Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sorry for the delay...

but posting after the girls go to bed has been a little bit harder since we got home! Anyway I managed to capture this face and wanted to share it. This (below) is Rylee's disgusted look that she gives us after we tell her no about something she thinks she should be able to do which always comes after a few clucks of her tongue! I tell her that she cannot cluck and scowl at Mommy, but it really is just so darn cute!

It is amazing that I haven't squished Rylee yet! I have started calling her stealth baby because she can move so quietly! She is directly behind me or almost under me at almost all times. I might think that I have moved from the counter to the trash can without her following (because I didn't hear anything) but sure enough I am continuously having to jump over her or around her. She can sneak downstairs at night and end up beside my bed without making any audible sounds to be picked up by a very sound sensitive baby monitor that is placed right beside her bed! And yes - when I come close to stepping on her she clucks at me!!!

The First Dentist Visit!

Look at these pearly whites! She had her first dentist appointment and the were able to remove the remaining stains that we were unable to get off and she has NO cavities! Pretty amazing for someone that didn't know what to do with a toothbrush! She did so good and laid there while they scraped on her teeth for about 30 minutes. She didn't cry, barley fidgeted and came out smiling - what a trooper!

Christmas Cookie Day and The Making of a Gingerbread House

Rylee was not sure at first what we were doing, but she quickly caught on. She decorated one side of the house and Hanna did the other. Hanna was all about putting the biggest candies on as quickly as possible and Rylee wanted everything perfectly matched and evenly straight on her side. The house came out beautifully and Rylee squealed with delight when she discovered that the icing was edible! It is amazing that any of the candies made it on to the house after she tasted the first one. She does love the American candy!

We put the Christmas tree up and the lights on one night after Rylee was in bed. When she got up in the morning and we came down the stairs - she spotted the tree right away. She had the same reaction as she does to anything new and pretty - her mouth dropped open and she let out a big raspy, delighted "WOOOOOOWA!!!!". She is enjoying seeing the lights on all the houses and the decorations everywhere and she really loves to try to sing Jingle Bells and wants to listen over and over. It is so adorable that I am going to have to try to get it on tape and post it next time! I am sure that experiencing Christmas through her eyes is going to be so much fun!

First Trip to Build-A-Bear

Rylee picked out the brightest, pinkest bear available for her choice. She kept trying to grab the fully stuffed one off the shelf to replace her flat bear. I received many tongue clicks for not letting her have the prestuffed bear and she kept showing me how flat her bear was in comparison. Finally we were in line close enough for her to see someone else stuffing their animal and so she stopped clucking and giving me the disgusted - what kind of Mommy makes their child get a totally flat bear - look!

Once she got her bear stuffed, she thought she had better tell Hanna how it is done. She had so much fun picking out an outfit for her bear. She finally settled on Christmas boy pj's and a High School Musical outfit.

She has named her bear Precious and is taking very good care of her. Precious is obviously very treasured and I couldn't help but think as I watched her that this most likely is the very first thing that she was able to completely pick out, make and claim as her own. Precious has gone everywhere with us and has a complete eat, sleep and play schedule. Rylee clucks at me each day when I again tell her "no, you cannot give Precious a bath..."

How the eating is going...

Rylee is finding more and more things that she likes to eat. She continues to favor the super hot and spicy foods! We have made very little progress - but continue to work on Rylee's eating style. She loudly slurps all her food, smacks her lips, chomps and burps continuously throughout the meal! She look at us like we should be impressed and I told Pat that maybe she is complementing my cooking - lol!!! She will now say "Excuse you Xiao Bao" after she burps or "Mama say excuse me Xiao Bao" and then she laughs. We have been trying to show her to keep her lips closed while she is chewing, so tonight during dinner she would take a bit of food and then grab her lips and hold them closed while she chewed. Then she gives us a look like - "geeesh, these people make me do the weirdest things!". It is so hard to keep a straight face through all of this because she is just so very cute!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Good Days vs. Bad Days

It is really amazing to watch Rylee try to work out what her place here is. She has some really, really good days where she seems so comfortable, happy and affectionate. The best days are usually followed by a really bad day. She seems to be struggling with whether to jump in and accept her new life and family or whether she should hold back, protect herself and just observe. We get longer and longer glimpses of a lovable, affectionate, fun loving girl.

One of the hardest things so far has been for her to learn the concept of sharing. We have really had to work on this because she really felt that if we gave her something to eat say out of a box, then the entire box was hers and had a major tantrum if anyone else had some. If I cooked something she liked, the entire pan should be hers and we all should eat only the things she did not like. She cried inconsolably one day for at least 40 minutes because I gave her some pringles out of a can and then gave Hanna some out of the same can. So last night at dinner we made a big production of sharing all the food at dinner. She tried to gather everything to her side of the table, but we had each type of food only on one plate. She studied us sharing with each other and finally started helping herself to the things that were arranged around the table. By the end of dinner she was happily plucking food off of everyones dishes (with her fingers), but she had to still think very hard about if she would allow anyone to have slices of banana from the bowel that was in front of her. So I am not sure, but we may have just taught her that it is fine to stick her hands in and help herself to everyone else's food whenever she feels like it... We'll see...fortunately we have a few more weeks to work on this before we will be sharing meals with other people :)

Since we have been home Pat and I have been the lucky recipients of elaborate hand made invitations each night for a special dance performance, complete with announcers (pictured above) and newly created dance moves for us to ooh and aah over! Here are some photos from these nightly adventures:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Three years ago today we started our adoption journey and today as I sat across the table from our new daughter, there was no doubt in my mind that we have been given the daughter that is meant for our family. I am thankful beyond words today as we spent a quiet Thanksgiving with just the four of us, enjoying the road to becoming a family. I am thankful to our adoption agencies and social workers for approving us as a family, thankful to China for entrusting us with this precious child, and to our friends and family that have supported us and endured the setbacks and delays along the way as well as shared in the great joy and excitement of finally meeting our child along side us. Most of all today, I am grateful to God for placing the dream of adoption in my heart when I was just a child myself and for leading us to Rylee. I promise to do everything possible to prove worthy of such an incredible blessing.

When I tuck Rylee in for bed she holds on to me and whispers... "Mama, Mama, Mama...." over and over, she doesn't yet have the words to express what she feels. As I stood over the bed tonight rubbing her back and whispering to her I said "Xiao Bao, Xiao Bao... Mama loves you Xiao Bao", I turned to leave and I hear "Mama, Mama... Xiao Bao loves you Mama"...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We tried out the miniature golf course...

It just so happened that the only one open was a Peter Pan themed course that played though mist filled caves and a pirate ship! We were not real sure about trying this but Hanna wanted to go so badly, so we decided to give it a shot.

Rylee studied the golf club at various angles with a thoughtful expression on her face. We got to the first hole and Hanna took her shots, then we told Rylee it was her turn. She walked a few steps, faked a fall and proceeded to try to hobble around the rest of the course using the putter as a crutch! She was so cute trying to convince us that she was so injured that she needed the putter/crutch to hold her up. The problem was she kept forgetting which leg was injured :)

She had a lot of fun until we got to the pirate ship with the fake talking Captain Hook. She just could not figure him out and didn't like him at all. She did say "Hello" and waved to the talking Peter Pan every time he said Hello, so I guess he wasn't as scary.

We have an appointment for Rylee to have an Early Intervention screening done on December 4th to see if she qualifies for any special services to help prepare her for Kindergarten in the fall. They are arranging for an interpreter to give the testing to her in Mandarin. My guess though is that she will not qualify. We are pretty certain that she is already understanding just about everything we say. She is extremely attentive and watchful and takes everything in. She is amazing at figuring people out and using that to her advantage :)

Rylee has had a couple of bad days, but each bad day brings huge steps forward. She has come such a long way in feeling comfortable with us and has even started initiating affection. Today when I laid down with her for her nap she was not wanting to sleep, so I pretended to sleep beside her. She very gently covered me with a blanket, making sure that every part of me was covered. Then she ever so softly kissed one eye lid and then the other, and then my nose and then my cheeks... she snuggled down beside me as close as she could get and drifted off to sleep. Such a beautiful child... I can't believe we have already been home with her two weeks today!