Friday, December 28, 2007

'Twas Merry Indeed



This past week has been truly merry as we have spent it here in beautiful Colorado with my parents. It is always so great to have them visit, especially at the holidays. There was no need for "Dreaming of a White Christmas," as it snowed the entire day. It was beautiful and the day after Christmas was sunny and clear. We are truly privlidged to live in such a beautiful place.
Eliana's first Christmas home with us was wonderful. She mostly observed her brothers and played with the wrapping. All of our kiddos were very blessed to receive so many wonderful gifts, but having her here was the best in my mind. All I am hoping for the new year is that she will settle in and attach closely to her daddy. He just wants to pick her up and hug her and love on her. It is hard for me to understand what is happening in her little mind that is keeping her from allowing him to do that. I know her short life has been full of uncertainty, but resisting his attempts to just be her daddy are really tough to take. One of these days, she will realize how good she has it.

I am posting a few pictures from our week. I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and truly could celebrate it for what it is... Christ's birthday. Also, if I don't get back to the computer before Tuesday, I wish you a very Happy 2008!



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Coming Up for Air

Well, this week has been a doozy and I feel like I am just coming up for air. Poor Milan was sick with the flu until Saturday and then guess what happened to me in the middle of the night on Saturday. You guessed it- UGH! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I am hoping and praying that none of the kids have little latent flu bug guerrillas hiding in the hills. Anyway, feeling much better today and trying to get caught up on the mile long to do list. Here I am four months later, ordering pictures from our trip to China. I have looked at them on the computer so many times, it seems that surely I would have done that by now. Well, don't be so sure my friends. That third baby really does throw a bit of curveball at you as far as time and memory.

On that subject, I truly believe that I left about 3/4 of my brain back in China. Anyone who knows me, or my side of the family for that matter, is probably aware of our love affair with list-making. Yes, we are the types who have been known to add items to the list even after their are completed, just so that we can check them off and note that they were accomplished.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Sad, I know. Anyway, at this point, I need a list to keep track of my lists. I keep finding little notes to myself, but the scary part is that I don't even remember what half of them are supposed to remind me to do. (Note to self: make more detailed notes to self.) I am also finding that I keep making the same lists over again. Translated: I am not getting very much done! I should be a little gracious to myself, I guess, in that I am getting the kids school done, but there are just so many other details in life. (Note to self: win lottery and hire personal assistant) Oh yeah (Note to self: Must actually play lottery in order to win- Need personal assistant to remind me to buy lottery tickets so that I can pay her) You see my dilemma.

The good news is, that even with lists longer than Marley's chains, I have three beautiful children, a great hubby/daddy, great friends and family and we are all, for the moment, healthy. Speaking of great family, I am really looking forward to my parents visiting for Christmas. Thankfully, the snow isn't supposed to hit until a day after they arrive, so we should not be reliving the horror of Colorado 2006 which twice delayed their trip last Christmas. So, for now, I will choose to look at my glass as half-full. (Note to self: Make it half-full of Margarita. Things are looking better all the time!)

Until next time when I am uploading photos for development at 1:30 in the morning and therefore find the time to blog... Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 7, 2007

San Frantastic


We were fortunate enough to spend last week in the San Francisco area with Milan's family. Eliana did really well- loved her Baba (grandmother) and her Auntie Lilana. Her little cousins were great with her and our boys and we all had a great time.
I will post a few highlights here...

1) Within about 2 hours of landing, Elijah was in the bay. Completely. Over his head, fully clothed, shoes and all. Mind you there was an oil spill just a few weeks ago. Lets just say the sand was still a bit more sticky than usual. Of course, his going in was not part of our plan. I wouldn't exactly call it safe swimming conditions. But, if you know our Elijah, you know that he marches to the beat of his own drummer. A really, really, really fast drummer.



2) As always, we enjoyed taking in the sights of the city. We were blessed with a beautifully clear day and we spent some time learning about the history of the defense of the bay.

3) We were fortunate enough to spend an afternoon at the Nuttree with good friends recently moved from Colorado. It was so great to see them and their three beautiful children.
Nuttree

4) Time with Milan's sister's family was great. The kids loved each other and had a great time. Milan's sister is an incredible woman and he especially enjoyed the treat of playing tennis with her most every day.
San Fran 07

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!! We celebrated Eliana's first Thanksgiving today with some very gracious friends. Thanks to the Starr family... you rock. We had a wonderful dinner... Eliana loved feeding herself the mashed potatoes and then she loved stealing bites of my dessert even more. She was interested in eating and then just hanging out watching her big brothers play. There was much to watch as their activity level was amped up about three extra notches... apologies now to the that same VERY gracious Starr family. Anyway, it is always nice to be with good friends when you can't be with family. So, now that it is time to tear down my very few fall decorations and begin my annual "Cover every square inch of the house with Christmas trees and decorations" routine, I will have to decide exactly how much Eliana is really crawling. I will need to calculate her maximum speed taking into account wind velocity, diaper-drag, slippage due to clothing, hip-droppage and doggie interference in order to decide how low on the trees I can put decorations as well as how many things need better anchoring. Working out the formula may take some time. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving and try not to let your feelings of thankfulness be overrun by the need to master the After-Thanksgiving-Day sales in search of all that stuff that you don't have.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Just Love My Little Monkeys!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI thought I would post a few pictures from today. My three kiddos are all so precious. Elijah read to Eliana this morning while I made breakfast. He is so cute. Lately, he is taking the initiative to find ways to help me when Eliana is fussing- which is pretty much most of the time when I am not holding her. She really enjoyed his reading though. It was just so sweet... and he is becoming such a great little reader. Maybe there is something to this homeschooling thing after all.

Noah, my oldest, has been just adorable lately as well. He is so into football. He just runs through the house running plays on his own... rushing for unbelievable yardage and thwarting defenders left and right. I have to look both ways before crossing the kitchen from the sink to the refrigerator. He is posing in a picture here with his favorite nerf football.

Eliana loves rocking out on her rocking horse. Of course, when I ask her if she is rocking, she starts playing rock, paper scissors. She gets the "rock" part and goes with it. I snapped some pictures of her today in her new outfit from Aunt Kathy... Thank you, Kathy. It is just too cute. The fact that it is the "Snow Princess" line is too perfect. We are expecting snow later this week and she is definitely our little princess.

New Album 11/20/07 10:23 PM

Well, not much excitement around here today other than the fact that I adore my babies. I am really a blessed Mommy, in spite of the fatigue and intermitant frustrations of parenthood... God has been very good to me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Starlighting


Tonight was Eliana's first Starlighting here in Castle Rock. She pretty much slept though much of it, but she did catch the fireworks in the end. It is nice to live in a small town where there is such a sense of community at these types of events. We are always sure to bump into friends that we haven't seen in a while and it is good to catch up. My only complaint is that it seemed that there wasn't as much to do downtown with the kids as in the past. Maybe I am wrong, but all the lines to do anything were so long, it certainly seemed that way with three kiddos in tow. The star Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketdoes look great as ever, Crowfoot Coffee always hits the spot and the fireworks are a favorite with the kids. Eliana took them in with quiet curiosity- as she does all of her first-time experiences. I hope that our kids look back on these little family traditions someday fondly. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures this year. I was too concerned about keeping my 2 eyes on 3 kids. Next time, I will have to make Milan the official photographer. While it seems a bit weird to be celebrating Starlighting here when Thanksgiving has yet to come and pass, I enjoyed kicking off the Christmas season.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Attachment... not just a techno- buzz-word

Well, My Leah has come and gone and I can't believe how quickly the time past. It was a joy to have her here and I look forward to our next visit... I refuse to wait another 2 years before that happens.

On the home front, we are continuing to work with our "Velcro Baby" as our agency has dubbed her. She is becoming more demanding as far as how much she wants to be carried and how little space I am allowed to give her.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I really want to do all I can to help her to be secure in her attachment to me, but I could really use a good back massage about now. She has such a sweet little smile and it breaks my heart to think about the fears and insecurities that still lurk behind it. Milan is hanging in there, but it is tough for him not to be able to be really close to her yet. She will play games and smile with him as long as I am holding her, but she is still really giving him a hard time if he tries to hold her. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket He is such an amazing father to our boys and I know that she will figure out what a good thing she has going sooner or later. In the meantime, we covet your prayers for all of us for perseverance, patience and wisdom to help Eliana (and all of us) through this time.
Anyone else out there (maybe one of my RQ buddies) have a velcro baby? We would love any advice on resources, etc. that might be helpful.
Until next time...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My Leah is Coming!!

Tomorrow is the day!! "My Leah" is coming to visit from Michigan. Why do I say "My Leah?" Well, that is the question my boys asked recently. My first response was because... because... she's mine... allll mine and NOBODy else can share her!! The real reason she is "My Leah" is because she is my dear friend and my encourager and my "talk me down" sister. She is an amazing woman and I can't wait for her to meet little Eliana as well as for Eliana to get to know her. It has been three years since the boys have had an in person visit and they are excited as well. We will, however, be hoping to spend some serious girl time in the next few days. You know... Jane Austen... chocolate... late nights and good coffee. It should balance out the "boy stuff" that Elijah says he and Noah have been doing with Daddy lately. Tonight, they went on a night hike nearby wearing all of their spy-gear. Of course, Daddy took along the hot chocolate and Marshwiggles (Chronicles of Narnia reference). "Boy stuff" is pretty cool around here and I doubt if I will be missed around the Foos ball table.
I am posting a few recent pictures. The boys love their Mei Mei and she loves both of her ge ge. Noah took the picture of me with Eliana. Not too bad for a seven year old, if I do say so myself!





Saturday, November 3, 2007

Beautiful Babies!



So today was the day. I got them all dressed up and took them out for some pictures. I am so pleased. Many of them turned out really well, unfortunately none of the pictures of all 5 of us. I really wanted to avoid the studio backdrop type pictures this year and I think we have done it. It really can"t be too hard when you have such beautiful children to photograph. Anyway, I have posted a few of my favorites. Dont worry Nana, you will be getting some really soon!

Friday, November 2, 2007

To clean or not to clean? That is the question...

So yesterday, a shamefully overdue house cleaning took place. I think about that family in the midwest somewhere with 16+ children and I don't know how their home hasn't been condemned. I am not quite sure how I am going to keep house around here between homeschooling the boys and taking care of my little "Cling-on." Not that she has been watching much Star Trek or anything, but she has become more needy of late. That is code for "I want Mommy NOW!" Short of hiring a house-keeper (which is about as likely as me voting for Hillary Clinton for President), I am not sure what to do about keeping our crib clean. Putting cleaning agents into the hands of young boys sounds like a ticket to the eye doctor for a thorough flushing and they don't seem to understand that the bottom of the vacuum needs to actually run flat to the floor. They prefer to drive it around in "wheelie" mode. It is faster, I admit. Yesterday, Milan took the boys to music classes for me so I could clean while Eliana napped. That lasted about 45 minutes and then the next several hours were spent dusting and vacuuming one-handed. Oy Vay! My back is not my friend today, but at least my daughter is.
So, I am open for comments, suggestions, etc. from any of you neat-nicks out there with a house full of kiddos and barely enough spare time in your life to microwave dinner, let alone clean out the inside of that horrible little nuclear reactor. Until next time...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holiday Sneak Preview

Eliana's Sneak Preview
I had to post these pictures because they are so unbelievably cute. This is a sneak preview of Eliana's Christmas dress. I am trying to get my act together early to get pictures of the kids all together. This was just a dress rehearsal to be sure that everything fit. The boys, of course, are handsome little devils in their attire as well, but you will have to wait for the real thing to see them. Oh, and yes, she is wearing another hat. She is getting hair by the way, but the hats are too cute to resist.

We have been home 2 months today and Eliana is beginning to do more and more each day. Her words are definitely still more like beginning sounds with intonation, but there are different and distinct sounds for particular things. She waves and says Ba Ba for bye bye and she puts her hands out to her sides when she is done eating and says Ah duuu (all done). We are sure she is brilliant and expect that she will be doing quantum physics by the new year. Teeth numbers 5 and 6 are rapidly breaking through and according to my back she is continuing to gain weight. She is trying to crawl still, but hasn't mastered the art of that what to do with that second leg and ends in a flop. We are continuing to see progress with her strength as she can stand for longer periods of time before flopping down and is trying to pull up (though still unsuccessfully). She is a joy and it is a privilege to witness so many little milestones.

Happy Halloween!

New Album 10/31/07 9:15 PM

We just got all our little goblins into bed after a night of trick-or-treating and excitement. The kids were adorable, of course. Eliana- our "plumpkin" was too cute. Her fellow squash, Cooper (our Cairn Terrier) was so excited that he could hardly contain himself. Cooper stayed back with Eliana as she cozied up in her super snuggly stroller while the boys went to the doors. Noah was Jack Sparrow and Elijah was a cowboy on horseback. Elijah won best costume of the night at one of the houses and received a massive amount of candy. Needless to say, he was thrilled. Milan went as Martin Luther and I was Katerina Von Bora (his nun wife). It was fun. In truth, I am perhaps most excited about the fact that I don't have any more costumes to sew for at least another year. Hurrah!!

The weather here is turning colder... tonight was a chilly one. Current temps are 37 degrees (F) with windchill bringing it down about another 5 or 6 degrees. It beats last years freezing rain, but it was still mighty cold. I do believe I am ready for fall weather... and baking... and soup... not so ready for winter yet though. Hopefully, it will keep itself at bay for a little while longer. I had to run out for a few things today and couldn't believe that the Christmas decorations were everywhere. Wow. Where did this year go?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Three Peas in a Pod


Well, here are my three little peas in a pod. The boys continue to argue over who gets to sit next to Eliana... it is hard to discipline them for that . She adores them and they are smitten. It is such a blessing to see them play with and hear the loving words that her big brothers shower her with. She is a blessed little girl.
Everyone is excited about costumes and trick-or-treating just a few days away. I will be sure to post pictures of the cuties. Eliana and Cooper (our little Cairn terrier) will be matching pumpkins, Noah will be a pirate of the Jack Sparrow variety and Elijah will saddle up as a cowboy. Milan and I are supposed to be dressing up as a monk and a nun, but the costumes aren't finished yet. We'll see if I can finish up by Wednesday evening... Argh... (no reference to the pirate). Where does my time go? Oh yeah, see exhibits A,B, and C posted in the picture above.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Absentee Blogger

Well, I am officially the absentee blogger. Life with baby has taken over those last few spare moments that I think I had in my possession. I also find myself to be somewhat useless after about 9pm. As was true with my first two children, this season of fatigue for me will pass. I am sorry, however, that I haven't been better about posting pictures... especially for family. I pledge to attempt to do better.

The pictures in the album below show Eliana's first trip to the zoo. We went with the Survance family a few weeks ago. Also there are post-bath pictures with our crazy-haired little pumpkin. Finally, there are a few pictures of Elijah's completed Halloween costume (please dont ask about the other three that are still unfinished-- two aren't even started... Ugh!) and a few pictures of our trip to Barnum and Bailey's Ringling Brothers Circus. The circus was a blast. Eliana was enthralled. I must say that it may be worthy of their billing as the "Best Show on Earth."

Eliana continues to grow and truly is thriving. She is growing out of some of the 9 month clothing she had and is actually filling in some of the 12 month things. Sleeves and legs are still a little long, but not everything needs to be rolled anymore. She is cracking us up as she tries to comb her hair- I will have to catch a picture of it- as well as pretending to talk on the phone. It is very funny. We just sit her in the middle of the kitchen table with the phone and she provides a good 15 minutes worth of free entertainment. She hasn't yet made the leap into mobility, but she really is wanting to crawl. She gets up on one knee, but that other leg just gets in her way. She will figure it out and then we will all be in trouble.

We are so thankful for all of our beautiful children and we continue to pray that Eliana will come to know and trust us as they do. She does continue to be a "Mama's Girl" as our agency refers to her. Milan is being so patient and is making every effort to love on and play with her. For those of you who are praying for us, that would be our request... that she would bond more closely with Milan and stop giving him such a difficult time. I trust that she will and that this season will pass, but it is easier for me to believe that than Milan as I am not bearing the brunt of it.

Well, Eliana just fell asleep on my shoulder while I have been typing with one hand. So, off to bed for her and I will finish up and get back to schooling with the boys. Just another day in the life at the Norgauer home. I will try to get back to the keyboard soon!
New Album 10/17/07 10:43 AM

Too Funny!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Story Time


Today, Debbie and I met for coffee and then took the girls to storytime at the library. While it is designed for babies and early toddlers, it was a little hard for Eliana to get into because it was so crowded. Hopefully, it will thin out a bit and she will be able to engage in it a bit more. It was fun to get together with Debbie and Nora and to see the girls together. Nora is such a cutie and she is just all over the place- walking, climbing, crawling, you name it. Hopefully, she can give Eliana some pointers. I am so glad that the girls live so close to one another and that they can be friends.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

For Entertainment Purposes Only

I just had to upload a few pix of our little Cairn Terrier Cooper. He is such a sweet little dog- much loved by his new little sister. These are going out to my dear friend- you know who you are- to give you a smile for the day. After these were taken, Cooper destroyed one of the little leg cuffs that go with the triceratops. I guess it was his right.
Eliana will be a pumpkin this Halloween, you can guess which costume Coop will be wearing. Have a great day everyone!
Cooper

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy First Birthday!

Eliana's Birthday
We celebrated Eliana's first birthday on Sunday... Happy Birthday to little Maryn Feehs from our travel group as well. It was so great to be able to share Eliana's first birthday with all of the Norgauer traditions. We had pancakes with candles for breakfast, presents, cake and good friends. She is a little joy and we truly feel blessed to have this precious girl in our family.

I am including pictures from her birthday here as well as a few snaps from the last few days. You will notice many hats in the pix. She lets me put all of them on her without a fuss and she leaves them on!! She is so cute in them, I think that you will see many of them in future photos as well.

Happy Birthday big girl!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Life and Times of Us...

First month home

I have finally uploaded a few new pictures of the kids, sorry that I have been a bit lax on getting to the blog. I can't imagine why I wouldn't be sitting in front of a computer checking email and loading pictures... where does my time go?

Today took us to the doctor for our little Elijah. It has been rough for the poor little guy. The cold that has been plaguing him just wasn't getting any better. Well, that is because he has a sinus infection and two ear infections. How that boy doesn't complain more about pain, I will never know. Hopefully, he will be on the mend quickly as he is now taking three different meds daily. He is a trooper. I am really praying he returns to his normal happy self soon. It has been a hard few weeks for him in many ways.

Both of the boys continue to bond well with Eliana. She just loves them both to death and I tell you it melts our hearts to hear the things they say about and to her. She is one lucky little girl and we continue to be amazed that she is actually ours. Milan and I were talking yet again tonight about how we just can't believe she is here after such a long wait. He is rapidly being wrapped around her little finger as she coos and "da da das" at him. I don't tell him that she da da das at a lot of things... I am sure she is just thinking about him when she does that.

We went to the fire safety presentation at the library this past week with the kid and they enjoyed trying on the equipment. Eliana just looked on with her "serious" face. We haven't exactly covered "fire truck" yet in our reading and vocabulary. We did get some cute pictures of her brothers though. Speaking of Eliana's serious face, she has truly become the lady of many faces. She makes the funniest expressions and almost poses for the camera with them. I don't know if it is her new varied diet taking its toll on her digestive system or if she is truly clowning around, but we are thoroughly enjoying it. You will see a few of them in the pictures I posted today.

Homeschooling in earnest began again this week, and much to my surprise, it went really well. I was nervous about how I was going to do it all, but we managed to get it done. The boys enrichment program is really great. It gives me a little break on Tuesdays and Thursdays to spend time with Eliana (or if she is napping... time for myself... Gasps and Horror). It also breaks the week up nicely for a change of pace for the boys. I am really thankful for it. While I am really thankful for it, Elijah has had a bit of a rough time. He was out for a week sick and this week just wasn't feeling himself either. (Duh, genious- see paragraph 2 above) I am hoping next week goes better for him and that he isn't missing me quite so much.

Well, it has been fabulous sitting here rambling on about my very exciting and cutting edge life, but there is laundry to fold, a checkbook to balance and an entire list of things that I was supposed to finish yesterday that is yet untouched. Until next time...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Question for Scientists to Ponder...


So, what is it that causes a baby's face to look clean one minute and then to have dried oatmeal seeping out of her pores ten minutes later... Maybe the discovery channel can tackle that one. Anyway, here is a my little co-blogger playing with one of her favorite high-tech toys. "Glad"ware is an appropriate name. For the record, she is a "Mac" lover already.

We are fighting an ear infection (actually two) which our doc said is common when babies move to our high altitude. Who would have thunk it? She was fine in China and we get her sick by bringing her home. She has been only slightly more fussy. She is one tough little cookie. Our little Elijah is still fighting his cold. His fever seems to be gone, but the cough and yuck is still hanging around. Hopefully tomorrow will be cleared up. There is always hope right?

Well, I hope all is well with our fellow group 1214 ers and congrats and speedy returns to all of you who have just received referrals or are ready to travel. The time travels quickly between match and travel- start preparing now. As for the time in China, my assessment is that it creeps by if you have children back at home or if you get sick. Otherwise, it goes by pretty quickly as well. That's all for now!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Inn is Empty

Today was Eliana's first "real" doctor appointment and for the most part all went well. She does have ear infections in both ears- ugh. She has been pulling and rubbing at her ears, but really she hasn't fussed about them much. We go back in a few weeks for some more tests, shots, etc. Fun.

Milan's mom left today after a nice visit, and so it is just us again. I am sort of going around the house tonight taking inventory of where things are, what needs to be cleaned, what is ahead this week, etc. I am feeling greatly in need of settling into a routine. I am such a creature of habit. It is the only method to my madness. Must have plan.... must stick to schedule... must buy new whip- I mean, must get kids on board with new routine... You get the idea. One thing that is soooo great, is that our church is still providing meals for us this coming week. It is so nice not to have to plan for that every day. Thanks you guys!!! You are awesome.

I do have a few new pictures to put here of Eliana taken this week. We just love that toothy smile... getting toothier all the time.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Good Night for Now...

Okay, missing a cable somewhere for now... so no new pictures today. I will have to get on that tomorrow when Milan is awake and I can interrogate him... just kidding. I will try to get pictures up soon though. Eliana seems to be changing every day. We are finally sleeping for the most part. She seems to get up once for a diaper change, but goes down again pretty easily. Knock on wood. Poor little Elijah has a high fever and cold though so he is taking over night duty. While I would love an uninterrupted night of sleep, I wouldn't change it. I can't imagine having it any other way. These are my babies and they need me. The day will come all too soon when they won't want or need their mommy to kiss away the bad dreams, hug away the sniffles or snuggle up next to them so that they can fall asleep. It is a good reminder to me just to write it here. These are the years I know that I will look back on someday with fondness. There is no gift like children and there is no job like being a mommy. I am so thankful for all three of my little ones. By the way, who invented the caffienated beverage? I need to send him/her a thank you note.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Time Keeps Ticking Away...



Tick Tick Tick Tick... is that the clock or my brain making that sound in the middle of the night? It has been a great but exhausting week. Eliana finally slept through the night last night. Unfortunately, since I have been up with her for 3-5 hours every other night this week, my body clock is screwy and I still woke up at 2:30 even though she slept until 5:30. I tell you though, staying in bed even though you are up makes for much easier sunrise. I am hopeful that she has turned a corner and will be back to her sleep champion status (in China) soon.

It has been really great having my parents here this week. While it was a different sort of visit (since I felt partially comatose much of the time), it is always a comfort and joy to have them around. I only wish it could be more often. They are truly amazing people and my kids are lucky to have them for grandparents. We will get to enjoy a few more days with Milan's mom and I am thankful for the extra help and time spent with the kids. We truly are blessed to have so much support from family.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Home Sweet Home



We arrived home after about 28 hours of travel... only about 2 of which did Eliana close her eyes. It was rough, but we were so glad to be home and to see our boys. All is right in the world again as our family is all together. The boys have been loving on their little sister and my parents as well as Milan's mom have been enjoying time with their newest grandbaby. She really has been amazing. After all of those wakeful hours, our serious little one was full of smiles for everyone. She didn't utter a peep of a cry during the reunion and then went down well once we were finally home and willing to put her down.

Last night was our roughest so far as Eliana was up much of the night with an upset tummy... I think. So after a few hours of trying to settle her, she fell back to sleep and I was wired with 15,000 things on my mind. So, up and to the computer to check the umpteen emails I haven't seen in the past week. I am really trying not to spend time one the computer while the kiddos are awake right now, so I will have to see how much energy I have for emails and blogging in the next few days. Don't take it personally if you don't get quick responses for a while. Hopefully, the jet lag will fade quickly for all of us and we will get onto a "normal" schedule- whatever that is with three little ones.
We are just so thankful for our family... for our parents, our friends, our church. It has been a long road waiting for this little bundle of joy and I really don't want to miss a minute of it with stressing out over this or that. Your continued prayers for our transition and for my ability not to be the queen of stress that I can be are coveted. Thank you for the many prayers while we were gone. We felt them all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last Day

Today is our last day in Guangzhou- thank you!! We are beyond ready to come home. The trip has been amazing and exhausting and special and eye-opening and hard and great. I cant really explain it all, but we do miss our boys. Eliana is such an integral part of our family and it just doesnt feel right that she still hasnt met her brothers. One more day- very long day- of travel and we will rectify that. Please pray for our travel. Eliana is really a good baby, but she has trouble falling asleep- and especially staying asleep- when she isnt in her bed. We are hoping for alot of rest for her and us on the plane.

We had Eliana's medical exam for her visa on Monday and she weighed 18.4 pounds. She is quite a chubber, but for the record- not the heaviest in our group. I have included a picture of her exam in the album below. We are so thankful for how healthy she is and for her (and our) health on this trip. Babies are battling tonselitus (sp?) and all manor of colds and rashes. She has not had so much as a sniffle and her rashes are all cleared up. We are trying to keep clear of any illness to keep it that way. Unfortunately, some good friends have really been battling illness for the entire last week. The Deyoe family can use your prayers as they have been hit hard by illness. Mom is doing better today, but their oldest daughter is still quite sick and the baby has had some very disconcerting health issues as well. Keep them in prayer as they prepare to go home on Friday.

Eliana is thriving and we are starting to figure out more of her "rhythms"- naps, etc. She is such a little character with us when we are alone, but she continues to be quite serious with others. She has warmed up a little to Debbie Vair and to Sherry- another mom from our group. That has been fun to see as her smile just lights up her face.

This afternoon, we will go to the consulate to take the "oath." I am not exactly sure what we are promising, but I believe it has to do with swearing to care for and keep Eliana once we are home. Milan and I were already saying that we already can't imagine our lives without her, so I will promise whatever they want me to promise. She is my baby and nothing will ever change that.

We look forward to posting pictures from home and for catching those smiles with her big brothers. I am sure it will be love at first sight. So, I am unsure if we will post from the Hong Kong airport tomorrow. We leave Guangzhou quite early. For those of you who have been emailing, I apologize. I havent even checked them in about 5-6 days. We have been stealing time on the internet when we have had the chance to call the boys or post here. I will try to catch up when I get home. Thanks to all of you who have been helping out with our boys as well. I know that it has been enjoyed by them and appreciated by my mom. We are blessed with incredible friends and as for you, Mom, we can never express how truly thankful we are to have you and for the love and care you have shown for our precious boys.
Love to you all,
Heather
Eliana Day 9-11

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fantasy Island

Hello friends and family! We are alive and well in Guangzhou, China. Sorry for the few days without any posts, but we have been traveling, settling into a new place, and looking for "cheap" internet access. This is quite a place. Smack dab in the middle of this huge Chinese city of 12 million, there is this little island in the Pearl River, which feels more like a European city, or maybe a southern U.S. city like Savannah or Charleston. It is hot and steamy (think Miami on steroids), and quite lovely. Our hotel (the White Swan) is one of the "Leading Hotels of the World" and for good reason. It is quite elegant, the breakfast buffet is amazing, and the service is top notch. They "make up" our room twice a day, change our bedspreads to down comforters, turn down our sheets...and most important, leave a chocolate by the bed for bedtime. There is incredible artwork on display all throughout the hotel lobby...the most amazing examples are the incredible jade sculptures, some of which are more then ten feet tall...absolutely stunning. There are two beautiful swimming pools, and yesterday we saw two workers, literally, drying and polishing the plants outside...and considering how much rain they get here, that is a big job!!

Well, on to more important things. We are healthy, content, and ready to come home. Eliana is growing in every way...muscles are getting stronger, smiles and laughs more, loves to eat anything (last night Daddy introduced her to chicken and sweet and sour sauce while Mommy wasn't looking). By the way, we ate dinner at this wonderful Thai restaurant, and the food was incredible, but cost us 140...actually divide that by seven and a half...such a deal. It's called the Cow and Bridge, for those of you who are familiar with the restaurants here that are frequented by adopting families.

Guangzhou is where the U.S. consulate is located...that's why we all have to go through here on our way home. It seems as if there have also been a number of other Western consulates and offices here over the years, as Shamian Island (where we are staying) has a distinctly different feel in terms of its streets, architecture, food, etc. compared with other Chinese cities. I think they tried to make it "feel" European/American, and they definitely succeeded. As we write, we are in the outside cafe of a new Starbucks, that offers free WiFi. It is truly different here than where we were last, in Nanchang, where we picked up our little Pang Pang. That is a large city, further in the interior of the country, and is more "real" China. Which is, of course, a wonderful thing, as we have come to love and appreciate so many things about this great country, but we were definitely ready to move along on our trip. Hazards in Nanchang essentially are limited to the roadways (and sidewalks) if people are REALLY in a hurry, and we generally found enough good food to eat that our bodies could tolerate.

Our boys back home will be happy to know that Eliana seems like she will be a good little swimmer. We have taken her to the pool twice, and she seems to really like it. Of course, if the water gets anywhere near her little chin, she sticks out her tongue (which is currently functioning as a fifth limb), and tries to "lap up" the water. It's quite funny, and probably a result of trying to eat everything that comes near her little mouth, including the leaf I lifted out of the water to show her!

We thank you for your prayers, and we know that our God has been with us in every way. He has been before us and behind us and has hemmed us in and has put his gracious hand upon us. We love our new daughter, and we know you all will too. We head home in three days, and we can't wait to see all of you soon!

Milan
Pics from Guangzhou