Friday, December 26, 2008


We celebrated Christmas Eve at home with about 30 friends and family. It was a fun night and Lily was able to meet more family. The kids could wait no longer for Christmas morning and after laying out cookies and sprinkling Reindeer food on the front lawn it was off to bed. Christmas morning was great and the boys were so excited. Lily is still to young to understand what the hoopla was about but enjoyed the wrapping paper. Christmas afternoon was spent at my parents house and the boys had a blast with their cousins. Lily was great all day and continues to bring so much joy to our family. The last two Holiday seasons were difficult..there was just a void and every time I looked at our family picture I knew someone was missing. I LOVE taking family pictures because I know my family is together. I still have friends waiting and I remember how hard it is and all I can say is don't give up because your baby is waiting for you!
Christmas Eve photo

Shea LOVES his new Patriot uniform from Uncle Brian and Aunt Kate

Nans and Papa with all 8 of their grand kids.

Lily enjoying the wrapping paper!

Bryce trying out his new Smart Cycle

Family photo on Christmas Day with our family clown, Bryce, in the back.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Look Who Came Knocking!!

We were all dressed in our PJ's and getting ready for bed when there was a knock on the door. Imagine our surprise when we saw Santa standing there with a bag of gifts! The boys could barely contain themselves and Shea was just giddy. Shea LOVES Christmas and you can see the joy in his eyes as his sits with Santa. A six year old at Christmas is truly magical! Lily even decided she would give the big guy a chance. A few weeks back she wanted nothing to do with Santa but tonight she thought he was kinda cool. We are all very excited for what's to come this week but unfortunately Lily is a teething mess. Hopefully Lily will get some teeth for Christmas!

The boys and their cousins getting ready to make Christmas cookies.

Lily can now clap!!
Lily clapping for herself with her Nana Donna after spilling all the sprinkles onto the counter!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Fun Continues

Its been kind of a whirlwind since we've been home but I am starting to feel like that even in the middle of Christmas preparations that the new normal is starting to come together. Lily continues to do great! In the past week teething has really begun and the drool is never ending. I think one of these days a tooth just may appear in her mouth. Lily can stand on her own although much prefers to be on all fours crawling around. The most exciting thing that has happened is she is beginning to point..this is a big developmental milestone and as a special needs teacher one that I eagerly await! I think she may even be getting on some sort of nap schedule which makes for a very happy baby and even happier mommy. This past weekend we started some of our Christmas traditions and it is so nice to really be in the spirit after the last 3 years of waiting. This year I can truly feel the joy and not think about the baby that is missing..I have all my babies home with me this Christmas!!

Picking out the Christmas tree. This year Bryce;s tree was picked!

Teething on her doll's bottle. I have her dressed in her Hannah Andersen dress..just one of those things I could not wait to do. The dress and leggings just scream out girl to me!

Shea, Lily and Bryce with their cousin Tommy. The first picture with all 4 Devine cousins together. Lily is obviously the princess around all these boys!

I LOVE this ornament because I still love seeing Lily's name in print!

The kids in their Christmas pajamas after decorating the tree. Bryce loves to have his hands on his sister and I am always telling him to be gentle. The funny thing is that the harder Bryce plays with his sister the bigger the laugh we get from Lily! She was so meant to have 2 big brothers!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's a Girl Thing

The boys just can't understand why Lily has so many shoes and all I can say is "its a girl thing". In China you can buy squeaky shoes (really cute shoes that squeak when the babies walk) for around $3.00; so that meant I had to buy like 10 pairs! I have a few different sizes and styles and we will be getting our wear out of them! Lily LOVES her shoe basket and really enjoys playing with them. I just have to say that after 6 years of trucks I am more than happy to play with a few pairs of shoes! Lily continues to be just a bundle of joy. She is so happy and easy going and just makes me smile all day. Her smiles come a lot easier now and she always has one for the men in her life; aka daddy and brothers!
Lily attended her friend Lia's second birthday last weekend. Lia's mom and dad are one of the "99ers" and she came home last December with Caroline and Sophia. Now that Lily and Wren (mom and Dad are Dave and Sandy from our trip) are home we finally had a chance to get a group photo and it was hilarious. The girls had matching dresses and we tried to do a red couch photo on the Bordens brown couch. It was so heart warming to see all five girls together and I couldn't help but think that exactly a year ago on 11/30/07 we had a Birthday dinner and send off for the 99ers that were leaving in a few days to get their girls. A year lady the party had a much different feeling with 5 babies crawling and walking around!

Wren, Caroline, Sophia, Lia and Lily

Friday, November 28, 2008


This was obviously an extra special Thanksgiving and we had an extra blessing at the table! For the first time in 3 years we were not saying "Next year we will have Lily" and instead we had Lily right with us! We hosted Thanksgiving for 23 family members and with a lot of help from my mom it was a great day. Seeing the boys playing with their cousins and having Lily right in the mix of the chaos brought a lot of smiles to my face. My dad keeps saying its like Lily has always been here and I completely agree. Her little personality is really shining and our routine is starting to fall into place. I took lots of pictures and I just think she gets cuter every day. I can't count how many kisses those cheeks get every hour!!
Lily and daddy playing games with Great Papa

Lily and her cousin Anna.

Monday, November 24, 2008


We celebrated Lily's Baptism on Sunday. I was so excited that Lily fit into the same gown her two brothers and cousin wore. Lily slept for most of the Baptism and didn't mind to much when the water was poured on her head. The day was perfect and it was so great to see Lily with two of her friends from the orphanage. This was also the first time that all five of the "99er" babies were together. After so much waiting it was so great for all our babies to be in one room and to think it was only 1 year ago that we were celebrating the referral of 3 of the babies. Having Lily and Wren home just complete the package!
The picture of the 5 of us is our first family photo. Hard to believe we have been home almost a month and this is the first family picture, just shows how hectic things have been. I feel like this picture has been in the making for 3 years and it's finally complete. I can't stop looking at the picture, it makes everything feel so real!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Month Together

October 20th. Our Forever Family Day!

Can't believe we have had Lily for one month! Its been a whirlwind but we are falling more in love every day. I am in awe of Lily's progress and I am so proud of how well the boys have handled the new addition to our family. The big change around here is that we are all getting a little more sleep! Lily is going to bed between 7 - 8 and sleeping through the night until 6:30 - 7:30. She may wake up for a bottle but will generally fall right back to sleep. I am no longer on the floor of her room and Lily does not seem to detest her crib any longer. Lily had her doctors appointment with the International Adoption Pediatrician and the doctor was very pleased will all her skills. Lily's gross motor, fine motor and expressive language skills are all above age level. It is amazing to think this sweet girl spent her first 8 months in an orphanage and yet is at age level for so many of her skills. Lily is a strong little girl and a survivor; she has handled more change in her short 8 months than many people have in a lifetime. Lily has transitioned from her birth mother to an orphanage and then to us. Lily home has changed completely from an orphanage to 3 hotel rooms to our home, all her daily routines are different, she is experiencing a new country and culture, a new diet and a different language. Lily has been to the doctors more times in a month than pro bally her first 8 months. I am in complete awe at how well she is really doing is spite of all she has gone through. Oh, she also gained 1.5 lbs since China, she is still loving the American Food!

Lily making herself at home in my Tupperware cabinet!
Sleeping babies are a beautiful sight!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We have a mover!

After being home for 2 weeks we are still settling into a routine. Going from two to three kids was a bigger adjustment than I thought. I am amazed at just how much my laundry has grown! I am so lucky to have an amazing group of friends who are bringing us meals twice a week, so we are eating well. Lily is crawling EVERYWHERE, but luckily she has not yet found the stairs. When I leave the room she is never far behind me! We have had a busy week that included getting blood work, which was traumatizing! The lab was unable to find a vein and had to get blood from the finger and we still have more blood to get in order to get all the test done. We attended our last waiting families meeting at our agency. It is a tradition that once you get your baby you return to the meeting with the child and give the others still waiting some words of wisdom. After 3 years it was nice to be the family with the baby! Lily is still dealing with Eczema and a few other skin irritations and she is extremely itchy. I am really hoping that once Lily becomes less itchy she will sleep a little better. We are still battling sleep issues and I have resorted to sleeping on the floor in her room. There is small improvement each night and I think we will eventually get a full nights sleep but I don't think its anytime soon. I am hoping our third week home will bring a little more sleep and a little more routine but either way its all good because I am finally a mom of 3!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

First Week

We have been home for one week. I am 10 times more tired than I expected but it is slowly getting better and its all so worth it! Lily is adjusting well, she loves to eat and play! She is not a fan of sleeping, especially in her crib! I forgot how HARD sleep deprivation is but it is slowly getting better each night. Lily is sooo good when she is awake but I think she releases the stress of all that has happened in the past 2 weeks during the night. She sleeps for about 2 hours at a time and then needs to be reassured and put back to sleep by either rocking or walking. I have walked a lot of miles in my upstairs hallway!

Watching Lily eat is one of my most favorite times of the day. The girl will eat anything! She likes bananas, pears, peaches, carrots, green beans, avocados (spread on a cracker), rice, soup, noodles, pasta, meatballs, chicken, oatmeal and of course her cheerios! She still has no teeth but that does not stop the eating machine!

Lily and cousin Tommy meet for first time

Lily's gross motor skills amaze me! She is crawling and starting to really explore the house. Now she will leave the room and start to wander..I'm in trouble! She pulls herself up and can stand for a few seconds without holding anything! We introduced a push toy to her tonight and I think we are only days away from her walking behind it.

Lily has been a real trooper and has been carted around everywhere this week. Pat went back to work on Monday and the boys had their regular activities. Lily was perfect in Church, went to the boys swim lessons, cub scouts, and a few other appointments. She has met her cousins and a few friends and really seems to enjoy other kids. Every day we see Lily come out of her shell a little more, laugh a little more and really start to realize we are her family. There is nothing better than her reaching out to her mommy and daddy, it melts my heart! She turned 9 months old yesterday and although I can't wait to see what Lily will be doing in the next few months I also want time to stop. I want to enjoy her as she is now before she gets any bigger! I think every day how lucky we are to have her with us and how worth the wait she was!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Home Sweet Home

After 30 hours of being awake and traveling we arrived home at 1:00 AM on Thursday. The trip home went well, anticipating the plane ride was worse than the actual trip. Lily slept for about 80% of the trip so we were pretty lucky! Getting off the airplane and seeing our family and friends at the airport was the best part of the trip. Thank you to everyone who made the late trip to the airport to welcome Lily home! The boys arrived home at 9:30 Thursday morning and seeing them was obviously very emotional and exciting. Both boys looked huge!! Lily loves her brothers and Bryce even got her to laugh for the first time! I have been in a daze for days and sleeping is not going so well. I can only hope Lily's clock gets back on track soon and she starts to sleep like when we were in China! We dressed Lily up for Halloween but she stayed in with me when the boys went out trick or treating. We plan on having a low key weekend and spend some time introducing Lily to more of her family.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back in Beijing

Yesterday was our swearing in ceremony at the US Consulate and then we left for Beijing. We have our envelope with all of Lily's immigration paperwork and once we are in Chicago the envelope is opened and Lily is a US citizen!! Our 3 hour plane ride to Beijing went a lot better than before and Lily slept most of the time. We have Megan (Pat's sister) visiting us from Tongliao, she took a 13 hour train ride to see us for 5 hours!! We were so excited to see her and so glad she was able to see Lily!! We leave for Chicago at 4:00 today (Wednesday China time) and hopefully we will be in Boston at 9:30 Wednesday night. am really looking foreword to being back home with my boys!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Red Couch Photo

Today was the infamous red couch photo. All the babies in the group get dressed up in traditional Chinese outfits and are placed on a red couch at the White Swan and have their picture taken. You can imagine what it is like getting 11 babies to sit on a couch for a picture; pure chaos! I have read about this tradition for a long time on adoption blogs and it was almost surreal when we were doing it. We know finally have our "Red Couch" photo. Lily is the 3rd from the right in pink in the top row.

We also visited a Buddhist temple and has the babies blessed and then went to the Jade store. It is a Chinese tradition for a mother to wear a jade bracelet and then give it to her daughter when she gets married. Guess who has a jade bracelet? It is beautiful and I love it!

We have also discovered that Lily loves Ramen Noodles. It is so cute watching her eat them! We have 2 more days here and then we head back to Beijing and then we fly home Wednesday. I am ready to go home to be a family of 5! To say I miss the boys is an understatement! I love China and the trip has been amazing but I can't wait to introduce Lily to the rest of her forever family!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hello Guangzhou

It was not easy getting here but we are now really enjoying ourselves! After a day in Nanchang at the Porcelain Store and the Teng Wang Pavilion we headed to the airport. It was an emotional bus ride for me as I knew we were leaving Nanchang, felt like we were leaving a piece of Lily behind. We also had to say good bye to our local Guide, Evelyn, who we really enjoyed. Lily seemed to be feeling better yesterday so I was optimistic about the plane ride. Unfortunately, the 1 hour and 20 minute flight felt like 14 hours! As soon as she finished her Pedialyte bottle after take off it ended up all over Patrick and myself. She then became inconsolable, to be expected for a child who has gone through so much but we had not seen this until we were on the plane next to a very nice business man. She ended the flight with a diaper blowout! Even for us seasoned parents this was enough to throw me into a little meltdown. We all regrouped and once Lily was cleaned up and in her PJ's she fell asleep in the front carrier at the airport. We finally arrived at the hotel at 10:00 and Lily went on to have a real rough night. We have come to the conclusion that she is having a hard time adjusting to the formula. We talked with a doctor today and because her diarrhea has slowed down and she has only thrown up once in 48 hours it does not make sense to change it again. I am hoping we have really turned the corner this time!!

Teng Wang Pavilion

So, we awoke this morning and cute, happy Lily was back! We had her physical exam for her visa this morning. Lily weighed in at 17 lbs and 26 inched long. She's short and chubby! She did great at the appointment and only cried when her ears were checked.

After the exam we hit the streets of Guangzhou for a little shopping. I still have a lot more to do but we were able to do some damage in a short amount of time. Our group headed over to Lucy's for lunch for some good old American food. Lily will only eat food she can put into her own mouth so she is not into the Congee that every other Chinese baby seems to like. Lily had herself a chicken quesadilla for lunch which is a riot because has no teeth!!! We LOVE Guangzhou, it is very warm and has a touristy feel to it. We are looking foreword to a few days of down time before our Consulate appointment and hopefully we can keep Lily healthy.
Lunch at Lucy's with Dave, Sandy and Wren