Twist and Shout

We got brave! A full head of twists. And in a lovely surprise, Violet's style was selected to appear on my "go to" favorite blog for natural curly hair care.

You can see her post HERE.

Here is the narrative I sent in with the photos:

"Ms. V joined our family when she was 11 months old... with the tiniest little coils we had ever seen. It was tough, but we suppressed our styling-desires until her hair reached 5 inches soaking wet. Between 11 - 23 months, we washed/conditioned/detangled once a week (using Blended Beauty products alone) and moisturized daily, sometimes with coconut oil and sometimes with a leave in. Her hair grew insanely fast and just before her second birthday, we got brave.

Armed with freshly washed and detangled hair (along with a big bowl of popcorn... Ms. V's favorite), we tackled her first "full head" style: Rope Twists... the style I loved most even before we met Ms. V. Honestly, it's probably some hybrid of 2-strand twists and rope twists... my first attempt!) We did no parts, no bands, and just used Blended Beauty's Jelly Cream to add some hold to her damp hair. She did fabulously and sat still for the 40 minutes it took me to figure it out. Her movie of choice: The Polar Express... in April. But hey, it worked.

The twists only lasted a few days before the fuzz-factor took over the back of her head. The biggest surprise of the whole experience - how much we loved the twist out on her sweet little face. She loved both styles too, and kept telling her mirror image how pretty her hair was. I am excited for the many options and styles in our future!"



The relief you feel when someone really listens and actually understands is unbelievable.

Exhausted from the dead end answers we had been getting from the world of standard medicine, we turned to a Naturopath who was more than happy to see Violet (even though her specialty is not kids).

She listened patiently, confirmed my suspicions, affirmed my guesses, and gently headed us down a new path. (One that doesn't involve risky and unnecessary procedures as "first steps".)

For a month, Violet will be on two supplements: An amino acid to heal the lining of her gut and a strong yeast to replace some of the good bacteria long missing from her intestines. We'll do a full blood workup to test for food aversions and see if gluten or dairy really are the culprits I think they are.

We'll go back in a month, not expecting fast answers, but deeply relieved to be on a path that feels productive and nurturing.

This finally feels right.

Froggy Potty

It has begun: Potty Training.

Well, more like "Potty Interest".

Violet is the proud new owner of a potty she picked out herself... a Froggy Potty. She's too tiny to do it the old-fashioned way and hop on our toilet. She'd fall in and flush herself, most likely.

So, Froggy Potty has joined the family and she is insanely excited. Within the first 24 hours, she peed 4 times and pooped twice. I think it was mostly by accident, as spending that much time on the pot will pretty much guarantee that SOMETHING comes out of you. But still... I'm impressed. She's not even 2 yet.

The cutest part of this whole thing is what she likes to do WHILE sitting on the pot... Turns out Violet's a bathroom reader, folks. She has a little stash of books next to Froggy Potty. And without ruining our family reputation too much, let's just say that the Froggy Potty is located directly next to the Big Potty so if an unnamed parent wants to indulge in a little potty reading time with Violet, it's pretty much the cutest thing ever. Totally un-photographable, but priceless.

Did I mention she calls "poo-poo" "poo-poosh"? Yes, it just keeps getting cuter.

And while we're talking about poo-poosh, I have noticed a whole slew of mystery "sh" sounds appearing in her vocabulary. While it's precious, I hope it wears off at SOME point in the future. Mouse = Moush. House = Housh. Louse = Loush. Ok, we don't really say that word all that often. But you get the idea.

And because I'm already off-point, I'll throw in this final piece of adorable-ness. Her pronunciation of her name has shifted from Ya-Ya to Why-Ya (sometimes Why-Yat). Lovely, except that she calls water Why-Ya. It's tricky when she's thirsty.

Throw in the fact that both "look at me" and "yucky" sound like "yook-a-me" and here's my summary of this blog post in an actual Violet sentence:

"Yook-a-me Mommy... Why-Yat drink lots of Why-Ya and now need Froggy Potty to go pee-pee and yook-ee poo-poosh."



Egg Hunt

Violet had a "first" today: Her first egg hunt.

It wasn't anything fancy, but it was definitely memorable. We gathered some of the plastic eggs that had made their way home in little backpacks via preschool and church and got creative in our desert landscaping with hiding eggs. The kids grabbed makeshift baskets and had a ball racing around the backyard and then had even more fun hiding them for us.

Happy Day-After-Easter Indeed!


This Easter

As a Christian, Easter is naturally a big deal. It's pretty much the whole reason for everything else I do.

But it took on even more significance for our family last year. We got on a plane the day after Easter, and came home a family of four. The themes of new life and fresh starts run even deeper for us now, and through the little life of Violet, we understand God's gift in a whole new way.

Easter has never meant more.

Like usual, we worked the whole weekend. Also like usual, the kiddos were troopers. They loved all the excitement between all the people, the carnival, the animals, the special clothes and (of course) the eggs with candy in them.

Before we headed into work on Saturday, I managed to snap a few photos of them in one of their "Easter Best" in the front yard. Sunday had a whole other color scheme going on, but it was far too insane to even manage a camera phone shot.

We waited until the next day to have Easter fun (read: egg hunt) at home. I'm sure I'll do a whole post about that... way too many cute shots not to share.


Sleepy Daddy

Daddy just started a new position at work, mere days before Easter at a megachurch. This is a recipe for extreme exhaustion, as we discovered tonight... and also a recipe for really cute photos when you have a little girl who is REALLY into accessories.

After Easter, Daddy is gonna need a nap.


Little Butterfly

So, I bribe my kids when it come to photography. Shame on me, maybe, but it works.

Violet agreed to smile for photos and help me take "pretty pictures" for a special treat (I can't even remember what it was). But it worked brilliantly.

Five minutes later she had a snack and I had some frozen moments of time that I know I'll treasure forever.


I Hate Chucky Cheese

But Violet doesn't. In fact, and much to my complete and utter dismay, she appears to adore it.

We wound up there for a family birthday party and she partied the night away in the game section. She wasn't too fond of the man-sized nearly-alive terrifying-robotic version of Chuckyhimself (who is, really?) but she found the little kid section of games and just came undone with excitement.

Later that night we headed out again to our second "Cousins' Night" where we all gave each other pedicures... even Violet. Little lady loves being pampered almost as much as she loves mini-video arcades.

It's been an enlightening evening for us all. :)


One Year Ago

At this exact time last year... I was on my 3rd leg of the world's longest trip - deliriously tired, sick as a dog, smelling of (really) dirty diapers, and marveling at the tiny life sitting in my lap.

At this exact time last year... We were about to step off that plane and into the waiting and extended arms of friends and family, and a new sense of community.

At this exact time last year... Our ears were about to be met with Daniel's bursts of love: "That's my sissy! That's my baby Violet!"

At this exact time last year... I had no idea how much it would be possible to fall completely in love with "someone else's baby"... and how quickly that baby would be 100% ours in every sense of the word.

At this exact time last year... The most beautiful era in our life was just beginning.

So tonight, we celebrated.

Beautiful Words

Our last visit with Terri, our social worker, was bitter sweet. After this Post Adoption Report (PAR) we will submit them annually on our own, until Violet is 18 years old.

Terri is so great with the kids - Daniel especially loves it when she comes over.

We talked through Violet's progress and as a proud mama, it's fun to watch a professional in this area be so blown away by Ms. V. Her vocabulary and behavior have always been impressive, but this time she had grown significantly in both height (33.6 inches) and weight (23 lbs, 10 oz).

As always, she gave us some good ideas going forward (like how to help gradually incorporate Fernando into the nighttime routine to relax Violet's very strong preference for mom in this area). And we even had time to snap a photo before she had to leave.

Our copy of the last report came in the mail today, and the last paragraph made me get a little teary-eyed:

"Violet continues to do extremely well in her adoptive home. She is doing very well in school and appears to be a well cared for, happy, healthy child who is developing normally for her age. This has been a highly successful adoptive placement and Violet has a bright future in her forever family."

The words "highly successful adoptive placement" have rung in my ears all day. But I have always been too much of an authority-pleaser anyway, so reading those words from a licensed social worker just made my week.


Retail Therapy

Violet and I had a frustrating visit to a new doctor (a Pediatric GI Specialist) so we decided to swing by Old Navy for a little "retail therapy" as my mom calls it.

Actually, they were just having a big sale and we were in the area.

Regardless of motive, we left with a fabulous bathing suit for Ms. V and a very sassy pair of purple jelly shoes. (Much cooler than the jellies of my day.)

The best part was how much Violet loved the whole scene. We went into a dressing room and she was practically jumping up and down as we changed her into the first bathing suit. She beamed at herself in the little mirror. But the real fun began when I opened the door and pointed her to the "runway" to the three way mirror - she about came unglued. She jumped/skipped/ran all the way down, laughing and smiling at herself. Every woman in the place couldn't help themselves - they stopped in their tracks, clutched their hearts and glowed in Violet's general direction. (She has that affect on people.)

We went back into the dressing room and Violet pointed to the rest and said, "Another one! Another one!"

I do believe we have a little shopper on our hands.


Daddy-O & Mommy

I fully realize that to most of the world, Violet's speech may not seem super impressive. For one thing, she's really quiet (aka totally silent) until she gets comfortable, which can take a while. And once she does start talking, she usually sounds like she's just babbling.

But she's not. As we learn her little voice better and better, we're realizing that those babbling strings are actually sentences in English - sentences that are getting clearer each day. It's been so fun this week to hear new things out of her sweet little mouth. Here are a few of my favorites that I noticed just today...

"Where Daddy-o? At work? No... at home!"
"Love you too, Mommy"
"Why baby cry? Baby sad because he want Mommy"
"Nano made bad choice... got swat... now it all better"
"Ready? Ready? Ok Mommy!"
"Popcorn Mommy Happy!"
"No thank you Mommy"
"Excuse me Mommy" (when she is interrupting us)
"I hungry (hungy)... snack please"
"Pleasy-Please sit on lap?"
"I make mess!" (spilling water)
"Mommy, look at me!"
"Bless you, Mommy!" (after every sneeze!)

She tacks our name onto everything, and there's nothing sweeter than hearing her use the word Mommy. Especially after "love you too". :) She uses Daddy-O as her main name for Fernando (which may be my fault... but I love it!).

She still babbles a million miles a minute at home, and she says a whole stinking lot more than what I listed above. But it's still an insanely cool experience to get to watch this language develop in a completely new way than I have seen before. It's like entire chunks are appearing instead of the typical steady slow acquisition. She continues to be complimented everywhere she goes, for both her beauty/cuteness and her intelligence. I was stopped twice in the hallway last week at her preschool by random teachers who just had to tell me that Violet is "very, very bright" and "extremely advanced for her age" (as if I wasn't aware!)

She is such a source of pride and joy for us, and this whole adoption journey truly continues to exceed every expectation we had. Prepared to handle developmental delays and speech issues, we are daily blown out of the water by Violet's intelligence and mad verbal skills.

Little lady is a genius.