Tuesday, January 15, 2013

6 Months Ago Today

Six months ago today, we walked into a conference room in the Lakeside Hotel in Fuzhou, China.   We thought we'd be waiting 30 minutes for our little girl to come.  WRONG!  They were early and there she was...waiting for us!  Ha...actually she had no idea she was waiting for us and that her life as she knew it was about to be completely turned upside down.   She wasn't too fond of me, but she did like Rick and Evan fairly quickly...at least at first.   She is a totally different little girl today, six months later.  She lights up our house and the lives of everyone who meet her and know her.  She is a blessing and we could not be more thankful!  Happy 6 months home to our brave, sweet, and silly little Lena!  We love you more than you know and love that you are signing 'I love you!' back now!

THEN- July, 2012

NOW- January, 2013

Hearing Aides

 Last Friday, Lena got her hearing aides!  The actual hearing aide is translucent purple and the ear mold is clear with purple glitter.  She was so cooperative with her sweet audiologist, Wendy, and she took every minute of it in.  We knew she would not be able to hear sounds clearly enough to discriminate speech sounds and to be able to produce speech, but we were hopeful that it would help with safety concerns.  She seemed to act like she could hear things at first, but after a few days with them, I am questioning whether she is or not.  They produce a lot of feedback- they are very loud because they are the strongest ones out there.  I am no sure the fit is 100% good.   I am messing with them a lot during the day at this point.  We've tested calling her name and she doesn't turn to us unless we are close and we say it REALLY loud!   We'll just keep trying- she may just have to get used to hearing actual sound.  One of the real reasons we don't think they are helping though is because the audiologist told us she'd probably be overwhelmed by loud noises and not to introduce her to too much at once- knowing our house full of loud kids was enough for the first weekend.  Lena is also quite loud herself and we were sure her own loud noises would startle her.  NOPE!  Nothing bothers her- she doesn't act upset or cover her ears at all....she doesn't respond to the boys being loud, to herself being loud, etc.   Oh swell...we'll just keep using them and observing and then go back in February to test her hearing with the hearing aides.  Our insurance will only pay for them if they are helping and we will not be keeping them if they are not helping and we have to pay for them.   I am just happy that she likes them! :)

A New Year- A New Beginning

 With the new year here, it is the start to something new for Lena- school!  This was from her first day at the school for the deaf.  She wasn't sure what was going on at first, but once we got to the school she remembered being there and how much she liked it and she did great!  She had a wonderful first day and has been doing very well since.  We are so happy that she enjoys going to school and know that she will pick up on signs very quickly now!  We are proud to say that she officially know the colors: red, blue, green, purple, and black and how to sign them.  She is working on orange, yellow, pink, brown, gray, and white.  School has made her a bit more tired and fussy at times though- it will just take some getting used to the new schedule.  She is going to be early, but she is not a morning person...lol. 

My Birthday and Lena's First Christmas

 I love these kids!

 Such a good big brother!

 Christmas Eve with Rick's family- our family with G.G.
 What great friends we have- thank you to Sally and her family in Germany
 for the Legos for the kids!

Right after opening presents, we loaded the car and drove down to Branson, Missouri where we met my family in the 'middle.'  We passed through St. Louis on the way.

Lena's First Birthday with us!

In December we also got to celebrate Lena's first birthday home with us, her first birthday with a family of her own and gifts just for her.  We let our kids pick what they want to eat or where they want to go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It was hard because Lena doesn't have enough favorites or had the chance to have a favorite restaurant yet.   We ended up taking her to Culver's for her birthday thanks to a nice gift card Rick had received.  :)    What a great day!

 The Birthday Girl!  Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet girl!
 Lena with her little brother who would celebrate his 2nd Birthday the following day!

 Celebrating with Family
 Birthday song and cupcakes (saved the cake for the party)!
 In China, they smear frosting on the child's face for a birthday celebration- we had to follow tradition.

The Party!  We had a combined party for Lena and Jayce since their birthdays are so close to Christmas and one day apart.  We had one big cake for everyone and separate cakes for the kids.  The kids played with homemade play dough, decorated Christmas cookies, made snowflakes, and played in the school gym.  We had a lot of fun- thank you to our family and friends who were able to make it there during this busy time of year and to those who sent something special even though they couldn't make it!