Saturday, September 7, 2013

First week home

Well I can't believe it, but we have been home a full week tonight. Things really are going very well over all, and the girls have slipped into life here. Isabelle loves the attention, and even Hallie seems to enjoy having so many other children around. She is developing a very special relationship with Josiah, and he can usually make her smile faster than anyone else. We were told that Hallie could crawl, but we didn't see it the whole time we were in China. We were beginning to wonder if they had been mistaken, but since we got home, she has been crawling all over the place. She is more and more curious about the world around her, and suddenly loves to make messes. Yesterday, she crawled out to the laundry room, pulled all the shoes off the shoe rack, and scattered them all over the place. She seemed very proud of herself when she had finished. Fortunately, Mikaela and Matthias cleaned them all up again (more or less). She still won't eat any solid food at all, but she is taking more by bottle. When we first met her, we could usually only get her to take one bottle to a bottle and a half each day, because the concoction we put in her bottle was so much more filling than what she was used to. She now often takes four bottles a day. She feels heavier and more solid than she did, and we noticed that her 18mo. pants actually stay up on her now. We were very concerned that she had a thyroid condition like Mikaela because she was so lethargic her first few days, but the doctor ran a blood test on her on Thursday, and her thyroid is normal. I think we were just seeing the effects of her undernourishment. She has a lot more energy now, and is developing a playful side. It has been so much fun to watch her blossom.

The changes with Isabelle have been far less dramatic, but she is doing great too. She is more independent than she was before, and really wants to be a big girl. This morning, she fed herself her whole pancake with her fork. I don't think she has ever done that before. One of her biggest problems is that she is so tiny she has a hard time reaching things. Even though she turned four in June, she is much smaller than Matthias, who is two and a half. She has learned to climb the stairs by herself, but she is afraid to come back down, because her little legs have a hard time reaching, and she feels unstable. She still cries when she takes her bath, but most of the time, she is a very happy girl.

We got the results of their parasite checks back this week, and neither girl has any parasites. That was a huge answer to prayer. Now they can bathe with the other girls, and we don't have to wear gloves when we change their diapers. It also means that they can start wearing cloth diapers.

On Thursday evening, we went out for our celebration dinner. Everyone had a great time, and Isabelle decided that she loves Italian food. All of the kids behaved really well. Getting them all six in and out of buildings is a challenge, but we have developed a system that seems to work. I carry Hallie and hold Mikaela's hand, while Gabriela holds Mikaela's other hand and carries Hallie's diaper bag. Greg does exactly the same thing with Isabelle, Matthias, and Josiah. We are slow, but we do get where we need to be. I'm sure we must be an amusing sight, though. :-)

I'm attaching a few pictures from our celebration dinner. From the pictures, you might think that Greg was feeding Isabelle, Hallie, and Matthias, but I promise I had Hallie until the very end of the meal. I just handed her to Greg right before taking the picture.

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