Sunday, April 27, 2014

Update on Hannah - home 2 months

Last Tuesday marked two months since we brought Hannah home.  I'm a little late posting, but better late than never, right??   Hannah has made incredible progress in lots of areas over the past month.  She has really settled into her new life as part of our family.   

The picture above was taken by our friend & photographer Lindsey Bilhartz.  She lives in our neighborhood and is wonderful with kids.   When we took Hannah for these pictures we thought she was mostly over an ear infection.  Within the next day we discovered she had hand, foot, mouth virus.   No wonder she was not smiley during her pictures! I love this picture though - it captures how beautiful and sweet she is!

Over the past month, Hannah has started to sleep better.  She typically wakes once in the night and we have agreed to just bring her to our bed.  I was spending a looong time trying to get her back to sleep in her crib and I was exhausted.  When I put her in-between us she falls right back to sleep.  Hannah has slept all night several times but it has been sporadic.  I have started to have her take naps in her room upstairs to help her prepare for sleeping there at night as well.  

Hannah has continued to learn new signs.  She can sign eat, more, drink, milk, cracker, all done, banana, and yogurt.  She also pats her diaper when she wants it changed and can sign, help, baby, book, mommy, daddy, brother, night night, dog, cat, horse, bird and shakes her head yes and no to answer questions.  In the past 10 days Hannah started to actually say more words.  She is not very confident about some words and will say them very quietly.  Hannah also only says the beginning sound of many words but we always know what she means.  Her current word list includes uh oh, bye bye, hi, mama, dada, cay-cay for Caleb, baby, night night, "per" for diaper and poo poo.  Ha!  We are excited to hear her trying new words every day!

In terms of food, Hannah has continued to try new foods.   She does not seem to like typical kid food here in America, other than pizza.  When we had garlic pesto salmon she was a big fan!  She also loves broccoli and soup.  We have also discovered she loves sweets and cheetos.  Ha!   Hannah is very independent about feeding herself.  She can feed herself with a fork and spoon, even more difficult foods like soup.  Hannah acts insulted when we give her a sippy cup at home and really wants an open cup.  At just 20 months she is really good with an open cup.  We still insist on a sippy cup when we are in the car or at a restaurant.  

Hannah wants to stand alone so much.  I think she wishes she could keep up with her brothers!  She can crawl, army crawl and scoot to get wherever she wants to go.  She loves to go up and down the stairs, with us following close behind of course.   Hannah will go back to Shriners in Houston tomorrow to get her AFOs (ankle foot orthotics).  We are hoping they will temporarily correct her foot position and enable her to start walking.  We still plan to cast her legs in the fall and have a heel cord release surgery performed once her casting is completed.  

Trying so hard to stand

Standing up (and leaning on the coffee table) in her first pair of Nike shorts

So proud of herself for climbing up to the stairway landing

And now in no particular order... some more fun with Hannah over the past month!

Having a little check-up at home

Hannah is a happy baby - but we do have our fair share of drama.  
I think this episode took place when I told her to wait a minute to get out of her high chair because I was not done with my breakfast.  Oh, the horror! 

Hannah got to meet my best friend, Katy & her family when they came to visit us 

Taking an important call from the play room 

These two cuties LOVE each other! 

...and they both love me a little too much on some days!
They think it is so funny when I carry them both.  
Luckily they are close in weight so I feel pretty balanced!

Hannah occasionally likes to have a pacifier.  It can be helpful when I am putting all 3 kids to bed by myself. 

Oh, the little body on this sweet girl!  She was copying me and trying to put her hands on her hips ;) 

Hannah went on her first hike in the backpack carrier.
She was thrilled in case you can't tell ;) 

Fun with my big brother after bath time!

Cutie pie loves to put on glasses, hats & bracelets 

Truly meant to be my daughter-- she loves to make faces with me!  
I can tell she tries to mimic most things I do. 

Doing some artwork on the Leap Pad 

Somebody discovered there is a camera near her crib... 

My first ponytail since coming home! 

I asked Caleb to keep Hannah company while I put Joshua to bed.  
He decided to get in her crib with his "Mighty Eagle" stuffed bird.  
I could hear Hannah giggling at Caleb but when  she saw me come in she was ready to get out! Looks a little crowded in there. 

Fun times at Target! 

Being silly in the tub with my brothers!

Hannah set up her stacking blocks to create a little chair for herself!  She was SO proud. 

We got Hannah's certificate of citizenship last week! 
Our last step will be to go to the social security office to have her name changed on her card.  It currently says her Chinese name.

Sassy face, once again.  Wearing Granny's glasses. 

Playing a silly game with Joshua- he piled up tons of stuff on her and she would laugh and laugh!

Hannah LOVES to play with babies.  
She signed to me and said "help diaper" so I put the toy diaper on her baby doll. 

Being this cute is tiring

Working diligently to put on Caleb's boxers

Acting out "Let It Go" with Joshua.  She is using a bath towel as a cape. 

Snuggling with these two jealous-of-one-another cuties 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Caleb's 6th Birthday

Thursday, April 10th was Caleb's 6th birthday!  I can hardly believe how big he is getting and all the changes we have seen in him over the past year.  Caleb is currently around 43 or 44 pounds and just shy of 4 feet tall.  He has always been long & lean!  Caleb has always been the type of kid who becomes very interested in something and loves that topic/toy exclusively for several months.  We've seen him love balls, Doc Hudson, construction, batteries, windshield wipers, water towers, railroad crossings, construction again and now Angry Birds!  Caleb's birthday celebration this year was all about Angry Birds!

Over the years Caleb has come to associate birthdays at our house with having balloons on the breakfast room light, a happy birthday banner and a large balloon.  He asked us for several days in advance if he would have all those things when he woke up on his birthday :)  Unfortunately he woke up at 1:45am to see if all those things were there and begged us to let him open his gifts! Luckily we managed to get him back to sleep and didn't open the gifts until the lovely hour of 6am!  

Caleb's gifts & balloons

Caleb with his presents on his birthday morning

For his birthday Caleb got new Angry Birds decorations for his room (sheets, a new comforter, posters for the walls, pillows and an alarm clock) and a remote control helicopter.  My parents gave him "the Mighty Eagle" character from Angry Birds (in the large green box).  He had told my Mom months ago that is what he wanted so we made sure it was at our house for his birthday morning!

Caleb agreed to take some birthday pictures since I allowed the Mighty Eagle to participate 

Our big boy!

When Caleb arrived at school his teachers had the class elves sitting out in a special display to celebrate his birthday.  The class elves appear on each child's birthday and their appearance is always catered to that child's personality and interests.  They were recreating a scene from an Angry Birds game.  So cute & something special just for Caleb!

The elves on the right are pretending to be Angry Birds in a slingshot made out of blocks-- aiming themselves at the flamingos on the left

At the end of the school day Bryan and I brought cupcakes and juice to Caleb's class.  Caleb's chair was decorated at his table.  I think he was happy we were there!  We also got to see their other class tradition on each child's birthday.  Caleb's classmates all drew a picture for his birthday book and wrote "Happy Birthday Caleb!".  Each classmate drew some type of Angry Birds scene, ha!  One by one each child got up and shared with everyone about the picture they drew.

After school Caleb was blessed to have all 4 of his grandparents come to town to share a birthday dinner with him.  Caleb wanted pizza, salad and fruit along with the Angry Birds cake we decorated together.

Caleb also got an Angry Birds scooter, paper brick building blocks (perfect for Angry Birds to knock down!), an Angry Birds birthday building set and two of the Angry Birds pigs.

Setting up his Angry Birds birthday set (similar to Legos) with Pop Pop

Hannah showed lots of personality during Caleb's birthday party.  It was fun to see her open up around her grandparents.  She even let both Gran Jan & Granny hold her which was great!

Sliding with Daddy

Learning how to blow bubbles with Gran Jan

Caleb ended the night in his newly decorated room with the Mighty Eagle and one of the pigs in his bed :) 

Caleb, we are so thankful for your life.  We know it is no coincidence that we are your parents.  It still amazes me that a child born 7,000+ miles away in a country I had never heard of is my precious, first son who made me a Mama.  You are a unique, intelligent, creative and special little boy.  We have believed from day one that the Lord is writing a powerful story with your life.  What a privilege that we get to be part of it!  Being your parents has been one of the biggest blessings and biggest lessons for us.  God uses you and our role as your parents to refine our character and show us more of who He is.  We are thankful for that.  It feels like you are heading into your 'big boy years' as you turn 6 and have first grade on the horizon.  We love you so very much and look forward to watching you grow, learn and have fun as you enter this next season of your life.  Happy 6th Birthday to our first baby!