Thursday, December 10, 2015


After an exhausting first night of jet lag (in bed at 11 PM after an exhausting 24 hours+ of travel, then up at 3:30 AM pretty much for the day with the toddler...) it was encouraging to see the sunrise outside.

We're home. 

The travel was pretty crazy at first but good overall... We made the mistake of getting to the Atlanta airport later than we should have. It took longer to untie suitcases from the roof of the car, and I didn't think to start the check-in process until all the suitcases were inside. Then the toddler had to go potty, then we were told by the lady at the desk that we had to use the kiosk even though we were pretty sure we had to do something special for our infant in lap. Couldn't check in at the kiosk for my (Anna's) ticket, so had to wait in line at the special assistance, and by that time it was almost an hour before our flight. They rushed to get my boarding pass printed so we could check our luggage in the nick of time, but then it took around half an hour to get the infant in lap processed. The guy helping was so patient as the person he was calling took a while to check for the taxes and fees and wondered why we weren't doing a round trip ticket for the infant... Ryan took off with Hadassah in the stroller and 4 bags to go through security while I waited and waited, jittery as I watched the clock... Ryan made it through as Hadassah seemed to know something was urgent and behaved really well, and I joined them at the gate just minutes before the doors were to close. Talk about stressful!

But the flights went well. Ellie seems to sleep really well in the ERGO or held by me, so she hardly made a peep. Hadassah enjoyed new stories (horray for thrift store book purchases) and planned activities. The crazy start that made it seem like the worst trip ever turned into the best trip ever when at the gate in Los Angelos we were called up to be told that they were giving us an extra seat for our baby (since there was one available) AND they had an infant bassinet available! It freed our arms and prevented aching backs as Eliana slept quite well with all the sound and movement from the plane, and Hadassah even slept in her seat cocooned by pillows. Her nap and night time were shorter than usual, but I was amazed at how well she slept, especially as almost every 1 1/2 hours during the night she would stir and slip down, almost off the chair, then we'd grab her and re-situate her and she'd keep sleeping!

But seriously, having a bassinet and extra seat was SO nice. Made diaper changes so much easier to have the bassinet, as well as meals, to have an extra seat to put things on. Flying with Delta has always been pretty comfortable, but this was top notch!

We didn't sleep much between monitoring children, but the flight was a lot easier on us because the girls did. What a blessing!

And a good indication that we're parents of two now? We only snapped a picture at the airport in Shanghai after arrival. ;) Our arms and brains were full enough without tracking down the camera! We were thankful that our many suitcases made it, minus one red one that got lost in the shuffle. They told us it arrived and even delivered a red suitcase last night, but it turned out to be someone else's, not ours! So hoping it gets found, as this was the one full of gifts for friends here...

Hadassah was pretty happy to be back in China and off the plane, and faithful "travel puppy" was with her all the way! But seriously, God has blessed us with an amazing traveler in our first born. She did so well the whole time, though she was definitely ready to be done with sitting as we waited for suitcases.We traded off who took her on hand-held runs here and there as we could!

The first days home with two have been fun and hard at the same time. It is good to be in our own home. Hadassah has enjoyed re-discovering all her old toys and books here, and is getting more interactive with Ellie, now that Ellie is down and around more. Before in all her wake time she was usually being held by a loving relative! But now she gets plenty of tummy time (which Hadassah sometimes does with her, or sets up things for her to look at like the book above) and Hadassah loves pushing her in the swing or spinning her toys on the bouncy chair. She's also an expert at undoing the tabs for diaper changes. I try to encourage every helping aspect I can, and love seeing her love her little sister. "I need to hold her!" is a common refrain around her, as well as "I need to help Mommy!" It's wonderful to have Hadassah enjoy doing chores, so I can get dishes done or simple food prepped as well as spend time with my girl (and thrill her in the process), since there is more time with my arms full of Ellie these days. Learning to look for things I can do with one arm, like coloring or blowing bubbles, while nursing or holding with the other!

Jet lag hasn't been as horrible as expected, though. Visions of the girls taking turns waking up ALL night have thankfully not proven true. They do seem to take turns who is up more for the night, though. ;) Night #1 was way too short, with Hadassah up very early after a late bedtime. Her sleeping on the plane while we didn't probably contributed. ;) Night #2 though she was only up for an hour around Midnight, and the other time she woke Ryan got her to go back to bed after a few stories, while Ellie slept 4 hours stretches! Night #3 had Hadassah sleeping the whole time (we heard her stir twice, but she didn't make noise to get up!) while Ellie decided to be up on and off pretty much from Midnight. And last night, #4? Hadassah woke at 3:30 AM, and even though we put her back to bed pretty quickly, made noise (singing, talking, etc.) on and off until 6 AM. But Ellie amazed us, sleeping 8 hours before I woke her to nurse and then going back to sleep for another 3! It had been an exhausting day, though, of her nursing every two hours and only napping 45 minutes at a time, so maybe she was making up for it!

And, biggest praise? Our apartment is WARM!! Many people asked if this one would be warmer, and we just weren't sure. But if it's any indication, with the heaters on I've had to take off my bathrobe and slippers because I was too hot! Whether it's the fewer windows than the last place, the fact that they seem better sealed, or the powerful, pretty new a/c unit in the living room, we are so so grateful. I was not looking forward to having to always bundle my babies inside, or have freezing hands for diaper changes... While the outside isn't too cold (around 50 degrees for the high) our apartment seems like it will keep us warm regardless, and for that we are so so grateful. God is so good to us!

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