The Many Adventures of Keira!

This is our page to document our family's adoption journey- starting from when we first started planning for our little one, to when we brought her home. We're also going to keep this updated with all of the things that Keira has been up to since she's been home with us here in the U.S!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kid City

Keira got a visit the other day from Auntie Sandy and her boyfriend as well as Auntie Naomi. They brought her a new panda to play with and kept her busy playing with toys and sunglasses. A little later that day, I think that she was a little cold, so she tried to give us a hint by running around the house with one of her blankets wrapped around her. She's so funny!

Today, we decided to head down to the Ruben H Fleet Space Theatre to check out Kid City. It's a cute exhibit that they have there for kids aged infant to 6 years old. They had some fun activities for Keira to play with. I ended up getting a membership which also included 8 ticket for the IMAX theatre. I think we might try to see the one about the Coral Reefs, although it might be a little overwhelming for her.

After that, we headed out to see the fountain in the front. It brought me back to a memory from my childhood that we had on 8mm film. Remember the fountain at the beginning of Married with Children? Well, as a child, I tried to climb through the bars to get to the fountain while my dad was filming, so you could see the filming of me starting to get through the bars--then it cuts away to where my mom is carrying me. I couldn't have been much older than Keira is now. It was a good memory...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Busy Week!

It's been a pretty busy week for Keira and I...for no particular reason except that we've been busy! :)

She's been all over the place! We went down to the zoo on Monday and since it was a little cooler on Tuesday, I decided that it may be the last few times that we'll be able to go to the Wild Animal Park before the temperatures start going over 100. She went to the Children's Museum in Escondido as well as the Wild Animal Park. We also decided to try out the Toddler Zone at Chuck E. Cheese and needless to say, I wasn't too impressed. She did like the Barney car, but there wasn't much for her to do. The salad bar was all the way at the other end, so there was no way that I was going to just leave her there while I went to the salad bar, so imagine trying to carry her under one arm with your drink and a plate in the other hand. Not an easy task- Bad Designing! One thing that was pretty funny was that they had the machine that takes a picture that kind of looks like a sketch. I tried to have us do that, but it gives you so much warning and time before taking the picture, so it ended up being me with a weird face and half of Keira's face after she squirmed out of the picture. I was laughing the whole time it was doing the sketch because of how bad it looked! We also did the weekly trip to Legoland after her Wobblers class and I had a caricature done of her. The guy did a great job and had her sitting on her favorite animal, the elephant....of course with her second favorite animal a pig sitting in the picture as well. We have pictures of animals all over her room and Dan taught her how to make an elephant sound. She loves making the sound now---whether it's really an elephant she's looking at or most other animals as well! We also went to Pajamarama on Friday and back to Legoland on Saturday with Auntie Lorraine. She got to meet the Lego Pirate Dude---I'm not sure if it has an official name! :) Whew!!! I'm getting tired just typing out all of the places that we went to this week. Today, Dan and I headed down to Coronado with her and took the ferry to downtown and let her play at The Embarcadero Park and watch the kites. After that we walked around Seaport Village before heading back to the ferry. Dan and I used to walk to Seaport Village every Sunday with Jackson back when we lived downtown. I really miss living down there. It was so much fun and there was always something fun to do or something fun going on. It's too bad it just isn't a good place to have children with all of the "Blue Dots" all over the place. In case you don't know, The Megan's Law Website marks offenders with "Blue Dots". On the map, they are ALL OVER the downtown area. One thing that I'm happy about with the downtown area though is that they should be finished with the new children's museum sometime at the beginning of the year next year. It looks like it's going to be pretty amazing! Here are some pictures of just some of the activities we've been up to for the week as well as Keira's caricature.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shrek The Third

My sister Gigi said that people always remarked on how well behaved Max was at the movie theatre- even at a very young age. She started working with Max early on behaving at the movie theatre at the age of 17-18 months. Sure, he didn't understand alot of what was going on in the movie at that age, but that wasn't necessarily the point. The point was to help him with behaving appropriately with others around, working on keeping your voice down when necessary and on his ability to concentrate on something for longer periods of time. He is very well behaved and it still is a big treat for him to go to the movies once in a while.

I decided to try to see how Keira would do at the movies now that she is 17 months old. She, like most babies, concentrates on something for about 10 seconds before she's flitting and fluttering on to something else for about 10-15 seconds. One of the things that Gigi said to be prepared for is that the first time out, you may have to leave the movie early--so I was very prepared for this thinking that I may only get past the trailers that they show at the beginning. She did GREAT! Now granted, she did get pretty squirmy towards the end, but she did so well. I was very proud of her! She laughed and had a great time- although I'm sure that she didn't really understand the cartoon. One of the things that I thought was pretty funny was that she was so small that the chair wouldn't even stay open that she was sitting on. Most of the time she sat on my lap or next to me on my chair. She tried singing along with songs and made elephant noises whenever the donkey would come on the screen. After the movie, I let her run around in the lobby area where she played with a Simpsons display. I was so proud of how well behaved she was! Pictures are in the lobby of the movie theatre along with another little girl that had first day at the movies too. The other is of her enjoying a piece of chocolate---she truly is my daughter as any of you can tell if you've seen ME eat chocolate :).

Paranoia or Instinct?

Most of the Westfield shopping malls have these wonderful Playtown areas that are great for children. It's an area that is usually at the end of one of their malls and is a cushioned playground for smaller children. There are fun things for kids to play and climb on and everything is cushioned so that they won't hurt themselves if they fall or bump into something. The area is also surrounded by benches for the parents to sit on and watch their children play. Dan and I love to take Keira here sometimes to let her run and play safely sometimes after dinner. It's specifically for smaller children, so she also gets to socialize with little ones that are about her age. Whenever I take her there, I play with her or am sitting on the bench keeping an eye on her. I make it a point to NEVER talk on the phone while there and when I'm talking to other parents, neither of us think that we're being rude if we're talking to each other, but not looking at each other. We usually understand that we're all watching our children. Because there are so many people there watching their children, you sometimes get a false sense of security and let your guard down.

Am I paranoid? Perhaps...I guess that it would be dependant on who you are and your previous experiences. As children ourselves, it seemed that there wasn't really much to worry about in regard to predators and we ran around all the time exploring without our parents right there with us. I honestly don't know whether it just wasn't as much of a problem back then---or if ignorance is bliss and we just weren't aware of it although it was all around us. Either way, I'm fine with being paranoid and being perhaps overly careful if it keeps my child safe.

Last night, Dan and I brought Keira to the mall to run and play. There were lots of children playing that were about her age if not maybe a little older with all of the parents sitting on the benches talking with one father even laying across the bench taking a quick nap while his daughter played. While we were standing by the wall watching her roll around on the ground and playing, something didn't feel right. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a man standing by the cushioned wall (with the short wall in front of him) looking very odd. He looked like he was in his later 40's, wavy gray/brown hair with his hands in his pocket. He was standing there watching the children playing. Something was really odd about the way that he was looking at them. It's hard to explain. It didn't look like how an adult looks at a child remarking at how cute and adorable they are---it looked more like the sleazy guy that sits in the back of a bar oogling at women in short skirts. It felt VERY wrong. I nudged Dan and tried to discreetly point the guy out to him. Dan and I were both watching him now and now I noticed that he was not only standing there with his hands in his pocket with a leering look on his face almost looking like he was rubbing himself against the cushioned wall in front of him. I looked to see what he was looking at...and guess what it was? It was Keira. Somehow either he had gotten her attention or for whatever reason it was, she was sitting on the ground looking at him. He was making eye contact with her and licked his lips. I rushed over to Keira and picked her up to take her away and before I could even think to say anything, Dan said something... "Hey...are any of these kids yours?" The guy looked startled. Almost like Dan broke him from a trance. He stumbled over his words and Dan point blank said to him, " You're lookin' a little WEIRD over there, dude." Other parents could hear now and hopefully figured out that something was weird. This seemed to shake him and he started walking away into the Sears that was nearby. We could still see him from the playarea still lingering by the doorway of the store--partially hiding himself, yet still looking at the playarea and at the children with his hands in his pockets. We decided to go ahead and leave since it was very uncomfortable now. As we were leaving, I looked over at the parents at the playarea. Some were on cell phones, some were talking to each other and that one father was still laying on the bench sleeping. We stopped by the security office to tell them about the guy. Dan made sure to say, "Hey...maybe he's totally innocent and is harmless, and they say not to judge a book by it's cover...well, I'm going to judge anyway just to play it safe". The security guy said that he would send out a notice to the other security people to keep an eye out for the guy just in case.

Were we being paranoid? Probably... it's very possible. I think there is a fine line between paranoia and instinct sometimes, however, I don't think it's a bad thing to lean on the side of instinct and play things safe.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Looking For Something To Do?

I'm constantly on the lookout for fun things for Keira and I to do during the day, so I wanted to share a great website for all of you parents in San Diego County!

It's updated on a regular basis and has a listing of lots of fun activities for children showing daily activities as well as special events in the far right column. There are so many great things that I wouldn't have known about if it weren't listed on this page.

Check it out! We might even see you at some of the activities:)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband Dan!!! Wow..what is it? 39 a few times over? ;) Just kidding! You are the best and Keira and I love you so very very much!

Build A Bear- Support Adoption!

Tomorrow is a very special day at Build A Bear Workshops across the country. If any of you get a chance, stop by and build a bear for an orphan!

It's free to build a bear and all of them are donated to orphans all around the world.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Wow! Mother's Day. For the past few years Dan and I have kind of done a "Mother's Day" celebration of sorts with just the two of us. We had been trying to start a family for so many years now that for the past few of them, it just seemed like it was SOOOO close. This year really is the first one where I actually really am a mother... not a "one day maybe it will happen for you guys" mother or a "hopefully in the next few months" mother... but a mother with a wonderful little girl.

Things can be a little complicated though for an adoptive family on holidays such as this. Yes, I am Keira's mother, but there are also two very important women in her life that were "mothers" as well that I am so thankful for.

First, there was her birth mother. Although we know general information regarding the social circumstances in China, we will never know the exact circumstances that Keira's birth mother went through in giving her up for adoption. I don't think that I need to though. What I DO know is that if it were not for her, my beautiful, precious daughter would not be here. For that I will forever be grateful.
Secondly, there was her foster mother. She took Keira in when she was only 3 days old up until the day that she placed her in my arms at 14 months old. She loved her and took care of her as if she were her own child knowing that one day, she would have to face letting her go to another family. I couldn't imagine the pain and sadness that she must have felt- although we cried together on that day. Keira is so smart, funny, well-adjusted and affectionate. I know that so much of that was because of how she was raised for the first 14 months of her life by her foster mother.

Lastly, there is me. I'm her mother now---and will be for the rest of her life and for the rest of mine.

Dan and I put alot of thought into this Mother's Day. I wanted to try and start a tradition to honor Keira's other 2 "mothers" as well, but we made the decision that this year, being my first real Mother's Day, it's ok for me to have it all to myself. One day when Keira is old enough to understand a little more, I would like to tell her more about the other 2 women that were such a big part of her life---and from there, work with her on how and if she would like to honor them as well.

But until then and for's my Mother's Day to enjoy her all to myself. I've waited and prayed for her for so long and I think it's ok. :)

Happy Mother's Day to friends and family that are mothers, soon to be mothers, and to those that have given a part of themselves to be a mother to children in the world that may not have one in their lives.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tai Chi Boo

At the gym today, the girls that take care of the children in the Kid's Club were calling Keira "Boo". I was wondering what they meant...and then I realized that they meant Boo from Monsters Inc. You know...I thought she looked more like the little girl from The Grinch, but she definitely does look like Boo with her little ponytails!.

Speaking of the gym, Dan has had an ongoing back injury and shoulder injury and although going to a Chiropractor has helped significantly, doing alot of weightlifting was not helping. Now with the business keeping him so tied up and adding lots of new stress, we tried to figure out a way to help with all of the issues. The answer? Tai Chi of course! He started taking lessons a few months ago and it has worked wonders. He still gets a workout, but his stress levels have gone down significantly and he no longer has the aches and pains he was feeling. Today, they had a tournament at USD, so Keira, Lorraine and I headed down for the show (Dan left earlier to make it on time). Keira looked very cute (of course) wearing a shirt that Dan found for her in China. He was it in the window and immediately ran in to buy it for her. It is a pink shirt with picture of pandas doing Tai Chi movements. When Dan came out, Keira was holding on the rail screaming out for "DA!!!!" It was very funny and everyone around was laughing. Yes, it was probably a little distracting for him. He also was in the "Push Hands" competition. They put him up against a guy that looked like the big guy from The Green Mile, so needless to say, Dan was handed a beat down. After competing against one more person, the guy had to stop because he almost had a heart attack! Dan was bummed that he didn't get picked to go against him third! :). We headed home and Keira got to eat a chocolate soft serve cone from Dairy Queen. It was the first one that she had and was enjoying it WAY too much!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

OUR Daughter...

Paula, who was one of the mothers in our travel group that adopted Jessica also has a blog. In one of the entries, she posted something that Meg Ryan said about her daughter that she adopted not long ago from China. “I am convinced, completely convinced that there was nothing random about the adoption,” Meg, 45, tells Redbook in its May issue. “She is the daughter I should have.” You know, every day as time goes on, I am more and more convinced that there would never have been another child that would have been more suited for our family. Keira truly is OUR daughter. One of the comments that people always make about Dan and I is that we are always laughing. Keira is such a happy FUNNY baby. Sometimes her and I will be in the car on our way to have an adventure somewhere around San Diego and we will both just be laughing hysterically about silly things together. This morning, Keira had me laughing during her breakfast time. I cut up some fruit for her and put her in her chair with them in a suction cupped bowl in front of her. I left for a second to wash the dishes (I can see her from the kitchen) and watched her out of the corner of my eye. She was eating and when I came back over to her, she had the hugest grin on her face. She turned to the side to show me the pieces of apple that she had placed in her ears. She didn't put them in far enough to be a scare so it was VERY funny. She just laughed and laughed. After her nap after the gym, we tried to head over to Legoland, but discovered that apparently during slower season times, they are closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays! We went to the mall so that she could run around in Playtown and ride the Carousel. Dan wanted to see how she would react to it a few days ago and she loved it! I've included pictures of her riding the Carousel as well as playing at Playtown. The other picture is of her and daddy kicking back reading their motorcycle magazines.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Water Weekend

Grandpa and Grandma Margaret left yesterday and Keira had a great time getting to know both of them. Margaret found a new tickle spot on her that we were not aware of, so we made sure to use it every opportunity we had (on her side). She liked taking them into her room to play with her toys and although she would set things on it, she never really figured out what her princess chair was for...until now. I included a picture of her kicking back on it telling me to fetch her a beer or something.

We went to Legoland and had a great time. Keira and I are such regular there that we should get a parking spot next to the Volvos and preferred parking! She was a little braver with the water play area and at one time stood right over one of the spouts not realizing that it was the next geyser to blow. She was completely soaked! At first she ran to me very freaked out, but like usual figured out that it was fun and went back for more.

After Dad and Margaret left yesterday, we were finally successful in bringing Keira over to the pool. The pool had alot of leaves in it and there was no scoop for us to clean it out. I think that I'm going to buy my own scoop to use over there if we end up using the pool enough. The water was VERY cold as you can see by her facial expression when Dan first put her in the water. They moved over to the Jacuzzi that wasn't on which was much nicer and warmer. She had a great time. She played some, splashed around and would look over and watch some of the other kids playing in the bigger pool....either that, or would just chew on the concrete deck. As you will notice, I discovered that her hair is JUST long enough now for me to put it in little ponytails. She's WAY too cute with her hair that way. I promise though that I won't abuse my parenting priviledges by overdoing it with her hair :)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Visit from Family!

Dad and Margaret came out from the East Coast for their Annual West Coast Trek. They came out on Wednesday afternoon and got to meet Keira for the first time. She took to them immediately and had a great time goofing around with them as you can see from the pictures. This afternoon was very full for the little one. She went to her Wobblers class and ran around playing. Immediately after that, I took her to Legoland and it is so much more fun with her now that she has better balance and can walk and run on her own. It does still worry me when she starts running too fast since it is still a possibility for her to totally eat it on the pavement. She LOVES looking at everything going on at Miniland and for the first time actually ventured into the water play area. She normally loves water, but I think that the water shooting up out of nowhere still scares her. She would move slowly into the area and when the water would start to shoot, she would start running to me screaming----looking scared, but once she reached me, she would start smiling and go back for more. It won't be long before we won't be able to get her away from it!
Thanks to everyone who responded in comments and emails with their words of wisdom on getting Keira to eat! I'm going to try every single one of the tips :).

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Unusual Problem

Hi all! I'm sorry that I haven't written in a while. Things have been so hectic that everytime I sit down to start typing---here she comes wanting to play with the computer! Keira is not only walking now, she's trying to RUN everywhere. I don't have to keep an eye on her every second to make sure that she doesn't smash her head on something trying to walk, but I definitely still have to watch her to make sure that she isn't trying to wash her hands in the toilet (Yes, I now keep the doors to the bathroom closed :) ) Dan has the camera in his car, so no pictures today as well...sorry! It's been kind of difficult to take pictures of her lately because she is just moving all over the place and doesn't stay still for too long to pose for a picture.
I have a bit of an unusual problem that I'm looking for advice with! It's a common problem, but with an unusual twist I guess.
Remember when Keira used to eat everything in sight? Well...she has kind of stopped. She's not too interested in eating anymore because she would much rather be busy running around. I know that most parents experience this with children that don't want to sit down and have a meal, but would rather have junk food. My problem I guess is a little unusual. The ONLY food that Keira is interested in lately is veggies. This is not a bad thing since veggies are healthy, but the doctor really wants me to get some calories and fat in her because her weight is so low (most little girls from China through adoption have low weight and are tinier than usual by American standards). It really has started to become a daily fight with her to get her to eat anything other than a few peas and carrots. I've been supplementing with Pediasure, Formula and Whole Milk, but I'm getting desperate. I've really got to get her to eat more. I know that some have said to leave her alone and that she will eat when she is hungry, I'm just concerned about her eating more higher fat and calorie foods. Any words of wisdom?