sigh. All that being said, I decided to throw a chicken breast into the wok with the veggies to appease him last night. Interestingly enough, during dinner, the Noodle stated "No chicken" and then spit out the piece in her mouth. Anyway, all in all the meal was a hit with all 3 of us...flavorful, colorful, crunchy and most importantly quick! Here it is:

Enough oil to saute everything in a large pan or wok
3 scallions (I used the garlic scamps plus a small onion)
2 garlic cloves, cut into slivers (I just used a big ol' dollop of minced garlic)
1-in. cube of fresh ginger cut into slivers (powdered ginger)
carrots--cut into smaller pieces
bean sprouts
bok choy, shredded
handful of cashew nuts and almonds

3 T light soy sauce
2 T dry sherry
1 T sesame oil
2/3 C cold water
1 t cornstarch
1 t honey
fresh ground pepper

Stir fry the chicken, garlic, onions, ginger, carrots; add the bean sprouts and stir/toss together; add bok choy and nuts until leaves are just wilting; add sauce into wok and voila!

There was lots of yummy sauce, so you could serve it with rice, or Asian noodles (rice noodles, etc.) if you wanted. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1st week of the CSA

This summer we decided to sign up to be a part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group. Each week we go to a "drop off" spot in our little community and for $12 or a half-share, we get fresh veggies that were grown locally (using organic methods). I had heard that you had to be a little more creative in June, since most of the produce were greens, but that come July, it really pays off. Tonight was the first night we were able to go. Our share included: 1 bunch romaine lettuce, 1 bunch kale, 1 bunch raddishes, 1 bunch bok choy, 1 bunch green onions, garlic scamps and 2 zucchini. The lettuce, green onions, zucchini and garlic scamps (use similar to scallions) should be no problem, but I'm REALLY going to have to put on my chef's hat with the kale and the bok choy. I'll let you know if I find any good recipes. This is the perfect push for me to get back into the cookbooks and try to spice up our dinner meals!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend fun

Saturday morning we participated in a walk for a local shelter. It was just a one mile job, but it was so nice to get out, walk around one of the quaint neighborhoods of Downtown and enjoy the company of our friends.

After that, we went out to Grandma and Grandpa's for a boat ride. J had really been building up how the Chinese Noodle would get to wear her own special jacket and how cool it was. When she saw it she couldn't wait to put it on. We didn't know how she'd like the boat ride...silly of us to be concerned. I think her face tells it all. I have a feeling that the Noodle will be siding with J if the topic of purchasing a boat for ourselves comes up.

I love how fast it goes and all of the bumps!
Helping Grandpa bring the boat back in after a fun ride.
Those of you who know J, know that he quite often can be found outside attending to the vehicles. Washing, waxing, etc. No matter the weather or temperature. A clean car is very important, you know. The C.N. loves to help him and so we were tickled when we found a car for her. I foresee a personalized detail job in the future...

Washing my new set of wheels.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Don't be fooled...I'm done layin' around!
Sometimes I feel like hangin' by my feet.
Or growling like a bear, or roaring like a lion or dinosaur, or...you get the idea.
But every so often I'll stop and give Mama and Daddy a look that will melt their hearts.
And then I'll remind them that I am soooo over this soft food diet and am ready to get back to eating like normal!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A healthy report

We went back and saw the surgeon for a follow-up and he was very pleased with how the Noodle is healing. She is pretty much off the pain medicine and is back to eating and drinking (soft foods of course) almost as she was before the surgery. We'll have another appointment in 3 months, but for now, it is definitely a healthy report, praise the Lord!

With everything the Noodle been through this past week, I am so grateful that we were able to be there with her to comfort and support her. I can't help but think about all the other waiting orphans who are having to go through medical procedures and have no one to hold them, kiss them and love on them. It breaks my heart! I just pray that the nannies take a little extra time out of their busy day to take care of those little ones who are hurting.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

There's no place like home!

Killin' time, riding around the hospital in the wagon.
Enjoying the last few minutes of the wheelchair ride.
We were finally discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon and were more than ready to go home. It figures that as the nurse was giving us our last instructions, the Noodle fell asleep in my arms. She slept through most of the ride down in the wheelchair, but did wake up at the end to enjoy the last little bit. It was a tough late afternoon/evening because she was so tired. She didn't want to eat or drink anything and she threw major fits when it was time to take her medicine. Both times, I ended up with a fair amount (how much exactly??!?) of the liquid on my shirt. Thankfully she slept peacefully through the night and this morning drank some milk, ate some applesauce and was much more cooperative with the meds. I'm hoping that getting back into our normal routine will help make the recovery go even faster.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hospital Report

Flowers from my friends E and L(and notice the lack of hospital jammies?!?!).
Pain meds are definitely a GOOD thing!
Watching a movie in bed before going to sleep
Well, it has been an eventful past few days, but only good news to report!! While we were initially given a surgery time of 2:30 on Wednesday, the poor Noodle didn't go back until about 4:00. She hadn't had anything to eat since 8:30 the night before and anything to drink since 11:30 a.m. Amazingly, she was just as happy, chipper and agreeable as she always is (if only J and I could be so pleasant when we don't eat)! Each step of the way, she was totally calm and understood what the next step would be. I can only attribute that to all the prayer, front-end planning and talking we did with her. As she and I were walking down to the O.R. she kept pointing to all the doctors' and nurses' mask and saying please, please, please! She was ready for her mask. I was able to stroke her face and talk to her as they were giving her the "sleepy medicine" and then once she was asleep, I kissed her little cheek and left. She was so peaceful and calm the entire time, thus making it sooo much easier for me.

She was back in surgery for about 3 hours (bringing her in and out as well as the surgery) and the doctor felt everything went very smoothly and was successful. Of course when she came out, she was crying and feeling yucky but both J and I took turns holding her. The first night I stayed with her and was as you would expect what a first night is like after surgery. Some sleeping for her, some awake times coupled with "discomfort". By morning, the pain medicine was working and she was able to eat a soft breakfast--AHHHH food :). Through out the day, she was generally o.k., and at one point was down right silly/wild, as long as the drugs were working, but as soon as they wore off she was NOT happy. J stayed with her last night and I'm back again this morning. If she continues to drink and eat soft foods, they are saying that she should be released today, so let's pray that she does. The eating isn't as bad as the drinking. With all the fluids coursing through her, I don't think she has any sensation of being thirsty and so doesn't want to be bothered drinking. We've been having numerous "parties", where lamb and bear join us to drink whatever the drink of fancy is at the time. Whatever it takes....

J and I are holding up. Thank you for all the prayers that were (and are being) lifted up for the Chinese Noodle and for us. God certainly took over and most importantly made this whole experience a non-scary, successful event for the Noodle. He has been sustaining J and I and will continue to do so, giving us exactly what we need at the right time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pinnies, play food and prayers--long post

I had talked in this post about how I've been doing some more sewing. I just love this simple pinny top because it uses one piece of material (I use two since I line it w/muslin) and I can whip it up in just a few hours. It is such a good beginners project for me and of course it is easy to sew for the Noodle.

I LOVE pockets...don't even think of trying to hold my hand! (front)
A willing model, at least on this day. (back)
Brief pause in the action for a shoe-tie. (front)
Playing at the Science Museum. (back)
Attempting to unbutton the top...look at that concentration!(front)
Wanting to crawl into her crib for some unknown reason.(back)

Another good, easy, quick project that I've been dabbling in, is making felt food. The Chinese Noodle enjoys cooking and baking (both real and pretend) and of course hosting tea parties. While Santa brought her some great play produce, it is not nearly as fun to have a tea party where broccoli, eggplant and peppers are on the menu! So....I looked online and found some great examples of donuts, cookies, pizza, strawberries, etc. The other great thing about felt food is that I can sit in the car and do the hand sewing (while J is driving of course), thus turning out even more goodies. I'll post pictures when I finish (pizza and fortune cookies are up next).

Lastly, we would so appreciate all of your prayers as the Noodle goes in for her surgery tomorrow. She is as prepared as a two-year old can be: picture books about hospital visits have been read, we visited with a Child life specialist and had a hospital tour, I wrote a personal story (with pictures from the hospital tour) for her, and we've been doing lots of pretend play regarding the doctor and hospital (with a real "sleepy medicine" mask). She has her backpack ready and is soo excited to ride in a wheelchair (on the day she leaves) and she knows just how to use her mask. She is ready!! Our little Chinese Noodle is so innocent and trusting. The true picture of how we all should be with our faith--I really should take lessons from her. I know that for as much as J and I love her, God loves her even more and that He is holding her in His hands. I need to keep reminding myself that there is NO room for fear, only faith. God is good. He will be with her throughout everything. I am also trying to put into practice all those past bible studies that I've done...to thank God in advance for a successful surgery, to thank Him in advance for her speedy recovery and to thank Him for this experience where once again we have to trust, trust, trust.

Practicing using the mask.

I can't wait to go in the wheelchair!

We will post as we are able the next few days.