Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's Nice To Be Home!

This was the first weekend we have all been home together and it was wonderful! The kids and I had a great time last week visiting my family, but after traveling almost non-stop since Feb 21st, home has never been so good!

The adjustment period is going quite well. Olivia is so much fun, and the pictures we received before we went to Bangkok pretty much depict her personality too. She can be the sweetest thing ever, but she also throws more than enough tantrums. She is very much a "girly-girl", so that is fun for me. She has her own "stick"- chap stick- and likes for her daddy to put lotion on her arms and legs at night. She makes sure to point out any places he might miss. Kids in Thailand play by imitating more than with toys, so she is often mimicking the things I do. She is sitting next to me as I type, and she is pretend typing too. Unfortunately, it's almost 10:00, and she doesn't seem to be ready for bed yet. Ian has been down since around 8:30. Hopefully, she is going to give it up soon!

Ian has been doing great with Olivia. He lets her give him hugs and kisses, and he seems to be calmer and more affectionate. It's really interesting to watch, and it's nice that he lets us "love on him". Several times Olivia has picked up his cane and walked with it like Ian does. (If someone isn't aware of it, Ian is completely blind.) It was the sweetest thing. Tonight at church, nothing would do him but that he scoot right up next to her while we were sitting down- almost right on top of her. Sometimes she does the same thing to him.

Today was our first time to be at our home congregation, and we had a very nice welcome. We hadn't been since the 17th of February, so it was wonderful to see everyone and introduce them to Olivia. She did great- not many smiles, but she took it all in and did great at Bible class- except when the teacher didn't dole out the goldfish fast enough!

I know this is long, but I have the time and want to go back and mention our trip. We had a wonderful and most memorable time. I knew we would; there was no doubt about that. Aside from the life changing event that took us to Thailand, Brian and I just love the whole international scene. I know it's not for everyone, but I have always liked to travel, and Brian has the bug too. Bangkok got a little suffocating, but the beach was a wonderful break from the bustle. It also gave Olivia space to relax, run, and play. She really started to open up in the taxi on the way. The other night we watched the video we made, and I got a little nervous just watching the replay of when the social workers brought the kids in. It was just a priceless, priceless moment!

About the return trip: It was pretty much a nightmare. Everything was going along great for awhile. We had to be out of our hotel at 4:00, and our flight didn't leave until almost 11:00 pm, but the wait went surprisingly quickly. We ate dinner, and Chad and Hirally (one of the other two adopting families) soon arrived at the airport. That flight went great- no problems. When we arrived in Narita, our stroller had gotten lost, but after about an hour wait (and we had about a 7 or 8 hour layover) the strollers finally arrived. (They also lost Chad and Hirally's stroller.) That 8 hours again went surprisingly quick. We hung out with Chad and Hirally for quite some time, so that helped immensely. It was fun getting to know them better and watching our kids interact. We stopped for coffee and went to the indoor playground, which we had all to ourselves. Then, it was time to tell them good-bye, which was hard, and they went to their terminal and we started making our way to our gate. When we got on the plane, we were happy to have an extra empty seat on our row. We didn't really end up using it too much, but it was really nice having a little more space to move around. Things were going well through the first half of the flight, which I think was around 10-12 hours long. Then Brian started feeling sick. I will just say that it was a good thing we were as close to the restroom as we were, because he was in it many many times. When one person would get out, he would dart in. The other bad thing is that we had run out of diapers. I did not follow the recommendation to pack an extra set of clothing for Olivia, and at that point it really wouldn't have mattered because she would have just soaked through those too. Anyway, she was soaked. I was soaked, our seat, etc. It was miserable! Of course this was going on while Brian was running back and forth to the restroom due to food poisioning! This went on for several hours, so my nerves were starting to get a little frayed, to say the least. Luckily, I did pack a change of clothes for me, so close to the end of the flight I changed, and the flight attendant had brought napkins, tape, and a couple of plastic bags for Olivia. I actually thought airlines carried some for emergencies- apparently not. For those families waiting to travel: take more diapers than you think you will need, and definitely pack a change of clothes for your child! I spent quite a bit of time shopping for what Olivia was going to wear home, and I just thought, "Oh, we'll be on top of the diaper changing. She'll be fine." Plus, it takes up space to pack another change of clothes. Anyway, it was a bad decision is all I can say!

Okay, I'm going to stop here and will finish the story- maybe tomorrow. It's almost 11:00 and Olivia has fallen asleep here next to me in the chair.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Is There A Routine In Sight?!

We made it home last night around 12:30. The kids and I had a nice visit with my family and several friends in Edmond. However, after traveling for so long, we are finally staying home, with no more travel in sight. We will have been in the US 3 weeks tomorrow, with only a handful of days (scattered here and there) actually spent at home. I'm anxious for Olivia to learn where "home" is! Ian and I are also glad to be back, although it was nice to be able to introduce Oliva to our families right away. I know Brian has also missed us these last few days. Ian gave him a big smile, and Olivia even gave him a hug and let him pick her up!

It's a little after 10:00 and Ian is still sacked out. Olivia has been up quite awhile and wants me to hold her constantly. I know she is tired. Once we get both of them down tonight, maybe I can catch up and write about some things I just can't get to when I'm trying to pacify both kids (and the dog) at the same time!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Home Again!

Just a quick note to let you know we are home. We're continuing to adjust and recover from the last month. It's been quite an emotional roller coaster for sure, but we're doing well, considering. Thank you for all the congratulatory wishes, condolences, and birthday cards (for me).

We're going to hit the road one more time before hopefully settling down into a routine. Brian is returning to Tahlequah to help his mom take care of some things, and I'm taking the kids to Edmond to see my family. Brian is just staying over the weekend, but we're staying a few days into next week.

I've hardly had time to reflect on our trip to Thailand, but it was wonderful. When we get back from OK, I will write more about it. I've got another picture from Thailand to post too. We've only been back two weeks tomorrow, but with all that has happened, in some ways it feels like longer. I'm already ready to go back! Well, maybe not quite yet!

I've got to run. Hope everyone is doing well. No school tomorrow, so if I don't happen to get back with you before Sunday, Happy Easter!


For those of you who have asked, Olivia wears 12 months and sometimes those are a little big around the waist!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Funeral Service Confirmed

The service for Brian's dad will be Monday, 2:00 at South College Church of Christ, 410 South College, Tahlequah, OK 74464. Brian's family is doing okay. Olivia has been a nice diversion. She has been very happy and seems comfortable enough with all of the visitors we have had. I think the family has been happy she is here. Thank you for the notes of sympathy we have received. I know Brian appreciates it.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Sad News

Just wanted to let you know Brian's dad passed away late last night. Brian was with him at the time. Funeral arrangements are being made now, and I will update again when the date and time of the service is confirmed. It will be held at the South College Church of Christ, 410 S. College Ave, Tahlequah, OK.

Please keep Brian and his family in your prayers.


Monday, March 10, 2008

3rd Full Day Home And Going Well!

Today went very smoothly. My parents were still here this morning to get Ian on the bus, which was great! Olivia was up from about 3:00 am to 5:00 am last night, but we didn't have to get out the toys, so there is a little more improvement! She stayed in bed. She continued sleeping when I got up at 6:30 to help with Ian. When my mom and dad and I went outside to wait for the bus, we started hearing screaming. Wouldn't you know she chose to get up during those few minutes?! She was very good during the day, and when Ian came home from school, she was taking her nap, so that worked out well too. So, all-in-all today was a good day, and I actually think I can do this! She is really starting to adjust. I still need to get some pictures up from our last day in Thailand and our return home. Maybe I can do that in the next day or two. This was only our 3rd full day to be home. With all that has been going on, I haven't had a chance to buy Olivia any proper shoes for this time of year. She's still wearing socks with her sandals. Tennis shoes are a number one purchase on our list!

As life brings many highs (adding to your family) it sometimes can bring lows at the same time. Brian came home from seeing his Dad in Houston last night, and his condition has taken a turn for the worse. Sadly, the doctors feel there is nothing more they can do. The cancer is spreading very quickly, so he is being transported home tonight and will arrive in OK early in the morning. Hospice will be there to provide support for the rest of the time he has. We are leaving in the morning to go to OK and don't know how long we will be there- depending on his condition. I know I have said this before, but he is such a wonderful man, and he knows (as do everyone that is well acquainted with him) where his home is. One of the nurses asked him where his home is and he said, "heaven". Difficult as the situation is, it is a comfort to have that wonderful confidence in the future. I know it must be a comfort to him, and it definitely is to those around him. I will try to write again during the week as time allows.

Please keep Brian's dad, mom, sister, and Brian in your prayers.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Home and Adusting

It seems I don't have time to write all that I would like to, but maybe tomorrow when Ian is at school I can give a good update on our return trip and what has been going on since then. I will also post some new pictures. We have been busy to say the least. Thankfully, we arrived home Friday afternoon by car. We were exhausted and are trying to get back on a sleeping schedule. The night in the hotel at Dallas was pretty much a disaster, but things have gotten better the last two nights. Olivia and I are sleeping together in her room and have been up coloring, stacking cups, and playing with Mr. Potato Head at all hours of the night! I know it doesn't sound like it's getting better but it really is. It seems her awake hours in the night are moving later in the morning until hopefully she won't get up until at least 6:00. Coloring and Mr. Potato Head at 3:00 in the morning is a little rough! My parents are staying until tomorrow, and they have been absolute lifesavers! I really don't know what I would have done if they hadn't been here these last couple of days- especially since Brian needed to leave the day after we arrived home. His mom called to say that his dad was not doing well at all in Houston (MD Anderson) and that he needed to come right away. He was exhausted after taking 50 some hours to get home from Thailand, and I worried about him turning around to make the trip to Houston, although I knew that's were he needed to be. He is planning to come home today. Olivia is asleep right now, and I would really like to take a little nap myself. However, I just wanted to take a minute to let you know we are home- safe and sound- and that things are better today than they were yesterday, and that I'm sure each day is going to get easier. I will write again tomorrow to describe a little more about our trip home and how things are going now.


Friday, March 7, 2008

No, We're Not Home Yet!!

Just a quick note to say that we haven't gotten home yet. The last 2 days have been full of the kinds of challenges you try to avoid at all costs- mainly getting sick on a 10 hour flight, running out of diapers on a plane with several hours to go, getting stuck on a tarmack for 6 hours (with a child!), and getting your flight cancelled after the 6 hours. It's Friday 7:00 am (Dallas time), and Brian has gone to get a rental car while Olivia and I wait for him in our hotel. We've had little to no sleep over the last 48+ hours, and since we were awake a great deal of last night too, Brian just went ahead and got up to arrange a rental. We are finished with airplanes and airports for a while! Good luck to anyone preparing to travel somewhere!

Olivia is needing some attention so I'll give you the details later- when we get home, whenever that might be! Trust me, there aren't any cute pictures to post over this time period!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Last Day

It's Wed, 11:30 am here (Tues, 10:30 pm there) and we're starting to wind things down. Olivia has had a good morning, but oh my this sweet darling girl WANTS HER WAY, and she can really "turn it on and off". I'm not sure how much time we're supposed to giver her before we start cracking down.

We need to be out of our hotel at 4:00. It takes about 40 minutes to get to the airport, and our flight isn't until 10:30 pm on JAL (Japan Airlines). We're going to have a nice little wait! We still may go to the pool for a couple of hours this afternoon.

I'm posting our flight schedule to the right, and you probably won't here from us again until we arrive in Shreveport.

Olivia is about ready for a nap, so we're going to go pack while she sleeps (hopefully!).

See you on the other side!


Last Night

Shoot! I forgot to bring my flight schedule downstairs. Well, I'll get back on here tomorrow to post it before we leave. Our flight isn't until almost 11:00 tomorrow night, so we may spend part of the day at the pool. One of the other families is on the same flight.

Olivia has had a great day! No tears at all. Yeah!! Smiles all around! Also, we heard her talk for the first time. She said bye-bye to the elevator attendant. I haven't taken the time to brag on her, but she is as cute as can be. I am anxious for everyone to meet her. She is very curious and independent. She prefers to use her spoon by herself, and definitely does not want you to hold her bowl. She is into everything. The first thing Brian did when we arrived back at the Amari was put away all the nick-knacks. She likes to play hide 'n seek with Brian and flashes him the cutest smile you've ever seen. She is also strong willed, and I believe is used to getting her way. We had been told she stomps her feet when she is mad. We haven't seen any stomping yet, but you can probably imagine why- she pretty much gets her way (for now)!

We bought toys today for the trip home, so hopefully she'll stay somewhat occupied and all will go well. Of course we don't want to disturb everyone around us.

We are getting ready to make our last trip to the grocery store across the street. It's a little sad this is our last night but exciting to get home to see Ian , our families, and friends.

I'm going to run before Olivia Kantika crashes!

'til tomorrow- Leah

Monday, March 3, 2008

Update on Flight Schedule

Just to let you know, we did not get an early flight, so we will still be leaving Wed and arriving in Shreveport on Thursday. Things have gone well again today. We took a river boat ride this afternoon, picked up laundry, changed money, and picked up take out this evening. Olivia has been very happy except for this morning. You will not believe her personality. She is QUITE a character- very funny and outgoing. She blows kisses, waves, and weis (Thai greeting with hands together, fingers up, chest high), and she does these things all the time. I don't expect her to be doing them right when we get home but hopefully not long after she becomes adjusted.

She's about to fall asleep on Brian as I type, so I'm going to close for now. We are definitely past the hard part. Please pray for a safe and pleasant plane ride Wed. Hopefully, she will sleep a lot of the first leg since we're not leaving until almost 11:00 pm. I will post our flight schedule tomorrow.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Back To Our Home Away From Home

We made it back to the Amari last night just fine. Yesterday morning we went to the pool for a couple of hours, and Olivia got in for a little bit - up to her chest. That was the deepest she had gotten in. She really enjoyed trying to do aerobics with the class too. She put on quite a show! I didn't write last night because she didn't want me out of her sight and I ended up falling asleep before she did!

As I have said before, she STRONGLY DISLIKES our hotel room. I guess it is because it's small. I'm not sure. She was okay with it last night when we arrived, but this morning she cried and whined until we left the room, and then everything was great. I think she is going to be a little "goer"!

We're getting ready to check on changing our flight to tonight or tomorrow. If we can't, we will probably go do a river boat ride, go to the park, and do a little bit of shopping. We need to get a couple of new toys for the plane ride home.

I'll write when I know what our travel plans are. All is going well, and I'm glad it is at home too!


Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Few Pictures

We just took these late this afternoon and this evening after we had Thai food and ice cream for dinner. Thought I would add them right quick before we lose our internet.


The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

I just thought I would go ahead and write in case something came up and I didn't get a chance to tonight. Olivia has had a wonderful day so far! She has not cried a single time, so we are thrilled! She woke up happy, was happy at breakfast, and oh I forgot, she did cry a little bit at the pool, but that didn't last but a second or two. She was sleepy though and quickly fell asleep out on the lounger for quite a long time. We ordered lunch by the pool while she slept, and then went up to the room to get ready to go arrange our car for tomorrow and change more money. Now we're just hanging out in the room. (Our room is great- very open with two large sliding doors and balconies. There is lots of floor space too so she can run around.) Anyway, she and Brian are playing with the play-doh as I type. I'm not sure what we're going to do the rest of the day. Olivia and Brian are pretty content to stay in the room, and I'm trying to be content too!

I may not get on again tonight but will when we arrive at the Amari tomorrow evening. Hopefully, it won't bring back unhappy memories for Olivia! We are going to go ahead and try to get an early flight back. We aren't scheduled to leave Bangkok until late Wed night, but we are going to try to get a flight back late Monday night if we can. I'll keep you posted.