I know I probably sound like a broken record, but there is just SO much I want to post, and not enough long periods of time in my day in which to post! I think I'm going to have to settle for short, chatty, picture-filled posts for awhile. I'll stop waiting for that magic "two hour blogging window" that isn't happening and just try to keep up with the current day. I'll try. No promises. But I'm growing to love blogging. You know how it feels when you see someone's perfectly updated scrapbooks, and you think, "Goodness, I'm SO behind, I'll never catch up!"?? That's how I feel about my blog. I'm so behind on all of the things I WANT to blog about, that I don't blog about ANYTHING :) Silly, I know. But that's the facts. I am willing, however, to attempt a change. So, here goes....
Yesterday marked 3 weeks that Gabriella Mei has been in our arms. She's growing and blossoming in an amazing way. The jet lag was really hard, and I think we're still recovering from it, 10 days later. Brent and I are still falling asleep around 9:30 (early for us!) and Eliana and Ethan are still sleeping an incredible amount of time (Ethan went to bed around 7 last night, and slept until 11:30 this morning). I don't feel tired all day anymore, though, and life is settling back into a routine. We started back to "school" yesterday, and I'm working out how I can homeschool and entertain three toddlers at the same time. I've got a plan in mind, but I'll save that for another day! :)
Gabbey is sleeping in her own bed, in our room, ALL NIGHT LONG. Oh, how blissful is an uninterrupted night's sleep! My babies don't normally sleep through the night til they're older, and I'm fine with that. So I thought I'd be fine if Gabbey was a frequent night-waker, too. But I forgot to take into account the fact that with my little babies, I simply nurse them back to sleep when they wake up. I don't even fully wake up. This new little one is a different story, however. I don't have "nursing" in my parenting toolbag ;), and it was much harder. Especially considering I have four other children to parent come morning. I'm praising the Lord that the night-waking was a relatively short period of time. (I'm sure the fact that I was severely sleep-deprived going into it made it much worse.)
Something else I took for granted....when you have a baby, you learn their cries, their needs, their preferences, etc....By the time they are toddlers, you KNOW what they are "trying" to say, when they need to go to the bathroom, what position they like to be held in, what they do when they're scared, nervous, hungry, etc, etc, etc..... With Gabbey, we didn't have a clue what she wanted when she cried, or how she liked to fall asleep, or anything! It was a process, and we're still learning. Don't think I'm complaining, cause I've loved every second of it (well, except for a couple of the middle of the night "seconds").....It's been such a growing time for Brent and I, learning this new little person, experiencing parenthood in a whole new way. I'm so thankful for a patient, loving husband, who has helped on so many levels lately.
Gabbey is still getting most of her calories from a bottle. The doctor encouraged us to treat her like a 6 month old where food is concerned. Introduce solid food slowly and try to help her gain weight and "catch up" to where she should be via formula calories. Just this morning she figured out how to get cereal from the tray to her mouth---it was just precious. She's far from being a confident self-feeder (she still won't touch her bottle), but it's progress just the same.
Our older children (8, 6, 4, and 20 months now) love Gabbey to pieces. Every time he sees her, Ethan says, "Hi, Ga-ey!" Eliana loves to carry her around and dress her up. The boys are very protective of their new sister. Noah (4) keeps asking me if we EVER have to take her back to China. No, sweet Noah. Not Ever.
She's all ours! And while I'm convinced that Gabbey's life with us gives her so many things she never would have known (the love of a family and a knowlege of Jesus Christ are two examples), I'm even more convinced that WE were missing something in our lives as well. We needed her just as much as she needed us! We are all blessed by this precious little life.
Here are some random pictures from the past week!
The wonderful CROWD of family and friends waiting for us at the airport! Such a glorious sight, especially after an exhausting 24 hours.
An orphan no longer, and now an "official" American citizen:
Nathaniel couldn't wait to get his hands on his new sister!
All my gratitude goes to Brent's mom, "Meme", for keeping our two boys while we were gone. We literally couldn't have done it without her.
And Brent's sister, Rhonda, who came to our house every weekend to help Meme and spend time with Nathaniel and Noah. We are so grateful---love you, Rhonda!
Christmas morning, our first picture of all FIVE of our blessings. Thank you, Lord, for each one of them.
Christmas morning again, one quick shot---our first FAMILY picture with Gabriella. Meant to get another one when the kiddos were dressed up all cute, but, sadly, it didn't happen. :)
At my dad's house for Christmas---my sister's insisted on taking this picture---and I love it!
Two of my gorgeous, wonderful sisters. What would I do without you both? (Don't answer that. I'm sure I'd be completely CRAZY by now!)
This one is just a picture I couldn't resist. I was attempting to make lunch on Monday, our first homeschooling, routine day. Ethan was my lunch "helper". He made more mess and work than help, but he was SO cute!