Sunday, September 28, 2008

A+ in EI

Since Grace has been progressing so well in Early Intervention Grace's therapist decided to evaluate her this week. Grace scored 12 -15 months in most areas and 15 - 18 months in a couple areas. The therapist suggested decreasing EI services to just once or twice a month rather than every week since Grace has progressed so well. We decided to have her continue coming out every other week as Grace seems to like playing and we already paid for the services so we might as well get what we paid for.

This weekend we switched the car seats to forward facing. Grace wasn't sure what to make of the change at first but eventually decided that she liked her new view. I am sure in no time we will have a back seat driver and will be dodging stuffed animals and cheerios flying at us from the back seat. Some pics from the week below.

Like my new skull cap?
messy head and Lucy's best side, heh
"For me??" Opening gift from China
Cloisonne panda ornament
Teddy Rabbit and me goin' for a ride
Ocho Nueve
I am ridiculously cute in these tights

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gracie's Mom has a Birthday Goin' On

Jen put together a little photo montage of her favorite pictures of Grace over the past few months as a birthday gift to herself. I have never seen Jen happier than I have since she became Grace's mommy, see for yourself below....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Grace and Mommy too

Today we celebrated Grace's first birthday. Her birthday isn't until Monday but it is Monday in China so we figured it was OK. Jen is also celebrating her birthday on Tuesday so the girls got to have a dual celebration. We had some friends and family over and it was a good day. We feel so very fortunate that we got to celebrate Grace's first birthday with her as many Chinese adoptive parents miss their child's first birthday. Hard to believe she is a year is hard now to imagine our lives without her. Some pics from our day below.
Happy Family
I can't wait to hear the comments we get when Grace wears this bib at restaurants.
Mommy and Daddy help blow out the candles.
No, Jen didn't make the cakes! They were delicious though. See below:
Gracie started out by daintily dabbing her fingers into the frosting.
But then found it was more fun to dive right in!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


We were a bit disturbed this week when we heard that dozens of babies in China were sickened and one had died from baby formula tainted with melamine. We were even more disturbed when we heard the name on the formula "Sanlu" as it was the Chinese formula that we gave to Grace while we were in China. For some reason we kept an empty container of it and still have it sitting on our counter.

Luckily we transitioned Grace to American formula pretty quickly after we got home. Grace also had a pretty thorough checkup when she got home from China and she seems to be extremely healthy now so we aren't too concerned but we will probably mention it to her doctor at her next checkup just in case.

Grace continues to amaze us. Her language skills seemed to take a turn this week as she seems to be trying to repeat everything we say. She mastered Ma Ma and Da Da a while back and is now saying cat which sounds more like gah. She also says Hi and Bye and we think she says ba ba for bottle.

Our favorite pic from this week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Standing

Jen was playing around with the video camera this afternoon and caught some cute videos of Grace. She is standing for a few seconds at the beginning of the video then decides to make a phone call with the remote. Oh, and don't worry Lucy isn't actually dead, she just "plays dead" so Grace will leave her alone.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Three Months Home, Reunions, Hanna and Standing

This past week we celebrated three months home as a family with Grace. It really seems a lot longer than three months. We can't imagine life without her now. She has changed so much and made so much progress in such a short time, we are so proud of her. Jen dressed Grace in one of her silk dresses from China to see if it still fits, you can really see the change comparing these two pictures. Kind of sad that she is losing the baby look and looking more like a toddler.

This weekend we also got together with seven of the families that we traveled to China with. The get together was to celebrate the girls' first birthday. It was great to see how happy and healthy all of the girls are and to catch up with all of the happy parents as well. Before we left we tried to recreate our infamous red couch photo. The results are below.

The remains of hurricane Hanna also blew through New England this weekend just as the girls' party was finishing up. This past year (see here and here)I have not had much luck with wind and trees and this weekend was no exception. Hanna took down another branch from an oak tree in our yard and dropped it in the exact same place as the last one. So my Sunday was spent with ladders, ropes and chainsaws cleaning up my yard.

Grace decided to show us a new skill this weekend as well and is now standing on her own for a few seconds at a time. I think we are going to have a toddler on our hands in no time.

A couple more pics from the week.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Since I am a computer geek at heart I get excited with any new technology or gadget that comes around and I just have to try it out. I noticed a couple days ago that blogger has a new feature called "Followers" that kind of integrates Google reader so you get updates when blogs that you read post something new. Another cool feature of "followers" is that you can add a gadget to show all the people's blogs that are following you. Unfortunately it only works for Blogspot blogs at this time.

I have added a couple of the blogs that I read regularly and I have added the gadget that will show who is following my blog. Unfortunately I currently have no followers. So if you read my blog and want to be linked as a follower go into your dashboard and add our blog and I will add yours if I haven't already.

And who wouldn't want to follow this cute face.....

Monday, September 01, 2008

Silent Tears

Silent Tears - A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage

By Kay Bratt

Our only disappointment regarding our trip to China is that we didn't get the opportunity to visit the orphanage where Grace lived. When I saw a review for Silent Tears I jumped at the opportunity to read about what orphanage life is like for the children. The author's husband needed to travel to China to help set up a new factory for his employer. The author travels with her husband and decides to spend her time volunteering in a local orphanage. There are many books written about orphanages in China but the setting of this book is fairly recent (2003 - 2007). The book's chapters are excerpts from her personal journal with some fiction mixed in where she imagines the situations in which some of the babies could have been abandoned.

The author's first impressions of China are pure culture shock. I was a bit surprised that she had not done a little more research into what to expect. Many adoptive parents have the greatest love and respect for China as it is our daughters' homeland. We play down the negative aspects and play up the positive ones to foster a love for China in our children. The author has no vested interest in China and writes frankly about how she feels about China's people and the conditions she finds in the orphanage. The book has generated a bit of controversy in the Chinese adoption world mostly for the judgement and attitude of the author. Initially she is very critical of many of the methods used by the nannies in the orphanage but as the book progresses she comes to realize that there are good reasons for many of the things she found incomprehensible.

The orphanage that the author volunteers at is one of the poorer orphanages in China. It is understaffed and underfunded. The volunteers are initially met with scepticism and scorn from the nannies. Which is understandable as nobody wants to be watched, judged and told how to do their jobs. Eventually the author and the other volunteers are accepted and are able to improve life greatly for the children in the orphanage. Many of the children in the orphanage have special needs such as spina bifida, heart conditions or cleft palates. Unfortunately with the limited staff and many babies to feed and care for the most vulnerable babies sometimes do die. As with any job there are some nannies who are very good at their jobs and truly care for the babies. Then there are also some nannies who are uncaring at best and abusive at worst. Ultimately the author and her volunteers are able to raise funds for surgery for many of the children and provide them with opportunity for a better life.

I would not say that I enjoyed reading this book but I do think it was a worthwhile read. While I don't doubt the writings of the author I do not believe this orphanage is representative of the conditions in all orphanages. Grace came to us as an almost 20 pound happy 8 month old. She was well fed and obviously well cared for and loved. We will always be thankful to her nannies for that. Hopefully there will be a time in the near future when all children are cared for as well as Grace was.