Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ
2 Peter 3:18

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Greatest Milestone Yet!

Today marks four weeks since Eliza Grace was placed in our arms.  It's been a busy four weeks full of many ups and downs.  We've had many firsts and marked several big milestones.  Someday, I hope to blog about it all ;)  But tonight we hit a milestone that could not wait to be blogged in chronological order. 

We finally heard a good hard belly laugh out of this girl!  The first one nearly choked her (very similar to her reaction to crying- it can make her throw up almost instantly).  Fortunately her supper stayed down and we were able to capture a smaller, but no less thrilling repeat.  Enjoy!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jog...

We woke up bright and early on June 3rd to get dressed, zip up our bags and head downstairs to meet our driver to the airport.

It's about an hour drive from our hotel to the airport and Eliza Grace fell asleep on the way there.  We got into the airport and were directed toward the appropriate line to get checked in.  Gotta love some Happy Mom Service. 

We then had to settle in for the few hours of waiting until it was time to board the plane.  Again- we ran all over the place chasing this girl.  We got some ice cream, we played on the  playground, we road on the moving sidewalks.  We met another adoptive family that was going to be on our flight.  (Hi Baby Cora- just in case you ever happen to read this!!  Hope your doing well in Philly!)

Finally it was time to board.  Eliza Grace fell asleep again fairly quickly and then woke up an hour or so later when our meal came.  When she was done eating she sort of just slid down the seat and onto the floor. She laid there and just rubbed her face on the floor.  I think she was just sort of trying to block the whole thing out.  It was fine with us, though- she was quiet and soothing herself. 
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She fell asleep and stayed asleep for a good 45 minutes before some lovely stewardess noticed a small lump under a baby blanket, realized it was a baby, and began to flip.  "Do you see all of this danger?  She can not stay here.  It is cute, but too dangerous."  SHE MADE ME PICK HER UP!!!  Let's just say Eliza Grace was less than thrilled.  I spent the next couple of hours furious.  Every time Eliza Grace cried I wanted to find that stewardess and show her danger!!!  So we spent the remaining 10 hours or so running up and down the aisle of the plane, throwing puffs all over the place, and making friends with our very gracious neighbors (one lady even chased EG for us for a little while- God bless her!).  I even discovered that an airplane bathroom makes quite a spacious playroom when compared to the seats in the peasant section we were trapped in!  I'd put the lid down on the toilet have a seat and Eliza Grace would run in little circles around the bath room. We played in the water, chewed on the toothbrushes and just had a grand time until some poor soul would knock on the door in desperation.  We ate again and Eliza Grace fell asleep for the last hour of the flight. 

We landed in Chicago and then the real fun began.  We were supposed to land at 9:40, but didn't get in until 10:15.  Our flight to Jackson was to take off at noon.  That gives us an hour and 45 minutes-no problem, right?  Did I mention that we had to get through customs with an immigrant, get our bags, get across town to THE OTHER AIRPORT, get our bags checked, go back through security (a special thanks to the security guy that felt the need to do a litmus test on our bottle of formula...ugh) and haul hiny to our gate and onto our plane?  Well we did and we totally made it!!  Thanks to Aunt Sherry, Uncle Bruce, Charlie, & Cole for meeting us at O'Hare and getting us to Midway.  Eliza Grace LOVED meeting them and getting decked out in some red white and blue. 


We got to Midway and to the ticket counter to ask if there was anyway we'd be making it.  We were informed that our flight had been delayed 20 minutes!!  Praise God- I just couldn't take having to wait much longer to get home.  The previous flight that was on the plane slated to take us to Jackson was carrying a group of disabled WWII vets that were on a tour to somewhere.  Obviously they needed a little extra time exiting the plane.  The exact same little extra time we needed to get to that plane.  Perfect!!  We ran up right in time to begin boarding our flight. 
Last flight for a VERY LONG TIME, Baby Girl.  I promise.

Eliza Grace was so worn out by now that she slept the entire flight.  In fact, I woke her up to put on some fresh clothes before we landed and she met her welcoming committee. 

And what a welcoming committee it was!!  We were so thankful for all the friends, family, church members, and adoption group members that showed up to welcome us all home.  Eliza Grace turned on the charm and worked the crowd.  She ran right up to Miller and hugged her like they'd known each other for years!  It was priceless. 










After we greeted everyone we loaded up in the van for the first time as a family of five and headed home.  We were greeted at home by balloons on the mailbox, a freezer full of food, neighbors, and more family.  Thanks to everyone for making it such a special homecoming!


The Pororo Effect

Pororo is a VERY popular Korean cartoon.  I recently saw where Playhouse Disney China had picked it up.  Our sweet foster family gave us a copy of Season 3 in English- Pororo in English can be very hard to come by!!  One afternoon we needed a break so we popped it in the computer to see what Eliza Grace thought.  Umm...I think she's a fan!
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Seoul- Last Day!

By the last day we were in Seoul we were full of mixed emotions.  We were definitely ready to get home but also had so many things we wanted to do and see before we left.  It was hard to settle on what do and where to go while at the same time wanting to pack our suitcases. 

We decided to do a little exploring on foot.  We headed into a quiet little neighborhood and did a little geocaching.  We also browsed some sort of outdoor health food fair and enjoyed some local art.  There was a man painting and had several of his pieces lining the streets leaning on the walls of one of the ancient palaces.  There were a couple that I had a hard time leaving leaning up against that wall! 

We went into the palace grounds and let Eliza Grace get down.  She RAN all over the place, up and down any steps she came to, and met all kinds of new friends.  When we entered the palace, they were in the middle of the changing of the guards.  One of the guards waiting to go on smiled and waved at her.  Then when we were looking into one of the buildings she met a little boy who was carrying around a couple of pine cones.  She managed to coax one of the pine cones out of his hands!  She also attempted to catch a pigeon with one of her fruit melts, but after he pecked at it a little he ran off.


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Then we headed back to Insadong Market to do a little more shopping.  It was a great afternoon of browsing the shops and looking for things to share with our friends and family and to remind us of this incredible trip.  We went into a little print shop to look at some artwork and met the sweetest little lady.  She was so excited that we were adopting Eliza Grace and thanked us many times.  She also gave us a brass book mark to give to Eliza Grace.

We had a quick snack and then caught a cab back to the hotel.  When we got there Eliza Grace made it very clear she was not happy hanging around the room.  So we freshened up and headed back out.  Phil was determined to try some street food so we stopped by a vendor that was near our hotel.  As he was downing some sort of meat on a stick the lady selling it took EG from me.  Eliza Grace took one look at this lady and turned around and reached for me!!  It was definitely the highlight for me.  We continued our stroll underground to browse the little mall below our feet.  I got one of my favorite souvenirs- a little charm for my cell phone.  It's a turquoise blue Korean knot with a little silk bird and beads.  So sweet and delicate and a daily reminder of our time in our daughter's birth country!  We also went back to the Krispy Kreme to introduce Eliza Grace to one of the world's finer delicacies.  She thoroughly enjoyed it and we bought a few extra to eat the next morning before we went to the airport.
 Yummy Underground Supper and Dessert

We went back to the room and packed a little.  Our hotel was right across the street from the Seoul Design City a part of UNESCO- United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.  It looked like they were building some sort of huge stadium but in front of that was a stage area and there was some sort of live performance every night.  We heard everything from show tunes to Amazing Grace on the bag pipes.  We decided to go check it out this night and were treated to a live ballet performance!  How fun- but it really made me miss Miller.  She would have loved it!  We watched and chased Eliza Grace all over the place. 
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What a day!  It was finally time to go to home, finish packing, and go to bed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Appa!!

This is from Gotcha Day.  All you need to know about this video is that the yellow phone is her foster mother's and it had just rung right before I started videoing and that "Appa" means Daddy.  No wonder she's having a little trouble giving him up for Phil.
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Progress is being made- he did get her to sleep tonight!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Seoul Day Four


Ready for the Day!
We ate breakfast at the hotel- she liked just about everything except sitting in a high chair.
 
We loaded up to go to the Korea National Museum

Beautiful poppies at the entrance

EG and me emerging from a mob of school girls ooing over "cuta bebe"

Phil in front of a HUGE painting.
Eliza Grace sacked out on my back- finally!  She had run around like an absolute mad woman all over the museum.  I got a blister from chasing her, put a band aid on it, then wore the band aid out from more chasing.  I finally gave up and threw her on my back.  She was out in five minutes!
Eating lunch at the museum
Caching at the museum
The three of us in front of a large bell in the gardens at the museum
A panoramic of the gardens
Sitting with Dad in the cab on the way to Seoul Tower
Cable car going up to the tower
Seoul Tower
it's a communication tower that has become quite an icon
Phil chasing Eliza Grace around the park at the base of the tower
The Locks
This is what the tower is famous for.  Engaged couples come here and put a lock on the fence and throw the key over to symbolize the permanence of their love.  Adoptive families have caught on and followed suit.  It's a really cool site!

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Adding our lock to the fence
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The center of Seoul is located in the park at the tower.
We slept hard that night!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Seoul Day 3

Sorry this post is so late!  This is one BUSY girl we've gotten our hands on!  But she is wonderful and we can't wait for everyone to meet her. 

Yesterday, May 31st was our Gotcha Day.  We didn't actually get to get her until 3:00 in the afternoon so we started the day with a trip to Lotte Department Store.  It's ginormous!!  I think they sell everything!  The bottom floor is sort of like a Fresh Market and then as you go up the next 10 floors you come across every top brand of clothing, jewlery, and accessories.  The top two floors are restaraunts and coffee shops.  It was definitely an experience- I think I've been less intimidated in Phipps Plaza in Atlanta or any department store in NYC.  Great people watching and a good way to kill some time. 

We came back to our room and started a list of questions for Eliza Grace's foster mom and finished wrapping our gifts for the Holt staff and her foster family.  Before we knew it, it was time to go down and get a cab to Holt.

We made the drive over and got there about 20 minutes early.  We walked in and the first face that smiled at me was Eliza Grace!!  She smiled and I said hey to her then her foster mom realized who we were and brought her over to us.  We gave her the bunny we had bought her for her birthday and played for a minute until DJ our social worker came out and took us to a private meeting room. 

Eliza Grace was very enamored with her FM's phone and was watching "the bear song" on it.  Phil quickly pulled it up on his phone (in English) and she then took his phone.  Next we moved on to puffs and I think she was sold- we weren't too bad after all. 

We asked her FM all of our questions and we exchanged gifts.  She gave us a photo album of EG's first year that we absolutely treasure.  When we get home and can scan some of the pictures, I'll post them.  She also gave us the hanbok that EG wore at her first birthday party.  She selected a computer mouse from her Tol table- so she'll be a computer wiz!  She also gave us season 3 of Pororo in ENGLISH!!!  This is a very popular Korean cartoon that is really hard to find in English.  And a Pororo stuffed animal.

While we were meeting her Appa (foster father) called her.  She sat and talked to him on the phone- I have a super cute video of that- I'll probably have to share that when we get home as well.

So here are the pictures from our meeting:










As you can see she conked out on the ride home.  She probably slept a good hour or more when we got back to the hotel.  Then we got to meet the real Eliza Grace!!
She has one mode- ON.  We ran around the room, then we ran around the hall, then we moved the party to the lobby.  We went up and down stairs and the escalator.  I was pouring sweat, so I decided we'd give the pool a try.  Silly me- the pool is for running laps around!

 After that we came back to the room for a bath and bedtime.  Her foster mom told us that she loves her bath and that she goes to bed about 11. 





We were worn out so we started a little bit sooner than that, but she was definitely not ready!  She roamed in and out of the bathroom looking for Appa, she jumped all over the bed, and just generally did anything she could to stay UP.  We walked the hall for a little while and came back.  She played for a little bit and then I think she started to get it.  She was staying with us.  She got her shoes (new Target Robees that we brought- she LOVES them) and pointed to the door.  She wanted out.  So she cried a little and then I put her in the carrier and walked around the hall some more until she fell asleep.  She woke up when we got back and was furious.  We laid down on the floor together and she cried some more.  She then climbed on top of me and fell asleep.  And that's where she stayed most of the night.  On my chest on the floor.  Eventually I was able to roll her off and cover her up with her favorite blanket (one that we sent for her birthday!).  She woke a few times in the night, but went right back to sleep.  She slept until about 8 this morning.  She woke up and saw Phil and started crying.  She ran to me, cuddled for a second, then looked back at Phil with a big grin and started playing peek-a-boo with him. 

She is just really doing great.  Better than we could have every expected.  We're exhausted from chasing her, but thrilled that she is so happy with us. 

Alright- I've way over done my computer time- excuse any typos, I don't have time to proof! :)