July 30, 2008

Remembering One Year Ago

It is July 30th, and one year ago today our lives changed forever. On this day, we met our son and became his Mommy and Daddy. It is a date that will always be in our memories as the day we brought Michael into our family and into our hearts.

We have not posted in so long to the blog (for which I am so sorry, especially to our family and friends who live so far away from us). Time just seems to pass by so quickly, and that is so evident today as we celebrate the one year anniversary of "Gotcha Day".

So let me give you a quick recap of our last 7 months since we last posted. Our winter was long and cold, but that is normal for Chicago. Michael enjoyed getting out in the snow, although it took him a few visits outside to start liking it. Unfortunately, a good part of our winter was spent dealing with colds and ear infections. It seemed as though Michael had a cold every other week, but I guess that is what comes along with being in daycare three days a week. Colds, sniffles and the flu. We figure that by the time Michael goes to kindergarten, his immune system will be good and strong! Needless to say, we are very well known at the doctor's office. Luckily, Michael loves his doctor. She is wonderful. He is not so in love with the nurses, though, as they are the ones that always do the shots! Ouch!!

Along with his colds, we had a scare in early March, and then again in early June, as Michael suffered two febrile seizures. This type of seizure is caused by a very high fever. In Michael's case, the March occurrance happened as a result of fever caused by the flu (he went up to 104), and in June, it was an ear infection (which pushed him up to 103). Many tests have been done on him since then, and we have ruled out any other causes. So we now know what to do, and watch him closely at the first sign of fever. Other blood tests and lab work that we had done all came back negative, so he is otherwise in very good health. Now if we can just keep those cold and flu germs away......

And on March 31, Michael turned 2 years old. We had a very big party for him, and I am not sure he understood what all of the commotion was about. But he really enjoyed it, got lots of wonderful presents, and really enjoyed his cake! I'm not sure if any got into his mouth!

We sailed into Spring, and in late April Michael was baptized. That was a very special day for all of us. The priest who did the baptism knows our family well, and we were honored that he did this for us. Michael looked so grown up, and actually enjoyed getting the holy water poured on his head. The priest even gave him a little extra! Extra blessings can't hurt!

In May we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, and went to an indoor water park for a couple of days with friends. Michael was a fish in the water, loving every minute of it.

We have enjoyed alot of "first holidays" with Michael, including Easter and Fourth of July. And the most special for us being Mother's Day and Father's Day. It had been a long time for us waiting to be able to celebrate those days in our home. Michael made us wonderful hand-made gifts at daycare, which I am sure we will hold on to until he is old enough to drive!

The summer is upon us and Michael loves being outside whenever he can, loves playing in the water, and loves his new sandbox in the backyard. We look forward to our first family vacation in a couple of weeks when we head to the beach. We think Michael is going to love the sand and ocean just as much as we do.

And so today we reflect and look back over the past year and are amazed at how much Michael has grown and how well he has adjusted to his life. He loves going to daycare, has lots of friends there, and his vocabularly is getting bigger and bigger everyday. We have been through so much already with him and it honestly seems like we have had him his whole life. There have been great challenges thrown our way, and we have learned very quickly how hard being a parent really is. But greater than those challenges has been the joy and love that Michael has brought to our lives and to the lives of our entire family. We are so blessed and cannot imagine life without him.

Thank you all for patiently waiting for an update, and we hope we have given you a good recap. Oh, but one more thing....pictures! Here are pics that capture Michael over these past months.

Happy Chinese New Year
Awesome! I'm 2!


My first official haircut

Baptism Day

I love my Daddy!

December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas and Good-Bye to 2007!

And what a wonderful 2007 it has been!

First, we want to apologize for not keeping up our blog with updates and pictures over these last few months. We know how much everyone has enjoyed following our journey to China and back, and especially to our family and friends who live so far away and don't get the chance to see Michael. During this past few months, we have spent our time living our dream with Michael in our lives. It has been an amazing time, and although there have been some challenging days, overall, we could not be happier than we are today.

I won't bore you with all the details of the last four months. But Michael has grown taller and has gained almost 5 pounds since coming home. He is very healthy, except for a few colds, which we can thank daycare for. Oh yes, he started daycare in October and loves being there. He only goes three days per week, and he already has a girlfriend! (Brian says "that's my boy!"). He has been to the doctor only a few times, mainly to update his shots (which were just as painful for Mommy to watch as it was for Michael to get!). We traveled out to Pennsylvania in early October to see family and friends which was a wonderful trip, thanks to the heartfelt reception we got when we arrived. He was a great looking Dracula for Halloween, enjoyed his first Thanksgiving, got his first haircut, and has now met Santa and has seen snow for the first time.

He is adding daily to his vocabulary, and can now say "hot", "wow", "how are you", "thank you", and the best of all...."I love you".

And with Christmas only a couple days away, we realize that we have THE best gift in the entire world. Nothing that could be wrapped in a box or delivered by Santa could be better than the gift we were given. Not a day has gone by since Michael joined our family on July 30th that we have not said "wow, are we so lucky to have him". And, we cannot believe how perfect he is for our family. A perfect match! Just his sense of humor alone and wonderful, funny facial expressions has kept us laughing each and every day.

And as we approach the end of 2007, we cannot believe how much our lives have changed. Not only for us, but for our entire family.

So to all of you from our family, Merry Christmas and Happy, Happy New Year! We hope all of YOUR wishes come true! And thanks for being patient......here are some new photos.

Mommy, can I have them all?

Me and my Mommy.....

And, me and Daddy

I'm so glad I don't know how to rake leaves yet!


I have been a good boy!

My first haircut

Santa's coming!

September 7, 2007

A Month at Home

So hard to believe that we have already been home with Michael for one month as of this weekend. In fact, we have had Michael in our lives now for over a month since Gotcha Day on July 30th! The time has gone by so quickly.
Michael is doing so well. We had our first post-placement visit this week with our social worker, who came here to our house to visit and see Michael. We received a great compliment from her, as she commented that it seems like Michael has been with us so much longer than just a month, as he seems so well adjusted and happy. He really is a happy child (except for those waking hours at 2:00am. He's not very happy then, but we have new molars breaking through to thank for that!!). Michael's personality is so wonderful, and he loves attention. He is so very social too, not being afraid to meet anyone.
In the past few days, he has been "talking" alot. We sure wish we knew what he was saying! We continue to talk with him and have a feeling that one day he will all of a sudden start saying more words. He does know Ma Ma, Da Da, and bye-bye. He also has learned how to blow kisses. It is so cute. And just last week, we were in the car listening to music and I was snapping my fingers to the music. The other day when I was changing Michael's diaper, he started to try and snap his fingers. It was so funny. He loves to imitate!
And last week, he turned 17-months old!!!
We had a busy Labor Day weekend, visiting with family and friends. And we are making plans to take our first trip out to Philadelphia to see our family and friends there and introduce Michael to all of them.
We have caught some great new pictures of Michael....enjoy!!!

Checking out this week's news.......

Say cheese!

And sneaking in a cup of coffee with my Sunday paper.....

This is fun!

Check it out! I have my own chair!

Like my hat?!?

Me and my Daddy!

August 23, 2007

Two Weeks Have Flown By!

It is truly hard to believe that we have already been home from China with Michael for 2 weeks! It is 2 weeks today that we traveled home to begin our new life as a family.
First, I am sorry to have taken so long to get back on here and post a message. Since we have arrived home, we have been so busy with just trying to get Michael settled and SLEEPING! Needless to say, our first week home was quite a challenge. Michael had quite a difficult time with adjusting to the time difference. Our day was his night, and his night was our day. So for the first week, Michael would not sleep much at night, only sleeping 2 hours or so at a time. He would then consistently wake up around 2:00am, ready to play! This happened almost the entire first week home. We were all so very tired. Then finally, this past weekend, after 9 long nights, we finally reached a routine! YEAHHHH!!! Over this past weekend, Michael began to sleep through most of the night, only waking every once in a while. He will cry for only a bit, but then will put himself back to sleep. We are all in much better moods! It was such a challenge for us all, and we certainly had no idea how hard that part of the transition was going to be. But even with thunderstorms coming through last night, Michael has slept the whole time.
We are all adjusting well. Michael is a very happy child, aside from a few meltdowns (which I am sure are just a part of being a 16-month old). Brian has started back at work, and Michael and I are spending our days together. He has been to the park, and swimming with our friends next door. We even had the chance to visit my work and introduce him to everyone there. The house is also almost back to normal too, with most things put away from our trip, and suitcases finally back in storage.
Michael also had his first doctor's visit last week, and we are happy to say that he is healthy from head to toe. He needs to gain a little weight, as he is only 20.6 pounds, and the doctor would like him to be at around 24 pounds. But the way he eats, it will be no time at all that he will catch up. He LOVES to eat, and just about anything!
We are enjoying this time with Michael, as we learn and grow together as a family. This week, Michael has learned to say "bye-bye" while waving goodbye. And he has had wonderful visits from his Grandma and Grandpa, and his "aunt" Theresa.
By the way, today is Brian's birthday. Michael gave him a wonderful picture frame that says "Daddy & Me" with a great picture of the two of them. It made Daddy's day!
Here are some recent pictures of Michael. And I will try to keep posting when I can with updates. Thanks for all of your patience as we try to get back to a more normal routine! I will tell you, SLEEP definitely has helped! Bye for now!
Chillin' after a swim in the hotel pool.

Daddy & Me!

Saying Bye Bye to China.

Ready for a swim!

Peek- A -Boo!

I love Aunt Theresa's chocolate chip cookies!

August 10, 2007

It's Good to be Home!

Hello everyone....I am happy to say that we are home, safe and sound, from China. We left the White Swan Hotel very early yesterday morning (5:45am China time, on Thursday) and took our first flight to Hong Kong, from Guangzhou. The flight was a quick one, and we landed in Hong Kong in not so pleasant weather. Remnants of a typhoon had just passed through Hong Kong that morning.
After a three hour layover in Hong Kong, we left to come home. The flight went well, and Michael was a very good boy, considering the flight was a solid 14 hours. He ended up sleeping for the last 6 1/2 hours of the trip. Most of the flight was smooth, so we were all able to get a little sleep.
We arrived at O'Hare, and after waiting for what seemed like forever to get our luggage, we went through customs and processed Michael's paperwork. He is officially a US citizen!
We were greeted by family and friends at the airport, and arrived home where Grandma and Grandpa were anxiously waiting. It was a long day, but we were so happy to have arrived home.
Our first night home was a rough one, because jet lag for Michael is difficult. It probably didn't help that he slept so long during the flight. Last night at 12:00 midnight, he thought it was time to get up, because on his clock it was the middle of the day. We did get him to sleep a little more, but only after being up for about 2 hours. We will try today to get him back to a regular schedule, and a full nights rest tonight!
Once we get settled, I'll get some more pictures posted and give you a final recap on our last days in China. Again, thank you all for your tremendous support and messages throughout our journey in China. It really kept us going, and we really appreciate it!
Now off to rest.....talk to you later!

August 6, 2007

Red couches and potato chips

Two funny stories to share from our last 24 hours. Yesterday was the infamous red couch photos here at the White Swan. It is the day when we try to get all the new babies together for a picture on one of the red couches on the 2nd floor. What a task that was! I am proud to say that out of all the babies there, Michael was the only one that did not cry! He sat there and looked around smiling, as if to say to all of the others, "why are you crying? this isn't so bad!" It was so cute. Then all of the families got together for a photo, mommies and daddies included.

Here are the photos:

Look at my new outfit!

The Red Couch Photo.

Our travel group.

Michael with his girlfriend, Kaylee.

Now to potato chips. A couple of nights ago, Michael did not sleep well, getting up at 2:15am, wanting to play. Overall I think we only got about 5 hours of sleep. So last night, we all really needed to sleep. We got Michael calmed around 8:30pm, and to sleep shortly after. Brian and I were hungry after having an early dinner. We had bought Lays potato chips while in Nanjing, and still hadn't opened them. Yum, real potato chips! Now the dilemma. How to open a very loud bag, and cans of soda, without waking a sleeping little boy. We didn't want to leave the room and sit in the hall in case he woke up. So, there we were in the bathroom, sitting on the side of the bathtub, eating chips and drinking soda. Wow, I guess we really are parents now!
We had a good laugh over it.

Thanks for all the messages of support. We really appreciate it! We are looking forward to coming home in a couple of days and introducing Michael to his new family!

Bye bye for now!

August 4, 2007

Wonderful times in China

It is Sunday afternoon, and we are in the final week of our trip here in China. Today it is very hot, so a quick stroll in the park this morning after breakfast was our trip outdoors for the day. Later we will find the playroom here at the hotel.

Wanted to share some more pictures! Enjoy!!!

This hotel is fun!

I LOVE to take baths!

Enjoying music in the park with Daddy.

Waterfall at the hotel.

Look at those cool fishies!

Michael LOVES music and LOVES to dance!