Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chinese New Year - 2013

Year of the Snake

We attended the Chinese New Year event that is sponsored by my employer.  We have gone to this the last several years and love it!  The kids look forward to this every year.  The neatest thing about this year's event is that the Shaolin Temple Kung Fu warriors were there as the main event.  The boys wore their shirts that Michael got them at the Temple only a month ago and were able to speak with some of the warriors after the show.  The warriors are all from the Henan province, but now train here in the U.S.  The boys LOVED the warriors and Bella LOVED the dancers.  The food was great and we were joined by some friends as well.  We had a really fun time and all of the kids ran from booth to booth to check everything out.  I think Eli enjoyed the food the most.  Here are a few pics from the evening ...

Bella thought the headpieces on these dancers were so neat!

Kung Fu Warriors - spear to the throat

Bella and Elyse

Keenan and Aidan with the Kung Fu Warriors

 Lion Dance

The kids ready for the show

Aidan, Bella and Keenan

Year of the Snake

Vanessa, Jonah, Heather and Eli

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Love All Around

So maybe we are a few days after Valentine's Day, but I just had to share the wonderful surprise that Michael, Aidan and Keenan did for me. After school, the boys disappeared upstairs and were very busy with something. I didn't ask because I could tell it had to do with Valentine's Day. That, and because Keenan told me not to do anything for dinner. His words, "Trust me. Don't make anything for dinner." When Michael got home, Bella, Eli and I were told to go upstairs and wait. About 20 minutes later an appetizer was delivered to us. Then a few minutes later, I was led downstairs by the most adorable waiters I have ever seen. The dining room was lit all over by candles and set for all of us. The waiters served a delicious meal. We had appetizers (sushi and some wings - 2 of my favorite things). We had salad from Deweys. Then we had baked potatoes and steak. Graeters was our dessert. Everything was delicious!!

Here were my waiters ... too cute! 
Dinner!  (I would have dressed up a little more if I would have known.)

Our sweet Valentines ... it is VERY hard getting them all looking and smiling at the same time!

Keenan and Eli

Eli really hasn't gotten the concept that he really is not supposed to ride this truck

When sis is at school, we have fun with her toys!

We have been keeping VERY busy, hopping back into almost everything.  Eli had a couple more doctor appointments today and was awesome considering we were there for 3 hours.  He has gained another pound (that makes 4 in the last 4 weeks!).  He is starting to slow down on eating a bit.  I think he realizes that he is offered plenty of food and does not need to eat everything in sight.  He has also become very good friends with our dog.  He "shares" his food with her ... isn't that nice??

We just got done with a 4 day weekend off of school.  We had a great weekend ... both boys had a sleepover (Aidan went somewhere and Keenan and his friend stayed here).  He had more visitors from Aunt T and Uncle BB and cousin Addy.  I took the older boys on a little date to the movies and also got to see one myself with a friend.  We still are trying to figure everything out.  Little by little, we are getting there (I think). 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ups, Downs and All-arounds

I cannot believe we have had Eli for 3 weeks, yet it somehow feels like he has always been with us.  We have been home a little over a week and the first several nights were ROUGH!!  He was not sleeping well, so we weren't sleeping well.  He would cry out frequently and we would get him settled down in time for him to cry out a few minutes later.  We first put him to sleep in a pack n play in our room.  After a couple of nights, he figured out how to climb out!!!  We could not believe this!  We then put the crib up in our room and put the crib right next to the bed hoping that if he could see us that this would soothe him.  So far, that seems to have helped.  He has slept through the last few nights and we are finally getting some rest too.  (Although, I wake up sometimes anticipating him getting up.  Crazy, I know.)
This little guy (aka "Little Dude" ... name given to him by Keenan) is one happy boy!  He LOVES his brothers and sister and is just so happy all of the time.  He has learned to throw temper tantrums, however, and we do see these when we take food away from him.  He loves his food and has eaten everything we have given him, except cucumbers.  He is into everything!  He enjoys all of his new toys and also enjoys ripping magazines, climbing onto the couch and emptying the tupperware drawer in the kitchen.  He does not like it when he does not know where I am at, but that seems to be getting a little better as long as one of his siblings is around or he has a new activity to keep him occupied.  He loves splashing in the tub and he thinks it is soooo funny when he gets water in his face. 
This is NOT the same kid that was handed to us 3 weeks ago.  I am amazed at this little boy and how he fits in perfectly into our family.  He is sweet and set in his ways like his oldest brother Aidan; is a momma's boy and is sneaky like Keenan; and is ornery and silly like Bella.
When he came to us, he could stand and walk along things and also take a few steps when prompted.  Now he is really walking all over the house and thinks it is so funny when he is walking towards us that he laughs so hard that he falls over. 
When he first met our dog Lulu, he did not like her.  We think it is mainly because she is a small dog and would get in his face.  He now does not seem to mind her and even tries to play with her.
We are trying to find our new normal with 4 kiddos.  We have jumped into our routine and Eli has done amazing going along with the flow.   
He had his appointment with the International Adoption Clinic at Children's today.  Since our medical appointment in Guangzhou, Eli has gained 3 pounds!  (Not surprising with all the food he has been eating.)  He really turned on the charm today with the nurses and therapists at the hospital.  He had a TB test, 2 shots and had 11 different vials of blood taken.  Some of the bloodwork is to see what vaccinations he truly has had and to determine what he still needs.
We have also had a lot of family come to visit with Eli.  He does better as long as we are home right now.  We think this shows he is comfortable here.  Here are just a few pictures from the last week ...

Bella pushing her brother around the house.

Eli with Grandpa and Grandma

Eli napping with Grams

Being "cool" with Papaw

Blue eyes Keenan
All the boys taking a ride

Such a cutie!

Saturday, February 2, 2013


We are HOME!  After traveling so many hours and losing track of what time zone and where we were, we finally made it home last night.

Our day started out by taking a van from our hotel in Guangzhou to the Hong Kong airport.  We were warned that the drivers were fast, but oh my gosh, were they!  We reached speeds of more than 145 kilometers per hour.  We were weaving in and out of traffic and on the left hand side of the highway, there is no shoulder, only a concrete wall.  I think I prayed the entire time.  I kept thinking, we made it this far, please do not have an accident now.  And remember, there are no carseats for little ones, so we held on tight to Eli.  The trip between the 2 cities took a little over 2 hours.  We were able to see more of Hong Kong as we drove through (at much more reasonable speeds).  It looked beautiful ... someplace I really would like to go back to visit.  Mountains and water surrounded the city. 

We had some time to hang out at the airport and "try" to wear Eli out a little.  Once on the plane, Michael and I had great seats.  We were in bulkhead and we had a bassinet for Eli.  We had a lot of room considering.  Eli did great on the flight.  He did not cry, but he laughed a lot and he laughed loudly.  This would have been just fine if the entire plane wasn't trying to sleep.  None of us got a lot of sleep, which may have worked to our advantage. 

We had a wonderful welcome home.  Family and friends joined us at the airport with lots of smiles, hugs, signs and balloons.  It was so sweet of everyone and we thank everyone for coming out and meeting our new little guy.  We thought he might be shy, but he showed everyone his smiles and love for playing peek-a-boo under his blanket.

We grabbed dinner with family and then headed home.  Eli did great in the carseat considering this was the first time he was ever in one.

Since none of us slept much on the plane, we all went to bed easily when we got home.  Eli got up a couple of times in the night, but slept most of the night and so did we!!  I hope that we get him on this timezone quickly so we all can rest and catch up.

This morning all of the kids have been playing with him and showing him all of his toys, his room and all around the house.  I am not sure what he thinks of this place.  I wonder if he thinks we will be leaving here again soon since each hotel we have stayed has only been for about a week and then we have gone somewhere else.

The kids all love him and keep saying how cute he is.  Bella asked if we could keep him.  She has been a little more timid around him and attached to us, but we expected this.  Here are some photos from the last couple of days.  I will continue to blog, but it won't be everyday.  Thanks to everyone who followed our journey and encouraged us along the way.  And thank you to everyone who helped out with the kids while we were gone.  We COULD NOT have done this without you!!  Much Love to you! 

Our first Half Dozen picture

Sweet friends welcoming us home

Keenan and Eli cuddling last night when we got home

And playing this morning

Eli loves his oldest brother, Aidan, who has been a HUGE help since we returned home.