Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Busy Littles

And here we are a month later.  I got Jacob on 12/18 and Julia Mei on 12/23 and OH MY what progress!  Have I mentioned how amazing they both are?!  The transition home was really hard initially and as it turns out I rarely have a moment to log on to the computer.  Shocker, right?  Now that sleep is regulated I am completely enjoying being at home with the 3 littlest.  Beyond enjoying.  I am having 1:1 time with each of them at the library, McDonald's Playplace, and medical appointments.  I'm pretty sure I would be perfectly fine if I didn't have to return to work in a few weeks...I am getting brave and taking out large numbers of children out by myself since my husband is working 3 extra jobs right now while I stay home. I was lucky enough to have Little Riders install my car seats so I can actually go out with all of the children safely.  BTW, I have never had a police officer install my seats as tightly as they are now--so if you are local--contact Little Riders!  The link is above. So, right now I am just doing the busy mom thing:  meals, cleaning, singing, teaching, library time, playgroups, medical appointments, etc.  I LOVE it. I really love it. I'm pretty sure I was meant to be a stay at home mama. I only wish my husband was on board with that 10 years and 6 kids ago! I am amazed at the kindness of others.  The Calvary Church has been kind enough to feed us for over a month. Can you believe that?  I am so touched that all of these people have come together to help us during this transition. WOW. In addition to providing the most delicious meals, a little adult interaction with some fantastic people has been an added bonus. To everybody at the Calvary Church-- THANK YOU!

Here is what things look like lately around the house and out and about:

Kitty love



This big brother rocks! Here he was playing with all of the little kids...and making them all giggle.


The 2 and under crowd...stalking the kitty




Me. Alone. 6 kids. Friendlys. 90+ minutes. Survived.


@ Shriners waiting for x-rays 


@ Shriners waiting for x-ray results


My happy boy clearly loves his mustard.



This poor kitty...


Ellie is now loving her little brother and sister.  Phew. She says throughout the day:  I love Jacob and Julia Mei! in this cute little tiny voice. She has also figured out which one is which. She likes to feed them.  She likes to be the big girl helping Mommy.  She is getting a lot of 1:1 time with me as my helper at the library, stores, and play areas.

I am asked constantly if the little ones are twins, but if you get a good look at them you will realize that they honestly look nothing alike--they both just happen to be Chinese.  I have also been asked if Christian is a biological sibling to Jacob--the answer to that is no.  All three children are from different parts of China. Yes, they are related now, but as far as I know not genetically.

Medical Updates:

Julia

Gaining weight daily, up to 23/24 pounds depending on the day. She does have a chronic eye inflammation, as we discovered this week after almost a month of treatment and a trip to the pediatric eye doctor. Shriners in Springfield unfortunately can't help her until she is ready for a prosthesis.  They took an x-ray referred us to the Shriners in Boston.  The doctor suggested that the professionals in Boston will likely release the amniotic banding on her leg through a series of surgeries, and after that determine where to amputate her foot.  I was honestly surprised since I expected that she would need an amputation above the amniotic band. I am anxiously waiting to hear from the Boston Shriners so we can get started on what we need to do.  Julia Mei has been walking so much she is causing a part of her foot to swell and an open wound has been puffy and bleeding.  She doesn't appear to be in any pain and I don't think she can feel much on her foot.  It looks incredibly painful but she thankfully is unaware.  She is full of giggles and silliness.  Her receptive language skills are fantastic, and she is picking up on things every day.  She is slowly warming up to some men, but makes it clear with a painful scream if she doesn't want to be around someone. Julia Mei loves music and dancing.  She loves songs that include finger movement.  She loves sign language. She is currently saying:  bye bye with a wave, hi, Mama, and no.  She gives big kisses and hugs. She continues to struggle with sleep (she needs me with her at all times and if she wakes up and I'm not there she cries like it's the end of the world). She is still 'dead weight' and quite limp.  She falls often and just gets back up thanks to her foot.  It really holds her back right now.  We are still heading over to the dentist, back to the adoption clinic, and up to Boston as soon as we get the intake call.  Birth-3 will be coming out soon for an evaluation as well.

Next to my girl.  She still needs a Mama to help her fall asleep at nap time.

That big doggy is not soft like the kitties.

Hi Moose!

Synchronized cheerio eating

Biggest and littlest 

Playtime @ Shriners

Pretending to nap


Jacob

25+ pounds...but he feels SO heavy.  He is really solid and so physically able. He climbs up and down from the couch without falling.  He climbs in the trike.  He gets in and out of the Tykes cars. He crawls and he is fast. For a child that has multiple limb differences and is missing parts of limbs...I am completely amazed with this kid. He does not have amniotic banding syndrome, but perhaps an unknown syndrome.  Or not--perhaps these differences are due to in utero exposure to things that little babies should never be exposed to. Either way--it just doesn't matter to us. He is a happy boy.  He beams and giggles at familiar people. He has a kitty obsession and he is very gentle with them. If he is upset a kitty snuggle will calm him right down. Although at a slow pace, he is learning.  He has completely mastered the sign for more when it comes to food.  He started clapping appropriately at a show the other night. He has figured out how to kiss does it all the time now.  He now makes a big MMMMmmm sound when he gives kisses.  And he will give 10+ at a time. Love him! He was fitted for a hand and a leg at Shriners last week and we are so excited to see this little guy walk.  He is also heading back to Shriners for multiple appointments, as well as the adoption clinic, the dentist, and an initial evaluation through Birth-3. We did get a surprise letter in the mail regarding one of Jacob's blood tests.  He tested positive for something that is completely preventable, and we were (are) pretty upset about it. Although we hope that this won't impact him long term, we just don't know.  The levels can go down now that he is here, and we will have to just wait and see.  After a lot of research, we have started the following:

-clean eating (especially Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Zinc sources)
-formula
-breast milk
-whole Milk
-constant interaction and learning opportunities
Thankfully...a great sleeper

More kitty love

Oh...another kitty

This is what happens when you hang out with your sisters all day!

How cool does big brother look?!

A new leg and hand from Ace Hardware?! Who knew?

First haircut at home

Cutie rocking his new shaved look

That's the thing about adoption--you just never know what the child has experienced prior to the adoption. There are always unknowns and chances that must be taken. We love Jacob either way and he is with us for a reason.

After a lot of though and discussion after finding out about this blood test...we have decided...that some day in the not-necessarily-near-future there will be another little 'one less' in our family.  Stay tuned.  {FYI I already knew that last fact, but my husband did not.}

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Exhausted Anyone??

Oh wait, maybe that's just me.

My trip home was pretty much worse than you could have imagined. I won't get into the horrid details because I have to look at the positives:

-we made it home
-our flights were not delayed
-there was an amazing couple sitting behind me that helped me on the long flight
-I was not puked on *seriously, I consider this a positive when I look back at my trip*
-I wore an extra shirt
-I got to go pee.  Once.
-I did not plan a photo session as we got off the flight
-we breezed through immigration (Julia Mei screaming and me having to hold 2 babies, my backpack, drag my carry on suitcase, and my passport holder might have had something to do with it.  Oops.  Starting to get negative.)

There were a few negative issues to highlight on without getting into the nasty details:
-issue with my tickets so I had to recheck my baggage in Shanghai
-again, the double stroller issue--must be checked in China
-explosive diarrhea.  On me. On my beautiful new Beco. On clothes that made it into the garbage near a squatty potty in Shanghai.
-my bag of sweet treats for the kids did not cut it by hour 10.  Or probably hour 6, if that.
-the airline checked my single stroller that I walked on the plane with. Umm what?!  And since Beco #2 was compromised in Shanghai...

I can assure you that I will not be flying again any time soon.  Or, if I do so, it will be solo.

On January 1st, 2014, my children arrived in America!  I was beyond thankful to be home and to see my family. There are no pictures to document our homecoming as we were a complete mess. Julia Mei was wearing boy pajamas.  She had 2 different socks on. Jacob was a blubbery mess after so many hours of travel.  I had my spare shirt on *yes!* but felt gross. Hubby and 2 kids picked us up. We didn't have enough room in the car for all of my kids and my luggage.  This will be the new story of my life. Nana was home watching the other 2 children,  and she cried tears of joy as she met her 2 newest grandbabies.

My phone died for a couple of days and I did not even have the energy to deal with it. Complete survival mode.

We have been struggling to find our new normal, if there even is such a thing right now. Both children have already been to the pediatrician's office and had to be put on antibiotics.  Sleeping is rough. Getting better, but those first few days? Let me just say I am no good without some decent sleep, and coffee alone isn't/wasn't cutting it.













Jacob

He loves the cats and now that he has learned how to kiss and hug, he is all about smooching on the cats. On their lips.  Gross, but progress! He was very uncomfortable when I took him to the doctor's office--and I was thrilled!  This is huge progress, because he knows the difference between his Mama and a stranger. He will eat all day long if I let him.  He is rough, and we will have to continue to work on being gentle with others.  He is now sleeping in a pack and play, and instead of huge temper tantrums at night, when he wakes up he is quickly comforted when I talk quietly to him and rub his back. Everybody loves this kid--he is full of smiles, giggles, and brings everybody such joy.

Julia Mei

My little princess. She is slowly warming up to this loud family.  She has really taken to her biggest sister, and gives her full smiles now.  She loves to play independently and could go from toy to toy to book to book and be fully content. She loves to rock back and forth to music and is intent on walking.  She is finally starting to sleep better at night, although it must be in my bed next to me. She is starting to talk more and sign.

Ellie couldn't tell them apart at first.  She would say:  Julia Mei!!!! in the most excited little voice when addressing either one of them.  She's not thrilled that she has to share her toys, her Mama and her Nana. She is intent on being the center of attention and this change has been tough on her.

I'll be the first to say:  being home is harder than being in China.  The time {and sleep} difference. Oh my. Three kids that want to be held at the same time.  Four kids that really wanted some Mommy attention as soon as I got home. Two kids that scream when Mommy leaves the room, even if just for a moment. Every room has turned into a toy room.  Three high chairs with no place to go. Two cribs to get in hopes that each child will sleep soundly in his/her room at some point in 2014. I have 2 Dionos that were delivered and need to be installed but it is frigid outside. Big kid injuries on top of it all.

We took the kids to our favorite restaurant yesterday, and I took Jacob grocery shopping solo with no problems at all.  Who can say that about a one year old?!


The medical appointments start next week. We will be running around 2 states to start to get these kids the care they need.

I think I am about to make an early dinner and try for an early bedtime.  I think I deserve it, don't you?