Monday, July 25, 2011

Isn't she just precious?

I just couldn't resist sharing one more picture of our little miss!

Weekend in Michigan

It is a tradition of ours to take a trip to Michigan each summer. Some years we are fortunate enough to go all the way up to Mackinac Island; other years when we have less time we enjoy being in the Holland area. We spend time at the beach, pick blueberries, shop, eat ice cream, etc. It's something that has become very important to all of us over the years. This year, since we used so much vacation time in China, we opted just to take a long weekend trip to Holland. We left Thursday night after work and came home Sunday. It was just long enough to squeeze in all the things we love about Michigan.

Amelia traveled really well. She got nervous and quiet when we first went into the hotel, but once she realized that we were all sleeping in the same room, she started blowing us all kisses from the crib and making herself giggle.

She LOVES blueberries. This is a good thing, because we brought home almost 50 pounds of them! She sat in her stroller begging us all for more while we were picking.

Amelia did NOT like the sand at the beach. It was kind of like when we first came home and she didn't want anything to do with grass. So she sat on the big blanket and played happily with the sand toys. As long as there wasn't actually sand in them!

We have several favorite restaurants and ice cream places that we like to visit. In fact, sometimes it's hard to fit them all in. We have been known to plan our day around getting to a particular ice cream or gelato stop.

We had a great weekend and were so pleased that Amelia was with us to enjoy it too -- hopefully her first of many visits to one of our favorite places!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Home one month

One month ago today, our plane landed in Peoria, and we were never so glad to be home! Amelia has done so well and has been such a blessing to our family. She has a sparkle in her eyes now! We have seen marvelous changes in her in the short time she's been home. We know she was in a "good" orphanage; she was well-cared for and loved by her nannies. But even a good orphanage cannot replace a family! Our sweet girl gives us kisses freely and asks for them by holding up her little arm like she's hurt herself. I can kiss her anywhere and she goes away happy.

She has definitely been slowing down with how much she eats over the last few days -- a good sign that she trusts us to provide food for her. She has become pickier about what she eats and has even turned down food, which never would have happened just a short time ago.

She loves her sister and brother. When they wake up in the morning, Evan goes into the girls' room and they all play and entertain Amelia until we are ready to get her out of the crib. It's sweet to hear them all laughing and playing together, having their own bonding time.

We are still waiting for her to start saying more words. She seems to be losing the Mandarin words she knew and hasn't quite picked up the English equivalents yet. So she's actually saying fewer words now, but we know that she'll start speaking more when she's ready. Her receptive language is very good. She seems to understand most of what we say to her, and she follows simple directions fairly well.

Her hair is softer and shinier and her skin is clearing up from the rash and bug bites she had when we got her. Her legs are so much stronger than they were, as well. Overall, she is really doing amazingly well. We are so encouraged and can't wait to see how she continues to grow and blossom over the months to come! We give God all the glory for how well she has adjusted.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What a difference a month makes!

Gotcha day - one month ago

Now -- our happy girl!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Amelia update

We took Amelia for her first doctor's appointment on Thursday. She was definitely well-fed in China -- she's in the 95th percentile for weight! She weighs just over 29 pounds at 20 months. Our doctor was very pleased with how she's doing. She wants Amelia to see a pediatric orthopedist about her feet, but she thinks that he will probably just want to monitor her. Her legs are okay, but the doctor feels that she doesn't walk correctly, perhaps because her feet are so flat. Other than that, she is doing great! We are so thankful not to have any major health concerns with her.

We are amazed at how well Amelia is doing. She has gotten so much stronger in the short time that we have been home. In China she was very wobbly when she walked and had trouble standing up from a squatting position. Now she goes up and down stairs, runs, climbs, and more with no trouble. She is a great eater and is doing better about drinking milk. She sleeps at least eleven hours at night and naps for about two hours in the afternoon with no fuss. Her orphanage behaviors such as throwing things, hitting, biting, and scratching are becoming less frequent. She is learning to sign "please" which seems to help cut down on the whining a little bit. We know that many families have a much harder adjustment period than we have. We know that it is only God's grace that has allowed Amelia to join our family so easily, and we praise Him for all He is doing in her life!

The rest of us are doing well, too, although I continue to find myself exhausted by the end of the day. I can't really keep blaming jet lag, as I am getting plenty of sleep! I think I'm still getting used to having another little person around all day, and trying to balance her needs with the needs of the older two, while still maintaining some sense of order in the house. Hopefully this will all feel "normal" before too long. I seem to do best when we have somewhere to go rather than staying home all day long. Not sure how that's going to work once we start schooling again this fall. . .

Here are a few things we have learned about Amelia since we've been home:
  • She's hungry often, and it's best not to make her wait too long to eat!
  • She is still unsure of grass, trees, and flowers. I don't think she saw any of these in China.
  • She tolerates the dog now, unless Sugar is under her chair while she's eating.
  • She says a few words, half in English (mama, dada, no, Amelia) and half in Mandarin (brother, sister, dog) and babbles a lot.
  • She loves shoes but will not tolerate hair bows or jewelry.
  • She doesn't much like the swimming pool.
  • She LOVES strawberry milk. When she gets one you would think she hadn't had liquid for days!
  • She likes to be tickled.
  • She likes to play in the bath tub, but not necessarily to be washed.
Here are a few pictures from the past few days. Enjoy!

Amelia LOVED the Old Settlers' Days parade in Metamora.

Ready for church

Our three fire crackers!