Take me out to the Ballgame…

30 07 2008

even if it’s not Wrigley Field. Yesterday was Kajsa’s first baseball game. At Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers). I do love Miller Park, even though I’m more of a Cubs fan. I love the stadium, the family-friendly atmosphere, the sausage races… So, if one can’t be at Wrigley, the next best thing might be Miller Park. Anyhow, Kajsa mostly had a blast at the game. She was a bit overwhelmed by all the noise, but once she warmed up, she clapped. A lot.

Her Aunt Sue, Uncle Bill and cousins gave her this adorable pink Cubs outfit. I bought the shoes last week, but they’re too big. So we just left them on for a photo op. (she takes them off, even when they’re double-knotted.)

and more photos

27 07 2008

1. Kajsa and the Chocolate Cake. (that Jen and Rob arranged for her birthday)

2. Kajsa’s first Peppermint Bon Bon ice cream.. being closely watched by the dogs.

3. All of us dressed up for Jen’s wedding

4. At the reception

5. Nap time

6. “Peek-a-boo” from behind a favorite toy: the Fisher Price Farm. And wearing her Namibia shirt.

photos from last week

27 07 2008

-not in chronological order. But fun, nonetheless.

1. First US Doctor’s Visit. went well, until they had to draw blood, and couldn’t find a vein. Ouch. Horrible. Note the pink bandage tape on Kajsa’s left arm.

2. Kajsa, playing with her very own personal Kris Brown.

3. First visit to the Plaza, Madison. With Charlie and Ken. (Kajsa’s crying because of another reason, not because of being at the Plaza.)

4. Kajsa and Kjell.

5. Kjell, Kajsa, Broder.

6. Kajsa loves her “Baby Scuba Diver” from Will.. and sometimes falls asleep with it in her hand.

7. Kajsa and Sarah.

Happy Birthday

25 07 2008

Happy 1st Birthday, Kajsa!

She had a full day. Visitors this morning (Kris B., Sandie and Kjell-who spent the night last night, their last night in Madison, lots of phone calls, and a drive to Moline, for Jen and Rob’s wedding. Then tonight, Jen and Rob had the servers bring Kajsa a piece of chocolate cake, complete with a sparkling candle. She loved it. I’ll post pictures tomorrow–I hope.

from Abby, the dog

25 07 2008

I’ve been so good, I really have. When Cathy and Jim left to pick up “Kajsa”, I thought this might be some relative of my good friend “Kaya”… who is fun to play with. And has four legs. But instead they came back–18 days later–with Kajsa, a little human. Who screams, laughs, jabbers, pokes, pulls whiskers, and makes other funny noises. It’s actually been mostly alright… we dogs like Kajsa. She does tend to drop lots of noodles and other food scraps–especially when it’s near the end of her mealtime. So we’re having fun with that.

But, there are some challenges to this whole situation. For instance, she clearly gets more attention than we dogs do—a drastic change. She gets to go with Jim and Cathy in the car ALL the time! We only get to go with them sometimes. A bit unfair. She has a nice bed in her own room. (though, on the plus side, she has a nice rug in her room that I like to sleep on at times.) She’s fed often—as mentioned above, sometimes we get fed by Kajsa, and Kajsa’s crumbs, but clearly not as much as she is eating. And, perhaps the hardest of all, she has all these new stuffed animals that we aren’t allowed to play with. New! Not from St. Vinnies, not from Good Will… all these new stuffed animals and other cool toys. Some of them even squeak. And, I believe, all toys that squeak should automatically be given to dogs, not to humans.

Anyhow, I really have been good, and I really do love my new sister. But the other day I had to step in. There’s a little stuffed puppy that belongs to Entropy and me. They gave it to us long before Kajsa came into the house. Well she somehow got hold of it, and was playing with it. She carried it around with her for some time. So when I jumped up on the bed to visit Cathy. (part of our old routine: Cathy keeps sleeping, Jim takes us dogs for a walk, we return, and I jump on the bed to take a nap on Cathy’s legs.), Kajsa was sitting on the bed, next to Cathy. And she had the puppy—my puppy—in front of her, and was playing with it. I ever-so-gently leaned in towards Kajsa, and with the tips of my teeth, so I wouldn’t hurt her, I grabbed my puppy back, turned around, and lay down.

Kajsa was a bit confused, and upset at first. But she’s so easily distracted, so Jim just anded her the new “Grover” she was given. After Jim and Cathy explained to her that the puppy belonged to the dogs, she seemed to calm down. Granted, as you can see in this photo, she tried to take our puppy away from me again the next day, but hey, it is pretty darn fun to play with.

Overall, I think Kajsa likes us dogs. And though this is taking some getting-used-to, we like her, too.

and speaking of prayers,

19 07 2008

please pray for our friends the Lawrences. On Thursday, before we left for Chicago, Sandie called and told us that Dave had been diagnosed with cancer. It’s horrible, it sucks, it’s scary, the timing is about as bad as it gets. Dave’s already in Alaska, Sandie and the kids are leaving this community next week, and heading to Alaska the following week. It just sucks.

Hopefully it’s in the early stages. They find out more next week. But in the meantime, please keep them in your prayers.

Thank you….

Chicago and cousins and friends, oh my!

19 07 2008

We went to Chicago on Thursday, for the memorial service of Jean Lambert (Jim’s Supervisor when he interned in Sweden). The service was good, what little I heard of it. Jim and Pete, another of Jean’s former seminary interns, read Scripture. I did hear that. And a couple of songs. But about half an hour into the service, I realized that Kajsa was going to be too talkative to sit in the service. That, and fighting sleep–thus also talkative and also screaming. And laughing. So, Jo Ann and I went to the back of North Park Church/outside/and downstairs… taking turns passing Kajsa back and forth while she fought off sleep. Downstairs, Kajsa only wanted to play with Doreen and Delen, the kids of friends of ours who flew in for Jean’s service.

After the service (and before and during), Kajsa met lots of people. She also met some cousins, aunts and uncles (on the Erickson side) on our jaunt to Chicago. Though she’s still a bit clingy with us, she’s also loving the “hanging out with people” aspect of our lives–good thing! And it helps that her cousins are so fun.

I was moved to tears by many things in the past several days. Jean’s service, seeing friends and family who have been supporting and praying for us for so long, etc. But after the service, one couple approached me and asked if this was the new baby from China. I said yes, and they said they don’t know me, but have been praying for us, and for Kajsa for quite some time. Oh? I said.. thank you.. who are you? They attend the church of a friend of mine, who has, in their words, been very faithful in praying for us and others facing tough situations.

Thank you. Thank you to those of you who have been praying, who continue to pray, who have already expressed your incredible support and happiness for us and for Kajsa. I told this couple that there have been many times in these past difficult years, when I have been unable to pray, and that it is helpful to know that others pray for us. It relieves the pressure of the guilt of not being able to pray, if that makes any sense.

Though Chicago was an exhausting trip, especially for Kajsa, it felt good and right to introduce her to many friends, family, and even strangers who we’ve never met.

the Ling doll

16 07 2008

Back in June, women from church threw a baby shower for me (and Kajsa, in absentia.) It was so fun, meaningful, and Kajsa received some gorgeous gifts. I can’t remember if I blogged about this or not. If not, I should have. The generosity, the gifts, the love and outpouring of support moved me to tears.

Anyhow, one of the gifts Kajsa received was a “Ling Doll”, from Ann-Britt, Phil, Kristina, Anna and Brita. It’s a doll who speaks English and Chinese. When you press one of her hands, Ling speaks a phrase in English, then says the same phrase in Chinese. It’s fun. I am learning some phrases.

On Saturday when we had lots of visitors, including some of Kajsa’s cousins, we played with the Ling Doll. It was so funny to watch Kajsa. She didn’t know quite what to think. She was in the middle of laughing, soaking in the attention from everyone… then Kristina (cousin Kristina) squeezed Ling’s hand, and Ling spoke.. Kajsa nearly got whiplash, turning her neck so quickly to stare at the doll to see what she was saying. This repeated for quite some time, making us all–including Kajsa–laugh a ton.

She’s very fun.

Sleep is still not under control. I’d attribute it all to jet lag, time differences, etc… except that before we left China, Kajsa’s sleep patterns were changing–in other words, it’s hard to get her to sleep. Even though she’s exhausted, almost asleep, etc… she fights it. But we have progress.

Food: Kajsa loves to eat. She still loves her lotus buns, noodles, eggs and cheerios.. But now her menu has expanded to include Easy Mac ‘n Cheese, applesauce, pears, mashed potatoes, and instant grits. I haven’t weighed her, but am convinced she’s gaining weight. She’s no longer the teeny little peanut we first held two-and-a-half weeks ago. (Broder, she’s getting chubbier!)

We went to the Shorewood pool with Sandie & family the other day, and Kajsa loved it. She loves swimming. She loves people, even though she still hesitates to leave Jim and me. She adores the dogs, and last night when we tried to feed her some cooked diced carrots, she put each bite in her mouth, then let it slip out of her mouth into her hand–and promptly turned around to feed it to the dogs.

I love it. I love her. I love being home, though I miss China, and all the friends we made there. But it’s good to be home.

about Hong Kong

14 07 2008

I loved it. I had no idea Hong Kong was so beautiful. I’m sure I’ve been told this news many times, but didn’t remember.

I loved it, and want to return. Great hotel. Except we had no internet, since we decided the approximately $25/day was too much. Awesome Black Sesame Sundae at McDonalds. (Yes, Black Sesame Sundae.) Kajsa and I shared two. The McDonald’s was in the mall attached to our hotel. So was the cafe that we sat in to have a latte. Really good latte. We sat in velvet red chairs, watching the traffic go by under us. Pretty cool. Fun to take the subway. Hot and sweaty, but fantastic to walk around part of Hong Kong, observing, photographing, exploring… and fun to take the Sky Ferry at night.

Loved Hong Kong.

Home, Lotus Buns, Adapting

14 07 2008

We arrived home safely, though a couple hours late, on Friday night, 9 pm. It’s amazing we made it home when we did, because we almost missed two flights. We made both connecting flights (San Fran-Chicago/Chicago-Madison) thanks to both those flights being delayed. Close calls!

Once we were on the flights, things went mostly well. People were so patient and happy for us and Kajsa, and eager to hear about her. Sleep was an issue at times. Fortunately there was an empty galley behind us on the long flight. We used that frequently. And Cheerios and noodles were our friends on the whole trip.

We are still exhausted, but loving being with Kajsa. And family. And friends. And the dogs… Abby was here when we got home on Friday, Entropy came “home” today, for a bit, until he moves to Alaska. 😦 Can’t talk about that right now.

Jim’s parents and Karen, Dave, and Laura met us at the Madison airport. What a fun welcoming party! The Hinz clan had made signs…adorable. Kajsa, by this point, was used to being the center of attention from the moment we entered the Hong Kong airport. So she loved this “crowd”, watching her, talking to her, taking pictures of her.. and she happily obliged them by waving, smiling, laughing.. even through her pure exhaustion!

We came home to a fully-stocked fridge and pantry, thanks to good friends and family. Joan and Dan had stocked up on some essentials, Jen & Roy, Sandie & Co., and Chenrui had stocked us with plenty of essentials, and Karen and Dave and Laura brought some essentials to the airport as well: lotus buns!

Joan and Dan had lotus buns specially ordered for Kajsa (from a bakery in MN); Chenrui had made steamed buns; and the Hinz’ brought us two packs of frozen lotus buns! This baby has been well-stocked, and very happy with the continual supply of her favorite food so far.

She is also thrilled with the endless audience she has had. Family and friends have been here much of yesterday and today, and it has been both helpful and fun. Kajsa hams it up, sings, waves, eats lotus buns, laughs, plays… and overall loves people.

And, also important, she and the dogs are getting along well now. Friday night was iffy. She was quite afraid of Abby, but now she loves to pet her, look for her, and treats Entropy the same way.

All in all, things are going well. We’re needing a bit more sleep, as Kajsa’s sleep patterns are still not great. But, hopefully that will change. Hopefully.