Saturday, May 30, 2009

Presley's Gotcha Day!!

It was a year ago today that we first met Presley! I can't believe it has been a year! It was just the evening before that we saw her picture for the first time. The moment I saw her picture I felt a total rush and just KNEW that she was my daughter! It was unlike anything I have ever felt. They brought her into the Civil Affairs Office asleep. When she woke she was NOT happy to see us! You can see our videos toward the end of this post.


The two pictures below are pictures we took right after we met her for her Chinese passport and the official "family picture."

The pictures below were taken that first night together. Derek had to catch a plane and head home just 2 hours after he met Presley. I put her in her crib and she played for at least 2 hours before she fell asleep! She had so much fun and she wasn't really sure what to do with a doll! She kept picking it up and dropping it. I think she was trying to figure out if it was alive or not!!

Here she is wearing the clothes we got her in 1 year ago. They actually almost fit, but are just a little too short. What is amazing is how much her foot has grown!! She LOVES shoes and was very upset that she couldn't get the "new" shoes on her feet!!

Presley has fit into our lives almost seamlessly. Our journey to Presley was a lot more emotional than we had planned. But looking back we wouldn't have changed anything! We are so grateful for our experience with Lexi. We are so happy that Lexi is getting the care she needs and we will be forever grateful to her for what she has taught us and how much our hearts have stretched and grown by knowing her.
Presley brings joy to our lives everday. In this past years she has learned to crawl, walk, run, jump, and talk!! Wow!! She has come so far! We love you so much Presley!!!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lexi's Gotcha Day!!

It was one year ago today that we held our sweet Lexi in our arms. What a day it was. We started out the day in Guangzhou. It was really strange, I really wasn't excited that day. I was wondering what was wrong with me. I was about to meet the little girl whose picture we had fallen in love with and I felt excitement, no butterflies, no nervousness. I am so very thankful that I did feel that way. I think it made the next 24 hours so much easier for me. Our plane was delayed and we were late getting to the hotel that night. They brought Lexi into the lobby and we were wondering if they brought us the wrong child. Our new 19-month-old daughter was only 12.5 pounds and could hardly hold up her head! It was the next day when we went to finalize her adoption that they asked if we had seen her brain scan, which we hadn't. We decided to take her to the Xi'an Children's Hospital and it was there the doctor told us that her brain was "very bad" and she was "hopeless." I have to admit that I did feel relief as I handed her back to the orphanage staff. We held her and gave her one last kiss and told her how much we loved her. The next 5 days were so very hard to explain. I have never felt such pain in my heart like that before and I hope to never feel that again.

After we got home from China I had feelings of guilt. Presley was so perfect. Her transition was super easy, we found out she didn't have a cleft palate, and she was so smart! But as time has gone on those those guilty feelings have subsided. Lexi was able to get her lip repaired through Love Without Boundaries and is now gaining weight. The last update I had was that her disability is starting to be seen in her face, but she is still so adorable!! She is usually in her own little world and rarely connects with the outside world. Did we make the right decision?? Absolutely!! I miss my Lexi everyday. Though mentally she wasn't completely there, her spirit was sweet and very strong! You could just feel that little girl that was in there. It sounds awful, but I truly hope she is never adopted. My heart wants so badly for her to have a family here in America so that I could visit her and know that she is being well taken care of. Lexi will never "know" she doesn't have a family. I would rather see another child come home, one of the thousands of orphans that go to sleep every night longing for a family.

I think it is quite fitting that Lexi's first "Gotcha Day" is on Memorial Day. Not only will we always remember her, but she will forever be a part of our family and will be loved forever. Yes!! She does have a family!! We left China with two daughters, one in our arms and one forever in our hearts.

These socks are all we have of Lexi's. The clothes we brought her were all too big so we put her in the outfit she was wearing from the night before. If I would've know what was to happen that day, I would've put her in a too big outfit so that I would have more keepsakes.

This is the most recent picture we have of her taken in February.

Here is the only video we captured of Lexi. It is priceless to us!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

She was in a mood!

Hi mom!
Mirror Mirror
Say what??

Presley cooperated with me one day and was quite the little poser. Now that summer is here hopefully I can get some pictures of Kendall and Carson and maybe even a couple of Landon!! I have been super busy lately with work and swim lessons for the kids. I owe lots of people emails and I will get to them soon!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Heart Faces - Blurb Photo Book

Presley in China

This weeks I Heart Faces is "My Favorite Face Photo." This picture of Presley was taken in China just 3 days after she became a part of our family. I have better technical pictures I could share, but this picture shows so much emotion and means so much to me. She screamed for the first 20 minutes after we received her and then she smiled the rest of the time! Our 1-year anniversary of our Gotcha Day will be on May 30! What a wonderful year it is has been!!

Click on the "I Heart Faces" button above to see lots of incredible photographs and join in the fun!!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Black Widows - Yikes!!!

Last night Derek went black widow hunting outside. They only come out at night, so you have to find them at night and spray them directly to kill them. This is one of the spiders he got. It had climbed up the wall and you can see where it spun its web to hang on before it died. I don't like spiders, but black widows really are kind of pretty!!
Dead black widow spider
Dead black widow spider

Presley's Belated Birthday Party

We finally celebrated Presley's birthday tonight! She had a great time and even knew exactly how to blow out the candles!!

Happy Birthday Presley!!Tissue paper shirtShe put the tissue paper up to her to like she does when she gets a new dress. I guess she thought it was clothing!!

Two candles!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Toddlers can be gross - even if they are quite cute!!

Presley has had HORRIBLE breath for the last 3 or 4 days. I have been brushing her teeth like crazy and checking the cleft in her gumline. Today I was researching bad breath in children on the internet. This doctor said that once his son stuffed 5 peas up his nose and had horrible breath. Hmmmm.......I took a peek up Presley's nose on her cleft side where her nostril is more caved in and harder to see up. I saw a little something that I thought might be a booger. I pulled on it and out came a piece of toilet paper about the size of a grape! GROSS!!!! I'm glad it didn't go all the way in. I have found her taking small pieces of tp and putting them in her nose. I try to stop her, but I guess I didn't stop this one. I wonder if there could be more stuffed up in her sinuses? YUCK!!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Carson Funnies

A few weeks ago he took his lovie for Show n Tell. It is a small stuffed bear dressed in a baseball outfit with the words "Rookie" on it. His friends wanted to know why he called him "lovie" and he decided to change his name to "Rookie." For about 2 weeks we had to call him Rookie. Then he decided that he wanted to change it back to Lovie. I asked him today why he wanted to change the name back to Lovie and he said because he has the "love" in it!!

Last night he was saying his prayers and he said "Do you think Heavenly Father liked my prayer?"

What a sweet boy he is, even though he faked a tummy ache yesterday to come home so he wouldn't have to go to PE!!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Our BIG girl!

I took Presley into the doctor today for 2 year check up. She is 37 1/2 inches tall! She is off the chart and the doctor predicts she will be between 5'10" to 6 feet tall!! Wow!!! But then we realized later that she had her shoes on and her sole is probably about 1/2 inch. But still, she is one tall girl!! She is off the chart in her height and her weight (31 pounds) is in the 90th. So no need to restrict her diet at all unless her weight starts to go off the chart too.

Since Derek is still looking for a job, we are realizing that we may have to move. So we have been eating up some of our food we have here so we don't have to pack it. I bought all these artichoke hearts on clearance for $1 a jar. They are glass jars so I definitely won't be packing them. Last night we had Artichoke Spinach Lasagna. It was yummy!! Kendall even said "Mom, this tastes like restaurant food!" I think that was compliment. She asked what was in it and I told her spinach. She said "Mom! I can't believe you tricked me into eating spinach!!" And then she kept eating it!

Artichoke Spinach Lasagna

cooking spray
9 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (I just used a pinch of dry crushed rosemary)
1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1 (28 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (4 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes, or until onion is tender-crisp. Stir in broth and rosemary; bring to a boil. Stir in artichoke hearts and spinach; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce.

4. Spread 1/4 of the artichoke mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish; top with 3 cooked noodles. Sprinkle 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese over noodles. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with artichoke mixture and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle crumbled feta on top.

5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

The only thing I didn't do was the feta cheese since Derek doesn't like it. But it was still very yummy!!

Presley's Adoption Timeline

  • 8/15/2007 - Received referral for Geneva!
  • 9/13/2007 - Sent LOI (letter of intent) to our agency
  • 9/29/2007 - LOI was sent to China!
  • 10/08/2007 - LOI was delivered to the CCAA in China
  • 10/29/2007 - PA (pre-approval) was issued!!
  • 1/15/2008 - DTC (dossier to China)
  • 1/18/2008 - Dossier delivered to CCAA
  • 1/25/2008 - LID (log-in date)
  • 4/1/2008 - LOA (letter of acceptance)
  • 4/25/2008 - CCAA issues TA (travel approval)
  • 5/22/2008 - Leave for China!!!
  • 5/25/2008 - Met our sweet Lexi!
  • 5/26/2008 - Discovered Lexi had brain damage
  • 5/30/2008 - Met precious Presley!
  • 6/7/2008 - Arrived home

My Family

My Family
My favorite people!!