Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spring Break Rewind: Beach Baby

And now for a much brighter subject-- Anna Kathryn's first trip to the beach.  When we were in Florida last month visiting my parents, we spent the day in St. Augustine doing some of our favorite things... eating delicious Spanish and Cuban food at the Columbia Restaurant, and browsing the shops on St. George St. in the historic district.  Once AK had her fill of shops and the stroller, we headed out to the beach to introduce her to sand and surf.  Anna Kathryn had a great time playing in the sand and discovering the waves and water.  She quickly became a fan of beach life!

The ground feels kinda funny... but I like it.  

Checking out the water

C'mon in -- the water's fine!

Time for a beach stroll

Heading into the ocean again... and again...

One, two, three, whee!!

Checking out the sand-- Anna Kathryn also discovered how much fun it is to fling it

Hanging out with Daddy

We can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Frustration/ ramblings

I have a bunch of much-more-fun blog posts swirling in my head, including our Memorial Day weekend, which was spent with my sister's family, my parents, and assorted family friends to celebrate my beautiful niece Alie's christening.  Unfortunately, I am home today, sick with a gross sinus infection and feeling too frustrated to do anything but list my grievances on here.  Feel free to skip this one if you are in the mood for something brighter.

I am getting back on the Master's Degree wagon during the summer session.  (I took off the past two semesters to be able to fully focus on the L'il Snickerdoodle.)  Unfortunately, when I was re-admitted, my university gave me a whole new identity:  passwords, ID numbers, e-mail addresses, the whole bit.  Unfortunately, they neglected to tell me or my department about this so I have spent the last 3 weeks trying to get my registration, payment for classes, and everything else sorted out-- long-distance (I'm doing my degree online).   I think the wagon is driving over me right now.  

The latest wrinkle is that I still haven't been able to log in to my classes because they have to assign me a new password, and classes started a week ago.  Last Friday I was told that I had to send them a picture of myself to get this passphrase.  So I sent it and left for the weekend.  Of course the university was closed yesterday, and I was feeling too rotten to care about this mess. So today I find that I had an e-mail from the helpdesk saying that I was supposed to e-mail a picture ID -- I guess that's the obvious thing to do but since Tech Guy didn't specify this I just e-mailed a snapshot of myself. I could feel my head about to explode as I read the e-mail. I sent off another e-mail this time with my driver's license scanned in -- we shall see if this works. (Added: they sent me a new passphrase which DOESN'T WORK. AAAARRRGH!)  

At this point class has been in session for a week and I still haven't been able to log in, much less get started-- I can't even think about how behind I already am. I'd love to think that this was a sign from God that I should quit this degree program and just stay at home full-time with AK. A lot of my frustration comes from wanting to do that, but unfortunately, it's just not going to happen now.

Also, this is one of the busiest times of the year as we wind down the school year. For me it means inventory and lots of reports to compile, as well as special events and continuing to work with teachers and students on a somewhat limited basis. Having to miss 3 days of work in a row is not helping my tendency to worry about getting everything done by the last workday. Mark is super-busy too, and we both are pretty wiped out when we get home these days. I'm trying to manage the stress of this plus my graduate class situation, but I'm struggling a bit. I wish it was June 12 --our last workday-- now!

I had to make a big decision the other day. I feel so much better now that it's been made, but am not sure how it will all play out. A bit more stress.

AK has hit a really cute stage (more on that later). She is also in a challenging stage-- since what she wants to do much of the time is challenge us. Her new favorite word is "no". And she loves to use it whenever she is not in the mood to do something or just wants to "feel the power." Of course, I find myself telling "no" myself an awful lot these days. She is into everything-- even the stuff I thought I had childproofed. I love her insatiable curiosity but the tidy, safety-conscious mama in me tends to cringe at some of her "discoveries", and habit of pulling things apart.  

Of all things, brushing her teeth is the biggest battle. She loves to do it herself, but when it's time for one of us to do the actual brushing, it's a fight. She clamps her lips together and shakes her head back and forth. She tried saying "no" but that gave me an entry point to try to get in her mouth. Usually the battle ends in wailing and much gnashing of teeth on both our parts! Her techniques for avoiding the toothbrush would be hilarious if it weren't soooooo frustrating. It's been so tough for me dealing with her that most nights Mark is now in charge of tooth brushing (go Mark!).

I read a quote recently that adults are basically toddlers with their self-centeredness, selfishness, and lack of understanding that it's not all about them-- just with better manners and some civility added. I thought that was a great description. (I've met plenty of adults who are harder to deal with than a toddler). Of course, this leaves out all the fun parts of toddlerhood: the cuddles, drooly kisses, the ability to turn everything into a game, that same curiosity as they discover the world around them, the new words and skills every week, hearing "Mama!" said with such excitement and joy, watching her romp with her daddy. Definitely puts things into perspective.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

...and it was!!  My first Mother's Day was just wonderful.  Definitely a big improvement over the past few years, when I generally hid out at home with Mark.  Mother's Day was just so difficult and such a painful reminder of what I longed more more than anything through all the years of fertility treatments and the long wait to adopt.  I loved honoring our mothers and grandmothers, but with everyone living so far away the day just seemed empty, and a sad reminder of my lack of motherhood.

Three years ago today, we had just worked through the devastation of an unsuccessful year and a half on the fertility roller coaster.   We knew it was time, at last, to turn towards adoption with our whole hearts.  We spent parts of Mother's Day excitedly looking through packets and watching DVDs from various agencies which facilitate international adoption.  By the end of the afternoon we had settled on a country and an agency.  On that hopeful, optimistic, Mother's Day, in my wildest dreams, I never could have envisioned the sheer joy that this has brought to my life:

But as with all things, that which does not come easily is much sweeter once it is ours.  

This day was leisurely. We ended up not going to church, because AK was up in the night for a long time and Mark ended up staying up til all hours with her. I let them sleep in -- AK slept until 10:20! Mark fixed a big breakfast, and then we just hung out, played and did a few things around the house. Mark and Anna Kathryn had cards and gifts for me (a coupon book for all kinds of treats: everything from a massage to a week off from the dishes!)Our big outing was to the grocery store. After lunch, AK and Mark napped, and I spent a blissful few hours reading a novel and the Sunday paper.  

Mark and Anna Kathryn fixed a yummy dinner: and then we went for a walk and chatted with the neighbors after calling all of the moms and grandmothers to wish them a Happy Mother's Day.

Maybe no one will notice...

...if I munch on this raw piece of sweet potato!

My two chefs

This day was filled with ordinary things, but it was wonderful nevertheless. My husband and my daughter showered me with love all day. Truly, my best gift came when I went into Anna Kathryn's room to wake her, and she looked at me and said, "Mama!"

What I have longed to hear for so long, to be for so long. I don't forget the days of painful waiting, and the tears of Mother's Days in the past. But I rejoice in the present and our gift from God: Anna Kathryn. My dream has come true.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eighteen Months Old!

Anna Kathryn at eighteen months...

Still a great eater and now an expert at using her sippy cup

Always ready for playtime!

Wants most everything HER way and does not like hearing "No."  
She does not hesitate to express her displeasure at having her plans thwarted.
(She is, however, getting better at dealing with her frustration-- we have been working on this.)

Enjoys being in charge of her stuff.  Even if it's a lot bigger than she is.  Besides, strollers are for babies.

ALWAYS on the go!

Giggly, silly, funny, chatty, and the joy of our lives.