A note about my whereabouts

A very bad blogger, indeed, I am.

I know. And I really wish I could say that what I’ve been doing since my last post (April, I think?) is spending all sorts of quality time with my two boys, and THAT’S why I haven’t blogged. But I don’t want to lie. Not today, anyway.

While it’s true that I’ve been spending lots of QT with the boys, work permitting, what I’ve really been doing is finishing up my manuscript. NOT EASY. Writing was much easier than revising. Seriously. Anyway, I’ve started a new blog–jkinkade@wordpress.com, that will follow my humorous attempts to get a literary agent to represent my masterpiece, a novel I’m calling THE ZERO LINE. But I digress…

So, Alex/Bao is doing great. No surprises there. Things we’ve learned about him:

-He loves roller coasters, but wishes they were faster. And bumpier.
-He loves pizza. And says so. Non-stop.
-He loves “girly” cartoons (Cinderella, etc.) and girly toys.
-He loves girls.
-He loves Spongebob.
-He is afraid of nothing.
-He loves being a big brother.
-He loves ice skating.
-I’m starting to think he loves everything (except anchovies and wasabi peas).

His favorite and most uttered comments:

I’m telling mom.
I love pizza!
Thank you, mom.
I don’t know.
Stop it, G!
Ow, G!
I’m telling mom.

Alex starts first grade in September. He and G will be going to a new school, and G will be in kindergarten. Kind of exciting for everyone involved, I think. I hope Alex does well, but we’re kind of having concerns about his speech. And he can’t, for the life of him, learn his colors. It’s weird, like he just doesn’t get the concept of colors. Yeah, I had him tested for colorblindness-came back negatory. Numbers arene’t all that better for him. He has a really hard time memorizing them. Everything else is good though, like letters and shapes. He’s a very quick learner–I taught him to tie his shoes in one lesson, for instance. But, I don’t know. A teacher might know better. We’ll see. Not too worried right now.

Ugh. So how has everyone else been?? I’ve missed reading your blogs, and stop by when I get a free moment (not often) to read up on what you all have been doing. Glad to see you’re all still at it.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Hope everyone is enjoying this very special Hallmark occasion… I took my family out for lunch to the boys’ favorite place, Macaroni Grill. It was lots of fun. I had just come from the dentist’s office where I had work done on both the tops and bottom teeth. Yes, my mouth was still numb, but novocain has a delightful botox effect–it relaxes the wrinkles surrounding your mouth so you look about five or ten years younger. I’m not about to complain about that, even if I do drool when drinking a glass of cabernet.

Bao continues to do well. You know, when we first met him, I recall that his skin was ghastly. Imagine how a fabric sofa would feel…a tweed one. That’s what his skin felt like. I’ve been applying cocoa butter twice a day on him and you know what? It’s working! His skin is nearly as soft as Little Boy G’s. I’m sure it was the first time lotion had been applied to his tiny little frame.

Hubby took Bao (and G) to get blood drawn while I was at the dentist’s. According to poopsie, it didn’t go well. Bao only has so much blood, evidently, because it just stopped flowing. They ended up trying different locales, holding him down and moving the needle around in his arm. You know the drill. Hubby says that Bao cried the whole time, sniff, crying “mommy! mommy!” Sniff, sniff, sniff. Glad I wasn’t there to witness it.ย 

I can’t stop thinking about Sue who is in Hanoi with her family and new boy, Hung, now. Loving him. Learning about him. Enjoying him. Soon, they’ll come home and it will all seem like a dream.

Once adoption has touched your life, you’re never the same for so many reasons. My little valentines gave me the cutest card today, and signed it XOXOXOXOXO. Melted my heart. I love them so very much. I have been blessed with their presence. —-er, Hold that thought. G just showed me that he bit the erasers off all the new pencils he got for Valentine’s Day. Grrr. Well, lucky for him I have a short memory. Now back to love…


February made me shiver…

It was 10 degrees outside this morning…glad I didn’t go out. Sad that it was because both boys had a fever. They seem to be doing better, although Bao threw up twice. Then G got a splinter in his foot. A big one. Ever try to get a splinter out of a four year old’s foot? Quite the adrenaline producing adventure that was. My arm hurts from holding him down. The removal took all of a half a second, but the attempt to get him in the position to do so took a long time and several attempts spread over an hour. A very unpleasant experience for all involved, except Bao, who just smiled and laughed. In the end, I won and the splinter lost. Whew.ย 

My arms still hurts so I think I’ll just post a few pictures and call it a day…thinking about Sue who is leaving tomorrow to go fetch her sweet, 7 year old son, Hung. Yippeeeee!ย 

Impressions of my family–By Bao (He’s now drawing four of us, but this first one was just the three of us and our two cars ๐Ÿ™‚ )



Fun on the ice

Fun on the ice


Pretending to have fun together

Pretending to have fun together


Sponge Bob Square Cat (One of our cats and their food/water area)

Sponge Bob Square Cat (One of our cats and their food/water area)

Settling In…

So sorry for not posting lately. But I know you all understand.ย 

Bao has been settling in very well. He’s fighting with his brother, so I know things are going as they should. ๐Ÿ™‚

He’s a very good boy. Brushes his teeth, gets dressed, goes to the bathroom by himself. Makes it all very easy on this little old lady. He has no problems eating–often asks for seconds, and when he’s done, he comes to me, lifts his shirt up, and shows me his “big fat belly.” I have to laugh, because I would do anything to have a flat stomach like that. He is only 36 pounds, which is as much as Little Boy G, a five year old in two months, weighs. I can touch my thumb and pointer finger around his upper arm. Very skinny. But in no time, I’m sure, we’ll fatten him up to be closer to thin than emaciated.

Communications issues are non-existent. We use sign language, most of it involving his pointing at G for something he did, but also other things like what he wants to eat/drink, play with, etc. Works well for everyone. He’s also learning English pretty quickly by copying what we say and mocking what G says. Kind of funny, really, but not to G.

Bao has taken to the snow with unusual abandon for someone from the tropics. He continues to enjoy it but nonetheless chooses to wear his coat around the house, especially in the early morning hours when it’s 18 degrees or so outside. Can’t say as I blame him.

I took him for a visit at G’s school the other day. Most of it went well, then things went south and he began to cry–first time with us. He must have been overwhelmed at all the attention. I had my Vietnamese friend talk to him about it and he’s okay now. While he wasn’t all that interested in attending school, she asked him if he thought G should go alone, and he said no, that he should go and look after him. Very sweet. No surprise that the name “Bao” means protector.

They’re undressing their Marine action figures right now. Go ahead and chuckle. I am.

I better go make sure nothing untoward happens to these Marines. My husband would not be pleased if they were violated in anyway.ย 

More later. With Pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re Baaack…

And my house is a mess. Two boys. What a mess. It’s like they pull out a toy/toys, play with it for 30 seconds, then pull out another and do the same thing, and then repeat ad nauseum. What tha? Toys are stretched from one end of this house to the other. Legos, puzzles, transformers, fire trucks. All of them. It looks like a toy grenade went off. Egads. What have I done? As soon as I put them all away, they’re replaced with new ones. Resistance is futile. I’m done for.

And dishes? Every dish I’ve ever had is used–we’ve done about two dish washing loads a day since we’ve been back. What’s up with that? Nobody told me about that. It’s crazy.

On the good side of things, Bao is doing extremely well. You’d think he’d been living with us for years, except for the no English speaking aspect. He talks on the phone to grandparents and friends. He’ll actually take the phone out of my hand as I’m talking and walk off with it, fully engaged in conversation with the person on the other end. He’s a trip. The boy rarely stops talking or smiling or laughing.

We took him to Cartoon Cuts yesterday and gave him a needed trim. He looks great and loved the experience. We also bought him some new shoes–since he had been wearing a size too small, so we found out.

Coming home from Vietnam to 18 degrees was interesting. Bao just laughed. He loved picking up snow in his hands and then placing his hand on my face to show me how cold it was.

He loves playing our piano. Odd, since he’s likely never seen one before. He loves playing with G’s guitars and harmonica too. Maybe he’s musically gifted or something.

What else…..oh yeah, he’s practicing some English words like, hello, bye bye, okay, and thank you. Not bad. I set him up on Rosetta Stone with the Vietnamese lessons so he could practice using a mouse. He loves it.

We still are experiencing the horrors of jet lag, but are slowly getting back to normal.

The flight back was a breeze. And shorter than going over too, SueCQ, which is a nice surprise. 3.5 hours from Hanoi to Seoul, and then 12 hours 45 from Seoul to Dulles. On the way over it was 14.45 to Seoul, and 5 hours to Hanoi. It’s a gift I warmly embraced. You’ll appreciate it, Sue, I’m sure.

G is slowly coming around. Starting to share more, but still not buying into Bao’s being around for evermore. Friends tell me that it will come soon. But they won’t tell me exactly when. Rather rude of them, I think.

So when we got home, I was thinking, man, it’s going to be so cold and unwelcoming when we come inside. But at least our cuddly kitties will be there. So we drive up and in the yard is a sign, saying “It’s a BOY!” and a welcome home banner on the porch. We walk inside the house and who is there but our dear friend, Karen (Moosie)! The fireplace is roaring, flowers are on the table and the fridge is packed full of delicious food. She’s also in the process of making a lasagna. Now I ask you, is she not sent from heaven above? The answer is, yes. And Andrea, the ice cream idea was a big hit with the two boys! G said, “Mama…can we have some kem?” (Kem is Vietnamese for ice cream. Too funny.) And so they both got a cone of their first Neapolitan ice cream ever. And they loved it. You girls are so great and we love you so much! Thank you thank you thank you. Thank you.

One of my relatives just informed me that he needs to take a nap, so I better go tuck him in. It’s good to be home. I missed you guys.

Goodbye Hanoi

We’ll be leaving the hotel at about 8:00–that’s 2.5 hours from now. Mom, how bout I call you when we land? ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re happy to be coming home. Can’t wait to see the kitties–McHenry and Sabine. I hope Bao likes them. G says he doesn’t really miss them at all. No surprises there.

So Hanoi. Interesting place. Will we come back? Probably not. Too crowded. Too fumey. Too eh. I would love to visit Saigon one day, but odds are we won’t. You’ll never believe it, but two kids is like twice as much work as one. !ย  (Glenn, that was for you).

Scratch is counting his dong right now. Andrea, (and Glenn!) mind out of the gutter, please. We have way more than we need and are trying to spend it. We’ll be having a quick dinner downstairs so maybe we can spend some there. I had an Aussie Pie yesterday. Can you believe it? Aussie Pie.Here in Vietnam. Pretty cool.

I hope this two kid thing works out for us. It’s harder than I thought–looking after two young boys. At least the new one knows how to dress himself. And doesn’t throw fits. And doesn’t hate vegetables. Yet.

On thatย  note, I’ll sign off…with a picture that sums up just about everything. And this one, Clan, is for you ๐Ÿ™‚


Ha Long Bay–Bao


Ha Long Bay


Ha Long Bay–Coupla Cuties


Ha Long–Just a typical view of the bay


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