Sunday, 27 May 2012

Katie's First Doctor's Appointment

Little Miss had her first American doctor's appointment on Friday, and she did really well.  

She was very patient and was happy to draw on the paper on the exam table.

At her last exam in Russia (in April) she weighed 28 pounds and was 38 inches tall.  At her exam here she weighed 31 pounds and is 38.5 inches tall!  She's still tiny for her age - for her weight she's in about the 25th percentile on the down syndrome growth chart and the 2nd percentile on a typical growth chart; for her height she is in the 75th percentile on the down syndrome growth chart and the 3rd percentile on the typical growth chart.

Our pediatrician gave us referrals to the Down Syndrome Clinic, a pediatric cardiologist, and an endocrinologist, to start.  

She had a TB test, her finger pricked to check her iron levels, and had two shots.  We then had to go to the hospital to have two tubes of blood drawn to check for hepatitis, HIV, run titers to check for vaccination levels, check her thyroid function (hence the referral to the endocrinologist), and check for celiac disease.  She was so great during all of the poking, and recovered quite quickly.

She crashed in the car on the way to Gigi's house.

She certainly woke up quickly when we got there and she saw the pool was ready for her.  She couldn't even wait to get undressed before jumping in!

After her swim she had a few chips. . . no selective eating from this child!

We will go to the cardiologist next week and will go back to the pediatrician in six weeks to go over the results of her blood work and have another weight check.  He said she seems pretty healthy though, and he has no major concerns!

Last Day of School, 2011-2012

The big boys had their last day of school on Wednesday.  I cannot believe David will be in third grade and Henry will be in second grade in the fall.  It makes me want to cry!

I took photos on their first day of school and on the last day of school, and they have grown and changed so much!

(I'm not sure why the first photo in each set has a big white stripe on the bottom. . . to say my photo editing skills are sub-par would be entirely accurate.)

They both look so much older.

I think Henry has grown four inches and gained about 10 pounds!  

They are both thrilled to be out for the summer, and nobody has said they're bored yet!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Q & A, Part 2

In February, I did a Q&A Post, which is one of the most frequently read posts on my blog.  In May, I posted the answers.  (I hope none of those were burning questions....)  I've had lots of questions left in the comments since our last trip, and most were left by people with No-Reply blogger IDs, so I can't respond to the questions.  I thought I'd do another Q&A post, and answer those questions and any others you may have.  So ask away!  And I promise not to wait three months to answer them this time!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

One Week Free!

One week ago I busted Katie out of the orphanage and held her sweet, smooth little hand as I walked her out the door to a new life.

Katie on Gotcha Day, 7 days ago.
She has changed so, so much in just seven days!

Katie, yesterday.

She's flown 6,000 miles on an airplane, slept and ate like a champ, learned that she loves (and I mean LOVES) to take a bath, gone swimming, jumped on a trampoline, learned two signs (and uses them spontaneously and appropriately), said "mama" and "papa" more than once, and is learning to love our dogs.  

She's had tea parties with Jack.

And played dress up with Henry.

She's learned that she LOVES to have a playroom with toys at her disposal.

She's learned that down the slide is easier than up.

And she's learned that the rocking toys at the park are pretty fun.

She's learned that the biggest slides are the fastest.

And I've learned she's definitely not afraid of fast.

She's learned that having brothers to play with is pretty fun.

Most of the time.

She's learned that she loves to swing.

And she's learned that she really, really likes ice cream.

And she doesn't like when it's gone. . . 

She has stopped rocking herself to sleep at night and instead wants to cuddle with her mama.

She's learned that her daddy is great for a cuddle too.

The change we've seen in this tiny firecracker in just a week is astounding.  I can't wait to see what next week will bring!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

There's No Place Like Home

This is my 200th post on this blog, and Katie is finally home.
I still can't believe that's true.

She is playing in her bedroom with her brothers.

She is jumping on the trampoline in the playroom.

She is coloring at the kitchen table.

She is splashing in the little pool with Jack.

She is swimming in the big pool with her daddy.

She is playing outside as much as she wants.

She is sleeping in the car with her brothers after a hard day of playing.

She is eating pizza!

She is going to the grocery store (where Jack's fat little baby fingers got stuck in the cart.....)

She is snuggling with her daddy on the couch.

She is amazingly comfortable with us.

She is loved.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Gotcha Trip - Day Six, COMING HOME!

We were not supposed to leave Russia until Tuesday, May 22nd, but we finished everything we had to do at the American Embassy on Friday, May 18th.  Chris was able to get our flights changed, and we left on Saturday May 19th.  I didn't get the confirmation that we were definitely booked on a flight until 9 p.m. Friday, and we had to be ready to go at 7 a.m. Saturday.  I packed pretty quickly!  

We got to the airport and got checked in pretty easily, considering the amount of hands I have and the number of things I had to carry.  Katie was an amazing traveler.  She was so good and patient.

She sat right down in her seat and got buckled up.

Our flight from Moscow to JFK in New York was over 9 hours.  

She was awake for the entire flight.

We played with Flat Stanley for a bit - he had quite an adventure!

She played with the headphones for about an hour.  Who knew they were so interesting?

When she got bored we would take her clothes off and she would put them back on again, over and over.  She would put her shirt on her head and play hide and seek.  She would ball her shirt up and we'd play catch with it....we got very creative with our games!

We had a few suckers, which were good for about 20 minutes of activity.  Girlfriend can get down on a lollipop.

We did lots and lots of coloring and sticker-ing.  This little $1 journal from the Dollar Tree was seriously the best toy I brought with me.  She loves to color in it, put stickers in and take them out, pretend to read, etc.

She loved to pull the tray table down and put it back up.  I'm quite certain the man in front of her didn't love it.  I will be honest that I really didn't care.  I tried to keep her from doing it, but that just seemed to make her want to do it more.  

She didn't start to fuss at all until the last 90 minutes of the flight.  And let's be honest - there were fussy adults at that point.  I strapped her into the baby carrier and we walked up and down the aisles.  When she was sick of that, got her out of the carrier and she walked up and down the aisles with me.  I didn't like that as much, because she wants to touch everyone.  Let's just say most Russians don't seem open to unsolicited touches by a small four year old.

We got to JFK and I have seriously NEVER been so happy to be in America before.  And I had the newest, cutest American citizen!!  We breezed through Customs.  I was anticipating a 2-ish hour process to get through.  Or 15 minutes.  I could have kissed our immigration agent.  

Katie ran and ran around in our gate while we were waiting for our plane.  She had been awake for roughly 24 hours at that point, and she was still amazing.  I promise you she felt better than I did at that point!  She didn't fall asleep on our plane from NYC to Nashville until we were literally about 20 minutes from landing.  She was otherwise awake the entire trip home.  And not crabby at all!

We landed in Nashville about 20 minutes early.  That didn't make for a really exciting homecoming, because we got there almost before everyone else!  I was so, so happy to see our friends and family.  And they were all so excited to see miss Katie Ruth!

My sweet friend Kelly took some wonderful pictures for us.  She told me later she had "never shot something that moved so fast"!

The boys were SO excited to see her.  They kept screaming "KATIE!  KATIE!  KATIE!"  And Jack was hilarious, going up to her, patting her head, and saying in the sweetest voice, "Hi Katie.  It's me, your big brother Jack.  It's so nice to finally meet you."  I don't think Jack realizes that he's younger than her!

This is one of my favorite pictures Kelly took - I LOVE it.

Sister caught her second (or third?  or fourth?) wind at the airport and was running around with her brothers and our friend Matthew like crazy.

I am beyond incredibly happy to have my whole family together.  We are so proud of this little girl and everything she is and is going to be.

We got home and she passed out in bed and slept for twelve hours.  She had an awesome first night home, and we are so happy to finally truly be The Simpson Six!