lil_griffin: (Default)
2010-08-20 09:28 am
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In case you'd like to see more -

Please check out the entire Facebook photo album for the rest of Xander's birthday pictures.

Thanks!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2010-08-19 10:37 am
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Happy 5th Birthday Xander!

And what a big birthday it was!

He had family in from out of town to spend the weekend with him, he had a big birthday party with all of his friends from preschool on Sunday, the day before his actual birthday on Monday the 16th - and took home more presents than we could open. We're *still* opening gifts!

And look how big our boy has gotten in a year -



One of the first presents was a bigger verion of the stuffed Perry he got from his godmother Val last year - which prompted him to go fetch the smaller one and take them both everywhere with him, including watching television before going to bed. (Check out the long arms and legs - he has grown a LOT this year!)



He had a great party - last year before kindergarden!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2010-07-15 08:49 am
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Some quick pictures from this summer -

Gosh, he's growing fast. I should check and see how much more than the 4" we clocked at the year mark he's gained. It's all legs and arms!

We also *just* broke the 30 lb. mark.


The family that plays together...you know the rest.

Mom and Xander one morning at the Boone Tavern & Inn in Berea, KY while we were visiting Jim's folks this past June.


This is just before Xander went inside for Anime-Expo in Los Angeles this year - wearing a crown from Burger King and his medal from Soccer Shots as a costume. He had a blast!

He's having a summer of catching fireflies, swinging by himself on the swings at the park, playing on the monkey bars (with only a little spotting) and happily counting groups of anything that go past. Pokemon has him completely in its thrall - but since both of us play it as well, it's no surprise. ^^
lil_griffin: (Default)
2010-06-16 01:41 pm
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On our way -

But first, a cute 'sleeping kid' picture to tide you over -



Sleeping boy, with frog.

We're all on our way back east to Berea, KY for a family reunion - see you when we get back!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2010-03-16 07:04 am
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It's a year - Happy Gotcha Day!



(The latest and greatest - recent haircut and trip to the Columbia Memorial Space Center)



That's the year - stay tuned for more fun ahead!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-12-23 11:57 am
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Merry Christmas!



Welcome to the Christmas card photo outtakes, which I think are better than the one posed shot we finally chose to send.

The holiday season, as you might have guessed, hasn't been without it's snags - not the least of which was coming down with H1N1 the week of Thanksgiving! (Would you believe Xander came down with it first?) It hit Donna like a ton of bricks (after this summer, everything does) and we had to cancel all our plans and spent a quiet day at home together.

We believe Xander has had Christmases before - but the style we celebrate here has been nothing but a huge hit so far. He's been to see Santa Claus (and the pictures are a RIOT), shopping with both Mom and Dad, performed in the preschool's Christmas pagent as an Elf (it needs a warning label for extreme CUTE) and can sing Jingle Bells like nobody's business.

He also asks to open his presents on a daily basis so far - but true to his nature, all we have to say is 'not yet' and that's enough. I can believe what a sweet child he is, wrapped up in the very classic little boy naughty at the same time.

To be succinct - things are going well. I really wish we could have started at this point in the transition - Xander is doing so well in school, he's happy and growing well (he's outgrowing most of his wardrobe, to be blunt) and there is little I'm concerned about at this point. The anxiety over 'the best day ever is followed by the worst day ever' seems to be waning, but the acid test is going to be the next few weeks while daycare is on holiday break and his schedule is disrupted COMPLETELY. So far, so good - but last night was a good indication that all this is just too much fun - the 'I'm not tired' plaints lasted until he was rocked to sleep, and the need for that is rare these days.

I can't believe he is doing 50 - 100 piece puzzles out of the box with only a little assistance. You should see what he builds with Lego blocks.

Happy holidays of all kinds to you and yours - see you soon!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-11-13 12:20 pm

SAVE THE DATE

Readoption scheduled to be complete: January 15, 2010.

Details to follow. Save the date!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-10-30 01:22 pm

Photo Update - Happy Halloween!

(Donna here) - I was able to finish up the best lion costume for Xander to wear to his preschool costume party, with trick or treating to come up tomorrow night!





A couple of recent shots for the folks playing along at home:





He's doing WELL. Growing a lot, more than I had expected - we'll be putting the 24 mos sized clothes away soon, and going fully into 2T...new shoes probably not far behind.

Talking up a storm, and wanting to know everything about everything. We couldn't be happier to oblige him.
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-08-22 07:54 am
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Happy Birthday Xander!



Xander's 4th birthday was on the 16th - and also fell into his six month update, so some documentation photos were taken.

Xander had a birthday party at one of the local parks, and we arranged to have some puppies brought in to entertain the troops - it was a huge hit!

Donna's mother was able to come in for the party - it was great to have her, and it allowed her and Xander to spend some quality time together.

You haven't seen anything yet! )
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-06-08 08:26 pm
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First haircut!

Xander got his last haircut in Taiwan probably right around the time we got our travel date - so it was getting high time for a trim. ^^

We were also warned that he really - I mean REALLY - hated having his hair cut, and from our experience with washing his hair, we could truly believe it.

So one fine Saturday afternoon, we went to Floyd's Barbershop and a good time was had by all!

Check the pictures and see for yourself - this was one high tech haircut, lemme tellya -



Look inside for more! )
lil_griffin: (march252009)
2009-05-30 01:07 pm

Blood test results

Well, I had my blood test on Thursday. I didn't like it a bit but I got a whole bunch of Sponge Bob stickers so it wasn't all bad.

Daddy just read the results from the tests. My TSH Level is at 2.10 and the normal range is between 0.4 and 4.0 so I probably won't have to that medicine for my Thyroid anymore. We'll be talking to the endocrinology doctor next week to make sure.

Daddy and Mommy are very excited. I'm happy too. I didn't like taking those pills every morning. Now I won't have to!

(Transcribed into first person by [livejournal.com profile] unclejimbo)
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-05-21 01:41 pm
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So much more English.

It's finally happening - he has enough English to actually communicate with us for some very basic things. Right now, I would have to say he's still firmly convinced he knows he's saying everything right, but that nobody else does (particularly when it comes to proper names) in Chinese, but he's getting so many more strokes when he says something in English, I don't think it'll be long before he switches completely over.

Airplane is still considerably easier to say in Chinese, for example. So is balloon. But if we press - we get the English word in addition. I haven't heard a request for water in Chinese for more than a week.

Spongebob has been invaluable as a resource, but so has preschool daycare.

And so, we've been able to add reading books (instead of flipping the pages too fast for any useful purpose) to the evening routine. There is a difference between coloring books and reading books.

There is 'okay' and 'not okay' for behaviors like petting the kitties, or chasing the kitties and it is understood which is good and which isn't.

Another thing we've found important is to find ways for him to 'help' us - he really wants to do things with us, not just watch us do them or do things alone by himself.

So in the morning, he helps me feed the kitties. I give him half a cup of dry kibble and he puts it in their dishes. We check the cupboards in the kitchen and relatch any of them that might need it. We put away the books from the night before, and any toys that were left out.

We lay out two outfits that will work that day, and let him choose between them. We plan two choices for dinner and ask what he would prefer (and unless I think ramen is fine, don't offer it as a choice - that's a given). Having some control over the parts of his life he can manage is SO important at this age, and it really helps keep him happy.
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-05-16 08:47 am
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New pictures!

A little of this, a little Mother's Day -


Proof positive - both Jim and Donna are big anime collectors, and it looks like Xander is getting off to a good start!


Donna also loves music boxes - it's not very often she has someone else to share her love of them with. (This one plays from discs and has a scene of Victorian-era dancers in a hall that move when it plays. Xander LOVES it.)


Mother's Day Brunch shot - we'd just finished visiting the Cathedral to light candles for his first mother, and his foster mother.


Someone went to Walt Disney World and all he got was this AWESOME t-shirt. Seriously. He couldn't wait to get it on!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-05-06 08:46 am
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JAZZ HANDS!

I wish posting pictures was easier - I'd post more of them, more often.

Last doctor visit on Thursday, the height measurement has been revised to 31" tall - that would be an inch since March 24th. (I thought he'd gotten bigger, guess I was right!) He sees the doctor regularly - he's being followed by two doctors actually, one for regular pediatric things, and one for the hypothyroid. The pediatrician wants us to do a course of antibiotics for the positive PPD (tuberculin) test, and that requires regular follow ups. (These visits are done at the same hospital Jim works at - so it's almost like going to see friends of the family. As long as there isn't a shot involved, Xander is all good with seeing friends of Daddy's!)

One of the things we've been trying to do is maintain routines, and not make too many changes too quickly.

Going to sleep has been one of those things. From the time we received Xander from St. Lucy's, we have put Xander to bed asleep - that is, we held him, rocked him, and made sure both of us were bedside as he fell asleep at night. One experiment with letting him 'put himself to sleep' ended up with us finding him happily scampering around his room, hiding under the dressers. He thought it was a lot of fun - but we've learned that he really doesn't have a lot of experience with going to bed, and settling himself down to sleep without supervision. He's also full of tricks to keep himself awake - but not the typical loud behavior and refusal to stay in bed - he fidgets. Points toes. Waves hands in the air (and turns them into airplanes). Makes fish faces. Adorable - and he knows *exactly* what he's doing.

One night, we wrapped him in a blanket to go back to rocking him and something happened. He was instantly asleep! I've had experience with swaddling small children to help calm them before, but this was something I'd never seen before. It was like a light switch!

Then I went back to the pictures I have of Xander sleeping, before we got him - and what do you know. He was snuggled into blankets!

He was also on to us right away. Blanket = sleep. To his credit, he is a *very* good boy, if a bit naughty - but his immediate compliance with being wrapped up and rocked to sleep leads me to believe this was a routine he's probably had most of his life. It just works. Every time.

So - our bedtime routine is to have a nice warm bath, maybe a book or some television, and then he gets to lay down on Dad/Mom in the big comfy chair, and settle down to sleep. (We turn off all the lights and the television.) If we get jazz hands or guppy noises for more than half an hour, Dad/Mom gets a blanket, wraps him up loosely and rocks him to sleep. We're both in the room - and it's entirely possible that both of us will be at bedside when he finally gives in and sleeps. This will have to modify in the months ahead, but right now - it's what we do. He can fall asleep before taking any additional steps - we call it THUD - but more often than not, he's a pretty typical kid who doesn't want the day to end. How long it will take to get away from this routine is anyone's guess - perhaps by this time next year, we will be tucking him in after settling in for the night and encouraging him to stay in bed on his own. It certainly won't come overnight - pardon the pun.

We're now getting requests for water - as water - instead of in Chinese. I'm now hearing entire greetings in English - 'Bye, see you later! Good morning! Hello!' And sometimes, I hear him call Jim 'Daddy' instead of 'Baba' - which was unintentional, but I guess he's heard me call Jim 'Dad' often enough, it's sticking.

Our first Mother's Day is this weekend - I'm planning to take Xander down to the cathedral to light candles for his first mother and his foster mother to remember them on that day, and then double-date with one of his godfathers and his mother for dim sum!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-04-23 09:33 pm

Good news!

We've completed most of the initial doctor visits after returning from Taiwan, and it would appear that Xander has stopped being hypothyroid and won't be needing daily medication!

We will have to recheck him in five weeks to make sure, but for now - no more daily thyroid medication! He's normal!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-04-22 09:13 am
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Home a month -

None of us really hold still for pictures long, but I'll try to get some off the camera soon.

Put Xander on the scale last night - he's gained over three pounds since he arrived (weighed on 3/24 in the doctor's office, he was 30" tall and 25 lbs. Last night, he was 28.2 lbs.) - a bit over a kilogram (1.45 kg, to be exact). Since most of the reports we received during the wait between referral and final decree showed no increase of weight or height, I'm curious to see if he's also grown a bit in height as well.

We've got the Spongebob growth chart to put on the wall, we just have to find a moment to put it up when his nibs will let us without wanting to take it down and hug it. Yanno.

He eats well! If you keep in mind that 1) he doesn't like vegetables, fruit only a little bit more than that, 2) only dairy preference is ice cream and yogurt, 3) make sure it's salty, not sweet, 4) ramen is the gold standard and 5) chicken nuggets and french fries always work - hey, no problem! Typical toddler!

Rice with furikake is the preferred breakfast food - haven't tried the hot cereal route, but from daycare we know that he'll also eat croissants and blueberry muffins for breakfast (they serve right around dropoff time and won't deny him anything if he wants some), and most of the new items we've put on the list have been choices for lunch there (but I always pack a rice ball and some crackers as a backup). Snacks have included nutrigrain bars, fruit, milk, crackers...daycare/preschool has been a REALLY good thing for him. There's no way we could have given him the same kind of experience with only two of us at home - he's making friends, doing much more and getting ready for grown-up kid school. And outside of having to be away from us, it's a fun, fun time for him.

Like most kids, daycare is a mixed bag. Some mornings, he can't wait to get to the toys. Other days, he's very clear that he'd like one of us there all day. But the staff report to us often on how sweet and well-behaved he is, that he's a good friend and easy to get along with. English is still coming slowly, but I hear him attempting more words daily - it's clear he knows what 'truck' is - but I haven't heard him use the English word for it, just the Chinese. Oh, and he's just like other little boys when it comes to heavy machinery - BRING IT. Airplanes, 18-wheeler trucks, buses, backhoes, trains - whatever. Best thing ever!

Yesterday was a really hot day - nearly 100 degrees (38 C)! So they had what they called 'water play' out in the yard - everyone got good and wet! (And I had to bring some more backup clothes today - ^^!) We already have a set of swimming trunks for him - going to the beach soon is in the plan - I just need to be more over my bronchitis so I can chase after him fast enough - the ocean here has big waves and lots of places for him to run right in - you need to be fast on your feet with little ones!

We're not seeing the attachment issues we've been warned about in book after book on international adoption, so we're knocking wood and continuing to watch. About the only time we really see any separation anxiety is at bedtime, where most kids don't want to be separated from their parents - sleep time. Last night, we had to throw our hands up and decide it had really been a good day and he just didn't want it to end. Poor kid was so tired, he knew he had to fall asleep, but the moment he did - he'd wake right back up enough to know he was falling asleep and didn't want to. And then drop off. Once he's asleep, he sleeps well and all night - and of course, doesn't want to get up in the morning!

He fidgets to stay awake - really cute, actually. He doesn't cry, he doesn't whine, he doesn't fight sleep - except in these little fidgets once you put him down. Point the toes. Scratch the head. Flick fingers. Roll over and bury my head in the pillow. Allowed unchecked, he can stay awake, and keep awake a long time. We discovered that swaddling him cures this FAST - no wiggle room - and the first time we tried it, the look on his face was priceless. "Oh, you found my weak spot! DARN." Swaddled, without the ability to fidget - he was asleep almost instantly.

But he does want both of us there as he falls asleep. Okay.

We're now within that six month period I wanted of just 'home, daycare, home again' before adding much more to his schedule like long trips away from home to visit family, meeting more people and so on. It appears to be agreeing with all of us.

So far, so good.
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-04-12 11:29 am
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Happy First Easter!

Here, enjoy some more cute. Xander had his first experience with coloring eggs at daycare, and then had an egg hunt there...did so well, and had so much fun, we decided he could handle one of the egg hunts held here locally, so we went to Descanso Gardens on Saturday for their hunt.



(Don't my guys look dashing in their Hawaiian shirts?)











Enjoy!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-04-06 09:03 pm
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Happy settling in days!



First shot from preschool/daycare - he's settling in well. He likes the art classes best, but he's getting exposed to math, reading and playing with the other kids.



Thought [livejournal.com profile] caitlin and [livejournal.com profile] terredancer would like to see an action shot with the afghan they made for Xander - this is getting ready for bed. He's just had his bath, and we're watching a little Spongebob before going to bed for the night.

Xander is sleeping through the night reliably now, going to sleep before 9:00 PM, and popping up early in the mornings, between 5:00 and 7:00. We have gotten him up earlier (schedules to keep!), but he's gotten very good at knowing what comes next at night. Dinner is at 6:00, bath right after that by 7:00, and then we sit down to settle in for sleeping after that.
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-03-29 02:29 pm
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Sorry for all the delays!

Getting Xander home has taken all of our clock cycles lately - this is being done on the 'break' Donna is taking to get Xander used to Mama being gone (and then coming back) before she returns to work tomorrow.

There are some picture albums available on Facebook - let me link to them here so you can see them:

The trip over to Taiwan, and down to Tainan
The documentation trip to Donggang (Tungkang) to photograph Xander's birthplace.
First pictures at home - pre-daycare days!

Enjoy!
lil_griffin: (Default)
2009-03-12 10:12 am

Okay, here we go -

Leaving on a jet plane, Xander. We're on our way.

See you Monday!