Archive for January, 2007

Anna meets her New Hampshire cousins

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

This weekend, Joe’s cousin Lily invited us to her house in Kensington, NH (between Manchester and Portsmouth) for dinner.  Anna got to meet Lily and Mike, and her young cousins Renata and Sal.  Renee rode down with us, and Grammy and Nono Casciari were there, too.  We had a really nice time.  Lily made a delicious dinner, with Italian sausage and homemade lasagna.  Anna seemed to enjoy herself.  She played with Thomas the Train, and she got a very cute little stuffed puppy in a crate with lots of veterinary tools.  She doesn’t understand those yet, but she will … :wink:  We stayed the night in Manchester with Grammy and Nono, and came home on Sunday.  We made a run to Toys-R-Us; what a store!  I was able to find the Fisher-Price digital camera I wanted to get Anna for Christmas, so I was thrilled!

1-29-07-3.JPG Lily and Sal

1-29-07-4.JPG Sal, Mike and Renata

1-29-07-5.JPG 1-29-07-6.JPG Grammy and Nono

1-29-07-7.JPG Cisco, the retired greyhound at the Spinosa ranch

I found Anna the cutest little scooter at Walmart on the clearance table.  It’s a Raz’r, and it folds up completely flat for carrying.  It’s small enough that she can push herself around on the floor.  I don’t quite understand the appeal, because it takes a lot more energy than just walking, but she got so excited when she saw me unfolding it, she couldn’t even wait for me to finish before she started grabbing at it.  She has a lovely little tricycle here waiting for her, but her legs are still too short to reach the pedals.

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Anna went to band again with me tonight.  She did OK, but I don’t get alot of playing done.  It seems to be the general consensus that I should get her an instrument to play, like a  recorder.  I might try it next time, but I’m guessing I won’t get to take her too many more times.  She’s getting too comfortable, and messing around too much.   But for now, everyone seems to be enjoying her.

Swept away

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Miss Anna still enjoys her broom.  She hasn’t gotten any better at actually sweeping anything up, but it’s nice to see her enthusiasm. 

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Mostly, I just wanted to post the cute pictures!  Anna is very determined to help out with her dressing chores these days.  We often have quite a tussle over putting on her diaper.  I don’t mind letting her struggle with her pants or socks, but those diapers aren’t that tough, and too much tugging splits them up the sides.  We’ve compromised over her socks.  I put on one and let her work on the other one.  I think she would work on it all day if I let her. I have to work out some way to let her think she’s putting on her sock without spending several hours trying!


Anna actually whimpered a bit this morning as I was putting on my coat to leave for work, and that was with her baba right there.  She was so excited to see me when I got home, too.  She actually ran up to me for a hug.  She seems to be making a significant improvement in her potty-training again.  She only wet her diaper one time yesterday.  She’s slept really well through the night the last few nights.  Every day is getting better and better.  It’s really getting to be fun with her!

On another note, Joe’s brother Jon and sister-in-law Eileen sent us their first ultrasound of their little one today!  I believe Joe posted the photo on his blog.  Our congratulations to them!  We’re so excited that Anna is going to have a little cousin soon!

Anna does the St. Johnsbury Band

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Miss Anna accompanied me to the first St. Johnsbury Band rehearsal of 2007. Joe teaches on Monday nights, and several of my band buddies had expressed an interest in meeting Anna.  So, I took her along. She was pretty scared at the beginning, which led her to sit quietly in her chair and eat Goldfish.  But, after about an hour, she started to feel more comfortable, and got a little more active.  Between trying to crawl into my lap and grab my music and touch my clarinet, playing got more and more difficult.  We made it until about the last 15 minutes, then I had to give up.  I’m guessing she’ll feel more comfortable in the future, and she won’t be able to sit still long enough for me to rehearse.  But everyone enjoyed meeting her.  I’m surprised she didn’t find her way to the back row of trombones, several of whom would probably remind her of her grandfather.  All in all, a successful evening.

This evening, Anna had her very first experience staying home while both Joe and I were gone.  Joe had class tonight and I had a veterinary emergency group meeting which it was very important that I attend.  Auntie Renee came up to babysit for a couple of hours.  Anna cried pitifully as I tried to leave, breaking my heart.  But Renee reported that she only cried for about 5 minutes.  I think they had a good time.  I’m excited that she can stay with someone else for a short while if Joe and I both need to be away.  She was happy to see me when I got home, and Joe ran Renee back home.  I got Anna into her jammies, put her in her carrier, and she fell asleep in my lap within about 5 minutes.  I may need to have Renee come over and wear her out every evening!

This and that

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

A few little tidbits for Sunday:  Miss Anna is now 32.5 inches tall and weighs 23.5 pounds.  She’s growing up already!

Thursday, I had to work and Joe had to teach in the evening, so Anna had to come in for a short while before I could take her back home.  Normally she’s thrilled to stay with Auntie Renee; in fact, usually prefers her to me.  But on this occasion, she was having none of that.  She wanted her mama.  Can you believe it?  I had to carry her around to finish up one of my appointments, and then when a mean dog came in, she had to go upstairs with Renee.  She screamed and cried pretty much the whole time, finally settling down after about half an hour.  She was thrilled to see me.  Does this mean she’s finally coming around to me?  I hope so.  She still prefers her baba, but she doesn’t have to cry when he leaves anymore, and she sometimes even asks me to carry her when he’s available.  I’m pretty excited about it.

Friday was my mom’s birthday, so we called her and Anna talked to her for awhile on the phone.  We were having phone issues, so I put Anna on her bed and walked literally 5 steps away to get a different phone.  She absolutely dissolved into tears, was practically inconsolable.  Joe was downstairs at the time.  Can I finally say that my daughter cried when I left? 

She’s been sleeping well at night, but we still haven’t figured out how to keep her asleep.  When she wakes up and there’s not anyone in the room with her, she can’t seem to self-comfort herself back to sleep.  I’m reading one of the William Sears books about teaching your child to sleep, so maybe we’ll get some good pointers.  Not that I’m minding having our big queen-sized bed to myself (or just me and the cats, anyway). 

A few pictures of Anna at church today in her purple corduroy jumper and purple tights with dalmations on them, and later in her pink sweater.  I couldn’t really get her little boots in focus, but there’s a cat on the side.  Of course!  What else would you have on your shoes in our house?

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Anna does the eye doctor

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Today was Anna’s much-anticipated visit to the ophthalmologist to have her eyes evaluated for any signs of ocular albinism.  We didn’t want to wait to begin corrective measures if there was anything proactive we could do.  We met with Dr. Christie Morse of Concord Eye Care.  She was very kind and wonderful with Anna, as was her staff.  Anna did very well; she only cried when Dr. Morse shined a bright light in her eyes after they were dilated. 

So, you’re all dying to hear the results.  It turns out that Anna has absolutely no signs of ocular albinism.  She has no nystagmus, her irises are dark, and the pigment seems to be normally distributed, and her retinas are completely normal.  Her vision is 20/20.  She’s perfectly normal little girl.  The only thing Dr. Morse mentioned was that when youngsters this age are neither near-sighted or far-sighted, they often become near-sighted.  She wants to see her back yearly so she can continue to evaluate her vision.  Dr. Morse questioned the diagnosis of albinism, and asked if there had been any lab work done to support it, namely a tyrosinase assay.  We didn’t receive any results indicating that test was done, so I suspect the diagnosis was made purely on her light hair and skin.  It certainly doesn’t matter to us; we only care that she’s healthy and that there’s not any corrective action we need to take at this point.  Many people have questioned whether she might actually be Eurasian instead of 100% ethnic Chinese, and it’s certainly possible, but not important.

After our appointment, we met Grammy and Nono Casciari at the Olive Garden for a very nice lunch.  Anna did great after she settled in, and ultimately gave each of them a kiss goodbye.  Grammy was thrilled!  We then bummed around the mall a bit, got Anna some new jammies and some REALLY clearance t-shirts at Penney’s, and then made our requisite trip to Target.  We got home at dinner time, and Anna ate her macaroni-and-cheese leftovers from lunch.  I think she did too much sleeping in her car seat today, though, because Joe had a devil of a time getting her to sleep tonight. 

I have a lot of fun on these outings, because Anna gets bored sitting in the stroller, and she wants to walk or be carried.  She always reaches for me to carry her during these excursions.  I don’t know why; it’s about the only time she wants me to hold her.  I shamelessly take advantage of these moments and snuggle her as much as she’ll let me.  I really think she gets tired of Joe trying to control her, but it might be because she has figured out that I’m the one that buys things. 

Tomorrow, I get to work all day because Dr. P and I traded days so I could go to Anna’s appointment today.  I found out at the end of the day that our downstairs printer isn’t working, so I’ll have to deal with that in addition to surgeries and appointments, because Joe doesn’t really have time tomorrow.  Ah, the joys of business ownership.  I’m afraid it doesn’t hold a candle to mamahood. 

OK, now she’s got a broom

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Anna’s been with us for 2 months and 2 days now.  While she’s still not where I wish she was in terms of her acceptance of me, as I look back, I can see a huge difference in her behavior.  Baba’s still the bee’s knees whenever he’s available, but if he’s not, Mama’s a decent substitute. She even came to me this evening to sit on my lap for a bit.  She wouldn’t sit facing me, but she sat quietly watching TV with me.  She’s going to come around, I think!

I found her an Anna-sized broom this weekend, and she’s been quite busy sweeping around the house.  She’s thrilled to have one she can handle. 

1-15-07-1.JPG Yes, I know the mirror is dirty.  It’s full of little fingerprints from someone, who shall remain nameless, pointing at it saying, “It’s Anna!”

1-15-07-2.JPG If only she could get that cat-sized dustbunny in the corner.

1-15-07-3.JPG I’m going to rent her out to Grandpa Winter to get the spider webs in the corners.

Yesterday, Anna wore a new little outfit with corduroy pants, a purple turtleneck, and yes, a furry jacket.  That’s the first time I’ve gotten her to wear a fuzzy coat.  Yes!  She’s got fuzzy coats galore to wear!

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1-15-07-6.JPG Anna is perusing a recent publication from CCAI, our adoption agency.  This one lists her travel group to Guangxi.  I’ll have to keep it for her scrapbook.

We didn’t get as much snow as we would have liked today – only about 6 inches, with a layer of freezing rain on the top.  At least we have some snow cover now.  Hopefully it will just be the beginning so that our winter economy can start to catch up a bit. 

Friday the 12th – Whew!

Friday, January 12th, 2007

I just realized how close I came to being on call on yet another Friday the 13th!  However, I typically find that calls are goofier when there’s a full moon.  So far, it’s been a night of people calling about problems with stray cats, for which they have no interest in taking any financial responsibility.  I love those calls. 

Miss Anna’s had a pretty good couple of days.  Yesterday, Joe had to go in to the clinic to work on some year-end tax business with Renee, so I had Anna for the day.  After lunch, we decided to go on a shopping trip, so Anna and I bundled up and drove down to Kohls in W. Lebanon.  She behaved very well as long as I kept feeding her cookies.  But, boy, can that child pee!  She slept like a log all the way down in the car, and when we got there, I carried her into the store, and couldn’t figure out how my arm got all wet.  After we went to the bathroom, I found that her diaper was completely soaked, as was the seat of her pants!  And this is a modern, disposable diaper!  I suppose it must have managed to run out the leg, too, because I didn’t think you could actually saturate those things.  She peed right before we left the house, too.  Good thing I always take a spare pair of pants with me.  Anyway, we had a good time, and she never mentioned Baba all day.  She was happy to see him when we got home, though.  And Joe was happy to have had the better part of a child-free day.

Today, I was at work all day.  Anna got to come in for a couple of hours, because Joe had a dental cleaning today.  It was the second such trip for her in a week, as Joe had a false alarm last week (the dentist’s staff thought it was pretty funny that he showed up a week early!)  He claims it was just a trial run to see how it was going to go.  So, I met them outside, carried Anna in (no crying), took her to Auntie Renee (no crying), said goodbye to Joe (no crying), left her upstairs with Renee (no crying) and went back to work.  Renee took her down the street to one of our 4 Chinese restaurants (in a town with a population of 6000) and fed her fried rice and moo goo gai pan.  They got back just about the time Joe was done with his appointment, and I got to say goodbye to my baby.  All with no crying!  Kind of a landmark.

Because of all the activity today, she missed her nap, so she’s already sound asleep in her carrier in Joe’s lap.  He thinks it’s great, because he can play his computer game to his heart’s content, and she can’t reach anything on his desk. 


Get that child a broom!

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Anna did something this evening that I know she learned at her foster home, because she’s probably never seen it at our house.  Maybe Grandma did it while she was here.  After her dinner, while Joe and I were still finishing up, she went over to the corner of the kitchen and picked up the dustpan.  She carried it out into the middle of the floor, and started scooping things up.  Then she went over and got the broom, and drug it out and tried to sweep with it! I took her a small handheld broom and dustpan, which she used for a few minutes, but then went back to the big broom.  I’ve got to get that kid an appropriately-sized broom and dustpan!  When she finished up with her sweeping, she retrieved Tusi’s food bowl from the kitchen chair on which it normally resides, and decided it was a better hat than a bowl.  Tusi is never thrilled when she sees her bowl in an inappropriate location, but we always find it in time for dinner.

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1-9-07-5.JPG A bit of a geometry problem involving a stick wider than the opening.  I had to help her with this one.

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Anna treated me to another one of her fits before dinner.  She was running around the office and fell on her rump.  Joe was busy typing, so I tried to comfort her by picking her up.  That caused the shrieking to start.  I held her in my lap while she screamed, kicked me, scrunched up her eyes refusing to look at me, and held her arms straight out to her sides to avoid touching me.  She managed to keep this up for about 40 minutes, and would have gone longer had I not needed to go to the bathroom desperately.  The change of scenery from the office to the bathroom knocked her out of the tantrum, or rage, or whatever you want to call it.  Suddenly she was sitting on her potty chair, just laughing and telling me stories.  Little snip. 

I’m currently reading a book entitled “Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft” by Mary Hopkins-Best.  It’s got a lot of information about different families’ experiences with attachment issues with their adopted toddlers.  I haven’t gotten to the practical suggestions section yet, but it’s oddly comforting to read about other people whose children have acted very similarly (or even worse) to Anna.  The scary part is that some of these cases have taken over a year to resolve.  So, I guess I can’t be looking for a quick fix.  I’m anxious to finish it up and see what tips she’s going to offer.

Naptime blues

Monday, January 8th, 2007

We are having a devil of a time getting a sleep routine worked out for Anna.  Most of it is our fault, because we’re just not used to planning our day around a 2 hour nap in early afternoon.  We’re trying, but it always seems like that’s the best time to go do our errands, etc.  Today, we had to run down to Littleton to pick up something at work, then go to Walmart for some more baby wipes and Cheerios, the most important food staple in our house.  We ate lunch out, then got home around 3:45.  Anna fell asleep on the way home, and we made it into the house without waking her up.  But of course, she slept until close to 6PM, which makes the 9PM bedtime pretty tough to enforce.  So, here it is, 10:40PM, and she’s the only one in the house who’s bright eyed and bushy tailed.  We know how to fix this; we just have to do it.  It’s a little easier when one of us is out working, and the other one really can’t go anywhere.  The schedule is easier to keep that way. 

Anna and I were playing a toddler-style game of hide-and-seek this evening, where we took turns chasing each other down the hall and hiding around the corner.  She was wearing her cute little outfit from her Great, great Aunt and Uncle Vera and Johnny Luongo, and first cousin twice removed Julie Luongo.  Since we were running, it was kind of hard to get well-focused pictures, but she was certainly enjoying herself!  I obviously need to get back on my treadmill again!

1-8-07-1.JPG  Coming,

1-8-07-2.JPG  and going!

Cowgirl, part II

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

I have been reprimanded (gently) by Grandpa Winter for not updating the blog sooner, so I’m going to post some new pictures of Anna and her boots.  She was wearing a cute little red plaid jumper, and I put her red tights on.  The boots were a perfect match.  They were a big hit at church!  Joe’s been wearing his cowboy boots for the last few months, and Vermonters aren’t so used to that, but he’s caused quite the sensation.  Several of Christ the Redeemer’s gentlemen now wear their boots on a regular basis.  Joe never thought he would be a fashion trendsetter.  So, Miss Anna’s boots were very popular, especially with the lights!  She did a fantastic job of walking around in them today, too. 

You’ll notice in the first picture that she’s got her hands folded together.  I think that was just a coincidence, but it reminded me that we’ve been encouraging her to put her hands together like that when Joe and I are saying the table prayer before meals.  She gets her food after we’re done with the prayer.  Tonight, Joe and I were just having our old diet soup, so we probably weren’t actually going to give thanks for it.  Anna already had her plate, and had been eating, but as soon as Joe and I both sat down, she put her little hands together in front of her face.  It was soooo cute!  Naturally, we had to say our prayer after that!

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I couldn’t get her to put down that sippy cup once she went up by the altar, so those pictures weren’t quite as cute as they could have been.  Dad inquired as to the contents of her cup, thinking that maybe it was something better than plain old grape juice, but I’m pretty sure it hadn’t fermented.