Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who needs a schedule?!?

Maddy's normal energetic self.

So in the Parents in Process class, they say that a schedule really helps newly adopted kids transition easier. Kids need the schedule? Parents are actually the ones who need a schedule! Last weekend Eric and I kind of had mutual meltdowns, realizing that most people in our family had not had a  bath/shower in a long time and that our house was chaotic to say the least. So we now have a schedule that we are trying to adhere to and when we do -- it makes our lives SO much easier!!! Plus, Madeleine doesn't have her evening tantrum - so that's good too. :)

Our Schedule (posted on a 17"x11" piece of paper in large print)
5:45 am - Madeleine wakes up+ bottle
6:30 am - Madeleine gets dressed
7:30 am - Andrew wakes up and has breakfast
8:00 am - Andrew gets dressed
8:30 am - Andrew goes to school
9:00 am - Madeleine eats breakfast (fruit+yogurt)
11:00 am - Madeleine eats lunch (meat, veggie, bread)
11:30 am - Madeleine takes a nap
12-2 pm  - lunch, chores, wash dishes
2:00 pm - Madeleine wakes up
2-2:30 pm - Madeleine bottle
3-4 pm  - Madeleine outside time
4:30 pm - Madeleine snack
5:00 pm - Make dinner and pick up Andrew at pre-school
6:00 pm - eat dinner (everyone)
7:00 pm - Madeleine bottle
7:30 pm - Madeleine goes to bed + Andrew takes a bath
8:00 pm - Andrew gets ready for bed
8:30 pm - Andrew goes to bed

Eating fruit loops.
Yes, that is a large dent on the side of her head. :( She tripped over a broom and fell into the table the other day.
This is her "scwunched" nose look - which is a fake "I'm mad" look because she laughs right after making it.
Andrew eating his breakfast on the new schedule. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Since we've been home

We've been home for 3 weeks now. Time has flown and I still feel like we're just settling in. Eric's parents came up from TX for 1.5 weeks. 

Now I'm back at work and Eric is staying at home.

New shoes
She absolutely loves shoes! Maddy ran around the house into every room because she was just so excited about her new shoes.
Since we've been home, we've been getting to know Maddy better. She likes to eat salad, loves shoes (above), her Barney "touch your nose" book (totally cheesy but it does teach her about body parts), and flipping upside down. Her favorite way to wake her brother up in the morning is to stand on the bed next to his peacefully immobile body and flop herself down over him with a big thud and giggle.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We're home!

Here are some pictures of Hanoi's outskirts as we drove to the airport.

The red river.
A pretty church in a small town outside of Hanoi.
Madeleine's last few minutes in Vietnam.
Playing in the Hello Kitty baby room in the Taipei airport.
Playing on the Hello Kitty playground (which is now clean) in the Taipei airport.

We made it home Thursday night. I knew the trip might be long for all of us but wow -- it was tough and I'm SO happy we're home! Madeleine was incredibly tired and her teeth were really bothering her. On both the Taipei-Seattle and the Minneapolis-Chicago flights, Carol (my step-mom) was the only one who could console her -- thank goodness someone could!

Madeleine right before we went to Immigration.
When we got to Seattle, we went through the non-citizen line to drop off Madeleine's paperwork. I thought she'd be a citizen when we both arrived with her. However, the immigration officer said, she is actually a permanent resident and that she is eligible for citizenship. So we need to file an N-600 form to receive the actual certificate of citizenship and change her status from permanent resident to citizen. The immigration officer seemed to think it would be fine to wait 6-weeks until we change Madeleine's name to file the new paperwork - so that's what we'll do.

Playing in the hotel in Seattle.
First car seat trip.

The ride from the airport in the car seat went incredibly well. Madeleine thought is was a little strange but I think having her brother next to her helped. 

I have forgotten (blissfully) how messy a toddler is. :) Madeleine immediately pulled all 52 letter magnets off the refrigerator. 
Our first full day home we just unpacked and tried to recuperate from jetlag. Madeleine is overall doing well. Her sleep schedule is off like the rest of ours. Thursday night she went to bed at 9 pm and got up at 4 am. Friday night she went to bed at 9 pm again but was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 2:30 am. Isn't this the wrong direction? :) Eric's parents arrive from TX tomorrow afternoon and Eric leaves for Switzerland for a 1-week conference Sunday. Life keeps going and Madeleine will settle into our family life soon I think.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We're headed home

This is our last night in Hanoi. Madeleine had a really bad teething day - so sorry no new pictures from today. Here's a typical picture of Madeleine though from Sunday. It will be good for us and hopefully good for Madeleine to be home soon. We leave Wed at 12:50 pm and arrive in Seattle technically at 7:00 pm (still Wed). Then we'll arrive in Minneapolis by late evening Thursday. Thanks for all of you who have followed our trip in Vietnam and sent us all good wishes. We really appreciate all the love and support.

Eric and Dad went to the perfume pagoda about 60 km outside of Hanoi. I'll leave you with some pictures from their trip. They took a van 2 hours outside of town and then a 1.5 hr row boat to arrive at the base of the trail leading up to the pagoda.
The perfume pagoda in a cave (there's more behind but no cameras were allowed).
Looking back at the tram down the mountain from the platform.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Out and About

Yesterday Madeleine looked so American in her shorts and shirt. She mostly wears 9 month clothes (she's 17 months - 19 lbs) but I was able to pull 8 button holes in on her adjustable 12-18 month shorts.
Taking the bow out of her hair. Many think she is a boy so I thought the bows might help but I can't keep one in her hair for more than 20 seconds - it's too much fun taking them out.
We did get sunglasses on her for a few minutes before they came off too.

We have discovered that if we go out after Madeleine's nap (~3 pm), we can walk around a bit, then go to an early dinner (~5 pm) when the restaurants are empty and Madeleine stays in a good mood for the whole trip. Yesterday we took a cab to the Old Quarter on the other side of Hoan Kiem lake.
Then we went to dinner at Garden Vuon (36 Hang Manh). Here's Andrew with the restaurant lion. It looks kind of like an alley from the outside but its really quite nice inside. (FYI - the bathrooms are also nice.) We had tons of very good food including fried noodle dishes, a wonderful sauteed chicken with pears, lots of freshly made juices (tomato, mango) and wonderful spring rolls.
When we walked back to our hotel, St. Joseph's Cathedral was letting out of church (~7:30 pm) from celebrating Feast of the Assumption. The church was just packed full of people. We took a short cut through the church grounds to get back to the hotel. As soon as we exited the church compound, we happened upon a bunch of people (~200) standing singing to the Virgin Mary. It was really quite cool.

This morning, Dad and Madeleine actually sat next to each other. They also passed a hotel key card back and forth. So there's progress on the non-Dad male front.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Another Quiet Day

Today while I went to Big C to stock up on baby-related items, Eric et al. went to the pool/sand box. The pavement was very hot and the kids didn't have their sandals on. Madeleine was upset about the hot pavement so Dad went and scooped her up -- she didn't cry! She has this thing with men (except Eric because he feeds her). We've had Madeleine now 12 days and she generally won't look at Dad and won't eat when he is in the room. she is slowly getting used to him but it is a very slow process.

So all you male family members here's a warning, when we get home -- Madeleine may scream, cry, bury her head, arch her back and generally get incredibly upset when she sees you. Try not to take offense. :( You might have to move out of the room until she gets used to you. As she adjusts to life in the US and attaches more to us, I am hopeful this part will get better.

On a bright note, Andrew is learning how to swim and will even jump off the side of the pool. He still doesn't like getting his head wet but we are making progress in that area. By the time we leave Wed, I am hoping he might dunk his head under. :)

We have had such a wonderful time here. I am sad that we are leaving so soon. Aaaah, we will have to come back when Madeleine is older.

Some of you emailed and asked what it's like here. Here are some pictures of Hanoi. Also, you can't see it but everyone here walks slowly because of the heat. I felt like such an American walking fast. Also in a store, count on at least 4 people helping you at the same time. Dad and I went to a little french bakery around the corner. There was 1 person behind the counter getting our desired baked goods out of the display. There were 2 people who would tell the person behind the counter what I wanted - in unison (interpreting the number of fingers I held up and what I pointed to) and there were 2 people checking me out when I paid. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

We have a visa!

This morning we went to the US Embassy Annex, about 20 minutes from our hotel, for Madeleine's visa interview. It was kind of surreal because here we were with a room full of about 20 other couples and their Vietnamese kids. Our names were called and we went into a little room. She asked a few off-handed questions (like, "How is she doing?" "How was everything in Danang?") and then she said we could pick up Madeleine's visa at 2 pm (the same day). 

Our Holt staff person gave us a brown envelope with Madeleine's birth certificate, the Adoption Decree and the G&R Minutes with English translations. We'll use these for the recognition of adoption in Missouri when Madeleine will officially change her name, etc.

When Eric went to pick up Madeleine's visa, he was also given some large yellow envelope that we're supposed to hand to the immigration officials when we get to Seattle. Interestingly Madeleine's visa says that when endorsed, she will be a permanent resident for a year (to give us time to receive her Certificate of Citizenship in the mail, etc.).

Andrew and Madeleine are getting along well. Today Madeleine thought it was funny to rub Andrew's head. She's a very physical kid and Andrew got a little rough with her (accidentally rolling on her head). Amazingly Madeleine was not phased at all!  She would easily walk off the side of a bed or lunge off someone's lap without another thought. So we will have to keep a close eye on her and be very serious about the baby proofing!