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We're Home
February 2012
  |  May 2012  |  February 2013

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Cor. 9:15

"I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, let Him use me to change the world for one person." Katie Davis~ Kisses from Katie

Today marks 3 months since Ellie was placed in our arms! And she is indeed, a GIFT to our family! She is transitioning beautifully, and our girl laughs and smiles continuously. She is happy and full of JOY! And she brings us great joy as well!

Not surprisingly, our first couple of weeks home were rough. Mostly due to Ellie's sleeping. Or lack thereof. I am convinced that her sleeping so well in China was in an effort to shut out what was happening in her little life. When we arrived home, her sleep did a 180, and of course that was HARD. Jet lag played a part in that, as well as her insecurities and fears. It is a hard balance to help a child feel safe and secure enough to rest well, and also try to take those first early steps toward sleep training. I am THANKFUL for the listening ears of a couple of trusted friends as well as their wisdom and wise counsel. After just a couple of weeks, our girl who had been screaming every time I tried to lay her down, was smiling and saying "night night" as she went down for her naps and bedtimes. Praise God! Ellie's crib is still in our room, but the plan is when Emily returns to school in August we will be doing some bedroom switching, and we plan to transition Ellie into her own room at that time.

Many of you have wondered how Ellie is doing with Bill, and I'm happy to report there has been great progress on that front as well! Although "mama" is still the one preferred, Ellie greets her daddy after work each day yelling, "Da Da! Da Da!" and running to him with outstretched arms! A quick snuggle in daddy's arms, and then she's ready to have her feet back on the ground. Daddy can bathe Ellie and feed her. She enjoys short visits in daddy's arms or on his lap. She likes to go bye bye with daddy, too. But only mommy can give a bottle and put Ellie to bed.

The first couple of weeks we were home, Ellie stayed very close to me and did not want much to do with daddy or any of her siblings, but by about week three, she slowly began opening up to the rest of the family. She's found her siblings to be quite fun and now is happy to run off and play with them for good periods of time. All of the older siblings are able to hold Ellie for short periods of time now, too! The first sibling to have the honor of being called by name by Ellie is DREW! "Dooo, Dooo" she says, whenever Drew is home. And Drew is loving it! Ellie's 4 younger of the older siblings have been so patient and kind and good with her. I am SO proud of them! Grace loves to mother Ellie, and will do so as much as Ellie will allow. Again, when mommy is nearby, I'm still Ellie's preference. But that is GOOD and as it should be.

Our baby girl is now TWO! We celebrated Ellie's birthday with a visit to a nearby historic site where it was sheep sheering day! Ellie had a great time "baa-ing" with all the sheep and also chasing the chickens around! We ended our day with Mexican food for dinner and cake and presents back at home. When we dimmed the lights and lit Ellie's candles and then sang, you should have SEEN her face light up. She got the biggest smile and laughed out loud throughout the whole birthday song when she realized we were celebrating HER! It was SO precious and priceless.

Ellie has been a great eater, and has gained over 4# since we've gotten her. She now weighs in at 26#. Exactly the same weight as big sister Kate, who is five! Ellie especially loves green vegetables, which makes her mommy VERY happy. Mexican food and Chick Fil A are favorites, so she certainly fits right in with this family! Ellie loves to play outside and loves going to the park. She can climb and slide with the best of them and loves being pushed in the swing. She enjoys playing in the sandbox, playing in the water, and loves to go bye bye. She LOVES her car seat and her stroller. She's a girl who enjoys being on the go! Ellie loves routine and has ours down pat! She's mommy's helper and likes to help unload the dishwasher and the dryer. She's our #1 trash girl and loves the job of throwing things away when asked. She understands everything we tell her, though her vocabulary is still fairly limited. She will NOT repeat words after us when asked, "Ellie, say....." She will perform no "tricks" on command. Ellie is outgoing when we are out and smiles and waves at everyone. Just don't try to pick her up, thank you very much! As most of you know, we homeschool, and when we are doing work at the table, Ellie wants to be right with us, with her own pencil and paper. She wants to do EVERYTHING that the older children do. She's growing up way too quickly for this mama's heart.

We're not ready to put our girl in the church nursery yet, so we have her in worshipping with us each week. She actually does well, and makes it through the entire hour and a half or so, most weeks. When we sing worship songs, she's got those little arms raised and she is "singing" right along. It is so cute! She's got everyone wrapped around her little finger, though she teases and plays hard to get. As AnnaClaire says on a daily basis, "Mommy, she's just SO cute!" Yes, we are SO enjoying this one last baby girl. This most precious and unexpected gift!

We have some exiting things going on this summer with our older children. Our oldest son will be graduating, traveling to Asia for 3 1/2 weeks, and then once home he'll be starting a new job. Ultimately, he'll be working in Omaha, NE but prior to that he'll be participating in an 8 month training program in Kansas City. He's been "home" (in the same city as us, though in his own apt.) for the last 3 years, and we are SO going to miss him as he embarks on this new phase of his life. Drew has worked HARD in college, all the while working for a large bank 30-40 hours a week. He's graduating with top grades and had multiple job offers. Even in this economy!

Will is spending 6 weeks in the Western US doing a geology field camp, where he'll be studying soil samples. 2 days after finishing field camp, he'll be heading to Kenya for a month where he'll be assisting a doctoral student with her field work over there. Will, also, has worked while attending Baylor, and while working in the geology lab on campus he made some sort of soil discovery that is actually significant in the geology field. He was asked by the head of the dept. to prepare a professional paper and present his findings at the national geology convention this fall. Last year the convention was held in Minneoaplis and this year the convention "happens" to be held in our city! So, perhaps we'll get an extra little visit in with Will this fall, since we won't be seeing him this summer.

Emily arrived home from Auburn last night. It is hard to believe that she was 13 (THIRTEEN) when we started on this adoption adventure, and she's now finished her freshman year of college! Unfortunately (for me) she'll just be home just 2 weeks and then is heading to Arkansas where she'll be on staff at Camp Ozark for the rest of her summer. We are so happy and proud of the accomplishments and opportunities of our older children, but I am SO thankful that we have our 5 precious little ones still at home. I cannot imagine my days without the activity of these children in the house. (ok, well maybe some days I can :)) So many of my empty nester friends are trying to find what God is calling them to do in this season of their life. I am thankful that every day I wake up and KNOW, without question, what I am called to do! Even with all my shortcomings and failures as a parent (and trust me, I have MANY) God once again chose to entrust me with MORE children to raise up for Him. I pray I do not fall short.

1st Week Home ~ February

Chuck E. Cheese for Kate's Birthday ~ March

Celebrating Emily's Birthday ~ March

Matching Sisters ~ April

Beautiful Girl on Easter

Ellie with ALL her siblings

Remember the Airport Photo???

Happy Birthday Ellie - May 4, 2012
As you know, I did not end up posting on Emily's blog. Just today at lunch she told me she's going to show me how before she heads to camp. Ha. We shall see. BUT, I can say to look for my next My Adoption Website update in August, when we'll be celebrating 6 months of Ellie!

Blessings to you all, and thank you for following along!

Late Addition to this Update . . .
Big steps tonight with Daddy!!!!! I just got in a little late from the grocery store this evening, fully expecting that I would need to immediately put Ellie to bed, and much to my surprise, she was ALREADY in bed! Bill was able to give her the bottle and lay her down, and she was HAPPY and told him "Night, Night!" Daddy was just BEAMING when I got in and he told me the news!

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