Thursday, November 29, 2007

Biscuit head






When Matthew saw that Reed (http://www.jeffandabbey2001.blogspot.com/) had a biter biscuit, he wanted one too. They freak me out a little with their potential for chokiness, but if super-parents Jeff & Abbey recommend them, then we'll try 'em too! Here are some photos of our biscuit head boy.

Earning his keep



Here is a little video of Mateo drying the kitchen floor for his allowance. It is kind of long, but I know my mom will savor every second.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baby Showers for Adoptive Mamas

Disclaimer: I am only sharing my experience as a first time mama. Our family and friends have been more than generous both before and after Matthew's arrival. I write this post simply because through my conversations with other adoptive parents, I find there to be uncertainty about "party protocol" for adoptions. Visitors to the site, feel free to add your opinions!


Baby showers for adoptions can be a strange topic. Even though you are adding a child to your family just as with a bio baby, there seems to be a question as to whether or not showers should be thrown for adoptive parents. First, on the side of the adoptive mother, there can be a feeling of not deserving a shower, feeling awkward registering for gifts when you aren't pregnant, or feeling like with an adoption you should be responsible for all purchasing all other necessities. (Don't ask me why, these are just some things people have shared).

For family/friends there can be questions of "party protocol" such as who has the shower, when is it held, what kind of games do you play when you can't wrap the toilet paper around the mama's big belly, etc. While we were waiting for Matthew to come home, I had a large number of people tell me, "Oh, you should have a shower!" I wasn't sure if they meant I should throw a party for myself...???



SHOWERS: A big issue with showers is when to have them...before of after the child comes home. Here are some thoughts.


BEFORE - Before you leave to travel you are going to want everything ready for that baby (the nursery set up, the car seat in place, the necessary items for travel). A shower prior to travel gives you time to get necessary items and get them in place (with time to make adjustments/returns if needed). Believe me, you do not want to be installing a car seat the night before you leave for a foreign country. Believe me! Also, I have found that things that didn't get done prior to travel are definitely not getting done now. Furthermore, a "before" shower lets you enjoy a party in your honor...one last time to just relax and have fun. The downside to an early shower is that it is difficult to buy some gifts because the actual size, interests, etc of the baby are not known. When we brought the boy home at 6 1/2 months he was ready for 9 month clothes.

AFTER - Many people like the idea of having a party after the baby arrives so everyone can meet him/her. An "after" party also allows you to see the size and developmental abilities of your child so that people can give appropriate gifts. The downsides to this choice are first, you may have already purchased everything you registered for by the time of the shower (like I said earlier, you will want everything ready before you travel)...and second, you may be dealing with bonding, jet lag, time zone, and other adoption issues which may make attending a party more hectic than fun.

SHOWER INVITES: There are now plenty of shower invitations for adoptions...just throw the words into google. For our shower, the lovely hostesses made an invitation with one of Matthew's update photos on it. Too cute! It also gave the attendees a keepsake photo of our boy.


GIFT IDEAS: Some people choose to ask for donations to an adoption charity in lieu of presents. What I have found though is that family and friends really want to either buy something special for the baby or help the parents with the adoption costs. I know it seems so impersonal, but gift cards are wonderful: VISA gift cards for the family to use during travel, Target, Babies-R-Us, Amazon.com, etc. I would suggest not buying gifts of baby food, bottles, diapers, pacifiers, etc. simply because of the unknowns in size, baby preference, allergies, skin issues, etc. If I was going to attend a shower and planned to spend $50...and there was something specific I wanted to buy for $25, I would get the other $25 in a gift card rather than finding other items to purchase.

I think the main point is if you are a friend wondering if you should host a shower for an adoptive mother, I say "YES!" And if you are an adoptive mother feeling like you shouldn't take up your friend's offer to throw you a shower, then read some articles on "entitlement" in adoption and say, "YES!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Would you like a little toxin with your toy?

With all the crazy recalls and questions concerning the safety of toys made in China (love their babies, not their toxic toys), I visited some web sites to research alternative sources for buying toys. As expected, prices are quite a bit higher, but these companies seem to be committed to selling safe items for children.

http://www.moolka.com/ - has a "top 20 holiday gifts" section


http://www.willowtreetoys.com/ - has neat advent spirals, as well as toys


http://www.northstartoys.com/ - located here in NM!


http://www.oompa.com/ - has cool furniture by offi and notneutral, as well as toys

I'm an adult! I can talk like an adult!


I needed to stop by my former workplace (www.calvaryabq.org) to have some readoption paperwork notarized, so I dropped off Matthew at Scott's office. I knew my co-workers would be bummed because they would rather see him than me, but it was easier this way.


Well...what I found out was that I can still have an adult conversation! Really! I can have a whole conversation without speaking in a high-pitched voice...without saying "no no"...and without reaching over to wipe drool off the person's chin. And even when the conversation shifted to topics other than diapers, formula, and sleeping through the night, I could still keep up and participate! I was so excited! I felt so grown-up!


Here's a photo from Daddy's office. Next time Matthew goes to work, he needs to come home with a paycheck because after we left the office we spent $50 on formula, baby food, and rash-stopping lotion.

Funny little things

One of Matthew's favorite things to do is open and close the little speak- easy door in our front door. He smiles the whole time! In these close-ups you can see his poor rashy face...ugh...and a crusty nose!



Having some morning fun...in the walker and chewing on a bib!

Last night while I was feeding Matthew his face turned beet red like he couldn't breathe...and then he let a big grunty yell. I wasn't sure if he was choking or just didn't like the meal....but it turned out he had just realized he could do that "trick"...and so he practiced it all through dinner. This morning I got it on video so I will try to upload it soon.



Whenever I happen to walk out of a room that Matthew and I are in, he will start crying and crawling after me. Last night I was putting his pajamas on him in his room and, as soon as i finished, he bolted for the door. When I realized he wasn't stopping, I started crying like he does...so he stopped, turned around to look at me, smiled a huge smile, then kept on going!



I am also trying to get him to crawl more rather than carrying him all over the house...so when we go from room to room, I will have him crawl after me. He hates it. Hates it! He will start crying, close his eyes, and crawl....which makes him look like he is in a "dizzy bat" race because he can't crawl straight with his eyes closed.



Our Thanks-for-the-Day
When daddy goes into work late and we get to spend the morning with him!

Monday, November 26, 2007

New post & photos

New post & photos --The Art of Self-Feeding-- at www.youbelong.net/goff

Atopic dermatitis - what a bummer!

This is his artsy NYC look....dressed in black with hair brushed forward!
Poor baby belly!

When we received Matthew's referral it came with many questions and errors concerning his medical history. We are so very grateful that, upon returning home and being examined, he has a very healthy report! So the only medical issue that we are aware of at this point is his ATOPIC DERMATITIS. From what I have read, his Asian ethnicity and male gender are both associated with an increased risk of atopic dermatitis.

We have noticed lately an increase in the number of rashes on his body, as well as their "intensity"...for lack of a better word. We are wondering if it is due to the onset of cold, dry weather here. (Perhaps the doc will prescribe that we move to a more temperate climate...such as San Diego!). We use a free & clear laundry detergent, slather him with lotion and dab him with prescription hyrdrocortisone, keep his bath temp low, and only use a hypoallergenic bath soap. I was watching his diet closely, but his doc said that isn't the issue.


Today I am starting a humidifier in his room...and I guess the next step would be buying 100% cotton clothes. I'm grateful that he doesn't seem to be itchy but, by the looks of his skin, it has to be uncomfortable.
FOR PARENTS YET TO TRAVEL: I recommend that you get some OTC hydrocortisone and Eucerin to take to Taiwan as, from what I understand, quite a few of the babies have skin issues. When we picked up Matthew he was digging in his ears so much that we thought he had infections, but it turned out to be this atopic dermatitis...it would have been great to have some ointment with us while traveling.
Our Thanks-for-the-Day
For a long weekend that allowed me time to get 2 Christmas trees up and a start on Christmas cards!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Photos - Day after Thanksgiving

This is the awesome Costco chocolate cake...had it for breakfast after hitting a few stores.
Snow! The snow made it an great day to stay indoors and start decorating for Christmas! I was able to enjoy the snow only because I knew that today it would be melted away...and we'd have sunny skies! I tried to get Matthew to eat some snow off a yucca brach, but he wasn't too crazy about it.
I decided to make some ornaments using clear balls and metallic paint...here there are drip-drying.

The precious one all bundled up. He really enjoyed the day: the trees with lights, the snow, the fireplace, the Christmas music...it was a great day!
I made a good salad for Thanksgiving...if you like that kind of thing (I don't like to waste precious stomach room with green leafy things). It was baby spinach, Bosc pears, feta cheese, pinon, and a vinaigrette. I think it would be great with chicken added, too. Trader Joe's is supposed to have a pear champagne vinaigrette, but I couldn't find it...so just used raspberry.

New Post & Photos

New post & photos -- Matthew's 10 month birthday -- at www.youbelong.net/goff

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


Matthew at his grandma's house for Thanksgiving. The bib is from Great Aunt Theresa...he doesn't look like he enjoys being called a "little turkey!"

A Psalm of Thanksgiving. Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100
Our Thanks-for-the-Day
God's abundant blessings!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sleep + sleep = happy baby

Here are some photos that didn't make the cut for previous posts



In the very rare occurences that Matthew has slept well (relatively speaking) through the night, we have seen a different kid the next day. The night before last was one of those nights and yesterday he was much happier (no crying during diaper changes, no crying when put down for naps, no crying when waking up from naps, no crying in the car seat, etc).
Unfortunately, last night we were back to a not-so-sleepful night. Typically he goes to bed around 7:30, starts stirring around 11:00 something, wakes up anywhere from 1:00-3:00 and stays awake for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, then keeps waking the rest of the night. During his awake time at night, we have tried both helping him get back to sleep and letting him do it on his own but, no matter what, he is awake for a long period of time. We have tried cutting back on naps and encouraging longer naps (the sleep begets sleep idea). On one hand it's easy to think he'll just work it out in his own timing, but when I get the chance to see him fully rested --and how much happier he seems--I can't help but want to fix the problem.


Our Thanks-for-the-Day
Last night we attended our first official dinner party, and Matthew was SUPER! He was a dream baby...eating some real green beans, being nice to the dogs, and even playing on the floor while we finished our meal. It was a good practice run for the holidays!



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

D'oh!

If Matthew was a Simpson's character, this is what he would look like! To "simpsonize" yourself, just go to http://simpsonizeme.com/

Botox for your Blog

Is your blogsite looking blah? Would you like to start the new year with a new blog look? Well, you should consider getting a little bloggy facelift! My BBFF Rebecca (www.untilwemeetintaiwan.blogspot.com) has all the skills to give your blog a fresh new look!

Her design site is http://remdesigns.blogspot.com/, and blogovers are done in exchange for donations to benefit children in orphanages in Taiwan! Sweet!

You may be asking why my own site is looking rather "plain Jane" and has yet to become a beauty blog. Well, when it comes to anything having to do with decorating anything, I am a TOTAL commitment phobic. But I have resolved to put my blog in Rebecca's trusty hands and help out those babies in Taiwan who are still waiting for their mamas!

Precious face


Our Thanks-for-the-Day
That Costco bakes Thanksgiving pies so I don't have to!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Matthew's doll


I have noticed that I play with Matthew differently than I would a girl. Less conversational play and more rough & tumble play. Less role play and more racing trucks down the hallway. Less touchy-feely talk and more explaining how things work. And I was thinking about how women often complain that men don't communicate...don't talk/share feelings/nurture/etc...and I thought "Oh no! I'm raising a boy whose future wife might feel that way!" So I thought about getting Matthew a doll...like a boy Cabbage Patch or something...with which I could model nurturing and conversation.
I tested the whole doll thing out by introducing Matthew to two of my old dolls. Much to my dismay and Scott's secret pleasure, there was no love. There was no interest. He just grabbed them by the hair and swung them back and forth like he does his trucks. So...in lieu of a baby I began using a blue puppy dog...kissing the puppy, clothing the puppy, etc.
Well, this weekend Matthew rec'd a package from his Great Aunt Theresa, and inside was "Sweet Pea"...a little soft doll in a pea pod. As I pulled Sweet Pea out of the box to show Matthew, he kissed it! Not only once, but twice! Completely unprompted! Ahhh...early intervention! Haha! And one day his wife will thank me!

Our Thanks-for-the-Day
Getting a check back from your insurance company for overpayment! It's like FREE MONEY!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Random stuff (how many posts are you allowed to have with the word "random" in the title?

The other evening Matthew's temperment was pretty much summed up by the above photo. So after I put him in bed, Scott and I were in the kitchen and I glanced over at the refrigerator...which showcases the photos of Matthew sent to us by the Taiwan agency...the photos...all sweet...calm...smiling...and I said, "False Advertising!!!!"

He has become the King O' Lunge lately...whenever you are holding him he is lunging out of your arms. It could be to direct you to move, to try to grab something he thinks is in reach, or just because he is feeling lungey... I'm not sure how long this phase lasts, but I hope it is over before I need back replacement surgery. Can you replace your whole back?

We are trying decide which things we think are important to say "no" to and which aren't...so that we will be consistent with our "no's." For example, the outlets (even though they are plugged) are always NO...but staying out past curfew on Friday nights isn't something we're too worried about. We have a home office, and that is where things get fuzzy. No matter how many super cool toys you have for Matthew, of course he always wants to play with the cords and gadgets that go in a home office. SOmetimes when you are trying to pay bills or work on readoption stuff, you just need to get things finished...so those can be times when a typical "no" gets overlooked...so we are thinking we need to get our acts together on this. Tonight Scott firmly told Matthew that, when in the office, the only thing he is allowed to play with is the carpet. We'll see how that goes!

Our Thanks-for-the-Day

The sweet little giggles that come when mama dramatically shoos away a bug.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Santa baby...


Matthew met Santa today! I dressed him in his fancy duds and rushed him (between naps) over to the mall to get his photo taken in the Winter Wonderland (in the desert). There was only one kid in front of us and all he wanted was a blue ninja turtle, so the line moved really quickly (not quick enough for Matthew's diaper which I had JUST changed before we walked into the mall).
Matthew didn't cry at all, but it was hard to get a photo because he kept looking back at Santa. It was a stare-down of some sorts that only the two of them understand...I guess we'll see what Santa leaves in his Christmas stocking (or "sock" if you read the previous Christmas post).

Since no one else was waiting in line, I asked Santa if he would mind watching Matthew while I did some shopping, but he said he had a date with some egg nog in the JC Penney's parking lot. I didn't get the $20+ photo cd, so here is a photo of the photo!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Please pass me a tissue...

In our hotel in Taipei
On the way back to Taipei from picking up Matthew in Fengyuan
At home in his Ikea chair!


My eyes are all teary! Since the dictator is sleeping I thought I would take a moment to check my email and blog and, when I saw that 1st photo in the last post I thought "Gosh, Matthew sure looks big!" SO I looked at some photos from when we met him in Taiwan...and he has grown so much! BOO HOO HOO...my baby is growing up!

Photos that don't make the cover shot

The good shot: Matthew in new outfit from Aunt Pat & Uncle David KYB. The not so great shots are below:



BTW, anyone recommend diapers other than Huggies Natural Fit? Even though I change Matthew every 5 minutes (or so it seems), the Huggies don't seem to be holding up their end of the bargain. Perhaps my boy is "The Urinator" and I'll have this problem no matter what diaper we use??? And while the subject is diapers, why don't babies ever pee and poop in the SAME diaper?

Our Thanks-for-the-Day
Digital cameras! I can't imagine how much money I would have wasted by now if I was using a camera with film!

Adoption article

MSN has a pretty lengthy article about adoption on their home page. I haven't had a chance to read it through yet, but here is the link:

http://lifestyle.msn.com/familyandparenting/raisingkids/articlerb.aspx?cp-documentid=5686537&gt1=10619

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Advice for PAPs (that's pre-adoptive parents, not your yearly trip to the gyno)

Wondering what to do as you wait for that elusive "It's time to travel" phone call? WEIGHT TRAINING! If you are a 1st time mama, I highly recommend that you begin some specific weight training exercises to prepare your body for the shock of suddenly carrying around an extra 20 lbs day and night. Listed below are the exercises I recommend:

- The bag o' flour dead lift: A wise mama I know suggested buying a carrier early and then carrying around a 20lb bag of flour while you shop or do housework. I would also say that as you are holding the bag o' flour, you do some deep knee bends for building leg strength.

- The wrists of steel: The most painful thing for me was (and still is) the strain that picking up Matthew caused on my wrists...picking him up from his crib, from the floor, from his highchair, etc. Get some small free weights and hold them so that your thumbs are towards the ceiling. Then lift away using only your wrists. I think you should try doing about 3000 per day as I don't think you could ever do enough to prepare your wrists for the strain that will come.

- The flexi-toes: Begin now throwing things on the floor and picking them up with your toes. Practice with everything from a pacifier to a fuzzy blanket. I would suggest even carrying the bag o' flour while you do the "flexi-toes" in order to get the full effect.

- The crib crunch: Stand for hours by the side of the baby's crib with your back hunched and your neck crooked to the side. This is endurance training.

Happy Exercising!

Our Thanks-for-the-Day
Needing new pajamas and getting some in the mail from Aunt Pat and Uncle David Kiss-your-belly!!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Post & Photos


New post & photo at www.youbelong.net/goff. More photos to come soon!

Our Thanks-for-the-Day
Thanks to everyone for your emails, phone calls, and kind comments on the passing of Scott's father and uncle. The past few days have been rough, but your encouragement and support have blessed us so much!

UPDATE: More photos just added to link above

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stylin' Man

Outfit #1 (above)
Outfit #2 (above)
Outfit #3 (above)
I wanted to see how Matthew looked in this blazer...I actually think it would
look great if we ditched the tie & pants and wore the jacket with a black t-shirt
and some cool jeans....


I am trying to decide between these 3 outfits for Matthew's dedication, as well as any other holiday parties he is invited to. Let me know if you have a favorite!

Our Thanks-for-the-Day
When people leave such nice comments!!! Thanks you guys!!!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do...

Enjoying the evening sun!

Our neighbors brought home llamas!!! This one is a baby! So exciting!

Matthew and I have decided that it is time to end our relationship with Genie. Diaper Genie, that is. We tried to give it a chance but, even from the beginning, this relationship stunk. We are just ready to move on with our lives. So, we bid farewell and say "Diaper Genie, you're outta here."

Craigslist ad: Diaper Genie for sale, $5.

I am going to put a new post on Matthew's site soon...hopefully this weekend....of all the new cool stuff he is doing. Nine months is a fun age!

Yesterday I got dressed while he took his morning nap. I put on a shirt he had never seen...that has a colorful print. It's the first shirt with a print I think he has seen me in. It's not exactly a shirt I love, but it was only $3.99 at the Gap. Anyway, when he woke up and saw my shirt, he was TOTALLY disgusted! He just stared me up and down with his forehead wrinkled and his mouth agape. Seriously! This went on for what seemed like a lifetime! I started getting self-conscious and finally asked, "What???? You don't like mama's shirt?" He looked me in the eyes, then proceeded to play with the buttons.

Our Thanks-for-the-Day
The love of family and friends!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Awwww, thanks





I've had a few emails, phone calls and comments of people saying that my blog is funny. That is a nice compliment but, to be honest, I have a ghost writer. Just kidding...no bloggy ghost writer, but in all actuality I am not funny. In fact as proof I have transcribed below a recent phone conversation with my mother:

Mom: I love your blog. It's so funny.

Me: It's strange how the blog is funny, but I'm not funny in real life.

Mom: Yeah.

Well, better go finish reading that book about the influence of a mother on a daughter's self-esteem....

(That's sure to get a phone call from home!)

Our Thanks-for-the-Day
The early morning sunshine dancing on the fall leaves...and when you buy your husband a pack of peanut butter m&ms and he doesn't want them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Adoption Community

I recently listened to a message on "Community" by David Jeremiah, and it made me think a lot about the Adoption Community. Over the past almost two years I have seen God use the community of adoptive and pre-adoptive parents as an amazing vessel of His love for us. The encouraging, the listening, the sharing, the weeping, and the rejoicing that go on for one another is the essence of community.

It is so easy to go through our days and not really get close to other people. Not really know them...or what's going on in their lives...or their hearts. Afterall, it's enough work just keeping our own lives on track. Then God allows pain in our life and suddenly our eyes are opened to the pain that others are experiencing. Suddenly we seem to care more because we understand better. A verse from a song by Kendall Payne says "May your heart break enough that compassion enters in." When God's compassion enters our hearts, it is with such abundance that it also flows back out to others...leading us to lift them on our shoulders when they can't walk themselves. Unfortunately, it can often take going through a trial of our own before this happens.


Perhaps today you had yet another negative read on a pregnancy test, or yet another delay in your adoption homestudy, or yet another month going by without the referral of your baby. Your heart may ache for peace. Your arms may ache for your child. Or maybe your pain today is not related to your child but is borne from a broken relationship, financial difficulties, or, like us, the illnesses of two very dear family members. Be encouraged that there are others who understand from experience the brokenness of your heart. They are people through whom God wants to show you His love for you.

And if you are reading this as one who has previously experienced brokenness yourself, be reminded that the compassion you received is not yours to keep but to share with a hurting world. Know that your story may be just the encouragement that another person needs to hear.

"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:4

If I am supposed to call you...

and I don't...sorry, but I dropped my cell phone in the toilet and now I don't have anyone's phone numbers. At least it was while I was CLEANING the toilet! I have Verizon, so I was waiting for that little dude with glasses from the commercials to show up and fish it out for me, but I ended up having to do it myself.....

World changing decisions


I am so excited to start decorating for Christmas this year. I'm not usually a big decorator for holidays because first, if you put it up you have to take it down (LAZY!) and second, if you buy it you have to store it (LAZIER!). Maybe it is just the thought of sharing Christmas with Matthew that makes it exciting this year.

I started thinking about Christmas stockings. Scott & I need new stockings so I thought that I would get the 3 of us similar ones...but then I began wondering "What about any future kids we have? What if I can't find the same style by the time they are with us? Then they might feel bad and always sing "One of these things is not like the other." So I consulted with my BBFF (Best Blog Friend Forever) Rebecca (http://www.untilwemeetintaiwan.blogspot.com) because she has a whole tribe and always knows how to handle important decisions.

Anyway, our conversation evntually led to how, in a year when you are adopting, you can expect to have a "pauper's Christmas" due to the adoption costs. That is when I decided that, instead of typical Christmas stockings, we would simply hang 3 of Matthew's socks on the mantel...and you only get what the sock can hold! This seems to be the wisest budgetary decision; if we have additional children it will be easy to get more socks like them...and, besides, his socks are cute!

Our Thanks-for-the-Day
Seeing how much your husband loves your son.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Travel info for adoptive parents

After reading Tiffany's comment on my last post, checking out her website, and realizing that she will be united with her sweet Sophia on November 19, I thought I would post some info from our travel experience. This is from a post I made to our yahoo JOH group, so I have deleted any agency-specific information.

Just wanted to share some info about our trip in hopes that it will help out someone who will travel in the future.Todd the Travel Agent - using him helped us because it was busy season and flights were full, not sure that he saved us any money though ($1700+ each). He was able to get us good seats and a bassinet, which we might not have done on our own. Only disappointment was that we suggested the Evergreen Laurel hotel but he put us in CaesarPark. He said it was closer to AIT but that really didn't matter....and I had told him we wanted a hotel with free businesscenter/computer usage...I don't think he really checked into this as the center at Caesar Park was definitely not free!

EVA Airlines - definitely recommend, upgrade to Evergreen Deluxe.If you fly the direct to Taipei and leave at 1:00am, keep in mind that they will serve you dinner very early in the morning...so ifthe thought of something like spicy pork and rice for "breakfast"doesn't sound good, pack some snacks in your carry on! Also rememberthat if you leave the US around 1:00am on the direct flight, you endup arriving in taipei at 5:00 in the morning...so check with yourhotel to seeif you can have early check in.

Caesar Park - Staff was absolutely fabulous, but our room was so worn & outdated (stains on carpet and furniture, no outlets in bathroom, etc). They really did not have any amenities as I have heard other hotels have, such as extra bottles of water, freecomputer usage, free breakfast buffet, hot water spicket, etc. And the bad thing about paying for the computer was that the internet connection was dreadfully slow! They did give us a newspaper everyday, so I kept the one from the day we got Matthew.

Packing - Pack light! We took one big suitcase, one small suitcase,and 2 small carry-ons bags and had more than enough stuff. If your child is in foster care, you may also have a duffel bag from the agency with all of your baby's foster care items. You don't need to dress up much for the appts to get your baby and with AIT. The agency reps actually wore jeans...and at the AIT you don't sit downface-to-face and have a meeting or interview, so don't feel the needto go overboard in packing clothes. I was glad that I packed a fewtrash bags because our hotel room trash cans were really small. I packed disposable everything (bibs, changing pads, washcloths) which was great because then we didn't have to haul around wet/dirty items. I took 1 package of diapers (35 diapers) and it lasted usthe whole trip. Take a small thermos for hot water for bottles...great when sightseeing, atthe airport, or midnight feedings in the hotel.

Picking up baby - If you get an info sheet about your baby (diet, sleep schedule, etc) be sure to s to look this over and ask questions when you get to the foster home/agency. We looked at it and thought "Wow, this is great info!" but after we got back to the hotel with him, we realized we had questions about the info that was listed (i.e....so was the nap mentioned on the paper the ONLY nap he takes every day? Do they still burp him in the middle of his bottle?etc).

In Taiwan we bought 3 cans of formula and one of cereal to use both in Taiwan and at home. Matthew used 7 scoops of formula & 2 1/2 or cereal perbottle, so one can of formula lasted us from the time we picked him u until after we came back home. We also bought a tall formula powder container so that we could fill up the 4 sections with pre-made bottles for the trip home. I suggest buying 2 of these...or,like we did, fill one....and then fill some individual bottles, too,so you don't have to carry-on the big formula and rice cans.

Arriving in the US - To go through immigration, make sure you have all paperwork your agency gives you, as well as a "blue form" that your airline should give you. I think it is actually a white form with a blue line across the top. EVA gave us 3 forms, none of whichwere the correct one. IF YOU GO THROUGH LAX, you will go to line#17...tell someone there that Mendoza said that adoptions are expedited. We waited in a long line (even telling 3 different officers that we were adopting) and when we got to the last guy(Mendoza) he said "Adoptions are supposed to be expedited. Why didn't you come to the front of the line?" Go figure. When you get your baggage, don't forget about the duffel bag from the agency!

Update, eggnog, and other randomness

Here Matthew is calling his dad to rat his mama out for not
carrying him around all day.


Our "wave your hands in the air like you just don't care" program has worked wonderfully as now Matthew seems to be raising his arms a lot more...even waving bye-bye. He especially likes to lift his arms when he is trying to get you to to do one of the following: 1. if you are holding him while sitting and he wants you to stand or 2. if you are holding him while standing and he wants you to start walking. He does not like to stay still at all, and sometimes I wonder if his busyness has anything to do with his inability to sleep during the night. I know his busyness has a lot to do with my inability to sleep at night!


I think I found the problem behind his smelly room....let's just say we've moved up to JUMBO diapers. JUMBO?! Yes, it says "jumbo" right on the package! That sounds so harsh....kind of like the HUSKY description in kids' clothing. I think SUPERSIZED sounds much better....gives it a positive spin! And who doesn't want to be described with the word "super"??? Unless I guess someone called you SUPER ANNOYING, or SUPER LAME, or SUPER BAD DRESSER...


Egg Nog is back for the holidays!!!!!!!!! So yesterday in one aisle at Target there was egg nog....and in a nearby aisle was all the Halloween candy 50% off!!! (That was my Thanks-for-the-Day yesterday, but I didn't have time to post). It's great when the retail industry celebrates all the holidays at once so that you feel like you are celebrating non-stop from October to January! It's a big fiesta for a quarter of the year!



Our Thanks-for-the-Day
Gift cards! Isn't it great to get gift cards out of the blue? We received 2 last week. Whenever I'm shopping with a gift card, I feel like I'm really rich...and I'll say things like "Girl, go ahead and buy the Bounty papertowels instead of the generic ones because you've got free money!!"