HOME {the first 24 hours}

Oh how I love China.  It is rich in culture, has a melodious language, and is beautiful in its is also the birthplace of my children, and therefore is "home."

But even more than China, I love our home...

When we pulled up around 11:30 that night I was flat exhausted.  So was Ian.  But guess who had slept for much of the flight times home.  That would be five people all under age eight.  So we drew upon that last bit of reserve strength and did the "welcome to your new home tour."

It included checking out her bedroom complete with bunkbeds,

she was in awe of kylie's ease on the stairs
meeting her furry sister,

a bit timid at first, but no tears
and checking out the playroom and most of its contents.  Amazingly even though she explored most of the toys, she put things back where they belonged before getting out something new.

Finally around 1:30 there was a lull in the action with the kids and before they caught a third wind we managed to coax them into their beds.  And no, Natalie did not test out her lower bunk that night...for the first few nights back home her biggest brother was the favored one, so she slept at the foot of his bed.  We knew it wasn't going to be permanent, so we decided to roll with it.

That night I got a refreshing four hours of sleep because I showered and crashed at 2, but heard foot steps and giggling right at 6am sharp.  Can't express how thankful I was for the thoughtful gift of bagels and cream cheese from Panera that one of our friends brought to the airport.  I brewed a pot of coffee ~ the first of several that day ~ and watched my youngest daughter explore the downstairs of her new home in a little more depth.

Eventually everyone else got up and Ian and I developed a strategy for the naps.  Yeah, it's a tough stance, but we've seen jet lag play out in our kids several times now and this time a return to school was looming for the bigger set.  So we embraced the amazingly beautiful day and spent it outside.

Someone was pretty excited to head to the swing set in our backyard...

We introduced Natalie to Chick-fil-A (my mom paid for and my sister graciously went to pick up lunch for 13) and she ate her nuggets like nobody's business.

With full bellies when the early afternoon weariness hit, we switched locations and went to our neighborhood park.

she timidly allowed me to be her safety net as she tried each slide 
We were blessed to be joined by my sister's family for the day as they had come up to meet Natalie and help us get back on our feet in the fog that was that day.

my mom's seven grandkids

swing time

two girls who will walk many medical treatments together name is daredevil

my oldest and my neice...two peas in a pod

cousins and very best friends

Our return home from the park was brother-in-law Adam made us his famous Asian burgers.  Can't express how good something from the grill tasted that night.

After all the fun of the day, we found the time for our extended family to head back down the road coming all too soon.  We sadly waved our goodbyes sprinkled with promises of seeing them soon.

 And then, there we were, for the very first time, a family of seven at our house, ready to start the next chapter in our lives...

**saturday, september 14**


Sandy said...

I love that you love China. What a wonderful gift to give your children!

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Welcome Home!

Laurie said...

Yeah!!! LOVE this post.. so great to see you all home, exploring and learning what life will be like as a family of 7. YIPPEE!!!

Janet and Kevin said...

Welcome home to you all! Have loved following your journey to Natalie. I enjoyed the smiles of delight on her face as she is beginning to explore her new life in her own family. Praying for jet lag to lift and for you to get back your energy soon!

janet and gang

Traci Cline said...

We can't wait to see you guys again! What days do the kids have off school? maybe we can do a zoo trip?