Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Cheer!

It has been a very busy few weeks! We can't believe we have been home from China for 4 weeks....where does the time go?


Madelyn had her appointment with the Nephrologist last Friday. She does not seem to be in any discomfort at all. The kidney stones are large but have not caused any damage at this point. They seem to be slowly shrinking so she wants to watch her and do another Ultrasound in 4 months. We were so relieved that there is no pressing need for surgery and that there is a possibility they could go away on their own now that she is off the bad formula. We thank God for this news and we thank you for your continued prayers. Madelyn continues to be happy and so much fun!

We had a wonderful week with Aunt Barb and Uncle Kevin. They came to visit and were such a great help to us. We had a wonderful time, as always. Yesterday, (12/20) was Megan's 6th irthday! Time just flies! She is so grown up now. With everything else going on she got a bit slighted on the birthday plans so we tried to make the day about her. She wanted to lunch at the American Girl Bistro and have her doll, Ashley's hair done. They were booked up so we opted for a visit to Build A Bear. It was Madelyn's first experience and we all had a great time. Both girls got new bunnies. Megan's is named "Cutie" and Madelyn's is "Gracie". We topped the day off with lunch at Cheesecake Factory followed by shopping at Costco. Megan has waited so long to have Madelyn sit next to her in the Costco cart and it finally happened. Aren't they sweet? Megan adores her sister and has had only one day where she declared "I knew it would be like this. I am packing my bag and leaving!" She was headed to Grammies! You know, I have my moments where I would like to pack my bag and head to Grammies too!!!

We got the tree decorated today....finally and we look forward to some wonderful family time on Tuesday with my brother, Mark and his family as well as my mom and dad. We are excited about Madelyn's first Christmas and will be staying close to home celebrating with family and close friends.

We wish you the blessings of Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
God bless,
Lynne

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Big Day!

Well, today was a big day! Madelyn slept through the night with a little help from mommy in the twin bed. If we can just get her in the crib and mommy back in her room, we will be golden!!!

We had a follow-up visit to the Pediatrician today for a read on the TB test and to do bloodwork. All was well until they strapped little Madelyn to a table and sent mommy out of the room. I don't know who was more distraught. I sat in the hallway with tears streaming down my cheeks while my little angel screamed at the top of her lungs in another room for 15 minutes! It was AWFUL but I kept telling myself it would all be over soon. When the tech brought Madelyn out to me, still crying, she informed me that she couldn't get the vein so no blood was drawn. WHAT?!? All that agony for nothing. We will revisit that lovely thought another day. Madelyn cried half the way home and was glad to be back where she was safe and happy.

After a "wind down" period and Megan's help to stop her crying, daddy decided it would be nice to take the girls to the playground for a little afternoon fun. Madelyn loved the swing...the higher the better....and big sister pushed. She laughed and laughed....memories of the morning were long gone. Both Megan and Madelyn had a great time with daddy playing outside while mommy did some internet Christmas shopping :o)

Madelyn swinging

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We crossed one more major hurdle off our list tonight....Madelyn ate some real food (baby version) off of a spoon! She ate peaches and loved them (carrots, not so much!)....could not get enough. She kept opening her mouth to get some more. We are so relieved that she can take food and swallow it without gagging. More attempts tomorrow.....maybe some roast beef and potatoes????? Mmmmmm, sounds yummy.

We are hoping for a long sleep in the crib tonight. Daddy slept all night last night so he has baby duty. I get to sleep in my own bed this night! Yee haw!

We hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving...we are so grateful for our precious family, for the red thread that brought us together and for the gift of all of you that love and support us.

Happy weekend,
Lynne
Here's some video of Madelyn taking her first spoon fed food (peaches!!!)

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


Well, we are home almost a week now. We are slowly adjusting to the time change and getting into a routine. Megan finally got back to a near normal sleeping routine a couple of nights ago. Madelyn, however, is still working on it. We had a break through two days ago when she WANTED to go into her crib (as opposed to screaming endlessly, which was the case previously). She is sleeping a few hours at a time in the crib and sleeping most of the night on the twin bed in her room (which requires "assistance" from one of us). We have yet to make it through a whole night and Lynne and I have been tag-teaming it so we can both get a few hours sleep each night. Madelyn slept most of the night last night and we hope for a repeat performance tonight with the added plus of spending it in the crib.

Madelyn went to the Pediatrician yesterday and got a good report from the Doctor. She also got 7 vaccination shots! :( Lynne said she was a real trooper and that Lynne and the nurse cried more than Madelyn did. Madelyn has been cranky and running a slight fever due to the shots. She has to go back on Friday to have the TB test read and to get blood work done. She also has to go for a CT scan next Thursday. She has kidney stones from the tainted Chinese formula, which we didn't find out about until the night before we got her. A routine ultrasound screen back in September found a stone in each kidney. A follow up screen in November showed the stones had shrunk. Our pediatrician has already consulted with a pediatric urologist and we are hoping that the CT scan brings more good news. Please keep her (and us) in your prayers.


Other than the sleeping issues, Madelyn is adjusting well. She still doesn't eat any solid food and doesn't like to put anything in her mouth except fingers (teething) and her bottle. This will be our next challenge to overcome. She loves to play with toys on the floor and in her "Exersaucer." Megan has been a great help (even in the middle of the night before she got her sleeping schedule in order). She plays with Madelyn and watches over her while Lynne and I are busy with other things. She loves to hold Madelyn, help change her diapers (yes, it's true) and feed her. She even helps sing Madelyn to sleep. Madelyn also experienced her first cupcake - or at least got frosting all over her fingers (and mine!). Thankfully, she likes her high chair too.














Today was Madelyn's first Thanksgiving. We went to Lynne's folks for dinner and were joined by her brother and his family. It was a special time. Madelyn is getting to know her "Grammie and Pops" and is starting to get comfortable with them. We had a wonderful dinner and I even got a quick nap (almost missed dessert!)

We have high hopes for this weekend in getting everyone on a sleeping schedule and trying to get back to some level of normalcy. My sister and brother in law are coming from California next weekend and we are looking forward to spending time with them. It's hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner, which means Megan's birthday is too. Megan told Lynne today that there was something she wanted for Christmas. Lynne asked what it was and Megan replied "you will just have to wait until Christmas to see what I get." Ah, the innocence.

We hope you had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Matt
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Coming Home!

We made it home after a very long travel day. We were up before 5:00 AM China time and got home around 11:30 PM Local Atlanta time (31 hours). Madelyn did GREAT on her first plane ride (like her big sister). She slept most of the way and was happy and playful when she was awake. Megan slept a majority of the way home, too. That meant that, while Lynne and I had been awake for over 30 hours with nothing more than some brief napping on the plane, both girls were wide awake when we got home.



Madelyn's first plan ride!



Madelyn loved the Video displays and tried to catch the characters on the screen.


Megan with very lots of static in her hair thinking "this is too stinking early!"



There was some playful time while trying to go to bed. Lynne got a couple of hours of sleep with Madelyn while I went downstairs with Megan. Megan tried to read quietly while I slept in her bed but that didn't work out too well. We went back up stairs to find Lynne and Madelyn on the Couch. Lynne let me go back to bed to sleep for a few hours while she stayed up with the girls. Megan woke me at 7:00 and I ran to the grocery for some baby food and then relieved Lynne so she could get a few hours sleep. She is still sleeping and Megan is waiting, somewhat patiently, for her pancakes for breakfast (uhhhh.... Make that Brunch). Madelyn is sleeping soundly after her morning bottle, or was it her night-night bottle? Well, hopefully we'll get this time change straightened out quickly.


We got home last night to a banner at the front door, a table full of welcome home cards from our Wednesday Night Family Fellowship crew and some food in the fridge (not to mention a bottle of champagne that will be enjoyed later!).





It is wonderful to have so many great friends who have been praying for us and who have welcomed us home so warmly.


The travel home was long and difficult. It was hard to be away from home, friends and family for so long. But it was all so worth it. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful, happy new baby. Megan is such a wonderful big sister. And we are finally HOME!

Thank you for sharing this wonderful trip with us. Your prayers, emails and blog comments have meant so much to us while we have been away. We will continue to update the blog, though much less frequently. The Internet is a wonderful tool and we are glad that we had access to it to stay in touch. We have made many new friends from all over the country and look forward to staying in touch with them, as well. Megan will be emailing her new friends, Daniel, Mollianne and Anna.

Love to all,
Matt

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last post - Heading home

This is our last post. We had a great day today. We went to the US consulate to finalize all our paper work and pick up Madelyn's Passport. We got everything packed and are ready to go. Erin, Bob, Mollianne and Meisey are coming over for one last evening together for pizza before we all leave tomorrow. We are fortunate that we don't have to leave until 7:00 AM.

Here are a few pics from the last day (check out the Picasa site for more photos...)

Until we get home (how sweet that word sounds...)

Matt


Here we are at Lucy's


Momma Packin'


Megan and Madelyn playing before Breakfast


Megan with her new Calabash flute
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One more day......

Hey. This may be our last post as we will be packing tomorrow to HEAD HOME ON FRIDAY!

It has been a good day. We finished our last minute shopping on the Island and just had some family time together. Madelyn ate and slept well....we continue to be so blessed. This is such an amazing experience....to have two beautiful daughters whom we adore who also have grown to love one another very quickly. Megan is constantly wanting to know if Madelyn is sleeping, if she has a wet diaper, if she needs anything. She has become a part of our world.

We had a wonderful dinner tonight at the Cantonese restaurant across from the hotel. It has become "our favorite" on the Island. One of the special gifts of this journey is the friendships made with families with whom we travel. We still have friends that we keep in touch with from our trip for Megan . All of the families in our group are wonderful and we are so grateful to know them.

Erin, Bob, Mollianne and Meisey Martin joined us for dinner. It blows me away how people are brought together through this common experience. Our older girls are the same age and it has been so great for them to have someone to hang out and be big sisters with. They are adorable together and their personalities really compliment one another. Erin and I hit it off from the start. We have leaned on each other, laughed together, cried together and even lived through chicken feet! Seriously, we have shared one of the greatest gifts of our lives with this family. It is really special and we will be forever grateful for this special friendship. It will be hard to leave one another and go our separate ways......but we are ANXIOUS to get home!!!

We can't wait to see all of you - we have missed you terribly and are looking forward to being back home.

We love you........only one more day!


An afternoon stroll with the girls.


Mollianne and Bob taken with Megan's camera.
"Say Pumpernickel!"


All 4 girls in their matching dresses. (Erin and Lynne did not shop together for the dresses, HONEST!)


Fast friends, forever friends


Bring on the grub!!!
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A free day... Finally


Today was totally a free day. Madelyn didn't wake until after 7:00 so we all slept late. We had a leisurely morning , nice breakfast and nothing on the docket for the day.









We had play time in the play room downstairs with several of the other babies and their siblings. It was Madelyn's first time on a riding toy. She was fascinated with the toys that had lots of buttons, slides and moving parts. She will love the exer-saucer and other toys she has waiting for her when we get home. Megan had fun, too, playing with the older kids.






We enjoyed another lunch outside at Lucy's and then strolled through many of the shops on the island, trying to complete our shopping. Now we just need to figure out how to get all this stuff home. At least we didn't buy as much as we did the first time and most of what we bought is much smaller!

We will spend a good part of the day tomorrow getting organized and packing as much as we can before we go to the US Consulate to finalize everything before coming home. It is hard to believe that we leave the day after tomorrow. It is even harder to believe that I will be back in the office in less than a week. We leave the hotel on Friday morning at 5:30 am so it will be a really long day. There is a family from Cumming, GA in our group and we are on the same flight home. It will be nice to have some traveling companions.

Madelyn has really gotten comfortable with us and her little personality is precious. She smiles a lot and her little laugh is priceless. We are so fortunate that she is so easy going; we hope that continues when we get home. We also hope that the time change doesn't mess with her perfect sleeping habits :) It is a joy to watch Megan with Madelyn. She has waited as long for her baby sister as we have. She has done extraordinarily well, in spite of the occasional whining.

Lynne and I were very excited when we got our hand made charcoal drawings of both girls. We brought one of our favorite baby pictures of Megan and used one of the new photos of Madelyn. The local artist did a fabulous job and they are gorgeous. In Chinese, we say "ding qua qua" (I don't know if that is the correct spelling or not) meaning "excellent" or "outstanding."
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Red Couch Day...

Short post tonight since I already posted this morning. My massage was the best $11 I have spent all week :) The Red couch pictures were complete chaos (as expected) and we had a good dinner sitting out by the river at an outdoor cafe. I ordered the spicey shrimp. The rest of our table wasn't too excited about the heads still being on. It was messy but great!










Megan and Madelyn both looked gorgeous in their beautiful silk dresses.























We went back to Sherry's today (one of the local shops). Can you tell from these pictures why it's Lynne's favorite store?











We are 2 days away and counting. We can't wait to get home. We can't wait for Fajitas and margaritas :) It will be a while before I crave noodles again.

Until next time...
Matt
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Another early post...

Madelyn woke early, around 5:30 this morning. Her little foot was stuck in the crib rails and she couldn't turn over. I got her settled and back to sleep but, of course, I am now wide awake. Lynne got up shortly there after so I decided to do a quick blog post. We have no schedule this morning for the first time yet and we were looking forward to sleeping in - so much for those plans...

Our dinner last night at the Cantonese restaurant was fabulous. The menu is quite extensive and, fortunately, they have pictures of every dish so all we had to do was point. We still got a few surprises and didn't order what we thought we were but they were very good none the less. Megan loved the fried noodles and chowed down. This was her best meal yet (the spaghetti yesterday was a close second). She even ate with chop sticks.

We have a light schedule today. The first thing on the docket is not until 1:45 when a group of people are meeting to walk over to the school of massage. Lynne doesn't want to go (Oops, I stand corrected - she is will to pass) so I can take advantage of a one hour full body massage for about $10 USD!!! We then have a group picture this afternoon. It is tradition to get all the babies in a group together for pictures on "The Big Red Couch" down on the second floor. You can imagine the chaos of trying to get a bunch of screaming babies to sit still for a photo op. I will definitely have some pictures to post of that event!

We are counting the days...

Matt
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A trip to the Park

We have an early post today. We went to the grocery store this morning and then spent some time at a local park. We have some down time this afternoon, which is much needed. We even stayed in for lunch. Megan didn't want to go out and wanted Peanut butter and jelly for lunch so I ran to the 7-Eleven and bought some fresh bread. We all had PB&J and it never tasted better!



Lynne is going out later for some solo time and I will have both girls. Megan has to do some school work and Madelyn, well... she will either still be napping or will be up for some play time. We are really lucky that she plays well by herself with whatever she can get her hands on. She especially likes the empty water bottles and plastic bowls. She grabbed the news paper off the coffee table today, pulled at the business section, looked at the headlines and promptly threw it on the floor and began crinkling it up. I feel the same way when I read the business section ;0)

Our trip to the park was a lot of fun. There were a lot of mosquitoes so I am glad were only there about an hour. They had several carnival rides that we promptly avoided and we headed straight for the play ground. The kids had a great time while the adults swatted bugs.

We are going to a well known Cantonese restaurant for dinner tonight. The group went there a few nights ago and we chose to stay in so we are looking forward to it. It is supposed to be very good with some great spicy dishes (and NO CHICKEN FEET!).

I don't expect anything newsworthy to happen this afternoon so we will post again tomorrow.

Until then...
Matt
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