I have waited for this time for so long and now it is here... New Normal! I think I would be enjoying it much more if jet lag wasn't kicking my butt. I remember how hard it was when we brought Reagan home to get back to the right timezone, so I know it just takes time, but it's frustrating to be so tired. Tim went back to work yesterday, so I was on my own! We dropped Ryleigh and Reagan off at school and then went to Wal-Mart. It went well. I am hoping I get more efficient about getting the little kids in and out of their carseats. We worried they would hate being strapped in carseats after being free in China, but they don't seem to mind! I guess I should back up and start where the last post left off (forgive me if none of this makes sense!).
Our trip home was looooong. Our flight from GZ to Beijing was delayed and we ended up getting to our hotel room at 1:30, so we went to bed at around 2:00, but Ethan was wide awake and jumping around in his bed. I wanted to cry! He was being hilarious, but I kept thinking that every minute that passed was less time to sleep before the long 24 hours ahead of us. The alarm went off at 5:30 and we got ready and met Grace in the lobby about 6:45. Pretty expensive nap and shower! We made it to the airport and got checked-in. Thank the Lord for Grace, she talked to the guy at the counter about our seats (after getting us moved to the front of this crazy long line!) and we got bulkhead seating and a bassinet for Reese. Answered prayers! I knew Ethan was exhausted and just hoped he would sleep 8 hours and get a full nights sleep. He started crying when we took off and as soon as we were up in the air, I unbuckled him and held him. He instantly fell asleep. He was pretty restless, but stayed asleep. He moved from me holding him, to his seat, to the floor periodically, but he ended up sleeping the entire flight! He woke up a couple of times to eat and drink a little bit and I changed his diaper one time, but pretty much he was out. I was worried because he was so sleepy for so long, but I knew he had a little cough and cold, plus he had two bad nights of sleep. Reese did great! She liked sitting in the bassinet playing with toys and ate great, slept some, and was generally happy the whole trip! I consider it a God thing because I had prayed so hard for our trip to go well and it exceeded anything I could have hoped for! Yes, Tim and I were completely exhausted, but the kids did so well, I was thrilled! It was hard for us to rest because of all the people up and talking. I have never seen anything like it. There was a large group of young people that obviously knew each other and they just stood in the aisles and talked and laughed. It was hard to get to the bathroom because they wouldn’t move! Very annoying, to say the least! Our flight attendants were nice and friendly and curious about the kids. That was another answered prayer because we just hoped to have understanding flight attendants and we did! We arrived early in Chicago. We were able to take our time since we had a very long layover, so we went through immigration, which was just as simple as could be! We checked to make sure that Reese didn’t need a boarding pass for our last flight, since we didn’t get one in Beijing. We got on the shuttle to the right place to wait and once we got settled in the right terminal it was about 9:45! Our flight didn’t leave until 5:00 so we had quite a bit of time to waste, which is very difficult when you are so tired, have two toddlers, and a bunch of stuff! We found Chili’s and sat down to eat. Our plan was to eat slowly and hang out there as long as we could, but then a group from the plane (the ones that talked so long and loud) came and sat right behind us. UGH! So, we finished up and left. I was hoping to find a nice quiet corner to camp out for several hours, but there was no such place in the O’Hare that day! So, we did the best we could to make ourselves comfortable. Ethan slept in the stroller most of the day and Reese slept on a little palate we made out of coats and blankets. We thought we shouldn’t both sleep, so we took turns dozing, but it was very hard to get any real rest. Slowly, but surely, the time passed. At about 3:00 we refreshed ourselves in the bathroom and I changed the kids into their Little Brother/Lil Sister shirts. We talked to the girls on the phone and could feel the anticipation building!
The flight to Springfield was short and sweet. When we landed, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. It was such a huge relief to be home and to be facing that moment we had waited on for so long…. Introducing our kids to each other! We got Ethan in the stroller and Tim carried Reese. When we rounded the corner we could see the girls and a huge crowd of people. I couldn’t stop the tears! There were so many people there clapping and cheering as we passed through the doors. It was just as amazing as I knew it would be! Ethan just stared at people, like he couldn’t believe all the hoopla! Reese was smiling at everyone. We started hugging and thanking people and just taking in the moment! It was incredible to see our friends and family and to have them share this special time. I know that so many people were relieved and happy to see us and Ethan and Reese are gifts to them as well! One of the best parts was to see all the kids who have been so faithful to pray for Ethan and Reese. The smiles and greetings from them were so precious.
Our friend, Lance, drove us home again. It was such a different atmosphere than in August. And we were thankful he agreed to be a part of this last leg of our journey. It was so much fun to talk with the girls and get caught up on what went on while we were gone. When we got home, we unpacked all the souvenirs and showed the girls everything. Everyone went to bed when we decided we were too tired to talk anymore. Ryleigh and Reagan slept on Reese’s floor to make sure she did okay in her bed. Ethan went right to sleep in his bed.
Ethan felt a lot better on Saturday and we had a great day just hanging out at home. The girls were shoving toys at the little ones left and right trying to show them everything in their rooms! Ethan and Reese did great not getting overwhelmed. They played and played. They both ate well, we are enjoying lots of delicious food from our friends and my mom’s awesome chicken tetrazini. We made it to church on Sunday. It was wonderful to be back at Lifepoint and to introduce Ethan and Reese to everyone. I ended up having to take Ethan out of the service. He was being loud and not wanting to sit still. I was laughing so hard at him and I know we were distracting everyone around us, so I just took him out. Reese sat nicely on Tim’s lap.
We didn’t make it to Small Group Sunday night even though we really wanted to. We were so exhausted and couldn’t get fully awake after taking a long afternoon nap. On Monday, Ethan had his doctor’s appointment. We went to my parent’s house first for lunch. My nieces were there so they got to meet their new cousins. When we got to Dr. Tong’s office, we were informed that we were late. We thought the appointment was at 2:00 but it was really at 1:00, but luckily they were nice about it and let us stay. We were so impressed with the nurses and Dr. Tong was as amazing as we thought he would be. Ethan did so great at each of the stations. He laid so still for each test. When they did his pulse-ox he knew how to work the machine. The nurse said he was the best patient ever! We were informed that everything is fine! His pacemaker is working 94% of the time for his lower heart, which apparently is normal and fine. They said he has 6.5 years left on the battery. I am in awe of medical technology and so thankful for it. The appointment took about 2 hours and the other kids waited pretty patiently in the waiting room. Thankfully Reese is so easy going! We will go back in a month to check everything again, since this first appointment gave a baseline of everything.
It still seems a little bit surreal that we have them home and life is moving along with them! I am so thankful, so blessed, and so grateful! I will stay home with them for a couple of weeks and then we will transition back to Bright Beginnings where they can play with their friends and hang out with me in my office. I am anxious to get back to BB and let Ethan and Reese get to know everyone there!
I will have Tim put some pictures on here later!