Monday, December 31, 2007

From Then to Now

Happy New Year! I hope 2008 brings you all much happiness, good health, and lots of love.

I have been reminiscing so much lately thinking about our first few days and weeks with Lucy and our time in Vietnam. I can not believe how quickly the time has gone by and how much better our lives have been since this little pumpkin joined our family on December 28th, 2006. This is my reflection of the past year.

On December 27th, 2006, we loaded up in a van in Danang, Vietnam with 3 other families so that we could each meet our babies for the first time. First, we went to Hoi An. One mom was adopting a baby girl from the Hoi An orphanage and we went there first. I remember sitting in this little conference room waiting for the nanny to bring Debbie her little girl. I was so nervous, and it wasn't even our turn. It was amazing to see Debbie meet her daughter for the first time. I couldn't wait for it to be our turn. While we were at the Hoi An orphanage, our facilitator called and said that our visit had to be pushed back a couple of hours. We were all upset, but knew we would meet our babies in a few short hours. So, Debbie stayed back with her baby, and the rest of us headed out to explore the wonderful town of Hoi An. It is a great town with awesome shopping, but it was a little hard to concentrate knowing that Lucy was waiting. I felt like we wandered around in the heat for a zillion hours before it was time to leave.

FINALLY, we got back in the van and drove over an hour to the Que Son district. The road was so bumpy and the traffic was crazy. We were on a narrow back road most of the time, and giant trucks would miss our van by about 2 inches. I am a nervous wreck in the car, so I really tried not to look. But when every person in the van is starting to gasp, it is hard not to look. There were 6 of us in the van, plus the driver, and Quoc (one of our agency's in country staff members). I don't think that any of us spoke more than a few words. We were all trying to take in the scenary and study the part of the county that our babies had lived in for the first 5 months of their lives. We were all so nervous and excited about finally seeing the babies. At last, we took a right turn and there was the sign that we had all been looking for - we were at the orphanage.

We rushed out of the van. One of the nannies who we had seen in pictures was standing in the doorway holding Sherri's Grace. I kept saying over and over, "Sherri, there is Grace! Oh my gosh!" When we got to the door, Lucy's nanny was sitting on the bed with her and the little boy being adopted in our group. She was holding Lucy. I just stood there in awe of our baby girl. I wanted to hold her so badly, but the nanny was not quite ready to hand her over. After a few minutes, she handed me our little bundle of joy. She was so tiny. For some reason I was expecting her to be huge, but she was so little. She was wearing a red and white polka dot hoodie sweater that I see in every picture when someone goes to the Que Son orphanage to meet their baby.

There were 7 babies in the orphanage one year ago. They were all perfectly healthy and so clean. Two of the babies were only a few days old. Most of Lucy's time in the orphanage was shared with only a couple of babies and three nannies, so she was very well cared for. Lucy smelled like perfume - it is the detergent or soap that they use. She did not cry once while we were there for about 2 hours. None of the babies made a peep. The nannies cried most of the time we were there. They were devastated to see these babies leave and they clearly loved them so deeply. If they thought Lucy was about to cry, they would whisk her away and comfort her and give her a bottle. They never let those babies cry. They let me give her a bottle. I remember thinking it was so hot it was burning her, but she seemed to like it. She still has to have her milk hot, not warm, but hot. It is something we have never been able to break. I was so sad to leave her, but thought it would be good for the nannies to have one more night with her.

The next morning, Quoc took us to get diapers, formula, and strollers. We drove 1.5 hours to Tam Ky for our G&R. The babies were already there when we arrived. Lucy was sitting on her nanny's lap. She was wearing a big snow hat. It was probably 80 degrees outside. Once again, all of the babies were perfectly behaved during the G&R. Once it was over and we were just waiting to leave, Lucy drifted to sleep on my shoulder. I will never forget the first time she went to sleep on me.

She was an angel on the long ride home. Only fussed for about 30 seconds and then went back to sleep. When we got back to the hotel, we laid her on the bed and let her stretch out. She talked for us, smiled, and started rolling. She has been the most mobile child ever since the day we got her. She had still never cried at this point. We got her bathed and dressed and went to get something to eat in the hotel. Again, she was still being so sweet. We thought she was the happiest baby of all times. We were wrong.

The first night was so hard. We were first time parents, had a child who we didn't know and she didn't know us, and were in a foreign country. She started crying when we went up to the room after dinner. We were trying everything to comfort her. Nothing worked. She cried for hours. She would not eat Finally, she couldn't do it any more and she passed out. Justin figured out that if we jiggled her little leg while she was laying down, it calmed her down. She slept in bed with us. She needed a hand on her at all times. She needed constant reassurance that we were there. She got up at least 5 times in the night. I did not sleep a single second that night. Every time she woke up, we would try and feed her. She would drink .5 to 1 ounce at a time. That was it. I knew she needed more milk, but that was all she would take. She eventually got up to 2-3 oz while we were in VN, but never any more. She is still a terrible eater. Lucy missed her nannies so terribly. It really is such a hard thing to have a baby that you simply can not soothe because she wants the people she knows and you are not that person.

Nights were hard the entire time we were in Vietnam. Getting her to sleep was not an easy chore. It got easier, but it was hard the whole time. She really took to Justin more than me in the very beginning. She took short little cat naps all day long - they were never more than 15-20 minutes. She loved to be out and about, hence the massive amount of shopping we did in Vietnam. She loved her baths. She loved the swimming pool in HCMC. After a couple of days, we got some big giggles out of her. She opened up to us while we were in Vietnam. Within a month or so, she didn't want anyone but Justin or I to hold her. This went on for a while and often still happens. She is, and I think always will be, very leary of people she doesn't know and shy around strangers.

A year later, we really can't imagine life without Lucy. She talks, runs, jumps, laughs, and makes us laugh all of the time. She is not always the easiest child, but all of the difficult times are so worth it because the happy times are so much more often. She is very much so a momma's girl. When she is in a room with several people, she will be happily playing and then realizes she hasn't seen me for a minute or two. She will start scanning the room looking for me and saying momma. Once she makes eye contact with me, she is fine and goes about her business. A lot of time she will have to come over and get a hug, and then go on. She does not always play well with other kids, but we are working on that. She is quick to let you know what her opinion is on any subject. She will tell you yes or no to most questions asked. She has a very short attention span. She gets quickly bored with a book if you are not reading it quickly enough. She will only watch tv for a short time before she is done. When she gets in trouble, she will say this sweet HIIII!! because she knows that I can't resist how cute it is. She can say so many words that I can't count. She doesn't use all of the words that she knows that often. Most of her words are recognizable even by strangers. She speaks very clearly. She can still be difficult getting to sleep, but most of the time she is easy. She has always been a late sleeper. Two days in the past couple of weeks she has slept in until 10 am. It is not uncommon for her to sleep until 9. Her mom and dad are very thankful for this! She is still very tall and very skinny. Pants are a big problem because in order to fit in the waist they are way too short. She is 20 lbs now. Today she turned 17 months old.

Lucy is really the joy and love of our lives. She is surrounded by love from family and friends. She amazes us every day. We look forward to seeing her continue to blossom and grow. We love you so much, Lucy Goose!

Moments after seeing Lucy for the first time.

Lucy's nanny - she was so sad that she was leaving

Justin and his baby girl

Walking up to the G&R building. She looked so cute.

Right after our G&R

And here she is, one year later, driving a John Deere gator and chasing her shadow. My how she has changed!

Friday, December 28, 2007

One Year Anniversary!!!

I will do a longer and more thought out post in a few days, but I had to say that today is our first ever anniversary of being a family!! Exactly one year ago today the Vietnamese government handed us the most perfect and wonderful child to forever be in our family. We are so incredibly thankful to God, her birth parents, Vietnam, and our agency for leading us to this child. For those of you who followed our journey back then, you will remember that the internet in Vietnam was out from the earthquake in Taipei and I was freaking out because I couldn't show the world our daughter. My sisters were posting for us after we would talk on the phone. I honestly feel like the trip was just weeks ago, not a year ago. I can't believe the joy and love that Lucy has brought to Justin and me.

Check back in a few days for a more thought out post about all of the emotions I am feeling on this special day.

We are with Justin's family in south Texas for Christmas part 2. Lucy and her cousin Austen got John Deere Gators today from Nana and Grandy. Ones that are electric and she can haul her stuff around in. They are awesome! We had to tear Lucy off of hers to finally come inside. She also got a blow up bouncer from Cayce, Adam, and Austen that she is going to flip over once we get it home and inflated. She is one lucky girl!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Today was a wonderful day. Lucy had an absolute blast ripping into her presents. She got so much stuff. We are with my family and to say there were a lot of presents is such an understatement. She got a tea set, pretend food, tons of books, more boots, TMX Ernie and Cookie Monster, and the list goes on and on. Her cousin John got a play kitchen from Santa and I am pretty sure she thinks it is going home with us. She is going to be pretty upset when she realizes it is not.

She slept with Justin and I last night. It is the first time that she has done that with both of us since Vietnam. She has slept with me several times recently when Justin was out of town. But last night she snuggled in with both of us at about 1 am. She is normally in the nursery at my parent's and sleeps great, but baby Wyatt is in there, so she is in a weird room and a porta-crib. I knew she would wake up and it was just easier to throw her in bed with us. It was so sweet. Then today she fell asleep for her nap cuddled up with me. I just kept staring at her thinking about how blessed we are to have such an amazing child. Christmas was so special this year.

I hope that everyone had a fabulous day today! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Helping Papa put together John's kitchen

The CRAZY number of presents at my parent's house

Lucy hidden in the presents

Testing out her Rody horse

Lucy only caring about John's kitchen and none of her own toys

Excellent present opening skills

Wyatt slept through the entire present opening ordeal. It was really loud and he just snoozed away.

Lucy and John watching a new video

Wyatt is getting so big and he is all smiles!

These two are trouble together.

Friday, December 21, 2007

World's Worst Blogger

This has been my worst month ever blogging. I am so behind and have had so much going on. Since the last time I have posted, both of my little sisters have had birthdays, so Happy Birthday Amy and Katy! We had our big annual Christmas party this past Sunday. Lucy stayed with her Lee Lee and Papa. The party was a blast! It is so much fun to have an adult night out since I really never get such a thing anymore. I had a hard time being away from Lucy, but really had so much fun with our friends.

Lucy has been sick with a bad cold. She is way better now, but she had the worst congestion that she has ever had to date. Justin and I have had it too. Hopefully everyone will be full speed again by Christmas. She has been so happy and full of life the past couple of days. So, I know she is really feeling better. She has started the funniest thing. When we ask her a question that she wants to say yes to, she shouts, "Yeah yeah yeah yeah!" in the most excited little voice. It is so cute. I can't wait to post pictures of our first Christmas together as a family. Our first anniversary of becoming a family is December 28th!

Here are pictures from the past couple of weeks. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. Thanks for all of the love and support we have from this blog!

Our Christmas card picture. Merry Christmas!

Riding her John Deere tractor from Nana and Grandy

Justin and I at the Christmas party

My sister Katy

Friends at the party

Lucy with my mom's velcro rollers in

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Boot Scootin'

Lucy LOVES her boots. She brings them to me when she does not have them on and indicates she wants me to put them on her asap. Since it has been over 80 degrees here the past couple of days, she doesn't really need snow boots, but we all make sacrifices for fashion! Here are some pictures of her in her snow boots with a dress. I just love this. I was asked what size shoes she wears, and for the most part, she is in a 5 now and still some 4s.

Anyone who has ever met Bruiser, knows how mean of a little dog he is, but here is proof that he can actually be pretty sweet when he wants to be. Lucy loves him and is constantly looking for her "Bubba" when he is not in sight.

You can't live in Texas without a pair of cowboy boots. She loves these as well.

This is at the Arboretum - the sidewalk says, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls". How appropriate.

The acid reflux medicine seems to be really helping. In the 11 nights she has taken the medicine, she has gotten sick only one night. Since she was getting sick about one out of every three nights, this is a big improvement. I really feel like we are moving in the right direction finally. YEAH!

We have made a few changes in her night time routine. She had gotten in the habit of waking up and crying any time she heard the slighest noise from Justin or me leaving her room. It was nearly impossible to get out of her room. She would be in her bed asleep for quite some time, but as soon as she heard a foot step, she was back up. Not fun. Mostly she just wanted you to stand by her bed and pat her back forever. I can't say I blame her, but it was not realistic. So I left her room several nights ago and just left her. She cried for a few minutes, and then was back to sleep. I don't feel guilty for a few minutes of crying. This happened a couple of nights in a row. Now I rock her with her bottle, continue to rock her for about 5 minutes, then lay her down and pat her back for a few more minutes, and then leave her room. She now puts up no fight and if she is not asleep, she will lay in her bed and sing for a while. It is SO nice.

Now, what is everyone getting their kids for Christmas? If you haven't been reading Nicki's Christmas suggestions, you should start. She is doing the best job of toy suggestions and family traditions that are so fun. I have gotten some great ideas from her. We are not going crazy for Lucy this year. First and foremost, she needs nothing. Second, we are rapidly outgrowing our house at this point and don't really have room for a lot more stuff. We have her a Cabbage Patch Doll that has black hair and dark eyes. I think her favorite thing will be the Rody Horse. She has tested this out at our neighbor's house and absolutely loved it. It is the same concept as that ball that you could sit on and bounce but for younger kids. I also know that she will love this. A child at our local park had one of these and every kid was gathered around, running, and playing together. Lucy was captivated by this thing. You pump up these balloons and they shoot up in the air making a squeaking noise. You can reuse the balloons many times and it keeps your child active. I don't know why it says it is for an 8-12 year old except for the fact that a small child would not be able to pump up the balloons, but I plan on doing that myself. We also got the Tickle Me Ernie and Cookie Monster. Not because she really loves them, but because I wanted to have them to go with her Elmo. We are probaly going to get her one of those little plastic slides. It can go in our courtyard and I have witnessed her play on one for long periods of time, so I think it will get a lot of use. We are really trying to just give her a few things that she will actually use. I am sure she will get lots from her family.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Talking Videos

Here are some videos of Miss Lucy talking. She has so many words and animals that I really can't keep up. I need to do better about keeping track of what she can say. I will say a word and she will just repeat it. It is amazing. Some of her most impressive recent words are flower (wow-wer), home, picture, christmas tree (kiss-mas tee), bubba (for Bruiser), sissy (for Bianca), boots, and many others that I am forgetting.

It looks like we are going to blow away in this video. Even if you just want to watch for a second, she says her Ho Ho Ho in the very beginning. I know I am so annoying in the video asking her to do stuff, but I really want to have it all on tape. Too bad she doesn't feel the same way, hence the saying no to most of my requests!

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Here are a few more words. She really likes to annunciate her consanants. It cracks us up!

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I found these ADORABLE boots at Target today. They made Lucy walk so funny when I first put them on her. She got used to them and can now walk normal, but she really had a hard time at first. If you love these boots, I will give you a fair warning, if your child has thick legs, you probably won't be able to get them zipped. Lucy's legs are really tiny, and they are tight.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Visit with Santa and Allergist Update

Today I took Lucy to get her picture made with Santa. Like an idiot, I forgot my camera. I bought one of the ones they took, but wish I had my own. We talk about Santa a lot. She recognizes him and says, "HO HO HO" in a VERY southern accent. The last HO is really drawn out. I am really going to try and catch it on video because it is one of her cutest tricks to date. She was so excited when she saw Santa. She was literally screaming HI! at him and would follow it up with a HO HO HO! Precious. When it got to be our turn, she marched halfway to Santa and realized she was a little scared. She started backing up slowly, trying to figure the best way outta there. I reassured her and set her on Santa's lap. She cried a little, but nothing major. I was really impressed. I had to take a picture of our copy of the picture because our scanner is screwed up. If this is not the best Santa you have ever seen, I want to see your Santa. Seriously, his hair and beard are real. Santa's identical twin apparently lives very close to us!

We had our allergist appointment on Wednesday. They actually don't think she has allergies. They took a swab from inside her nose and the doctor looked at it and said it doesn't look like allergies. We told him all of her symptoms and he thinks it is acid reflux. He said she has all of the classic signs. We started Prevacid that night and have had no throwing up at bedtime for three days now! She has coughed a bit the past couple of nights, but never enough to make her sick. He said it could take up to 2 weeks to see the full effect of the medicine, but hopefully it will work much quicker. I am really praying we have found a solution and she can be done with the night coughing and sickness. If in 4 weeks she is not showing significant improvement, they will proceed with the full blown allergy testing, but I really think this is going to be unnecessary.

Tomorrow Lucy is 16 months old. We are less than a month away from our family day. When I think back on our adoption, I can't believe that we have been through the process and had her home for a year. It is amazing how time has flown. I really can remember our trip to Vietnam so clearly. It seems like it was just the other day. She is just the greatest blessing we have ever known.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Pics

We have been trying to get a great picture of Lucy smiling by the Christmas tree to use for our Christmas card. It is not that easy. I finally got a perfect one! I am not going to post it on here until after we send out our cards so it will be a surprise! Here are some from the photo shoot that we got the one we are using from. She had on one of her cutest outfits, but you can't really see it because the picture had to be horizontal for our card.

My new favorite thing to do with Lucy's hair is put it in piggies but not pull the hair all the way through - like this:

Here are a couple of pix of my favorite Christmas decorations in the house

The wall of Christmas Krinkles

Our mantle

We are taking Lucy to the allergist this afternoon. I am really hoping that it goes okay. She has such a hard time with the doctor. We are praying that they find something that we can do in order to help with her constant chest congestion.