Saturday, November 29, 2014

Two Cuties

 I have watched this video at least half a dozen times already.   I am so lucky to be the Mommy of these two little munchkins. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cherishing These Moments

Natalie is doing so well.  She really blows me away at how well she is adjusting.  The kids are really enjoying her too.
 Oliver is taking his role as big brother pretty seriously.  Natalie may technically be older by a few months, but she is definitely the baby.  At first he would start to cry every time Natalie would cry, but we explained how she is the baby and babies cry because they don't know what else to do.  Now he just tries to console her by holding her hand or giving her the pacifier.  
He is a little more clingy with me, but I just give him extra cuddles whenever he wants to climb up in my lap and after a few minutes he squirms out of my arms to get up and play some more.

 Natalie is learning to make good eye contact.  She especially loves interacting with Jonny, Dennis, Nolan, and Alex.
Here she is cooing in response to Dennis talking to her.
 I love how sweet and gentle Dennis is with her. 
In fact all my boys are very protective of their baby sister.
Natalie saw our pediatrician yesterday.  She gained a pound since she was weighed at her medical exam back in Bulgaria two weeks ago.  Thanks to creamed carrot puree, and apricot nectar smoothies she is now 23 pounds!  Natalie has orders for routine blood work, and  x-rays for her tummy and neck.  She has referrals to the cardiologist, ophthalmologist, and ENT.  She got a few vaccinations too.  Other than that, our pediatrician was very happy to hear how well Natalie has progressed in the short time that we have had her.  She will follow-up with Natalie's progress in two months.
Natalie's food and liquid intake is no longer a concern.  She is eating and drinking a healthy amount throughout the day.  She will not only tolerate pureed foods that aren't sweet, but she is eating foods that have soft chunks and texture. 
Natalie is so cute that when we go to offer her a drink from her bottle, she spits out her pacifier.

Monday, November 24, 2014


 After we got back from Bulgaria my Mom stayed at our house for a few more days. 
Oliver got tonsillitis when I was in Bulgaria.  John had to take him to urgent care.  As soon as he started the antibiotics he was feeling better, but he still enjoyed the extra TLC.  I was sitting on the couch across from Caleb when Oliver came over to him and laid down.  It didn't take him long to fall asleep.
 The kids have this whole week off from school.  That means lots of play time.
 Alex likes making mohawaks. 
 Jet lag has finally caught up to me this afternoon.  Thankfully the little ones are all ready for bed.  I'm putting on a movie and they are going to all crawl into bed next to me.  They'll watch and hopefully I'll sleep. ;)

Friday, November 21, 2014

She's Home!


No words needed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More About Natalie

 This is our last day here.  We are taking it easy, laying low, and preparing for our journey home.  Finally... finally my little Sweet Pea is asleep.
While she has done remarkably well with all the adjustments she has been going through, I know that there is so much loss she is experiencing. 
She is one tough little girl.
All these years of being abandoned and then neglected in the orphanage she came up with many ways to cope, comfort, and stimulate herself.
Bless her heart.  Just when I think I have seen it all, she pulls a new stim out of her bag.
She will shove her whole hand into her mouth and bite it.
She sucks her fingers till they are raw and calloused.
Her fingers have these little scabs on them.  I rub almond oil on them every time I remember and that seems to be helping.
She rocks-- two or three different ways.
She will lay on her tummy and arch her back and head way back and gently bounce.
She tilts her head as far as it will go to one side.  When she sits in the high chair or stroller she nearly hangs off to one side.  I just have her sit up until she does it again.
She likes to put things into her mouth as far in as they will go and make herself gag on them.
She puts her hand up to her face and fixates her eyes a certain way.
And she swallows air.  Lots of it.  On purpose.  Gulps it actually. 
Till her tummy is huge.
Even when she has a tummy full of food.
It breaks my heart. 
And makes me angry that this is what she learned to do in order to survive to not just completely shut down and waste away in her bed in the orphanage.
She should've been held.  Rocked.  Kissed.  Smiled at.  Sang to.  Played with.  Hugged. Tickled.  Adored.
I look at her sleeping in her crib that I have right next to my bed and see an angel.
Every time she stims, I replace what she is doing by trying to meet that need for her.
When she puts her hands in her mouth, I give her a pacifier or offer her food and drink.
When she rocks, I pat her bottom or rock her or rub her back.
It is working a lot of time, but not always.
It is going to take time.
Lots of time.
Lots of love.
What is really wonderful, is that she has my heart and I think she knows it.
And tomorrow she is going home to her family that will surround her with even more love and nurturing than she can imagine.
Oh my.
My heart is full.
So what is the plan once we get home?
Well I'm sure we'll be dealing with jet lag and overstimulation for the first few days, but I hope to get her into a routine so that she can feel safe.
I hope I can get her to start enjoying her bath instead of crying the whole time.
I can't wait to see her exploring her new world.
The following Monday she will see our pediatrician.
I think she will be referred to a cardiologist right off the bat.
And probably an ophthalmologist.
I am not sure what she has going on with her eyes.
One moment her left eye is turning inward.
 Then a minute later her right eye is turning inward.
 And then the next minute she looks fine.
 I would also like to get her x-rayed for AAI (atlantoaxial instability), and possibly see a gastroenterologist if our pediatrician thinks we should.  Oh, and then there is the ENT.
And after the holidays once Natalie has been home a few months, I will get her started with speech and occupational therapy.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What's Been Happening Back Home

 Things have been going well back home while I have been in Bulgaria.
Nolan had his kindergarten soapbox derby parade. 
 The girls went ice-skating for Galina's birthday.  Galina's bio sister came for a visit.  I hear they got some bumps and bruises and plenty of blisters, but they enjoyed themselves. 
 William adores Oliver.  He told John the other day that he misses home schooling because he doesn't get enough Oliver time.
 John and the kids not only stained the play place, but they stained the swing set and all of the planter boxes too!  
I sure miss my Pooter Pants!

Or Last Outing

 Yesterday we went on another walk.   This church is right in the middle of the busy city.  It looks kind of out of place, but we found it very interesting.  We were told that Christians gather every week to worship.
There are souvenir shops underground.
 When the city began working on the subway expansion they found relics that they want to try and preserve.  I guess Bulgaria built its cities upon cities.  I don't know the specifics but thought it was kind of cool.
 We ate lunch at a restaurant called Victoria.  When we walked in we noticed the white table cloths and wine glasses on the table.  "Please remove the wine glasses."  :)
 The place was a bit fancy but the food was affordable and very delicious.
 Once again my Mom and I shared our food.  We had a wonderful salad that had lettuce, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, olives, and pickled cabbage, carrots, corn, and mushrooms.  I squeezed lemon on it and added salt and pepper.  It was very good.
 The pizza was amazing.  It had a thin crust and very little sauce.  As simple as pizza and salad is, this was probably my favorite meal while I've been here.
 Natalie did very well in the restaurant.  In fact, she had a really great day overall!
 Today we had our Embassy appointment.   This is the last step in the adoption process.  The appointment went well and we should all have our children's visas tomorrow.
This is most of our adoption team with the other adoptive Moms.  What a group!
For dessert tonight, my Mom and I shared this wonderful lemon meringue pie.  There was actually no meringue, but it was delicious.  The caramel sauce was a nice added touch.