Thursday, October 28, 2010

Losing my mind.....

So, I've been a little distracted recently. I just feel like there's SO much to do, and not enough time to do it all. I'm trying....but you know how it is....

Anyway, the other day was a doozy. I am I still hoping none of my neighbors were watching through their windows. If they saw my spectacle, they haven't admitted it to me!

Saturday, I worked all day. As soon as I got home, Rush left to head to D.C. to run a race. So, Saturday night I was solo with the kids. Things were ok for the most part, aside from getting Rylie to bed. Sunday morning, we skipped out on church. Because Rylie is not going into the nursery yet, I thought getting 3 kids to church, only to do some solo child-wrangle during the whole service didn't sound too appealing. So, we stayed home. It was a beautiful day, and Jonah suggested going on a walk. Better yet, I thought he could ride his bike.

So, I loaded up the double stroller with the girls and got Jonah's bike out. We went out in front of the house and I started to help Jonah get on his bike. Once he was securely on, I turned around, only to find the girls careening backwards down our sloped cul-de-sac. I forgot to set the brake. Awesome. Ironically, both of them were just sitting there, quietly, as they wheeled backwards at increasingly fast speeds. It wasn't until I started chasing after them that Reagan started screaming. Fortunately, they didn't hit a car. They didn't hit a curb. They perfectly went into our neighbor's driveway and I was able to catch them right before they hit the garage. Whew.

I turned back around and realized that I had dumped Jonah, who was now on the ground, in the road, under his bike.


I ROCK as a mom of 3! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I've been meaning to update for a while, but we have been drowning around here. Even with Rush working a lot less than usual, things have been crazy!

Week 2 with Rylie was definitely better than week 1. I think a lot of that had to do with us being more rested. We were able to get out and about a little more and get back into some semblance of a routine which helped a lot. Rylie still had a lot of issues in terms of sleep and hating life with our dog. We did see more and more of her personality come out every day. She definitely has a BIG personality. It will be interesting to see it in full bloom some day!

She had a lot of labwork done at the pediatrician's office and we got the results last week. Nothing too surprising, although we will need to make a visit to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist soon for a few issues. We also found out that Rylie brought a little present home from China. The dreaded "G" word of international adoption.....giardia. A lovely little intestinal parasite which is highly contagious. I half-way expected her to have it, so we have been very diligent when changing her diapers, but it was nice to get confirmation that she actually tested positive. She's been treated now even though she was asymptomatic, and none of us has been affected (although the Health Department has been bugging us and forcing us to divulge a lot of information you generally don't like to share!). Perhaps her little parasitic friend has something to do with how much she eats! She is tiny...less than 24 pounds and just fitting into some 18 month size clothes, but she eats like a horse! It will be interesting to see if her appetite decreases some now that she'll actually be absorbing more of her nutrients.

We've definitely had some more ups and downs. It's hard to believe we've only been home for 2 1/2 weeks. We have to keep reminding ourselves of that when we get discouraged at the slow pace of the progress around here. It definitely feels like she's been here longer and that we should be farther along than we are. But to think that just over a month ago she was still living in an orphanage, I think she's actually doing pretty well. I have to continually remind myself how much has changed for her in such a short period of time. I cannot say that the ride has been pleasant or even that we haven't second-guessed what we were thinking getting into this. But, we KNOW that no matter how hard things are on any given day, we are still doing what we were meant to do and that she is the child who was meant to be in our family. We see it in little moments here and there when she lets us see the real Rylie...when we witness her crazy, goofy, happy, silly self that meshes so well with Jonah and Reagan it's amazing. It's almost scary how well I know she will eventually fit in. It's a process's not magic. It's not sudden or overnight. It's not a fairy tale. It's not love at first sight. It's a process that takes work, and patience, and troubleshooting, and tears and frustration. One day though.....things will be different. For now, we are trying to find the joy in the fleeting moments here and there and take them as they come....they are blessings that carry us through the less-joyful moments.

We did hit the pumpkin patch last week and get to go again this week with Reagan's preschool class.

Jonah is also wrapping up his fall ball season. Only 1 more game to go!

This past weekend, we had Rylie dedicated at church. Unfortunately, in the craziness of the day, we forgot to take pictures, so this is all we have. Maybe we'll have to dress up again and stage a picture!

Jonah had picture day at school, and decided to go all out.... :)

And today....ahhh, today was magical. Well, a little part of today anyway. And last night. Last night, in addition to going on a family walk in the amazing fall weather, Rylie actually pet the dog!!! It wasn't much, nor was it really voluntary, but she did it. We sat with her in our laps next to Bailey and took her hand in ours and had her try it. She was ok for a bit and then had enough, which was fine. We just want her to start to see that it's ok to be near the dog. Well, I thought that was a great first step considering she has continued to scream any time she even sees Bailey. Today, I worked with her a little bit again, using Jonah and Reagan as good examples for her...and this afternoon, for the very first time, she walked around the living her own.....right beside the dog....WITHOUT FREAKING OUT!!!!!!!!! It may not sound like a big deal, or maybe it sounds silly, but I truly cannot over exaggerate how big this is. Her intense reaction to the dog, next to getting her to sleep at night, is the single biggest issue we have been dealing with. It has made it nearly impossible to get anything done at home, much less just function without collapsing due to the constant (and I mean CONSTANT, every waking moment) attention she demands because of her fear. Trying to balance that with 2 other kids, their needs and life in general has been difficult and frustrating to say the least. So seeing this little step forward is truly making me rejoice in a major way! In fact, I have a little video....which again, may not look like much, but it is one of the most wonderful sights I have ever seen!!!

Anyway, that's all for now. Thanks for all of your prayers as we continue through this transition! We definitely feel them!

Oh....and 2 more pictures, just 'cause I think they're cute. (You can do that when you're the mom.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One of Those? of THOSE.

One of THOSE days.

I hate THOSE days. The ones that bring me to my knees wondering what the heck I am doing. Today, one arrived. And it was in full force.

It didn't rear it's ugly head right away, but eased in so I wouldn't notice it. They like to sneak up, you know.

The day started off normally enough, except for the fact that Rush picked up an overnight extra job, so he rolled in the door at 6:30 this morning after working all night. I got Jonah off to school and got Reagan ready for preschool. I even took a shower in anticipation of a dental appointment in the afternoon. Not bad! I fed Rylie in a mad rush to get out the door to preschool and dropped Reagan off. It was raining today, so any and all attempts to make my hair look presentable went out the window as soon as I went outside (see, it's starting).

I came home and tried to figure out how to tackle dealing with Rylie's constant need to be held and "protected" from our dog, entertain her, keep her quiet enough for Rush to sleep, clean up the house, and sort through the girls' clothes which are currently burying their bedroom. I was able to do a little bit here and there, but Rylie was really needy today, so the pulling, running into things, screaming mess that she was this morning complicated my plan (you would think that I would know not to have a plan by now, being that this is my 3rd almost-2-year old). Anyway, long story short, I ended up getting Reagan home from preschool. We walked in the door, Rylie was screaming about something, Reagan made a mess I won't mention any further (I think you can infer where it goes from there), I cleaned her up real quick and frantically tried to find my toothbrush and toothpaste to get a quick brush in before heading to the dentist. I grab my toothpaste and an entire shelf in the bathroom collapses sending personal items everywhere in the bathroom. By this point, I am a raving lunatic (did I mention Rush was late getting home from a run, which is making me more crazy, as I hate being late/rushed anywhere!), I throw my toothpaste in frustration, my bracelet I am wearing flies off and smashes sending beads screaming through the bathroom to join the already present disaster on the floor. Seriously?? SERIOUSLY?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, I brush my teeth, sit Rylie on the couch away from the dog, scoot a pants-less Reagan out of the way and go sit in the car, in the rain, in the driveway and wait for Rush to get home so I can go to the dentist. (Don't worry, I could totally see them from the car...don't go call CPS on me! Believe me, it was better for them that Mommy went outside for a bit.)

You know it's bad when your reprieve from your day is going to the dentist.

It's a good thing I didn't have a cavity.

I am happy to say that the day got better from there. Our friend, Carlos, came over this afternoon. He is moving on Bogata, Colombia, so we certainly won't see him for a while. We had a great time visiting, which certainly turned my day around.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Day is Officially Made

Because of this.....

and this.....

and this......

She is making baby steps. Actually playing with toys was something I thought we were going to have to wait a while longer for. Granted, sometimes she has the attention span of a small gnat.....but it's progress!

AND I took Reagan and Rylie to the park today and she got on the swings, and climbed on steps, and came down the herself. That means she wasn't attached to my leg. That means she walked on her own 2 feet...for a while anyway. It was great. (I didn't take my camera there's no proof. But it really happened!)

She takes longer to do things than other kids her age. Her gross motor and balance is obviously delayed. But she has more freedom and opportunity to move now than perhaps before so I am certain she will make strides quickly on that front. Right now she reminds me of our other kids about 1-2 months after they started walking.

In other news, we took her to the doctor on Friday for a checkup. She did amazing...she is so cooperative with people. She was like that in China too. The only time she fussed was when she had her TB test placed on her arm. They even did a finger stick and she didn't make a peep....strong girl! The doctor thought she looked great. She was 23 pounds, 8 ounces and 32 inches long. She made it on the American growth chart! Monday she had to go back to get a lot of bloodwork drawn, so we will wait to hear those results and go from there.

We are learning more and more about her personality....which I will save for another post being that she just dumped crayons all over the living room!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Week One...Check!

Well, we have officially survived our first full week home. This week has been full of jet lag, tears, frustration, screams, laughs, doctors appointments, sick kids, visits from friends, troubleshooting problems, baby steps and even some periods of joy. :)

I am definitely glad to be to this point. I certainly don't want to experience another week like this one, because quite frankly, it pushed us to our limits. But, things should start to get easier with each passing day (we hope!) and we are looking forward to each new bit of progress we see with Rylie.

Ultimately, we are glad she's finally here! We can't wait to watch her get more settled and adapted to our home and family and to watch her blossom as she grows. We have 3 pretty amazing blessings!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


....was a good day!

I guess that's what happens when a certain little girl sleeps for 15 hours overnight!!! Thank you all for your prayers!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Inside Look at the Past Few Days

I have debated a lot about writing this post. Like I said before, I want to be honest and present reality on this blog, but I don't want to make it a whine-forum or just a place to complain. So, let me try to present a somewhat balanced look at the past few days.

I can't say enough again how amazing it felt to get home and see Jonah and Reagan. I will remember that moment as long as I live. It was like a breath of fresh air.

In my last post, I said that Rylie went to bed fairly easily on our first night home. I shouldn't have spoken so soon. She slept for about 3 hours, and as soon as Rush and I went to bed, she woke up.....screaming.....for 5 1/2 hours. And I don't mean she was just crying. I mean she was s-c-r-e-a-m-i-n-g nonstop. Inconsolable. Nothing worked. Nothing. She doesn't respond to anything you would typically expect a child to respond to in terms of comfort measures. Not walking, not rocking, not rubbing her back, not talking, nothing. Add that on top of the travel exhaustion we were experiencing and it was miserable. She finally fell asleep again about 5:30 in the morning and slept for a while until we decided to wake her up to try to get her schedule adjusted from the 12 hour time change.

Sunday got worse. She was pretty clingy, as I would expect. However, Jonah and Reagan wanted to play with her, and she wanted nothing to do with either one of them for the most part, nor anything to do with any toy she didn't play with in China. She is still weird about offer her a toy, even a blanket, and she screams in terror. Then, all hell broke loose. We brought Bailey, our dog home. Now, let me just say that Bailey is the sweetest dog on the planet. She has not messed with Rylie at all. Nothing. However, Rylie is TERRIFIED. She screams and shakes in complete fits of terror. She ran straight into the corner of a dresser trying to get away from the dog who was nowhere near her. At this point, unless Bailey is outside or in her crate, we cannot even set Rylie down. She freaks out. In fact, Bailey can be in her crate but if Rylie sees her in it she looses it. It's very frustrating.

We went to Jonah's baseball game in the afternoon and she was ok for the most part while we were there. In fact, every time we have left the house she has been ok. We took her and Reagan to the play area at the mall yesterday and she ran around and played. Today we went to Target and she was fine. But at home, forget about it.

She's still fighting sleep a lot. She will do everything in her willpower to keep herself awake. Rush was up with her a lot last night. She woke up at 1:15, 2:15 and then for good at 3am. We have moved her into her bed in Reagan's room, and have had better success than the Pack-n-Play in our room.

She is still having tantrums to the point I am worried she is going to get a head injury. She just flings her body without regard to where she is or what she's going to hit. And it happens in response to the smallest things. Rush was holding her and just tried to readjust how he was holding her, which she didn't like. She flung herself, he was unprepared, and she hit the ground...with her head. That's happened multiple times. She can be so volatile, it's difficult to know how to prepare for that.

We are looking forward to making some progress soon....we hope.

Now, there are a few positive things. Like I said, she's been great when we go places. She is still learning signs. She knows more, eat, milk, ball, mom, dad, please, thank you, cracker, and maybe one or two others, which I think is pretty darn impressive considering she didn't hear any English until a few short weeks ago. She is seeming attached pretty well to Rush and I (especially Rush). She is slowly starting to look at other toys and interact some with Jonah and Reagan. She is eating well. We finally found a cup that works for her. We made an appointment to see the Pediatrician on Friday to get things checked out, and soon we will call the Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic about getting her checked out for surgery. Baby steps is the name of the game I guess.

Jonah and Reagan are doing ok. They are both being SO sweet to Rylie. I am so proud of them, although I know they are frustrated because she isn't responding the way they expected. I was trying to talk to Jonah about it last night, and he was very sweet about everything, but asked why she cries so much. He said "It's annoying." I can't really blame him for thinking that. They probably think we are nuts for bringing this crazy little basketcase into our home.

We are trying to remain optimistic. We know that a few months down the road, we will be pleased at her progress. That's partly why I wanted to write this I can remind myself how far we've come in a few months. For now though, we're trying to survive hour to hour. Rush went through a little emotional thing while we were in China....I'm going through it now. It's good that we can flip flop back and forth a bit and pick up the slack when the other is having a hard time. I think we've been a good team so far. We never thought this would be an easy process....but we definitely underestimated how difficult it would be.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A LONG trip, a new American, and a Great Reunion

We're HOME!!!!!!!

Oh man, it feels so good to say that! I've been awake for going on 30 hours now, so forgive me if I start to make no sense. :)

We had a great night in Hong Kong with Sharon watching the National day Fireworks. We're so fortunate we were able to be there on that day! I have a video but it's taking to long to post. I'll try again later.

We woke up early in Hong Kong and took the World's Fastest Taxi Driver to the airport. Seriously, the speed limit in a lot of places was 80km/hr and most of the time he was going at least 120km/hr. We certainly got to the airport in plenty of time! Our first leg of the flight, from Hong Kong to Detroit, was supposed to last 14 hours...more than enough to make me crazy. When we got on board, the pilot told us the winds weren't favorable so it would take 14 hours and 30-some minutes. Ugh...not what I wanted to hear! Anyway, the first 5 hours of the flight were borderline miserable. Rylie was fussy and all over the place. She was exhausted though, and was doing everything in her willpower to keep herself awake. Every time she would doze off, she did something to wake herself back up. It was pretty frustrating. I resorted to Benadryl, which made her nuts...not in a wild way, just in a drunk as a skunk way. It was actually pretty amusing. Finally, after a little over an hour of fighting the Benadryl, she passed out and slept for the next 8 1/2 hours. It was glorious! Rush and I for whatever reason couldn't sleep at all. By the end of the flight, I couldn't get off of that plane fast enough. I felt like a prisoner in my seat. I can't say I am in a hurry to do any major trips like that again.

Saying goodbye to China.
(Notice her 18m size pants are falling off....we ended up changing her clothes.)

Sleepy Time on the Plane

When we got off in Detroit, we knew making our connection to Richmond might be tight. We were in the back of the plane and we had to go through Customs, do Rylie's immigration, and recheck our bags. We had about an hour and a half. After taking close to 2 hours to get through Customs, we knew there was no way we would make it to Richmond on time. I cannot say how bummed I was! I didn't want to wait one more second to see Jonah and Reagan and be done with this trip! (In the meantime though, as soon as we processed Rylie's Immigration Paperwork, she became an AMERICAN CITIZEN!!!!! Hooray! What a great day for her! I wanted to take a picture, but we were too rushed, and they won't let you take pictures right at the window.) Anyway, we went to the counter to recheck our bags and were told we couldn't make our flight and they would reschedule us for the next flight to Richmond.....5 hours later. We weren't happy, but took what we could get. I was sad, because that would put us in Richmond at 9:20pm, which meant a lot of our family who was planning on coming to the airport wouldn't be able to come. So, we finished all of that process and took our time getting to the gate. We exchanged some money and moseyed around a bit, and went to check out the gate area. We decided to get a bite to eat, when I noticed the gate still had the plane's info for the flight we supposedly missed listed....with the plane at the gate!!! Miraculously, a crew member was late arriving which delayed the flight and we were able to make it back onto our original flight! Praise God!! I can't explain how psyched I was!!!! It left almost an hour late, but made up a lot of time in the air, so we only got home about 25 minutes later than planned!! Rylie literally fell asleep as the wheels touched down, so she missed most of her welcoming committee's initial excitement.

We had a great reunion....I can't explain how great it was to hug Jonah and Reagan! Man, how I missed them!! We hung out with some other family and friends for a bit and realized our luggage didn't make it on the flight. Hopefully it was sent on the later flight and will be delivered to our house tonight. Rylie woke up after a bit and was happy as a clam, running around with the kids everywhere.
Check out this banner my mom and sister had the kids make!

Here we come, with a sleepy baby!

Our first family photo....hey, don't judge. We just traveled from the other side of the world!

We came home and Jonah and Reagan wanted to show her every square inch of everything. She laughed like crazy running around the driveway and through the yard. Jonah is doting on her constantly. Reagan seems to like her, but it is very evident there will be some competition there, especially when it comes to Daddy's attention!

It's been a great evening. Rylie screamed for about 20 minutes at bedtime but then passed out. It's no wonder though....we realized this is the 5th place she's slept in the past 2 weeks. Hopefully she will feel at home soon. She's been off to a good start, but we know there will certainly be some issues with the overall adjustment.

The three amigos, together at long last! (Rylie is screaming, but is a happy way!)

Thank you all for your prayers, messages and support! They truly helped us get through the past 17 days and will certainly carry us through the coming ones as well. We're anxious to begin the next part of this journey!

Now....I'm going to bed! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hong Kong!

Our view from our hotel!
At lunch....that would be apple juice, although Rylie isn't sure.

The tram coming up the mountain

Our hotel is the tall building towards the right in the picture below.

Sharon arrived late last night in Kong Kong and came to our hotel. We had a great time catching up, but by about 11:30, we were toast.

This morning, I woke up and immediately knew things were not head felt like someone was taking a hammer to it, and I felt a little queasy. Within an hour, I was having a nice face-to-face meeting with the porcelain throne. I was NOT a happy camper....not only to be sick, but the prospect of missing out on this awesome city killed me! I headed back to bed while Rush, Sharon and Rylie went out to find some breakfast. They found a Starbucks close by and were quite happy!

I was feeling a little better by the time they got back, so decided to take my chances and head out with them. Fortunately, my sickness was short lived, because I felt great the rest of the day.

We headed over to the ferry stop and boarded a boat to cross the Harbor. Rylie loved it! We figured that on this trip, she has experienced her first bus, boat, plane, and train rides! After we got off the boat, we got on a double-decker bus which was open on top and headed through the streets of Hong Kong. This city is so beautiful...not only are the views amazing, but it's clean and feels very safe. We got off at The Peak Tram. The Peak is basically the top of a mountain in Hong Kong which overlooks the whole city. A cable tram takes you up some very steep hills to the top. There are a lot of stores and restaurants at the top and an observation area which gives 360 degree views of the city. It was amazing! We had lunch up top and walked around for a while, just enjoying the beauty of the area. We definitely want to come back here again's probably one of the coolest places we have ever been. I know Jonah and Reagan would LOVE it....not to mention there's a Disneyland. :)

We got back to the hotel about 4pm, and Rylie had done awesome, even though it was a very long day for her. She took a quick nap and now we are heading out to find some dinner.

It's Chinese National Day so there is a big celebration planned tonight. Every night there is a large laser show on the harbor, but tonight there is also a huge fireworks display. We can't wait! I am sure it will be an awesome sight, since it's right on the harbor.

It's been great to hang out with Sharon. Rylie hasn't had any fear of her at all....she's been happy as a clam to have even more attention, so I am hopeful she will be fine once we get home with new people all around.

I cannot tell you all how much we appreciate all of your prayers. Things have been SO much better the past few days. Rylie's behavior is improving dramatically and she is seeming right at home. She is usually pretty happy and is a big goofball. She has a funny little personality....I think both kids will really like her, but we have a feeling her and Jonah are going to be like 2 peas in a pod when it comes to being silly.
For now, we're off to have more fun!