slide show

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Future NASCAR fan?

Well it may not be a *RACE CAR* in her hand, but it IS a car ... or a truck. LOL. Either way, it's a start! Maybe she'll be the driver in the family?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

For your viewing pleasure

And the chronicles of Sunshine's hysterics continue ... I am not nearly as funny as Daddy, but hopefully I am good enough to pass a little time with! LOL. I just can't get over her, she is such a trip! EVERYTHING makes this chick happy and she has adjusted so well! Remember everyone - she hasn't even been HOME for 2 weeks yet! 2 weeks!! How awesome is she?!

Monday, June 27, 2011

And just like that ...

... Sunshine is 13 MONTHS OLD and it's time to baby proof!
Sheesh, that was fast - less than 2 weeks home! We have seen her doing the scoot (1st image above) several times, but not with any actual results. But THIS morning, she was off! She started on the other side of the kitchen and made her way over to me, wow! Fortunately she has tired herself out and has taken a scooting hiatus ... for now. LOL. I wonder even more if she will skip crawling all together ... especially with this newfound skill of scooting, who needs to crawl? It won't be long before she has figured out how to open that cabinet door. LOL. I wonder if I'll actually have to baby proof the cabinets for her?

I shot these other the images yesterday while the older kiddos were slip 'n sliding it up (or down?). She LOVES putting things on her head and is completely fascinated with this book. The super-funny thing is that the only picture in it is her referral picture on the front ... the rest of the pages just have cool black and white patterns. She is obsessed with them! I'm almost thinking that I shouldn't add pictures at this point!

Have I mentioned that she is one of the happiest and most joyful children I have ever met? Hopefully the pictures do her justice. She just exudes and radiates all things good and wonderful ... and she is all mine (and DH's). God IS SO GOOD!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

{Sunday Snapshot} Just Add Sunscreen

... to have the coolest hair ever! Who needs hair gel?! He is totally ready for the slip 'n slide now!

I know this my second Sunday Snapshot submission but I just couldn't help myself - Sunshine hasn't had one yet and well ... just *look* at him too! I mean, could YOU resist that hair ... er, I mean face?! Didn't think so :-)

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Packing list!

Of course I couldn't do a blog post without a picture, so here's one from my *attempt* at some portraits with Sunshine's ladybug headband from Jiayin Designs. Her cleft has SO grown on me that I don't even see it anymore. I think I'll be a little sad when her first surgery rolls around in August.

Anywho - We have been home a little over a week now and I wanted to do this while it was still fresh in my mind. I went through my packing list and updated with notes about we did and didn't use while in China. It's probably a little over the top, but if I can help even just one other person, then I feel like the work was worth it! I have always been labeled "organized" (or anal, over-planner or any number of *those* titles) and think the list is a pretty good compilation ... it has everything (literally, everything) that we took with us. Of course, we went in the hot, humid summer and brought home a 1-year old cleft baby, so I suppose you'll need to take that into consideration for your specific needs.

I have yet to figure out how to attach files to blogger, so here is a link to the download - it's .pdf file. If it doesn't work, please shoot me an email at and I'll email it to you!

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, June 24, 2011

The one thing I never had ...

... a sister.

Not saying that I don't love my brothers beyond measure or I would have wanted it any different growing up ... but having a sister looks pretty cool. I'm just sayin'.

In totally other news, check who now LOVES to be on her belly! You may recall (at least I think I wrote about this) that Sunshine detested being on her stomach while we were in China. DH started to make a little progress with her while we were there, but the real work started when we got home ... and now look at my girl! She actually *chooses* to be on her belly sometimes because it helps her get around a little more ... she's starting to push herself backwards (as you can see in the picture - she backed herself into Angel's dresser!)

She is also just starting to enjoy the jumper! Until today, she'd be ok in it for a few minutes but would want to get out of it really fast. Today, she's carrying on like a crazy jumping fool! Let's get some strength in those legs and get her walking!

Sunshine had her appointment with the pediatrician yesterday! He was pretty ecstatic with her measurements - she's weighing in at 19lbs! He was also fascinated with seeing how she eats ... LOL. I guess all cleft babies learn to survive differently? We started off with 2 vaccines (the ones newborns get in the hospital) and unfortunately she's having a reaction to them today - poor girl has had a fever and her little arm is so swollen! It hasn't seemed to affect her too much though, she has been a very happy girl today! We go back next weekend for blood work, ugh. LOL. He was trying to get his super-special blood-drawer lady for a "tough stick" but she isn't going to be there for awhile. Ohhhhh boy, THAT should be fun.

The doc is also having me get in touch with the county for their early intervention program - he wants to get her in the program to help build the muscle tone in her legs. It's a free service, so I am ALL about it - our tax dollars at work! He expects it will take her about 6-9 months to get caught up, we'll see about that though!!

We still need to work out a vaccine catch-up schedule, wait to hear about her blood work and (gross) stool sample. He thinks she may have had chicken pox already - there are a bunch of scars on her legs and a few on her belly. The blood work will show whether she did, I can't wait to hear about that! Overall though, he was very pleased, yay!

Movin' on up

I feel bad that I didn't get to blog Angel's Kindergarten graduation before we left for China. Her graduation ceremony was the night before we left, and it was so difficult to focus! So here's one for now! My baby girl has GRADUATED Kindergarten. I think that makes me kind of old. LOL. She is over-the-moon excited about being a first-grader and can't wait to be in school ALL day EVERY day. Me ... well, I could do without it but I am thrilled to see her so happy about school. I look at her everyday and cannot believe the little lady she has transformed into. She is so beautiful, inside and out. I can't believe I'm blessed enough to call her mine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another one

I am finally starting to feel human again and got around to editing another one of Sunshine's portraits tonight! Yay me! I ADORE the beauty of the White Swan Hotel ... seriously - what hotel do you know that has a 3-story waterfall? Wow! I am SO thrilled that Sunshine was transitioning well enough in China for us to do this. Now that we are settling in at home, I am unbelievably thankful for these treasures! What better way to pay tribute to her heritage than to take these portraits in China?! Love, love, love!

We are all doing really well - Sunshine slept through the night last night for the first time since we've been home - it was total heaven! It's wonderful to have her sleeping on the perfect schedule she had when we were in China, I have missed it! She continues to do better every day ... I love that she comes to me for comfort now. I also love all of the cute things she does - I am finding myself falling a little more in love with her every day. She still prefers me over DH, but we make sure that they get some fun one-on-one time every night. The other kids have been fantastic with her - they truly adore her, it's amazing! They both keep telling me how "cute" she is and that they are so glad she is home now. Lovebug told me (unprompted, over breakfast) that he doesn't want her to go back - that *must* be a good sign! LOL.

We have Sunshine's first doctor's visit with the pediatrician tomorrow - wish us luck! Can't wait to hear what he has to say!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The last couple of days

If you know me, you'll know that I am a planner. I plan EV-ER-Y thing ... down to the last detail. I have always been that way and always will be that way. I like it ... it totally works for me. I planned ALL of the details for our adoption trip - our time in China and the time for the kids at home. What I did NOT plan for was the jet lag afterward ... wow, it's brutal! I am happy to say that things are definitely improving though - we are starting to return to a new sense of normal and it's so nice! Sunshine is still pretty exhausted and has literally almost fallen asleep while eating several times. LOL. Unfortunately this makes for a somewhat miserable baby - I know this isn't her normal self though and I can't wait to see the happy Sunshine again! Her awake-time at night is getting so much better - only an hour and a half the night before last starting at 3:30am and just a half hour last night from 4am-4:30am! Yay!

Anywho, here are a few images over the last several days ... we are making a lot of effort to get Sunshine outside as much as possible. I'm a little sad it's raining today, hopefully it clears up for a bit!

Thank you SO much to everyone that has been checking in on us ... we are trying to figure things out as a family of 5 and are slowly getting over the jet lag. I'm still getting used to entertaining a one-year-old also - I had forgotten how much effort that takes! Sunshine is making lots of improvements physically - she can feed herself now, will lay on her belly for tummy time and is starting to hold a little weight on her legs! She is picking everything up so quickly! I can't wait to see how she will dazzle us next!

I just took this video above ... I know I have been bragging about Sunshine's flexibility - check it out in action! I put her on her belly for some tummy time, went to grab a drink, and when I turned around, voila!, she was sitting again. LOL. I HAD to get that on video!! Her legs rotate inside her body for a complete split, holy cow!

Also, here's another video that I shared on Facebook but hadn't blogged yet. It's from the first night we had Sunshine in Nanchang, I still can't get over how much she was laughing and having a good time! What an amazing little girl we have as our DAUGHTER!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Airport Homecoming

Wow, I just treasure these images! I seriously cannot thank our dear friend enough for coming to the airport with my family and capturing this amazing time for us. I always thought that our reunion would be the most emotional part of the trip for me, and BOY was I right. It was priceless to be able to experience everything without having to worry about documenting it - AWESOME! Although we were totally exhausted from travel and hadn't showered in 2 days (LOL), these images mean everything to me! Being reunited with our family and especially with Angel and Lovebug ... wow, emotion overload. Thinking about it now makes me want to tear up ... again.

We are so grateful for all of our wonderful family who took care of Angel and Lovebug while we were gone and helped to make our reunion so special. Seriously, SO grateful. I can't type enough words to show our gratitude. I really just stood in awe at the airport as I thought about everyone that was involved in bringing Sunshine home. She sure is one special girl!!

We are also so unbelievably thankful to all of our loved ones and friends who followed along during our journey, prayed for us, supported us, and sent encouraging messages/notes to us. It's funny to be halfway across the world but not really FEEL like you are because so many people are sending you messages of support and prayer. It made our time away SO much easier.

So now we are trying to settle into the new "normal." It's a bit (ok, A LOT) difficult because Sunshine is so jet-lagged and pretty much has her days and nights confused. This makes for very exhausted parents - we haven't slept since Monday night, save a few hours here and there. Angel and Lovebug are doing phenomenonally well with Sunshine! Angel has quickly taken the role of doting big sister that wants to give lots of hugs and kisses. In fact, on the first night when I was putting her to bed (at 4AM!!), she told me she already missed Sunshine and couldn't wait to see her in the morning. So sweet! Sunshine really loves Angel too - her face lights up when she walks into the room. I think she gets a little overwhelmed with all of the hugs and kisses, but she may as well get used to it!!

Lovebug is also doing extremely well with her, especially given the fact that his title as the "baby" has been stripped. We are trying to give him extra attention so that he doesn't feel left out, and he is definitely eating it up! He really adores Sunshine too though and is very curious about her - but I think Angel wins by far for being the most infatuated with her. LOL. She wants SO badly to help ... with everything.

DH goes back to work on Monday, so the true test will begin then. Yikes! I'm not ready for that, but I figure as long as everyone is fed and no one is hurt or lost, I'm doing a pretty good job :-) I need to pull my camera back out and get some pictures of the kids together! I haven't turned it on since we were in China - I'll get to it, I promise! We are heading outside today despite the somewhat-dreary forecast to get Sunshine in the SUN! I read that getting her out in the sun can help to recalibrate her internal clock ... ohhhh how I hope that's true. We are on the 2nd day of Sunshine waking up at midnight and not going back to sleep until 5am. When I said DH and I hadn't slept in DAYS - I seriously was not kidding! So I apologize for being slow to get back into the swing of things - this jet leg thing is no joke!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


PRAISE GOD, after 24 hours of traveling and 2 airplanes, WE ARE HOME!!!!!!! We got in last night (Wednesday night) at about 9:30pm after a 2-hour weather delay in Beijing. There's nothing like boarding your plane and then sitting for 2 hours without going anywhere with your brand new baby. Blech. Fortunately though, Sunshine was a total champ and slept for more than half the 13-hour flight - she made our lives SO much easier! She also did fantastic on the first 3-hour flight and slept during that one too. She is a true seasoned traveler, that's for sure! DH and I didn't sleep on the flights but that is A-OK with us because Sunshine did SO well! It was totally worth the over-24 hours of no sleep!!

So after passing through Customs/Immigration, Sunshine became a US citizen last night and we were reunited with our family! It took pretty much everything in me not to cry hysterically when we finally got to hug the kids. I think the lack of sleep made it worse! LOL.

Ok, just one picture for now - I am BEAT and have lots of images to work through :-) THANK YOU again to our dear friend for coming to the airport with our family to capture our special reunion (BTW, he also drove a carload of our family too, he is AMAZING!!). We are so blessed to have these images to document Sunshine's homecoming and seriously cannot thank you enough - the pictures are priceless!

Last pics on Shamian Island

We LOVE Shamian Island! It's so beautiful here and there are so many gorgeous spots - wow! Seriously, a photographer's dream! These were the last few pictures I snapped of Sunshine on Tuesday before we headed back to the hotel to pack up. We stopped as we were walking in this little walkway area. I can't get over how well she is adjusting and what a natural beauty she is!

And hey, if you love Sunshine's headband as much as I do - head on over to Jiayin Designs to check out some of the beautiful items she sells! I have gotten all of my necklace charms from her, and they are stunning! I've been wearing Sunshine's name since we got her referral :-) Sunshine also has the ladybug headband, a Niu Niu doll and a rabbit! The quality is awesome and the detail is really remarkable!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our (almost) American girl

We got out early this morning for a mini-portrait session of Sunshine in her homecoming dress and Chinese silk dress. There are so many people everywhere here, if we didn't get out early, we were destined to have people in the background! I'm just posting a few because I want to edit them on my macbook - no sense in double-editing a bunch of images! The lighting and color was different everywhere, so I'm not quite sure how they look - I'm excited to get home and edit on my calibrated screen!! We got oodles of good shots - so proud of our girl already! She is settling into the role of "photographer's daughter" quite well :-) LOL.

Ok, last post until WE ARE HOME!!!! Please pray for our comfort on our journey home - we'll be flying/traveling for 24 hours with a new baby, ugh. Lots of love to EVERYONE - the support we have had during this process has been so comforting - we can't thank you enough!