Tuesday, January 31, 2012

18 months check-up {Wyatt}

Wyatt finally made it in for his 18 month check-up.  He weighed 28lbs and measured 35 inches.  But I knew that was wrong since he’s shorter than Ella and she’s 33 inches.  So we re-measured at home and he was 32.5 inches.  Either way, he’s still off the charts for height and head.  And 90% for weight.  She said he’s proportionate so that’s all that mattered.  And he’s slimming down (which seems hard to believe, but we are starting to notice). 
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We talked about his speech, or lack of speech.  She wasn’t concerned but said there’s no need to wait and see what happens so we will be doing a speech evaluation thru the state.  (which means it’s free!)  She said they will decide what needs to be done and if needed do therapy at home.  Woohoo!  I’m just ready for him to talk, and I know he’s frustrated and ready to let it all out.  No telling what he’ll tell us once he lets loose.
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Poor guy had to get 2 shots and he was not happy.  Plus he has a cold so he was pretty miserable.  Good thing we got some donuts afterwards to make me him feel better.  He does have my sweet tooth!
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Monday, January 30, 2012

one month home

I cannot believe Ella has been in her forever home for an entire month!  Just 12 weeks ago we learned about this sweet girl and now I have 3 littles sleeping under our roof.  2012-01-14 (2)

When we landed and came home I had no idea how the first month would go.  I had read good and bad reports and was prepared for anything (actually, I had prepared for it to be really bad).  But we are doing great!  I’m not saying having 3 under 3 is easy.  It is not, it is exhausting!

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But Ella is doing GREAT.  I feel like she’s bonding and attaching well to both of us.  We have a ways to go, and I’m sure there will be some setbacks on the way.  But for being home such a short amount of time she is settling in well. I honestly think part of it is because Will was with us in China.  I think he made her feel comfortable and she probably decided if he liked us then she could too. She LOVES her brothers.  Wyatt drives her nuts most days but they are always playing together.  And some days they are very much like twins. 

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Will and Ella get along great too.  Will loves having a sidekick to boss around.  And she is happy to have someone to follow around.  I can’t even imagine her being an only child, somehow it just suits her personality to have brothers.

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She is quickly warming up to me.  Once Chris went back to work she had no choice but to be friends with me.  She often asks me to feed her or hold her.  She does great for me during nap time. She gives me lots of smiles and laughs too.  And just this week she has decided Mom & Dad are pretty equal, so we are getting there.

She has also decided to come out of her shell a bit more this week showing her defiant side.  I was hoping her well-behaved self would stick around a bit longer but the good news is that she feels safe enough with us to mis-behave so we’ll take that as a positive (I guess).2012-01-18 (71)

We have a lot of learning to do together.  But we have come along way in a short amount of time.  I honestly cannot imagine her not being in our family now.  I cannot believe we waited so long but I cannot imagine Ella being any one other than Miss ChunWei. 

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When I look around the table now, I no longer see that one empty seat.  That is a GREAT feeling!

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Happy One Month Home Ella Wei!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

CNY 2012

We celebrated the year of the dragon with our old FCC friends.  Back when we were a waiting family, and had NO kids, we attended a few CNY celebrations.  We had intentions of bringing Will but never made it.  We were thrilled to know we’d be back from China in time to attend CNY this year.  We had a great time catching up with old friends, and meeting some new ones.


The kids ran and ran and ran (oh, how quickly the fell asleep Saturday night). And played some dragon games, and played with some new friends.

DSC09585Ella did great.  We were worried about the crowds and noise but she did great.  It also helped that her friend Audrey and Rachel were there too.  Once she warmed up she had them doing laps with her.


This was the best picture we could get of our family.  Will refused to be a part of the picture.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ella’s FAQ

Does she speak English?  This is the #1 question…..nope, she does not speak English yet.  She’s still speaking Mandarin.  (You can imagine how our conversations are going...)  But she does understand 50-60% of what we say.  And she can follow a lot of our instructions. She will repeat/mimic anything we say, but she’s not recalling words voluntarily yet.  She calls me Mama (Mama is also Chinese for Mama, so that was easy) and calls Chris “BaBa” which is Chinese for Dad.  She calls Will “Guh Guh”, Chinese for big brother and Wyatt “Di Di” which means little brother.  She calls Gus “Go” which means dog.  And Willie-cat is “mao” which means cat but sounds like meow. 

Where is Ella sleeping?  This is a common question, especially from those that have adopted/are adopting.  She is sleeping with us, in our bed.  In China she slept in the crib but once we got home she cried in the middle of the night and ended up in our bed.  But even in China, she started out in our bed and then we moved her to her crib so I guess it’s natural that she’s sleeping with us.  We had zero expectations going into this.  For 2 years and 4 months she has had no one to rock her to sleep so we are letting her sleep wherever makes her most comfortable.  We know this is a hard adjustment for her.  I think if she was younger it’d be easier to have her sleep in her own bed, but she’s 2.5 and we’re just making it work.  Hopefully once she is in a good place we can work on moving her to her own bed.

What does she eat?  Still fruits, veggies, eggs and noodles.  We are trying hard to introduce new things but it’s slow going.  She needs some protein in her diet and we are trying hard to find it.  She is not a fan of PB or chicken/white meat.  So far she has refused pancakes, oatmeal, most cereal and sandwiches.  Along with dozens of other things.  She still has her sweet tooth though.  Too bad we can’t communicate yet with her about how a bribe works.

What size is she?  She currently weighs 25lbs and is 32.5 inches tall (I didn’t trust the drs measurements and re-did them.  Mine are right.)  This puts her into 18 month clothes.  She’s very tiny.  She could probably wear 12m pants but I’m keeping her in 18m because the tops fit better.  But I found out today that some of the skirts/dresses I have in 18m are super long so I guess I have some hemming in my future. 

I have tons more FAQ about Ella, but I will save those for another day.  Here is Miss E in an outfit from her cousin, Gretchen.  She added her own accessories.  She is into hats big time! 


Monday, January 23, 2012

the year of the dragon

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! Happy Chinese New Year!

While we were in China we saw the beginnings of the CNY dragon decorations.  It would have been wonderful to see them all finished.

We are not celebrating at home this year but plan to celebrate with our FCC friends this weekend!

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

sifting through the footage…

I (chris) finally had a chance to start pulling together all the videos we shot in China, and there’s a LOT. A little over 90 minutes, to be exact. When I began the task of editing it all down to a manageable, shorter length to post here on the blog, I found it nearly impossible. I didn’t want to cut anything out, as I want to remember everything about the trip – good, bad, happy, or sad.

So the plan is to pretty much leave it all as-is, and post it as three separate parts, around 30 minutes each. (For those with short attention spans, don’t worry. As you watch the videos, you should be able to fast-fwd or skip ahead by pointing to the video and dragging the little play indicator to the right!)

The first part should be ready soon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

a quiet week

I have lots to say, but too tired to write it all out.  We’ve had a very good, but quiet week.  Still hibernating.  We tested the waters earlier this week (unintentionally) and looks like Miss E is not ready for loud, crazy or crowded yet.  To see her totally shut down the rest of the day was hard to watch.  Thankfully she woke up the next day back to normal.  Two steps forward, one step backwards.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {synchronized napping}

Sunday, post-lunch

This is only possible in the car for Mister Wilson.


Monday, January 16, 2012

4 weeks of sweet E

4 weeks ago Monday we met Miss Ella for the very first time.  While we had known about her for 8 short weeks, she knew nothing of us.  This wide-eyed little girl, wearing Garfield shoes, was not very sure of us. But we were so excited to meet her!

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I CANNOT believe it has been 4 weeks!  I have added the days up over and over and it is 4 weeks Monday, and a month on the 19th.  She has come a long way in 4 very short weeks!  I am so proud of how far she’s come.  She is still timid, still fearful but she lets her little light shine a lot.  I know 6 months from now I will look at these pictures and again say that she has come so far from that first month.

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She is showing us as much love as she can.  And I know the first hugs, kisses and I Love You’s will be well earned and such a joy to receive.  I cannot wait!SONY DSC

And by the way, it’s only been 11 weeks since we saw our very first picture of Miss ChunWei.  I still cannot believe what all has happened in 3 short months!  Never did I imagine this holiday season would include adding a daughter.

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God has certainly blessed us with this sweet girl.  And I cannot wait to see where this journey takes us.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wyatt {18 months}

With all of the excitement going on Wyatt’s 18month birthday slipped past me!  Mister Wyatt is into everything!  He loves to be doing what everyone else is doing.  Eating, playing, running, screaming.  SMILING is his big thing.  He can give the cheesiest grins, just go up to him and say “cheese” and you’ll get this little face.

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I feel bad that there is so much going on, I’m afraid that Wyatt is getting overlooked.  Though he certainly does not act like he is.  He just seems to go with the flow most days.  He is happiest when his brother or sister is paying attention to him.  Lately it seems Will is playing nicer with Wyatt, I think having a sister softened him up a bit.  The other day I caught Will helping Wyatt up into his chair to watch a show.  They sat side-by-side for the longest.  I pray that they can develop a true friendship one day, though right now that seems like a far off dream. 

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Wyatt is still just saying a few words.  Bye Bye being his favorite.  He tells everyone that has been to our house Bye Bye a million times.  And he will say bite bite and night night.  He likes to repeat things.  And he says Ella in the sweetest voice, kinda sounds like Lel-la. 

And speaking of Lel-la, I think the two of them are going to be the best of friends once he stos crashing her photo shoots and learns to share a bit.  They can play so sweetly together when they want.  I can’t wait to see how their relationship grows.  And if they truly start acting twin like.  (Ella is teaching Wyatt Chinese I think…..not the direction I had hoped they’d head.)

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On to the statistics.  He’s weighing almost 28lbs, according to Poppy’s scale.  (We go to the dr next week.)  At his last appt he was 33 inches.  But that is what Ella is and she’s taller so I’m not sure how tall either is.  He is still wearing #4 diapers.  And is wearing 12-18m clothes.  I really thought he’d outgrow those by now but he hasn’t (so I have a lot of clothes waiting on him).  His foot is growing like a weed and he quickly went thru that last pair and is now on to a 6.5W.

He is eating a little better, but it’s still a stretch to feed him.  Loves his pork products though….ham, sausage, bacon, hot dogs.  He will occasionally eat a turkey sandwich.  He does like chicken, though not always chicken nuggets.  And really doesn’t like fries, but does love tater tots.  Cheese sandwiches are always a safe bet.  And grapes, oh how he loves grapes.  (and raisins and prunes)  LOVES sweets (I passed on that gene). And he loves his milk, juice and water.  Though you never know which he’s wanting and he will quickly swipe away his cup if it’s the wrong one.  Haven’t figured out his pattern yet. And he loves pretzel sticks.  LOVES them.  Watch out if you have a bag.

And what a great sleeper I was blessed with.  God knew I needed a good sleeper!  He LOVES naps.  All but screams at the bottom of the steps when he’s ready for naptime.  He eagerly goes upstairs and reaches for the crib when we get to his room.  It takes less than 5 minutes to put him down for a nap and most of that time is spent changing his diaper/clothes.  I pray he stays this way.  And nightime is mostly easy too.  Occasionally he will pitch a fit but that’s usually if he’s sick or teething.  With all the chaos going on I am very thankful for his love of sleep (I might have also passed that gene on).

Wyatt is still not a fan of TV.  Or BOOKS!  I’m slowly coming to terms with the books.  Not really, but I am trying to justify it by saying it’s 10 less books I have to read each day.  He will not even sit still for one second while I read.  But bless his heart, he is a dancer.  OH how he loves music.  It just fills him from head to toe and he cannot stop moving.  And if you take his shirt off he cannot contain himself.  I pray he doesn’t embarrass himself later in life with all this dancing nonsense :)

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Wyatt has mastered going up and down the stairs (not climbing, just crawling/scooting).  I am so grateful he learned the coming down part.  It makes getting 3 up and down the stairs so much easier.  He is climbing onto the furniture now and thinks he’s big stuff. He wants so badly to be like his big brother that it is fun to watch him accomplish these new things, he is so proud of himself.

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Wyatt is mister social.  He LOVES telling people Hi and Bye.  And loves to tell all the cars on the street Hello when they pass by.  And he will let anyone hold him.  I think Wyatt has let every visitor we’ve had in the last 2 weeks hold him….as in he runs up to them with his arms up and demands to be held. I kinda like that about him.  (but that’s probably because I’ve had him “yelling” at me all day to hold him….)  2012-01-05 (53)

Wyatt does have an aversion to computers and cell phones.  It’s like he knows you are ignoring him if you’re using one and he pitches the biggest fit.  The phone bit is because he wants to play with it….one too many people have given him their phones and now he’s obsessed with them.  He has taken a strangers phone from them when we were at the library!  But the laptop, oh how he wails when you get near it.  And when we tried to skype home from China, he would have nothing to do with us.  He was just mad to be near the computer.  I’m sure it won’t be long before that all changes.

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Mister 18 months is on the brink of learning and discovering so many things!  I cannot wait to see what the next 6 months hold!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cardiology appointment

We spent 4 hours at the doctor. Almost 2 of them were spent with Ella waiting, naked. Sister does not like to be naked or cold.  I could write a book about why I hate going to Children's but I won't.  We did an Xray and EKG.  Between those 2 tests and what the doctor could hear she definitely has a murmur.  And the tests mostly confirmed that the murmur was pulmonary stenosis like her records from China stated.  But he also felt like she had a second abnormality and needed the ECHO to confirm that, along with exactly how bad the murmur/stenosis is.  But since she would not calm down for the ECHO we will have to wait till April for an official diagnosis.  Apparently an ECHO can only be done with them lying quietly and not crying. So we are praying that in 3 months she cooperates and we can know more what is going on.  He said that he doesn't like to terrorize them with the ECHO so he didn't push for her to re-try again today.  (all she has to do is lie there with the stickers put on her and get an ultrasound.)  Next time if she's unable to calm down they will sedate her to do it.  But he said regardless of the unknowns that it sounds like it is mild/minor and that she's doing great otherwise so he was not concerned and didn't think retesting was urgent.  So we wait, again.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

first cardiologist appointment

We got lucky, the cardiologists office had an appointment for us on Thursday.  We go for a chest x-ray first and then for our consult.  I’m not really sure what to expect, and a bit nervous that there could be surprises.  No one has given me reason for concern, just one of those things that’s crossing my mind as wait for 12:00 to arrive.

We also got some of her labs back and her thyroid levels were abnormal so we will be seeing an endocrinologist soon.  I guess we’re going to be getting pretty familiar with Children’s Hospital again.

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our first outing

Sunday we attempted our first outing with all 3 in the car.  Surprisingly we got out the door on time and without too much fanfare.  We weren’t going far, just Mom & Dad’s for Chris’s birthday dinner.

Wyatt loves having a neighbor in the car.  Ella, not much of a fan.  Wyatt wants to hold her hand or poke her the whole time.  We’re going to work on that.

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And in true Will form, he fell asleep during dinner again.  He wouldn’t even wake up for birthday cake and candles.  Of course once we got home he asked for cake.  Sadly we didn’t bring any home.

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Wyatt enjoyed having all the birthday candles to himself this time.  Well, he had to share with Ella and teach her how to blow them out.  But I think he enjoyed being charge for once.

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Ella tried ice cream for the first time.  We assume it’s her first based on her reaction.  She wasn’t sure what to think about it.

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Wyatt, as always, enjoyed every single bite of his cookie cake….and he might have had more than one piece.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

we survived!

Ella’s doctor appointment went as good as can be expected.  She weighed in at 24lbs and 33 inches tall.  Dr. Rodgers said she looked great and seemed right on track based on her age.  She was very impressed with all the things Ella was doing.  It’s obvious she received good are in China.  Dr. Rodgers could hear her heart murmur and said on a scale of 1-6 she was at a 2-3.  She is scheduling our appointment with the cardiologist, hopefully we can see them in the next few weeks.

The bad news is that Ella needed 3 shots and had to have FOUR vials of blood drawn!  She was NOT happy.  So glad Chris went with us.  I didn’t want her to think I was the bad guy (since we’re still not on the best terms yet).

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After the doctor I took her to Chick Fil A (turns out she doesn’t like it…neither do the boys <sigh>).  But then I made her really happy and took her shoe shopping.  She grinned and grinned while we tried on shoes.  She is slowing building her shoe collection.

After picking up the boys from MDO we hit Sonic (aka The Purple Drink Store) and introduced Ell AND Wyatt to Sonic Happy Hour.  Slushes all around! 

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Tuesday, another first

Tuesday we get to experience another first with Miss Ella.  Sadly, it’s not going to be a fun one.  We get to take her to her first pediatrician appointment.  I know there will be lots of needles tomorrow.  Most kids come home and have to be re-vaccinated since the immunizations they received in China are not quite the same.  Our doctor may do labs to see which ones she needs re-done, or she will just re-do them all.  I totally trust our doctor so I will go with whatever method she prefers.  Either way, it will not be fun for any of us!  I am also interested to see what our doctor says about her heart, more specifically, what she can hear of her murmur.  We will also find out tomorrow how soon we can get into the pediatric cardiologist.

Say a few prayers for us in the morning if you think of it…..

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3 weeks ago

It’s hard to believe we have only known this face for 3 weeks now.  It has gone very fast and very slow. 

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

little red rocking chair (times 3)

I’ve blogged about the red rocking chair twice before:  once when Will was little and again when Wyatt was little, even including a picture of myself in the chair. But now I have a complete set of pictures!  My camera and photo talents have slightly improved since Will’s picture.  But I love all 3 just the same!  (And I might be tempted to re-take the boys inside so that I can frame all 3 and have them look alike…..stay tuned.)


Saturday, January 07, 2012


We have entered a period of hibernation around here.  Our goal right now is to keep Ella’s world as small as possible.  While in China we were busy, busy, busy.  She was seeing all kinds of new places and people.  We were a constant in her daily life but I’m sure she was in a constant state of shock.  She probably had never left the orphanage until she met us.  And suddenly she’s on on planes, trains and taxi’s and seeing different people every few hours.  I’m sure she was constantly wondering what was coming next.  So the goal once we came home was to hibernate for awhile.  Ideally, it would be 2-3 months, but that’s not very practical.  We are going to try and stay home as much as we can in January.  There are 1-2 social things we hope to do this month but that’s going to be it.  We have had visitors, but we are now trying to limit those to 1 a day. And of course we have doctors appointments and social worker visits.  But we are still in the midst of reassuring her that WE are her parents.  We are the people that are here to stay forever.  Right now I don’t think she sees as anything more than fun people to be around (I hope she thinks we’re fun).  While we give hugs and kisses freely, lots of food and comfort I’m sure the word forever isn’t really on her radar yet.  (And truly it is too early for her to figure all that out….though she is pretty smart.) All that to say that it might be awhile till we are back to our normal routines.  We are going to test the waters some and see how she does and then go from there.  I know this doesn’t make sense to most of you.  Most people expect you to hibernate with a newborn, not with a toddler.  But she is still new to us.  And more importantly, we are still very new to her.

And in case you want more info about adoption parenting: a4everfamily.com