Monday, February 23, 2009


My favorite of them together to date!

LOVE that you can see both of their special sibling shirts in this shot! These tees were purchased so long ago!

My best girl took this pic. and the next one......she asked me to include 'em and I'm obliged to do so! :) Note the "Mama garb" and easy hair!!

Those cheeks are just so darn kissable!

All tuckered out at the end of another day.....except look at how perky Lexi dog is! LOL

My elegant girls.....she's so proud to have clear nail polish on and absolutely is showing them off! Lexi is always pup! has been a week of both some expected and unexpected things as we have continued to settle into being a new family of 4 ( five with Lexi dog!). Tyler continues to amaze us with his easy & loving spirit! He is bonding beautifully with each of us and we are seeing small improvements with his sleeping patterns each night. I continue to sleep in the nursery for now, but usually am able to soothe him back to sleep with soft words and my presence as opposed to needing to rock & lull him back to sleep upon each rest disruption. I have not minded this at all and it only took that first night of seeing his fearful tiny face (peeking through the crib) soften into reassurance upon realizing I was there, to know this was where I needed to be. He is sleeping for longer periods at night without waking and we are hopeful things will continue to improve as his feelings of security and attachment strengthen.
What has been unexpected with this normally gentle little one has been his fiery temper! LOL It doesn't surface often, but out when it does! He is simply one of the happiest little babies I have ever seen, but beneath it all, lurks a spicy little man! Those little fists ball up.....the face turns red.....the back arches and the lungs go into overdrive! Ironically it usually only stirs when the bottle is not prompt enough or I fail to gallop to the crib quick enough following his naps! On the plus side, leaping stairs 2 at a time for several flights is great for the thighs & hips! ;)
Miss Lauren also continues, as anticipated & hoped, to be a tremendous source of joy & fun for Tyler and really for us all. Unexpectedly she caught a nasty bug last week which kept her home from school and created a bit of trouble too! Its hard to be the Big Sis when you are sick and really really just want your Mama all to yourself! There have been a few flickers of annoyance from her regarding Tyler, but mostly they are directed at me.( Which is better, really....) I know she misses our long sessions of morning play and all the special time we shared before. I am trying to carve out plenty of quality time for just the two of us, but of course its not the very same. She is delighted to have Tyler home and her love for him humbles & thrills me.......but of course she's only human and needs time to adjust too! ( Sadly Tyler and I caught the bug too!! Ugh! Jet lag and sickness....not a pretty combination!)
Also expected was the amount of work it takes to make the leap from one child to two! Now I want ya all to know that I was well prepared by family members and friends and fully anticipated the extra elbow grease needed to maintain a larger family...... additional loads of laundry.....multi-tasking......late nights with no or little sleep....... diminished or no personal time.....and so on! What was unexpected was the guilt I feel when I am caring for or attending to one while the other waits nearby! There are moments I am gushing over the baby and catch Lauren's watchful ( maybe slightly pained ) expression out of the corner of my eye and the guilt seizes me like a bad pro wrestler! There have been days I have almost sneaked my cuddles and cooing in while she is occupied or away for the afternoon. I don't want her to feel slighted in any way! AND it goes both ways too........oh how that guilt cloaks me when I plop Tyler in his saucer for some play, while Lauren and I giggle over a new game or solve a puzzle together. Shouldn't I be more adept at balancing the two together more of the time? Honestly, this sense of guilt was not expected and I'm hoping it will pass in time? Maybe once I feel a bit better and can breathe through my nose, at least I have not lost my sense of the absurd! :) Or is that the guilt making me lighten the moment & mood?? I'm hopeless!!
And finally( and thanks to everyone who is still with me!!), it was completely unexpected that when I dashed into the Post Office today for the first time with Tyler, that I would end up crying happy tears before my errand was done! Imagine my surprise and delight when several staff members remembered me from my many care packages sent overseas to Tyler and were sooooooo thrilled to meet this miracle in person! I was beyond touched and tickled and of course Tyler rose to the occasion and produced his most winning gummy grin and very loudest raspberry sound! To realize again that just mere weeks ago he was not yet with come full circle with him even doing such a mundane task as buying stamps and mailing the bills......... absolutely unexpected moments of bliss to cherish!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mostly Pictures!

We are home and starting to get all settled a bit! I have been so anxious to share some photos with you all, but the days just seem to melt away! Actually saying they 'melt' away would imply that they gracefully fade away....its just the opposite with two munchkins afoot and we have never been happier & more fullfilled ( or more exhausted!)!! :)
Our little man is adjusting so well to all the new things/people/places in his life during the day. He LOVES his baby food, is napping well ( but not too much!!) and generally can be found smiling, babbling & playing. He truly is a delightful & sweet baby boy! Our nights have been a bit rockier as we struggle with time zone changes and changes in his sleeping conditions. We believe he may have been co sleeping with his Foster Mom, so for now I am camped out on the nursery floor to offer reassurance to him in the night. My Mom has also been staying with us since we arrived home and leaves later this week. Her support and assistance has been a godsend and I don't know how we would have managed without her!! For so many reasons we will hate to see her go!!
AND Big Sis Lauren is handling all of this so very well. She is so thrilled to have us all home and is crazy about her baby brother! He in turn watches every move she makes and is so delighted when she plays and reads to him. We are so proud of the way she handled our absence while in Taiwan and watching her blossom into an incredible big sister has been beautiful to see. Of course in typical 6 year old fashion, she would prefer less drool and fewer poopy diapers to sniff!! LOL
Sorry it has taken me so long to post; I am so behind on visiting blogs and responding to emails. Thanks for your patience, prayers and well wishes!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Looking Homeward......

I wanted to squeeze in one more post before our long journey home. This trip has been nothing short of amazing and it is with a touch of sadness that we say goodbye to this beautiful island and its gracious people. We hope to return one day as a family of 4, but understand it will never be quite the same as this journey. Someday we will see this country again through the eyes of our children but on this journey the lens was uniquely ours. Once home we will have only to peek into the eyes of this cherished child and see the spirit of Taiwan dancing in his eyes and echoed in his laughter, just as we capture the essence of our Kazakhstan journey from so many years ago in our treasured daughter. How blessed we are to have created our family in this way and to blend their rich heritages into our own. How can it be that we would be so lucky to bring not one, but two miracles & children of world home forever?

And just in case you are wondering, Tyler continues to enchant us and is doing so well. We have experienced a few rough patches in the nights as he grieves a bit for his missed Foster Mom and home. Its heartbreaking to witness this, but in the morning we wake to the smiling boy pictured below.

AND OH YES, it is with great joy we look towards home and we can't wait to see our family/friends and especially our Lauren girl!

Lauren's Corner: Hi Sweetie! Hope school was grand today and guess what? We are leaving today to bring your baby brother home! He is sound asleep right now, but we know he cannot wait to see you too!! He is going to LOVE you so much!! Give hugs to Lexi, Mimi & Papa for us and of course we send mega huggies to you!! I miss you more than you know!! Love you and see you SOON!! xoxo Mama

Here are few pictures & I will post again when we are across the big pond and all settled in. Thanks so much for ALL the well wishes and happy thoughts sent our way...they have meant more than I can say!

Happy Boy! Its easy to wake up to this sweet face!! The pink towel? His lovey given to us by his Foster Mom. :) I know my Yah** buddies will get a chuckle outta that!

We had Tyler blessed at the Xingtian Temple. Words can't describe it......

Okay sorry about not sharing a pic. before with just Tyler & I and thanks for the gentle reminders by as the blogger I just forget!! :) And I'm shy.... ;)

Can you read his bib? It says, "Going Places" .....we sure are buddy......going back home today!!!!! Here we come Lauren!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

He's All That!!

And much much more!! We have our son with us tonight and its absolute magic! The day has been both emotional (in the best way!) and thrilling & we could not imagine a sweeter and more perfect little man for us!

For both Scott and I the moment of seeing him in the doorway of his Foster Mother's home will be in our minds & hearts forever. To finally see this beautiful baby boy who has lived in our hearts & imaginations for so many months was a dream come true. And then it got even better......he was placed into my arms! Oh bliss! While Scott snapped photos and tried to film feverishly, I was completely enchanted by this tiny wonder. He was a bit shy with us at first, but quickly warmed right up. He's a cuddle bug!

His loving foster mother, Mrs. Chen cried sad tears when it was time for us to leave and told us multiple times what a happy, curious and easy baby Tyler Pei-En was/is. Her care & devotion are evident in his happy well adjusted ways and we are just so very charmed & enchanted by him! And so very grateful for her devotion to him!

What have we learned so far? He is a happy happy little guy! He loves to bounce, roll, blow bubbles & raspberries and his giggles are pure music to our ears. He loves his books ( so far!) and LOVES his bottles even more. The only tears so far today have been when he spotted his bottle and Mama was not getting it ready fast enough! LOL And underneath the many layers of clothes is a healthy healthy baby! He is a big boy, but not nearly as big as we had thought. His cheeks are rosy and he chatters and babbles all the time! His sense of humor is already evident and gosh guys, in case its not obvious, we are crazy about him already!

We had been told that we would be meeting the birth mother, but sadly she was unable to come due to the emotions involved. We would have loved to have met her & thanked her for this incredible gift, but completely respect and understand her decision. She did send a note and gift for Tyler and we feel so blessed to have this for him.

Okay....our little man is getting sleepy and Mrs. Chen says he likes to be sang to at night. Hope he doesn't mind Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! :)

I promise more soon and am so thrilled to share this with you all! Thanks so all for your love and support!!

Lauren's Corner: Hi Sweetheart! We have your baby brother here and guess what?? His favorite page in his photo album is the picture of YOU!! We are telling him all about you and he smiles big when we say your name!! How blessed and lucky we are to have you and Tyler in our lives forever!! Mama, Daddy and Tyler love you so much!! Miss you!

There are more photos to come, but we are exhausted ( happily ) so they will have to wait a bit!! We also tried to upload some video but are unable to tonight. Will try to add some tomorrow!! :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Magnificant Markets

I think this is a first for me; two days of consecutive blogging! :) I'm running a bit late with this one, but there are so many images/impressions swirling in my mind and I'm anxious to record them! I hope you all don't mind following along a bit! Also, there are a few pics. at the end!

So we relished our second day of exploration. We are tickled to have navigated the city and managed to find not only our destination(s) of choice but stumble upon some hidden treasures too! We started our day off with a walk to the Jade market & Aborigine street fair where we browsed among local artisans and were wowed by their skill and craftsmanship. We found several treasures, probably more than we we were delighted when the shopkeepers encouraged us to haggle over prices! That was new and different for us and though I don't know if we truly got any bargains, all parties were left smiling afterwards. That was fun!

On our way back to the hotel, we stumbled onto a sweet little park adjacent to an elementary school. We love that we can be halfway around the world, in a city of 3 million and find a tiny sanctuary tucked away into the hustle & bustle. Of course we cannot pass up a park (channeling our best girl Lauren)and raced over to try out some of the equipment. We also spotted a magpie but missed it with our camera. They are a much larger bird than expected!

Later in the day we walked to the Xingtian Temple and were awed with the beauty of the structure and its spirituality. We want to learn a bit more about it and plan to ask Fion about it tomorrow. It was lovely.

We also finally broke down and hailed a cab to take us to the Raohe Night Market. There must have been thousands of folks in attendance and it was an eclectic mix of vendors from: food counters, arcade games, clothing stalls/shops, knickknacks, shoe stalls ( so many places to find shoes in Taiwan!) and other quirky shops. It was absolutely overwhelming, crowded, crazy and we LOVED it! Scott also found an indigenous woodwind instrument as he had hoped to do, so it was a huge success. We had purchased an instrument in Kazakhstan too, so this find was both important and special to us.

Finally I have to share some random impressions...........scooters....EVERYWHERE! They zip, weave and wind all over the roads ( and occasionally the sidewalks!); I was white knuckled just watching them, but after a bit you realize its like a strange choreographed dance and somehow it just works! We have also noticed quite a few loose dogs on the streets. Not a single one barks and they are all so mellow. Most of them appear to have collars and we do believe that they have families. Several shopkeepers seem to bring them along for the workday and its delightful to see them peek out from store fronts or be perched next to an outdoor stall. Car rides and race at breakneck speeds down the city streets, then streak to a halt for traffic lights. They love to tap the horn and today we watched one driver blowing bubbles out of his window at a red light! What a great way to diffuse the rigors of a commute! :)

Well my friends and family, tomorrow is our DAY. The day we meet our son. Words cannot express our anticipation and joy. Our baby bag is all packed with sweet things and our time is here......I promise to be back with photos of our beautiful baby boy!!

Lauren's Corner: Hi Doll ! So glad to chat with you tonight and hear your sweet voice! I know you are having a super time with Mimi & Papa! We are so proud of you!! Enjoy the visit with the A's today and remember we love and miss you very much!! Hugs and kisses......Mama

Scott resting by a tree at the fair.............I love the fountains behind him too!

The Xingtian Temple.......look close for the man in blue! ;)

Peek-a-boo at the park!! Different day.....yes, same hoodie jacket! lol

Look at that! LISA Weddings.......couldn't resist!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Terrific Taipei!

Hi Everyone! We have arrived in Taiwan and have been spending a great day in Taipei! What a whirlwind of travel and oh my goodness are we glad to be here! Both of our flights were uneventful though very very long. :)

We are all checked into our hotel and simply love the neighborhood and staff. We sampled some tasty Asian inspired treats at the complimentary buffet this morning, with Scott's favorite being the dumplings and mine, the fresh fruit. Yum! We hope to sample something new and different every day! And for those of you that know me well, you KNOW that's a big deal!

The temperatures are so mild and its so strange to walk through a door and not brace for the frigid air or snowflakes. Our JOH guide ( such a sweetheart!) mentioned to us last night that Taipei was a bit chillier than normal for February, but for us Midwesterners its a slice of mild & humid heaven! It is a bit uneven though and we saw sprinkles today and low 60's followed quickly by low 70's, breezy and sunny......its a potpourri and we couldn't love it more!

In light of the sprinkles we decided to postpone our neighborhood walk about and trip to the temple until tomorrow and instead hopped into a cab and spent the morning and afternoon at Taipei 101....the tallest building in the world! Its so incredibly tall that when you stand outside and look up, the tip is obscured by wispy clouds and your neck screams for relief.... lol....or least mine did! ;) The attached mall is immaculate and very upscale. We found several treasures, most of them for Lauren.(Yay!) We also people watched in the food court and explored the (grocery) market; the varieties of fresh fruits and foods were staggering but you will all will be happy to know we did find the Diet Cokes (for me) and Pringles, for Scott. Its good to have a few creature comforts from home!

The rain stopped just before noon and of course we wasted no time dashing outside to walk the surrounding area. We stumbled onto a beautiful park area complete with the cows on parade. Some of you will know that the painted cows are a regular feature in downtown Chicago, so it was fun to see them grazing here halfway around the world! AND as luck would have it we were fortunate to be able to walk through the lantern festival plaza where we heard live music, read 2 half mile long sculpture murals of children's fairy tales; one Western ( Cinderella) and one Eastern ( the Ox Herder and the Maiden ) fascinating and the craftsmanship was superb. All around this plaza were also models built to represent each continent of the world. We walked right up to the Eiffel Tower, sauntered past the Leaning Tower of Pisa and waved to Lady Liberty in her gown of green! It was an unexpected afternoon of discovery!

And what is the rest of Taipei like? Well, its huge, bustling, vibrant and lush. The landscape is so varied with mountains, coastal areas, rivers and plenty of urban sprawl too. The people are all so polite and they delight in practicing their English on us. The children are particularly curious ( and adorable!) about us and several raced up and wanted to see Scott's ball cap and inspect my hair. Suffice to say too that with the humidity, sprinkles and heady breeze, my hair took on a mutinous life of its own! :( Ha! Ha!

Well, the jet lag is settling in a bit. I was not able to sleep at all last night, so with our 5 hours of walking today and lack of sleep, I am hopeful I can sleep for much of night. Scott had no trouble sleeping...... :) I hope this post is somewhat cohesive with my foggy brain!

I also wish to thank Michelle, a JOH & Yah** group friend who is making this post possible. Last night we were incapable of connecting to Blogger and she came to our rescue with a solution. We are so thankful & touched she would take her own time to help us out!! And so appreciative of everyone following along. Your beautiful, heartfelt comments that I read earlier helped to ease what was a bit of initial homesickness. You guys are the best!

AND, I will try to post tomorrow, but if time gets away or the blog refuses to cooperate, then I will set my sights on Tyler day!! We are soooo excited to see our baby boy.....each day brings us closer to him and each memory we build here in Taiwan makes us appreciate this incredible gift all the more! A gift we already cherished and treasured!

And for our sweet girl, Lauren.....hi baby, how are you? I hope you had a good day at school and that your big ride to Mimi and Papa's house for the weekend was good! Are you helping Mimi keep Papa busy? You know about him.....he can get a bit onery, so Mimi will need all your help to keep him busy! ;) We love and miss you very much!! Mama will call again soon!! Hug Mimi, Papa and Lexi for us!!

One of the many cows on parade......beautiful park area.........

Our Eva airplane....who says it never rains in Southern California?? LOL
Us in front of the LOVE letter outside of Taipei 101.
Hugs to you all!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Destination Taiwan: Destination Tyler

Destination Taiwan
Destination Tyler
Destination Dream Come True......

Holy moly, its almost time. Our departure is imminent & we stand excited and eager to finally hold in our arms this little man than swept into our lives and has captivated our waking dreams for months now. It feels almost surreal to think that in a few short days we will meet this new love and discover all the wonder that is Tyler. Throughout our wait, we have been blessed with updates, photos and videos. So much more to document his early months than we have for our daughter, but still only snippets, moments and glimpses of who he is.

This past week my thoughts have turned often to that very thought and I (we) am/are bursting with joy at the thought of this amazing time of discovery ahead of us. Does he have a favorite lovey or toy? What words or gestures comfort this baby boy in the night or during fussy times? Is he shy with strangers or eager to explore? What will his tiny fingers, soft baby cheeks and whisper fine hair feel like next to mine? To smell his delicious baby scent and and watch his face light up in a toothless wipe his tears & change his diaper. Does he splash and play in the bath? Clap his hands & giggle when something tickles him? Does he know how often he was thought of and missed? And loved? And dreamt of?

We have missed so many little things and firsts and yet I celebrate in all the many discoveries we have yet to share in! In a very real sense I feel like he has always been a part of our family; a part that lay undiscovered until the day his tiny beautiful face graced our computer screen. And on that day 5 1/2 months ago it was not surprise or circumspect that I felt; instead it was a feeling of familiarity and bliss...........oh yes, here you are my little one; I have been waiting for you. We have been waiting for you........

SO, with much more drama than I intended, I dedicate this final post before our journey to Taiwan to Tyler Pei-En for capturing our hearts, imaginations and minds. To Lauren for bringing such joy, light, love & laughter to each day that we waited and each day before before that too; and for showing us what was possible all along. To Scott for his support, love and patience throughout. ( I wasn't always easy to live with during the And for his optimism which was not always easy for him. To our folks/families for being the best parents, grandparents, Aunts/Uncles, cousins we could hope for; for all the unconditional support & love given to us throughout. And to all of you.......for sharing in this amazing ride from beginning to end! For each email, note, phone call, blog comment or visit that bolstered our spirits and kept us sane........thank you, thank you!

AND please don't think this is it.........of course I will be blogging from Taiwan ( fingers crossed) and sharing more of the journey when we return home. So you guys are not off the hook yet :) lol.....and of course I will continue to follow all of your journeys too!!

Finally, to add some levity to what has morphed into a serious and emotional post for does that happen?? Thought I would share some pics. I took a week ago when we were just starting to make some packing piles. It sort of offers an interesting peek into the minds of this household!! Take a look at what we all thought would be essentials for Tyler while in Taiwan.

This is my initial pile. Please note the practical medicines, basics & clothing & Lexi book. :)

These are Lauren's selections: books, 'lil brother' onesie, Robeez( shoes!!) and toys! She actually did great & of course you can see her love of the shoes! Also note how she used this photo op moment to enjoy the crib once again. lol

And this pile? Yep, its Scott's. Those are his kinda puts it all in perspective, huh?!
Next stop........Taiwan!! Yahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! See ya all there!!