Saturday, July 14, 2018

10 and 11 months home!

So the summer has been busy and tricky to get free time to update with all the fun we've been having around here!  I have planned to sit down and write updates numerous times and it just hasn't happened so I am combining months ten and eleven. ;)  Our summer has been full of fun.  It seems busier than during the school year.  Juggling work schedules, child care, camps, vacation and all sorts of other activities has made the last two months fly by.

We are approaching one year of having Lily Grace in our family and it's hard to believe!  I starting to flash back to where we were at this time last year.  Feverishly completing and waiting on all of the necessary end of the L-O-N-G paper trail that is adoption.

Lily Grace continues to flourish in our family.  She is fearless!  She loves the water so very much.  We knew she would because she has always loved her baths.  But boy, we didn't expect her love to be quite so aggressive.  She literally walks right into it without the slightest bit of hesitation.  It is great and terrifying all in one.  We are happy she isn't afraid, but you can't turn away for a single second.  She definitely takes after more of her biggest sister, Taylor who was swimming indendantly at 3.  Madelyn on the other hand, is happy hanging by the steps and is just now venturing out in the main water with her puddle jumper-she certainly goes on her timing and won't let anyone else convince her otherwise.  And the girls have had their fair share of swimming this summer!  Both sets of grandparents have a pool as does our neighborhood, so swimming has been the main attraction these days! We have also had fun times at the zoo, playdates with friends, vacation bible school and even a fabulous trip to Mrs. Tammy's home-our amazing school crossing guard who has so many fantastic animals at her house and land!

We started the summer off with a great trip to Meme and Pepaw's house at the lake.  Lily Grace had a great time on the boat and in the water.  She wasn't such a fan of the sand on the shore though!  Little Miss Dainty didn't like the feeling of dirt or sand between or toes.  I remember thinking "this does not give me good feelings about our upcoming beach trip".  We spent a couple days just hanging with family, enjoying "nature" as Taylor says and soaking up the first few days of sun the summer had for us!

Next, we went to the beach with Naly and Buddy and Uncle JT and Aunt Ashley and the cousins.  After starting the trip with a quick ED visit for Taylor and major scare for the adults we were ready for relaxation.  Well not really relaxation with 6 kids 6 and under but fun none-the-less!  And fun we had!  Despite my fears of Lily Grace and the sand, she really liked it!  She loved playing with her cousins!  She even took over Madelyn's role of snacker in the kids chair by the beach.  :)  Madelyn could literally play in the sand all day, ever day! She was made for the beach!  Taylor likes the beach but is definitely a swimmer and loved her time at the pool!  We had a great time decompressing with family and getting away from the hustle and bustle.

Lily Grace is eating great these days!  We have really noticed an increase in the past few weeks.  Her current favorites are grapes, french fries, bananas, yogurt, sherbet push ups, and chips!  I had to buy a lock for the pantry because she was constantly walking in and grabbing snacks all day long!  Her swallowing issues had been doing really well.  We are noticing a little more coughing-especially at night, so we will see if she will need another injection soon for her laryngeal cleft that she previously had done in February.  Our ENT warned us that multiple injections would likely be needed and about every 6 months or so.

She had her 2 year old check up (a little late. . . are you noticing a pattern?!?!) and she is now officially caught up on her immunizations, horray!  She is growing but still a tiny little thing when you look at the growth chart.  She hasn't gained as much weight as I thought but she is still up to 22 pounds from 16 pounds when we brought her home, so that's some good solid progress.  :)  I think God just made her to be tiny and she will always be that way.  She is growing and learning and progressing in all areas and so we are so very grateful.  In fact, she is doing so well that she is no longer requiring Early Intervention Services. We were so grateful the have had the extra layer of support and fabulous therapists to walk along side us and help Lily Grace meet her highest potential as she transitioned home.  We made some sweet friendships and learned some great tools that will continue to help her flourish and maximize her amazing potential!

She is talking more and more.  She is so funny and has been gesturing to others with her arm when she wants you to follow her and she says "mere! mere!"for "Come here! Come here!" She also says "I LIKE it!" a lot.  And in true 2 year old form "No!" She also says "Good mornin!" to her sisters and "I love you".  She says "Uh oh sketios" for "uh oh spaghettios!" She loves the microphone and singing into it!  She has recently learned portions of "Let it go!" and sings along with her sisters! :)

So we just continue along on this wild ride with our three sweet (most of the time-ha!) little ladies!  Matt and I know each of them were chosen from the Lord for us and we want to continue to make decisions to teach them about Him and loving others.  I certainly fail all the time but I am surrounded by a tribe of family and friends who help grow me and shape me into the Christ-like follower I want to be.  Next Stop. . . ONE YEAR HOME WITH OUR BABY GIRL!!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Lily Grace's 2nd Birthday Celebration!

So back in MAY (oops!) Lily Grace had her second birthday!  And first birthday (most likely) celebration and party!  We had the best time spending the day celebrating her big day!  She was the grand finale of Matt and all three girls whose birthdays all fall within a couple of weeks of each other!  Unfortunately she had a nasty cold on her actual birthday but she didn't let that slow her down too much.  She had a low grade fever which got her out of a dentist appointment the morning of her birthday, so she just tagged along while her big sisters had their teeth cleaned.

After getting the big girls to school, Lily Grace and I had a fabulous Chick-fil-A lunch date.  Her first few months home, she wouldn't touch a french fry.  We offered them to her multiple times (very nutritious I know!) and she rejected them repeatedly.  Well, I'm happy to report that she is now a fan.  So she enjoyed her lunch.  And in true, "mommas-got-to-get-a-cute-pic" fashion, I brought a birthday headband.  One of the employees saw her headband and brought her a cup of ice-cream complete with oreo topping!  She loved it!

Once everyone got home that night and we ate dinner we had birthday cupcakes to celebrate as a family.  Even though we were having her birthday party a few days later and she wouldn't know the difference, I wanted her to have a special treat on her actual birthday.

That weekend we had our family over and Matt cooked fish with his dad and we had a party for her with all of our sweet family!  She had so many gifts to open!  She had a great time opening presents and had lots of "help" from her sisters and cousins.

I was determined to get her a smash cake so she had one just like our other girls did.  Even if it was a year late, I still knew she would enjoy it and it felt like a rite of passage that I didn't want her missing out on.  She loved it!  Her daddy had to show her what to do at first but it didn't take long to jump right in and go to town the cake.

She is a pretty clean girl and doesn't like to be dirty and there was some daintiness to her cake smashing!  After cake time she enjoyed going outside and testing out one of the THREE (yes three!) bubble lawn mowers she received.  The girls loves bubbles and she will definitely use them.

It was a great day of celebrating Lily Grace!  Even though she wasn't aware of the magnitude of the day, so many things went through my mind.  I kept thinking back to the same time a year ago.  We had just seen her face for the first time and we were working so hard to get to China to go meet our baby girl and bring her home!  We couldn't be with her for her first birthday so we celebrated her birthday without her as a family by eating PeiWei takeout.  I remember looking out our kitchen window and seeing the day lillies blooming right around the day of her birthday.  Her first name in Mandarin is Ya Xuan, which is now her middle name.  And Xuan means "day lily".  The Lord is so gracious to give us signs of His love for us in life and that was one I will never forget!

I remember wondering so many things about her.  I remember going to bed and praying for her and her caretakers.  I remember wondering what she was like.  I remember feverishly looking at the calendar and calculating dates and drop offs and pickups of paperwork to try and figure out when we would be in China.  We were so close yet so far away.  And now here we were, 9 months later with nothing but the rest of her life ahead of her surrounded by so many people that love her.  I often look at her and think about how different her life is now.  I can't help but get emotional when I think about it.  But more than that, I can't help but think how much the Lord has taught us through her life.  He has taught me so much trust in Him and His plan.  To be grateful for birthday parties, and bubbles, and family time, and kisses, and french fries, and giggles, and His sovereign plan for our lives.  I hear it time and time again from so many fellow adoptive families when people tell us how lucky their children are to have been adopted.  So much more, my friends, is the gift she has given us.  We are the blessed ones.  The Lord has used her life to teach us so many things that I am forever grateful for.  Our children are such a gift!

So happy birthday baby girl!  Here's to many more years of 4 birthday celebrations in 2 1/2 weeks with you as the caboose!