Nap time

Charu still sleeps in our room and when she gets up from nap she now comes downstairs and finds me.  Usually she will then say "comeon!" with the appropriate hand gesture ushering me back upstairs because she wants to wake Allie up as well.  Allie LOVES it when Charu wakes her up because there's nothing that means more to her than her little sister looking up to her.  

Today I was downstairs planning our next project (I'll post about it soon) when I looked at the clock.  I thought it was a little odd that both girls were still sleeping, but I knew I would have heard them if they were awake.  A few minutes later I decided that I was going to go upstairs and begin waking them up (at this point it had been about 2 1/2 hours or so).  I went up to our room and Charu wasn't there.  I looked everywhere and to be honest I began freaking out a little bit on the inside.  I knew that Allie's door was shut, but decided to open her door.  Low and behold the two girls were cuddled up together asleep! Allie told me later that Charu had woken up and came and crawled in bed with her!  I wish I would have had my camera with me because it was the sweetest sister moment ever!  Melt my heart!

Allie's 4 year check up...

I've been so busy lately with Cory's long hours at work and everything else going on that I hadn't gotten around to posting about Allie's four year check up.  
  • 47.7 lbs
  • 47.5 inches tall
  • 90% for weight
  • Off the charts for height (she's always made her own curve for her height, but this time she increased drastically in her height!)
  • Hearing was great
  • Her eyes were another story.  We need to follow up with an eye doctor...she failed in both eyes.  Looking back on her adoption paperwork, "T"was nearsighted as well as both of her parents and her sister.  I'm guessing Allie will end up with glasses someday.
  • Four shots (I thought that she'd cry a little...but boy can she scream!), finger blood draw, and urine sample (she thought that was the grossest thing she'd ever heard of).  
  • Charu was with us at Allie's appointment and she wasn't very happy with someone hurting Allie!  She stood there, said "naughty" and scowled at the nurse.  I reassured her that Allie was okay and afterwards Charu kissed Allie and said, "All better!"  I probably wouldn't have brought her in normally, but we still don't leave Charu with anyone and she ALWAYS wants to be where Allie is!
  • Allie also went to the dentist for the first time (we had an appointment scheduled back in November, but we ended up having to cancel it because we were in India) about a month ago.  Allie did great (She talked their ear off actually! Surprised? Nope!) and she didn't have any cavities.  The dentist did say that she was going to need braces someday though.  Allie has an underbite as well as a crossbite.  
  • Other than that, Allie is doing great.  I am amazed every day at how smart, kind, and inquisitive she is.  Allie LOVES to learn and I just know that no matter where life takes her through the years, she's going to do great things.  She still aspires to be a mom someday...maybe a teacher too!  LOVE HER!!!


our girls...

Almost wordless Wednesday...

14 months old

4 years old



Charu's new favorites...

Favorite saying: "Oh man!" (She even uses it in the correct context and with the correct expression as well!  LOL!)
Favorite character:  LOVES anything "Mickey Mou" related!!!
Favorite books: Goodnight Moon, Pinkalicious & The Napping House
Favorite foods:  EVERY FRUIT and most veggies
Favorite toy:  LOVES dress up clothes and babies!  Charu spent a great deal of time yesterday caring for her little babies.  When she wasn't cuddling with them, she was putting them in time out!  Funniest thing I've ever watched!!
Favorite person:  Allie ALL THE WAY!
Favorite activity:  Playing in water!  This girl NEEDS a water table!  Pinterest here I come!

I can't get over how far Charu has come.  When she came home, she wouldn't sit for more than a few seconds.  Charu couldn't make it through even one page of a book.  Now Charu has her favorite books and BEGS for them!  She will sit on the "edge of her seat" listening to the book waiting for the part that she knows and "reads" it with us!  During the Pinkalicious book, she knows what happens on each page and is so excited when we read it!

Charu also likes to look at picture books with animals in them.  She can name almost every farm animal and knows what sound they make.  She also knows the basic zoo animals and the sounds they make.  Her favorite is the zebra and mine is the elephant.  She puts her arm out and pretends it's the elephants trunk and then blows air through her lips to make the elephant sound...sinkin' cute!!

Charu LOVES music and can sing countless songs (mostly Dr. Jean, nursery rhyme songs from when I taught preschool, or christian children's songs) with the melody sung perfectly!  She loves to sing the ABC's and can count to 10 (although she skips #8).

Charu ADORES pretty things and jewelry especially!  "Auntie Kari" came over the other day and had her Brighton bracelets on.  Charu saw them and was enamored by them.  Kari let Charu wear them and she just sat there so proud of her pretties!  When we were in India, there was such a deep love of jewels, gold, and beautiful things.  So when I see Charu with the deep love of jewelry it just warms my soul!

If Charu could spend EVERY WAKING SECOND outside, she would!  She loves to make people laugh and basically loves life.  Most of all Charu is all energy all the time!

As far as her size, Charu has had a tough time gaining weight and keeping it on since coming home.  She's only about 22 pounds now and I'm not sure about her height.  She's wearing 12-18 or 18-24 month clothes still and she wears a size 5 shoe.  She's a peanut with a BIG and spicy personality!  



We were very blessed that when we found out about Charu coming home (remember we were prepared to wait A LOT longer), my principal was unbelievably understanding and supportive.  I was blessed when they allowed me to take the rest of the school year off.  At that time, I knew that I wanted to request the next school year off as well even though I didn't know how we would make that work financially.  

Since meeting Charu and bringing her home, I've enjoyed every second with both of my daughters.  Even on the days where I've gotten little sleep (Charu still has some bad nights) and I'm exhausted, I still look at them and get tears in my eyes when I think about how lucky we are.  They are both gifts from God and I struggle to think about leaving them each day again.   

We decided that I was going to request the 2012-2013 school year off.  

I submitted this letter to our school board.  

March 29, 2012

Dear **** School Board Members,

I’d like to begin this letter by thanking you from the bottom of my heart for granting me an extended maternity leave that currently runs through the end of the 2011-2012 school year.  Bringing a child into our family that was already two years old has been both challenging as well as the most rewarding experience of our lives thus far!  Being able to establish a solid routine, begin bonding with our newest daughter, and growing as a family of four has truly been priceless!  These things only happen with time and patience, so I am very thankful for the time I’ve been given with both of our daughters!

Before we left for India, Cory and I talked at length about how bringing any child into a family is a leap of faith.  However, bringing a little girl who has spent the first two years of her life in an orphanage with people constantly coming in and out of her life is an even bigger leap of faith.  We trusted in God and in our hearts and told each other that if need be, I would request more time off to continue devoting my time to Charu, Allie, and our family. 

India was amazing and Cory and I fell in love with our daughter immediately!  Charu was raised in an amazing orphanage and (unlike many orphans) she understood how to love and be loved which we will forever be grateful for.  After arriving home from India, we began adjusting to life as a family of four and at the same time tried to teach Charu what it feels like to be in a family.  There were days along the way that were very difficult.  On one hand Charu was a typical two year old and on the other hand she was experiencing things like a newborn.  Everything was new to her and she had no sense of danger, which made our jobs as her parents quite challenging!

Overall, we are amazed every day at the progress Charu has made and we are constantly reminded at how far she has come.  She has developed a strong attachment to each one of us and you can tell has begun to trust us for her every need.  This trust is so important to our family and to who Charu is as a person.  

This brings us to the reason for this letter.  All in all, Charu spent two years and three months in an orphanage setting and has been with us for just over four months.   When school starts next year, Charu will have been with us for 8 ½ months.  We are concerned that if I return to work in August, Charu may regress dramatically.  We have worked very hard to get to where we are and we’re finding it difficult to think about putting her into a daycare setting for most of her day. 

With that said, I’d like to request a one year leave of absence from teaching.  I’m not asking for any pay, benefits, or any steps and lanes.  All I’m asking for is to be able to extend my maternity leave through the 2012-2013 school year with me returning for the 2013-2014 school year.  By staying home one more year with Charu, we feel that we’d be able to continue to establish Charu’s understanding of family as well as continue to develop the skills that she didn’t get at her orphanage. 

Thank you very much for your time and for considering extending my maternity leave!

Nichole ********

They denied my request last night at the school board meeting.  

I understand where they are coming from and I know that due to our contract, their hands were tied.  

I love my job, but I love being a mommy more.

I'm heartbroken.

I know that in the grand scheme of life this is such a tiny issue, either way we have each other and that's what's important.  However, I just want to make the decision that is for our family today, tomorrow, and in years to come.

Do I go back to work and risk harming our attachment or do I resign from my teaching job and risk not having a teaching job (aka money) a year down the line?  Financially, how do we live off of one income?  We don't lead frivolous lives, but is it possible to make it work on just Cory's income?  Are we willing to put off starting adoption #3 so that I can stay home?  When I'm ready to go back, will there be positions open and would I even get hired back?  

Ugh!!  So many decisions....  


Letter to God

As I am typing this, Allie is sitting at the table "writing a letter to God."  She's talking out loud to me as she writes and it sounds too cute to not write down.  It sounds something like this...

"Please God help the people who are sad know that God is here."

"Thanks for being there for everyone and for taking care of the orphans.  Let them know that you love them because I want them all to be safe."

"Thank you for all your help that you've done.  Thank you for helping me not pee in my pull-up last night. Thanks SO much!"

Seriously, I want to remember this moment forever!  I LOVE you Allie Grace and we are so proud of you in everything that you do!  You are an amazing little girl who has boundless energy, lots to say at all times, and you are creative beyond your years!  Your love for others and for God warms my sole!  My mommy heart is overflowing with love!  


Happy Easter!!!

On Pinterest, I saw an idea where you plant jelly beans the night before Easter and the next morning they've "grown" into suckers!  We decided it would be cute to do this year and Allie was beyond excited about it, Charu just liked eating the jelly beans and the suckers..she's a candy lover!

We went to my parent's house for Easter dinner and for our annual Easter  Egg Hunt.  My sister and her husband were unfortunately gone (on vacation), but her kids were still able to be there.  We had fun and Charu caught on to the Easter Egg Hunt after the first couple of eggs.  I think if she would have known what was in the eggs, she probably would have been more excited about the hunt!!!

We've been having a hard time going to church lately.  It seems like every time we go, people are so excited for us and they end up trying to touch or grab Charu.  Each week, we felt like we were taking steps back in regards to Charu's behaviors and her attachment toward us.  It's been hard to not go to our church because we do love it so much, but we know that it's better for Charu to feel safe with us before put in those situations again.

We've been doing a lot of reading of bible stories, singing praise songs, and just talking about God with Allie.  With that we spent a great deal of time talking with Allie about the real meaning of Easter.  It's amazing to listen to Allie talk about the bible and how much she can really comprehend at her age!  She has an amazing love for Christ and I pray that her love continues to grow as she does!