Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adjusting at home

Faith is continuing to adjust well to her new family. She is such a sweet, happy child. She's very outgoing, very opinionated,very affectionate, and very vocal (but you gotta be loud to be heard in my house). Sure she has some moments of frustration or sadness, but they are fewer and fewer every day. 
Faith and Eliza are still having some sibling rivalry issues, but I'd say they are now at an almost normal sibling level. No more clawing at each other for Mommy's attention. They are even playing together and sharing (sometimes). I think they fight over toys more now than they do me, so that is a huge improvement.

I have been able to get away a few times to go to the store or to work for a few hours, which has been really great for my sanity. I think is has been good for Faith too, as she seems to be starting to understand that we always come home.

We also celebrated Eliza's 3rd Birthday in the past few weeks.  I can't believe my baby girl is 3 already.  She loves playing dress up rather it is princess dresses or a knight with a sword.  Her favorite movie is Tangled. She prefers Diego over Dora.  She thinks the Power Rangers are awesome (me, not so much- thanks brothers).  Oh, and she is a climbing machine.  I may have to get this girl in a gymnastics class.

 Eliza getting a collection of princess dresses for her 3rd birthday. 

 Faith, Ian, Eliza, and Isaac

Faith playing princess with Eliza (who refused to be photgraphed in her princess dress)

Mommy and Daddy and Eliza (photo taken by Faith - she's really proud of this one)

Friday, September 16, 2011

One Week Home

We have been home for 7 days now,and things are going pretty well.  Jet lag is hitting us hard, as our sweet daughter is waking at 3am every morning ready for breakfast.  The house is a mess, laundry is way behind, and we're tired, but we are surviving this transition. 

We have officially decided to name our newest princess Faith Vishakha Bledsoe.  We've been calling her by both names since we've been home, and she is now responding to both names.

Today we had our first doctor visit, and it went well.  She only had to get one shot, so that was better than expected.  We did have to go to the lab for a few tests, but nothing terrible.  Next we go to the children's physical therapy specialist to determine what kinds of therapies and orthotics she needs.

Faith has taken to our home, the boys, and the extended family very well.  Eliza is another story.  Both girls have decided they want to be mommy's one and only princess.  We spent a good part of our first few days with the girls sitting on my lap clawing at each other and screaming "My Mommy!".  We are making progress, but slowly.  I don't think they are going to be besties any time soon, but maybe someday.  They are at least tolerating each other for the most part the past two days.

Faith has been good to try new foods, but hasn't liked much of what she's tried.  She does like peanut butter, pancakes, fish sticks and whole grain bread with butter.  She would eat a whole bunch of bananas in one sitting if we let her.  She has quite the sweet tooth, and asks for ice cream and chocolate frequently.  I have attempted to make some of the recipes that she ate at BSSK, but she has not been at all interested in eating them so far. 

She loves the TV, like most kids, and we have admittedly been letting the cartoons babysit more than usual in our exhausted state.  She really enjoys Dora the Explorer and the Power Rangers.  Seems like a strange combination to me, but that's what she likes.

Here is Faith playing with her new brothers.  What a happy bunch.  Sorry no photos of her and Eliza screaming at each other.  I think those are memories I'd rather not save.  Hopefully happy sister pics will follow soon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

India Day 10

Today was our last day in India.  In a few hours we will be headed for the airport for our long journey home. While we have enjoyed our time in India, we are very eager to be home and see the rest of our family.

There are a few things I will miss about India, and a few things I will not miss.  I will miss the delicious food, mango ice cream, being able to travel across town for a dollar, the very kind people and the beautifully intricate architecture.  I will not be missing the unsafe drinking water, the sometimes frightening bathrooms (using a squat toilet on a moving train is not so much fun), and haggling over the price of everything.

The children of BSSK have a special place in my heart.  I will carry their smiles and laughter with me always.  I am so grateful that Vishakha was able to live in such a loving environment while she waited for a family.

Here are a few more photos from our time in Agra, and some from today.  USA here we come.

Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

At Agra Fort

At Fatepur Sikri

 At India Gate

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

India Day 9

Visa in hand!  Today we went back to the doctor to have Vishakha's TB test read, and get her medical report.  We had to have the medical report to get her US visa.  Then we went to the US Embassy for her visa interview. It all went very smoothly.  We were there for less than an hour, then we were able to come back a few hours later and pick up her visa.  That was the last thing we needed to do.  What a relief it is to have everything in order.

Our sweet daughter is doing better and better every day.  I can't wait for everyone to meat her.  I think you'll all fall in love as we have.  She is such a spunky, happy little girl.  She really loves her sweets.  There is one thing she keeps asking for, and we had the hardest time trying to understand what it was.  Finally we figured out she was saying cadburry...as in chocolate.  She asks for chocolate about 20 times a day, also gum, candy,

Sorry nothing exciting to photograph today.  I am hoping to be able to post tomorrow before we catch our long flight home

We miss you all very much. Can't wait to see you in a few days.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

India Day 7 & 8

Monday was our Medical appt. for Vishakha's visa.  It went well. Then we did hours of shopping at Cottage Industries. 

Today we took the train to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatepur Sikri.  It was an amazing but very long day beginning at 5am and ending around midnight.  I'll post more later, since I'm exhausted.  For now, here are a few pictures.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

India Day 6

Today was a very busy and hectic day.  We began the day trying to prove to the hotel staff that we had already prepaid for our room through a travel website.  They presented us with a bill for a HUGE amount of money.  It had someone else's name on it, but they kept insisting that it was our room number, so the name must be an error.  Then Ken realized that the date on the invoice was for a stay in 2009.  Anyway, after about 45 minutes of disputing the bill, we finally arrived at an agreeable amount.  All the time our cab for the airport was waiting outside the building.  What a fun start to the day.

Next on to the airport where our flight to Delhi was delayed an hour.  Thankfully the airplane ride went fine.  Vishakha wasn't too excited about keeping her seat belt on, but she didn't fuss about it too much.  She was really excited to see all the airplanes at the airport, and did very well. 

When we arrived in Delhi, we had a driver waiting for us to take us to our bed and breakfast.  It is a very nice place.  Vishakha was a bit upset, probably about being in yet another unfamiliar place.  I can't imagine how her little 6 yr old mind is making sense of all this.  It's a little overwhelming for me to take it all in. 

The language barrier is a frustration for her and for us.  I am at least able to communicate with Ken and Phillip.  She can communicate some, and her English is way better than our Marathi, but she still gets frustrated.  It is amazing how quickly she is picking things up already, but we have a long way to go.

Vishakha's first airplane ride
 Khankhanna's Tomb (just across the street from our B&B)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

India Day 5

Rain.  Lots and lots of rain today.  We were confined to our hotel until about 7pm when it finally let up enough for us to get out and walk around a little and get some ice cream.  Why do they not have mango ice cream where I live?  It's a crime.  Oh well, I suppose that wouldn't do anything for my diet anyway.

We played play-doh, colored, watched tv and there was lots and lots of tickling.  I will never tire of hearing my sweet girl laugh.  Not only was she being tickled, but she was also tickling all of us as well.  She also has decided that I am her personal jungle gym.  She loves to climb up my legs and do flips in the air while I hold her hands.  After several times of this, I told her she was climbing like a little monkey, and she thought that was so funny.  Then she started coming up to me with arms stretched up and saying "Monkey, Mommy!".  Who needs to go to the gym with this girl around - what a workout!

We were able to catch some of the festivities tonight on our walk.  One of them had a little puppet show for the kids, so that was really cool.  Apparently it was hilarious, because all the kids were laughing like crazy. 

Tomorrow we fly to Delhi.

Friday, September 2, 2011

India Day 4

Another good day in Pune.  Vishakha continues to open up to us.  She is starting to talk a lot more, and trying to imitate our English. She is such a sweet, affectionate child.  Today she was all about the hugs and cuddling.  She even surprised us with a few kisses.  This child melts my heart.  Even though she is going through such a traumatic experience, she manages to be so full of joy.

Phillip was feeling better today, and he found us a place to play glow-in-the-dark miniature golf. Vishakha had a blast.  It's a shame it was too dark for good pictures.  After that, we walked to a nearby mall. 

 The rest of the afternoon was spent in our room, because we were just too tired for much else.  We went out for dinner, and Vishakha ate her meal, which is a first.  She also enjoyed a chocolate milkshake.  She took one little sip, then as the taste sunk in, her eyes got wide and a big grin came across her face.  I asked her if she liked it, and I got an extremely exaggerated head bob (meaning - Yes!).

We were able to skype with my mom and our kids at home tonight, and Vishakha even said "hello" to each of her siblings.  She smiled so big as each of them called her name.  She's been watching lots of videos of them on my computer.  She laughs so hard at some of them.  I can't wait to have all my children together.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

India Day 3

Vishakha continues to do well.  She slept all night without waking, and she was in good spirits this morning.  We got out and did some shopping, which was fun.  Hmm...could be that she really likes it when we buy her stuff.  We may need to reign this in.

She really enjoys riding in the auto rickshaws.  We do have to be careful not to let her stick her hand out the window though.  There should seriously be one of those amusement park ride announcements when you board an auto rickshaw.  "For your safety, keep your arms, legs, head, and anything else you don't want to be clipped by another vehicle inside the rickshaw at all times."

After lunch at McDonalds, which I have to say India Micky D's beats US Micky D's hands down.  It was really good.  Vishakha loved the french fries, and we were glad she was eating something.  So far we've only gotten her to eat plain yogurt, sweets, and french fries.  I know she ate well before, so I'm sure this will pass, and she'll start eating well again soon.

I am feeling much better today, but Phillip started feeling bad this afternoon, and we ended up spending the rest of the day in our room while he slept.  We hope he feels better tomorrow, poor guy. 

Today was the start of the 11 day Ganesh festival, and Indians are not shy about celebrating.  We were hoping to venture out to see some of the festivities, but with Phillip sick, we just watched  procession from our hotel balcony.  There was hours of music, drums beating, shouting, bells ringing, and dancing all to be seen or heard from our hotel room.  I tried to catch some video, but it was too dark outside to pick it up.  Maybe tomorrow we will get in a little closer to the action, but for tonight observing from a distance was perfect. 

Vishakha LOVES the music.  Somehow, I only have one bollywood song on my phone (Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire).  I must remedy that.  Anyway, Vishakha listened to that song over and over today, and she was singing along and bobbing her head to the beat.  It was adorable. 

She also really likes to color. A LOT.  We already went through the 2 coloring books BSSK sent home with her.  We only brought one other one with us, so coloring books was on the shopping list for today. 

Sorry not too many pics today.  Just a few of my son and daughter coloring together.  Phillip is such a great big brother.  I am so proud of him.  He wants to be a teacher someday, and it really shows.