Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A New Normal

I know, I know. It's been a long time of silence here at "The Gang's All Here!" especially for one as prolific and verbose as I'm known to be. But the silence here on the blog in no way reflects the silence of our life. We've had a marvelous 4 days of connecting, snuggling, and adjusting to life with our five all together under one roof. If I may, I'll share a short re-cap of the days since you last heard from me.

Saturday's travel experience was as good as one could possibly anticipate with a one-year old. Li'l Empress handled the early (5 a.m. China time) wake-up call just fine and did great on the first flight to Hong Kong. We rushed through the HK airport like crazy loons to get to Continental's ticket counter for check-in. Only to find that there was no record of a lap ticket purchased for the Li'l Empress. Several hold-your-breath and pray-like-crazy minutes later, the lovely Jimmy Chow found the records and sent us on our way. Sprinting and sweating. Lovely way to start a 15 hour flight!

On Her Way Home!
Please ignore the bags under my eyes.
I forgot to check them at the ticket counter.

The actual flight was long but we weathered it just fine. We only had one really tense melt-down moment, when Daddy forgot to stop at the galley for hot water on his way from the restroom. The "fasten your seat belts" light had gone on by this time so until we were cleared for cabin movement again, Li'l Miss had to wait not so patiently and share her displeasure with those around us. The whole event really only lasted about 10 minutes, but with all the sleeping passengers around us, it felt like 100 minutes to me! There were three adoptive families on this flight, and we had met the other two couples when staying in the White Swan. We shared commiserating looks as we all trekked the aisles on and off for the 15 hours to pass the time. Both families were traveling with their other children, and they really did a great job on the flight despite the cramped quarters for all.

We arrived on US soil with a cheer: when we touched down, Li'l Empress officially became an American with all the rights and privileges we all enjoy and usually take for granted. Because we were cheering, she started clapping and babbling, much to the amusement of the other travellers! Clearing Customs and Immigration was fairly simple, until The Boss dropped his passport and couldn't find it anywhere. Turns out it had flipped over the divider into the next cubicle and we were rescued by the other adoptive family's keen observation!

Getting out of baggage claim

We were greeted outside of baggage claim by the sight of Baby BlueEyes waving frantically and shouting, "I see them! Here they come!" I lost it - just a big bucket of mush for my babies as soon as I saw them all. I couldn't get over how tall and grown-up they all looked. We were also thrilled to see my brother, his wife, and Teagan along with my sister, her hubby and their 3 kiddos. My father-in-law and mother-in-law were teary-eyed with us and the reunion was very precious for all of us. Li'l Empress ate all the attention right up, with no hesitations and no freak-outs at all. She's had a photo album of our Gang since mid-August and it's been obvious to us from the first few days with her that she had been told many times who was her Mama and Baba and GeGe (pronounced Goo Goo, with in the vowel sound of "look") and JeiJei (pronounced Gee Gee with soft "g" sound).

Her first ride in her new car seat.
She fell asleep in less than 30 minutes!

The rest of Saturday passed in a foggy, pea-soup kind of blur for me. I remember sitting down to eat, but I don't think I ate much. I know my brother and his family joined us but I don't remember them leaving. I know I gave Li'l Empress a bath in the kitchen sink, but I don't remember dressing her or putting her to bed. The Boss slept off and on the whole time and we were both in bed by 7:45 p.m. ~ I think. ~

Her first bath at home.
All the sibs helped and she had a ball splashing them all!

Sunday was amazing. I got to shower, shave my legs, brush my teeth and drink water straight from my fridge. All without wondering what was in the water. All without worrying about getting it in my mouth. I actually brushed my teeth twice that morning just cuz I could! After a quiet morning of unpacking and giving gifts and goodies to the kids and my in-laws, family started showing up for the day. My sister-in-law over at My Little Nest (formerly Life and Lessons) brought her Princess with her, my folks came down, my sister and her family, and later my brother and his family. The whole day we were surrounded by those we love, and Li'l Empress was treated to as many walks around the house holding two fingers as she could stand. She charmed all the family immediately with her scrunchy-nose smile and made immediate slaves out of all the cousins present. She and Teagan spent some adorable moments playing on the floor together until she literally just maxed out. Another melt-down precipitated by Mommy forgetting to look at the clock for bottle time and then kneeling on her hand - not with my full weight but enough to put her right over the edge! I swear, I really have to get this bottle thing under control. Not that the poor kid is starving or anything :)

The in-laws left shortly after a late breakfast on Monday and we enjoyed the day of hanging out and relaxing together, just the 7 of us. (Does it sound strange to say "just" when speaking of 7 people?!) I had arranged before our trip to keep the kids home on Monday for family time. We had the bonus of having Tuesday off together also, as the schools were closed for Rosh Hashannah. Both days were full of play time, more unpacking, and plenty of naps for Li'l Empress and The Boss. I think we have turned a nice corner for her: she slept from 8 p.m. till 4 a.m. last night, and immediately fell back to sleep in bed with us (I forgot how much I love the warmth of a snuggly sleeping baby in bed with me!) after a quick diaper change in the dark.

Honestly, I haven't fared as well in the jet lag department. I've never been one to turn off my brain easily, and rarely can sleep during the day. So I'm dragging still. I'm finding it easy to relax during the day (thanks to my church family, I don't have to cook meals this week!), but I've not yet slept a full night through. Last night, I woke at 1 a.m. and stared at the ceiling and the walls until the alarm went off at 6:45 for school. Every time I dozed off, either Li'l Empress would start another coughing spell (yes, she's still coughing and stuffy but improving) or The Boss would start snoring. If it continues, I may sneak into LadyBug's room and sleep there for a night to get back on track.

Today, the kids all returned to school. We took Li'l Empress for her first trip to the grocery store to re-stock a couple basics and get some fresh air. I can't believe how much I miss the kids! I know she does too, but we purposely kept her pretty busy till naptime and now she's resting very deeply and peacefully.

So there you have it. The Gang is getting back on track. Finding our way to our new normal and loving it! We are so grateful for all your prayers and inquiries, and yes, even from you stalkers! It's nice to know we are being cared for and thought of. We're working on transferring pics from The Boss's laptop over to our home computer and when we do, we'll have more pics to share of the fun and excitement of the last few days. Thanks again for the prayers - keep 'em coming. The Boss returns to working in the office on Monday and I HAVE to have a night or two of good sleep under my belt by then or I'll be a basket case!


Livin' Life said...

Great to see you all back. It has been amazing to watch your beautiful story unfold these past 2 weeks.

Betsy Bell said...

Glad you made it home ok and that everything is going well!


Kateri said...

Oh, thank goodness. We were going through picture withdrawal. The one of Li'l Empress in the sink did my heart and my funny bone some good:)
Talk to you soon!!

Heidi @ GGIP said...

I was so excited to see in Bloglines that you posted. I hope you catch up on some sleep soon. The Gang is really all there now! Yay!

Steve and Jen said...

Those first couple days back are pretty crazy, add the jetlag and it is not too fun. Glad to hear all is going well though.

Aus said...

Stalkers? I resemble that remark! (big grin!)

And no - saying a few = 7 is not weird - we are 7 too!

Glad to see ya'll are home - and let the journey now truely begin!

Welcome back -

aus and family

A Beautiful Mess said...

I'l tell ya....jet lg kicked my butt!!

Sleep will come. It took me about 2 weeks. Glad everyone is safe and sound!

Classic MaMa said...

Oh yay! Just yay and yippie and all those happy noises. I'm so glad for you and glad for me that I get to know you. :)

joymweaver said...

We are so excited for you. We prayed for you for your whole trip. Now we will remember to pray that you can get some sleep. Congratulations,
Stefan, Joy, and Jordan Weaver
Elizabethtown, PA

Beverly said...

welcome home and the pics are adorable.

Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

What a wonderful report! So glad to hear how well everything is going and hopefully your body will get back on the right time soon.

Love all the pictures. :)

Debbie said...

Whew! There you are... I was starting to worry and I DONT EVEN KNOW YOU! Glad to hear everything went well and you are back safe and sound. Keep us posted on your new way of life.

Doreen said...

Welcome home!!! Happy to hear things are plugging along. It looks, to me, like L'il Empress has just added to her royal following! Could it be the smile???Good for her!

Doreen in Montreal single Mom to Faith-Jiangxi & Mia-Sichuan

Promises Fulfilled said...

YAY! I was looking forward to reading another post from you, but knew that you were probably busy with family and just getting back to your life at home.

Yes, my eyes did well up when I read about you landing on US soil and that she is officially a citizen! I am so enjoying watching this new chapter unfold in your life!

Praying that you will get some good sleep soon! So glad to hear that L.E. is adjusting so well in the sleep dept!

Becki said...

WELCOME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great journey!!!

David and Sarah said...

Sounds like everything is going wonderfully! I do hope that you get caught up on sleep soon.
Blessings to you,

Anonymous said...

Hi Dear!

Soo glad your comings home went well. Many images have gone thru my mind of the sweet reunion and meeting of family. I am sure it was beautiful!!

Love the tubby pic!

She seems to love the camera!

Much love,

julie said...

So glad you made it home safely. I can imagine you happiness when you were home with the other kiddo's. It must have been wonderful!!!

Jonni said...

So happy to hear from you all. Ifigured that awful jet-lag had a hold of you. it's so tough. It took me 2 weeks to get back on schedule. Lil Empress looks adorable as alwways and i am glad that the trip home was good. We are so happy that you are back home.


Jonni said...

Please excuse the typos, typing too fast again!!! :(

Chapter Two Manmi said...

Welcome home! And, yeah, with Aiden! Your Li'l Empress is adorable and looks like she's adjusting so well. I'm so happy for you.

Michelle M. said...

What an amazing journey! I am so glad that I found your blog today.