Monday, July 28, 2008

Family Reunion

This weekend we had our annual family reunion. Isa B had met many of the family members at a wedding just a few weeks after coming home, but that was a long time ago. She was a bit less exuberant than normal with all the new faces but I think she had a good time. And even with her very limited napping, she stayed in a fairly good mood.

Here is Isa playing with her cousin Caroline who is exactly 1 week older than she is:

The girls had an epic wrestling match on an air mattress, which was HYSTERICAL to watch. At one point Isa flung herself head-first off the side. Rather than bursting into tears, as I expected, given her faceplant in the carpet, she was laughing like crazy. They also spent a fair bit of time during the weekend talking to each other. I have really fond memories of playing with my cousins at the picnic every year and I'm glad she's going to get the same experience.

The reunion takes place right on a lake, so I was hoping we'd get to do some swimming, which Isa loves. We took a tiny dip on Saturday, just to see how she'd do but the weather didn't really cooperate. Sunday was supposed to be rainy, gray, and colder than Sunday. So, I didn't even pack our suits. What happens!?!? Sunshine, of course. All afternoon.
To make up for the lack of swimming, Isa and I went out on the boat when the big kids were tubing. She thought the life vest was super funny. Because she's so short, the vest went all the way up to her cheeks and she had to keep her head at a bit of an upward angle. Doesn't she look stylish?? (Note our beloved pacifier is still readily available!)

On an entirely unrelated note, tonight (as I typed this entry) is the first time that Isa has fussed herself to sleep. Normally, if she doesn't fall asleep right after I leave, she fusses. The fussing has always escalated to real crying, which is when I go in and try to calm her. I kept hoping that someday she'd figure out to just stop fussing and go to sleep. I guess someday is today. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fav Foto Friday

Turns out, Fav Foto Friday actually has its origins on this blog. And there's a weekly theme!

This week's theme is FRIENDS. Which is perfect because that's exactly what I was planning to blog about anyhow.

Today we met the wonderful Rebekke and her darling little one Solly, who is 9 months old and also from Ethiopia. Rebekke lives fairly close by and arrived in Addis to meet Solly right as I was leaving with Isa. We've been in contact since before either of us had referrals and finally got to meet IRL. We met at the zoo (after a harrowing 40 minute drive around the parking lot desperate to find a spot-blech) and had an amazing time hanging out. Isa B showed off all her tricks to charm the group, which included Solly's grandma "Gam" and for a bit, dad Brad.

So far we are 2 for 2 when it comes to meeting online friends!!!

Here is Isa holding hands with her newest boyfriend

And here are a few other friends:

Isa & Cassidy

Isa & Evan (who just turned 1 year old!)

Isa & Evan's big brother Adam

And last, but certainly not least, another photo of Isa & Elsa

(as they both enjoy a tasty snack of "shoe"... mmmmmm...)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cheese, cheese, and more cheese

I just posted a photo of Isa B's recent "cheesy" grin. Tonight I kept her busy as I was cooking dinner by feeding her pieces of cheese which she loves. And in response, she pulled out her super-duper-deluxe ham routine. Lucky for me (and you happy blog-readers), she actually repeated it when I pulled the camera out.

How did she learn this goofy face? Who knows. But, obviously, it gets a laugh so she keeps doing it.

It's an all-out cheese fest, people. Beware.

And, yes, that is me actually sneezing on the tape not pretending. Yes, Mollie, I know that holding in sneezes kills brain cells. I'm not holding them in, they're just teeny-tiny.

Oh, and someday I'll figure out how to rotate videos. Or learn to film them "right side up." Maybe.....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pictures, just for fun

Nothing new to blab about, but here are some pics:

Isa's new "cheesy" grin which comes out whenever the camera does.

Frog legs. Tasty.

Naked is fun!

(While Papaw snoozes in the background and Grandma pokes her ala Pillsbury Dough Boy...)

Hi, Mama. :)

Sometimes the best toys aren't toys at all.

In her left hand- a sock. In her right hand- a "rattle" made from an empty pill bottle (childproof, of course) and an earring that lost it's mate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

11 months old today

Somehow (without my consent I may add) Isa B has turned 11 months old!

Isa remains a happy, happy girl most of the time. I think she's starting to move into the separation anxiety phase because some days I MUST be sitting on the floor with her. In the same room isn't good enough and God forbid I actually have to leave the room!

She's learned a ton of new tricks in the last month. She continues to commando crawl and just refuses to stay on her knees for any length of time. She's trying to pull up, but, as you can imagine, it's very difficult from her tummy. She has figured out how to get from lying down to sitting up on her own, though.

Isa waves both hi and bye. She claps. She says several "words" now: "diddy" (kitty), "duck-duck", "mama". I'm not 100% sure that she knows she's saying my name when she says Mama but she definitely knows it gets my attention. And if anyone asks her "where's Mama?" she does look in my direction. So, I'm choosing to believe that she knows what she's saying! Occasionally she'll mimic "bye-bye" or something very close to "doggy" but that isn't consistent. She is super adept at flirting. Not just cute baby smiling... no- she's full on flirts.

This morning we were reading "Barnyard Dance" (highly recommended to those of you with babies- quite amusing). The last page has all the animals in a line. I asked her "where is the duck-duck?" and darn if she didn't point right at it! She did it again this afternoon, so it wasn't just a fluke.

She's still waking up once a night for a bottle, but I think that's primarily because she's such a dainty eater during the day. She eats an unbelievably wide variety of food but just not a lot of it. So, she still needs those middle of the night calories. Today I left the tray off her highchair and fed her that way. She ate more than usual (without crying) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will continue to work.

But, I must say the best "trick" she's learned this month is putting herself to sleep. As long as she's tired when I put her in her crib, she'll fall asleep on her own. That buys me at least 15 extra minutes at nap time, which is wonderful. Tonight she squawked after being down for about 3 hours. Usually that means I have to go in and put her pacifier back in (happens maybe once a night). Tonight, when I went in there, her eyes were still closed and she was putting the pacifier back in herself! Woo-ha!!!!

(Sorry that there is no picture- my camera batteries died today and are currently charging....)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Itty-bitty thought for the day

When life hands you lemons......

...stick 'em in your bra. Couldn't hurt, might help!

(Thanks to my friend Missy for that little gem. She put that on a card for me during college when things were rough and I always think of it when I need a little pick-me-up.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Waist deep in the Big Muddy

Ever feel that way to you?? I'm getting pretty tired of always having to slog through the muck...

It seems that everytime I feel like my life is falling into place and things are running reasonably smoothly, Life decides to knock me on my backside. Yesterday I came home to a letter that one of my contracts is being terminated August 12th. This contract provides over 1/3 of my income and I'm pretty much panicking. I know that contract work is, by its very nature, tenuous but I guess that could be said of most jobs nowadays. I'm not sure I can get another contract in a month and while I have a small cushion built up, it won't last for more than a couple months. (Funny how an adoption and then raising a child will deplete your meager savings!)

I know that I can always work part or full time at the registries that I currently do per diem work at. But, then I have to figure out childcare, which in Seattle is GROSSLY expensive. For part time work, I'd likely spend most of my paycheck on it. And, selfishly, I want to be home with Isa. It may be exhausting to work from home once she's gone to bed, but it's worth so much more to get to spend my days with her.

So, if anyone has a spare income lying around that they'd like to donate, I would happily accept it! Otherwise, say a little prayer to the employment pixies for me.

To balance that out, here's a little GOOD news: Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it), that afternoon I'd bought my plane tickets to go down to the big Blog Union in CA in a few weeks. Had I gotten the letter first, I wouldn't have been able to justify spending the money. And I'm super excited to get to meet so many online friends in person!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back and completely refreshed!

We had an amazing mini-vacation in S.F.!!! I was worried that coming off a week where I was gone so much, another break in the routine would just make the situation worse. Just the opposite happened, though. Being on vacation meant that she was with me 24-7 without anything else to distract me. So lots and lots of quality Mama/Isa B time, which we both needed.

Isa B is a champ when it comes to travel. She flirted shamelessly with all our fellow travelers, then as soon as the plane engines started up, she passed out and slept for the entire flight (both directions). Excellent job by Auntie MoMo in planning our flights close to nap times.

When we got in on Sunday, we took BART into the city (more new people to flirt with- yeah!). We checked in, dropped our bags in the room, and then headed right back out. Pretty much just dinked about the city for the rest of the day. Let me put in yet another plug for my Ergo. Isa was strapped in for almost 5 hours as we walked around. I'm not going to say that my back felt fabulous after lugging around my 20lb darling for that long, but the pack itself was pretty comfortable. And she got in a nice nap while Mollie and I could still be out and about.

I think I've mentioned before that Isa doesn't really get cranky when she's tired. Instead, she finds the world extremely hysterical, a state we call the Tired Jollies (or T.J.'s). Here is an example from Sunday night. Granted, Auntie deciding to climb into the hotel crib was kind of funny, but not quite as amusing as it would have been if Isa wasn't in the middle of the the T.J.'s.

On Monday we hopped the ferry over to Marin to meet our online buddies Porter and Elsa. Porter is another single mama who I "met" via a Yahoo group during the adoption process. I felt like she was a kindred spirit right away. Her gorgeous daughter Elsa was at Toukoul with Isa. I got to meet Elsa when picking up Isa so that I could some pics and video for Porter. I was really excited to finally meet Porter IRL. (And she is just as wonderful in person as she is online!)

The girls played, the mamas chatted- it was a very fun day. We went swimming in Elsa's Oma's pool, which Isa B loved. Elsa wasn't as big a fan of being in the water, but she did an excellent job sitting near the pool looking gorgeous.

Notice how in this pic Elsa is smiling beautifully for the camera and Isa can't be bothered to stop playing with a new toy and look at me. :)

Here is my gal with her new (grown-up) buddy. She thought Porter was pretty darn great- lots of smiles for her! The uber-tasty rubber fish just cemented the friendship.

On Tuesday morning, we were going to check out and leave our bags downstairs. So, I attempted to pack.... someone was VERY helpful, as you can see.....

We walked down to the ferry building, had some breakfast and started towards Pier 39 to meet Porter and Elsa for lunch. The girls were super chatty at lunch which was fun to hear. Isa B taught Elsa the bad habit of sitting half turned in her high chair. My daughter, the corruptor....

We LOVED hanging out with Porter and Elsa! Porter and I have very similar parenting styles. She responds to Elsa's talking with the same phrases that I do when chatting with Isa. It was nice to be around another parent that isn't focused on following the baby books by the letter, but rather going with what feels right for your particular baby. Which is sometimes hard to do when you've adopted- you worry that you need to be even more vigilant with following the "rules." I wish we lived closer but our little mini-vacation went so well, I'm sure we'll do it again in the not-so-distant future.

Friday, July 4, 2008

School's in for summer

No, not for Isa- for me!

In order to qualify for the certification test in my field (which will mean more potential for work and also that I can charge significantly more for my work), I need to take 2 quarters Anatomy & Physiology. So, in addition to work and mommyhood, I'm now a student again. It's interesting to try and juggle it all...... thus the even-longer-than-usual hiatus from the blog.

Last week Isa's top 2 teeth broke through. She can now bite off bits of things like crackers, which she finds fascinating. I'm still trying to get a picture of the teeth as she just doesn't want to cooperate!

We're heading down to San Francisco on Sunday for a couple days with my sister when she goes down for work. I just needed a bit of a break from normal life, even if it's just for a few days. We get to meet up with friend whose daughter was at Toukoul with Isa- she traveled a month after I did to bring her home. I can't wait for the girls to meet again!! Hopefully Isa B will do okay with sleeping somewhere other than her crib. Right now she's sleeping soundly through a bunch of fireworks that the neighbors are setting off (yeah!).