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