Thursday, February 12, 2009

Whirlwind



I know I am way overdue with a new post (that seems to be a recurrent theme on this blog) but things around this house have been total chaos lately...even more so than usual.
In late January, we celebrated Chipmunk's 5th Family Day. I still can't believe we have been his parents for over five years! It seems like just yesterday we went to the baby house to pick him up. I remember the drive from the baby home to our hotel - Stu and I were in amazement that we actually had our baby. We kept looking at each other and saying "Can you believe they just handed us a baby!?!" We were so naive and had been so focused on getting through the adoption process that we hadn't really thought about what happens once we have the baby. But Chipmunk made it so easy on us. He jumped into our arms and never looked back. Now, a short five years later, he is still our shining star. Although we are starting to encounter bouts of attitude and backtalk (isn't kindergarten a little young for that?!?!), he is the most lovable, tender-hearted little boy. While he now reads to us at bedtime, he still loves to cuddle with mommy and daddy and smothers us with kisses and hugs daily.
We usually don't go overboard on Family Day but decided to let Chipmunk choose what he wanted to do special on that day. He mentioned going to a hotel (the boys think that staying at a hotel is the best thing ever!). So we decided to take the short journey to Nashville to hook up HotDog and Ellie for the first time since they both left the orphanage. While there, we were also going to meet up with this family who has a son from Russia and a daughter from Kyrgyzstan, as well as another family with an adorable little boy from Kyrg and a beautiful daughter from China.
What a fun-filled weekend! We thought that disaster was near when we checked into the hotel and found that the pool was closed due to renovation. The pool was the main reason the boys wanted to stay at a hotel. But tragedy was averted when the hero (Stu) was able to secure passes for the family to go to a pool at the hotel next-door. On Saturday morning, all of the families met up at Cracker Barrel for breakfast and to get to know each other. So fun! We had a big crew (17 people??) and separated into boys and girls tables. I don’t know about the boys (whom I am assuming talked sports the entire time), but the girls had great food and conversation. Besides being absolutely adorable, the Kyrgyz girls have something else in common: they all love to eat! Ellie was eating everything in sight and HD literally shrieked at the waitress when she tried to remove my plate of French toast. A. was forward-thinking enough to bring some play-do to keep the boys busy (including her handsome little boy, also adopted from Russia – Chipmunk and Monkey thought that fact was really cool). She also made the most darling shirts for all of our Kyrgyz cuties! She is so talented and if you are ever looking for an adorable customized shirt for your little one check out her online store: With Sugar on Top .We have two of her shirts and they are my favorite things in HD's closet (which is saying a lot). We get so many compliments every time she wears them.
We followed breakfast with a trip to a children’s museum. It was wonderful with so many hands-on exhibits that were geared towards kids of all ages. I didn’t think that I would be able to tear Monkey away from train tracks at the front of the place; he was mesmerized. The big kids immediately went to explore the bigger exhibits while Maria and I hunkered down on the first floor play area with the smaller kids. It was neat to see how well all of the bigger kids played together. My boys are still talking about C., their “friend from Russia”. And HD and Ellie had such a fun time crawling all over Kevin. He was the human jungle-gym for much of the afternoon! Most of the time I just sat back and watched all of our children interact with each other and constantly thought about how blessed we all are. It was a beautiful sight.
By mid-afternoon, the families started to say our good-byes with promises to meet up again sometime in spring/summer (hint, hint Rachel!). We had such a great time getting to know the other families and I think it is such an important connection for the children to know others with similar backgrounds/stories. We stayed at the museum for a bit longer so I could go and explore with the boys for awhile and then we headed back to the hotel for more swimming.
Later that night we went out for pizza and icecream with Maria and family. It was hilarious to watch our two little girls scarf down big scoops of ice cream!
As we headed back home on Sunday we decided to stop for lunch at the Rainforest Café. I thought the boys would love it! I was half right. Chipmunk was amazed and wanted to walk around the entire time, taking in all of the details. I didn’t even think about Monkey’s fear of thunderstorms however. About 15 minutes after we were seated, we experienced the first roll of thunder (there are “thunderstorms” in the restaurant every 30 minutes or something) and his head didn’t leave my lap for the rest of the time. He ended up eating his entire meal with one hand covering his ear. Three weeks later he is still talking about the restaurant with the thunder and how much he never wants to go back there.
After our return home, Stu traveled to California for the week (for work) and I was anxiously awaiting a trip up to Cincinnati the following weekend to meet up with John Wright and friends. We met John and his family while in Kyrgyzstan on our first trip and were so inspired by the work they are doing. Honestly he is one of the most amazing people we have ever met and the love and support he is offering to the needy in Kyrgyzstan is simply incredible. You can check out his work at: iam1ru.
However, by Tuesday it was evident that Mother Nature had different ideas. Our area was hit hard by an ice storm. I can handle snow and actually enjoy it most of the time. But ice is an entirely different story….especially when I’m stranded at the house by myself (which is in the middle of nowhere) with three young children. By Tuesday night the temperature was dropping and our electricity went out (like almost everyone else in our entire county). Luckily one of my cousins came and picked us up on Wednesday and I was able to ride out the rest of the storm with family. I had contemplated trying to stay at home and just bundle the kids in extra layers. It’s a good thing I didn’t because we didn’t get electricity back for 6 days! It was the worst disaster our area has ever seen and we are still trying to get back to normal after it. Needless to say, there was no way I could make it to Cincinnati and am still disappointed I wasn’t able to see John and friends again.
I was hoping that things would start to settle down once we got back into our house, but of course it didn’t work that way. HD had been fighting a cold and just not acting like her normal self. I chalked it up to being away from home for such a long time. By mid-week I heard the dreaded wheezing in her chest. A trip to the pediatrician confirmed that our poor baby had RSV. Ugghh. Poor girl seems like she is always battling a cold or bronchitis or a sinus infection. We tried to ride it out but she progressively got worse so we started the breathing treatments. Not only does she fight us every time we put the mask up to her face, the treatments make her super-hyper. Thankfully she started to respond and after about a week was starting to act like herself again.
Since then we have celebrated Valentine’s Day and HD’s baptism, both of which were a lot of fun. But add in Chipmunk’s weekly basketball practice/games, Monkey’s ear infections, along with just daily life, and I am exhausted. I’m hoping things will slow down for a little while and we can catch our breath before the fun begins again in late March with HD’s birthday/Chipmunk’s tonsillectomy/spring break/Easter.
Despite the chaos, things are fabulous. HD’s personality shines through more and more each day. She has always been very calm and content and slow to smile. Now she has turned into the smiliest little girl ever. She greets us each morning with a huge smile on her face and it doesn’t leave her face all day. She is actually initiating games with us too. She loves to play pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo (where she covers her ears instead of her eyes…too cute). She just started signing to us too. She definitely signs for "more" and just this morning did the sign for "bite". She is eating anything and everything we put in front of her and prefers table food to baby food now. She finally cut her first tooth and I think another one might be following soon! It seems like overnight she is losing much of her “babyness” and turning into a toddler. I can’t believe we’ll be celebrating her first birthday next month!

On to the pictures of cuteness. I didn't seem to take too many pictures of our fun Nashville weekend so you can check out A's blog and Maria's blog for more.

HD and Ellie (I have no idea what they are both looking at)

The Kyrgyz Cuties

Sweet A. was worried that Ellie was going to miss the fun!

Ellie and HD look a little confused why we keep putting them together!

Adorable Russian boys (who found it impossible to stand still for one picture)

HD flirting with herself in the mirror

My silly girl, playing peek-a-boo

Hanging out with the cousins during the ice storm


The view from my back door during the ice storm. That is not snow on the trees; it is all ice. Yikes!

4 comments:

Christen and Frank said...

Well hello adorable!!

I've been studying for my board exam and somewhat non-existent in bloggerland. What a bunch of cutie pie pictures to come back to?!?!

Carey and Norman said...

So glad to see an update. Let us know when you come to Nashville as we'd love to meet up with you. We only live about an hour away. How fun to have the connections you have with all these families.

The kids are so cute. HD has grown so much and is such a cutie tootie! The boys have also grown up and are looking more like young men. I wish they stayed toddlers longer (well, the good part of toddlerhood).

Great to hear from you!

Rachel said...

We are SOOO there this summer (June 30-July 3) - and of course a little sooner (yea!) I would SOO love to be part of another reunion!

Looks like you all had a wonderful time. 5 years...I can't believe it.

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