Friday, May 30, 2008

Future Blogger

I recently received a new laptop from family and friends who chipped in to purchase it for me for my birthday. I totally love it. They took pity on me as my old laptop was on it's proverbial last legs. It was out of memory with no way to increase it and it froze up on me constantly. Due to it's advanced age the power cord was even flaking out on me. Once I received the new computer I put the old girl out to pasture but then I decided to call it back into working status so that I could have the dynamic duo use it for some learning games. They are always trying to use mine so I knew that idea would go over well. Today, while Ethan was still napping, Katie and I used the computer to play games on Anyone that knows our girl would know that is where she would want to question! I taught her how to point and click and before I knew it she had mastered it and navigated from one game to another that had caught her interest. She had a ball as the pictures show and she was none too pleased about ending her fun. I totally understand as I never know when to get off of the computer either.

I have been a bit under the weather with a bad back probably brought on by too much bending due to potty training. Katie is doing really well for the most part. She stays dry all day. She is batting about 50% at night. We are still working on #2 but in time she will catch on to that.

We have a busy weekend ahead. Whatever you are going to do this weekend; have a wonderful time!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 3 - Oh SH**!!

Last night I left off with our potty learner's reticence to poo poo in the potty. Well, about an hour after that was posted, Marc arrived home and went in to check on Katie. His nose told him immediately that Katie had finally pooped - in her underwear!! That was fun...(NOT!!) clean up! Poor Marc did the dirty deed as I was on the other side of the house and I never heard his yells for help (Yes, your honor that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth!)

I knew that this was going to be the issue with Katie as she suffers from constipation and sometimes it hurts her to go. Couple that with the fact that our Starr has a controlling personality and....Houston; we have a problem.

This morning we walked in to find that Katie had just wet her bed as the sheet was barely wet and that thankfully Ethan was dry. The rest of the day Katie went to the bathroom every time she needed to pee pee. We seem to have daytime urination under control....fingers crossed. Today we have more of the same in the area of her bowel movements. She needs to go and she is holding back :(

We have reached the end of our three days of potty boot camp. I have to say that it was very difficult for me to stay home and be that focused on the one task for the long weekend. I kinda felt at times that I was being punished for something that I had done; kinda like being grounded..LOL. I am not good at having my wings clipped. Thankfully, today my folks and my future daughter in law Judy and her sister Joyce came to visit. The big kids swam with the Little's after we grilled our lunch...very nice!!

Tomorrow, I head to work which will feel like a vacation after this and on Wednesday Katie heads back to preschool with her partial potty skills. I am very proud of her and her teachers will be too. Hopefully by Wednesday we will have # 2 under control. I am sure her teachers will appreciate that.

My daily Mantra is a very fitting way to end this post ~ This too shall pass!

P.S. If anyone has any suggestions on a way to help Katie with her poop issues please feel free to post them on the comments.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Day Two - The Other Half Sprung a Leak!

That's right; The Mischief Man had a big accident late today....oy! I will get back to that in a moment though...

First, let me tell you that they both woke up dry!! I slept very lightly last night as my ears were perked in case one of them needed us in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. At 2:00 am one of them cried out in their sleep and I was across the house in a millisecond thinking I would find one of them in a wet bed. I found both of them sound asleep. I felt for wetness; there was none and then I headed back to my restless sleep :(

They usually wake up by 7:00 am so I set my alarm to be up before them so that I could get right in there before any accidents happened and was so happy to find everyone dry. Marc was there to back me up this morning but then he had to go to work so I was outnumbered.

Katie did great today. She told me every time that she wanted to go pee pee and the only little accident she had was when she did not get her panties down quite quickly enough. They ended up a little wet but really not much. The one issue we seem to be having with her is that she is holding back on a bowel movement. She tends to be quite constipated so I gave her some prunes after her nap to do the trick and it did not. I am using the suggestions that the e-book gave me but with no luck so far. Lots of gas but no poop. Tomorrow there will be lots of water and fiber needless to say. Sorry if this is too much info but I am just telling it like it is.

Now, back to Ethan. He always tells me when he has to poop but I usually have to remind him to pee. This is mostly because he does not have the conversational skills that she has. The method I am using with her would not have been as easy with him at this juncture. Nonetheless, he has been diaper free for quite awhile with no accidents. Tonight, before bed I heard him make a weird noise and I looked over to see him grabbing his boyhood. I tried to rush him to the toilet but did not make it and instead he was left standing in a puddle. I used the phrases that the e-book suggests with him as I have been doing with her so we will see how that goes.

OK, I am off to multi task as I browse mindlessly on the www while I watch something equally mindless on television. Calgon...take me away......

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What a Glad it is Over; or is it?

I left off on my previous post during nap time and I am happy to report that Katie woke up dry. She had no accidents for the rest of the day. However, we seem to have a bit of a game going on as she goes in to the bathroom constantly to try to go; even if it just a few drips. She has to do all of the steps herself; taking down her panties, getting up on the toilet, wiping, flushing, redressing and washing and she tells me "Go away; I am going to do it myself!" I explained to her that it would be much nicer if she did not tell me to go away but she could say that she would rather do it alone. She has honored my request..LOL

Tonight, we put them both to bed and explained that they must stay dry. Ethan has been daytime trained for a couple of months but has been sleeping in a pull up and mostly wakes up dry anyway so I am not too worried about him. Of course Katie's status in the AM is very questionable. We put night lights all down the hallway and in the bathroom in case they need to use the pottie. They are on the other side of the house from us and we used to close their door at night to keep them from getting into trouble so we are quite nervous about taking this next step into a brave new world. As you know, even though most of the time we call them the dynamic duo there are moments when they live up to the moniker "Gruesome Twosome" We are scaaaared!

Within 10 minutes of being put to bed they both yelled that they needed to use the potty. I complied with their request and found that they each pushed out two drops of urine. They have had their last hurrah cuz Mama just put the hammer down! I need some R&R for goodness sake.
Stay tuned for day 2; coming waaaay too soon to a blog near you.

The Beginning of a Loooooong Weekend....

We picked this long weekend as Katie's potty boot camp weekend. A friend of ours shared a three day potty training method that she employed with great success. Then, another friend just finished her three days in potty purgatory and now we have bitten the bullet.

I am the designated Potty Sargent and Marc is my go to guy when I need a break. He is also removing the mischief man from the scene as needed.

The morning started off with a bang as we put Katie in her big girl panties and said goodbye to her diapers forever. We threw them away or so she thinks. I will actually freecycle them to someone who can use them. We had a lot of them including pull ups. I took her to the toilet where she immediately pee pee'd and she got her first sticker of a reward system that we set up. The method employs focus (I have to stick by her all of the time) and positive reinforcement with a few key phrases that you should say over and over and over...oy!

Katie had another early success about one half hour later and then four accidents within about an hour including a poo poo one. Then we had more success just before and after lunch and she went just before nap. Now she is napping and I am hoping that she wakes up dry.

I am not allowed to ask her if she has to go as she will begin to understand by the phrases and the accidents to listen to her own body. We do that by reminding her that she needs to stay dry. Either way, we are not going to go back to diapers as she is 3 and is physically ready for this.

She will either sink or swim. Let's hope for swimming (Unless of course it is in pee pee :)

Stay tuned for more this evening.....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Early Father's Day

Katie and Ethan's preschool celebrated Father's Day early as school is out before the special day arrives. The Dad's were invited to a morning of games and breakfast. It was scheduled on a day that Ethan had too many therapies to make it but Marc enjoyed the day with Katie. Marc was not able to get too many pics but here are a couple of cute ones.

Sack Race
Loved this ponytail shot
Katie took this pic of her friend Alex
and this pic of her daddy

I hate to end the post on a sad note but I feel that I must.

NASHVILLE, TN...5/21/08... At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family’s six children and one of their three adopted daughters.

More than five years ago, Chapman and his wife MaryBeth founded The Shaohannah’s Hope Ministry after bringing their first adopted daughter, Shaohannah, home from China. The ministry’s goal is to help families reduce the financial barrier of adoption, and has provided grants to over 1700 families wishing to adopt orphans from around the world. Chapman is a five-time GRAMMY winner and 54-time Dove Award winning artist who has sold over 10 million albums and garnered 44 No. 1 singles.

The Chapman family is so grateful for the incredible outpouring of love and support at this difficult time.

If you’d like to meet Maria and express your condolences click here

By mail, send to PO Box 150156 Nashville, TN 37215.

In lieu of flowers, the Chapmans request any gifts be directed to Shaohannah’s Hope.
The adoption community is so saddened by this devastating news.
Make every moment count and take a moment to hug your children tonight.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Justin is a 2L...Whooooohoooooo!

I never knew what the term 2L meant before today but I do now....Justin made it through his first year of law school and is now a second year law student; hence the term 2L :)

We are so proud of you Mr. J! This was the most challenging year of your life thus far and you rose to the challenge. We have been in awe of your dedication to your work. That alone has made us truly proud.

We love you!

Mom, Marc, and the Dynamic Duo

Monday, May 19, 2008

Adult Evening Out

Last evening we attended Marc's cousin, Gabrielle's wedding. It was a wonderful time and not simply because it was a beautiful wedding but mostly because I had a romantic evening ALONE (translation: NO DYNAMIC DUO) with my husband. When it is just he and I it is always absolutely, positively wonderful. We have so much fun together and it brings me right back to how all of this got started in the first place. Just the two of us. Having the kidlets is a beautiful thing but we are the foundation for our family so it is always great when that foundation is strengthened. The day in and day out grind of caring for the dynamic duo and all the Ethan's therapies has definitely taken a toll on us...

Note to self: Make arrangements to get out more often and just be a couple....immediately!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Finally with her forever family

Today is a very happy day for us. Last year, when Katie turned two years old we held a birthday party where we asked people to donate to Love Without Boundaries in lieu of presents for the surgery of a little girl from Katie's orphanage by the name of Wu Hong Cai. Katie was Wu Hong Shan so they were in the same sisterhood of girls in the orphanage at the same time.

The amount contributed far exceeded our expectations and put them over the top so that the surgery was done within days.

Fast forward to today. Wu Hong Cai is now Amy Peak and she is in the arms of her forever family. Take a peek :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

So Missy; do you think you smell like roses in the morning?

The morning of the two year anniversary of Katie's "forever day" started out like every other day. We were summoned by the dynamic duo into their room in their usual "too boisterous for the morning" manner. We walked in and started our usual routine of taking Ethan to the potty and diaper changing for Katie. We usually just go in and get them going before we get ready in the morning (translation: we have not brushed our teeth yet)

I usually attend to Miss Starr while Marc attends to the Mischief Man as we dress them and get them ready to start their day. On this particular morning, while Ethan was sitting on the throne, I decided to use those couple of quiet moments to talk to Katie about what a wonderful day this anniversary was and how happy we were that we were her mommy and daddy and that she was our daughter. I was talking to her soothingly and had my face very close to her face. She was looking at me very intensly.......then.......suddenly she screwed up her face in an absolutely horrified manner. I said "Katie; what is wrong? I feared that I had upset her by talking about the day we met her for the first time. She looked at me and with absolute disgust in her voice said "Peeeew Mommy!!!" "Your nose stinks!!!!!"


Now, do you think that a daughter should tell her mother that said mother has morning breath on the morning after that said mother stayed up until 1:00 am writing an ode to said daughter in honor of said daughter and her "forever day" anniversary on her blog? I think not!!

Altoid anyone?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reflecting on Two Years With Our Katie Starr

How could we have ever known...

that your initial grief and loss would hurt us to the core of our very being
that every move you made would inspire a comment from us
that you were so loyal and true
that your hard won loyalty to us would make us feel like we won the lottery
how beautiful you would be; both inside and out
that your smile could light up a city
how amazing your appetite for life would be
how amazing your appetite for food would be
that you would make friends wherever you go
how your innate intelligence would make us shake our heads in disbelief
that your imagination would be so amazing
that you were both patient and kind
that you would captivate your big brother from the moment that he first saw you
that you would eventually captivate your little brother from the moment that he first saw you
that the sound of your laughter felt like being swept up by a wave of love
that your tears would bring about our tears
that you would love us so completely
that we would love you so completely
that the love we have for you made your father and I believe we could parent another; your little brother
how a child could be so easy going and at the same time so determined
that you would be so dramatic
that fun would follow you wherever you go
how many wonderful people would enter our lives as we waited for you and beyond
how precious you look when you are asleep
how precious you look when you first wake up
how many people would fall in love with you
how devoted every member of our family would be to you
how loving you makes everything seem possible
how loving you puts everything in perspective
that parenting you and your brother makes us young again and exhausted all at the same time
that we would have been so fortunate as to be entrusted to be your mom and dad

How could we have ever known the depth of joy that you would bring to our lives Katie Starr? Your destiny as our daughter was written in the stars. Being your parents has been a dream come true and the best is yet to come. How lucky we are! Happy two years of being forever in our lives and hearts.

I am posting the video of our "forever day" with our precious baby. She fell asleep just before she was placed in our arms and that was not a good thing. Her foster family brought her to us and between her devotion to them and her waking up to a strange new family we had many challenging months ahead of us. Katie was worth all of it. We would have waited for whatever length of time it took for her to accept us as her parents. We love her completely and without conditions. She is our daughter now and forever.

Katie Starr's Referral Photos

Katie Starr - May 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tragedy in China

As everybody knows by now there has been a devastating earthquake in west central China. So far, 10s of thousands are dead and countless more are wounded and homeless. They are all terrified. There are so many ways to help right now through the many organizations that benefit the orphans in China. Many have geared up to help all children and thus families in need.

The Rumor Queen site has many links to all the ways that a person can help. Every little bit counts; especially for us that feel so powerless to help when the sheer magnitude and horror of it all seems insurmountable.

I hurt when others are in pain and it is made that much more acute knowing that the people who are suffering are from our children's place of birth. As a friend of mine so eloquently put it; these people are now my people.

Marc and I received this e-mail from the director of the Love Without Boundaries Education Program as we sponsor a college student just North of the epicenter. The student is from the same province as Katie is from and that is no accident. Destiny paired us with a student long before we received Katie's referral from this remote area where few referrals come from.

Here is what she had to say after a long night of worrying and fact finding ~

Every student in the Mama's Wish Program is now accounted for and they are all safe. It has been such a sad day, but I am relieved to know that our teachers and students are fine.

----- Forwarded Message ----From: 尖措 To: Angela
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 7:22:04 PMSubject: 回复: Earthquake
Dear Angela;
The earthquake happened yesterday afternoon and I called the college students yesterday evening but the phone line did not work, i called them again around nine this morning, they said that could not sleep last night in the fear of earthquake, so they stayed in the playground, This morning they went to dormitory for a short time sleep, they are very safe, and they will start class this afternoon.
places in Qinghai are fine and did not happen anything, Thank you very much for your kindness and worry about us.
All the best wishes for you!

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the affected people of China.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mom's Day!

A huge hug to all of my friends who are moms and mostly to my friends and bloggy friends who are expectant waiting..and waiting...and waiting moms! I thought of about you a great deal today. You all inspire me with your strength and fortitude. Your devotion to your children is nothing short of miraculous. Someday, your precious children will know of the determination it took to see this wait through to it's glorious end and new beginning. Whether it be your first child or a sibling for one already in your family, your new beginning is coming and I cannot wait to celebrate along with you.

I never take my children for granted or realize the miracle that they are in our lives. It is not always easy to be a parent. In fact it is the most difficult job I have ever had if you take it as seriously as I do but there is nothing I have found as fulfilling. I also love having a day that brings me full circle in celebrating having a loving mother and mother in law as well as celebrating that I am lucky enough to be a mother to one adult child and our dynamic duo.

I will not be long winded about what we did to celebrate the day; suffice it to say that as always it was memorable. Here are some photos from my Mother's Day breakfast at Katie's preschool and the brunch that I held for our folks at home.

With love,


Mom to three amazing children (one Big and two littles)

Mother's Day Breakfast with my girl

Katie's friend Jolie and her mom Lisa

Katie's friend Alex with her Mama

Marc's Mom and My mom opening their Mother's Day gift - A Shutterfly book that I create each year for them of the kiddos

Into the pool was 90 + degrees here today...oy!

A close look at our mischief man

My jumping bean

still jumping...

precious Katie Starr

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Look who greeted us at the door this morning!

Mr. or Ms. Turtle (I am sure there is a way to figure that out but the shell makes that difficult) came by to greet us this morning. He/She came a long way too as the canal that he/she would have come from is about two houses away from us. We live very close to the Everglades so we get to see lots of nature around these parts. It is very cool for us but probably not for the wildlife as there are too many vehicles and unfortunately accidents happen...not cool at all!

Mr. Mischief (Ethan) thought it was cool too and he wanted to get up close and personal with his new found friend. Of course, he had to touch him and talk to him. On the other hand, Miss Starr was non plussed and actually a bit grossed out by the thought of touching him. After everyone got their look see, Marc brought Mr./Ms T back to the canal and set him/her on the bank. He/She then took a huge dive back in. I am sure he/she was quite happy to get back on track.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

One last surprise visit from Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul

We did not think that we would get to see Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul again but we got a nice surprise late this afternoon with an impromptu visit. They, along with my mil and fil traveled down to South Beach today and on their way back came by with a beautiful gift of Shabbas Candle Holders for us and of course got one last chance to hang with the dynamic duo.

The kiddos once again had a great time as did the adults and they got to see more of Ethan's mischievous side. They were a bit tired when they arrived after traveling around all day but after another hour with our children they looked exhausted and probably were quite happy to get back on the road and into the relative calm of their car ride home.

Here are the last pics of their visit this year to South Florida.

Aunt Shirley drawing a house on a Magnadoodle - Katie asked "where are the peoples?"
Love this look by the mischief man

Katie took this pic of Aunt Shirley
and this one of Uncle Paul
The Love Birds - Justin and Judy

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Goodbye for now Aunt Shirley. It was wonderful to see you and Uncle Paul!

Tonight was our last opportunity to see Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul before they went back to New Jersey so we took the Dynamic Duo up to see them. We met them both with Marc's folks at a Mall about 45 minutes North of us. This was a place that they could watch the kiddos play in a play area in the cool comfort away from the 90 degree Florida heat.

First we got a bite to eat and the children (especially Katie) pulled out all the stops to impress her audience. They were duly impressed and then off we went to play. The two of them were non stop locomotion for the next hour or so. They had a blast so the adults had a blast watching them.

It was so nice to have Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul down and share our children with them. We look forward to the next time............

Having a Ball!

Full Throttle

Now you see her; now you don't!

Just a blur...

Sitting on a kiwi :)

Picture of me taken by Katie (she needs to work on getting a better angle..LOL)

Joyful Katie Starr

More Joy

Look Aunt Shirley; Mom is taking our picture again!

Aunt Shirley and the children

Marc's folks, Aunt Shirley along with Marc and the DD

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Fun in the sun

We had Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul over to the house today for lunch. We invited Shannon and her crew as well, in addition to my folks. Unfortunately, Marc's dad (Shirley's Brother) has been under the weather so he and Marc's Mom could not join us.

It was just a wonderful and relaxing day around the pool while eating yummy BBQ. The kiddos played and then hit the pool. Katie was really not into it at all. I think it was a combination of the cold water and a long lapse since she was in the water regularly. I am sure that once she starts lessons again next month her happy demeanor around the pool will return.

Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul will be leaving on Friday so we want to get to see them one more time as they are very special to us.

Here are a few cute pics from the day.

They Dynamic Duo waiting for our guests to arrive

Mia, Katie and Ethan waiting to get in the water

The famous Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul

My Mom and Dad

Ryan, Katie, Ethan and Mia testing the water

Katie never stopped testing the water

Ethan was a bit unsure of this piggy back ride so he grabbed his Daddy's nose and used it as a handle (photo taken through the pool fence)

Happy and relaxed after the pool with her cookie (Love the pose)

Ethan (our resident cookie monster) looks pretty happy as well