Saturday, December 31, 2005


"I hope your New Year is as Happy as my Mommy and Daddy are now that I'm home!"

Catchin' The Sales

Yup, she's walking. She may be holding on to my hand, but I assure you that's for security purposes only. Lydia is officially a walker! She can even get up from the middle of the room all by herself without holding onto anything. Let the adventure begin! :-)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Trying to stay grounded

My daughter is a charmer. People like her. She smiles at everybody and waves. Complete strangers will comment on her personality and her sweetness. I beam in pride and say thank you. She takes all this in stride...I however am starting to get a big head. I don't want to be one of those parents who thinks their kid is perfect. I don't want to be blinded by her cuteness and her charm. I want to keep both feet planted firmly on the ground and see her for who she is but I'm losing the battle. I fear she's charmed me too and I am completely at her mercy. Oh well...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

...And To All A Good Night

Here's a couple of last images of Christmas for you as our first Christmas together as a family comes to a close. It was a great time. Lydia was exhausted by the end of the night but she loved all her gifts and we thank everyone and hope your Christmas was as lovely.
God Bless Us, Everyone.

Opening Gifts!!

First Comes Santa's Presents!

We always play with Santa's gifts first. His gifts this year were the stockings and the unwrapped stuff under the tree. More photos to come later when Lydia takes her nap. (Right now she's VERY involved with Auntie Gail's gift of a rolling monkey.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve 2005

Just a few images from our first Christmas Eve as a family.
Images include pictures of Lydia with Mama and Dada, Christmas kisses, being fed cider from a straw, and Lydia receiving a Christmas present from Isolde. (Brent and Leigh's baby)
Merry Christmas everybody! I'm sure there'll be more pictures up tomorrow after Santa comes!!! May you get everything you want. I already have everything I want and more!

Caught in the act!

Visions of Sugar Plums Dancing in Her Head

Friday, December 23, 2005

Puppy for Christmas

2nd time's the charm

Here we go, got some better pictures this time of Lydia and Oz!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


First off, sorry about the quality of this image, but it is a photo taken from the video camera. Unfortunately life is not planned nor posed, so we grabbed the camera we could most easily access and took shots of this priceless Lydia moment.
Lydia has taken notice of the cats...more importantly she has taken notice of the cats' toys. Not as toys for her...but as avenues to connect with her new pets. Oz, the cat who was the most frightened of her, is now her best friend. He actually brings her toys so they can play together and she readily complies. It's so sweet to see the patience my first babies have with my most precious baby. She is learning how to relate to them on their terms and they are learning to live with and love their new mommy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

37 Minutes

Yesterday Russell took off work. He only got one day off this year (since he just started)and he had to take it before Dec. 31. When he found out he had a day off he came to me and offered to use it to take Liddy to the Social Security office with me. Honestly I was DREADING going to the SS office. My fellow China moms who had already been through the SS Gauntlet had absolute horror stories to tell and I WAS NOT looking forward to this particular mothering duty. I was glad to have Russell along and I selfishly said yes, Yes, YES to coming with and helping out. The closest social security office is in another city so being true China adoption veterans we were packed to the gills. We had enough supplies on us to survive 2 Li River boat trips. (Remember the river boat debacle? 8 hours on a rusty boat with 12 screaming one year olds, a four year old, a 16 year old and 28 very unhappy adults trying make said same one year olds happy! Otherwise known as Hell? Yeah, that trip!!) Yeah...we were ready. We had all our papers on Lydia ready to go. When I called and asked what I would need I was told to "bring everything". Everything is a lot in an international adoption situation...but we brought it all! Birth Certificate, Adoption Certificate, Abandonment Certificate, Citizenship Certificate, Passport, Visa, the entire adoption dossier, heck we even brought her shot additon to our passports. We got her bundled up since it's like 15 degrees here and off we went expecting a VERY long day. I mean my friends were talking about 6 hour waits! We got there and the parking lot was completely full. We waited for a spot and trudged in as Lydia began her charm routine. (She can work a room better than a magician.) Lots of waving and smiling and flirting ensued while we took a number. About 5 minutes later they were calling that number and 32 minutes after that we were departing. From the moment we entered the building until we left...37 minutes. That's it. What's that saying again about nothing to fear except...??? Maybe I should look that one up huh?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Moaning Myrtle ain't so moany no more. (Or how I finally got out of the house after adopting a baby!)

I used to be a real "gal about town". Home was boring and I needed constant stimulation. Well trust me Lydia is as stimulating as a disco. (If not more so!) So it was gonna take something huge to get me out of the house. Well that something huge finally came in the form of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. I am a long time Harry Potter fan so when school was over and I noticed it was still playing in our local cinema I was on the phone making a movie date with my friend Leigh lickity split. I wish I could say I was all nervous and I didn't want to leave Lydia...but it would be a lie. I was confident daddy would take good care of her and while I didn't dawdle coming home, it was good to talk about something besides what colour something is. "Yes, that is the pretty YELLOW find the pretty GREEN one", gets old after awhile ya know. :-)

P.S. LOVED the movie. Daniel Radcliff is getting to be a really good actor! Alan Rickman is barely in this one but he steals every scene he's in! Fred and George are hilarious and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort is just creepy!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hi There! (From Lydia)

Well, it's happened..LYDIA IS TALKING!! She came to us with Mama and Dada but now she officially says Hi there. This morning at 4:40 Lydia awoke and I went to her room and bundled her up and got on the recliner with her. As we sat there and she calmed down she looked straight up at me and began to wave her hand and she said "Eye dere!" I immediately asked her what she said and if in response she said Eye dere again. Four times I got eye dere and a wave. I've been trying to get her to say it for daddy all morning...but Lydia works on her own schedule. So daddy will get to hear it when Liddy is ready to say it to him.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Party!!!

Here are some pictures of Lydia's daycare Christmas party and some of Lydia's playmates and "nannies". The woman holding Lydia is her principle caregiver Ms. Darlene. She is the greatest. She has been so wonderful with Lydia and asks everyday what we are working on in order to help catch her up. (The answer is almost always language!) Being held by his Dad is Jeffrey. Jeffrey is an absolute cutie who is always smiling and always wanting to be friends with everyone. Being held by Ms. Beverly (who principly works with the under one crowd, but who was helping out with the party) is holding Jackson the tiny. Jackson is Lydia's size but 5 months older. He is a sweetie and is definately "the baby in charge". On Santa's lap is Lane, the youngest of the crowd who lives to sit on people's laps. The party went well. Lydia howled at Santa and so there was no lap sitties, but presents and candy flowed like water. Lydia got a babydoll from Ms. Darlene (along with crackers) and she also got candy and a dolly from Santa and a Toy phone from the only other female baby in daycare Elizabeth. (Whose picture unfortunately did not come out!! Sorry Elizabeth!)
It was loads of fun and Lydia got mommy and herself filthy with peppermint stick, but it was so worth it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Adoption Awareness

I love Lydia...she is my world, but honestly life as an adoptive mother is not all rosey. Lydia can be extremely difficult. She has mood swings and she makes getting any sleep difficult. Since I've gotten home from China I average between 3-4 hours of sleep a night. Some nights I get less, thankfully some nights I get more. I am not a perfect mom. I get sick, I get tired, I get frustrated, I get angry. Lydia came to me with a personality, with likes and dislikes, with her own attitudes and opinions. And those opinions sometimes conflict with mine. Though I must admit, I am one of the lucky moms. Some of the moms I know have children who maliciously bite them, who kick and scream, who self mutilate by tearing out their own hair. Lydia has none of these problems but it's still tough. I am so far behind on EVERYTHING it's disgusting. I feel pressure from family, from friends, and from work. I try to be supermom, but honestly I just can't. I cry. I cry more than I like to admit because I sometimes feel like I'm a failure because I have trouble juggling life as a Mom/Wife/Daughter/Friend/Director/Teacher and every other hat I wear. The reason I'm telling you all this is because sometimes we adoptive moms are so happy we make it seem easy and fairytaleish and it's not always that way. In the last couple of months there have been 2 China babies whose mothers allegedly shook them. One baby is blind, deaf and paralyzed from the incident...the other is dead. I don't know these women...I don't know their specific circumstances...but I do know this: if you're too tired or too angry or too frustrated you have the power to put her in her crib or playard and then walk away and clear your head and then return to the situation later when you are fresh. I have, and I'm not ashamed. I'm glad I had the presence of mind to make the choice to walk away. I love Lydia...she is my world. I am sure those children were their mommies world too. Please don't shatter a world or a life...walk away. Don't shake a baby.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The perils of leaving your glasses "hanging around" where the baby can reach them!


Okay, I don't just randomly wear frog costumes around the house. (Much to Russell's disapointment.) This is actually Lydia's bath towel which I have no room to hang when I give her a bath, so I wear it on my head until Lydia is done splashing and eating bubbles.

My child won't be on Jerry Springer afterall!

Do you ever get those...those moments in life where you realize you aren't such a horrible person as you thought you were? I had one of those moments today with Lydia. I dropped her off at daycare, and usually it's a big dramatic moment mixed with tears (hers) and kisses (mine) as I assure her either DaDa or Mamama will be there to get her soon...and she wails disbelievingly. They tell me she's over it fairly quickly...but it's our routine and I'm used to it--I carry the guilt quite well. Today instead of tears I kiss her over and over and tell her I will pick her up soon. And she looks at me and smiles and waves. Smiles and waves!! No tears, not even a determined stoic look of "somehow I'll muddle though Mamama". Just a sweet smile and a gentle proud little wave bye bye. I was so excited...she's at day care and she likes it and she still loves me...(with a vengence I might add)...and there will be no future guest spots on Jerry Springer and there will be no major psychological counselling...just a Christmas party on Thursday and lots of smiling and waving. Maybe, just maybe I'm not gonna totally screw this child up!! Now won't that be amazing?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Kitty and PaPa

This weekend Russ' folks drove the long drive from TX to meet their first Grand-daughter Lydia. Lydia loved the extra attention and it was great to be able to finally introduce her face to face with family. I can hardly wait to introduce her to my folks next!

Friday, December 09, 2005


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Clues that dinner might be over

Clue one: Baby places carrots on her head instead of in her mouth.

And a little frog shall guide you on your way...

As Lydia teeths and I try to soothe her I often sing her the song Rainbow Connection. She used to hearing it's a song I sing to her alot. When I sing it, she actually stops and listens now...trying to understand the words I presume. She recognizes it from my having sung it to her in China and on the long plane ride home and countless other times when she was upset or needed cheering. I learned the song purposefully for Lydia as while I waited and waited and waited for her to come it became my theme song about our adoption. Lines like "What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing?" and "I've heard it too many times to ignore it.It's something that I'm supposed to be." and of course the famous "Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me." kept me going sometimes when I was down and needed a reminder that someday I would find my rainbow connection. I's out there everybody who's still waiting for their rainbow. I promise. Just have faith in the frog!

For those of you who need a little reminder today here's Rainbow Connection.
Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that
and someone believed it,
and look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
the lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell,
we know that it's probably magic....

Have you been half asleep
and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
the lovers, the dreamers and me.
La, la la, La, la la la, La Laa, la la, La, La la laaaaaaa

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Be careful what you wish for!

So my baby is bald. It bothers me. Not because I don't think she's beautiful...God, she's gorgeous...but like my little girl, I LOVE to play with hair. I'm dying to put her in bow and ties and ribbons and braids and curls and any other thing I could do to a head. So my friend Becca morphed me a picture of what Lydia would look like with hair. It was such a shock to see this! I mean she's cute, but it's just so odd and looks so "not like Lydia". I guess I'll just have to learn to be patient. Her hair will come soon enough!

Adventures in Ambitious Teething

My little girl is cutting teeth...not just one, oh no...not even two...THREE!! She's cutting three teeth at the same time. WOW!! Ypo'd think she'd be really cranky all the time, but usually she's just fine, usually. Sometimes she hurts. And when she hurts the word inconsolable comes to mind. Usually Russell steps aside and Mommy holds her and it helps a little, but hey, when your mouth hurts it hurts. I'd be crying too even if Johnny Depp was holding me. Well I wouldn't be crying as much...but I'd still be crying. ;-)

Anyway we've tried it all. Tylenol, Motrin, teethers, ora-gel, frozen washcloths etc...none of it works for her except this....frozen pedialyte pops. Give her one of these and she'll be "right as rain" in a jiffy!


It's supossed to snow tomorrow. I really dislike snow. It's cold, it's wet, it's hard to drive on and it makes ice happen. I hate ice. HATE ice. It scares me. I am not graceful. If you wanna see something funny, put a not graceful person on ice and see just how ungraceful they can get...I'll tell ya...ungraceful enough to be in traction for MONTHS.

But Lydia's never seen snow before...

I'm completely torn!!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Stuff I wonder about while eating lunch at my desk... I sit here at my desk at work eating my tuna fish and cottage cheese I think about Lydia and adoption a lot. I wonder things like what she's doing at daycare and does she KNOW Russ and I are coming to get her at the end of the day. I wonder if I talk about her background too much with people. I wonder if she'll like her Christmas presents and if I got her enough or too many. I wonder how her mouth feels as she is cutting 3 teeth at once and she was miserable last night. I wonder if Russell and I will ever spend an entire night together in same bed again. (Last night it was me...tonight it's him as I have auditions and will NOT be in a state to deal with her.) I wonder if we will actually get out to Paducha to see Santa in time for Christmas. I wonder IF I should take her to see Santa as being held by people other than me or Russell upsets her so much. I wonder if she's ever gonna grow hair...cause I really want her to grow hair! I wonder if she's happier living with us, or having lived in Desheng. I wonder if she'll be upset because mommy has to work both tonight and tomorrow night. I wonder how Russell and I are gonna deal with February when his schedule changes and I'm still in rehearsals until the 12th. I wonder if they are feeding her beans at daycare again cause I forgot to ask them not to as they gave her bad gas last time. I wonder if the cats will ever forgive me for adopting Lydia and if I'll ever get to play with them again. I wonder what she's gonna think about this blog when she gets older and if she'll understand why I did it. I wonder if I'm a good mom...because it's really all I want to be anymore. I wonder if Russell wonders all this kinda stuff too. And I wonder where all the time went as it's time for me to get back to work now.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


On October 11th 2005 a petite woman, barely over 5 feet tall who wore glasses, whose name I never knew handed to me the most precious gift I have ever received. Ye Hong Hua soon to be known as Lydia Honghua Schneider came to me without a tear. She looked at me, looked at her and them never looked back again as she studied my face and tried to understand why I was crying and saying over and over..."You're doing so well. I am so proud of you." As all this was happening she wore a traditional Chinese garment from her province of Guangxi. It was too big for her so it was rolled up at the sleeves and cuffs. It had a stain on the arm where she had spilled some of her lunch (before I ever met her) and someone had hastily tried to clean it off. Probably the same small woman whose name I will never know who smiled so brightly as I tried to thank her repeatedly for her gift. All the children...all 13 wore these garments, creating yet another link in their lives that bind them together forever. This humble little garment...still stained on the sleeve, now hangs framed on the wall of our family room. Reminding us about what is most important always. Family.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Russell, Lydia and I went to our first Families with Children From China social. It was an incredibly cool experience to be with so many other China babies and parents. It's so nice to be able to talk to people who "speak adoption" and we've not had the experience since we left China and our travel group.
Honestly, Russell and I are both pretty shy so we didn't talk too much, but we were very happy to meet everyone and start forming bonds with the local "China Children". We are hoping to become more involved and possibly form some lifelong friendships. Here are some pictures from our lunch at August Moon: Russell and Lydia at our table, Joel and his daughter Bella, little Lily who came home the same time as Lydia, and the obligatory group shot of all the children. (Of course it's MY baby who is crying!)