New arm brace...and lots of snow

Look who got a snazzy new arm brace!

We ordered this one, after seeing another blogger friend who's little guy (who also has spastic hemiplegia/ cerebral palsy) was using it.  

We may end up with something different after he sees an OT or PT but for now this makes a big difference.

It helps to keep his left hand from curling under sideways.

....which helps to keep those muscles lengthened, and his hand at a more usable angle. 

...and it just happens to look really cool.    He's pretty proud of his colorful new superhero accessory. 

As it turns out two hands are better than one when you want to feed you're baby.

Check it out!  Lefty is holding a waffle! 

and even a cup.  

Someone is pretty happy with himself. 

This little guy also went to get a bunch of lab and blood work done this morning. My brave little boy had 8 viles of blood taken from his arm and didn't make a peep.  He just sat on mama's lap and nuzzled in while they went to work.  He said "uh-oh" when they first brought out the tray (apparently he's done this before) but didn't put up any sort of a fuss or even cry at all.  When they said "all done", he just smiled said "bye-bye...thank you".  It didn't even phase him at all...this kid is one tough cookie.  He had lots of stories to tell his brothers and sisters when we got home.

It may almost be March but I have a Christmas song stuck in my head.

"The weather outside is frightful,

but the fire is so delightful
and since there's no place to go
let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"

...or in my case, let the house look like it was hit by a hurricane while being overrun with howler monkeys... while I curl up with my laptop and a cup of coffee.


2 weeks home! Just life

The last post of our time in China is being interrupted by our time in the present, because I just realized we've been home two weeks now.   Two weeks ago was the first morning we woke up to our new "normal" and I began trying to figure out how to parent five children.  

The "newness" and adrenaline/ elation of the first week has certainly worn off...but at the same time so has the jet lag so it kind of evens things out into a content happiness and dull exhaustion combined.   This week has been more of an attempt to get back at getting done the things we usually do...at home anyway.  

We still haven't had too many outings other than our first Sunday back to church.  I was so glad we were able to make it (especially after more than a week cooped up at home)....it was wonderful to be back and we had really missed gathering with our Jesus people.  After church we were treated out to lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant by some Chinese friends. It was like a little piece of being back in China...we ate and visited for a solid three hours.  Elijah was thrilled to eat real food again and hear people speak his own language.  I'm so thankful that God has placed us in such a diverse fellowship...it's like he had it all planned out and provided for us before we even knew we would become a  multi-racial family, before we even found our church nearly 2 years ago.   Of course he did!  That's the way God works folks.   Not that ethnic diversity was what we were searching for in a church...that's just been a great perk, and a little taste of heaven.  

I must say that I don't think I could have survived this week, or the one before it, without the help of my oldest two kids...particularly the little mini me mama wanna be...Aili.
She has been such a servant hearted blessing to me and her family.  She hasn't demanded time with Elijah, or acted jealous when he favors one of her brothers, she just works away in the background helping to keep us caught up with clean clothes, clean dishes and food in our bellies.  She has also been great at watching the little ones while I shower, or am otherwise preoccupied.    She is such a blessing to me.  I'm proud of the way she has been keeping up with her school work and putting a lot more effort to learn independently, she's actually worked ahead a whole month in her math computer program.  If it weren't for her help I think I'd be crying in a corner right about now....not that this might still not happen at some point. 

The last couple nights I've had dinner provided for us, and although I would be the first to think "nah..we don't really need it, we're doing fine"...it was super nice to have it covered by the end of a long day of kid herding. It just happened that the two days I had meals provided (Wed. and Thursday) were  two of my hardest mom days since coming home.  It may have, in fact, preventing a crying in my closet incident.  So cool how the Lord provides before I even know I need it.  

{that's me hitting the bottle... only water though.}

Our house is busy, noisy, and there are always a dozen different activities going on at once.. a few needing my immediate crises intervention....all at the same time.   

Even making lunch is a group activity with 5 little people all wanting to "help"....at least some of them are getting to an age when "helping" is actually helpful.  

These two in the photo below have a unique relationship.  They are the closest in age developmentally, they look the most alike, and they tend to have the most competition between them.  They go between being little lovies, and best buds...to being highly suspicious of each other.  Cece also likes to "mother" Elijah...which totally irritates the boy who is determined to do things for himself.  I think she finds his disability confusing...still trying to figure things out.  

Some good news in the medical front is we finally have his health card and can proceed with some basic doctors evaluations, lab tests, and get on the wait lists for specialists!  It should only take us a couple months to get into see a "CP team" in the city.  They happen to have room and it looks like we'll get in much faster than we thought.  We have an adapted stroller/ wheelchair ordered and on it's way.   The crummy news is that we won't be covered by our private dental insurance for several months....we can't wait that long.  We'll just have to get 'er done without. 

I really like that neither one of them is growing up the only black haired, black eyed kid in a house full of blondes   Not that such a thing would be the end of the world or a reason not to adopt!...but it is pretty sweet for them to have someone else with a similar coloring and complexion...even if they are from totally different countries.  

Nothing too exiting happening...

just the normal stuff of family life.  

teaching little minds... (or at least trying to)

Keeping kids fed...

making our house really messy...

soaking up the sweetness.

{all dressed up to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house}

Celina has somehow confused 'Ye-ha cowboy! with "Ni Hao cowboy"...it's super cute.  She's been trotting around the house on whatever she happens to use for a hobby horse shouting "Ni Hao cowboy!"   

Maybe some would say she's a bit ethnically confused....but I call it stylishly eclectic.  Ha!

So, we survived week two.   The summary is ...Elijah is a little dream boat...and my life as a mom is amazingly exhausting.  

Soli Deo Gloria,


The Summer Palace - Beijing pt 2

During our time touring Beijing we visited a government Cloisonne factory/ store.  I saw that on our itinerary but I really had no idea what that was until we saw it.  Such beautiful and intricate artistry!

We spent a lot of time on our agency bus. 

Our hotel in Beijing,  The Presidential, was very nice.  This was taken in the lobby, where also spent a lot of time.  We would hang out down here to "facetime" with our kids back home, and wait for our group to gather for our next outings....when you tour with  about 14  families there is always waiting involved. 

Elijah loved the glass elevators in the background of this photo.  It goes up through the high ceiling lobby and then outside.  It was like a ride at the fair, every time.  

Everything was beautifully decorated for Chinese New Year....even the hotel staff. 

Our next stop, the Summer Palace.  The summer vacation home of the Emperor who typically lived at the Forbidden City.   This was beautiful...and would have been even more amazing in the summer.  

The grounds of the Palace covers miles, and also includes a very large man made (before earth moving equipment) lake.  

Look at that beautiful smogless blue sky!...In Beijing! 

This guy must have brought us some good luck....
just kidding. 

A very long covered walkway...built so the elite folks who stayed here could walk from one location to another on the compound and stay shaded from the hot Beijing summer sun...and catch the breeze off the lake.  In the winter though it was too cold to be in the shade...it was much nicer out in the sunshine.

A non floating marble boat just built for lounging and dining on. 

This place would be gorgeous in the summer....although I bet it would be much more crowded.  

Back at the hotel room snuggling with baba ...a favorite safe place after a long exhausting day....

Stay tuned for the Forbidden City, Tiananmen square, and our goodbye China party....

Soli Deo Gloria,