I know it's been awhile but I am just now catching my breath. I've been trying to get the boys back into the school routine and find room for all of the new toys (oh.my.goodness...the amount of toys these boys have is absurd! I've been doing some big-time weeding of old/broken toys while they are at school or asleep.) But I digress.. We had a fantastic holiday. We were lucky enough to have our family Christmas parties spread over several days. It makes for such a nicer holiday when we don't have to dash from one place to another in a span of 24-hours. We can actually sit back and have conversations, let the kids play with their toys, and stuff ourselves full of food again and again. It was really beneficial to HotDog too. She tends to be shy and clingy when introduced to a new place or a big group of people. After she feels more comfortable she'll get down and explore and interact with others (besides Stu or myself). We had plenty of time at each party to keep her close until she decided she was ready to join the festivities. Most of our extended family met HD at Thanksgiving or maybe a time or two elsewhere, but not for a length of time where she showed her cute little personality. I think everyone was able to see our happy, smiley, sweet, lovable little girl. The boys were a blast. They are at such a fun age for the magic of Christmas - enjoying Christmas light displays, leaving cookies and milk for Santa, wrapping presents, and, of course, unwrapping presents. I think they were both thrilled with what they received from Santa - a new train (or two) for my little train-obsessed Monkey, and a handheld Le*apster for my brainiac Chipmunk. They've both played with them non-stop since then. Santa brought HotDog an activity table, which she loves! This girl is a huge fan of anything with bright lights and loud sounds (much to my chagrin). She had more fun with the wrapping paper and bows than anything else though. As long as she had a bow to play, she was a happy girl.
I sat back in amazement all day that I was finally able to celebrate Christmas with our daughter. I just wanted to pinch myself as I watched my three kids laughing and playing. It was the best Christmas ever!
Last week, HD had her nine-month check-up. She's doing great. Our little girl is a whopping 22-pounds and 28.5 inches long! She's growing like a weed; we call her our little chunk of love. The doctor was thrilled with her progress. Developmentally she is doing exactly what she is supposed to be doing, which evidently includes clinging to me constantly and screaming when anyone else tries to hold her. I know this is huge step attachment-wise, but boy-oh-boy am I exhausted! Not only does she want me with her 24 hours a day (which I usually am), she wants to be held or sitting in my lap. She is pretty much velcroed to me all day long. That doesn't make it easy to get very much accomplished during the day. Right now I'm following her lead and spending all of my time on the floor interacting with her. Soon I'm going to have to put her in the Ergo carrier and start tackling some housework, otherwise the dust bunnies may very well overtake our house.
Her personality has really come alive lately. She is initiating games with the boys - peek-a-boo is a favorite of hers. She has started dancing (more like bouncing up and down) when she hears music. And baby girl has finally found her voice. She has never been very vocal but over the past few days she's beginning to understand that big sounds can come out of her little body. She's shrieking, babbling and trying to imitate the sounds I make. Last night she started saying "uh-oh" when she falls down. It is SO cute! She loves to wave hi and bye to anyone as they enter/leave the room. But she doesn't move her whole arm, just waggles her fingers up and down. So sweet. I'm just amazed at how quickly she is developing. She is losing many aspects of being a baby and is quickly approaching toddlerhood. She is crawling as fast as lightening but much prefers to pull up on furniture and cruise around. She can stand on her own for a few second now too. I'm really not encouraging steps or walking but I don't think it's too much further away.
We have our first post-placement visit for her next week. I can't wait for our social worker to see how much she's changed in just a few short months (she met her the first week home when she was conducting Monkey's final post-placement).
I will try to stay more up-to-date on this blog but the coming month is very busy. We'll be celebrating Sawyer's Family Day next week - I can't believe we've been his parents for almost five years! We're heading to Nashville for the weekend to meet up with some other Kyrgyz/Russia families, one of which was HD's friends in the orphanage. I cannot wait to see these two girls together again and see if there is any recognition between the two of them. The next week I'm hoping to head to Cincinnati to meet up with some wonderful people we met while in Kyrgyzstan. Chipmunk has started basketball season so we have practice during the week and games on the weekend. And Stu is heading to California for work. Boy, I'm exhausted just thinking about it all.
A very tired Daddy and HD on Christmas Eve
The only (somewhat) good picture of the kids on Christmas morning
HD with her favorite present...wrapping paper
Santa's little helpers (HD, Chipmunk, Monkey and our niece)
A picture of mommy and HD, taken by Monkey on his new camera
Smiley girl at our New Years Eve party
Our happy girl