Ta-da...we're home!

...yup, only 24 grueling hours of international travel. Haha! I won't say it wasn't pretty miserable. I was still not feeling completely well, and Flynn had pretty much had it with traveling every...single...day since she'd met us. She was definitely getting a bit fed up with the transitions. Not to mention the trial-by-fire that we went through at Beijing immigration (two days before the Olympics....you can imagine.) But she's a trooper and we got many a compliment from fellow plane passengers on how quiet and un-fussy she was. It was a long, long, loooooooooong day, but it all felt better when we arrived at the Denver airport to be greeted by M's parents and our eldest niece, Victoria! Boy did that feel good. Not only that but they had picked up our dogs for us and stocked the fridge with goodies!! Now that's first-class treatment! Here they are greeting Flynn for the first time at baggage claim.

As for our first full day at home, now that's a different story. I can honestly say it was wonderful. Truly joyous. That's in spite of the fact that Flynn had major jetlag (naturally) and kept us up half the night. She went to bed at 9 after we got home, but woke up again at 2:30 am and would not be persuaded it wasn't time to get up. She cried until we got up with her, and we all three stayed up playing until 5 am when she finally agreed to go quietly back to sleep. Flynn doesn't have a bad-tempered bone in her body, and will only cry until she gets what she wants. She's easily appeased. And even her cry is pretty mild. She has what other people haved called a "low cry", quite soft compared to some babies. After she finally went back to sleep, we all three slept in (I know, I know...so much for our "new schedule") and woke up just in time for her doctor's appointment. Fortunately, we all did get a fair amount of sleep on various flights, so all-told we were pretty well rested and ready to enjoy our first day at home together.

And enjoy it we did!! The weather was IDEAL Colorado summer weather....cool and crisp and fragrant. What a relief after the deadly heat and humidity of China in mid-summer! After the doctor, we stopped by the grandparents and had lunch with them and our niece. We got to sit outdoors and enjoy the weather, and Flynn enjoyed trailing her fingers in the pool. She's quite social and likes to be admired, so she enjoyed the family time quite a bit...until she got hungry for her bottle, that is!
We headed back home for some quality time together. Every time she comes back in the house she looks around her and smiles...so I think she approves! She's particularly fond of the ceiling fans. She also seems to love her crib (it IS cushy!) and plays happily in it by herself.

We spent the afternoon perusing our gardens, which took the opportunity of our two-weeks' absence to turn into a jungle!! I can't even describe how crazy it is...you can get a bit of an idea from the pictures.

Flynn seemed interested in the veggies...which is good since we intend to teach her to garden (so much as we know, that is, which isn't much!)

Here's M introducing her to our guardian lion. You can see one of the gardens gone wild behind them!

Checking out the produce.

The back garden is the most fertile and actually looks predatory at this point, as if it might reach out and grab you if you get too close.

A gourd that planted itself from some Thanksgiving gourds that Mike tossed in the mulch last year.

Look at the vigor in those vines!!

This is a squash that decided to scale the 6-foot fence!

After that we thought we'd try Flynn out in the new Cougar stroller, and take the dogs for a much-needed dog-park visit. Flynn is NOT afraid of the dogs. She was not afraid when we walked in the door for the first time and set her on the couch, and Sam in his excitement jumped up and nearly landed ON her. Nor was she afraid when a neighbor's dog jumped up on me while I was holding her and touched her with his paws. What this girl IS afraid of has yet to be discovered. She was not afraid of her first float in the pool, her first 5-hour car trip, her first (or 5th) plane flight, her first turbulence, her first dog experience.....really nothing gets to this girl. Should be interesting!

Oh, and her favorite thing of all so far? The dog park!! She giggled and grinned every time a pack of dogs ran by. She could not get enough. This is her happiest face yet, and it remained throughout the afternoon. She is a happy baby, but I have never seen her as happy as she was today. I think that Colorado agrees with her, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me, because it feels really good to have her here and to start fitting her into our life rhythms, introducing her to all our favorite things.

By the way, the reason we took her to the doctor on our first morning home was that she developed a rather alarming, rattly cough the last few days in China. We figured it was from the industrial-strength air-conditioning they use in the hotels (FRRRRREEEEEEEEEEzing). It's rough to go from 100-degree heat and 110-percent humidity outdoors and sleep in that frigid cold. Even in her winter PJs, I could feel that her skin was cold every night when I touched her. We were afraid we'd given her bronchitis...or worse. So we had M's mom make her an appointment with their pediatrician, who's terrific and has lots of experience with China adoption.
Fortunately, the prognosis was way better than we expected. He said there was nothing wrong with her lungs, and the rattling cough was due to a resistant sinus infection left over from her ear infection (which is standard for cleft babies). He said she was just draining a ton of fluid, which was rattling in her throat. Aside from that, he said she looked healthy, that she did not seem very malnourished, and that her development looked really good (see? I told you she had the muscle tone and agility of a gymnast! She's really quite amazing.) He said he saw no reason why she wouldn't have a healthy year and develop at a good pace.
Believe me........we were THRILLED!!

Yet another happy dog-park face!

Communing with mommy.

Ah, that lovely Colorado breeze!!

This is another thing she does when she's happy....calisthenics! Look at that stretch! I have no doubt she can put her legs behind her ears!! Our little acrobat. Oh, and check out my black pearl bracelet that my husband got me at the pearl market. We got a necklace of black pearls for Flynn too....shhhhhhh...it's a surprise...for her 16th birthday. Where I'm going to put it that I will still be able to find it when she's sixteen, I don't know.

Happy girl.

Isn't it weird that you can grow hibiscus in Denver? I had to use it for a backdrop.

This is the contented and happy face we've seen ever since she woke up on her first morning at home.

All the new toys are hard to keep up with! Here she is trying out one of them.

You know what REALLY makes her laugh? When she poops all over her diaper so that it runs out onto mommy's or daddy's lap....oodles of indescribably stinky green baby poop. Oh, my, does she think that's hilarious! She just cracks herself up with that trick. Oh, ho, ho....Ah, ha, ha! Sooooooooo funny!
This is after we changed her, and daddy still covered in poop! Tra-la!

I never get tired of this game! (for the record, she's pooped on mommy's lap three times. Only once and a half for daddy. That's the standing score. Lesson learned. NEVER feed the baby without a waterproof something underneath her!)

Here she is checking out the dog.

...and further adventures in crawling. In spite of her incredibly athletic calisthenics, and ability to winch herself up to sitting from absolutely any position on the sheer, superhuman strength of her abs (she's gonna have a six-pack!) she still considers crawling an effort worthy of crying. She doesn't cry tears...it's not a real cry...it's an effort cry. Here she is squinching up her face to try and crawl to daddy.
ps - Flynn has a couple of new moves already. One is she'll eat apple-cherry sauce...if we put it in a bottle and cut the hole in the nipple real big. Another is that she has added a nose-crinkle to her most happy face...I love it! Cutest thing EVER.
Finally, she was instantly smitten with Dan Zanes' CD House Party (a gift from Hayley...what a Godsend!!) and is now addicted to dancing. I have to say, it literally made me cry (happy tears) to imprint "The Wawbash Cannonball" on her, the way my father did for me when I was a kid. Sigh. Life is good.


Maia said...

Congratulations! You guys look SO happy! Getting home is the best feeling!

(on a side note - if her poop is really thin enough to leak like that nearly every time - you might want to get her checked for giardia. Diaper blow outs are normal - but not every time, I don't think).

Qiuqiu's parents said...

We're having her checked for parasites this week. But her poop was solid when we got her. We unfortunately had to change her formula after the first three days in China because we couldn't get the formula they used at the orphanage either in Nanjing or Guangzhou. As soon as we switched, she started having loose poops. We are now graduating in the US formula, so I have a feeling she'll have issues a bit longer.

Anonymous said...

Hey - congrats on getting home!!
I've been reading for ages but this is my first time commenting. I loved reading about your trip - we just got back with our 3 year old daughter in June. Like you, we loved China, but it was also great to get home and settled. Your daughter is beautiful - we wish you much joy.
~ Fiona.

Melissa said...

Congratulations on being home! Flynn looks very content and happy. I love the dog park smiles.

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Welcome home and glad to see that she is a Colorado girl... it is a very easy thing to do... glad to see that she is still the happy little camper as she was in China... glad you had safe travels... (only a matter of days before we are in Durango... whoo hoo... look out Colorado)... thanks for dragging me along on your travels... I love it... take care

A Beautiful Mess said...

Welcome home! Isn't just amazing to be in your own bed!!

We suffered through our jetlag....Chris headed back to work the day after we got home and the big kids had the weekend to recover a little before heading back to school. It took us awhile.

Flynn looks happy and healthy!

Life is good!

Cavatica said...

Thank you for the glorious poop report! We had the opposite problem, while not messy, it involves much screaming. Flynn is the bomb and reminds me of The Bing - fearless and strong. Maybe they'll be on the Olympic gymnastics team together in 15 years or so. Or Karate - is there a Karate team? I'm thinking that doesn't destroy the bod. Oh, I'm so happy for you all!

Beeb said...

Welcome home! Such a heartwarming post. She's amazing and you guys are naturals. I'm so happy that she loves the dogs, too.

tracy said...

welcome home! absolutely love the pic of flynn looking up at you - that kinda says it all. congrats again M&M!

Barbara said...

It's so good to see you back home, safe, sound and fairly healthy! Now the real fun begins!

Julie said...

What a wonderful post. Brynn had a huge blow out 15 mintues into the plane ride from Beijing to Chicago, so I know from where you come.

Welcome Home.

rubyiscoming said...

I'm just so tickled!!! Can't wait to see you again and meet the fantabulous and brilliant Flynn!


Vivian M said...

It is so good to see you home safe and happy! Flynn is absolutely beautiful, and you both look good in green poop!
I am glad the transition seems to be going well and that the poochies are accepting their new sister. Huge hugs, and welcome back home!!!

Anonymous said...

want a wonderful family. it has been great following you. thanx for that. you all seem such a wonderful match. may you have years of rich blessings.
one thing concerns me tho. (but who am i, really!!) i just wanted to mention it. the fact that nothing fazes her would be worrisome to me. please dont forget to mention it at your next appointment. considering she is able to show her happiness now; maybe its nothing. but it warrants a mention. i have to wonder if that will change as she goes to more drs appts and hospitals. maybe its just a wonderful character quality that will see her thru. anyway, your happiness is obvious and infectious. thanx again. mrs.k.

Juliette said...

Your Flynn seems to be a happy trooper every where she goes...What a delight this girl is. I just love her!
Have fun settling down and getting new habits and routines. It can be tough but I don't know why I don't think it will be an issue for little QiuQiu.
Glad life is good!

Two Kayaks said...

This was a very fun post to read. I am so thankful to see you home and back into a new routine. She looks happy and content with you and I know that she will thrive with your love and care. So happy for you, sweet girl!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome home. You were missed. She looks like she has been in your arms all along. They grow so fast. Just watch!

Carrie said...

Congrats so happy you made it home safe and sound-Girl you look like a natrual at being a Mom-Thank you so much for letting us come along with your journey! Good luck Mama and Baba the next few months will be lots of fun and maybe ruff with getting the time change thing down but I am sure you'll all be happy sleeping in a bit here and there!

Naenay1012 said...

You have a beautiful family. Congratulations and enjoy parenthood.

Yoli said...

Maia, just loving the photos here!!! The sheer joy on your face and Mike's is beautiful. Flynn is obviously so pleased to be in her new home and in Colorado weather. Enjoy this time with your beautiful baby and rest when you can. Love that the garden decided to rebel in your absence! Looks lush and happy.

Julie said...

YAY! You made it home...it's so great that she is loving the dogs and the garden and her new stroller...fun times ahead!

Congrats again. So happy for you guys...

Lost and Found said...

Welcome Home! I love all the outfit changes in the first day home. Flynn looks great and parenthood seems to agree with you both.

Elizabeth said...

I have tears.
She's just lovely.
And I am reminded of the first few days of our return.
So shook up, so wonderful, so tired...

Heather said...

Welcome home! You all look great and I can't get enough of the QiuQiu grins! Keep them coming! You should be over the jet lag in a week or so.

kris said...

Welcome home you guys... I am amazed at how happy and well adjusted she has been with the 2 of you, though again, not at all surprised! If there was any child on this whole planet that was meant to have you as parents, Flynn is without a doubt IT.
I am so so happy for you.

And your last sentence of this post says it all.

My Heart Beats In China said...



Chrissie Larkin said...

I think this might be my favorite post! The pictures are great the weather looks perfect, but most of all the people in these pictures look happier than ever and more content than I have ever seen! It is the sweetest! Love you all much!

Stacie said...

Welcome home!! Flynn looks incredibly happy to be home! Isn;t funny how they just know? You are just glowing with happiness, Maia. It warms my heart to see you all home and safe and happy. Flynn is an extraordinary little girl. She is soooo strong. I love to see her little, tiny body doing those V- ups in your arms. So happy for you- it just gets better every day, too. Life is good.

Tish said...

you guys look GREAT! flynn is such a tiny little thing...so glad to hear the doctor gave her a thumbs up! her smile is adorable, and i love the one pic where she is gazing at you.

M@rgriet said...

Welcome home happy family! Oh yeah... more tears while reading. This last poop-post put a big smile on my face. I remember (long long time ago) picking up 'sleep warm' babies only to discover poop up to the shoulderblades, hahahaha.

Unsolicited advice is inevitable as new parents I guess. It's all well meant, but don't let it drive you mad. If any couple was ever prepared it's you guys!