Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!!!


(Where are Ava's arms? Behind her holding onto my skirt. ha)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Over 1 month with Gemma!!

Cant believe Gemma has been with us for over a month now!! That paper chase is a very distant memory. Gemma was so happy to get off those planes and see her forever home. We walked through the front door and she walked right in and plopped down on and couch and said Awwwwwwwww!! After resting for a few minutes she wanted the grand tour of her new home.

All her siblings have been so excited and have welcomed Gemma with open arms. If anyone is having a little bit of a hard time it is Ava. Not so much because of Gemma but just missing us so much when we were gone, it was very hard on her.

Watching Chinese cartoons with Gemma

Two days after coming home we made a trip to the dentist. Normally I would not have done that so soon. But Gemma had been complaining of her teeth hurting in China and asked to see a dentist. I could tell she had some major rot and abscessed teeth. She also had 5 broken adult teeth from a fall at school earlier in the year. She did get a little nervous not sure what was going to happen. We had a dear friend of ours explain it to her in Mandarin. They did an exam and cleaning and she did great!! She did give my hand a big squeeze a few times but she was very brave. Well the verdict was 12 cavities, 2 teeth to be removed, 3 root canals, and 5 broken teeth that need major reconstruction. The day we left China Gemma starting throwing up a couple times a day, then we thought it was nerves but now we know it was from the infections in her mouth. She continued to throw up until we got her on antibiotics for the abscessed teeth.

She has had half the work done already on her teeth and she is very happy. We are taking a month break then in January we will start the reconstruction of the broken teeth. She is such a brave girl and we are very proud of her.

Gemma has been a very obedient little girl. She has said NO a few times but I believe it was just a little testing in the beginning and there have been a few times she was not happy with me and gave me ugly looks. Overall she seems to be very happy in her new family. She loves giving hugs and tells us Thank you and love you often. Language has not been a problem at all, this girl is an expert at charades and the translator on the ipod has helped too. Like I said before we also have a couple of good friends that speak Mandarin that have been a great help too. Not just with translating when needed but with teaching me how to cook some of Gemma's favorite Chinese food.

One week after being home Gemma also started a local Sunday Chinese language school. It is 2 hours every Sunday and she loves it and looks forward to it every week. It is very important to us that she keeps her native language and we hope this helps.

Gemma has also been begging to go to school with her brothers. We have not decided when that will happen but I think she would thrive in it and it is what she is use to. In china she attend a private school and was in 3rd grade. She was a very good student and loves school.

The hardest thing so far for Gemma is driving in a car. She hates it. We live way out in the country and it is 7 miles just to the nearest store. So we spend a lot of time in the car every day.

She has enjoyed Skyping with her friend Faith from China that was adopted at the same time. Gemma also used QQ to talk with her older foster brother in China.

About 2 weeks after being home she begged to get her ears pierced. So she has some pretty flower earrings in her ears and loves them.

We just cant believe how well things have gone. We have not had any meltdowns or any major challenges. Thank God!!! I know it is still early but I would be surprised if serious issues started now.

I will say we had some tears last night. She became sad and got in a funk for a few hours. I ask her why she was sad and she said she missed Chinese food. She was downstairs crying and I did not know because I was cooking dinner. Keaton came up and told me Gemma was crying. I think it did not help because my husband left on his first business trip after coming home and I think it hit Gemma hard to have him gone. Momma gave lots of hugs and told her to talk to me so I can help her. Told her I loved her and wanted her to be happy in her new family. She was good to go after that!

She eats everything we serve and always clears her plate and asks for more. Gemma loved our Thanksgiving feast she was very curious as Sean and I cooked and prepared in the kitchen. She had seconds on mashed potatoes and gravy and many leftovers for days! ha Thanksgiving was just the 8 of us. When we were done eating Gemma ask when the party was starting and when family and friends would be coming! ha I told her not this year it was just us, she was a little disappointed.

Helping with Thanksgiving dinner and enjoying the meal

The cold is also another thing she is not happy about. She hates being cold but loves to watch the snow through the window and gets very excited. She did go out in it once but it lasted less than 5 minutes!

I can honestly say the hardest thing since being back is Ava. She missed us so much when we were gone. All her nighttime issues have come back full force. She will all the sudden start crying and say she is glad we are back and does not want us to ever leave again. Her anxiety is off the charts with us leaving a room or going anywhere. The night waking is back to 2 plus times a night and has been very draining on us. It was very traumatic for her having us gone. There is no way we could have taken her, she cant even handle a 1 hour flight to Phoenix let alone 15 hrs to China. We made the best decision at the time and hopefully we can get her broken heart through this process.

Tonight a got another amazing hairdo that out did the one in China!! Compliments of Gemma, Keaton and Ava, this one truly should win an award!!

Gemma will sit for hours doing her barbies hair. I think a nice big doll with long hair will be on the list for Santa! She loves to draw and watch her Chinese cartoons too.

I will also honestly say it has been a little hard on me. I did not realize how much I would miss not having the cuddly little baby or toddler like with Ava. You have to be much more creative with starting attachment and bonding. Luckily Gemma does let me do everything for her so we are on the right track!

I hope I did not bore you to tears and sorry it was all over the place. This is why it took me so long to do an update, my thoughts are just all over the place and major Mommy brain these days!! We are so blessed with our new daughter/sister.

Ava and the outfit she picked for the day!!

Update coming soon!!

Sorry for the delay. I have sat down many times to write an update and then stop. Im a horrible writer and I get intimidated. It does not come natural like it does with my hubby. He did such an awesome job on the travel blog!!

Everything is going very well and Gemma is such a sweet brave girl. I will try to sit down tonight and do an update. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gemma is Home!!!!

All is going very well. Gemma tells us everyday how happy she is and how much she loves her new family!! The kids do not seem to have any jet lag by my hubby and I are dealing with it. She is a true delight and an answer to our prayers!! I know it is still the honeymoon but she has been like this since day one.

Tomorrow we see the dentist and she is very excited and keeps telling me Thank you Mommy. Her teeth are very sore and looks like she has some major cavities. Plus she has 4 broken adult teeth that will need to be fixed.

All the kids are playing and getting along well. Ava loves her big sister and Gemma loves her Mei Mei!! She even told us Ava woke up last night crying and Gemma got out of bed and patted her back to sleep! How sweet is that???

We are so blessed and very happy to start this new journey at home!! More soon.......

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Come with us to China!!!!

Gemma in the orange shirt.

Below is the link to our travel website!! We leave in 4 days!!! Would love for you all to follow along!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bit off more than I can chew!!!!

Okay, I went through the closets and got everything taken out. Started taking a few pics and that is as far as I have gotten!!! ha

The up coming travel is consuming me every second of the day!!

So I think I will have to wait and do the sale when I get back! So sorry! We are leaving in

Just for a teaser, I have lots of Matilda Jane and other fun boutique stuff and a little GAP and Gymboree.

Time to go back to piling stuff by the suitcase!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Making room in the closet soon!!!

After 4 boys I went a little nuts before Ava came home filling her closet!! I have slowed down quite a bit knowing she cant possibly wear it all!

I have nothing for Gemma yet and need to make room in the closet that the girls will share.

So look here in the next few day for a clothing sale!!! Most of it is "like new" and "new". I will do bidding style and start the bid at a certain amount, place your bid in the comments. Plus cheapest shipping. (up to 3 outfits $5 shipping) Most sizes will be 18 months to 3T.

The bidding will go for 5 days and as soon as I get payment I will ship it out!! I hope to get it all out before we leave for China so quick payment would be great!!

All $$ will get Gemma some clothes on her side of the closet! ha

Time to go through the closet!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our Travel Timeline!!!

So here is our travel timeline so far:

Nana and Papa arrive to watch the kids:
Oct. 21st

Leave for China:
Oct. 22nd
Arrive at the White Swan:
Oct. 23rd

Free Day:
Oct. 24th

Gemma Day:
Oct. 25th!!!!!!!!!

Nov. 2nd

Nov 4th

Leave for Hong Kong:
Evening of Nov. 4th

Spend some time in Hong Kong:
Nov. 5th-7th

Fly back to USA:
Nov. 8th

Get hit with major jet lag:
Nov. 8th-16th! :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


What a beautiful Autumn Moon Festival it was yesterday!!!! We enjoyed a yummy Chinese dinner and loads of ice cream instead of Moon cakes per the kids request!! ha Next year I will make my own yummy Moon cakes and we can have ice cream on the side!!

Yes, you are reading that right we have TA!!!!! It came about 4:30pm and I was totally not expecting it at all because it has been only 4 business days since our Article 5!!! So it was a double celebration last night.

We are leaving in 30 days, Holy Cow my head is spinning!!! Any tips on travel would be great or anything you could not live without especially for an older child. I have a huge list but it is so overwhelming right now!! I had to have a glass of wine last night just to calm myself down! It has been months and months since I have had wine!!!

We still have to switch rooms around too and paint!!! O MY GOODNESS!!!

Okay BREATHE.............BREATHE................BREATHE................ :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

She got our Bear!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

*NEW* pictures of Gemma and waiting for TA!!


Monday, August 9, 2010

My latest project!

I had the honor to make a very special bracelet for a friend of mine. She came to me and wanted a charm bracelet for her Grandmother with all the grand kids names and their birthstones. I always love a jewelry challenge!!! I also added some extra charms of pearls and crystals!

Thanks Don and Andrea for having me create this special piece, I hope it will be treasured for years!!

(click on the image to see a larger picture)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


For all you Matilda Jane lovers out there click here for a wonderful GIVEAWAY!!!

It ends tomorrow at 9pm.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Monday, July 12, 2010

Daddy and Daughter Time!!!

SUNDAY Snapshot!!

Ni Hao Y'all

Ava loves to draw, especially if someone will draw with her and she tells you what see wants on the paper! Ha

We picked up some side walk chalk at the beginning of the summer and the kids having been enjoying covering our driveway with masterpieces.

I walked outside the other day and caught Ava and Daddy drawing together and had to grab the camera!!

She still has a closer bond with Sean and adores her Daddy so much!!

She prefers Sean do the night time routine with her. They read a book of Ava's choice then spend a few minutes rocking and looking into each others eyes. Then she is ready to be tucked into bed with her special China blanket!!

When he picks her up she just lays her head on his shoulder, she does not do this with Mama. It's okay because we have other things we do together like; baths, painting nails, getting dress and doing hair!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Day at the Water Park!!

I think our best day so far was the day we spent at the Water Park with all the kids in tow. We opened the park and shut it down!! Everyone had so much fun and they were all so well behaved the whole day!! It was about 90 degrees and just beautiful!!

The whole gang right before we packed up to head back home. It was about an hour drive home which including a stop at Dairy Queen!!

Sophie enjoying the wave pool at the end of the day.

Being goofy!!

Ava and Daddy in the wave pool. The water felt soooo good!!

Ava and Keaton enjoying one of the many splash areas. Ava has no fear and loves the water so much!!

Gavin trying to get Dad wet while taking a pic!!

Everyone heading up the stairs to check it out!!

Sophie and I enjoying the kids lazy river, I think she is falling through the tube! ha

Preston, Gavin and Keaton coming down the end of the rapids ride. This ride was so much fun and we also got video!!

Brianna, Soren, Sophie and Ava heading into the Mummy ride, it was misty and dark and so much fun!!!

Brianna, Ava, Sophie and Soren enjoying the ride!

Ava taking a tube ride down the slide with Daddy!!

Ava chillin and waiting for the next wave!!

Sophie loved the wave pool and was waiting for that next wave to get her!!

Sophie and Ava holding on waiting to jump the next wave!!!

This will definitely be a must for next summer too. Instead of 8 kids in tow we will have 9 with Gemma!! It was such a perfect day together and we wished it could have lasted longer.

The girls stay with us is coming to an end tomorrow as they head back home to Texas in the morning. Every year as they get older we have so much fun with their visit. Ava has been in heaven having the girls here to play with her. I think it will be hard for her when they leave tomorrow.

I will honestly say it has been easier having 8 than having 5 this last couple weeks. I am more tired at the end of the day and Sean and I have not even had 5 minutes together but it has been worth every minute!! Everyone has played so nicely together and we are very thankful of that.

We will miss your Brianna, Chloe and Sophie. Thanks for being such good girls and for great manners and for all your help!! We look forward to next summer and you all meeting your new cousin!! Love you!!

(these pictures were all taken with a water proof camera case for our canon point and shoot)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Found out yesterday our LID was June 1st, 2010!!!!!!

The best part is that we are already 30 days into waiting for our LOA!!! And I think the average has been about 55 days lately!! So if that is the case for us we are more than half way there!!!

We sent off another little care package today with someone from our agency that is leaving for China on Friday!! We sent Gemma a T-shirt from our state, some stickers, lip balm, bracelets and kids all drew pictures for her!!! We pray that we start getting some correspondence from her soon!!

Things are crazy busy here. We have 8 kids right now because our nieces are visiting for a few weeks like they do every summer from Texas!! So this Mama is tired and does not have a whole lot of computer time!!

Be back for B&W Wednesday in a couple weeks.

Click on pics below to see bigger!!!!

Soren's artwork for Gemma

Gavin's artwork for Gemma

Ava's artwork

Keaton's artwork

Even the cousins got into it and drew pictures for Gemma!!

© Mei Meis and Mayhem