We spent the weekend traveling through North Carolina visiting my grandmothers, aunts, and cousins. My mom and her friend, Maggie, also joined us today for lunch. We had a great time, but we are exhausted. We stayed in our camper but traveled each day to visit family in a different part of the state. Anna Grace did great on her first weekend away from home, and she was happy to sleep on the bottom bunk in the camper. We were worried about how she would do in the car that long, but she was okay as long as we had lots of snacks and sang endless rounds of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee."
When we got home we discovered that Alex's hamster had escaped- again. She had moved her Poptart box across her cage and shoved a bunch of shavings and chew toys under it so that she could reach the hole in the top that she chewed the last time she escaped. Fortunately she was hiding behind the towel basket in the corner of the boy's bathroom- the same place she hid last time we went camping for the weekend. If you haven't read about the adventures of Alex's hamster, you might enjoy reading my post from September 2009. Alex has one adventurous hamster!
Mike and I also celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary yesterday. We could not go out for a romantic dinner this year since Anna Grace is not ready for a babysitter yet, but we enjoyed our family time in the mountains. We left our camper at the camp ground and will be back next weekend for the 4th of July golf cart parade, cookout, and fireworks over the lake.
- Juggling 3 kids is much harder that juggling 2 kids. I have actually left the house once without my makeup and once without my shoes! I need to spend a little more time looking in the mirror!
- Ironing little girl's clothes is harder than ironing little boy's clothes. There are so many more ruffles and pleats!
- A little girl can never have too many hair bows. We have a least 50, and we still need more!
- Anna Grace thinks she must wear Cole's bike helmet while riding the plasma car (a plasma car is a very low to the ground riding toy).
- The dog does not really need a bath every week. Every other week will do.
- A 2 year old who does not speak English can actually boss a dog around a make him get into his kennel!
- A messy house means that it has actually been a productive day (I am still coming to terms with this one!)
- Anna Grace thinks it is necessary to take off anything she can while riding in the car- every time. There is no point in putting on shoes or hairbows until we get to where we are going.
- And while we are on the subject of riding in the car, little girl's dresses get very wrinkled in the car seat. I should just wait to put them on when we get to where we are going (because I have just ironed all of those ruffles and pleats!)
One month ago today you joined our family. It was such a special day- your birthday, but you were so scared and sad. You had a large gash on your forehead, dog bites on your leg, and you needed a good bath. Still, we could tell that you were loved by the way that you were grieving. You were so sad and you broke our hearts in the way that you kept crying for your foster mama. Our hearts ached for the pain that you were going through. We fed you, held you, and did our best to make you happy.
In the month that you have been with us, you have learned so much and had so many new experiences. You have grown to love us, just as our hearts have filled with more love for you than we ever thought possible. You traveled all the way across the world to a new country, met your new brothers, and you were introduced to new family and friends. You have learned to climb the stairs to your room by holding Mama's hands, started sleeping in your own little bed, discovered how to work puzzles, and starting speaking many words in English. Just this morning as I was getting dressed for church you made me laugh as you were standing in my bed with nothing on but your t-shirt, diaper, and a pair of pink sunglasses dancing to the Wiggles on TV. You love to dance to the songs that we sing at church, and you love to try new American foods. You have gained a full pound since we have been home from China!
We hope you will continue to grow and thrive. We pray that you will be happy in your new life and that you will learn to know and love God. We want you to have pride in your birth country and embrace your new life in America. God gave us such a special gift when he allowed you to enter our lives, and we will never forget what a blessing you are.
We have been home for a little over a week now, and we are finally getting into a daily schedule and life is settling down a bit. Anna Grace is doing great. She continues to bond more and more with Cole and Alex each day. She really enjoys playing with them and learning how all of her toys work. She is sometimes very clingy during the day, and she wants me to carry her around the house as I am trying to do dishes or laundry. However, the boys have been happy to give me a little break. Anna Grace enjoys playing with her brothers in her room for a little while.
We have given up on putting her in a crib, and she is happily sleeping in a toddler bed. She sometimes rolls out of it even though it has little bed rails part of the way down the sides. But, when we say it is time for bed she says "night-night" and gives her best attempt to climb in. I sit with her while she falls asleep each evening and afternoon.
She enjoyed going to church for the first time on Sunday. She loved the music and all of the attention everyone was giving her. Cole and Alex have been going to Vacation Bible School in the evenings this week. I have been staying for the first part with Anna Grace so that she can watch the music portion. She has been trying to do the hand motions, dances along with the other kids, and claps her hands at then end of each song. It is so cute to watch her. I know that she will enjoy staying for Vacation Bible School next year when she is old enough.
We had our cardiologist appointment this morning, and Anna Grace's heart seems to have a complete repair. She was really scared when they were trying to get good images of her heart, and they were unable to get lots of good pictures. However, the doctor said the surgery was good and he will see her back in a year. We feel like this is really great news!
Anna Grace is really enjoying getting to know her brothers. She loves to play with them, and she watches their every move. This morning I asked Alex to take away a piece of candy from her and she started yelling at him in Chinese. She chased him around the house with her little finger pointed at him demanding her candy back! She is going to fit right in!
Mike is feeling a little better today, but he went to the doctor for his cough. He started back to work this morning. I was finally able to get an "almost good" nights sleep last night, so I am getting back my energy.
I am finally able to post a bunch of pictures. The first pictures were all taken in Guangzhou. It is a tradition in Chinese adoption to take pictures of the kids sitting on the red couches in the White Swan Hotel. All of the kids wear traditional Chinese clothing for these pictures. The birthday pictures were from the little party that my mom and the boys had for Anna Grace on Sunday.
Thanks to much to my friend Stacey for providing hairbows!