Tuesday, August 30, 2011

So...How's it REALLY Going?

In all honesty...pretty good! Jetlag has not been near the issue that it was last time around. I think that is due to a couple of things. First, I slept really good in China. Since Gracie slept through the night, I used my friend Ambien to get a good night's sleep every night :) Second, Richard and I suscribed to the theory that jetlag is caused by dehydration. We drank so much water on that plane, I thought I would float away! I don't know if it really helped, but it didn't hurt!

Gracie has done well with the jetlag too, she seems to have made the flip, as well. Poor baby, though, Sunday she didn't get a nap and this is what she looked like at 7:30 :)
August 29 (2 of 7)

Here's my overall thought on how things are: After observing Wesleigh, I am completely positive that this 2nd adoption was exactly what she needed. Honestly, she has been having a hard time with the adjustment, but I think she is learning life lessons that are necessary to not grow up as a brat. That might sound harsh, but the behaviors she is exhibiting to Gracie are the same behaviors she has anytime there is a friend over to play. She does not like to share and she is very bossy. She'll play with you but only if you do what she wants! I am glad that she is going to make these adjustments now, when she's 3, instead of as a teen when things would be much worse!!

Wesleigh has acted exactly as I expected. For me to come home after 2 weeks with someone who moved into her entire world has made her very clingy and whiney. Totally expected...Totally frustrating!! What makes it worse, I think, is that Gracie has done so much better than I expected. This extremely verbal child, gets taken from everything she knows and finds herself in a new place where nobody understands her. Yet, she is patient, kind and gentle. I did not expect this. I thought there would be some aggression towards Wesleigh. I have seen 1 push and 1 pinch, but honestly...Wesleigh probably deserved it.

I am wondering how long it will take before Wesleigh relaxes a little. There are times when they play together well. They will take hands and run through the house. They are finding their way. I know it won't take long before Wesleigh doesn't even remember what it was like before Gracie was here. Anyone have any insight? I do think school is going to help. I am going to start them in a couple of weeks, after they are more used to each other. They will go 3 mornings a week, and I think it's going to be "just what the dr. ordered"...for ALL of us!!

I do have to say, Cade was home sick yesterday :( I was planning to keep him home to hang out with me anyway, but he woke up sick (strep) and we ended up in the Dr. office...with the girls!!! While Gracie napped, I took Wesleigh with me to Target. She was SO good. There were times that I actually forgot she was in the cart!! Being with Gracie for 2 weeks, the contrast was huge. Gracie would have been grabbing anything she could reach. I don't know if Gracie will ever see the inside of a Walmart or Target again :)

One thing that has struck me is how much time I spend in the bathroom!!! With 2 that can't wipe their hiney's by themselves, potty time seems to consume my day!! Praise God!!! It could have been diaper time comsuming my day!!!

I know I'm blabbering...just trying to get my thoughts down. I am pleased with the way things are going. I am happy with the level of energy and patience I have had. I know this is God's grace in my life. I'm praying this continues and I am able to give each girl what they need and deserve.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday:

My all time favorite of the two! I am just disappointed that Wesleigh's face is a little blurry :(
August 29 (5 of 7)allure

August 29 (4 of 7)softurban

And here's...the rest of the story!! (Wesleigh was actually not very cooperative during this photo shoot, I just happended to get a couple of cute ones :)
August 29 (6 of 7)

I thought you might like to see some of the video I took in China of Wesleigh and our beloved Sam. This is the first part. I love seeing the city of Changsha pass outside the window. It is so bitter-sweet for me to watch. I am so impressed that Gracie has not been more frustrated with the level of communication. I know, as much as I like to talk, I would be very frustrated being in a situation where nobody understood me. She has handled it way better than I would!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Sister Photo Shoot

I had about 90 seconds this morning to snap a few pictures of the girls before we left for church. I was determined to do it though, and they're pretty cute. The girls were pretty agreeable and I can't wait to do it again when it's a little cooler and we have more time.

August (13 of 14sweetness)

August (11 of 14sweetness)

We had another good day today. We went to church and both girls went to the nursery. They said Gracie cried a little bit, and she was very relieved to see me when I picked them up. The worker said they were very cute together.
August (7 of 14)sweetness

August (5 of 14)sweetness

Wesleigh was a little crabby again today but not nearly as bad. I made the boys take them outside to play for a while so I could get some things done in the house, so that helped as well.
August (3 of 14)sweetness

Some of you have asked about their ages and sizes. They are both 3 and Wesleigh is 2 months older. Gracie is a good 2 inches taller and outweighs her by about 5 lbs. They have completely different builds. Gracie is not fat at all, just thick. And Wesleigh (and all her features) is just tiny. Wesleigh's feet are a size 7 and Gracie's are a 9 :)
August (2 of 14)sweetness

Day 1~ Sisters

First...let me just say that these pics are horrible! Let's just blame it on the jetlag :)

Our first day went pretty well. Richard's sister, Amanda, came and spent much of the morning with me. That allowed me to get some laundry and unpacking done until I hit a wall at noon. The girls did pretty good. Honestly, Gracie did great...Wesleigh...well, not so much :) It was pretty much exactly what I expected. Gracie was in heaven exploring all the toys and Wesleigh followed her around claiming them all for herself. I seem to have 2 of enough items to be ok...except the baby stroller. We will be getting another one of those this week!! Each time I wanted to take a picture, Gracie would wrap her arm around Wesleigh and almost choke her :)
homecoming (1 of 7)

homecoming (2 of 7)

It was so bizzare brushing two sets of teeth and picking out two dresses. They are really adorable :) They actually sat here for a few minutes watching a movie I brought from China.
homecoming (3 of 7)

At noon, I hit a wall and apparently, so did Wesleigh. She was horrible and spent alot of time crying and hanging onto me. Gracie, however, took a nap so that little separation was probably good. Richard and I were both exhausted, but we decided to take everyone for snowballs. I am shocked that Gracie ate hers (she actually devoured it!). We spent some time outside which was good for me and them...they loved running around together. Gracie is so much more of a tomboy than Wesleigh! She jumps off the porch over and over when Wesleigh would never think of not using the steps :) She also loves the balls and wants to throw them over and over...so funny!
homecoming (4 of 7)

How about those flowers that don't match :) lol...whatever makes them happy at this point!!
homecoming (5 of 7)

They grabbed hands totally on their own and set out to explore. Absolutely adorable! I think Richard and I will have to take them on the buggy tonight and look for bunnies on the golf course. Wesleigh loves to do that, and I'm pretty sure Gracie will too. I wish it wasn't so hot here...we would spend the whole day outside!
homecoming (6 of 7)

homecoming (7 of 7)

They ended the day taking a bath together and running around the house in diapers holding hands.

Overall, the day was good. Gracie was up for a while in the middle of the night and was a little weepy, but she's still sleeping now. We are headed to church this morning and I have a feeling Wesleigh will be happy to show Gracie where to go (her bossy side has definitely made an appearance). I'm also pretty sure Gracie won't want to miss out!! I can't wait to get them dressed for church...I will try to take "non-jetlag" pics of that!!

Wish me luck on day 2!! Pretty soon, none of us will even remember when Gracie wasn't here :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

I am happy to report that our trip home was very uneventful. From the train to Hong Kong to the last leg of our flights, Gracie was amazing! She was calmer than we thought she would be and never fussed about anything. She slept a couple of hours on our long flight and fell asleep on me as we were going through customs in Detroit. That girl is HEAVY!! Carrying her through customs and the Detroit airport was not easy and my arms are sore today from it!!

Giving Baba a kiss on the train.
homecoming (1 of 14)

Finding a new friend on the train.
homecoming (2 of 14)

Looking out at the plane that will bring her away from her home country and into a whole new world.
homecoming (3 of 14)

The last picture of just the 3 of us.
homecoming (4 of 14)

I am at a loss of words to describe just how happy I am to be home! Walking off that plane might be the happiest moment of my life! I can honestly say, I think my kiddos were just as happy to see us as we were them!

Finally together!
homecoming (5 of 14)

The girls were so cute. I was holding Gracie because she was very tired and cranky. Of course Wesleigh jumped straight into my arms too. I carried happily carried 65 lbs of sweet girls through the New Orleans airport :) They were intrigued with each other and even reached for the other's hand a few times. It was very sweet to see them together.
homecoming (6 of 14)

homecoming (7 of 14)

It didn't take Wesleigh long to start showing Gracie how great brothers are. Soon, they were both climbing all over all those sweet brothers. (These pics are awful. I put the camera in "auto" so I could had it off. I guess the good news is that I am now smarter than my camera :)
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homecoming (9 of 14)

Cade dressed up for the occasion :) So cute!!
homecoming (10 of 14)

Gracie did much better in the carseat than Wesleigh did when she came home. Cade and Braden had them laughing the whole way home. Can you tell I'm tired in this picture? 24 hours of travel and 2 hours of head-b0bbing sleep. I'm also wondering how we're all going to fit in my big 'ole bus :) Every seat in my Suburban is filled and the seat I'm in is pretty tight :) Good thing I'm skinny right now :)
homecoming (11 of 14)

Gracie spent some time just soaking in everything. She was most excited when she saw the tub full of toys :) She opened every drawer and door. When she opened their closet door, she said "waaaaaa" which means "awesome". Wesleigh followed her around wondering what in the world she was doing. Wesleigh has continually looked at Gracie and then up at me and shrugged her shoulders. They are definitely trying to figure out their new lives :)
homecoming (12 of 14)

homecoming (13 of 14)

They were both hesitant to get in the tub with each other. Neither of them is used to sharing their lives with a sister. Once in the tub, they had fun, but Wesleigh is definitely feeling threatened.
homecoming (14 of 14)

I slept in the room with the girls, snuggled up to my sweet Wesleigh who I have missed greatly :) Gracie woke up at 4:30 and laid in bed with me until 5:30. It was evident that we weren't going back to sleep so we got up and the exploring began. She is in awe of everything. From the different bathroom choices, to where each door leads, to the noises of the ice maker, to the washing machine spinning. It is amazing to see things through her eyes for the first time.

Gracie is spending the morning checking out all the toys, and Wesleigh is spending the morning claiming all of her toys :) Actually, they are doing exactly what I expected. It will just take some time for everyone to adjust. I am so thankful the boys are not jetlagged. They are such a huge help!

My poor Bryce is so sick though! My mom had to take him to the dr. this week, who did not run a mono test before he put him on penicillin. We now know that when you put someone with mono on penicillin, they break out in a horrible body rash that makes you unbelievably miserable!! He has mono, strep and a rash over his entire body. He got a cortizone shot and is on another antibiotic and an oral steroid pack. He is pitiful, but so sweet :( It is slowly getting better.

Pray for me.....the energy this heavenly coffee is giving me right now is going to wear off eventually!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

USA Bound!!

These pics were taken Wed. on the balcony of our hotel room. We were dressed in our patriotic colors for the consulate. I'm not sure if they appreciated the colors or not, but I did have half the office huddled around our window to get a glimpse of our beauty. I'm sure it was completely because of her stiking good looks...and not because she's an absolute clown (and a loud one at that!!) lol... Either way, they seemed to enjoy her and we should get her Visa today! I wish I had a dollar for everytime someone has called my girl a "spicy girl" this trip :) Yep...she is very spicy!!




She started posing for me....twisting and turning in different directions. SO funny!


She wasn't mad...just giving me another angle to photograph :) Very impressive cutting of the eyes though!

Gracie has done great. We haven't had any grieving at all, which concerns me a little. She has been happy ever since the "flip" in Walmart on the first day. She has seemed to settle a little, although I never expect her to be completely calm. I can't wait for the two girls to meet! I am a little concerned for the adjustment period, but after that, I think we'll be great! Wesleigh went to pre-school orientation Wed!! I hated to miss it!
Here's a pic my mom sent me:
Boy do I miss that little teacup!!!

They are both supposed to start Monday, but I'm going to give them a week or two to bond with each other before I send them. I am already so thrilled that I made the call to register them both!! Those 3 mornings a week are going to be HEAVEN!! Wesleigh has done so great while we've been gone! She loves to skype and if one of us is missing when the call starts, she immediately asks where we are. She loves to see Gracie on skype too.

Wesleigh looks so small when I see her in pics and on skype! Gracie outweighs her by about 5 lbs! While we were at the consulate, our guide picked her up (I think just to see how much she weighs!). She could not believe it! Then this random older woman who had been standing there watching us picked her up because she wanted to see :) She groaned and put her down! lol...Gracie didn't mind one bit that some random woman was lifting her.

I can definitely see signs of attachment to us. When she was playing on the playground the last time, she kept looking for us and waving...making sure we were still there. (Funny, since we're the ones having to make sure SHE is still there!) If Richard hugs and/or kisses me, she has to get one for herself. Wesleigh does the same thing...so cute! Last night, Richard popped a "blemish" on my nose and Gracie thought he was being ugly to me. She immediately came to my side and started staring him down. When he gave me a kiss, she started smiling and wanted one for herself.

She is understanding more English, for sure. She knows her English name, she knows the word "sit", and she knows "pick your feet up" (as in, stop dragging them on the dang ground when you're in the stroller!!). I am sure there is alot more, I just haven't seen absolute proof of it. She can count to 3 on her own and repeat the rest. She has started learning the ABC song, and loves for me to sing the "Itsy bitsy Spider" (she does the hand motions). Honestly, I think she will be easier to understand than Wesleigh pretty quick!

Alright...since I'm the only one awake this morning, I'm rambling. I just woke up for the last time in Guangzhou!! As much as I love this city...I am SO ready to leave it!!! I can't get on that plane soon enough! We will take the train to Hong Kong tonight and stay the night there. We then get up the next morning and head for home!!! I can't believe I have only 1 more night in China!! Whoo Hoo!!

We have spent a total of a month in China over the past 2 years! What an experience! One that I never expected to have in my lifetime. We feel so blessed to have been called to add these two sweet girls to our family. I cannot wait to see how everything settles into place. Never in my life did I expect to be the mother of 5!! That number is still overwhelming to me...but I am so blessed!!

I don't think I will be posting again from China, so this is it!! The end of journey #2. Thank you for all of your support and kind comments throughout this trip....they mean so much! I get a huge kick out of sharing our journey with you.

I leave you with this:
If you have ever thought to yourself "I think I would like to adopt" or "I wish I could do that"...DO IT. Nothing worth having in this life is easy. There is nothing more worthwhile that you could do with you resources of time and money. Nothing more rewarding than having another child call you Mama. This journey to Gracie Joy was a journey of faith. It did not make sense in the physical...money was tight...time was tight...I already had four children. I cannot imagine, however, the blessings and joy we would have missed out on had we not listened to the call!

I never want to live my life and at the end of it look back and say "I missed it. I missed the one thing I was supposed to do with my life". If you have not seen the video Richard and I made on adoption for our church, please watch it (It's on my sidebar). It is our heart.

Love you all...Goodbye from China!! See you in the USA!!

Guangzhou (1 of 4)blog

Long Way From Petco :)

It's naptime! yay!! I'm at the computer downloading pics from the past couple of days and chowing down on some of the most amazing sweet and sour chicken from Cow and Bridge!! I had it the other night when we ate there and my hubby was kind enough to go pick some up for me today again!! Yummo!!

Yesterday we ended up at the pet market TWICE! We went with some new friends in the morning and then again with our group in the afternoon. What else do we have to do? And Gracie is usually pretty good in the stroller. Here are some pics from our two adventures today:


Braden, this picture of the chipmunks are for you. No, we did not buy you a pet!!

This was so cute! Gracie loves all the animals. There was an old grandmother standing to the side watching them. She would wince and make noises when Richard would let the puppies bite on his fingers. It was so cute. I should have taken a picture of her :)

The medicinal market is right by the pets. There are blocks and blocks of stores selling crazy stuff like this:
dried snake...anyone?

lizzard on a stick?

How about dried seahorses or fish stomaches? Our guide told us the dried frogs are used in desserts!!!! UGH!!! So thankful I haven't ordered dessert anywhere!!

So...what could these two pretty girls be doing on this street?

sorting LIVE scorpions with chopsticks!!

This is someone's apartment. There were lots of literal "hole in the wall" homes like this.

I love the little China cups in these bird houses.


Right next to the pets and medicine is the "food" street. The smell on this street was unbelievable! I do not care to go there again!! Anyone hungry????

These are across the street from the meat. Awaiting their fate!

Here are some...ready to eat. These were actually in a very busy shopping area.

I just had to take a shot of this store. It is in a mall of sorts. Can you imagine trying to buy anything in there? Some of you think Marshalls is bad!!!!


We have taken Gracie to this park 3 different times. She loves to play and is so coordinated...much better than Wesleigh. We have to guard both exits because you never know when she'll make a run for it!! Yesterday, though, she seemed to do much better. She can be sweet but she'll also pinch the fire out of the kids if you're not careful!

We finished up at Lucy's with a big glass of iced tea!! It comes with a little container of simple syrup so you can make it sweet!!! Boy was it good!!!!!!!!!! I'm so sad I didn't know about it until now!!

And...to finish the pics...a funny of Richard. She can actually put a small ponytail in his hair :) So funny!!

I am about shopped out and also out of money! One thing I have really enjoyed this trip is talking to the people here more. I think with 4 kids here last time, I didn't really have a chance. I was also never by myself. This trip, I have gotten to know some of the shop owners...met their children, and enjoyed giving them some business. It has been fun.

We had out consulate appointment today. It was good. Miss G is all decked out in her red, white and blue! I have pics...but will have to post them tomorrow. We check out of the hotel at 2:00 and are on our way at 3:00. We will ride the train to HongKong and spend the night there. Friday morning we will be on our way to the US!!! I am so ready to be home. Living out of suitcases for 2 weeks is getting old...and I miss my other kids in a bad way!!! Almost there!!!
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