Tuesday, May 8, 2018

9 months!

We've been home with Lily Grace for 9 whole months!  Seems crazy to think about.  It feels like she just got here at times and at the same time it also feels like she's been here all along.  We are busy busy busy with this little girl and her big sisters!  She has definitely moved out of the baby stage and onto toddlerhood. . . lookout!  This sassy, strong willed girl is almost TWO!  She still has such a vivacious personality for such a tiny little thing.  I tell people all the time, when she's happy, she's super happy and when she's mad, she's super mad!  ;)  Sounds pretty familiar to most of us with toddlers.  I will say though, Lily Grace's has a little more gusto than the average little one. She will certainly be living life to it's fullest.  We have no concerns that she has not come out of her shell!

She LOVES wearing her sisters shoes, especially their boots!

She is developmentally right on track, or even farther along than we would have expected.  A couple of weeks ago she was tested for Speech Intervention.  I'm happy to report, Lily Grace is not only on track, but AHEAD of where she should be developmentally at this age.  When compared to other children her age, she tested at about a 2 1/2 year level and she wasn't quite two when she took the test!  This coming from a girl who just heard the English language 8 1/2 months earlier.  We are so proud of the huge strides she has made!!! The Lord has be gracious to allow her mind to soak up everything around her!  As many have said, having two older (and very verbal) sisters has certainly helped her along the way!  She is a busy bee and seeking to show her independent side.  She still wants to have us around but usually she wants down to walk or she wants to open her own item, etc.  She is also learning to work the sibling system.  ;)  She will refuse to let me carry her or pick her up and then she will hear Madelyn ask me to hold her and immediately Lily Grace will run over to me with her hands up asking me to hold her instead.  She is definitely mischievous!  Matt says we should get Maddie on our side to play this against her when we need to carry her for various reasons and she's refusing.  Already trying to outsmart her at 2. . .

Thank you Epcot for giving us a little "China feel"! 

Medically she's great!  No major issues to report.  She still has some swallowing issues that will work themselves out over time.  We will try to wean her from her liquid thickener and see how that goes.  We expect she may need another injection or two for the laryngeal cleft contributing to her swallowing problems.  But for now, no major concerns.  Her PE tubes in her ears are still there. .  kind of.  The left one is trying to come out, right seems to be ok.  Hopefully she will just hang like that and avoid any major ear infections.  The main reason they were placed was for fluid in her middle ear causing her to fail hearing tests, and this has resolved so we are grateful for this!  She's still a peanut of a thing.  I suspect this will always be the case.   We are so happy she is eating well and all of the GI drama has seemed to clear up.  

The most exciting part of this last month was our time at Disney!  We have Matt's and all the girls birthdays within 2 1/2 weeks of each other, so it's a birthday extravaganza!  We left the day after Matt's birthday. . . also known as Madelyn's birthday. . . for DISNEY!!! And we stayed a week and were there to celebrate Taylor's 6th birthday as well!  We had a great time.  It was fun.  It was busy.  It was tiring.  It was great.  And I'm pretty sure Lily Grace was thinking, "Where have you people taken me?!?" But she loved it!  She was also a little over the craziness towards the end.  Taylor was up for any and every roller coaster she could possibly ride.  Madelyn on the other hand did not share her sentiments.  She was not into any crazy rides, including the Splash Mountain ride she attempted after a last minute ditch the day before.  She also didn't like many of the characters aside from the princesses and Minnie.  Something about those large heads freaked her out.  Lily Grace was extremely intrigued with the characters and loved touching their faces, whiskers, noses, hair, badges, anything she could get her hands on!  One of my favorite parts of our time was sitting in rides with the girls and watching their awe.  It really is magical!  Lily Grace would start off sitting next to me, and when anything would get dark or scary sounding she would pop up and head straight for my lap.  It made my heart so happy that she saw me as a safe place.  These are things I would take for granted with my big girls, but with Lily Grace I know she had to learn that I (and Matt) are safe and will take care of her.  It just melts me every time.

Our church has started an adoptive moms support group and I am so grateful to be apart of this.  The Lord orchestrated this amazing group of women to help walk this journey with me and share their stories and listen to ours.  It is so nice to be heard and understood from others who have and are walking the same or similar paths.  I feel beyond blessed to have met so many amazing people throughout our adoption journey from all over the US and even the world.  I often feel unworthy to be in the same group as many of these people.  They inspire me.  They push me.  They grow me in my walk with the Lord.  I am not the same person I was and my heart is completely wrecked (in the best way possible) from entering this adoption journey.  Once you see the stories and faces and people and children, there is just no way for your heart to not be changed.

We are so grateful for you Lily Grace YaXuan!  You are so loved and chosen!

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!