Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Little Girl

This girl has put on 2 1/2 lbs in 4 weeks.  Her skin is clearer and eyes are brighter.  She is no longer grinding her teeth when she is upset (a coping technique that she's been doing for a while, by the look of her teeth!).  She's more comfortable around strangers and letting me leave the room (as long as her older brothers and sisters are around).

She has the sweetest face!  It takes me twice as long to run errands now because so many people want to talk to me about her.  First, they notice how adorable she is, of course!! Then, they'll ask me if she is adopted.  We'll talk about the process, Isabel, the incredible need... I've even given out my agency's website to those who seemed particularly interested.  This girl stops shoppers everywhere I go!!

On this particular day I tried getting the 2 littles together in just their diapers, to show the size difference.  They are only 6 weeks apart.  Nate is older.  He is also a big guy for his age, as I've mentioned before! : )

First, I started with just Isabel...

Then I added Nate...
She's a little suspicious of him because he tends to knock her over when he bear-hugs her!
She looked away and that was an invitation for Nate...

All he did was touch her!
And she did NOT like it!
But then he went away and she was all better...

Oh, how we love this girl!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Early Christmas

Yesterday, we had family over to celebrate an early Christmas, since some of our family wouldn't be able to make it on Tuesday.
We crammed into our little living room and the kids dove into their presents.  Not too many this year. Perfect!  My grandpa used to call too many presents at Christmas "obscene."  That always stuck with me.

Dan loved these trucks!
Pretty girls!
Isabel and her cousin, Emma, enjoying each other!
Sweet cousins!

Sisters forever!
What a wonderful day with family!  We always miss our family on the East Coast and in Northern CA.   Someday we'll be together again. Christmas Day will be a quiet day with our little family of 8.  Looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior with the love of my life and our 6 treasures!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So Tired!

We have been so busy these days.  I feel like I cannot catch up!  More dentist appointments this week, eye doctor appointment, therapy assessment for Isabel, more Christmas shopping, yard work...

This afternoon, Will was watching Isabel and Nate in the house while I was raking leaves with the other kids in the front yard.  He came out to tell me that Nate was asleep on the couch and Isabel was watching TV.  Well, I came in to find this...

Yes... we're all THAT tired!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Big Week

This is a busy week for us:

  • Pediatrician appointment for Isabel on Monday.  LOVE this doctor!  He does medical missions to Africa twice a year (Jim's probably going with him next year!) and he is the one who reviewed Isabel's file for us when we received her referral.  He put her diagnosis in perspective for us and answered our questions.  So happy to have him finally meet her.  He referred us to an orthopedic surgeon, which I knew he would, and he ordered x-rays.
  • Dentist appointment for the older 2 kids on Tuesday.  Regular cleaning. : )
  • X-rays for Isabel yesterday.  She did really well.  I held her during the x-rays.  Had my lead apron on. ;-)
  • Shopping, shopping, shopping.  Grocery shopping, Target, Kohl's, online, you name it!  Christmas shopping and other needed odds and ends.
  • Dress rehearsal yesterday for the girls dance recital this Saturday.
  • This morning was our 1 month post-adoption visit from the social worker.  She's such a great lady.  Professional, kind and we've known each other for a few years since our boys went to preschool together.  She was so pleased to meet Isabel and see her home with us.
  • The girls have their Irish Dance recital this Saturday evening.
  • Going to visit my mom and sister this weekend so they can meet Isabel for the first time.
  • Will and Jim are going camping this weekend for Boy Scouts.
  • Hoping to get a nice picture of all 6 of my kiddos for a Christmas card and my blog header! : )
The "littles" are sleeping.  Nate and Isabel are sharing a room, which is actually going really well.  We were blessed with a hand-me-down crib and a hand-me-down highchair.  Now Nate can just reach over for his "extras"!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sharing a Meal

I love watching my 2 youngest interact.  Nate (18 mths old) and Isabel (17 mths old) are just getting used to each other and Nate is usually the one to initiate.

Here's a frequent scenario... I let Nate down from his high chair after a meal and he goes over to Isabel to check out what she has...

Hey!  That looks good! Mind if I have some?
Ah, a nice big bite!
Mmmm. That's pretty good!
This is great Mom!
Isabel is a good sport about it all and she's certainly getting her fill!  She had her first pediatrician appointment today and she's gained over a pound in 2 weeks.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Milk Allergy And A Good Bed

So, we have found the source of Isabel's problems.

First, she does NOT like the Pack 'N Play. Second, she most likely has a milk allergy.  When we received Isabel, we were given a bag of formula that is specific to her part of the province.  It could not even be bought in the provincial capital.  We had about  1/4 of the bag left before we left China, but decided to leave it behind and use the Enfamil travel packs I brought for the plane ride home.  When we left China, Isabel had a "sort-of" cold and was coughing a little.  Even though Isabel slept well on the plane, she coughed... a lot.  Saturday night, when we got home, we gave her a bottle with warm cow's milk and put her in the Pack 'N Play.  She coughed and cried a lot and eventually threw up.  We figured it was from the cold.  The second night we gave her a warm milk bottle again.  She was coughing and irritable and ended up sleeping on our bed.  The third night, same milk bottle, she barely cried and threw up.  Ok... it's more then the cold.  Jim wondered if she had a milk allergy, which is actually a symptom of her suspected syndrome.  Also, we realized that she just does not like sleeping in the Pack 'N Play.  So.... the fourth night, she got a warm almond milk bottle and slept in Nate's crib.  She slept for 14.5 hours!!!!  The next night... 14 hours... every night since has been 13 - 14 hours of sleep.

Yay for Almond Milk!
So, now she's a happy girl...
with her almond milk and a nice bed! 

But Nate feels quite put out that he has lost his nice crib and has been moved to a toddler bed.  He's definitely not ready for a toddler bed.  So, today we will receive a "hand-me-down" crib for Isabel and put Nate back in his own crib.  It's the little things in life!

Monday, December 3, 2012

I Brought Home a Baby!

Isabel is 17 months old, but in so many ways, emotionally and physically, she is not.  She can sit up, but cannot get herself to the sitting position, should she fall over.  She cannot crawl, stand alone or walk.  She still drinks from a bottle and can only hold it for a few seconds at a time.  She cries a lot, especially if I leave the room.

I say all this knowing that she has special needs that have contributed to her delays.  She has been taken from her familiar surroundings and been placed into a world so completely different.  I understand the emotional and physical delays.  What I have had to do, though, is remind myself frequently that she is not a toddler.  I have an 18 month old at home.  I know what a typical toddler can and should do.  I cannot expect Isabel to be anything like that.

So, I treat Isabel like a new baby home from the hospital.  I love on her a lot.  I am not bothered by the frequent nighttime wakings that she started shortly before leaving China.  She needs lots of comforting and assurance, like a new baby.  When I see Isabel like that baby, it is easier to understand her.  If I expect her to be a toddler, I can get frustrated.  Just like coming home from the hospital, I have to take it easy myself.  I cannot jump back into my daily routine.  Isabel needs me... a lot.  We have been blessed with meals.  Thank you to all who have brought us a meal and are scheduled to.  It is incredibly helpful and takes a lot of stress off of me at this important time!

This is a whole new world for me and our family.  Going through a few hours of training and reading books are good, but do not replace real life experience.  This is it for us.  Real life.

I share this not in a disappointed tone... not at all.  Isabel is a doll.  We are SO incredibly happy to have her home with us and love her completely.  I share this because we have had to change our expectation.  When we were told that you have to be very flexible to adopt, they weren't kidding.  And I think we have had it pretty easy, comparatively.  Still, it is different and hard, but it's ok.  Does this make sense?  Or is it jet-lag rambling?

It's all good and I'm sure Isabel will be running around the house with a self-confident stride in no time!

This picture was taken just before she burst out in tears because I moved a couple feet away from her. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

We Are Home!

We are tired!  Isabel slept on the plane, thankfully, but then she would not sleep last night.  We were up a lot until about 2:30am, when she would finally go to sleep.

I'm going to have to make this quick, since she will not even let me put her down to do ANYTHING!  Right now she is so upset because I am on the computer!

We are home and it feels very good!