Thursday, December 30, 2010

Apparently She Likes Pigs

J, A, B, Grandpa, and a couple friends went to Clarkston today to pick up 26 pigs for the 4-H club. They left at 8:00 am and got back at 3:30 pm. Cara was so excited for them to come home with the pigs, but I'm not sure she knew exactly what 26 piglets were going to look like. We sat in the front window waiting and she had me read her The Three Little Pigs a couple of times.
When they got home she had me put her jacket on and she raced out to the pig pen to watch the pigs be taken out of the truck and dropped into the pen. I thought the squealing would freak her out, but she screamed and laughed and thought it was hysterical. She wanted in the pen with the pigs and wasn't afraid at all. She patted a couple of them, but wasn't really interested in touching them after that. She would point and say, "I want that one, I want that one," as she was listening/copying the other kids as they were trying to choose which pigs they wanted. I had a hard time getting her to come back inside even though it was right about 32 degrees F outside. The rest of the 4-H kids will come tomorrow morning to pick out their pigs. Thirteen of the pigs will go live somewhere else until the livestock show in May but the other 13 will stay here. I think Cara is going to like having pigs outside to watch and play with for the next few months.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some girls play dolls...

Some girls play dress-up, but Cara's favorite thing to play is EKG! The technician gave Cara the EKG patches after Cara's appointment with the cardiologist. We have all had several EKG's in the past few days. She puts the stickers on, puts her little ear to your chest, and says, "heart goes dump, dump dump," then she takes them off and puts them on someone else. It's pretty funny. Think of the money I could have saved buying Christmas gifts. I could have just bought some EKG patches and brought new ones out when the old ones lost their stick.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Cara has done quite well with this whole Christmas thing. The other night we went to some friend's house for dinner. We explained to her how the whole evening would go: we would shower, dress up, go over to the house, she would get to play with some kids, we would eat dinner, then we would come home. She was quiet, did pretty well, but that night she had a night terror. Anytime something new happens we get a night terror. Lots of people say just to soothe her and let her cry it out. Cara just gets worse and worse with the terror if we do that. She needs to be picked up and swayed back and forth until the terror/crying subsides. I don't know how long night terrors go on for kids, but I'm kind of wondering how we will do the picking up and swaying thing when she's a teenager.
Yesterday we told her she would take a shower, put on her pretty dress, go to church, go to Grandma and Grandpa's and eat dinner, open presents, and go home. She did really well. She was amazed by the presents and not as overwhelmed with the noise like I thought she would be. Every time she got a present she would say, "Mine?" Kind of like she was surprised that there was something for her. Then she would open it and say, "Mine? Ao Huan's?" Like she still had to double-check that it was actually for her. It's a little humbling and heart-breaking to see her so thankful for everything she receives. I work for a school district that is widely considered to be one of the poorest districts in the state (we are either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd poorest every year; it fluctuates). I am blessed to see kids that are thankful for everything they receive on a daily basis. But it's just different to see it in your own home; especially since my kids have a lot.
It weirded Cara out to open a present, put it to the side, then open another one. She wanted to stop what she was doing and play with it. I think she would have been fine with one gift. Every year my mom gets the grandkids a clothes box. She always wants the kids to try everything on and they say, "NOOOOOO!" Once we got home, Cara took out her clothes box and had me try everything on her and patted herself and said, "Ohhhhhh, pretty!" My mom would have loved it; a kid that actually enjoyed the clothes box and tried everything on and she's not even a teenaged girl! :)
We put Cara in bed with us and told her that Santa would come in the night and bring her a big present. She wasn't too sure about the idea of Santa coming into her house an night (in retrospect, maybe we should have rephrased the Santa part). But she went to sleep and we didn't have a night terror! It was amazing. I thought we would have one for sure! We woke her up this morning and took her out into the living room where Santa had brought her an indoor trampoline! She wasn't too sure about what to do with it, but once B showed her how it's done, she's a serious jumper! She also had to model her "Jazzie man" dress up kit. Jazzie man is her favorite princess.
J got me a flip camera so I can put videos on my blog. I'll play with it and try to post something in the next few days. All in all, we had a pretty great Christmas. Cara, by far, is our favorite present! I hope your Christmas was just as wonderful!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Building the Pig Pen

The kids will get their pigs on December 30th. They raise them every year and show/sell them at the Toppenish Livestock Show. They will travel to meet the breeder from Idaho and pick up 26 pigs for the kids in the 4-H group. We will have 13 pigs living in the pen they built until the first week in May. I wonder what Cara will think of that?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Doing Nails For Christmas

Not sure why purple was the color choice. Cara will be wearing a red dress and A will wear an emerald green sweater with a grey sequined tank top. At least they are having fun together.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The News Could Not Have Been Better

On Thursday Cara had a full day of doctor appointments. She started with the cardiologist at Seattle Children's Hospital at 10:15 a.m. We met Dr. Madsen, the cardiologist, who gave us a quick lesson on the workings of the heart. He basically said that he wouldn't know exactly what we were looking at with Cara's heart until they did an echocardiogram. That appointment was at 11:00 a.m. Cara laid on the bed and sat still for 105 pictures of her heart. I couldn't believe it. The lady taking the pics even said Cara would probably be her best patient all day. About 5 minutes after Cara got dressed, we were back in the exam room with Dr. Madsen. He said he had good news. Cara's VSD was in the muscular part of her ventricles, which was still growing and had an opportunity to close spontaneously on its own. He also said it was actually 2, 2mm holes, so they are very small. He said the worst case scenario would be surgery when she was a teenager and to come back in a year. She has no restrictions on any of her activities. He basically said to treat her the same as we would our other two children. We were happily relieved and thrilled with the news. We feel like we can relax a little bit about her heart condition. We will continue to provide her with good nutrition and let her play as hard as she wants and go back for a check-up next December. It was a pretty awesome Christmas present, that's for sure!
At 2:30 p.m. Cara went to see Dr. Davies, the IA doctor. Cara has grown 1 cm in 5 weeks, but has not gained any weight. Dr. Davies didn't seem too concerned about it, though. She eats constantly and chases around everywhere. I'm not surprised she hasn't gained anything; she burns it all off! During the visit I said to Dr. Davies, "when you prepare for adoption, you read as much as you can and prepare yourself for the most difficult situation you can imagine, and I think she's doing pretty well. Is this normal?" His response was, "No." So I guess she's doing even better than he would expect. She goes back to see Dr. Davies in six months. Overall, Cara had a great day.
We did a little Christmas shopping in Seattle and headed home. Now we're just finishing up our Christmas preparations for Cara's first Christmas home with her family.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A's 16th Birthday Party

I can't believe my oldest is 16, but she is; or she will be this coming Wednesday. I remember 16 years ago we got up early and went to Deaconess Hospital in Spokane to be induced. I hardly slept the night before because I was so nervous. It was snowing and I had a room overlooking the high school next to the hospital, so I was able to watch the kids all day to keep myself entertained. Labor took most of the day and at one point, the doctor said if labor didn't progress we would have to do a C-section to which I replied, "NOOOOOOOO!" A was born at 9:55 pm December 15th, 1994.
She has turned into a beautiful, very intelligent young lady. Anyone would be proud to call her their daughter. She will be inducted into National Honor Society this coming Monday. For her birthday she got her car. She passed the written portion of the test last Friday and is scheduled to take her driving test on December 29th. She also got a Coach cupcake keychain, some make-up, clothes, a car cover, and a Pandora bracelet. I'm totally jealous of the Pandora bracelet because I want one myself! Cara was very interested in the whole birthday scene. I doubt she's ever been to a birthday party before. This one was pretty unconventional, too. A had brownies, chocolate cupcakes, and home made candy cane ice cream. I realized at the last minute that I didn't have birthday candles, so A blew out the Yankee candle sitting on the counter.
It will be interesting to see what Cara thinks of birthday parties in the future; ones with a decorated cake and real birthday candles. The next birthday is her dad's, which is the day after Christmas.
Cara has her doctor appointment with the cardiologist and her next visit with the IA doctor this coming Thursday. This will be when we finally find out the size of her VSD and what needs to be done about it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First Pics

Sometime around January, 2010 this top picture was taken to prepare the file of a very special little girl for international adoption. She ended up on the June 2010 shared list and was locked by our agency, who knew she would be perfect for our family. She popped up on our email the morning of June 22, 2010 and we sent in our Letter of Intent that very day. She had just turned 3 on June 3rd.
The second picture is Cara's 3 1/2 year picture. Big difference, huh?! She still has a little bit of a nervous smile, but she's getting more comfortable. The last picture is Cara with her brother and sister. The mischievous little side glance is a look we see frequently; usually right before she does something she's not supposed to! :0)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Apple Cup and a Christmas Tree

Today is Apple Cup! For those of you who are not from Washington State, it is the Washington State University vs. University of Washington football game. WSU has had a terrible football team the last few years, but they have actually won two games this year. UW wants to go to a bowl game and only needs one more win to become bowl eligible. If WSU wins, they knock UW out of bowl contention, which is a double victory for WAZZU in my book! We have season tickets and J, A, and B are at the game. I did not want to take Cara to a cold football stadium when she hasn't even been home for two months so we stayed home today. We are listening to the game on the radio and as I type, UW has just scored. Boo! Plus Cara has had a fever since last night so she's been a little bit under the weather.
Cara took a 3 hour nap today and while she was sleeping I decorated the Christmas tree. When she woke up and first saw the tree, all she could do was stare. Then she saw a couple of Santa ornaments on the tree and had to point them out to me. She likes the idea of Santa and can tell you Santa says, "Ho, ho, ho," but I think if she saw someone dressed up as Santa she would freak. Don't think we will be doing Santa pictures this year. She does have her 3 1/2 year picture appointment in the morning and I'm anxious to see how she does. She still doesn't have a natural smile most of the time; its more like she just pulls her lips back and shows her teeth. I hope we can get some good pictures with a genuine smile.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours. It's sparkling apple cider, honest! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First Time in Snow

Cara is all bundled up and ready for her first sledding adventure. Her biggest problem is the animals outside. That's why she's not really looking at the camera. She's more worried about the dog getting too close to her than having her picture taken. We will see how long this lasts. I came right into the house after snapping these pictures and by the time I had them uploaded to blogger she was already back in the house. She's back outside now but I bet she'll be back inside in less than ten minutes.
We got a call from the IA clinic today with the results from her blood tests and titers. Her iron levels are a little low; in the normal range but on the low end of normal. Dr. Davies wants her to take a Flinstones multivitamin with iron for the next 3 months. She showed antibodies for all of her vaccinations except for mumps and chicken pox. This means when she goes back to the clinic in mid-December she will have to have another MMR booster and a chicken pox booster. Not too bad for Chinese vaccinations! The best part was that the TB blood test showed no active TB cells. The test actually read, "TB not likely." This means for the time being, Cara will not have to take 9 months of antibiotics for TB. We will just keep watching her chest x-rays and see how it goes. I'm sure Dr. Davies will give me more information about it in December. I was pretty happy with her test results. I think the Shanghai SWI took pretty good care of her.
Tonight we have our first 4-H meeting of the year. That means we'll have a lot of people in the house (she just came in from outside ;) I knew it wouldn't last!) that she doesn't know. We'll see how she does with that.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Check Out My Heels!

Yes, that's right, Suri Cruise has got nothin' on Cara Funk! She has been home one month today and is already wearing glittery, feathery heels and HAD to have me take a picture of her wearing them. She's been up for two hours today and has changed her shoes four times. Not sure why shoes are so fascinating, but they are. She refuses to wear socks, though, which is going to be a huge fight since it's below freezing here and snowed last night.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Daycare Trial Run

Today Cara went to the babysitter for two hours. She met the lady who will watch her earlier in the week and she suggested I leave Cara for a couple of hours today to see how she does. Cara stayed with her from 10:00-12:00 and did fine. She did so well, in fact, that I'm a little worried about it. She took her diaper bag/backpack with her. It had a couple of her favorite toys in there and a few snacks. I helped her take off her coat and she went to put her juice in the fridge. I only stayed with her about five minutes and then I left. She didn't cry or anything. When I came back at noon she was busy playing kitchen on the floor with the other little boy this lady watches, who is also 3. The lady (I will refer to her as C from this point forward) said Cara never cried and was fine the whole time. She ate whatever was offered to her and went potty in the potty chair. I let Cara know it was time to go and helped her clean up what she was playing with and that was it. I asked her if she had fun playing at C's house and she said yes. I guess I'm worried because it went so well. We have been working on attachment since we got her a little over a month ago and I know it takes a long time for healthy attachment to occur. I guess it was a wake up call for me on how far we still have to go since she wasn't too concerned that I was leaving her with someone new. She won't start daycare until November 30th and even then she will go 4 days a week. We are fortunate that my husband only works 4 days a week and I work in education so I will have 2 weeks with her at Christmas, spring break, a chunk of time in the summer, etc. I just feel like things have been going so well with her and I realized we definitely have work to do in the attachment department. She came home and is completely fine. No tantrums or anything. One of her cousins came over and they fed apples to the horses, collected the egg from the chicken house, and drug out all of the toys from the toy closet. When her cousin left, she went in and took a nap like normal. After her nap she found my sunglasses and was hamming it up for the camera (pics posted above). We'll see if there is any fallout from today at bedtime! ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Month Forever Family Anniversary

Wow! One short month has changed all of our lives...especially Cara's. The first picture at the top was Gotcha Day. It shows her emotions perfectly. She is nervously biting her lips and is sweating so much her hair was wet. I can't even imagine ever being as brave as she was at that moment. I never, ever want her to feel that kind of fear again. Look at her now! She dances with Hi Bao (Shanghai Expo mascot) while watching Glee, she is making friends with Tiger, the cat, and she gets to go outside whenever she wants.
She has gone from living in a room of 20 children with approximately 9 nannies that rotated in and out to living in her own home with a loving family. She has gone from living in a city where most of what you see is gray concrete and no animals to living in the country where there is lots of trees, green grass, and she is surrounded by animals. She has gone from a place where the sky is almost always gray to a place where the sky is almost always blue. She has gone from living in a city of 19.3 million people to living close to a town with the population of 2,198 (we just got our first stop light this year!). She has gone from having no family/relatives to having 2 grandmas, a great grandma, a grandpa, 3 loving aunts (2 close, 1 in Spokane), 1 uncle who gives great piggy-back rides, 3 fun cousins, a sister, a brother, a mommy and a daddy.
She used to wear whatever was clean and it wasn't necessarily hers, or matched, or fit. Now she has lots of clothes with matching bows and shoes (the baby Uggs are in the mail!). Every morning she looks at herself in the mirror, pats herself and says, "Mei li," which means beautiful in Mandarin. I'm so happy she sees herself as beautiful and seems so happy. She likes to kiss, hug and cuddle. I asked the orphanage director a couple of weeks ago if she was always so kissy and huggy and she said no. I can only hope that she feels the love we have for her and wants to return it because she finally has a family of her own.
I am so filled with happiness and joy over this wonderful addition to our family.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dr. Visits

We have had a busy week with doctor visits so far. Cara had to go to the Department of Health in Yakima on Monday for her TB test. It was pretty uneventful; the nurse just took down our contact information and said she wanted another chest x-ray. I asked her why, since the one I brought her was taken on October 16th. Then she decided she would wait for our appointment at the University of Washington International Adoption clinic on Tuesday and see what they say.
Cara's appointment was at 10:30 in Seattle. She saw Dr. Davies, who I thought was wonderful. I wonder how old he is, he seems young but also like he knows his stuff. He had a student doctor with him, too, who was also very nice. Dr. Davies thought Cara looked good. She is in the 10th percentile for height and 25th percentile for weight. He listened to her heart and said she had a "standard VSD heart murmur." He took the chest x-rays down to the UW radiology department and they accepted them and scanned them into their system, so the x-rays must have been ok from China. Dr. Davies gave us a referral to see a pediatric cardiologist, ordered a lab work up for Cara, and said he'd like to see her back in 1-2 months.
For Cara's lab work he wanted to do something called titers, which is just a blood work check to see if her immunizations are all in effect. He also wanted to do some sort of blood test to check and see if she has TB in her system. If that test is positive, she will have to start a course of 9 months of antibiotics. If it's negative, we can just watch her TB class B result rather than start on the antibiotics. We went down to the lab for the blood draw. Cara started to tear up and cry the minute she sat on her daddy's lap in the chair. She knew something was coming and it wasn't going to be good. They couldn't get a vein in her left arm, so they had to poke her again in her right arm. They took a lot of blood! I didn't count all of the vials, but I know there was a MINIMUM of 6. She was a trooper, though, and got to pick two prizes for the two pokes. She picked star sunglasses and a bright yellow bracelet. The picture above is Cara leaving the doctor's office. She doesn't look too happy. Now I just need to wait for the lab results and make an appointment with the cardiologist.
Side note: The Carnival ship that had an engine room fire and has been floating adrift off the coast of Mexico has my parents on it! We can't get in touch with them, but we're sure they're OK. I can't picture my mother eating Spam, Pop Tarts, and other Navy rations, but I guess if you're hungry, you'll eat anything! I hope to hear from them soon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cara's 1st Halloween Home

Ok, so that's how this works. I upload my pics in reverse order of how I want them to appear and they come out right! Ha!
We didn't take Cara trick-or-treating because she had only been home a little over a week. We felt taking her around to ask strangers (strangers to her, not us) for candy was probably a little inappropriate.
Instead we took her over to my parent's farm to go through the straw maze and down the slide. She wanted nothing to do with the maze. I couldn't even snap one good picture. She loved the slide! By the end of sliding time, she was climbing the straw stack unassisted. Not quickly, mind you, but by herself. I thought that was pretty amazing considering her lack of muscle tone a few weeks ago.
She gets stronger every day and we fall more in love with her every day, too. Next Monday she goes to the Department of Health so they can check her chinese chest x-ray and let us know if we need to do anything for the TB class B result. On Tuesday she goes to the University of Washington International Adoption clinic to get her first check up. I will post more then when I find out what the doctors have to say.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What a Difference A Few Weeks Makes

My pictures are in reverse order of what I wanted. I'm still not the best blogger. When we were in China, my friend, Kristin, blogged for me because blogspot is blocked in China. My blog was better and prettier when she blogged for me!
What a difference! The first day we got Cara, she wobbled around like a drunken sailor. She did not have the strength to roll to her stomach for me to put cream on her back after her bath. Now she jumps off the couch and rolls across the living room floor with her brother (see pic). She wouldn't nap or sleep unless she was lying on top of me (see pic). Now she will sleep in her own bed. She couldn't stand to have anything on her fingers. Now she digs guts out of pumpkins. It's amazing what encouragement and lots of attention and praise does for a child.
Like I've said before, we prepared for the worst and are still waiting for the other shoe to drop and it hasn't. She throws at least one temper tantrum a day, but it is usually brought about by a brother or sister encouraging her to do something she shouldn't, then telling her no. She is also 3, which is the land of temper tantrums. I see it as a positive sign, because if she didn't feel comfortable she wouldn't throw the tantrums.
We are still working on establishing boundaries. She LOVES Aunt D and Uncle D, and Grandma (Grandpa, but she calls him Grandma). She needs to learn that it's not OK to give kisses to whoever enters the front door. But we're working on it. She eats everything in sight except oatmeal and pudding. We are amazed by the fact that she thinks everything is, "YUMMY!"
She is starting to get some color in her cheeks from being outside. Tonight, J asked at dinner, "do you think she's flushed, has a fever?" I said no, it's fresh air coloring her cheeks. She loves to be outside and is starting to tolerate the dogs and cat. She even petted the cat today.
We still have some things to work on, but I am impressed with her progress. We have only been home one week. After our first week together, we changed hotels and went to Guangzhou. After our second week together, we flew home to Washington. I wonder if she thinks we'll be headed somewhere else tomorrow!? We hope she continues to settle in well and we think she's pretty fantastic!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Travel Day

This morning we got up at 4:45 am. We had to have our bags outside of our doors by 5:30 and be down at the 2nd floor lobby by 5:50 in order to leave for the airport. Our guide, Grace, went with us to the airport in order to make sure we didn't have any hang-ups at the airport check-in counter. No problems! We were off and on our way to Beijing.

Once we got to Beijing we had to recollect our luggage and go through security again in order to get into the international terminal. Who was the only one pulled to the side for the full pat down? That's right, me! The security lady was insisting I had matches and liquid in my purse. I told her I didn't have liquid and that I've never carried matches in my purse in my life. She didn't buy it until my purse was completely empty and ran through x-ray again. I was mildly annoyed, but it wasn't that big of a deal because we had a five hour layover. I had plenty of time for a pat down. Once in the international terminal, we sat down to wait for the 2 1/2 hours we had left until boarding time. However, right before boarding they got on the PA system and told us our flight would be delayed, but they didn't know for how long. Ugggghhhh!!! We proceded to wait another 2 hours and I finally sent B up to the counter to find out what was going on. He came back and said a volcano blew in Russia and we couldn't take off because of the ash. I told him to quit making things up and another guy came by and said, "no, that's the truth, they don't know when we will take off." In my mind I'm imagining another week in Beijing and starting to feel sick. Next thing you know they were calling us to board. The pilot had submitted an alternate travel route and it was accepted.

Talk about the longest flight of my life. Hainan Airlines has very little leg room, the seats don't recline but 2 or 3 inches, and their meals look like cat puke. I would never fly through them again. To top it all off, every time Cara would start to cry or get upset they would come ask me if I needed help. All of the kids on the plane were seated in the same area, so I am quite confident in saying that they didn't offer to help any other parent and there were other kids crying more than Cara. It was so irritating! I wanted to ask, "what are you going to do to help? Walk her around the plane? Do you have a toddler bed in the back?" I mean, seriously, what did they think they could do to help? I can see why some passengers go into airline rage. Those stewardesses were annoying!!!

We finally got to Seattle 2 1/2 hours late and had to go through immigration. Office Gomez walked us over to the counter and told us to wait until our name was called. We waited a bit, then he came back and opened our brown envelope and called us to the counter, he started reading the paperwork then told us he needed to go check on something so we just needed to "chillax." Yes, that's right, he said chillax. I thought only 7th graders used that term, but apparently it is also used by the Department of Homeland Security. He brought out another officer who told us that Cara's paperwork indicated she had type B TB. This means she is not contagious but needs to see a doctor to get it checked out in case it could become contagious. This was news to me. No one mentioned it at the clinic in Guangzhou. You would think it would be important information to have...Nevertheless, Cara's paperwork was stamped and we were off. Luggage had to be rescreened and sent from the international baggage claim to the regular baggage claim. We went to the main terminal, collected our luggage, and called the Masterpark guy. He came quickly and hauled us to our waiting car. The picture above is Cara's first steps on American soil as our newest little citizen!

We drove home from Seattle and were greeted by a "Welcome Home" sign made by A's BF and his mom. Grandma came to visit for awhile and Grandpa came after that. We are so glad to be home! Let the jet lag begin!