Friday, January 30, 2009

Meeting A Celebrity

Sophie's first sighting of a real celebrity was at Children's Hospital LA. We were there meeting with Dr. Urata, her plastic surgeon, when he asked permission for us to meet with a donor to the hospital. He explained that it was Kate Walsh from TV's Grey Anatomy and now Private Practice. Dr. Urata also said that she wanted to meet some real people to see what the hospital is all about. I, being a fan, said, "Sure!" without hesitation. She came into our consulation room just like an average person interested in clefts. She shook our hands and remarked how cute and sweet Sophie was. She looked into Sophie's mouth, not having ever seen anyone's cleft before. She learned that day how her donations were being used. Kate was really appreciative of our time. What a nice person!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy-Happy Chinese New Year!

Cleaning up is part of the Chinese New Year custom. Here, Sophie is helping to take down the welcome sign the Canet family made for her and hung upon our return from China.

The Chinese also put on a new clothes.

Sophie gets ready for her New Year's bath, first by playing patty cake with her feet just like her great-grandpa would've done.

Then Sophie gives her mama a hug!

To celebrate, we went on a playdate to Chuck E. Cheese...varoom...varoom...beep...beep!

Cousin Karson (3), his twin sisters Trina and Audrey (4 months), invited Sophie to her first playdate.

Karson's mom, Cousin Becky gets to hold Sophie while her twins slept.

Well, things have definitely settled down around the Gammariello home. We have ceased taking a multitude of digital pictures every day now, and the "ah, how cute..." comments about Sophie's poopy diapers have disappeared. We don't fight over who gets to change her diapers anymore. Although, everyone still wants to rock her to sleep as she drinks her milk.

Josh is into his routine of babysitting Sophie once a week while I tutor in Camarillo. You can tell she looks forward to going to the park to swing, swing, and slide as she kicks her legs and squeals in delight. She never wants to get out of the baby swing and likes to go higher and higher! Sophie can always expect some thrilling adventure or ride when Josh is in charge.

"Mei Mei!!!!!" (little sister in Chinese) is what Courtney yells every morning when she first sees Sophie comes into her room. Sophie smiles as big as she can and then points to Courtney's stuffed bear "Steven". Which translates into please make it play that sappy love song..."I'll miss you, kiss you, give you my coat when you are cold!" sung by Adam Sandler. We do this routine EVERY morning and Sophie never grows tired of it. One morning we thought we heard her try to sing the song.

Frank's daily routine involves giving little Sophers her bath. On at least 3 occasions, when taking off her clothes, readying for the tub, Frank has taken her diaper off and Sophie instantly peed. Yep! All over the floor...all over Frank's arm or leg. She just knows to pee on demand...once there's a draft in the diaper...she lets it all go! It's pretty comical around here at bathtime. Oh, and I have to mention how Frank loves to pour water over Sophie's head. She blinks her eyes and instead of giving a shocked scream...she smiles and laughs. She is going to be a great swimmer.

The best part of my day is hearing Sophie repeatedly say, "Mama" all day long. She just loves her mommie and wants to be held, within eyesight of me, or attached to my leg. Now that she's crawling, I'll leave her in the one room and call her to the next. I love to hear the "thump, thump, thump" of her hands as she slowly puts one hand in front of the next and peaks around the corner with her adorable smile. It amazes me to see how quickly she has bonded with me. God does answers prayers for this is exactly what we prayed fervently for before we picked her up in China. Sophie has adjusted so well to her new life. It almost seems like she has always been a part of our family. God gets all the glory for that amazing feat. He is good, isn't he?

For Chinese New Year, we followed a few of the traditional New Year customs...Sophie took a bath, wore a new outfit, she helped me clean her bedroom and bathroom, ate Chinese chicken salad, rice, and orange chicken with chopsticks, and ate mandarin oranges for dessert. Next year we hope Sophie has more hair so we can follow the custom of getting a haircut. :) We also hope to take her to Los Angeles Chinatown for their annual parade. For right now, we'll just take the low-key approach to New Year's...who could handle anymore with a one year old?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Learning by Leaps and Bounds

Learning to play Nintendo DS is a necessary skill which Sophie quickly learned from her big brother, Josh.
Sophie and Chloe, our dog, have an understanding that every so often she will drop morsels of food over the side of her highchair. No one had to teach her how to do that. It must have been just instinct.

Daddy shows Sophie that you're never too old to act like a little kid. He proves that he's still young by taking a Boy Scout challenge where he and Tim pulled another scout dad, Martin, on a tripod around a gymnasium track.

Courtney, Steven (her dashing young boyfriend of 5 months), and Heather (friend since 1st grade) have taught Sophie the fine art of frozen yogurt consumption on Waffle Cone Wednesdays.

We are all amazed at how quickly our little sponge is learning new things. Here's an update on how Sophie is growing by leaps and bounds.

Sophie has been home one month and learning all kinds of new things. She walked 8 steps on Jan. 10th while Sandee Tischler was over for a visit, but totally stopped the process until a week later when she walked 25 baby steps while Aunt Sog was visiting. In the meantime, she's decided it's much safer to crawl and has learned how to do that efficiently.

Sophie is learning sign language too! She is very interested in doing hand motions as she repeats a new one over and over again. Sophie seems very proud of herself when she masters a new one. She knows and is learning signs for "more, banana, bird, duck, milk, eat, want, all done, book, gentle, hot, in, out, quiet, and sleep."

Her capacity to learn English is astonishing! She can do simple commands like "wave bye-bye," "blow kisses," "give Daddy, Courtney, Joshie, and Mommie a kiss." Sophs will kiss her "Papa" repeatedly to see him do a little jig afterwards. She loves to play "Patty Cake" and claps her hands and "rolls" them up at just right time. It's just so darn cute.

On the other hand, she has also learned that juice and cookies are more delicious to eat than milk and Cheerios and that french fries from McDonald's are really good.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Day in the Life of Sophie Rose

I love taking my shoes and socks off so I can chew on my toes...can you?
I love the park with Joshie! This is my jacket from my orphanage. It's thick and warm!

Courtney likes to dress me up with all her jewelry. What do you think?

I like the feel of the sand running through my fingers.
Here's my daily schedule...
7:30 Wake up and begin playing with my hands, say good bye to Joshie and Daddy
8:00 Have my morning milk cuddled up with my mommie
8:30 Floor time-play with my toys and practice my crawling and walking
9:00 Breakfast of banana, Cheerios, toast
9:30 Baby Einstein or music video
10:00 Outdoors time-go for a walk in my stroller or the baby carrier
10:30 Wake up Jie-Jie (Courtney) and play with her in her bedroom (cool stuff in there)
11:00 Help Mommie with chores (bang on pots, stack bowls, dust mop floor with tummy)
11:30 Milk time number 2 as my doggie, Chloe, lays next to me
12:30 Lunch-I'll eat anything
1:00 Sleepytime
3:00 Go to pick up my big bruder-Joshie, from school
3:30 Play with Josh, sometimes he takes me to the park
4:30 More floortime for blocks, books, and balls
5:00 Dinnertime
6:00 Time for Daddy to come home!!!
7:30 Splish splash it's time to take a bath
8:00 Books and a bottle...yawn...
8:30 Nighty-night time!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gotcha Day 1 Month Anniversary

Our little Pink Satin Eggroll

Sophie loves her new found American friends!

Yesterday was the one month anniversary of the day we met Sophie Rose for the first time-in the adoption world this is known as "Gotcha Day". It's hard to believe we've only had our sweet baby girl for only 4 weeks. It really seems like she's been part of our family forever! I'm still totally amazed at how God placed this little girl in our family...she fits in perfectly, she's easy to take care of, so happy and cheerful, the life of the party, and she even looks like her Uncle Joe! :) (He thinks all babies look like him). God knew what He was doing when he placed her in our hearts so long ago. He knew just what we needed. I believe since the beginning of time, He had a plan for this little girl to be in our arms. It was always meant to be that we would have a family of 5. We are sooooo happy and enjoying being new parents again. Every little event is so much fun! We all can't wait to give her a bath and watch her face light up as she splashes half the water out of the sink all over the floor and countertop then pulls the plug and wonders where all the water went. She is adorable and we are so in love!

We are so happy you're part of our forever family, Soapy!

Rocket Scientist or Physicist?

All I want to do is hold you forever...little Sophie Rose!
"Uuuuuuuuhhhhhh, Mommie.....I'm thinking I don't really like this pokey green stuff...."

Sophie even curled up her toes and feet to avoid touching this forest of little green blades.

"OK, ok...I'll put one foot down, but no way will I put down the other!"

I don't know if it's just being a proud new mom or what but I think my little "class clown" is going to be a physicist!!!! Today, to my amazement, she was launching Cheerios off of her highchair tray like Tiddly Winks. I was in the kitchen fixing breakfast and she was in her highchair with a handful of Cheerios. About 3-4 minutes later, I returned to feed her her breakfast and noticed most of her Cheerios were gone. At first I couldn't believe she could eat them that fast. Then there she was...taking her little pointer finger and pushing it down hard on the edge of a little Cheerio and OFF IT FLEW! I couldn't believe she figured out how to do that. Now that's not normal 1 year old behavior, is it? She did it over and over until the rest of the cereal was on the floor. Chloe, or dog, was so happy to snatch up every little morsel launched her way. They've got quite a little racket going on.

So as a teacher-mom, I thought I'd give Sophie a new experience today. Because it's rather warm outside, I took her shoes and socks off so she could walk barefoot on the grass. Being an orphan, I think this is one activity that she's probably never done before. I wish I had a video camera ready because what happened next was too funny for words! She took one step on the grass with her right foot, stopped, thought about it for a looooooonnnnnnggggg time, and decided that she didn't want her other foot to EVER, no NEVER touch that yucky grass EVER! She lifted her left foot in the air like she was kicking but it never came down. Then she bent it like she was a flamingo, all the while balancing on the one foot. Next she place left foot on top of the one standing on the grass. It was so comical to see her expression and her problem solving skills. No matter how hard I tried, she wouldn't put the other foot down. Needless to say, the barefoot in the grass experience didn't go as planned.

Well, she's up from a nap, so I must be going!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

There's Nothing I'd Rather Be Doing

Here's a picture of our travel group on our last day in China. There were 7 families who wer bringing 2 boys and 5 girls to America. That's 7 more children who will come to know our heavenly Father!!!!!

This is us in front of the Chen Family Museum (?).

Thousands of starfish washed ashore. A little girl began throwing them in the water so they would not die. “Don’t bother, dear,” her mother said, “it won’t make a difference.” The girl stopped for a moment and looked at the starfish in her hand. "It will make a difference to this one."

As Sophie is sleeping (going on hour 2) :), I have a moment to reflect on the sweet blessing our Lord Jesus has given our family. I sit here amazed at His great love for us, that He would give our family such INCREDIBLE JOY!!!!! Sophie is "practicially perfect in every way" (quote from Mary Poppins). She sleeps well, is happy most of the time, has soooo much personality we just burst with happiness, and gives us something to be passionate about.

Oh, I still get comments from people who think we're crazy having a baby at such a late time in our lives, but I have to say that there's nothing I'd rather be doing than rocking my sweet baby to sleep, feeding her Cheerios from my lips, introducing her to new foods, playing with her stacking cups on the floor, making her giggle while I nibble on her toes-ears-knees and belly, and changing her diaper for the millionth time. It's all good! I can't think of a better way to spend my time than making a difference in this little angel's life. I feel it is an honor and a blessing to have her in my life at this time. She gives us a reason to live, to stay active and healthy. We are blessed beyond all measure to be raising Sophie. Thank you Lord Jesus for the opportunity! I wouldn't have missed it for the world!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Presents

Between Aunt Sog (Ayi), Courtney, and me, we've compiled a bunch of pictures from the past couple of days. By now you might be getting tired of seeing our little plum blossom smiling, in different clothes, and doing other amazing feats, but we haven't tired of it yet so here we go...

Each day is a new gift to open...Sophie brings all of us such joy...we can't wait to see what she does next...

Wearing Jie Jie's Christmas dress from 18 years ago

Sophie didn't really like wearing Santa hats so getting a good picture was quite difficult.

Dad is teaching her early how to search for good deals in the ads the day after Christmas.

"Look, Daddy! Kohl's has a 70% off sale on fine jewelry. Maybe we should get Mommie something?"

This little outfit was a gift from Aunt Lisa and boy, it looks cute on her! It was the first dress we put her in since we got her. The adorable pink striped leg warmers showed off her long, skinny legs.

Sophie has a talent for anything musical. Aunt Sog took out some bowls and gave her some chopsticks and away she went. Needless to say, Mommie doesn't bring out the bowls much because the banging is too loud. She'll have to save that experience for when she visits her ayi!

Enjoying the sunshine and all that nature has to offer. Sophie found a dainty little daisy and plucked off each tiny petal one by one.

Learning to walk is Sophie's main pasttime now. She is developing her skills daily.

This was the day we went to the hospital for an ultrasound of Sophie's kidneys and bladder. We were checking for any traces of melamine, the chemical that some baby formula companies in China were putting in their milk. Thank the Lord, Sophie's results were all negative! Yay!

Aunt Sog is holding Sophie's hands as she practices her walking skills wearing her sweet little hoodie from her ayi.

And finally...I love this shot that captures Soapy's devilish grin.