Tuesday, April 17, 2018

8 (and a half) months in our arms!

So I've super slacked this month getting a timely post out.  We don't have too much new to report.  We have just been enjoying this crazy busy thing called life.  Easter was great this year.  We always have such a great time with activities leading up to Easter Sunday.  Our neighborhood puts on one of my favorite events all year for the family.  We have an Easter Egg Hunt, a petting zoo, mini train ride, crafts, visit from the Easter Bunny and horses to ride!  It was a great day with friends!  Our fabulous church also had an Easter Egg hunt.  This year based on the age breakdown, all three girls were in different hunts.  Holy Moly that was a lot of running back and forth or this momma to try and get pictures!  Luckily, Naly and Buddy were there with us to help out.  Needless to say, between the hunts and two sets of grandparents, candy was not lacking in our house (and still isn't!).

We got to celebrate a big anniversary this month.  Good Friday will also be even more special than the amazing day it represents to us.  Not only because we remember the ultimate sacrifice and gift by Jesus, which is the most amazing gift we could hope for.  But, it is the day we saw the face our Lily Grace for the first time.  I have a terrible memory about major life events so when I can vividly remember something, that's saying a lot.  ;)  I can literally see, hear and feel what happened that day while standing outside Cracker Barrel.  So in honor of one year from the day we said, "That's our girl", we celebrated at the place we "met" a year ago.  And all of our girls downed some yummy pankcakes and biscuits to celebrate!

The place we saw Lily Grace's face for the first time!

It seems like Lily Grace is picking up new words and phrases all the time.  I wouldn't say she has had her "verbal explosion" that most people say will come, but she will repeat almost anything you say and is saying more and more unprompted.  We still seem to find ourselves at doctors appointments almost every week for one thing or another.  Mostly interventions or follow ups.  We have really been praying through a big decision about a potential surgery for her but no decision yet.  We so appreciate everyone who has been praying for us and continue to pray for the Lord to direct our paths in the right direction for Lily Grace.  The good news is that it isn't anything causing a medical problem.  She is still a healthy girl and we are so thankful for that!  She is topping out at a whopping 22lbs and 31in which gets her to about 10% on the growth chart for height but still below the chart for weight, but we are making progress!  She is just gonna be a petite thing and we are just fine with that!

Katie and Josh's wedding :)

She continues to love her books!  She also likes to draw and often mimics her big sisters when they are coloring or working on homework.  She adores her blanket from her Aunt Sharon and carries it around everywhere she goes.  She is still loving to go in the closet and put on her sisters boots or play heels along with hats!  She is a dress up girl!  The climbing also continues in full force.  Tables, chairs, up her highchair, on the swing set, anywhere she can get.  Her newest party trick is to take every article of clothing, including her diaper off, during naptime.  It's definitely an effective way to get us in the room! She's also becoming more and more aware of the potty-ing situation.  We are "practicing" going potty sometimes and she will try but it's more just for fun at this point.

She's always watching her big sister

Someone was a fan of the shoestring fries!!

We are so blessed with our little family.  The days are busy and full of life and hugs and kisses and crying and fighting and laughter and worry and happiness and everything in between.  But we know Who has us in the palm of His hand.  The Lord is so good and we are so grateful for 8 (and a half) months as a family of 5!

Both our families after Taylor's baptism

Taylor, with our Pastor (Bro. Danny) before her baptism.

Camel rides at the zoo!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

7 months in our arms. . . kind of ;)

So we are seven months into this fabulous adventure the Lord started us on over two years ago.  In the beginning we had so many questions and it took over a year of praying through countries, agencies, domestic versus international and so many other decisions before we even officially "started" our adoption process.  Truthfully we were starting the adoption process, we just hadn't started shelling out any of the money yet. ;)  It is so cool to see how the Lord used relationships and decisions back in 2015 before Lily Grace was even born. My first contact with Wasatch (the agency we used to adopt Lily Grace) was in August of 2015. This was right around the time Lily Grace was conceived!  How amazing is the Lord?!?! And because of this contact, I was on a mailing list.  And choose to say "yes" to multiple emails asking if I wanted to remain on the mailing list even when we choose another agency to begin our Chinese Adoption. And then received an email with her information in April of last year where we learned the first little bits of information about a little 11 month old girl named "Ellie" or Jiang Ya Xuan (her Chinese given name) who would soon become Lily Grace YaXuan Wallace.

This month has been nothing short of CRAZY for our family.  I enjoy being busy, but this busy has not been for me.  Between doctors appointments, trips, surgeries with overnight stays, work trips, crazy work schedules, etc. I am incredibly happy to have a new month with less scheduled to allow for some breathing room and relaxation for this little family of ours.  I can only say thank you thank you thank you to how all of our village how has helped us tremendously!  Our family and friends are beyond amazing and we are so blessed with each and every person who pours into our lives with so much love and encouragement.  I was literally almost bought to tears last week as my sweet neighborhood friends were texting back and forth deciding who would help which day to help with Taylor after school.  And our parents are absolute rock stars as always to help out and accept the never ending (it seems) self invitations Taylor now gives herself (and sisters) to their houses all the time!

A visit from her big sisters during our overnight stay at the hospital!

So back to Lily Grace. . . who I have decided is best described as VIVACIOUS.  She is a nut!  She is full of life and sometimes strongwilled-ness if things are not going her way.  She is just shy of 22 months old and well on her way to toddlerhood.  She has mastered the word "no" and doing a pretty good job of temper tantrums when things don't go her way.  She is definitely ready to be two!  She is picking up new words all the time and making some sentences.  She is clearly watching her sisters.  The other day she put on a play hat and heels as well as some lipstick and walked around the house with her sassy little self!  She still loves to climb on everything!  That's why I used "kind of" in the title of in our arms because she is a busy little girl!  She still wants her momma (and daddy) to hold her a lot, but when she's down, she's movin'!  I guess that's not going to stop anytime soon.  She is still very attached to her blanket.  She adores reading books.  We read a lot and she has so much fun with that.  She loves to point out her nose, eyes and mouth.  She also has started sitting up with her sisters when they are watching their iPads.  It is so cute to see them sitting together with Lily Grace resting her head on their shoulder!  She now loves gummies (like her big sis Maddie), chicken nuggets, hazelnut crapes, and blueberries along with her old favorites of bananas, Nutrigran bars, pancakes, cheetos, casseroles, toasted raviolis, cereal, oatmeal and yogurt.  She's definitely eating better these days!

Stealing daddy's crepe!

Books are her fav!
We had a lot of fun times this month.  We started out with a great (indoor and heated!) pool parted celebrating one of our friend's son's 4th birthday.  Lily Grace absolutely LOVES the water and has no fear. . .go figure!  So summer will be fun and we will be looking for swim lessons quickly!  We also got to celebrate our first Chinese New Year as a family.  Happy Year of the Dog!  This year wasn't as exciting as I hope for future years.  And by not exciting I mean, we literally went out for Chinese after church the Sunday of Chinese New Year.  I have hopes that we will do better in future years! ;)  We had attended a fun celebration with other families a couple weeks back so we did have a little more celebration than a quick meal.  The food was delish and Lily Grace was a noddle fan!  Madelyn loved the sugar buns (because why not?!?). And Taylor tried everything (we were so proud) and liked almost all of it!  Success!  The food was great!   We were also able to squeeze in a visit with my sister and brother in law and nieces and nephew which is always fun.  The kids loves hanging out and we are so glad to be close enough for quick trips.  And we had a special visit from a friend from college who adopted a little boy from China just a  couple months before we went.  Her son is about two months older than Lily Grace and I loved seeing them together!  He is just a doll!  Between all that fun and a trip for me to Nashville and work conference in Salt Lake City, I was spent by the end of the month!

Celebrating Chinese New Year with some delish food!

She loved the noodles!

That's a lot of kids!

Medically, she is pretty good.  She had PE tubes placed on the 14th (Happy Valentine's Day to Matt and I!).  She also had a procedure done to evaluate her throat for the swallowing issues she has been experiencing since we were in China.  She has issues with swallowing thin liquids.  We thought it was likely because she never developed the muscles and coordination in China due to the way/formula with rice cereal she had at the orphanage.  Our ENT thought she might have an additional issue called laryngeal cleft where there is an extra space that allows fluids/food to flow down her esophagus/airway when everything is supposed to be closed.  During her sedation for tube placement he looked with a scope and sure enough she has the cleft. He injected the area with a compound to help build it up and take away the space to alleviate the issue.  This is something that usually needs to be performed multiple times.  They also confirmed my suspicions that she has reflux so we will hopefully be starting a medication for that soon.  She had followup appointments for this last week and her hearing (which she had previously failed two tests for) was great!  Horray!  And we are going to continue to watch the swallowing issue.  The only other thing we continue to evaluate is the extreme flatness of her head on the left side.  This is from laying on it for prolonged times in the orphanage in China.  On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most severe) hers is rated at a 9 or 10.  We have some decisions to make about this but most importantly, it is nothing that is affecting her brain development and for that we are so grateful!  She has finally started picking up weight!  She's still petite and I think always will be, but I'm happy with some weight gain!  So really in the grand scheme of things, her medical issues are truly minor and we are well aware this could change at any moment.  And for now we are praising the Lord for this sweet healthy girl!

Getting ready ti go back for surgery!

In recovery with daddy!

Our sweet Preschool Director, Mrs. Vicki, came to check on
Lily Grace at the hospital and brought treats!

Follow up appointment hearing test-passed! 

It's hard to believe next month will be one year from when we saw your face for the first time, Lily Grace!  We can't wait to continue to see what adventures lie ahead for our family!