Friday, April 25, 2008

Great week with Sasha

Sasha and I have had a great week. I took her back to get her hair cut again. I found a place that is way too expensive, but does a great job. I was trying to grow the sides of her hair out, but it didn't look right. So the woman cut it into a more feminine cut. It is adorable! She is so, so cute! We went next store to a Japanese restaurant afterwards where so got a ton of compliments. She was sitting in the highchair calmly eating whatever I fed her. Neither of those things is her normal behavior. She springs right up in whatever high chair she is in usually. Seat belt or not, she can squirm her way out of every high chair we have put her into. She also does not usually eat that well either. This dream baby thing she had going didn't last long. Within five minutes she was trying to stand up in the high chair and she opened her mouth and most of the food I had been giving her was still in her mouth. Oh well. She did actually eat a little and it gave me enough time to eat most of my food. We then walked down to the store Right Start. She played with the toys while I found a few things I had been wanting. I bought her a sippy cup, more bibs, a water/sand table and a blanket to use at the park. It was a fun day.
Today she and I drove up to Westminster. There is an area that has a lot of Vietnamese restaurants and stores. A lady in the place I get my nails done gave me the address of a jewelry store her sister works at. She offered to go with me to the mall to make sure I got good prices. She said that she told her parents and children about me adopting Sasha and said they were all happy for Sasha and would love to meet her. I think that would be fun to meet them sometime, but I wanted to go up today and she was working. Anyway, the mall is full of Vietnamese stores with food, clothing, jewelry, toys, was really nice going there. It brought back nice memories of our time there. The people in the store had been told about Sasha and made a big deal over her. We bought a little gold ID bracelet. It is soooo cute! She touched it a couple of times after they put it on, but has forgotten it now and hasn't touched it since. It looks good on her. We also bought a few very cute little outfits for VERY good prices. We bought a couple for Sasha, one for Brookelyn and a few for some of Sasha's friends. We walked up and down the street looking at several stores before we headed back home. I wanted to eat lunch, but Sasha has a cold and wouldn't have lasted long. We are hoping to go again soon with my friend, Shere, and her new beautiful baby girl, Lana. They just got back from Vietnam on Tuesday. Once they get over the jet lag, we want to play. It'll give me a good excuse to go back and buy another bracelet I saw.
We also had to get back to pick Brayden up from school, then my older son, Colton, and get Colton to his track meet. It was a HOT day, which is fine. I am not going to complain about heat after the cold weather we have had. We stayed for a few hours and then picked up Brookelyn and headed home. Ray is out of town on a golf weekend, so it was just us. We had a nice, quiet night. I have to go to bed in a minute because we have a long day tomorrow. We are going to two different children's parties and one is pretty far away. It will be a fun day though and I am excited about it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Birthday gift from Grandma

Sasha received a great birthday gift in the mail from one of her grandmothers yesterday. It was a little pink tea set. Very cute! She and Brookelyn both unwrapped it and started playing with it. It is really fun to watch the two of them together, they play very well. They had a lot of fun unwrapping the package and then unwrapping each tea cup, set of spoons, teapot and saucers. Brookelyn knew how to pretend to pour tea into a cup. At that point Brayden wanted to get involved and it quickly turned into a throwing game. I put the set away to save for later. I am sure we will get a lot of use and fun out of that gift. Thank you, Grandma!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday, April 20

I finally decided to get Sasha a bracelet for her birthday as her special gift. She was wearing one in several of her pictures we received before we got her and was wearing one when we went to the orphanage. We had been told that her caregiver made it for her. She wore it for a couple of days, then we took it off because it was pretty delicate and we were afraid it would break and we would lose it. I really wanted to keep it for her, so I tucked it away. I also wrote her a letter, which was a great idea that was suggested to me. It was a long day, which had nothing to do with her really. We raced around from one thing to the next for the entire day. I had planned on having a nice dinner at home with a birthday cake, but my son's track meet ran really late. Instead of a dinner at home we had dinner at a nearby restaurant. None of the three kids wanted anything to do with sitting still for dinner, so I ordered the cake early and they had their pieces after eating a small dinner. It worked out fine. We are planning to have a big party for her at the end of May. I didn't have time plan anything since we have been putting all of our time and energy into finding the right college for my oldest daughter. It takes a lot of time to research all of the colleges and figuring out financial aid is tough too. Anyway, we will celebrate at the end of May with friends and family, which will be great.
Sasha and I went to a store while Brookelyn was in speech class and she chose a toy. I thought it would wind up that I chose the toy, but she clearly liked the noisy Dora cell phone toy the best of all the ones we looked at. It was fun looking at toys with her. Another great part of the day was during the track meet. Colton took Brayden with him for a long time at the end of it when they were cleaning up so I had time to just sit with Sasha. I think we spent over an hour just walking around or sitting on the grass. It was really nice! She is so cute! It was nice just to be quiet and relax with her outside. I tried to take pictures, but I can never get her to look at me when I have a camera. She is always so busy with whatever she is looking at that I usually get ones from the side or mostly her walking away from me to look at something. It doesn't matter if someone stands behind me and claps or calls her, she hardly ever looks up. The pictures are still cute though.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sasha's First Birthday

Sasha will turn one year old tomorrow. I have mixed feelings. I am definitely sad that she will not be a baby for much longer. She is so tiny and so sweet! I know one year marks a big change in her life and she will really start changing soon. She completely walks now and is starting to try to climb on different things. She still only says, "Mama," and I don't think it means me yet. She babbles and makes other adorable sounds. She waves and blows kisses. She pushes everyone's hands away very firmly if anyone tries to take her from me. She sleeps from 8:00 pm until 7:00 am every night without waking up between them. When I was out of town my husband said she slept until 8:00 am since she didn't hear an alarm clock go off. She loves playing with balls and already likes to throw them. She takes a bath with Brayden and Brookelyn and is fine with the chaos of all of it.
I keep thinking of her birth mother and knowing that this will be a hard day for her. Since Sasha was abandoned we have no way of contacting her to tell her she is being taken care of. I wish we knew who she was so we could send pictures and letters occasionally. I hope she knew someone who worked in the orphanage and found out Sasha was adopted by a family in the US. I know that when we were in Vietnam a lot of local people said she was lucky to be brought to the US. Maybe her birthmother would find some comfort in that and knowing the children are well educated here. I know education is important to people in Vietnam. Sasha has a few little mannerisms that I know are inherited and I wish her birthmother could hear about them. It is just too sad to imagine the pain she must have felt when she had to give her up and that she feels everyday. I wonder if the birthmothers know how grateful adoptive parents are for being able to raise their children.
I couldn't think of what to get Sasha for her birthday. She doesn't really play with many toys and we already have way too many. I finally decided to get her a bracelet. She was wearing one when we got her at the orphanage. We had heard that the caregivers sometimes make them for the babies. It was made out of simple beads and string. We took it off about a week after we got her because we didn't want to lose it. We want to be able to give it to her when she gets older. I never gave my other girls bracelets when they were young, but I think it will fit Sasha's personality. I wanted to get it today but Sasha had a really hard day. She is so easy going normally, but today she didn't seem to feel well. She had a fever yesterday and last night, but didn't have one today. I thought it might be that she was teething, but even tylenol didn't help. I made an appointment with her doctor tomorrow afternoon in case she isn't feeling better.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

In Providence, Rhode Island now...

It is late, late, late here now and I need to go to bed. We stayed in a nice hotel in Philly last night. I love that city! I have never been there before and was really impressed by how nice it was and how full of art and history it is. I wanted to go to at least one museum and would have loved to have gone on a tour, but traveling is tricky with a four year old. We had driven past a Burger King that had a play area on our way to Philly and all he wanted to do all day yesterday and today was go play there. We did bring him to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, which was fun. And we had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich for lunch at a local restaurant. We left the city around 4:00 pm and got to Providence around 11:00 pm. We only stopped to get gas once and eat once. I had rented a navigation system with my car rental and it wasted a lot of time. It directed me off of the highway about five times and then as soon as I got off it would instruct me to get back on. Once or twice it got me off he highway and tried to get me to take smaller roads. I really missed the one I have in my Honda back home! It took us longer to get here than I had thought, but we're here. We have an appointment at a college in the morning. We want to see the school and the area before we leave for Boston in the afternoon. I have friend from college we will be having dinner with and staying at her house Thursday night. Friday we are touring one more school in Boston and then gong home in the evening. I miss my kids!!!
It's hard being away from all three of them, but especially Sasha and Brookelyn. Sasha is spending the days with my mother and then Ray picks her up on his way home from work. I have called my mom and heard Sasha playing in the background. My mom says she hasn't crawled at all. Ray has sent me several video clips on my cell phone, which is great. I knew this would be hard, but I really had to bring Dakota out here to look at the schools. We have really like two of the ones we looked at so far. I didn't see the school I went to until I was dropped off there the day before I started, so I wanted her to get an idea of what they are like.
Brayden seems to be having fun. He has been great for most of the trip. He did choose to sing the entire time we met with the man in the admissions office in one school. Great. Sounds sweet, and it would have been, any other time. He sat there and sang a little too loudly the entire time. Since both Dakota and I had to be there, neither one could leave with him. Of course, he was charming right after we left the school. He has done really well considering he is so young. He really has only had a couple of melt downs and they have been right before he falls asleep.
Time for bed...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

East Coast

I am in Philadelphia now. Dakota, Brayden and I are on a whirlwind tour of some colleges on the East Coast. We left Sunday afternoon and will be returning Friday afternoon. I spent the last month trying to figure out a way to bring Sasha with me, but just couldn't do it. It has been an exhausting trip. We arrived in D.C. at midnight on Sunday. One of the pieces of luggage was broken, so we waited while they gave us a new, comparable one. We had to take a shuttle to the rental car building and then wait in a LONG line there. We then had to drive to my friend's house, where we were staying for the night. I hadn't seen him since college (twenty two years). I think we got to his house around 3:00 am.(Eastern Time) Nice guests! By the time I got Brayden to get to bed it was 4:00 am and we had to be at a college (in Baltimore) that was about an hour away at 9:00 am. I got just over three hours of sleep. It turned out okay. Both kids slept in the car on the way there and on the way back after we toured the school. We spent the several hours at the school before we headed back. We are going to the schools for a tour and to find out about financial aid. Colleges are SO EXPENSIVE! We had dinner with the friend that we stayed with as well as another friend from college who also lives in the area. It was great seeing them!
We had lunch with my friend and then headed out today to see a college in Philadelphia. I really liked the school. It is in a great location downtown and she would be able to see and do a lot in the city. Also, it seemed like a safe area. We just got a hotel room for tonight. I got on the computer, Dakota is sleeping and Brayden got on his pajamas and is in bed coloring a coloring book. We are going to head out soon to find a place to eat dinner. I would love to play tourist, but we are pretty wiped out. I really like this city though and want to come back sometime and spend more time looking around. We may do a little sightseeing tomorrow morning before we leave for Rhode Island. We will be staying in Providence tomorrow night so we can get up and see a college there Thursday morning. After seeing that school we will be driving to Boston. I have another college friend who lives there. I haven't seen her for about twenty years. We will be going out to dinner with her Thursday night and staying at her house that night. The next morning we will be checking out one more school and then driving around the city for awhile before heading back to California.
We were hoping to get more of a positive response for financial aid. I had hoped and heard that there was more financial aid available at colleges and you just had to look into each college. All we are really being offered is loans and smiles. We want grants and/or scholarships and smiles. Nope, not happening. Well, hopefully one or two of the people we meet will see how excited she is to go to one of the school and will help us out. That was the intent of the trip. Also,we needed to check out the schools. She has been accepted into several and we need to make the decision be May 1st.
I took a few pictures of Brayden on a tree surrounded by cherry blossoms. Luckily they were still blooming while we were here so we got to see how pretty they are.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sasha walks now

Sasha stopped crawling yesterday and started walking. She has been going back and forth the last couple of weeks, but I don't know if I saw her crawl even once yesterday. It's kind of exciting and kind of sad. My last baby is growing up. I also noticed yesterday that Sasha and Brookelyn really played together. Brookelyn kept getting Sasha to climb the steps with her and go into her room. They would sit there and look at books until I brought them downstairs. I think that happened two or three times. Both of them thought it was a lot of fun. I would have liked to leave them up there to play, but I can't keep an eye on them. Brookelyn has started "helping" Sasha by picking her up sometimes. Since she isn't much taller than Sasha, her picking her up means she basically pulls Sasha off the floor and then Sasha falls. She also has been feeding Sasha everything she eats. I have to really watch her. A couple of days ago she brought a stool into the pantry and reached up to get a bag of walnuts. Within seconds she was trying to hand some to "Sashi," who was right there to get some of the stash. I took a few pictures of the girls playing and one of my three little ones eating breakfast at their table. Sasha is really too little to sit on one of the chairs since she could fall off, but she loves sitting up there with them.