Monday, December 8, 2008

Milestones for Savannah

These are just some cute photos of Savannah at home.

Savannah in the dishwasher. Yes, there is a knife right there. We were watching her and wanted to take a picture. We don't normally let her in the dishwasher, but she heads straight for it when I'm doing the dishes.

It looks like she should be saying "Touchdown". I have no idea what was going on, she's just adorable.

We are holding our own bottle now. This is the first time she held the bottle. She does a lot better since this photo.

What child doesn't like french fries? Well, my friend Judy was right. There's plenty of time for them to learn to like them. She now loves them. We have no issues trying to figure out what to do with them these days.

Savannah is doing wonderfully in her new home. We are all so blessed to have her as part of our family. Thank You, God for giving us another child to love.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Tradition

It is a tradition for us to Cut our Christmas Tree each year. The last few years we have been able to do it as a big family with Jennifer's sister and brother's families. It is fun to take our photo and each year there's been a new baby added to the photo. This year we have two new babies. My niece, Hannah and our baby Savannah. This isn't the best photo due to the direction of sun, but with this many people it is hard to get a photo taken period.

Savannah with Mommy on her first experience hunting for the perfect Christmas tree.

Our family with our perfect tree.

The kids helping daddy cut the tree down.

Strong daddy taking the tree to the car.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cracker Alert!!!

I can not believe it! I was really hoping that the Lego in the mouth would be the start of something that would lead to Savannah putting food in her mouth. Well tonight was that night! I usually give her a Gerber puff or cracker to pick up while I feed her. Usually she just throws them on the floor and get tired of picking them up. It is a short lived game to her. Tonight was a different story. When I was fixing dinner in between putting food in her mouth, I noticed that she was chomping on the cracker I gave her. I ran to get my camera to document this amazing moment. I was afraid she would stop, but no way.

It was cute to watch her try to the get the little piece of cracker left in her hand into her mouth. She'd start to bite into her hand and arm until she just gave up and went to the next cracker. She just left these little pieces that she would rather throw on the floor than try to figure how to get it into her mouth and still hold on to it. Soon she will realize that she will have to let go of the cracker if she wants to eat it. She even tried to pick up a piece of carrot and put it into her mouth. What a great dinner time!


Hmmm! How do I get this piece in my mouth?

Yummy! Yummy!

Our First Thanksgiving

We spent Thanksgiving with Mike's parents and sister in Pismo Beach. Prior to leaving, Savannah was not feeling well due to more teeth comming in. We are not sure how many, but she's got a mouth ready for more teeth. This was our first road trip and overnight with Savannah. We were unsure how she would do in a strange house with people she doesn't know while not feeling well.

Well, she did great!! The dogs didn't bother her and she felt right at home with everyone. The car ride was a little difficult towards the end of the drive. On the way home she cried for 30 minutes. It drove the kids crazy.

Overall, we had a nice Thanksgiving. It was also great to reflect on her start in life. Last year her birthday fell on Thanksgiving Day and she was found abandoned four days later on the 28th. No matter what day her birthday falls on, Thanksgiving will always be a special day for us. We are very thankful that God choose us for her parents and protected her as she was born and left at the entrance gate.

Here are a few photos of our first Thanksgiving with our Chinese Princess.

Oma bought her a walker that plays music and lights up. She dances to the music. She's not really interested in walking, but she will get there. I'm not really ready for her to be walking anyway. I still want her to be my little baby. I need more baby days.

Finally, she started to chew this Lego. This was her toy of choice for the 2 1/2 days. After our Thanksgiving dinner, she decided it was time to investigate further. Until now, she NEVER put anything in her mouth. Especially, the piles of Legos that were all over the floor. Watch out!! Time to pick up! This will lead to food going into the mouth really soon.

Nap time in Oma's arms! She doesn't usually fall asleep in arms, but she was exhausted. It was the perfect opportunity to have some bonding time with her Oma.

Here's a group photo of Aiden, Shelby, Savannah and their two cousins. Very challenging to get Savannah to cooperate. Not too bad!

This is the best we could do for a new family photo as a family of five. I have no idea why we are all looking different directions. There was only one camera.
Now that Thankgiving is over, time to do some Christmas shopping!!
God Bless,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Savannah Turns One!!

Today is Savannah's first birthday. This day last year was was Thanksgiving Day. We don't know for sure if she was born on this day, but that is what they estimated her birth to be. Four days later she was left at a gate at the entrance of an Institute across the street from the orphanage that later became her home. What a blessing to be able to celebrate her first year even though she has only been with us for a few months. She has been in our hearts for 3 1/2 years.

So, here's an update on her birthday and how things have been going. We had a family birthday party a few weekends ago to celebrate Savannah and her two cousins who share a November birthday. My family has a lot of children, so we have to group them together. Otherwise, we would be celebrating every weekend.

Savannah has been feeling off the last two weeks. She wasn't a happy camper for her birthday party. For the first time, she wouldn't let me leave her sight. She just whined and cried for me. The sound of my voice even upset her. She was not content with Daddy. This is a big time first because Daddy is her #1. She's better, but waking up screaming around 3 and wanting to hang out. Not what we want to do at 3 am. I think we are back on the teething track. We'll see how tonight goes.

Otherwise, we are all adjusting well. Savannah continues to get heavier and heavier. Meal times are still challenging at times, but much better. She's all over the house. We are constantly, closing doors and finding way to keep her out. Today, she kept sitting on the dishwasher while daddy was trying to load it. The kitchen is where she wants to be. She's always picking up little things off the floor and keeping them in her fist. She doesn't have a clue how to feed herself or put anything in her mouth. I try to put her hand to her mouth, but she doesn't open her hand to put the food in. She has figured out how to put her fingers in get the food out of her mouth. She's smarter than she lets on to be.

Aiden and Shelby still adore her. The honeymoon period has not ended yet. They still want to actively participate in mothering her. Aiden wants to almost as much as Shelby. On many occassions, Aiden has asked If I would leave Savannah at home with him and Daddy so they can watch her. He doesn't think I should always have to take her with me. It is very cute that he wants her to himself.

I better close and tend to bedtime. Have a blessed Thanksgiving this week! We have many things to be Thankful for. I can finally say that I'm thankful to have my baby girl home from China.

God Bless,

Happy Birthday Savannah!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Late Photos of Mike's Birthday dinner.

These photos are totally out of order with all my posts. Mike's birthday was in early October. Yeah, I'm totally lagging. Blogging or just dealing with my photos has been a challeng. I'm one of those that leaves tons of photos on the memory stick and then eventually dumps them in a folder to deal with later. Blogging forces me to deal with my photos much sooner than I'm used to. I still have yet to print any of them.

Anyways, this is Mike's birthday. We had a great time and was able to use some gift cards we got before we left for China. Enjoy!!

This is my FAVORITE!!! Savannah has a special bond with her daddy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bye Bye Baby Food!!

Well, many of you know my challenges with feeding Savannah. When we arrived home with her she was taking 6 bottles a day. I started to introduce her to baby foods one at a time and progresses to stage 3 baby foods. During this process she protested, screamed, tightening her teeth and lips and started spitting.

Meal times were the worst time of the day. Those meals became very emotional for both of us. She would finish her meal crying and screaming and I would be ANGRY. It was causing a barrier in the bonding process. Soon, a light bulb went off and I decided that we needed to change our whole approach. She liked the Gerber puffs that her Dr. recommended, so I went with that. We started feeding her real food that she could chew rather than filling her mouth with all that messy baby food that she would spit out or let sit in her mouth. The change has been amazing!! Our meal times are clean and happy. She lets me fill her mouth and she just keeps eating. She's a bottom less pit. She eats, chicken, carrots, peas, avocado, peaches, apples, vienna sausages, noodles, scrambled eggs and waffles.

Next, she needs to figure out how to put it in her mouth herself. For now, I'm just happy she is eating and we are all happy while doing it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wow, it will be 2 months!!!

This week will be two months since we have been home. So much has happened since that plane landed. The school year had started with Shelby in kindergarten and we started another homeschool year with Aiden in 2nd grade. Shelby had her 5th birthday, followed by our 11 year anniversary. Just a week and a half later, Mike had his birthday. Life did not stop for us while we were in China. As soon as we got home, we picked up where we left off.

Savannah has been a trooper with our hectic life. I feel like all I do is drive around back and forth dropping off and picking up kids. It is crazy!! It is amazing to me to see how well Savannah has adjusted to us. It just reminds that God hand picked her for us and prepared her for us. I was soo concerned about who she was and what we were going to get. It is so easy for us to want to do things our own way, but there is only one way. God's Way!! Praise God for that! I would have really messed things up if I did it my way. She has taken to the kids really well. They all adore each other. They have made the transition for her so much easier.

We had a 1 month check up a few weeks ago. She grew from the 6th percentile to the 10th in just one month. The Dr. was impressed. We now see a tummy to match those chunky thighs and cheeks. She has been eating really well. We still have our challenges, but considering where she was two months we are doing great. She's eating solids 3 times a day and now eating stage 3 baby foods. Today, she ate chicken from my plate and did not spit it out. She loves the Gerber puffs. She opens her mouth like a little bird trying to get her food. It is really cute. She will not put it in her mouth herself or hold her bottle. She still doesn't put anything in her mouth. She will pick up tiny little things off the carpet and carry them around with her. She's been crawling, standing and will walk along the couch. It she wants something bad enough, she will find away to get it. She is obsessed with the cat, midnight. He's such a patient cat. I don't know why he doesn't just run when he sees her.

She has a been a wonderful addition to our family. All the kids have really taken to her. She has really taken to all the men. She likes to smile at her uncle Mike and loves her grandpa. Not typical for babies that are used to women in the orphanages.

We went to have Chinese tonight and were celebrities at the restraunt. Lots of people looking at us. The manager kept talking to me about her and asked when she got her teeth. We think we asked so that I would have to tell him the real story about her. It was obvious I would not know. This was the first time since we got home that we got attention. Nobody really pays attention to us. Last week, the cashier at Trader Joes asked if the kids had different father's. That was the first time I had someone question the kids. I was taken back at first, but answered no and stated that she was adopted. My mother in law was in town this weekend and she took the older 2 kids to the park that was primarily asian and Aiden work his GE GE t-shirt, which is big brother in Chinese. The baby was not with her and this Chinese woman kept talking to her in Chinese and pointing to the baby in her stroller. We have no idea what she was saying, but she was excited about Aiden's shirt. Next time we will have to bring Savannah with us to see what she would say or do.

I better get back to the craziness of life! I'll try to get some new photos posted soon and Savannah will be one year old in just one month. WOW!!

Have a Blessed Week!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I'm a US Citizen!!

We received Savannah's US Citizenship Certificate. It is official! She became a US citizen when the plane landed on US soil. This is the documention we have been waiting for. It was issued on Shelby's birthday. We have soo many dates that are easy to remember. The day she was put into our arms was also my little sister, Grace's birthday. God must know that I can't remember anything anymore.

Now we have start more paperwork to get her a birth certificate and social security number. I'm not looking forward to dealing with that. I tell you it is never ending.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Labs are in!

I got a call from Savannah's Dr. and she said that nothing showed up in her labwork that would be of concern. She's going to send me the results. So, for now there's nothing to worry about. Who knows how much Melamine she could have possibly gotten on the formula, so we will just move on and continue to trust in the Lord.

gotta go, Shelbys changing a poopy diaper.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ok, it has been 3 weeks!

So much has changed since we've gotten home. We are ALL finally sleeping. It was musical beds the first two weeks. We are still picking up hitch hikers in the evening. If you wonder what that means, it means the Shelby sneaks into our bed each night. Since Savannah has been home, we are back in the habit. Tonight she was instructed to stay in her bed. Mike is tired of ending up on her double bed, bunked with Aiden. She is sooo cute sleeping next to me. Until I get kicked in the head. Sometimes I wake up and she has her arm wrapped around me. It is so cute!!

As for Savannah's sleeping, she's doing great. There are no more nights of us listening to her scream. It was really hard letting her scream, but it has paid off. Tonight we put her down and not a word. Each morning she waits patiently for us to get her up. She will stay quiet even if she see's me get up. It is so sweet of her! She is in a crib in our room for those of you that are wondering.

On to Savannah's eating habbits. She is eating wonderfully!! I feed her baby food three times a day and she has 3 bottles. I can't believe how far we have come since the first feeding. It was torture to watch her cry as I continued to put baby food in her mouth.

She has transitioned to US formula just fine. She was on the Chinese formula that has been in the news lately. I don't have her test results yet, but she is in God's hands. We did our lab work last Thursday. I put it off since I was not looking forward to having a screaming baby when they try to draw blood. I was shocked when not a word came out of her mouth as she filled four tubes of blood. She was about to start crying, but they started singing and talking to her. I was amazed!!

My sister just told me that there are 53,000 babies that were affected by the tainted milk with melamine in it. The number keeps increasing each day. There isn't really information about the longterm effects of melamine and Babies. We just praise God that she is finally here. We trust that he will protect her body from whatever harm it may have caused her.

School is moving along. This week was a challenging week with Aiden. I'm hoping to regroup this week and start a new track next week. Aiden goes to school 2 days a week, so I'm very grateful on those days. I don't know what I'd do without the break. Being mom and teacher is very difficult for both of us. Shelby is doing great in her kindergarten class and I love it.

On another note, thanks to all of you who have been checking out my blog. I'm glad that so many of you enjoyed it while we were in China. I had no idea how addicted some of you got. Sorry it has been awhile since our last update. Thanks are kinda hectic these days.

Have a great night!
God Bless!

Finally! Updated Photos

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Princess Ball

Last weekend was the Princess Ball at our Church. It is a wonderful event focused on the relationship that a daughter has with her Dad. The night starts with dinner with their daughter and then off the church. They have an evening filled with dancing, desserts, fun games, photos and wonderful memories of their evening with their prince charming.

It was perfect timming for Mike & Shelby. It was great for them to spend the evening together without the attention of Savannah. Here are a few photos of our Princess and her Prince.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quick Update!

Hello from all five of us! It has been just over a week and I barely had time yesterday to post some final pictures of our journey to China and some photos of our first week home.

I've been asked quite a few questions about our adjustment home, so I thought I'd update you all also. First, how are Aiden and Shelby doing with Savannah. They are doing GREAT!! We had a few meltdowns the first few days, but overall it has been awesome. Shelby loves having someone to mother and carry around like a sack of potatoes. Aiden seems good either way. He just doesn't ever want us to leave for that long again and daddy is not to go on any business trips anytime soon.

How is Savannah adjusting? She's doing great! Overall, she is a very happy baby. We are struggling with the time change and her desire to not eat baby food and adjust to new formula. For the most part I think it is just establishing a routine with her and her understanding what the boundaries are. Today, we had a breakthrough in her eating. She ate without screaming or crying. Usually she needs to cry in order for me to get the food in her mouth. It was a much smoother and a quicker process than usual. I think she is finally getting the picture. As for her bottles, she decided she did not like the formula last night. We managed to get her to drink it. She doesn't have much choice, because I can't get what she was drinking and it is not at all healthy for her.

How's the jet lag? Are you sleeping? Well, we are finally getting some sleep. The first 3/4 days were aweful? Savannah is finally getting more sleep at night rather than during the daytime. She's hardly sleeping during the day, just like China. So, that must mean things are returning to normal. Mike got a cold when we got home, so he is totally off. Tomorrow, he's back to work.

Bonding? Savannah is definately bonding to us and the kids. She loves the kids. Yesterday, I was home with just her and I couln't leave the room or she would cry. I didn't realize how much she enjoyed the kids and the entertaintment. That's how I'm able to type this post. It also shows me that she is bonding to her mama as well. Last night she responded to her name Savannah. As for mom and dad bonding, we are. She makes it very easy to. Except at 3am when she is screaming and all I want to do is sleep. Our love for her grows more each and every day.

Gotta tend to disaster in the family room!
God Bless!

Friday, August 29, 2008

We are home!!

We made it home!! Our flights fabulous. Savannah did a great job and we were able to get seat for her on our long flight rather than having her on our lap. The flight wasn't full, so they made sure that we could get three seats.

It's wonderful to be home and reunited with Aiden and Shelby.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Mother's Final Thoughts

As I type my final blog entry, Savannah starts screaming. Why should I expect anything else? Especially given how that last few days have gone. Despite the nature of motherhood, I also have one at home who has the stomach flu and another one who started kindergarten this week. Both of them are terribly missed and I can't wait to see them Friday.

As I ponder these few weeks and the weeks ahead, I can't help to be reminded that five years ago God took me down a path that I had not planned on taking. That day is the day that I realize now that God gave me my life, a daughter and plans for a second daughter. I did not see it all at that time. That day, was the day that my doctor told me that I had cervical cancer and that the child I was pregnant with would be my last one. As devastating as it was, we knew God had something planned. We just didn't know exactly what it was. It was the beginning of the crazy road to adoption.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Thank you all for allowing me to tell our story and share it with all of you. I know that many have looked forward to my posts and have felt like they have taken the journey with us. I have enjoyed reading the comments and also the emails many have sent. Our next post will not be until we get home and our little sister is united with her big sister and brother.

Please keep us in your prayers as we ensure a long flight with a baby in our lap.

For those of you at home, I will be at church on Sunday. Be there to meet Savannah.

God Bless!!

P.S.-She is still screaming!

McManus Takes Home The Gold!

Do I need to say anything more?

She is more precious that gold.

It's A Brand New Day!

Last night was a very difficult night. Savannah was up at 2 am with a 101.6 fever and screaming. We finally calmed her down and switched from Motrin to Tylenol. We all fell asleep and woke up around 7 am. She felt so much better today. We just keep her on Tylenol and she's good. She must be feeling normal because, she would not take a nap today. Below are some pictures of our final day at the White Swan Hotel on Shamian Island in Guangzhou, China.

Feeling much better this morning!

She smiles again!!

On our way to the US Consulate to take the oath. The oath is 1 sentence. It is us as parents swearing that the information on Savannah's visa application is true and correct to the best of our knowledge. Savannah is to small to take the oath herself since she did not complete the paperwork. It was a big ordeal for something that took 30 seconds. We were then handed her visa and a brown envelope that we hand over to the immigration officials at the airport in the US. It was the final step before going to home. She becomes a US citizen when we land on US soil.

Here are our friends Jenny & Susan. Jenny and her husband own a little shop called Jenny's Place on Shamian Island. They let us use a stroller for the week for free, they did our laundry for us and we of course bought a bunch of souvenirs, dresses and squeaky shoes. They were the nicest girls and gave us great prices. They gave us the best prices from the beginning, so it was so easy for us. For those of you still waiting to travel, please visit their store.

Our final dinner was again at the Italian restaurant. I ordered the same as I had last night. I needed another great meal for the dreaded flight home tomorrow. Savannah was still doing much better this evening. She crashed when we got back to the hotel room.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A few more photos before we leave China

Lord give us the strength!

Last night was a night to remember. After the projectile vomit, was another incident. Not so bad, but enough to call housekeeping again. Savannah whined like a puppy the whole night. She's had a fever that will not let up.

When we woke up this morning, we had a late breakfast and decided to keep her in all day. She took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon and has been on Motrin the whole day. We are hoping that she is just teething. While she napped, we worked on our luggage situation. We were going to buy another suitcase to bring home all our goodies, but we decided to just ship it home. So we spend the day sorting our stuff and packing up. This will make it easier tomorrow.

Right now, we just want to go home. Our hotel room is caving in on Mike & I. There's no where to hide. We miss Aiden and Shelby!! This is Shelby's first week of kindergarten. We are just homesick. We could also go for some great food. I'm dying for a salad with a grilled chicken breast. Food has been a challenge. The Chinese we had in Nanning was great. I even tried alligator. In Guangzhou, there nothing quick and easy. The hotel restaurants are very expensive and not necessarily good. A lot is lost in translation. You wonder what the beef and chicken really are. Someone ordered something with Pate and it looked and smelled like cat food. Things don't quite taste or look right. Not even McDonald's. Yes, I broke down and had McDonald's. Mike refused! The french fries were amazing.

We did have a great dinner tonight. An Italian restaurant with a real Italian chef. It was great! Fattening!! I think I've gained 10lbs during these 2 weeks. That is really bad news! Off to WW as soon as I get home. I don't remember the last time I ate a cucumber. Tonights dinner was worth it. We needed something to pick us up.

Tomorrow is the home stretch. We are scheduled to go to a zoo to see 1 Panda, but I don't think we are going to go. After the zoo, we spend the afternoon traveling to the US Consulate to take the Oath and get Savannah's visa and passport. That is the last of it. Then we leave the hotel Friday morning at 5:50AM That is an early day for us and hours on a plane.

To end our Wednesday Night, we came home to a clean room and Going Home Barbie. What girl doesn't have the Going Home Barbie? It is a free gift from the hotel, sponsord by Mattel. I'm not a Barbie fan, but I will keep this one. (I just lost the photo)

Have a great day everyone as we are sleeping.

PS- Sorry about all typos in my posts. I'm usually working on my posts at the end of the day and am whiped out. I know that many of you at home are anxiously waiting for something new. I told myself that I would post each day regardless of how tired I am.

Our Red Couch Photos!

It is tradition that adoptive families have their photos taken with their babies on the red couch at the White Swan Hotel. Enjoy!

The whole group. It was pretty chaotic during this one.

Our Chinese Princess!

This is our attemp to get a photo of all the babies in our group. It was a disaster. We tried later to get a group of only the 7 babies from Beiliu, but that wasn't any better.