Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The last 8 months have been, well, blissful. Brian is still a dream baby - so sweet and full of love and constant cuddly hugs. He adores his big sister, Elmo, Barney and of course, his very own muppet Annie dog.

He takes swim classes hre in Plano, and we enjoy the backyard pool several evenings a week. He loves helping Mom and big sister feed the ducks at the local library pond. He loves Little Gym and playing with Travis, Dustin and Brit. He loves his GeeGee and comes running to her smiling when he sees her.

He enjoys going places and always loves to have his prime seat squarely on my left hip. His laughter and giggles are so adorable - I'll never forget the sound! He honks Mama's horn (pinches my nose), can never get enough of "ride a little pony" and thinks Chuck E. Cheese's is so much fun!

He eats everything under the sun. 10 teeth now and counting! He went through a biting phase for a couple of weeks, but thank goodness he isn't doing that anymore. He says Mama and Thank you. He got down crawling last week, started breathing heavy and crawling around behind the dog acting like her. Precious. We are working on him saying Jordan or sister, but he's not there yet.

He can sign many things - "more", "please", and "thankyou" and uses them appropriately. He loves to knock down blocks and bath time rings in laughter and smiles. He goes to bed easily, sleeps all night and has just been a dream baby. I sure do love my little boy!

What a blessing from God.


P.S. This closes out the Bac Ninh for Baby Brian blog. Stay tned to my Facebook page for the next Montgomery Family blog. We have many adventures ahead! Thanks for reading and for all the warm wishes and love shown to us. God Bless You!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The clothes off their backs...

When I adopted Jordan, I felt such sadness at times. The stark reality was that all she had in her life at that time was literally the clothes she was wearing. They handed her to me and that was it.

Picture - Jordan's clothes she was wearing at her Gotcha Day...

When Cindy and I (and Jordan) left her birth city to go to Guangzhou for her visa processing, I cried my eyes out on the plane. Cindy joined with me in the tearshed. Leaving the land of Jordan's birth and taking her away was somehow so sad. We were leaving her heritage and ancestry behind. We were leaving her birth parents - where ever they were, and for whatever reason they were unable to keep her. I wondered if her bio mother would ever know where she was, who she was, and that she was loved. It was sad to empathetically "feel" the bio mother's grief - but I did. I was removing Jordan (then known as Wu Tong Shu) from any culture she would have known and birthright in China.

Don't get me wrong - I also knew and believed that it was definitely more "gain" than "loss" for her. Immense love, safety, protection and opportunities here are just a few of her "gains" here. But there was some loss.

In Viet Nam, I found out about Brian's abandonment at the gates of the orphanage just a couple days after birth, and once again grieved for the loss when I brought him here. I was so much more convicted in his opportunity for "gain" though - as I guess I had developed some sense of confidence as a mother and provider. (Thank God for my blessings.)

Again, all that Brian had was the clothes he was wearing. If you look closely at the picture here of Brian's clothes, you'll see the number "8" sewn into several of his garments. I don't know what that stood for. On some of the VN Bac Ninh blogs, people surmise that it was the room number at the orphanage. Others think that perhaps it is the actual baby identification - used in place of a name.

Picture - Brian's clothes he was wearing at Giving & Receiving Day

It was just all he had to his name.



When they are adults, I wonder what Jordan and Brian will think about these clothes. Will they frame them? Burn them? Will they be proud of where they came from or ashamed? Will they keep the clothes stored away until one day show them to their own children and explain their beginnings?
Now that the US is closed to Viet Nam for adoptions, I pray for the orphans and abandoned children who may never have the opportunity for a forever family. I am thankful that my children have these garments from their earliest beginnings. From out of the ashes rises a phoenix...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Life at Home and Away...

Have I said how absolutely grateful I am? OMG. I am having a blast, and loving every worn-out second of it.

Jordan started soccer and on the first play of her very first game, she kicked a goal - into the other team's net. It was hilarious. I am glad it isn't a competitive league! She was just so happy she scored a goal, and we were too.

Our Valentine's Day included decorating the kitchen with an appropriate heart-covered tablecloth, window cling stickers, wreathes and red flowers. Jordan wrote her name on 30 Valentines for her school friends. One of her Chinese friends had a play party at their house, and all the girls made crafts and had fun. I made sandwiches for her class Valentine Day party. We had a great time just sharing LOVE...

Jordan knows she is loved and we are both showing baby Brian as much love as we can. He is still the sweetest little thing. He is eating like a horse and within 6 weeks of having him, he has moved from only formula to just about everything in the book. He loves ravioli, beanie weenies, spaghetti and meat sauce. His top two front teeth have come in all the way, so he can eat pretty well. He is gnawing on everything he can though - I think he has some more teeth ready to pop through.

He loves Kindermusik and playing all the different kind of sound shakers to music. He loves being held, and loves dancing with his mama. He adores his older sister and smiles so big whenever he sees her! He thinks the Lord put Annie dog on this earth just for him. He already has a special bond with the dog that I don't understand. It just is. Boys and their dogs... so sweet.

The weekend before last we had our first roadtrip to prepare ourselves for lots of trips ahead - by air and car. The 4 1/2 hour roadtrip took us almost 6 to get there. Both kids were having meltdowns in the back seat. As my mom used to say, "It got on my last nerve!" I know they were tired and confined in the back seat, and they were fine when we arrived in Houston. We visited with Elaine, Mallory and Tara, (and Mal's friend Whitney) and we all went to dinner with Helen, Amanda and Davey. We always have such a great time in Houston. Carl and Aubrey came over to visit for awhile, and Jordan slept at Mallory's house like a "big girl". They had slumber parties both nights.

Tara and Brian

Helen "Hopper" and Brian

On Sunday morning, we packed up both the kids around 5:30am and left for Dallas. It took us 4 hours (nonstop) and the kids slept almost the entire way. That was too perfect... there was no way I was going to stop along the way!

So, I am learning to integrate care of two into a daily routine and special events. I don't have it down yet to a routine, but I am so thankful for Jordan - mama's little helper. We all have such a good time - playing with baby, coloring with Jordan, playing Barbies and singing Teletubbie songs for Brian. I think it is so neat how having kids teaches you how to play again. Play, play, play...

Life is good. I am so thankful and happy. I just love my kids.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Standing on his own!

Just a little ham with those eggs, please...

Playtime with Mama
The little gymnast on the balance beam...

Thursday nights we go to The Little Gym. During the winter and inclement weather (like the 50 degrees here now - brrr!) it is a great play outlet for Jordan. Plus last night Brian got to play inside for a while too! We always have a wonderful time.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting in the Groove

We had three days of weather advisories and an ice storm here in Dallas, so it has been "cabin fever" extraordinaire around here. Thank goodness the sun is out today (we had lots of fog this morning) and the weather is a balmy 52 degrees.

The kids are doing great together. They both have their moments, and my favorite is when Jordan screams and cries, "Mama, he's looking at me! I don't want him to look at me!". Too funny. I remember saying that to my mom when I was a little girl. Both kids of are taking turns tormenting the dog. Brian reaches his hand out with a cracker just until Annie can almost lick it, and then he pulls it back and laughs heartily. Needless to say, poor doggy gets lots of sympathy treats from Mama.

Out to Kroger for provisions...

Jordan loves to get up in Brian's crib and sing him to sleep. Her rendition of lullabies are a hoot. "Hush, Little Baby Don't say a word, Mama gonna's buy you a MONKEY bird." She thinks I've been singing Monkey Bird for three years now. To see if the baby is asleep, Jordan picks up his hand, pulls it up in the air and says loudly, "Baby Brian - are you asleep?" Always wakes him up. She is also a bit impatient that he can't say "Sister" yet, but she keeps working on him!

He is standing now - loves to pull up and then take his hands off the couch and put them both in the air - squealing loudly and smiling so we can see him! His legs are getting so strong. We get his blood results back next week at his last IA pediatrician appointment before switching him to our regular pediatrician.

We started Kindermusik on Monday - yeah I know - I said I was going to cut back on activities. Well - I changed my mind. I found out they have a class on Monday afternoon for Brian and me, and then Jordan's regular class is Monday nights. So we had a wonderful musical Monday together. The playtime in class is so great for me and the baby - he loved the beat and singing and us dancing together! He loved crawling around with the other children - it is apparent that he loves other kids. I am sure that like Jordan, they miss being with other children 24/7 when they find their forever home.

The Kindermusik program is so great to introduce kids to music and sounds. The CDs that come with the program are fun for the kids and family friendly. They teach me a lot of new songs and lullaby material also. I am glad we enrolled but I will probably find myself over extended on extra-curricular activities sometime this spring!

From my Domestic Organization post I received some great ideas, pictures and some cynical quips that I enjoy as well. Thanks all - like I said it is a journey so don't expect to see my house in tip-top shape anytime soon. I seem to be moving toys and playthings around too much to make real organizational progress!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Domestic Organization

I am a big fan of productivity and efficiency. I think that started when I worked for UPS at nights during college - unloading tractor trailer trucks. UPS utilized a variety of productivity processes, including "one time handling" and "hand to surface" placement. What this means is that one should handle a package once, and put it in the right place at the right time everytime. It also means that the package is always in someone's hands (never tossed) and placed on a surface carefully.

I try to transfer these principles to many areas of my life. When sorting the mail I always think - "one time handling" and either Toss or Keep. You get the picture.

I fall short in productivity every day. Sometimes by choice for a specific reason (like I choose to handwrite names on envelopes for personal mailings rather than print labels), but also sometimes by my own blindness or inefficient habits.

As a single parent I am always trying to learn and assess new opportunities for organization and productivity. I need lots of help to get the swing of this though... Last week, I found Closet Organization modules on sale at Target. Here's a view of Jordan's closet now a bit more organized.

We've also cleaned out and organize the bathrooms and all bath cabinets and closets this week. Cindy organized two closets while she was here, and I love that! There are still many areas of my house that need to undergo efficiency planning and organization. I have a good setup in the kitchen for a "coffee station" and a "baby area" cabinet and drawer for formula and baby food preparation. I've read many books and websites (Fly Lady is a great one) and love learning and applying small changes throughout the house to better function.

I would love to hear about and learn of time or space saving ideas and tips from other parents out there!

Specifically, here are some of our current challenges:

Jordan's Barbie's, their clothes, accessories and shoes. All are currently in a big shopping bag. I am looking for ideas on how to store these aesthetically and also in a way that is fun for her to play with them instead of dumping out the bag...

Toys for the baby. In our family room, we have a dozen or so toys out that Brian can play with. Does anyone have ideas of how to easily store and/or hide these toys when he isn't playing with them? Should I just leave them out and not sweat it?

Pantries, fridge... I'd love to see pictures of people's organized kitchen storage areas... or real messy ones if you want to make me feel better. :)

As every parent knows, cleaning and organizing is a constant battle... er... I mean JOY - yeah that's right - joy! I want to make it even more of a joy, to have a place for everything and everything in its place. It's a journey - I know.

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 26th marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year (celebrated by most Asian cultures) and also called "Tet" in Viet Nam. 2009 is the Year of the Water Buffalo.

Photo by Bruce Dale

I was also born under the sign of the Water Buffalo. If you'd like to learn more about the Chinese Zodiac and the personalities attributed to the symbols, go here:

Jordan was born in the Year of the Rooster. People born under this sign are said to be pioneers in spirit and devoted to their work. Brian was born in the Year of the Rat. (Can you say Ratatouille?) People born under this sign are supposed to be ambitious and honest.

The New Year begins on January 26th, and continues for up to 7 (sometimes 15) days. Each day is marked by specific celebrations, such as celebrating ancestors one day, dogs another, having special holiday foods on certain days, etc. It is very clear that having a clean house during this period is one of the most important elements of keeping luck "in" and bad spirits "out" during the coming year. I wonder, since it is also called the first day of Spring in these cultures, if this is where the term "Spring Cleaning" originated? Hmm. I'll have to look that up.

Most workplaces and all government buildings are closed during the celebrations, sometimes lasting two weeks or more. All of the prospective adoptive families are waiting for the offices to open back up after Tet so that their adoptions can be completed. My prayers go to them!

My family wishes all of you a Happy Lunar New Year!