19 September 2007

It's a Riot!

Sweet baby kisses

"His way is in the whirlwind..."
from Nahum 1:3

Today is one month since we met our youngest one, and we are so in love with her. What a blessing Elianna Ray is to our whole family! Elianna Ray is both cheery and extroverted, demanding and vocal, so she fits in perfectly around here. No one can escape from falling in love with her. She's just such a little lovebug. She's quickly learned that she's got to use her winning personality and her determined will to survive being the baby with four older doting siblings. No worries, folks... She knows exactly what she wants and how to let you know about it in a big way and then to explode into glowing smiles to win your heart 10 times over again. She's an absolute peach! We are so blessed!

Sorry I've been absent these past couple of weeks. Yessiree, it is crazy busy around here these days, but it's also been a really happy time and I feel like every day gets a little smoother, too. The theme for this month is "Coming Up For Air", I've decided. Funny story: Ricker was apparently listening in to me respond to a friend on the phone recently who was asking how I'm doing that I know a new kind of tired now and suddenly he broke in to an old fashioned southern gospel spiritual singing, "Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord..." while he clapped in syncopation to his own little ditty. So, no complaining gets by Ricker without a joke. That boy just kills me!

Elianna Ray meeting two very special great-grandparents, Papa & Grams

I was talking to another friend yesterday who was asking if we've heard any odd comments or questions from people since bringing Elianna home. You know, I think I was prepared for (and ready with over-defensiveness) little slights and even smidgens of prejudice, but I'm glad to say it hasn't been that big of a deal. My dear friend, Ange, who is black and has been such a fantastic source of advice and encouragement, mentioned that in the years to come REAL issues about race and adoption prejudice will arise and have to be dealt with. So, until then, especially with random people, just shake it off and move on. What great advice that I'm taking to heart! We've heard a few quirky remarks like thanking us for our "humanitarian effort", or people saying "how good of you" to adopt outside our own race, and yeah, we get some funny looks. But mostly I think that's from having two babies so close in age who are obviously do not have similar skin tone.

What really cracks me up is how often people ask, "Are they twins?" We've even heard, "Oh, one like Papa and one like Mama" when Michael and I were both right there! Oh dear, we are very confusing to some people. It's a crack up!

The other day we had a very funny interaction. We have a special affection for people with Downs Syndrome because our nephew, Lincoln, who is a phenomenal kid has Downs. Anyway, this 10 or 11 year old kid with Downs saw me and shouted, "Her husband must be a BLACK man!" It was so precious. I explained to him how I have one caucasian baby and one African baby and then he said, "Wow, that's COOOOL! She even got to fly on a plane I bet! She even had two mommies and no one is GAY!" I nearly died laughing!

So far this month we've had some special celebrations. Here are a few shots from our birthday party for Marg, our brother Buddy, and our nephew Johnny 5.

Poppy is cracking up because Elianna Ray is displaying her gift for
smiling like the sun until a camera comes out.
No camera - smiling ear to ear... Camera - blank stare.
No camera - Infectious giggles.
Soon she's learn mugging for photos, but for now
you've gotta get sneaky to catch a big smile from Ellie.

Margot, Uncle Buddy, and Johnny with their birthday cake

This is what can happen in Nana's pantry when you take your eyes off
of a busy 12-month-old for 15 seconds.

Here's a shot of Marg showing that her jumps just get higher and higher!

Our gorgeous 13-year-old

Elianna Ray also had her first trip to Disneyland for Marg's birthday!

Disneyland fun

The birthday girl getting some giggly baby nibbles

Elianna Ray decided to spend her first ride on a carousel licking the pole... Yuck!

Lorena, Daniela, Ricker & Jackie hamming up being totally soaked

Evangeline sounded like the Finding Nemo seagulls, "Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine."

California Screamin' is our favorite ride

This is her adoring look -- killer cute!

01 September 2007

Our Cup Runneth Over

A Quiverful

Ricker and Miss Googly Grin

Whew! What a week! We're so thankful to finally be feeling more normal and getting adjusted back to our own time zone. It is great to look out our windows in the morning and greet Catalina and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Home has never felt so good!

Like many other families we've heard from, we came home to chaos. Isn't that the way it goes? Right before Jackie was born we moved into a new home and installed hardwood floors throughout and then had a huge flood which destroyed those brand-new floors and a great deal of our belongings. And then Jackie decided to make his debut a month early, so we left everything in complete disarray, flew to meet our new son, and came home a couple of weeks later to live in a hotel until our floors were restored. Talk about cuckoo!

This time wasn't quite that extreme of an ordeal, but it has been a challenge getting back into the right time zone with two infants not knowing what on earth time it is. Then both of the babies got sick with intestinal yuckies. In one particularly memorable moment I was changing both babies' diapers and had Elianna Ray on the changing table and turned to see naked Evangeline walking away from me holding a poopy diaper. She definitely knew what she was doing was naughty since she was saying, "No No! Here! Icky icky!"

Thankfully, it IS getting a little easier every day. Elianna Ray slept a blessed 11 hours last night, which is a huge improvement from our first couple of days home when she was ready to party all night long. And, I'm slowly learning how to manage caring for two babies. I now have a brand new respect for mothers of multiples. Just feeding two babies at the same time makes me feel like I need supplemental arms. Bathing two requires a healthy sense of humor and a willingness to get sweaty and soaked. Pretty much every activity is hysterical. At least I don't have any problems falling asleep at night!

7 Months Old!

Elianna is adjusting very well. The babies are still learning how to play together. I've caught Evangeline taking Elianna's hand off a toy and saying, "No no, don't tuh!" (No, no, don't touch) a few times now. Too funny. Elianna is developing before our eyes. Playing with toys was at first very overwhelming, but she's quickly learning to enjoy them. She's rolling all over the place, sitting up more, doing better in her car seat, and loooooves the bath. She started solid food, which she is not at all opposed to. Papa is definitely her favorite person in the world.

Marg, Ricker & Jackie are incredibly helpful and want to care for her as much as possible. We had heard war stories about how tough it can be for the older kids to adjust, but they have made this week much, much easier for me, so for that I'm very grateful.

Also, we officially started our homeschool year this last week. Marg is now in 9th grade, Ricker in 7th, Jackie finishing up 2nd in a few weeks and starting 3rd! How did my babies get so grown up so fast?!? God bless Miss Briana who is such a huge help to me.




Miss Briana

Another shot from today's water party

We're so blessed.