Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We met Ellie Kay 6 months ago today.

Six months ago today we saw her little, sweet, precious face for the first time.  We got to hold her tiny little form and finally got to examine her hands and eyes and feet and mouth and toes over those first couple of days.  It's so hard to believe it's been that long because it's gone by so fast.  She has blossomed and grown in so many ways during this time she's been a Thompson.   Five families received their babies within minutes of each other in the same room.   She was the smallest and youngest of our group (made up of 5 girls), but what she lacked in size she made up for in feistiness.  She was the hardest to calm down at times - especially the first day when things were expected of her (like not to cry for her passport picture), but she wasn't comfortable with us yet.  Now that I know her and all of her expressions so well, it makes me sad to see her pictures of those first couple of days.  She was terrified of us and grieving so badly about her loss of everything she had ever known.

She is such a normal part of our family that it's hard to imagine her not here.  She just loves us, our patterns, routines, etc.   When everyone is seated at meal time, she holds out her little hands on either side, because we hold hands to pray as a family before meals and she knows someone on either side of her will hold her hands.  It's the most precious thing!

To update you, I'll tell you what we've learned about her:

  • She warms up a little slowly to people.  (For example, she has never allowed anyone in church nursery to ever give her a bottle and still won't really let them hold her).  However, once she decides she accepts you, she loves you with abandon - a pure, loyal, beautiful love. 
  • She LOVES to play and be silly.  The first time she ever stopped crying was to stop and laugh at Matt who made a silly face at her.  Since then, that's the way to comfort her is to do something silly.  It is fortunate for her that she has 3 silly big brothers who love to make her laugh.
  • She likes Smarties (a rare treat for her, but a favorite).
  • She is an expert at finding pencils and pens, which she's not allowed to have (so she won't poke out her eye).  Somehow though, she has a talent of finding them in hidden places and is not at all willing to give them up without force.  I spend a good portion of my day wrestling her for them.  
  • She's attached to "Little Blankie" and needs it to sleep.
  • She's an outdoorsy girl and will bring me her coat and shoes as hints that she wants to go outside.  If it was up to her, she'd spend all of her time outdoors.  
  • She enjoys a great game of chase and tries to ask without being able to use words for her Daddy or brothers to chase her by looking at them, laughing, and then taking off as fast as her little legs will carry her.  It is super adorable!
  • She is a daredevil!  The faster, higher, more crazy the better!  She is so much braver than little Tru physically.  I think I'll have to work hard to raise a little lady with her nature and 3 big brothers.  We'll of course foster her talents and bents - the way God made her, but I'm thinking we're setting her up to be a tomboy with all of her present company.  :)  She tries hard to rip bows out of her hair as well, but I guess that's pretty normal for that age.  If any girl Moms can give me tips on keeping them out, I'll take them.  
  • Quite opposite of that though, she does look pretty proud when she puts on a cute dress.  She sways side to side and seems to especially light up if Matt gushes about how pretty she is.  It starts very early I guess with daughters wanting Daddy to think they're pretty.  
  • She can make Matt almost give her anything when she walks up to him with her sweet eyes and does the sign language for "please".   She's wrapping him quite effectively.....
  • She gives big slobbery kisses to us and her brothers very freely and upon her own volition.
  • I mentioned her love of her brothers, but she really loves Tru!  They share a room, and the first thing she wants to do in the mornings is to be placed in his bed, so that she can kiss him, lay on him,  and drool on him.  Tru is already a neat freak and is completely grossed out by her slobbery kisses and drool, but does enjoy her snuggles.
  • She is a Jiangxi province "spicy girl" and has a higher tolerance for spicy foods than Tru does.  
  • Her favorite foods are rice and noodles and she came to us an expert noodle sucker.
  • She loves baths and to be without clothes in general.
  • She likes to dance to music and will dance if even with no music if you ask her to.
  • She drools like crazy and usually won't keep a bib on, so her shirt has to be changed at least twice a day. 
  • She loves swords, guns, and cars (All 16 month old girls do, right?!)

Now for some pics!

Snow day #1
 Snow Day #2

 Outside time with brothers

 She loves swords and guns!  She plays more with her brothers things that her dolls so far.  :)

 Jacob and EK on Jacob's #12 Bday.

Had to post this one, because notice she has a pencil in her hand.  Plus, it's a great picture of her and my Dad.  

 She tries to be so big and keep up with Tru.  I caught her moving the step stool over to stand on it so she could be up at the counter too. 

 Aidan sweetly showing her her referral picture.  She laughed and smiled when she saw it.  

 This one cracks us up.  She's wearing her "bull dog" expression as Matt calls it.

 Ellie Kay playing chase with her brothers.  All 4 were wearing capes.  (Hers was her blanket).

Petting new baby chicks

 Her hair is finally long enough for pig tails!

 Anytime you ask here where anything is she points to her nose first!

Loves bath time (and she's not bruised on her shoulders).  Those are her Mongolian spots, before someone reports us to social services! :)

 After bath time with Daddy

Monday, January 20, 2014

Long Overdue Update!

The last 3 months have been wonderful and crazy.  I think there is a major adjustment anytime you add a new person to the family and we're no exception.  Our lives are even more chaotic than they were before and the days go by faster (or longer depending on the minute you ask me).   I'm tireder than I've ever been and feel a few years older all of a sudden.  :)

Ellie Kay has made incredible leaps and has done so well adapting to our family.  For the most part, she sleeps from 8:15pm - 7:00am or a little after.  She takes 2 naps a day with me just laying her down (versus trying to get her to sleep for 45 minutes/nap).  Almost every time I put her down so easily I get flashbacks of China with her terrified screams of terror at just being alone in the same room with us, and I just breathe a prayer for thanks to God.  He has so incredibly blessed us with her love.  She calls me MaMa and Matt DaDa.  She claps, points, has an irresistible giggle, and loves to play!!  She started walking well a few weeks ago and is all over the place.  She loves her brothers, their noisiness, and their laughter.  I am so convinced God crafted her personality to love the rowdiness that she'd be brought into.  I know many babies would not be so gracious with their craziness.

I have learned a few things since being home.  Motherhood really has nothing to do with biology.  When I had Jacob, I was worried when I was pregnant with Aidan that I wouldn't love him as much because I couldn't imagine loving another little person that much. Of course, once Aidan arrived,  I learned that I could love two children with the same amount of love.  When I was pregnant with Tru, there was no concern of loving him as much.  I just knew I would.  However, deep down, I worried a little about loving Ellie Kay as much as a biological baby.  I wondered if there was a physical or genetic connection that helped facilitate that love.  I also worried about loving a girl as much as a boy.  I LOVE being a boy Mom!  I've always heard people talking of the special love being boys and their Mommies.  I hoped Ellie Kay and I didn't have two strikes against us.  Well, I'm thrilled to report that motherly love doesn't know if the child is biological or adopted.  She is my girl! I have all of the affection, love, protective instincts that I have with my boys.  So, love doesn't come from birthing children, but as God says in the Bible, "Let us love one another, for love comes from God".   I'm so thankful for this truth!

Here are a few pics of our last few months.  Hopefully, I'll be a bit better about posting more regularly.

One of the most fun things was to experience new things with her.  I'm sure this was her first time to touch grass.   Grass was pretty nonexistent in China, and it was wonderful seeing her explore and touch God's creation.

Another first was her bouncy.  She liked it for short periods of time.  

 I'm sure cuddling with 3 little boys was pretty new for her at first, but she seemed to enjoy it.  :)

 Getting some sweet kisses from big brother.

More Tru kisses.  So sweet!

 She got to meet cousin Levi at Thanksgiving.  

 Her first Christmas with us.  
 This is a cute trick she does with Daddy.  I'm not sure what she would call it but we call it "Ice Skater Baby".  She looks like she's ready to be spun around.  :)

 She's had her share of Costco trips sharing the basket with big brother.

And Lowe's trips with Daddy...

"You like this place, huh"?

 This cracks me up.  The big boys built Ellie Kay a "sled" with clamps, chairs, a board, and a cat toy?? She appreciates the effort!

 Tru thinks helping with EK is quite fun!

 Her hair is growing finally and you can tell in the last couple of pics.  
Cute Tru.  Note Daddy's sunglasses and tie.  His name was Matt here. :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Group baby pic

I totally forgot to post this before, but this is the group photo of all 7 babies in our travel group with Kathy, our Guangzhou guide. 

The babies weren't very happy.
From left: Tia O'Brien, Lillia Jackson, Ellie Kay Thompson (in red), Marin Carpenter (standing beside Kathy, our guide), Colton Browing in Kathy's lap, Rachel Bujnosek, and Tyler Kern.

 Had to include this shot because it's funny of Daddys and Mommies trying to get babies to stay on the couch.  :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last Day - The longest day of them all - the flight back home (over 24 hours of traveling - ugh! :).

Saying goodbye to Kathy at the Guangzhou airport 

Ellie Kay ready to go home!  

Landing in Beijing after getting off the plane.  We were squeezed into a shuttle and taken to the terminal.  China knows what it is to pack people in!

Beijing airport - taking a nap on Daddy

Finally landed in the US (Detroit)!  EK is almost a citizen at this point - just a few minutes later after an "interview" with USCIS.

We're through the checkpoint and EK is a citizen!  Unfortunately, we chopped her out of the pic (she's on Matt's shoulder) and immediately a federal agent asked to see the pic and asked us to not take any more until we were completely through immigration security so we didn't get a chance for a re-take - oops!

Here I am as a citizen! :)

Aidan slept like this during the entire Detroit layover.  He had not been to sleep in hours and hours and finally crashed!!

Back in Memphis
(Thanks to Waverly for these pics)

Our family waiting for us (Thompsons left; Smiths right; cousins in middle).

Munday crew

 Tru waiting to meet his new baby sister

 We're here!!  They all get to meet Ellie Kay!
 And we get to hug our Tru bug!
 She was taken with Tru and still is.  She puts up with a lot. His hugs aren't gentle, but she wants to love on him and kiss him anyway. Her favorite thing is to kiss him first thing in the morning or when she first gets up from a nap.  I hope they grow up to be best friends like Jacob and Aidan.
 Our family finally back together!  All the boys have shirts that say "Big Brother" in Chinese.

Ellie Kay after crying the whole way home from the airport. My Dad is so tender hearted and hated that she cried the whole way and wanted to hold her.  I love this pic!  :)

Whew!  It "only" took me a couple of months, but I'm finally done posting China pics!   Now, I can start posting current stuff occasionally.  :)