Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Find!


I picked these up yesterday at Home Goods for $4.99. Lexi just LOVES them! It's one of the few things that she will easily occupy herself with. As soon as the newness of them wear off they should be a great learning tool for animals and emotions. I saw that they have them at Amazon.com too. Of course, I have to only give her about 3 at a time. Otherwise, she drops them, steps on them and gets all irritated with herself. Flash cards just totally fit into her paper fetish! LOL!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Night, Night!


Okay, watching her grow is amazing! Just look at this photo.... she has a belly now! That was so not there in China! In the picture she was trying to comb her hair! She is still fitting best in 3 months bottoms (this is a 3-6 months Gymboree skirt and a 6 months Carter's top). Can you say adorable?


She has changed so much already. Well, tonight we were changing her together just before time to go "night night". All of sudden she started saying "night, night, night, night, night, night, etc..." so much so that she bit her tongue by accident. She started to cry and then began to laugh. We just were so excited to hear her! She can say Da-Da, MaMa, dah! (dog), a version of "thanks", no, ba ba (Chinese for Father), and kah (cat). Night, night was such a surprise and so sweet! The more she said it the more we laughed, the more she said it. I immediately called her Granny to see if she would keep saying it. She did but a little more quietly but loudly enough for her to hear. Then when she did actually go to bed, she said it again!

Night, night! Let's hope for a repeat performance tomorrow night.

Who Needs Little Tykes When you have a Kenmore??

Today was a very fun day. The rest of the details will be another post soon I promise! But once I got home, Lexi was so hungry. I fed her and she made a mess! So I decided to run the vacuum really quick. Lexi decided to help. It was so funny! Thankfully, she is not afraid of noise!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's not the answer but it was good...

I just have to say today was better than any other day this week. Geoff let me sleep in and he opted to do the morning duty with Lexi Jayne. He got her up, fed her breakfast, changed her morning dirty diaper and played with her as I slept. I did hear him on the baby monitor say "oh... you stink, this would be a good time for Mommy to wake up". (LOL!) But I just listened and let them go at it together. It is afterall the same thing I do everyday. After awhile of listening to them, I got up and found smiles from both of them! There is no better way to wake up in the morning! Geoff had to go in to work so I took over and he got ready for work. When it was time for him to leave, I watched Lexi as he left. She went to the window and waved goodbye. It was so cute!! And Smokey (the only male animal) was at the front door. He thought she was playing with him and then the two of them began to play at the front door. He's such a good cat!

I spend most of my day in the floor with Lexi. I let the laundry, the dirty floors, the dirty dishes and even bath time for me go and just let her be my guide. She had no melt-downs. She took a nap about 3 hours from the time she woke up (as usual) and then I could clean up morning dishes. We played. She actually left me in the living room floor and went to play by herself in her room. That was curious! It's as if it's okay if she leaves the room but not us. Then she took a nap in the late afternoon allowing me to get dinner started. When she woke up, I was in the middle of trying to make her homemade mac'n-cheese. She started to show signs of meltdown so I strapped her in the Baby Hawk and began to cook with her. She wanted her hands in everything but I survived and luckily about the time the chicken HAD to come out of the oven Daddy came home. I've never been able to get her to eat chicken other than fried nuggets but tonight was different! She gobbled it down and loved it! (the recipe is awesome and easy... http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Juicy-Roasted-Chicken/Detail.aspx#nutri-box) We also gave her her first ear of corn! She loved it too! She also loved the mac'n cheese which was no surprise. But I felt a great sense of pride that I finally made a chicken that she loved!

Daddy had to run out for more formula after dinner and Lexi opened mail with me. She loves paper and I gave her some handouts from Simulac. She was in heaven but unfortunately in her attention to the paper forgot about our step-down living room and just canned it on the floor. This sounds awful but to me was a good sign. Before when she would fall on the hardwood floor she would just "suck it up" in a cry or two. Before she would cry harder if I just simply put her down for a minute do something. Tonight she cried like crazy... like a child normally would. I comforted her and she then continued to play with her paper.

We have at least one thing to be happy with. She has been going down at night so quietly. We have a routine set in place from about day 3 home. We take all noisy toys away, turn the lights down low and bring out bedtime bear ( a gift from our agency CWA that we got a few days after we returned). After one night of a restless Lexi and me laying in the floor telling her she was okay most of the night , she began to trust us on sleeping. She used to cry up to 30 seconds or less but now after about a week, she just rolls over and goes to sleep when we tell her it is bedtime. I know it could change as there are so many triggers to past events in adoptive children but it does make at least part of our day easier.

So today, I got my shower at 7:30 pm... let the floors stay dusty... let the laundry go... let the dishes stay on the countertops and in return I got a happier baby. That's a trade I can live with.

We have so much more to learn and experience but I just had to share that we do feel being tuned to Lexi is the only way to go.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Naked Truth

This post is going to be a difficult one to explain. Geoff and I have been having deep discussions on Lexi's adjustment a lot lately. I've also been consulting with a lot of adoptive moms to see advice and learn from their experience. Before anyone even thinks it, I KNOW that all children are different and that all experiences are not the same but there are many commonalities and much to be learned from others. I preface this post with this just as food for thought as I make a very difficult post.

We have been having some adjustment issues with Lexi for the last few weeks. Perhaps it has been from the begining but only since we returned home and really began to focus on routines and adjusting as a family have we really noticed that there are many issues to tackle. We've realized (in hind sight) that we most likely did many things wrong. We read (or to be quite honest, mostly I read) about attachment and bonding with the adoptive child during our wait. I read about other people's experiences and did recognize many simularities. Our fault came from thinking that our adjustment would be easy. (you know it is kind of like the feeling that many feel about many things... the it won't happen to US mentality) We saw our happy little Lexi who was eagar to take to others as a sign that she was a "go with the flow" kind of girl. People see me out and tell me all the time how happy she is and how bonded she is with us. What people don't see is the behind the scenes reality. They don't see the screaming, over stimulated, grieving baby who doesn't understand what is happening around her.

I do believe that Lexi is beginning to bond with us BUT something is going on with her and parenting her has been difficult. One thing we have not done consistently that is a recommendation of experienced adoption professionals is the need to implement specific parenting approaches to help encourage a strong, attached, emotionally healthy daughter. Lexi needs to learn that we are her parents. She needs to feel nurtured and safe. She will not be used to having a mom and dad to love and care for her.

As strange as it may seem, adopted children who act very outgoing and affectionate with strangers is not a healthy thing. It is called "indiscriminate affection" and can mean that they haven't really attached to anyone. It would not be a good sign that our baby has attached to us if during her first months home she will let just anyone take her and hold her without searching for us. Geoff and I have seen Lexi do this at an alarming rate. She will go to practically anyone. In one of the books we are reading it states that when parents see their child seeking attention indiscriminately, they need to intervene quickly, firmly, and kindly. This behavior is pure and simple her using survival skills. From our observations, Lexi is acting mostly out of pure survival. She craves attention and most likely is fearful of being abandoned or having her life change YET again. We have NO real IDEA what she has endured during her short life. But we do know what how we interact with her and what we allow others to do will impact her future and hopefully she will blossom into a healthy child both emotionally and physically.

In the book we are reading now it tells you how to establish relationships. Lexi needs to learn and must be taught who her parents are and who will ultimately be the one she can rely on. It suggests the following interactions:

Parents and Siblings ~ hugging, kissing, sitting on lap
Extended Family ~ Blowing kisses, sitting close but not on lap
Friends ~ Shaking hands, sitting nearby
Acquaintances ~ Waving, but not touching
Strangers ~ Nodding, keeping near parents, no touching

We have been very consistent with us only being the one to feed her, pick her up from her crib when she wakes up, and changing and bathing. But we have not been consistent with letting others hold her. We plan to change this.

I anticipate that many people (those not familiar with attaching in adoption) will think we are being over protective. But honestly at this point, we can only operate on our feelings and advice from professionals who have studied adoption at length. Some people believe that all she needs is love and she will prosper. It is not that easy. Geoff and I fully accept that we have done many things wrong. We probably still will but just know we ARE going to work harder at it and are trying even more to educate ourselves even more. Lexi is what is important and if we happen to step on anyone's feelings in the process, I am sorry you feel that way. We must do what we need to for our daughter and not try to please everyone else. No one else lives with us and experiences the daily ups and downs. The past few weeks have been mentally and physically draining on me especially since I'm the primary caregiver for now. I dread leaving her to go back to work with her needing so much at this time but I do feel better leaving her in the care of my mom here at our house. I'm actually hoping that Lexi seeing me leave and come back every day will reinforce to her that her Mommy will never leave her.

So there you have it... the naked truth of how things are really going. Yes she is a beauitful happy little girl at times but there is more to the story and because we love her so much we will do everything we can to help her.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blast From the Recent Past

I have been going through some of the video we took while in China tonight and came across this. I wanted to post it while we were there but as so many things went un-posted so did this. Brennen was so much fun to Skype with in China! Sara said that everytime he heard the computer ring, he came running. The funny thing is the little guy never sits still but he would for us and boy would he talk up a storm!
video

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lexi's First Visit to Church


(I know, I know... I go days without blogging and then bombard you ... that's Motherhood for ya!)

Anyhow, we took Lexi to church today. She was such a big hit! So many people have prayed for us during the wait. To finally bring her to church was a dream come true. We didn't get down the hall before finding people who just couldn't wait to see her! We knew better than to try to confine her in a pew during the worship service so we let her Granny stay with her in the nursery. They gave us a beeper just in case she went into meltdown mode and I kept watching Geoff's pocket for it to go off.... finally during the last song, I slipped out to go to her. Turns out, our little one was (and I QUOTE!) "the best baby in the nursery"! They swore they were not just telling me that. She played with the other babies, she even shared! Mom ended up holding another baby instead of Lexi! She even surprised us and voluntarily reached out to Jimmy (the associate pastor) on her own. He was so funny and said, "she knows a Papa when she sees one!".


So afterwards we decided to brave the day and take her to the China Buffet. We have not taken her there since we returned and I wanted to show her to the owner's wife and all the sweet ladies there. They were so taken with her referral pictures and I've been eager for them to meet her. She did just fine! She even ate broccoli for lunch! She's a Mama's girl for sure!



When we got home she changed into a cute pair of overalls and her sun glasses!




These sunglasses were the source of bedtime crying last night. While looking for socks to put her Lexi's feet, Geoff found them and put them on her. Boy did she love them and came out just beaming! When we took them off for bed, she cried for them! She is so funny in them! I guess we'll be taking these out for our next walk in the neighborhood!

LJ is 14 months old today!

And on Tuesday we will spent one joyful month with her! After waiting so long, the time is flying! I thought I'd blog about all the wonderful changes in her...


* She now has 7 teeth and has 2 more on the way. She loves to brush them!


* Is not the cuddle bunny we thought she was going but be but rather a very active little firecracker!


* She loves stuffed animals, cars, stacking blocks, and has one favorite book already.


* She finally loves the bath after many screaming episodes. Now she screams to get IN the tub!


* She no longer has the "orphanage" diaper changing routine (legs straight up no wiggling) but now prefers for Mommy and Daddy to wrestle her.


* After the initial Jet-lag (about 3 days) she began to sleep all night. And I mean all night! 11-12 hours a night. She does wake occasionally and needs to be redirected to her washcloth but then goes right back to sleep. We put her down and she sometimes cries for anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute but then grabs her washcloth and teddy bear and that's it.


* She takes one to two naps a day. Two usually make her more fun in the evening so we try for two.


* She does not like to be rocked in the rocking chair. She'd rather be on the go with you right behind her.


* She likes the dogs and cats but they do not like her as much in return. Sable and Smokey tolerate her the best.


* She eats eggs, baby yogurt, applesauce, chicken nuggets (the only way she likes chicken so far), french fries, Hillshire farms Polish Kielbasa, Progresso Chicken Noodle soup without the juice, carrots, or chicken (so basically the PASTA!), mac'n-cheese, oatmeal, grill cheese sandwiches, green beans, rice, Goldfish crackers, and Nila wafers. We are working on adding to menu but she often will like something one day and refuse it the next. She did this with cantaloupe. Oh, and she will eat oak leaves!


* She will drink juice from a bottle but not a sippy cup.


* She says "Mamamamamma... mahma... Mamamamma... MAH-MUH!" repeatedly and tugs at your pants if you can't pick her up. This complete with the wonderful fake cry minus tears. Nothing works but picking her up to get rid of the Mama Monster! The Mama Monster always appears when Mommy is trying to do something that she can't do with Lexi such as use the bathroom or get ready to go somewhere. We're working on this one. Timing is the best help yet but that does not always work.


* She also can say "Baba" (Father in Chinese) but frequently says it when waving goodbye so I think she is confusing the words. She Waves Hello and Goodbye. Blows kisses and plays peek-a-boo. She also likes a good game of chase. She is babbling some kind of sounds that are new. She seems to understand everything we say to her. It's truly amazing! She has learned "NO" very well! LOL!


* Her walking has improved so much! She is really walking so well. The hunched shoulders are more relaxed and she falls a lot less frequently. She hardly ever cries when she falls and if so it's so brief. (hard head???) I've seen her cry harder because Mommy had to put her on the floor for a moment to do something besides hold her.


* She has the cutest little smile when we sees you in the morning! She also has learned to walk to the door when she hears daddy come home. That just melts my heart!


* She seems be signing "DaDa" but we are not sure if it is for real or not BUT she only has done it with Daddy so maybe she is getting it.


* She has learned about "OUTSIDE" and loves to play outdoors not doing much yet except walking around and eating oak leaves.


* She is doing great playing with Brennen and will let my Mom come over and do anything with her. This is wonderful since I only have two weeks left I go back to work.


So has our world changed or what in less than a month! I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been an adjustment. It has but we are doing well. Team work, being on the same parental page, lots of planning and most of flexibility. But we love her dearly and feel that she is a blessing straight from Heaven!


And if you made it this far reading this post... you deserve some cuteness! Here are a few pictures of Lexi I took one afternoon last week paying with her doll.









Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lexi's First St. Patrick's Day

Daddy was home with us today because of St. Patrick's Day. (His office is on the parade route so they always close on St. Patty's Day) Daddy let Mommy sleep and he fixed breakfast for Lexi. He even braved the YoBaby yogurt!


After Lexi's bath (her first in the tub!), we got her dressed in a green outfit that Daddy picked out!




Later in the day we changed and took a walk with the dogs. Usually Lexi will go to sleep on these walks, but not today! She was fascinated by the dogs! By the end of the evening, LJ was one tired little girl!


New Shutterfly Share Site

http://bringinglexihome.shutterfly.com/

I just started over and added all the pictures day by day of the trip. This has all the pictures! It was fun to relive the trip all over again!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Agenda for today: Visiting Daddy!

This morning we awoke in a panic. All parents experience this sooner or later but for us this is SOONER! We put Lexi to be around 9:00 pm. Around 11:00 she began to fuss a bit but Geoff went in and made sure she had her wash clothes. The next thing we know... the alarm is going off at 5:30. Geoff got up and I thought he was in the shower as I laid there and began to fuss with the baby monitor turning it up, listening intently to hear breathing in Lexi's room. Before I knew it, Geoff was rubbing my arm telling me "she's okay, she's still breathing, she's asleep". I was
SO relieved! I know at her age SIDS is not really a worry but it was so weird to NOT hear her during the night! So then the realization that our daughter is settling in and becoming more comfortable with us and her surroundings set in. What a wonderful feeling! She actually did not wake until 7:15! My Motherly internal clock has already been reset to 5:30 and I love to get up and begin the day with a cup of hot tea and just get ready for LJ to wake up. So after LJ wakes up, we spend a few minutes cooing and changing diapers and finally make it to the kitchen... then the fun begins...

Lexi LOVES breakfast and eggs! This morning after she had her eggs, I gave her some YoBaby yogurt with cereal and fruit. This girl wants to feed herself... so here is the proof!




Needless to say, bathtime was NEXT! We got Lexi all dressed cute for her first visit to Daddy's office. She was a bit reserved but did well letting everyone get a look at her. They are in the middle of tax season and EVERYONE was so open to a distraction from tax time paperwork! Here she is all dressed up for Daddy!



She is such a peanut! These are Carter's size 3 months Capri pants and size 6 months shirt! We are good as long as it's warm season and then I'm afraid we will need alterations to get her pants that fit!

When we came home from lunch with Daddy, I had my parents come over and babysit so that I could go to school and upload grades. They had a ball with her! Lexi has pretty much let my mom be a secondary mommy. I'm very happy about this since she will be taking care of her when I go back to work in 3 weeks.

Let's hope for a repeat performance of sleep tonight! She needs to rest up for her first visit from Grandpa and Grandma from Virgina!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Play Date With The Boys!

Sara brought the boys over to play today. Of course, Christopher Evan mostly slept but I did get his first picture in Lexi's pink high chair! Goodness knows that Brennen has had a many pictures taken in that chair! CE is getting cuter every day! He is a precious little baby!



Meanwhile, Lexi and Brennen played with the Clipo set. Lexi was more intrigued by the Tupperware container than the actual Clipos.




Brennen shared his trucks with Lexi and was really patient with her. This from a 20 month old with a short fuse was just precious! Brennen likes to line his trucks up just right and Lexi kept messing with them. He was a trouper though and shared!






It was fun to watch Lexi with her nephews! I know that sounds so funny! But she is an Auntie! I really enjoyed having BOTH my girls in the house with me today as well as both Grandbabies! Never in a million years could I have dreamed this up when I was 20 and about to give birth to Sara! But at this point in my life, it feels sooooo right!

And I close with one more picture of pure preciousness!




(Tomorrow... Lexi's first visit to Daddy's office!)

Motherhood the 2nd Time Around

Wow! It's almost 7 am and Lexi is asleep STILL! I've adjusted to the jet lag but since we've gotten her I've been up early and it seems now by 5:30 my Mommy Clock says it is time to get up. It's been a whirlwind of activity since we got home. I have become an awful blogger even though my intentions are to continue to document as much as I can. We continue to learn more about our precious daughter every day. I was very run down yesterday because she had a terrible night sleeping. I was in her room comforting her for hours. She is a very sleepy girl by 8 pm and although we try to get her to stay up until about 9 so she can have Daddy time sometimes her body just gives out and she will lay down and sleep. So we must let her go. She has even already fallen asleep in the high chair at dinner time!



We have established family dinner time. No TV on just concentrating on being a family and eating together. Geoff and I are on the "New Baby Weight Loss Plan". We eat a LOT less food at dinner time as we tend to Lexi. I made dinner Tuesday night and this is how it went. I made a spicy pasta for us and a pasta with chicken pieces in it for LJ. I made her the cutest little plate with her pasta, a few Lima beans, cut up tomatoes, and Mandarin oranges. I put Lexi in the high chair. She put a piece of chicken in her mouth, took it out and threw it at me. (This is what she does when she dislikes something or is "all done".) Then she ate a piece of pasta. Next she went for the Lima beans... threw them. Picked out the chicken...threw them. Just threw the tomatoes. Tasted a mandarin orange, spit it out and began throwing. I kept making a pile on a plate and during this time she decided the plate was a toy and tried to dump it. I transferred the foot directly to the highchair table. In the end, she ate PASTA. This girl tickles me! Meanwhile the dogs find this a glorious time because they are waiting for some flying food to hit the ground! This morning I tried to let her feed herself some applesauce. This was funny. She ended up with a spoon in each hand, applesauce in her hair, and all over her face. I ran interference with a third spoon!


Yesterday, we went shopping with Granny to buy shoes. Lexi tolerated her car seat extra well and just fusses when you put her in. We had to run to the Dr. to drop off stool samples (that's another story!) and let them look at her arm. She hates anyone in a doctors office that touches her! So then we headed to Stride Rite and bought shoes. She was a champ and loved trying on shoes! (A girl's got to have good shoes!) We bought two pair with one of them having strings. The sales lady tried to get me to buy these handy little things that cup over the strings so that little ones don't trip over shoe strings. They had bells so I said no. Well, we were not in the mall for more than an hour and little LJ had untied her double knotted shoe strings TWICE. So needless to say, we went back and bought the things! She loves her new kicks! Last night she walked all over the house in them. I guess they give her a lot more stability because boy did she go!!




We also visited FLE yesterday. Lexi was a HUGE HIT! She was a bit shy at first but then showed them her lively personality! She disappointed a few people there who wanted to hold her but at this point she refuses most everyone. This is a great sign though that she is bonding. She tickled me when she would tease someone and walk just to their grasp and then turn around and run to Mommy! Mrs. Moody's class had made me some beautiful signs and put them up in the Computer Lab. I will post pictures of them soon. I didn't have my camera with me yesterday. I thought they were super sweet to do this for us. The signs even had a few hidden hearts in them.

Motherhood is great the second time around ... 26 1/2 years later! We love Lexi so much and she has brought so much joy to our family. We are truly blessed to have this precious girl in our life!

This is "ALL DONE" Lexi!


P.S. I've been working on this post since 6:00 am. It's now 12:15 here. So I hope all of you who have been telling me you miss my posts... I hope you ENJOY! I am trying to get better!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lexi Vs. The Cheerios

This is the video I tried to upload in China... finally!
video

Sunday, March 08, 2009

We are home... what time is it again?

Hello all from Georgia!

We made it back in one piece... a little more tired and worn then when we started the trip as our Saturday went, but now it is Sunday morning and really breakfast time when we got up! What a change.

A quick recap of the trip back:

Our wake up call came at 5:30am and off we went.. With the baby still sleeping we got our showers and finally were ready for breakfast at 6:45am. The bell boy was called for the bags and down to breakfast we went. It is amazing how many people were not eating breakfast that early. It seemed like we were first. Wanda went to get her food and when I turned around our guide was standing there. Oh no I thought.. it is time to leave already.. flash backs of leaving Beijing were going through my head. She was just handing me our receipts from the trip and left us to eat breakfast. When Wanda got back to the table she told me she was thinking the same thing.

Off to the airport we went. We made our flight to Beijing and Lexi was pretty good on the flight. I don't think we could have asked for much more. She fell asleep on the way up and was a momma's girl. At the airport we met another couple that was on their way home as well. Turns out they had their guides flying back with them to help them through the airport. As we were trying to find our way through the Beijing airport, one of their guides offered to help us find our way to Terminal 2. That was a big help, I think it would have taken us a little work to find it ourselves. We got to the terminal and found our way to Continental counter. Another lesson learned on this trip... don't be afraid to ask for help. Wandering our way through the airport, we stopped at various people to ask for directions and things, all were very helpful. The representatives from Continental were very nice. The lady assisting us seemed to talk to Wanda for a while until we were completely checked in. Then off to the gate. The Beijing airport did not have much in the way of restaurants. The only one they had a variety of food and the most important food of all, french fries. We also noticed a child play area in the airport not far from our gate. So after eating we headed down their to try and give LJ a chance to stretch her legs. The thing is though, she only wanted to stay right with us. She didn't move around as much as we thought. Then off to the gate for the extremely long plane ride to the United States. The plane ride seemed to be like this over and over again... Lexi sleepy, goes to sleep in your arms... wakes up screaming.. lay down on seat.. Lexi turning and turning.. Lexi crying again (eyes still closed)... pick her up... walk the plane... sit back down... repeat... I don't think we could have asked her to try and be any better than she was. She just couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep on the plane. Poor mommy had to contort her body in more positions than she thought possible to try and keep LJ from rolling off the seat. It is amazing what you can do when you have to. Approximately thirteen hour later, we arrive in beautiful Newark, New Jersey. Thanks to the baggage people who didn't want to come get our stroller out, we were the last people to go through customs. Knowing that when Lexi passed through immigration, she would become an official citizen, we wanted to take pictures, but no pictures allowed. We didn't expect much going through the immigration process, and received even less. The conversation went pretty much like this... "Next"... "How long were you gone?" Twelve days... then a long pause as he went through the paperwork... stamp, stamp, stamp... "Ok, all done"... "Next"... I don't really know what we expected except, maybe a welcome back... oh, so you adopted a baby... congratulations Lexi on becoming a US Citizen... but we received nothing. Again.. at the airport everyone was very helpful.. pointing out where the elevators were, assisting with baggage re-checkin.. The airport was very busy though. We have to give a shout out to the nice man who was next in line at the airport restaurant, but stepped aside to let Wanda and the baby have the next available table. Again.. french fries were on the menu. Wanda had said all week, I can't wait to have a salad, I wish I could have a salad, then she for her first meal back in the US, she orders a pepperjack hamburger. Go figure. I think she was just being a great mom and sacrificed her want of a salad for the baby's need of french fries. Her salad will be coming soon though. Again, some more waiting and then we board for the final time. A nice gentleman switched seats with me, so we could all sit together, and then LJ turned into a momma's girl again. Staying in her momma's arms asleep for almost all of the trip home. Daddy did catch a little more sleep on the way home, and daddy probably slept more than mommy on the way home. We depart the plane quickly and go to change the baby into the beautiful dress the her granny bought her. As usual we were the last to get through the terminal. Wanda pushing LJ in the stroller, daddy pushing the cart for the luggage. As we make our way to the meeting area, I caught Jenna peaking around the corner and knew we were finally home. As we came around the larger column, LJ's aunt carolyn and granny were waiting with the quilt, and as promised wrapped her and Wanda up in it. Carolyn, Jenna, Richard and Granny and Papa Thompson were waiting for us. Along with a stranger they convinced to video tape us, and banners and balloons on the chairs. Lots of hugs, tears and general chit chat followed until we went to get the luggage. By the time we got their it was already removed from the carosel and was in the Continental offices. A final page was being made for us as we found the office and picked up the bags before the closed for the night. Now we headed to the car for the ride home. Wanda and LJ in one car, me in another and we were chouffered home, just like being in China again. Turns out that LJ does not like the car seat and after her stressful day, Wanda held her on the way home instead of forcing her in the seat. Another new thing for her to learn, starting Monday. We arrived back at the house to balloons on the mailbox and banners up at the house with a nice stork stating It's a girl. Everyone knows now! Everyone came in and spent a little time here unwinding befor heading home. Time for the three of us to finally settle in as a family in our new home. Gave the baby a bottle and she went down to sleep between 4:30 and 5:00am. Then mom and dad headed to bed after a few tears of our own. Mom took the first shift sleeping and dad got up with the baby who decided it was only nap time and not bed time. After a quick nap herself mom got up and spent more time with the baby. Dad headed to bed and must have been out of it. He didn't get up till 4:30 with the baby.. Mom had been up cleaning, unpacking and constantly checking on the baby, while catching a little bit of sleep herself. Mommy is the best.. sacrificing like always. Now time to adjust our clocks again and get back to east coast time.

It is good to be home again.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Last Post from China!

Here we are the night before leaving to come home! I can't believe how quickly the trip has passed. I've loved China in many ways. Of course, we have realized our dream come true here. We have tried to soak in as much of the Chinese culture as we can. I can with 100% honesty say that being here makes me want to learn even more. I love so much about it. The people here are very kind hard-working people. The work very hard for a living and everyone we came in contact with treated us with much respect. You have to admire those qualities in others. We are ready to come home and get Lexi in a routine at home and begin a normal family life. But we are really anxious about the long trip home. Hopefully Lexi will do fine.

We had our US Consulate appointment this afternoon and soon as Lexi goes through immigration on US soil, she will be an official US citizen! The process was very routine and seemed a formality. The biggest thing we have to remember is to NOT open the brown envelope they gave us. If we do we are in big trouble! It has to be opened in the US by US immigration officials. This was burned into our brains today. Lexi was fussy during the process and fussy while we packed and fussy before bed... so maybe all of her fussing is out for the next day and a half! LOL!! If not, I pity those who will be sitting around us!

Tonight our guide took us back to our favorite restaurant that we ate in while here in China... the Black Swan. It is known for its delicious dumplings. We enjoyed them very much as well as all the other dishes! Hopefully, when we return someday to take Lexi to visit her birthplace, we can return. We will come back someday. This is a very rich culture and very important to our daughter's heritage. We will forever be grateful to the Chinese people who were involved in our adoption.

And for now we sign off from China... we have an early wake up call and a long day ahead. So we will "see" you all on the flip side!!

Much love to everyone who has supported us before, during, and soon after Lexi-J Day!
Wanda, Geoff and Lexi

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

LJ vs. The Cheerios

Fever Update

Lexi woke up this morning with a 101 degree temperature. She had a red rash all around her tummy and was really miserable. She cried on and off all night and had to be soothed. She held her and let her sleep most of the morning and by early afternoon she started to become more like the Lexi we know. Our guide wanted us to take her back to the Physical Examination building again so she met us at 2:30 and we headed over. It was less crowded today and once one doctor took a look at her they multiplied to 4! I wish I could have taken a picture of the look on Geoff's face as they spoke in Chinese talking about Lexi's case. They look at her and the second any of them touched her, Lexi would cry like they were hurting her. The worst she had to endure was the ENT Dr. who looked down her throat. That one is scary! She wears a magnifying eye piece and looks down her throat. The woman could even scare me! After taking her temp, looking her over good, and consulting with each other a woman Dr. talked to me in English and told me that we were doing all the right things and to try to get LOTS of liquids in her. She and I discussed how the new Hague Convention rules require these vaccinations. She said that they disagree with the new policy and that they are keeping records to turn into the US to hope to eventually change the policy. She said it is too hard on the children. She said that about 10% of children react like Lexi has. Of course, Lexi's body was already fighting the food allergy so the shots may have just thrown her body into more turmoil. She is in better spirits this afternoon and is playing even with the little temperature. We have stayed in the room to avoid contact with other children for both their sake and Lexi's. It makes for a long day but she is worth it. We want her as well as possible for traveling on Friday... and of course, we want NO delays!! We are so ready to come home. Here is a video I took this afternoon while Geoff went to get me a Starbucks coffee. Lexi is quite a smart little one (if I say so myself! Not biased of course!)She is very coordinated and mimics things you do. Today I wanted to cut her fingernails and I just knew from observing her that if I showed her what the clippers do on me, that she would let me clip her nails. Sure enough, she understood and sat still to let me clip those long fingernails. This afternoon she made up her own new game with the Cheerios! I thought it was pretty clever but then again... her mommy can't find fault!

** Video coming... blogger is not cooperating from China. We've had trouble posting video and pictures!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Feverish Baby Tonight



Shots proved to be rough on Lexi Jayne. She woke from her nap this afternoon really cranky and irritable. I immediately knew that dinner out would not be a good idea so I called our guide. When we took her temperature it 100 degrees. We had given her Motrin right after we got back to the room so we had to wait awhile to give her more. We entertained her enough to get by but even the playroom tonight was too much for her. Her little thighs are sore and probably her arms too. She had two shots in one arm, one in the other, and one on each leg. We put her down early tonight but she keeps crying in her sleep. I have a feeling tonight will be a long night. It's heart breaking to see our little girl not feeling well.

We didn't eat dinner tonight but I did eat some of Fire Dragon fruit. I've never seen or heard of it before but they have it on the breakfast buffet here. I tasted it at breakfast one morning and it reminds me of Kiwi fruit but not as flavorful. The consistency to me is kind of like a cantaloupe. I like it a lot! I asked our guide what it is called and she told me it is Fire Dragon fruit and then the next time we saw her she brought me two of them. They are really a beautiful fruit. So after we put LJ down, I decided it would make a good dinner.

As I've pittled away tonight I looked it up on the Internet. Apparently this is a fruit that is gaining popularity. Check these out for more info. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_fruit
http://www.tropicalfruitnursery.com/dragon/

Paperwork complete(?)

I leave a question mark their only to say that we should be done, but until we get the call tomorrow, or no call will do too, that their are no questions about our paperwork from the consulate, we will be done! Today it was like I had never prepared paperwork on my own before. Line by line, space by space, what do I put for my name? I will say we brought more paperwork than we needed. The checklist we had must have been for the non-Hague families. Our paperwork we needed was much easier. Complete the checklist, then the application. The only thing missing was our original of the I-800, it arrived after we left and after the 7th correction was made to it. How hard is it to get the name right on a little girl that has 8 letters in it. Fix it in one spot, but not the next... blah, blah, blah. It should be alright though, the guides did not indicate that it would be a problem. For the next couple of days our guide will change, or at least our guide at the consulate will. Seems as if we are not the only one who is waiting on paperwork to be completed. Hopefully at this time tomorrow, we will be completely done with paperwork, at least for the moment. Can't forget the re-adoption in the U.S.!

Physical Examination Office... aka "The Bad Place!"














The medical exam day is one more milestone that prepares us to come back to the states. This morning we met our guide at 9:30 sharp and headed down to the Medical Examination office. On the way, we stopped and had Visa pictures made for Lexi. She did well and we were in and out in less than 4 minutes. Next we walked to the office. Inside was full of Chinese people doing basically the same thing ... getting things in order to travel. The office that they usually use for adoption examinations was closed for renovations so we had to stand in the crowd. Our guide was wonderful at navigating through the different steps but Lexi quickly became overwhelmed with the noise and people. There were signs all over the place that said "be quiet" but just like a few of my classes at school... no one listened. It was not long before Lexi was crying that same disturbed cry she has a crowded dinners. We had disturbed her morning nap to begin with and had woke her for the visa picture and here we were overwhelming her with temperature check, weight (16lbs fully dressed) and height(27inches) checks by some nurses and the a dr. to listen to her heart beat... yet another to squeak a toy on each side of her ears to see if she could hear and then pry her mouth open to check her throat... another to check her skin (so thankful he paid no mind to the rash!) By this time Lexi was so upset she was crying and would not stop for anything. Finally, we covered her with her blanket and she found some peace. She started to nod off again and calm down and then came the rest... SHOTS! 5 of them! This time several nurses and I worked together. I had to hold her legs between my legs to keep her from kicking. The nurse seemed to take forever as Lexi cried, screamed, lost her breath, and turned red over and over again. By the time Lexi was finished we were both crying. I gave her a bath of tears flowing all over her precious little head. When it was finally over we covered her head again, held her close and began the soothing process. I have not gotten her daddy to own up to it, but I think he had tears in his eyes as well. I cried more today than on Lexi-J Day. I couldn't bare to see my daughter in such distress. We had to wait another 30 LONG minutes in the office to make sure she had no allergic reactions. Thankfully, there was none and we took her back to the hotel. Her Daddy fixed her a bottle, she drank it and I pushed her in the stroller until she fell asleep. Finally getting her nap and finally able to settle down.

I will let Geoff post the next part of the morning... last bit of paperwork!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Baby Bottle Lexi

video

Photo Link

http://bringinglexihome.shutterfly.com/

This is a link to Shutterfly where we have been trying to upload our daily pictures. We are still behind but there is PLENTY to see.

Will we ever get caught up??

We know we are missing a few days... blogging in China is a struggle. We are always so tired by the time Lexi goes down that we just go right behind her. I am up tonight I guess because I napped with Lexi this morning. Yesterday was the roughest day of all for me. By the end of the night I was in Mommy Meltdown and could barely hold myself together. We have been sight-seeing daily since we got Lexi and it is wonderful but.... BUT it is also hard as you try to adjust to a baby that you are only beginning to know as well as a baby adjusting to US. We are only now understanding her routines and are working hard to keep her on a schedule but yesterday was like this...

We got up Skyped with family as we tried to get ready for breakfast. It takes us so long to get ready in the mornings because we are always talking and showing off our little dream come true. Once again, we ended up rushing to breakfast and then to meet the guide. We drove to a local park and walked around with the baby enjoying the beautiful scenery and enjoying watching the Chinese families play in the park. We also watched brides doing photo shoots. It was peaceful. UNTIL lunch. Lunch was delicious (don't even ask me what we ate but we ate) but Lexi has been going into Baby Meltdown in restaurants. We managed to get out without too much disruption but it was difficult. We brought her back to the hotel and pushed her in the stroller until she began to nap. I went right behind her and napped as well. Then we met our guide around 6:30 for dinner. We drove to the restaurant. One the way I knew she was on her way to meltdown. I knew it was coming and when it comes there is no stopping it. As soon as we sat down, LJ started. She cried and cried and cried. Nothing worked. Not the bunny that she uses to comfort herself... not the crackers she loves... not sitting in Mommy's lap (and there's no point in even trying Daddy when she reaches this point). The guide tried... the waitresses tried. Lexi just cried and cried. No tears just crying and slapping at my face. I was so upset but I was trying to contain myself. Lexi only stopped crying when we got up to leave. The meal seemed to last forever and ever!!!! By the time we got to the hotel I was the one in tears. Geoff took Lexi to play and I called my Mom. I needed her soothing voice and advice to calm me! You are never too old to listen to you mom! I emailed my friends who have their children and confirmed my suspicions... crowded loud rooms are too much stimulation for Lexi. She is not used to it and regardless of weather she enjoyed or orphanage or not, she is grieving for her "life". She has not known anything else and suddenly here we are taking her away from the only life she has ever known. Geoff got her to bed and let me calm my self as I was so upset and just needed a break. She went to bed without a peep.

So today... we began with lessons learned. Less Skyping and making the Skype sessions shorter. Taking turns more often and we cancelled our sight-seeing for today. Instead, Lexi and I went back to bed after breakfast and rested. Lexi sat in a high chair at the White Swan for the first time today so we tried it again at lunch at Lucy's. Lucy's is also a calm place to eat (like the White Swan) and there she sat in the high chair again. She is like her Daddy and loves french fries! Afterwards, we headed to the playroom again and played until we had to go get a diaper change. Later we walked around the hotel taking pictures of all the beautiful things here. Lexi gnawed at an apple and finally fell asleep in the stroller for another nap. I agreed to go to dinner with the guide but this time on my terms... we stayed on the island and went to a quiet Italian Restaurant. Again, Lexi sat in the high-chair and happily munched on another apple. Then we headed back to the playroom again.

She went down easily again tonight and I think we ALL feel calmer and more relaxed. I have learned that although Lexi appears to be doing well and is bonding with both of us, she has a way to go to get past this major change in her life. I pray that our flight home will not upset her. Crowded noisy places seem to push her over the edge and then she does all that she knows to do to deal with it which is cry and hit. Today she was a happy little girl all day and that made me feel so much better. I knew there would be rocks in the road in adoption but I really don't think anything, or anyone can prepare you for it fully. You can only take it one day at a time and sometimes... minute by minute. But I can with 100% certainty say... she is worth it!

Now for some random cuteness!


We bought this outfit a shop here on the Island. It is hard to believe our little peanut can wear size 3 months! Here she is with her Lexi Lion that we bought her from Pottery Barn Kids a few years ago.

This girl loves her stacking blocks!

This girl can make a toy out of anything!

There's nothing cuter than a sleeping baby! Especially our sleeping baby! Let me pinch myself to make sure this is still real!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Been Waiting to Do This for a Long Time!

Hair Bows and Hats! The weather here is GZ has been so hot and humid all week until yesterday. Yesterday (Saturday, Feb. 28th) we got Lexi dressed for the day in an outfit we bought at a Chinese store here on Shaiman Island. Everything we brought for Lexi to wear does not fit. We have ONE outfit (PJ's) that fits pretty good. So we have been looking for things that do fit and making do with what we have. Well, we dressed her in a spring/summer outfit and then headed downstairs to learn that a cold front had come through and it was cool outside. We were headed to tour a Buddhist Temple so we took her back in and changed her. I got to pull out the hat that I ordered from Gymboree that I just HAD to have for her. Talk about cute!









Then today we woke up to even cooler weather so we not only needed a sweater but a blanket over the sweater. I pulled out a 6 months Carters velour outfit and put on her. Like everything else it was too big but we made do by rolling sleeves and pants up. I finished off her cute little outfit with one of the cute bows I brought with us. Adorable!



Frog Face Lexi!


Fun in the Playroom!


And finally this pictures shows what we are talking about when we say she is little...


In 6 months pants, we have a really hard time getting them to fit her hips. It's hard to believe that a 13 month old baby could be wearing 3 months clothing but she is. I'm not worried as anyone can see she is doing well. She is healthy, developmentally on track and I'm sure she will grow quickly once we are home but she will always be petite.