Friday, September 30, 2005

Mama's new pair of pants. Check out those cuffs.  Posted by Picasa

Mama's New Pants

It occured to me today as I was popping onto my local Old Navy that every time I enter a store, no matter what kind of store, I end up looking for kid stuff. I used to have this gift for smelling out exactly where the red line itemed clearance size 10 shoes were in stores regardless if I had ever even been there before. I could zero in on well made but affordable jackets with long sleeves to fit my monkey length arms. I haven't done this in over 3 years! Until today I had lost my mojo.

Now, before today I was down but not out. My 6th sense for discount hosiery and matching necklace/earring sets was replaced with an even better 7th sense for super cute little girls clothes. For the last three years I have been reveling in Hanna Andersson clearances, Gymboree closeouts and Baby Gap practical give aways. I never pay retail, it is a mantra second only to my favorite serenity prayer.

But today, I hit the wall. No more pink fleece, no more socks with lace ruffles. Mama needs a new pair of pants. I cannot stomach the thought of wearing the same pair of jeans and green khakis that I did all last winter. Last winter I thought this was the greatest, no frills no fuss no muss. When Ava spilled the juice du jour on me they simple went into the washer for the 150th time. I'm not sure why I've become Miss Chatalaine. (Couldn't resist, I love KD Lang.) Perhaps it is my impending adoption of kidlet #2 and knowing that mommyville round two is right around the corner. Better get, while the gettin's good.

Old Navy was there today to heal the "just a mom" blues with retail therapy. I quickly snatched up a pair of blue khakis (I admit...not that much different than last year's green ones.) But there is nothing like something new to give a girl a lift. Of course they were too short, I am over 6 feet tall. I was a mom with a child in preschool for the morning and nothing could ruin my creative exuberance. I have found there is nothing like a cranky 3 year old to dim creative ideas and follow through. I will simply extend them with cool decorated cuffs, I thought. Off to Hancock Fabric. The planets aligned..I must have been a seamstress of some sort or another in a previous life because 2 hours later I had cute cuffs!

ok ok..I do admit that I simply could not exit the store without the pink fleece hat and mits set for my soon to be chilly peanut. But that's it, no more kid stuff...for today at least.

This is the stinky car face. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stinky Car

Earlier this week I was completely enthralled with myself for being business girl. I admit it was sort of a high to work at the computer talking to clients wheeling and dealing like the old days. But now reality has set in. I've had 500 of these lovely calendars that we are selling delivered to my house, or well my car to be more specific. Not a lot of storage space back home at the ranch.

In my infinite wisdom I figured I'd ask my main muffin man to load up my car with the 500 calendars neatly stored in cardboard boxes of 50. I should be selling them so fast that they will be unloaded and turned into cash for Families With Children From China faster than you can say DTC. Reality check. I think that the printer gave us stinky boxes. My car reeks. Yes, it smells like previously wet cardboard. It is slightly better than my dog's previously wet dog smell for comparison. What's the deal did FCC have to pay extra to get non-stinky boxes with the lavender and chamomille essence?

Now main muffin man of out of town on business and I don't feel like unloading 500 stinky calendars all by myself. (Note: the calendars smell fine it is the boxes that are the odiferous culprit.)

I am off to an FCC dancing class to try to unload a box of two on some FCC parents. I just know that Ava's first comments when we get in the truck will be "Hey, it stinks in here." Ugh, she had to get the super sniffer gene.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rhinoceraus Tap

If there is anyone out there in the world who has not personally witnessed 3 year old little girls in a tap dancing are missing the time of your life. Just when you feel bogged down by all of the stories of people who are homeless due to natural disasters and newspaper articles of children being abused in record numbers and politicians sniping at each other like hyenas who haven't eaten in a few days...there is always kiddy tap dancing to lighten the mood.

First, all three year old girls enrolled in tap dancing lessons have to have some sort of requisite pastel leotard with matching frilly tulle skirt that barely covers the baby sized bum. I say enjoy it now ladies this is the last time this outfit will be belly achingly cute on anyone! Then add lacy socks or matching tights under the shiny black patent leather mary jane shoes...well that is a fashion statement. For those who are already displaying a Stella McCartney sense of style...well matching pig tails with big hair bows is a must!

All this runway"esque" before the "tap dancing" even begins. Teacher (who by the way has opted to skip the short tulle skirt, imagine that) starts by lining the Cyd Sharise wanna be's up and showing them how to shuffle on one foot. Talk about the cart before the horse, some of these kids haven't yet mastered standing on one foot never mind shuffling gracefully. Hilariousness ensues as 2 in the line completely wipe out. (Floor was a little slippery.) I am proud to announce that my little Gregory Hines is NOT one of the graceful ones to wipe out..she did that before entering class immediately after doning the shoes only in front of me. Whew!

We tired unshowered mom's (we are mostly the stay at home set after all) are rewarded with an adorable and not all together horrible little dance line number. We truthfully admit that the mom's probably couldn't have done much better. We certainly couldn't carry off the outfits as well that's for sure.

On the way home we keep the momentum by listening to Rhinoceraus Tap on cd. There is just something about coming home from a kiddy tap dancing lesson and then having to listen to a silly song about Rhinos tap dancing that well...makes you want to take her again next week.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

She's going to swim the seas

It's official. Ava has decided to be a mermaid for Halloween this year. You'd have thought that we were going to get something like world peace or something, with how hard this decision was and how much negotiating we had to do. Last year she opened a catalogue and said "I will be that cat." And she was the cutest pink and black cat there ever was. I was pleased as punch when I saved myself $25.00 by making the costume here at home.

This She labored. I tried to stay out if it at first, then when I got a little worried that she might choose this yucky Bratz thing. I'm sorry but no child needs encouragment to be something called a Brat. I started to panic. I suggested the craziest things like Freudian Slip, it was over her 3 year old head. Dalmation? "Not good mom." She offered, "Cheerio". I thought that was wonderfully creative. But the flashy sparkly mermaid possibilty just plain old won out. As we were driving to the fabric store she was still suggesting a chocolate chip cookie. I had to draw the line. If I was going to march into a very crowded Joann Fabrics with 6 coupons in hand, preparing to toil away over pink and green sequins and tulle she'd better be resigned to this mermaid idea.

So far so good. I can only hope she is pleased with the final decision. I admit I added a little more sparkle and bling to the fabric selection for insurance. Oh and I have to hope it will be 75 degrees outside Oct. 31st since it is very light and flimsy. Not likely. More mermaid updates later.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Business Girl

I have had the opportunity to play business girl this week. I used to really be business girl pre- Ava of course. So how does the preschool mom who makes halloween costumes, cleans her own toilets, and meets the neighbors kids at the bus when they are busy at a meeting suddenly become business girl overnight?

Here's how...volunteer. I volunteer with Ava's heritage organization Families With Children From China. We are a bunch of adoptive parents who want to educate our children about Chinese heritage. Well, as much as a bunch of mostly caucasian mid-westerners can at least. We also fund raise for children who are left behind in China as well as try to subsidize educational and social events here locally at FCC. Blah blah blah...

Now, business girl. I have taken on this little role where I am selling our fund raising calendar (pictures of our adorable kids by the way) to vendors around the country so that they can re-sell at a profit. Now by vendors I do not mean the setting up a table at the local Kroger, thank you very much. No, we are selling to vendors all over the country. We have pre-sold almost everything! All money made goes to Chinese children's charities. We only subtract printing costs and a professional graphic designer. No other overhead.

I am really wearing my business girl hat here, big rush. Of course my daughter, you know my real full time job, is parked in front of a Barney DVD but that's another story. I have been forecasting sales, reading spread sheets, schmoosing clients, documenting for next years sales effort and pounding away on my little $3.00 calculator...which by the way is all I can really mathmatically handle.

Ahhh, every stay at home mommy really needs a "perhaps I am competant at more than separating the colors of playdoh" day like today. Pardon me, I must check my email to see if my NYC client wants to pre-order 1000 more calendars at wholesale. Oh yeah and my husband just asked what's for dinner too. I guess every business girl needs a reality check now and then.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Look hard, she's there.  Posted by Picasa

A Sonagram

Bet you did not know that you can have a sonagram when you adopt. Isn't she the cutest? I got this sonagram and did not even have to deal with that greasy slimy goo that they put on your belly. Creepy. I predict she will have her sister's eyes, and lovely hair. You know because you can see so much hair on a sonagram. Chubby cheeks too. Perhaps chubby thighs...she'll get that from me. Buddha belly, I'm not saying who she'll get that from.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sept. 16, 2005  Posted by Picasa

Sept. 16, 2002 Posted by Picasa

Then and now....

We had our 3 year Gotcha Day ceremony this weekend. I say ceremony, well anyone who has tried a ceremony with a 3 year old probably already knows you'd better be flexible and quick.

We lighted our 3 candles that Ava picked out when she was 20months old. Yes, she did infact pick the candles at the Yankee Candle store. Brian and I let her choose 3 colors. Then we light the candles only on her Gotcha Day anniversary each year. She chose Red to remember her wonderful birth country, China. (Even a 20 month old knows that Red goes with China, right?) Purple for her birth family, incidently my favorite color, maybe at 20 months old she was looking for a connection between her birthmother and me? (Perhaps a stretch...but we are going with it.) And, blue for our forever family. Why blue I don't know, remember I said she got to choose the colors and she said "ocean" when she picked it up. So we went with it because we all know that taking a 20 month old to a candle shop is well...risky at best. And we got sidetracked that a 20 month old knew to correlate blue with ocean. Genius if you ask me.

So, back to the ceremony. I though Brian was going to pick up the chinese food on the way home from the gym and he thought that some fairy was going to do it. No, I'm kidding we just did not communicate all that well. Ava and I popped in the car and picked up Sichuan, yummy. Back at home we quickly lit the candles, asked her if she remembered being in China and scarfed down some spicy tofu and shrimp lo mein. She loves shrimp lo mein more than life itself. Her answer to the remembering all about China was the typical Ava answer. "Yeah". Ok, What do you remember? "I really don't remember Mom." Ahhh honesty, she was only 8 months old when she left her birth country after all. So, over beef and broccoli, spicy tofu and shrimp lo mein and little colorful candles we notched another line in the creating a tradition for our little family. We remembered what it was like becoming a family a million miles away from anything normal and comfortable for us.

Next year at Ava's Gotcha Day meal and ceremony we will have Olivia with us. We will probably be trying to pull a toddler away from the candle fire and eating sichuan with the other hand. We'll be expecting another short ceremony. Can't wait.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Happy "Gotcha Day"

It was exactly 3 years ago today on September 16, 2002 that we were privledged to meet Ava Jing Tang. She was placed in our arms by a Chinese nanny in a hotel lobby a world away and we were instantly a family of three.

I have a vivid memory of one of our travelmates telling me something that seemed cliched, simplistic albiet sweet. He said, "Remember this day, this moment do whatever you can to preserve it. In no time at all you will have been together one year, then 5, then she will graduate from high school, even marry the man of her dreams. It will all flash by in an instant."

"Flash by in an instant", I reflected the next day. I couldn't see it. All I could experience was one little scared and hungry baby crying and crying for something I couldn't give her. I wondered if I would make it 1 week, never mind the whole graduating from high school scenario. But we did make it through that initial rough dance where a baby learns who will love her, feed her, and be there forever for her.

That man was right, I suspect he'd been down this childrearing path before. It is now 3 years. We made it past that 1 year mark I honestly had little faith we would ever see during that scary lifechanging moment in China. Ava is more than "making it" she is happy and healthy. She is growing like a weed and seems to sponge up information more quickly than I can pick up the trail of toys. She is brilliant, by that I mean shiny from the inside. She beams, she shines brightly when loves and when she makes mistakes. She is undeterred by obstacles and unapologetic for being human.

For this brilliant life we thank her birthparents today. We hope they have found some peace since 2002, which might have been a tough year for them?

We thank the Chinese government for trusting us, 2 unexperienced Americans with the life of this child. They matched us with her. We hope we are honoring that choice. Happy Gotcha Day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Preschool Gestapo

Preschool is tough. Not for Ava, for me.

I arrive at preschool at what I thought was normal time, a few minutes before 9am. I am stopped at the stairs by a lady who says we can't go to the room because we are too early. Perhaps we should try to arrive a little closer to the time that preschool starts. Hmm. I check my watch. It is 8:51am. Then the lady tells me that we cannot stand there we must take ourselves out to the other hallway and wait for it to be closer to preschool drop off time.

Hmmm again. In the Anna Karenina sized preschool folder I received at the 2 hour orientation it said that preschool begins at 9am. I take Ava out in the hallway amongst a few questions from her about why can't she go to preschool at that exact time. She rebels by putting her feet on the bench where we must sit. I maturely decide simply let her get dirt on their bench.

I carefully wait until after 9am to try again. Wouldn't want to be the first one up the stairs after said incident. I grab the hand rail with one hand and Ava's hand with my other hand and we start towards her room. There is lots of activity now. I hear the Gestapo lady again shouting at me, "Please make sure YOUR preschooler is holding the handrail." I look around and she is hand gesturing to me to under do or die circumstances that my preschooler must not be allowed to take one step without the aid of the handrail. I know that this was my opportunity for a Zen moment...amongst the Lutherns at the preschool no doubt. Unfortunately, I chose not to take it. Instead I mutter under my breath, "I am sure she will be fine since MY hand is on the hand rail." Mature, I know. I force a smile at my daughter and tell her to have a great time at prechool today. She bounces forward, places her lunch box in the basket, her bag on the correct peg and skips off saying, "See you at 1pm Mom."

Hmmm...if she is ok with all this I probably should let this one go, you know since I let the first opportunity at complete and total peace and random acts of kindness go. Note to self: volunteer in preschool class room next month....make sure everyone is holding the hand rail and showing up within 30 seconds of optimum drop off and pick up time. Shheeeess!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Preschooler's Time

I just don't remember not understanding time. Of course I wasn't born understanding the concept of minutes and hours and days and weeks, but I can't remember a time when I couldn't grasp that 5 minutes is LESS than 20 minutes. I guess this is why it seems so funny to me that my 3 1/2 year old really has no concept of this entity we call time. Or perhaps it is more that my 3 1/2 year old rarely let's on when she doesn't understand something..little miss "I get it, Mom". I am expecting a full fledged "Duh" from her anyday now. Ugh.

I think it is absolutely hilarious when she says "I want to stay up for 5 more minutes, Mom." I say in return, "Ava you can stay up for 20 more minutes until it is bedtime." She gets that frustrated look on her face and says, "Show me how many that is on your fingers." I quickly flash ten fingers 2 times. She looks stunned but recovers quickly. "I said 5 more minutes Mom." (Ok, a patient parent would look at this opportunity to quietly explain the difference between more and less.) There is no quietly explaining anything to Ava when she is wearing the frustrated face. Nonetheless I sort of sharply tell her, "Ava if you select 20 more minutes it will be longer that you can stay downstairs." "Oh.", she sheepishly gets it. Then she asks me a little more nicely to show how many fingers 5 versus 20 is. So, in my infinite wisdom I think it is a good idea to review counting from 1-20 with Ava. She stops me short again. "No Mom, I can do it and I want to do it alone." And, I'll be darned if she doesn't do it. (Memorized of course, not really understanding more and less.) Ok, I admit she sort of garbled 14-16 but recovered at 17 nicely.

Now, the 20 original minutes has dwindled and she is asking me about the difference between playing a cd and listening to the radio. I am too tired for this! This was prompted by our earlier discussion when she was frustrated with me when I couldn't play the Pointer Sister's We Are Family on demand in the car, it was on the radio. For whatever reason she LOVES that song. I opt to save the radio waves conversation (which I really don't fully understand anyway) until the next day.

I put her to bed. I put myself to bed. Another day with Ava.

She got more than 20 minutes and I got a lesson in patience. I am sure that the conversation about being a strawberry cheerio for Halloweeen will be less taxing tomorrow at breakfast.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Lovely Poem

Guess what? A complete and total stranger sent this poem to me. This China journey and having my daughter are a constant reminder to me that the world is filled with kind hearted souls, just when my heart starts to head towards the hardened I get a message to stay soft and grounded in sweet.

A red thread to China was cast today
From us to a child so far away.
This thread symbolizes an attachment of hearts
That distance alone can’t keep us apart.

Her mother and I are caught in a chase
That time alone will bring us to face
This loving young child we want so much to greet
With love in our hearts before we did meet.

This tiny, thin thread may stretch, tangle or fray
But our love for her grows stronger each day.
Through the test of time it won’t break or sever
She’ll be part of us forever and ever.

With oceans between us, the distance is spanned
By a love that is greater than man could have planned.
For God in His mercy loved her and us
And decided our family would be a great plus.

So for now we’ll just love her and pray every day
That God keeps her and loves her for us till we may
Travel to China, that land of great past,
To the side of our daughter, to hold her at last.

March 18, 2002© T.A.F.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Where are you baby?  Posted by Picasa

Where Are You Baby?

Been thinking about where our little Olivia is today. Is she north or south, east or west? Is she in Hunan like Ava was before she came home? Is she cool enough, it's hot in southern China. Did someone pick her up today? Did some nice nanny give her a kiss as she fed her or is her bottle hung on the crib? Did she get to play with her little friends today? Did she get to feel the sunshine on her face? I'm only torturing myself I know, I must turn it over and have faith she is fine as she can be.

If I had to guess I would say she is in the south. That is my prediction for today. Somewhere in the pretty south of China, maybe on a nice river with a breeze flowing through the orphanage windows.

Just hope she is safe and well cared for and being told Mommy and Daddy are coming soon.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sept. 6, 2005 First Day of Preschool Posted by Picasa

She Went To Preschool

It is now the second day of preschool for Ava. I am posting her first day picture. She was so excited about preschool she could hardly contain herself. She practically bounced all way while we walked the 150 steps next door to the church/school. She was only temporarily sidetracked by the fact that her friend Alyssa broke her collar bone and could not come to school. Oh, those crocodile tears almost made ME lose it. Ava rebounded faster than I did...she saw the paints on the table and said, "I'll be ok Mom, you can go now that you showed me where the potty is."

I left her painting next to a blond cherub named Annabelle. (I was later informed that Annabelle has yellow hair and she was wearing the prettiest pink striped dress and she is now the newest preschool friend.) Ahhh, all is well at preschool.

Ava Jing  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Disney 2005 Posted by Picasa

Staying Connected

Several weeks ago I started a web site to help keep family and friends up to date with our lives and pending adoption. We also want to be able to keep everyone posted when we travel to China early in 2006 to bring our new baby, Olivia home. Well, the web site is nice but a chore to keep updated. Is this thing supposed to be a chore? Well, no it is supposed to be one mother's ramblings about her adorable AND rambunctious 3 year old and the quest for another Slowey kidlet. So, I am trying a blog.

As of a few months ago I had to listen to NPR (my favorite radio station) to even find out what the heck a blog is. See, I used to be "up" on technology when I worked outside the home as a business consultant. I used to make a point of being friendly with my fellow co-workers who were programmers and technicians, and they would keep me up to date on what was new in the world. Well, now my world is Gymboree, Dora the Explorer, and daily refusals to eat green things. All fine, but not conducive to technology education.

So, I am playing with a blog, learning as I go. I will try to keep you up to date with our continuing saga of life with Ava, who is 3 1/2, and Olivia who is probably born but somewhere in China living with foster parents or in an orphanage until she can be matched with us, and Brian...he's the main muffin man husband. Stay with us...we appreciate encouragement.