Sunday, September 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Landry!

Today is a big day in our house as it is Landry's birthday!!!

And as much as this day is full of celebration, this day can't go by in my head without a bit of sadness on my heart. Let me explain.

Don't get me wrong.  I am feeling super happy that she is home with us and is able to celebrate her day!  As far as we know, this is her first birthday celebration.  Most of you that know me know that I love to celebrate birthdays....heck, I love to celebrate anything so it was super fun to spoil her today.  We decided to not have a big birthday party for her this year. We just think it is too soon and she just wouldn't enjoy it as she is usually glued to our hips with any more than our immediate family/close friends in the room. So as much as it breaks my creative heart to not plan the most AWESOME Yo Gabba Gabba party, I will have to settle for a Kelli-made Yo Gabba Gabba cake and a yummy family pasta dinner for our pasta lovin' 2 year old!

I am also feeling a bit sad today.  You see we aren't for certain that this is the exact day she was born as there was no note with her when she was found. But given that this time of year has been estimated as to when she was born 2 years ago, my heart breaks for her birth mother at this time.  I ache for her to know how so very loved Landry is and that we applaud her for choosing life and for leaving her in a safe place.  (We know that her abandonment was out of love because of where she was left.)  I just pray today that God places peace in her heart every year this time of year and that she will somehow know that it is ok and our girl is doing great!


We have had a fantastic summer and she has adjusted so well since my last post.  She definitely has her moments so I would say that between 4-6 in the afternoon is not the best time to enter my house as she is super cranky, hungry, tired, etc.  The way she communicates with us now is screaming at us which is quite comical for the first 5 minutes but then......

She is certainly holding her own with the boys and loves to wrestle them.  The minuted they sit or lay on the floor she is crawling all over them. And boy do they love her!!!!  Their relationship with her has made my heart grow a mile.  It is just the cutest thing to see them love on her and make her laugh.  

She has picked up some additional sign language which has helped a ton and she has also started to talk a little.   Her most common things to say are "Hi" "All-bun" (all done) "I lu loo" (I love you) "Eye" (as she points to her eye)  "Ehhhh" (Ellie)  & "mama" (but mostly when she is whining)  If I ask her to say "mama" on command she usually shakes her head no at me, that Lil Stinker!!!  She loves giving hugs and kisses and has become quite fond of music requesting "Up a baa" while pointing her fingers in the air. (that would be her sign for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).

She has overcome so big fears!  Yay, Landry!

She sure does love Ellie!

Grass??? Ehhhh, no biggie now!

And this girl now loves to swing!!!

We are working on her fear of sand weekly in therapy as we are a beach family so this girl needs to be A-O-K with sand by May!  I think in my last update I mentioned that she had failed her hearing and vision test at our pediatrician visit.  Well, she got glasses a few weeks ago and boy have they made a difference.  Not to mention she is just the cutest thing with them on!

The day she got them she just kept pointing at everything!  It was amazing and when the boys got home from school that day she just kept going up to them and waving as if she was thinking, "Well, now that I can see you, Hello there!"  

We go next week for her ABR which is a more extensive hearing test.  Keep her in your prayers as they will have to sedate her and this mama is a bit nervous for all of it.  We also have a follow up appointment with the Neurologist this week.  I think he will be pleased with her improvement as we have been working hard at PT and OT every week.  Once we get the results from the ABR, we will start Speech Therapy, hopefully in a few weeks.

Other than that all is good in the Munkel house.....busy but good!  Boys are back in school so it is nice for everyone to be on a schedule. Wyatt has joined Brax at our elementary school so they really enjoy riding the bus together everyday.

Oh, big news!  I finally decided to stay home which has been a nice change so as the boys had their first day of school I had my last day of work, hahahaha!

But don't worry, I am going to keep my self plenty busy now that I am back in the groove of things so stay tuned for some exciting updates on my future plans!



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Whole30 Experience

Day 31!!!


I made it through 30 days with NO cheats! (minus the few times I was feeding Landry and I would lick my finger by habit!)  I don't mean to toot my own horn but I am pretty proud of myself.  Eating has always been a pleasure for me....I mean, I'm from Louisiana so how could food not be pleasure.  I have come to realize on this fit journey that I am on that sugar was the one thing holding me back.  I have tried to cut back each day or even gone cold turkey but it never worked.

I recently watched Fed Up on Netflix and it really made me mad of how I have let the sugar industry make me such an addict.   It made me question what my motives were in to having so much sugar each day and also made me aware that sugar is in almost EVERYTHING processed!  Yuck!!  What is the world is sugar doing in some of these foods.  It is completely unnecessary!

I have looked into the Whole30 before- even printed out all of the cheat sheets but just couldn't ever pull the trigger. It looked TOO HARD!

But at Whole30 says.....

 "It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”.

Well, ok then.

 “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your ‘struggles’.” - See more at:
 “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your ‘struggles’.” - See more at:

With all of that being said, let's get to the good stuff, right?

Soooooo, what happened in 30 days???

It has been an AMAZING transformation not only with my body but with my mind. 

  • I am down 14 lbs....whoa!  In one month!!!
  • I feel slimmer & stronger.
  • I have upped my weight in workouts and improved my time in runs.
  • My skin is looking great- as quite a few people have told me (some not knowing that I was even on this detox)
  • I no longer have bloating. (Yeah for no food baby!)
  • Dark circles/bags under eyes are noticeably less- no longer feel the need to use eye concealer every time I leave my room.
  • I am sleeping better- I wear a Fit Bit so it has been pretty great to compare the difference in my sleep patterns between last month and today.
  • I have energy to workout and no longer am having my "energy" pre workout treats to feel like I have a good workout.

  • I am no longer looking to food to console me on those hard days.  I have been doing a lot of walking/running throughout the day and feel that is helping to clear my mind.
  • I have a better understanding now of how I need to fuel my body.
  • I have a want to take better care of my body and give it essential nutrients (protein, veggies & healthy fat) at every meal. It is a gift from God to be here and I want to appreciate that a bit more these days!
  • I feel stronger in the sense that I have accomplished something big. I mean, no sugary treats in 30 days for me.....AMAZING!  I probably haven't done that since I was in the womb back in 1979!
  • I no longer have the "haze" feeling throughout the day.  My mind feels clear and sharp.
  • I no longer have the 2 pm slump where I need to eat something sweet or have more coffee to get me through the rest of the day.

I think that everyone should go through the Whole30!  Not necessarily for the body bonuses (although they are nice) but for the mind changing thoughts about food.  It feels good to detox and get all of the bad out and start with a clean slate.

The first step for you is getting the book Whole30 and thoroughly going through the Whole30 website. It has great recipes and printable sheets to make the process super easy to follow.  There are also some great Whole30 First Timers Facebook groups to join.  I would say the next step is to sit down and prepare- grocery list, meal plan, etc.

I didn't really focus on many recipes although I did make a few and will share with you below.  I really tried to focus on having a prep day each week where I would prepare ample amounts of protein and veggies to store in the fridge and be ready for those meal times.  Majority of my cooking consisted of opening the fridge and mixing/matching what we ready to go.  I also stocked up on healthy fats (avocado, oils, olives, nuts & ghee) as well as prepared Dump Ranch to fancy up some of my usual dishes.  I tried to make mayo but did not succeed :(

I know quite a few of you are wondering what in the world are some of those dishes that I posted so here is the breakdown of all 30 days:

Day 1:  
Breakfast- 2 sunny side up eggs over sweet potato hash with kale and avocado
Lunch:  Taco Salad (lettuce, ground beef with seasoning & mango salsa (mango, avocado, lime juice and jalapeno)
Dinner: (not pictured) I went out to dinner and had a bun-less burger with mustard and a side of steamed broccoli

Day 2: 
B- Boiled Eggs with Apples & Almond Butter (not the best but a breakfast on the run)
L- Sweet Potato Nachos- sliced sweet potatoes baked and topped with seasoned ground beef, mango salsa & tomato based salsa.
D- Zucchini noodles with eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes and portobello mushrooms tossed in olive oil.  Served with a side of raw almonds and mango.

Day 3: 
B- 2 eggs over easy with potato, sun-dried tomato, spinach & mushroom hash with a side of apples and almonds
L- Smoked Salmon salad with tomatoes, oranges, avocado & homemade citrus dressing.
D- Baked chicken with olive tapenade and roasted broccoli & potatoes topped with green onions.

Day 4:
B- Egg Salad- Boiled eggs, potatoes and hot sauce with an apple (breakfast on the go)
L-  Taco Salad (recipe above)
D- Sweet Potato with grilled chicken & green onions.  Roasted broccoli and olives on the side.

Day 5:
B- Chia pudding topped with almonds, raspberries & blueberries (Some may consider this a SWYPO item so be careful if this brings out the sugar dragon)
L- not pictured
D- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mediterranean salad- lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, hearts of palm, banana peppers & Paleo Greek Dressing.

Day 6:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side up with sweet potato & spinach hash with 1/2 grapefruit on the side.
L-  no pictured
D- Plantains with shredded chicken, salsa, avocado & jalapenos served with a side on mango.

Day 7:
B- Chia Pudding with Blueberry & Coconut (not the best option)
L- Bun less burger wrapped in lettuce with avocado & mustard with a side of green beans.
D- Adele's Chicken Apple Sausage with roasted zucchini, potatoes & mushrooms.

Day 8:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side Up with roasted peppers and protobello mushrooms with a side of avocado.
L- Plantains with shredded chicken, salsa, avocado & cilantro with a side of grapes.
D- (out to dinner) Salad with broccoli, banana peppers, mushrooms, beets, eggs, olives & cucumbers with oil and vinegar.

Day 9:
B- Brussels Sprout hash with mushrooms and sweet potato with almond butter.
L- not pictured
D- (out to dinner) Salad with grilled shrimp, tomatoes, radishes & artichoke hearts with oil & vinegar

Day 10:
B- Brussels Sprout hash with chicken apple sausage, roasted red pepper & mushrooms.
L- Plantains with tuna, mango & cilantro
D- Eggs with green onions and grapefruit 

Day 11:
B- Chicken Apple Sausage with Brussels sprout/ sweet potato hash and sun-dried tomatoes.
L- Salad with tuna, salsa & avocado
D- Shrimp Salad with cabbage, basil, carrots, red pepper & home roasted cashews.

Day 12:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side up with Brussels sprout/ potato hash with salsa.
L- Cabbage with basil, carrots, red pepper & home roasted cashews topped with seasoned ground beef.
D- Bun-less burger wrapped in lettuce with mustard.  Served with sweet potato & grapes.

Day 13:
B- Chicken Apple Sausage with mushroom & Brussels sprout hash
L- Cabbage Roll with sweet potato and olives.
D- Plantain Tostada with shredded pork topped with homemade guacamole.  Served with cilantro lime cauliflower rice & pineapple

Day 14:  
B- Chia pudding with bananas, coconut & almonds with 1 scrambled egg topped with mushrooms.
L- Salad with grilled shrimp, artichoke, roasted peppers & asparagus with oil & vinegar
D- Plantain Tostada with shredded pork topped with homemade guacamole & cilantro lime cauliflower rice with a side of roasted broccoli.

Day 15:
B- Plantain Tostada with shredded pork topped with salsa & green onions with a side of avocado & 1/2 grapefruit.
L- Bun-less burger wrapped in lettuce with mustard and a side of roasted potatoes & grapes
D- Zucchini Noodles with homemade marinara with roasted eggplant and seasoned ground beef with a side of green beans

Day 16:
B- Portobello Mushroom bake with 2 eggs over easy with a side of roasted potatoes, sauteed spinach & avocado.
L- not pictured
D- Brussels sprout and Kale salad with grilled steak and peaches and oil and vinegar

Day 17:
B- Chicken Apple Sausage with roasted potatoes and spinach
L- Cabbage roll with mustard and a side of sweet potato & grapes
D- Plantain Tostada with seasoned ground beef, cauliflower rice, avocado & cilantro.

Day 18:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side Up with sweet potato hash topped with green onions and a side of avocado.
L- (Zoe's) Grilled Veggie Kabobs and steamed broccoli (I was not feeling so great after this meal so I am assuming there was something in their seasoning or they did not follow my requests)
D- Taco Salad

Day 19:
B- Scrambled eggs with prosciutto, spinach & mushrooms with 1/2 grapefruit
L- Lettuce Tacos with seasoned beef, salsa & avocado with a side of grapes.
D- Grilled shrimp over Brussels sprout hash with a sweet potato on the side.

Day 20:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side Up with a side of sauteed spinach and sweet potato
L- Smoked Salmon salad over spinach with olives, roasted red peppers & banana peppers.
D- Grilled Chicken, cauliflower rice with sauteed spinach, roasted peppers & avocado.

Day 21:
B- Banana & Almonds (rush out the door breakfast)
L- Broccoli Slaw with grilled chicken, home roasted cashews, coconut amino, cilantro, jalapeno, lime & avocado
D- Cracklin Chicken with roasted broccoli & potatoes

Day 22:
B- Cracklin Chicken with roasted broccoli, potatoes and side of mango.
L- not pictured
D- Zucchini Noodles with Homemade marinara and seasoned ground beef.  Served with a side Kale Salad with tomatoes and Dump Ranch.

Day 23:
B- Baked Egg Cups with Zucchini & Prosciutto with side sweet potato
L- Kale and Brussels sprout salad with Cracklin Chicken, tomatoes and dump ranch.
D- Turkey Burger with Zucchini Fritter (use almond meal instead of flour and no cheese) topped with dump ranch and served with roasted potatoes and broccoli.

Day 24:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side up over zucchini cake with side of sauteed mushrooms
L- Lettuce Wrap with Turkey burger, avocado & salsa and side of mango
D- Turkey burger with zucchini fritter (use almond meal instead of flour and no cheese) , avocado topped with dump ranch.  Served with side of sweet potato.

Day 25:
B:  Egg Cup with Zucchini & Prosciutto served with Zucchini Fritter (use almond meal instead of flour and no cheese) topped with dump ranch and side of mango.
L- Spinach Salad with soft boiled eggs, home roasted cashews & avocado topped with dump ranch.
D- not pictured

Day 26:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side Up with sauteed mushrooms & spinach
L- Cobb Salad with Chicken, eggs & tomatoes topped with oil & vinegar. 
D- Seasoned ground beef and kale over plantains topped with avocado & salsa with side of pineapple.

Day 27:
B- Chicken Apple Sausage with sauteed spinach & mushrooms
L- Lettuce wraps with seasoned ground beef, plantains, salsa & avocado
D- (out) El Felix salad with Steak and guacamole.

Day 28: 
B- 2 boiled eggs, banana & almonds (breakfast on the go)
L- Not pictured
D- Veggie Omelet with tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms & spinach with a side of steamed hash browns.

Day 29:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side Up with a side of sweet potato hash topped with avocado.
D- Egg Roll in a bowl with a side of mango & pineapple

Day 30:
B- 2 Eggs Sunny Side Up with a side of sweet potato hash topped with avocado
L- Zucchini noodles with turkey burger, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli & spinach topped with olive oil & red pepper
D- Grilled Chicken with dump ranch and a side of sauteed asparagus, red onion & mushroom with roasted artichokes. 

I did have iced coffee every morning with almond milk and found that it tasted better when it was made in a cold french press and stored in the fridge over night.  I also would have snacks after I worked out and those varied a bit from sweet potatoes with chicken to apples with almond/cashew butter

So there you have it!  

My Whole30:)

I encourage all of you to try this out- I mean what have you got to lose! 
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need a lil push off the ledge:)


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How Sweet Home!

We have been home for almost 2 weeks now and are certainly beginning to settle in to our new norm as a family of 5.  That first week was a doozy!  I was so not prepared for the jet is no joke! And having jet lag while taking care of 3 kids is crazy especially when one of the kids is jet lagged too.  I can't tell you how good it felt to be home, sleeping in our own bed, having the comfort of being back in our own space again.

Landry is fitting right in great!  We had a rough start with the sleep situation but seemed to have solved it.  She absolutely does not want to be held when she is falling asleep, yet she doesn't want to be put down either.  We have struggled with this for weeks now and it is exhausting to say the least.  I just felt so bad for he because I had not idea what to do.  As she has gotten more comfortable in our house she now prefers for us to just lay with her in the bed while she drinks her bottle.  I will then pick her up and sway a bit until she dives into her bed.  Sometimes it's immediate and sometimes its 10 minutes or so.  Then we just stay in the room with her until she falls asleep.  Seems to be working great and she is now sleeping 10+ hours at night and having a good 2+ hour nap during the day.

I have to point out too that she sleeps in the same position as I do:)

She still has nights where she wakes in terror and screams.  I just ache for her at these moments because I know how scared she must be.  For the past 19 months of her life she has been sleeping in the same place most likely with another child and now her life is completely different.  At moments like this we usually scoop her up to console her and put her back to bed.  Luckily she is sleeping in our room so the walk is not that far for this half sleeping mom.

I think it is safe to say that Landry is loving "American" food!

I mean, how can you tell???

Hahahaha!  For the first few days of us having her she would shovel anything in her mouth that we put in front of her.  Well now, she has become a bit pickier!  She will certainly spit something out and swat at you if you try to feed her more.  This girl loves her some savory flavored food!  She is still getting used to drinking and eating things that are cold.  Her face is hysterical when it hits her lips! I would say her favorites right now are pasta, scrambled eggs, Pear/Pea/Broccoli puree pouch, biscuits, watermelon, grapes & chicken.  

This girl has changed drastically since we first met her.

Moments before we met her......

We we first met her, her caregivers were holding her head up. She could barely sit up and kept falling over. Her muscles were either very tense or very loose and she would throw her head back constantly.  I think both Brett and I were a bit shocked by this as this was not the girl that we had seen in the video 4 months prior.  You often hear of children in an orphanage giving up.  I can't help but think if that is what was going on with her.  Had she given up?  Or was she just in complete shock for the transition that had just happened?

We are not sure and will really never know why but I can tell you, our girl has improved so much over the past 3 weeks  She just amazes me:)

She is holding her head up so much better.  She is crawling on all fours (unless she is trying to get somewhere in mock speed and then she reverts back to her crazy fast army crawl).  She is standing on her own.  She is walking assisted with hands and loves to scale around the room with furniture and toys.

I would say that she "tolerates" Ellie.

She is even starting to attempt some super dare devil moves and climb onto things!  Yikes!

We will work on getting her PT, OT & Speech Therapy later this week.  She had her pediatrician appointment last week and it did not go well at all so I am holding off to give her a bit of a break this week.  This girl is a fighter and will work herself into a sweat-drenched dry-heaving-mess of a scream-fest!  I am excited to start therapy with her and can't wait to see how much more she will accomplish now that she is given the attention that she needs.

She is bonding well with her brothers.  They are just the sweetest to her and dote on her every need.  Brax has taken the big brother role seriously and loves to make sure she is ok and caters to her all the time.  Wyatt certainly loves her and gives her kisses all the time!  They have this game that they play where they get in her face and make crazy noises and she will then swat at them in the face.  They think it is hysterical and she does too.  I know that I will need to correct this behavior in the future but for now it is just so cute! (unless someone gets smacked with a wooden spoon)

Me telling her, "No No, you can't smack your brother in the face with the wooden spoon."

So, as you can see, overall our past weeks have been great!  But I wouldn't be completely honest with you to think that they were all perfect.  I also don't want you to take my honesty as weakness for we are all weak and I just want to be transparent with you.  As great as these moments have been, there have been equally hard moments. Our transition into our new family of five has has been hard at times.  There have been times that I feel stretched too thin and a bit in over my head with this whole mom of 3 thing.  There have been times where I know Braxton and Wyatt are aching for attention. There have been times where Brett and I have not been the best communicators  There have been times where doubt begins to creep in.

And then the other night I thought-

The peaceful heart I receive from my obedience to Him 
far exceeds any peace in my heart that I can create for myself.

That is what the lil voice in my head keeps on whispering in the hard moments.......

The moments where jet lag may start to get the best of me and I start thinking, I'm not sure I can do this.  The moments where she is inconsolable and honestly, I don't know how to comfort her because we just met a few weeks ago.  The moments where my boys are begging for me to play with them and I just can't because she needs so much more at this time.  She deserves me.  She deserves us. We can do this!

Of course this is hard.  What we are doing is unimaginable to some. It was unimaginable to me for most of my life.  But we are ALL called to do just need to listen.  
Don't ignore His voice when He speaks. 
You might miss out on the greatest thing that could of been.
His plan is great.  
Be obedient.  
Be truthful.  
Be Love.  

Choose Love.
And most importantly, Choose Crazy Love!

xo- Kelli

Monday, June 15, 2015

Our Adventure Home!

I have heard from a few of you that I really need to post an update since we've been home.....sorry to keep you all waiting, hahaha!

Our trip home was fairly uneventful. We took a train to Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon.

It was about a 2 hour train ride and Landry was not to pleased to be on it.  I think I have said before that this girl fights to sleep....I mean full out sweat, fights!  She will push off of you screaming and then collapse in your arms for a minute and then just when you think she is asleep she will start screaming again.  This can go on for about an hour and it looked like that is exactly what would happen on this train ride. And it's not like I could go anywhere....We.Are.On.A.Train.  So we consoled her the best we could in our seat and tried to offer her every treat/snack/toy you could imagine but she would have nothing to do with it.  She was screaming and sweating and screaming. And then she puked.  Yep.  All down my arm. Yuck.  And then she collapsed into a deep sleep.....thank you Jesus!  Once we arrived in Hong Kong we had to go through customs and then catch a cab to our hotel.  We were swarmed outside by all sorts of people bargaining to take us to our hotel.  It was crazy.  We found the actual taxi stand, waited in line and finally got in a cab.  We got to our hotel about 9 pm that night.  I immediately put her to bed and Brett ventured out to find us some dinner since neither of us had anything to eat since before we left Guangzhou.  We ended up having dinner sitting on our hotel floor in front of a cracked bathroom door with a sliver of light coming through because neither one of us wanted to take a chance in waking her up.

We woke early the next morning and got on a shuttle to the airport. We arrived with plenty of time to grab some breakfast and pick up some last minute things for the boys.  We boarded the plane and quickly realized that we were on the plane with 4 other families we had met throughout our stay.  It was great to see familiar faces and all be on the same journey home with our kiddos!  The flight to Seattle was long but overall went fairly well.

It was funny because I swear one of our kiddos was crying at some point the entire flight.  Keeping Landry busy was hard but we managed.  Lots of snacking, walking and playing.  Luckily we had a sweet Chinese family behind us and Landry loved to stand on us so that she could see their baby.

 It was sweet to see them interacting and pass toys back and forth. For the 12 hour flight, I think she slept 2 hours so when we hit Seattle, I was exhausted!  We got off the plane, went through customs and then had to drop off her paperwork packet so that she can be a US Citizen.  That line took a bit longer than I liked but again, I was exhausted so my tolerance level was a bit low.
Our flight from Seattle to Atlanta was great.  Landry actually fell asleep right before we boarded and slept until about 15 minutes before we landed.  She did wake a few times in the flight but would only scream for about 5 minutes and then go right back to sleep.  I on the other hand was a mess.....I could not fall asleep that flight because I was holding her and was a bit afraid that when I went to sleep it would be a deep one and I would accidentally drop her.  So I just sort of dozed off here and there. We got off the plane and made way to baggage claim, where I could not wait to see my Braxton & Wyatt!

In the Atlanta airport you come up the escalator to baggage claim and as we rode that last leg of our trip my eyes began to well up with tears.  Tears to see my boys.  Tears to see our family and friends.  Tears that we had made it.  Tears that she was home.  Tears that we were home.  And tears to have our family whole again!

Here is a video clip of our arrival. The 43 sec mark is my favorite!  I just LOVE how Braxton and Wyatt are behind me hugging!  So darn cute!!!

Here are a few pics of our arrival!

My talented photographer friend, Channah, was also there and I can't wait to share those pics with you:)

Thank you again for all of your thoughts and prayers as we are home!!!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

So Long Guangzhou!

It is our last night here in Guangzhou and although our time here has been great, I am oh so ready to be home.  I miss the boys terribly and really want our life as a family of 5 begin in the comfort of our home on US soil.  We have had a great past few days filled with some fun adventures but we are both ready to have our normal again.

The  VPN connection has been terrible here so it has been hard to post so I will, once again, update you on the past few days...

On our Saturday night after our medical appointments we went out with all of the Lifeline families (there are 11 families) to Tekila Mexican....yes, you read that right.....we ate mexican in China and it was actaully pretty good!  Landry approved the chicken quesadilla and loved sitting in a highchair for the first time with us.

On Sunday we ventured out to the Jade & Pearl market.  This place was huge.  Unfortunately everything was wholesale so it was really hard to buy small quantities of anything.  Brett and I were cracking up because everything we wanted was either not for sale or WAY out of our price range....bummer!

Our guides did take us to a great pearl shop. There were hundreds of shapes, colors and sizes to choose from.  Just bags and bags piled on the floor.  You could purchase by the strand and then the jewelers would strand them for you depending on if you wanted a bracelet of necklace.

We picked out a necklace/bracelet set for Landry that we will give her when she is older. I also got a string of fish shaped pearls that I am bringing home to have a friend string for me.

We also went to an embroderied shop.  Brett and I typically will pick an art piece when we travel.  We love looking around our house filled with memories of places we have been.  Well, when we walked in we both set our eyes on this piece......until we checked the price.  $9,000.00......ummmm, that would be a no!

We then went to Chen Family Temple.  It is a museum that also has a few shops.

I loved this wall of lanterns at the entrance!

The carvings on the outside were amazing!

And Brett and I could not get over the detail on this ivory boat!

It was in the gardens here that Landry let Brett hold her for the first time.

Love my Guangxi mamas, Amy & Rachel:)

On Monday we headed out to Shaiman Island.  This was a very neat place that reminded me of New Orleans.  Cobblestone streets with courtyards and tons of little "mom & pop" shops.  It was a ton of fun...until the rain came and the crazy bolt of lightening that was way to close and way to loud!  We managed to get some shopping in and had lunch at Lucy's, which is known for their America Style food.  We had a burger that was pretty tasty!

We also bought Landry a few pairs of the famous squeaky shoes from Jenny's!

We tucked in the 7 Eleven to grab a cold drink before we left and I couldn't help to take a pic of the weird chip flavors that they have here!  The cucumber are actually pretty good and the lime have been my favorite!

This is the Garden, where we are staying.  They have been doing some rennovations here so it has been a bit noisy but we have made the best of it.  It is a great hotel and very close to a ton of restaurants.

As much as we love all of the excursions that are planned, we find that Landry does best when it is just the 3 of us in the room.  So we decided to back out of the dinner cruise tonight and zoo tomorrow.  As much as she loves being in the ergo, she does not like being in it for hours and it is just so hot here that we are all soaking wet after an hour.  Tonight, we ventured out on our own for a quick trip to the Canton Tower.

Canton Tower- 5th Largest Tower

It was so HIGH!!!

Like, so very HIGH!

We rode the bubble trams......they made me a bit weak in the knees!

Oye! Oh so crazy!

We plan on having a lazy day tomorrow before we take the train to Hong Kong in the afternoon.  We will probably have breakfast and then head to the pool for a bit.  We will then say goodbye to our new friends....or more like, see you later!  We are over the moon to start our trek home and bring our girl home!  We can't wait for everyone to meet her. We have really loved seeing how much she has changed in just one week.  It is amazing!  She has gone from being in complete shock last week to quite the ham this week.  

She does have her moments of grieving and they are hard. She can just be incosolable at times and it breaks my heart.  I just hold her tight and tell her how much I love her and that she is safe.  We are also able to read her better and know what makes her feel insecure and, strangers touching her or riding on the subway with a million people and rush hour, bad idea!

I will also forever treasure the friendships that I have made here.  It is amazing how we have all come together and been a true gift to each other.

I am not sure if I will update again until after we get home on Thursday.  Thank you to each and everyone of you! For your support, prayers and kind words.  We are so humbled by all that has been recieved. 

Please pray for safe travels with minimal interuptions and delays.
It has been an amazing journey.....thank you for helping us #bringlandryleahhome!

xo- Kelli