Monday, October 20, 2008

A revealing conversation

Noelle and I were recently visiting one of those gourmet organic food shoppes. You know the type. Where everything looks and smells divine but is highly detrimental to the pocketbook (and perhaps the waistline). My intention for going in was to merely check the place out and perhaps find some loose leaf teas in the process.

Noelle, on the other hand, found the colorful displays, bins of imported chocolate, blocks of cheeses, and trays of samples a temptation she could not resist. I had to think fast and move even faster to save many items from being tossed, not very delicately, into our cart or being ripped open and immediately shoved into my toddler's eager mouth. You can imagine how displeased Noelle was with my attempts to deny her the pleasures of this fine cuisine.

Our conversation through the aisles, well her side at least, went something like this:

1. (spoken while grabbing and pointing at item) "Mommy, I need that."

2. (same as above) "I need it right now."

3. (same as above) "I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeed it!"

4. (if steps 1-3 don't work, try the polite version) "I need it, pleeeeeeeeeease!"

5. (when none of the above work, try guilt) "Noelle sad!!"

6. (and if all of the above fail, try acting like you are the mommy, and scold the offending party) "Mommy, be nice to Noelle!!!"

At the time I found it cute and was chuckling behind my firm mommy face. But now (yes, we've had this same conversation several times since) that she has added a step 7 - her tiny arms crossed over her chest - I'm not chuckling as much any more.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Culture Fest at Coolidge Park

Here's the video I promised from my day with Noelle at the Culture Fest.

(These were shot using my Blackberry, so the picture quality is fairly blurry.)

Enjoy the Chinese music presentation while you watch me trying to get Noelle to dance. Also, it is difficult to see, but check out the old woman dancing a solo in the upper right corner of the video.

Noelle loves to play with (waste) wet wipes. We have to keep them high ot of reach or the container will be emptied as our back is turned. Here, she is assuring me she will only take 1 wipe. We'll see about that...

The family seen here is in the process of adopting from China. I had a really nice (and lengthy) conversation with them while our girls played.

Short, Blonde and Sunny OR Short, Dark and Mysterious

Noelle recently went on a double date...sans the second girl.
She had these two "older guys" -
they'll both be 3 in January - all to herself.

Pretty good deal, huh?

This is the trio improvising on the player piano at the Creative Discovery Museum.

Caedmon is the dark haired cutie - Eli is the blonde cutie

As Promised...Here are a few pictures

Photos from a recent visit to Chattanooga's riverfront Coolidge Park-- What a perfect day for a visit to the park!

Click on this link BELOW to see more photos taken over recent weeks:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Okay. Let's See...

Here are some highlights (what I remember anyway) from the past few weeks.

Noelle's 2 Year Check-Up:
Three weeks ago Eric took Noelle to her new pediatrician here in Chattanooga - I was very bummed to be home in bed with a nasty migraine - so the info below comes from Eric's report. Her physician's name is "Doctor Jeanie", a sweet 30-something friendly Asian woman who, under the circumstances, Noelle seemed to really like.

All the usual poking and prodding were done and measurements taken. Noelle's head circumference grew to 47 cm. Her weight increased by a pound and a half to a grand total of 28.5 pounds, though Eric and I both find this small increase hard to believe. We are thinking her weight taken in China may have been reported a bit high?? Her height, on the other hand, increased by a whopping 9 inches! On the day of the appointment she measured in at 35 inches, and I think she's gotten even taller since! All her tests and measurements put her in the 75th percentile-- for American children. Very cool!

I sent Eric with a whole list of health (and a few parenting) questions for the doctor which he dutifully asked and received answers. So far we seem to not be damaging our kid too much. ;-) We may even be doing pretty well for a couple of rookies. Dr. Jeanie advised us on how to help decrease the waxy buildup in Noelle's ears (common in Chinese adoptees) and how we can help prevent her nosebleeds. The doc also gave us pamphlets on potty training and timeouts. She concluded that Noelle is healthy and strong with good verbal skills and won't need to return until next year. Yay for such a positive report!

6 Month Post-Placement Visit:
Two weeks ago our new Tennessee social worker from America World, our adoption agency, came to conduct the 6 month post-adoption visit in our home. China requires this and a 12 month visit.

Bethany was scheduled to join us for a 5pm dinner and then a "relaxed" visit in the family room. That's not exactly what happened, however. With the clock approaching 6pm and no sign of our social worker (we had no cell phone number) we began to get concerned. Fortunately at 5:45ish she called to say, "I am soooo sorry! I forgot Chattanooga is on Eastern time! And, I'm stuck in traffic!" Bethany felt terrible, but in my mind, this was better than the original plan. I had not been super psyched about Bethany observing Noelle's mealtime antics, especially with a messy plate of lasagna and salad. By the time the front door bell rang, however, Noelle was cleaned up from dinner and happily playing with her toys. I was greatly relieved.

We visited for approximately an hour and a half. Bethany asked us a list of questions and recorded her answers while watching our interactions with Noelle. I had been nervous at first about this visit - my spotless house was evidence of this - but Bethany was very laid back and put us at ease. She was very complimentary of Noelle's adjustment and our parenting style. And she didn't even mind that Noelle was tired, whiny and cranky during much of the visit (poor kid was running way low on sleep due to all the excitement of grandparents being around for several days). We asked a few questions of our own, gave Bethany a tour of Noelle's room, said our goodbyes, and that was that. Simple. Whew!

Note: At the time of the p.p. visit, Noelle was using 3 word sentences. As of this post, Noelle is regularly using 4 and 5 word sentences. Amazing! In spite of the all the changes in Noelle's life these past 6 months, her language skills have grown at a rapid rate...especially in the last 2 1/2 months. This is also a real answer to prayer, as being able to communicate with your child, and vice versa, sure does make life easier.

The Church of the Nazarene 100th Anniversary Celebration:
This past Sunday, our church, with so many others across the country (and world), celebrated 100 years as a denomination. It is amazing to think about how many lives God, though us, has touched and transformed over the past century. I love the way God uses ordinary people to fulfill the Great Commission. I am humbled and blessed to be part of a church that believes in the saving and sanctifying power of Christ. Amen! Go God!!

This link will provide more in depth information to those interested in the history of the Church of the Nazarene:

We had a beautiful service with rousing worship and were joined by the precious folks from our Hispanic congregation as well as a good number of visitors. Afterwords we sat down in the fellowship hall and picnic tables outside for a delicious meal of barbecued-right-here-on-the-church-grounds pork and all the trimmings (Awesome job Kelly & Karen M. and crew! Best BBQ I've ever eaten -for real!). It was all washed down with Sweet-tea and luscious desserts provided by the ladies of the congregation.

With bulging tummies, kids and adults alike moseyed over to try the inflatables, tossed around the football, or played a game of volleyball or soccer. What a great day of worshipping and praising our God and fellowshipping with old and new friends. Late that afternoon, those in the Johnson household crashed for a well deserved Nazarene Nap.

Okay. I'm trying to remember if anything else blog-worthy has occurred since my last group of posts. We have been super busy (actually I have been busier than I was in Richmond), but most of it doesn't rise to the level of "bloggable" (not that any of the above necessarily does either LOL!). I did take Noelle to Chattanooga's annual Culture Fest in Coolidge Park 2 weekends ago. That was a lot of fun. I even have some pictures and video to share with you. But my fingers are tired and my brain is tired, so I'll have to post on that later.

Check back soon for lots of photos!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An Update???

I've had a few inquiries recently as to "What's up with you and the blog?!?" So I got on here and realized it really has been ages since I last posted. Oops. So much has happened, so there is lots to tell. I just haven't been home much lately. I do apologize for the delay. But shucks and gee-whiz, it makes me feel awfully special that ya'll care. ;-)

To you Noellettes out there - those of you who say, "Enough posts about the happenings of Eric and Jen and the church and blah, blah, blah. Just give us the new pictures of Noelle already!!" To you folk I say... Hold your horses! They're coming! And if you're really patient, you might even get a video, or 2 or 3. That's right. My new cell phone has a camera / video feature. Fun, fun, fun! I never worry any more about forgetting to bring the camera or wondering where our camcorder is. I've got one on me at all times. The new mom in me says, thank you oh inventor of this modern technology!

Here's what's in the works:
-our 6 month adoption post-placement visit with the social worker
-Noelle's 2 year check-up at the pediatrician
-a recent visit with both sets of grandparents
-and various exploits around the beautiful city of Chattanooga

I hope to get a few photos posted this weekend, but due to our church's big 100th anniversary celebration this weekend (and my parents will be staying with us for a couple days), it might be early next week before I unveil all the grand news from the Johnson's (er, uh, maybe not grand exactly, but whatever...).