Wednesday, September 7, 2011


We have been home for just about 1 week. And what a week it has been...oh boy...never would I have expected to come home to the whirlwind that we have. I am not going to has been hard...very very hard.

As you know, we came home to a flooded house due to Hurricane Irene. We had about 7 inches of disgusting mucky water in our basement. When we finally arrived home from China we had about 4 inches left. The water was sitting for days since we were not home to take care of things. Therefore, we have mold and everything else that is not pleasant. We had to hire a professional service to come in and start cleaning up the mess, disinfecting and to take care of the mold problem...but since everyone is flooded around here...we are still waiting for them to come so our basement is even more of a disgusting mess. And now our hardwood floors on our first level have become damaged due to the dampness and mold.

In the meantime, my brother and Crystal flew all the way here from Colorado to help with the cleanup. And my Aunt Ann, Uncle Klause and Cousins Sultana and Tyler and Sasha and her boyfriend came to help also. Honestly, we appreciate their help so much. Even though our basement is still destroyed...we conquered our garage and our yard. If you could see the amount of items we lost and the piles and piles of damaged stuff that we threw was so so sad. Lainey is upset because she lost 2 bicycles and her water sink. We just couldn't save those.

We are at a loss right now...flood insurance is denying a lot of items to a washing machine and dryer and our freezer. And much much we are trying other avenues to help ease the major blow in our finances.

We have been eating out every day since we have no gas and simply cannot afford it anymore. Before we left for China, I went on a major food shopping trip...hundreds of dollars spent on food. I stocked our box freezer to the top with food so that when we came home we would be set. I cried when I emptied the freezer straight into the garbage...all that food...gone to waste. We have been denied hotel coverage through our insurance so we are roughing it as much as we can stand. We will get through this I's just really really hard right please pray for us. We also had to deal with the death of an amazing and beautiful little girl, Alex who was such a ray of sunshine. Her entire family is grieving hard...she fought a tough battle and is now dancing with the angels...she will never be forgotten. Halainah loved Alex dearly as did all of us!!

As for Ava...she is doing wonderful. Last night was the first night that she slept as well as she did in China. I think she is finally on our time. We have been keeping her up all day to try and get her on our time. In China she took an hour nap but she was all sorts of messed up since we have been home. The first night home she went to sleep at 7 am...second night 5 am...third night 3 am...and so on. Tonight she went to sleep at 11 and should sleep through the night.

For the first couple of days she wanted to be held all of the time and if Tony and I walked out of her sight she would cry. But she plays more and cries less. She is coming around big time. She even goes to others now to be held. She bonded well with Sultana and Aunt Ann, and my brother and Aunt Crystal.

Halainah loves her "baby little". She is really saying baby sister but it sounds like "baby little" so Ava is now known as baby little to my family. Don't get me wrong...they fight sometimes like sisters and don't share and Ava sometimes hits...but Halainah is patient. Halainah had a little break down this evening because her sister was wearing a pair of her old Twinkle Toes sneakers...Halainah wanted to wear her newer pair...but when I went to put them on they didn't fit now Ava has two pairs of Twinkle Toes and Halainah has none. Well that was a major breakdown and I guess we need to get Halainah a new pair that fits. But welcome to the world of 2 kids for me...guess this is the way it will always be now...LOL.

I wish I could say that life at home has been amazing. But it has been hard. I am thankful that it has been smooth for Ava and her transition into our family has been so special. All of the other stuff...hopefully will be all a distant memory in the near future.

Now let's play catch-up with pictures:

This was taken in the White Swan Hotel on the Island on our last day in China. We really missed staying at it on this trip.

And this was our attempt on the famous red couch. Ava was having no part of it.

On the island...the famous line of kids...Ava wasn't having any part of this picture either...she was terrified of the statues!!

In the beautiful White Swan Hotel again!!

Our agencies attempt at a group photo.

An attempt of getting all of our children in the picture...Ava is all the way at the end.

She is a thumb sucker...just like I was...sure hope that she isn't 8 when she finally stops!!

On our first day home...Ava crawled into Opa's lap and went right to sleep!

Beautiful Halainah in her headband we bought in China.

Halainah and Opa

Ava in her headband...doesn't she look thrilled?

Halainah sharing her raisins with "Baby Little"

Halainah and Cousin Tyler

Aunt Crystal cleaning with Ava on her back! Ava wouldn't let you put her down at this we had to was the only way to get the clean up done!!

My beautiful China Doll Ava...she looks so big in pictures...but she is so tiny...this outfit is 12 months...I started putting all 12 month clothes on her...they fit her the best...18 month is ok too...but 24 month....NO WAY! She will be 2 in 1 week!!

My attempts at getting my 2 munchkins together for a picture

So silly!!

New PJ's from Jiu Jiu and Aunt Crystal!! And you thought the 12 months wouldn't fit!!


Courtney said...

My heart is just breaking for you guys right now. I am sending lots of prayers.

Natalie said...

I am so sorry about all the losses and the battles with the insurance company to cover things. You may want to be persistent about some things. My husband is a good negotiator and several years ago at our old house, we had old asbestos siding that was damaged by hail. He went round and round with the insurance company, but we did finally manage to get brand new siding on the house.

Craigslist is a great place to look for appliances cheap until you are able to buy new. When we moved, the new house was all electric and we had a gas dryer. I got a perfectly good dryer on Craigslist that was only a couple years old for around $100. It's been drying clothes for 6 people for almost 3 years now ;)

I honestly got tears when I saw the pictures of the two girls together. Too awesome for words. They are both gorgeous! And yes, you have now gotten a taste of what it's like to be a mom of 2;) I happen to think girls have a harder time passing things down to a younger sibling for some reason. My boys just don't seem to care. There are going to be SO many moments between them that will just melt your heart. And my closest friend is my beloved sister. There's just no substitue for that.

Continued thoughts and prayers coming your way for a quick recovery from the hurricane damage. Congratulations on your newest addition and I will keep checking back for more photos and updates. God bless!

TanyaLea said...

I seriously cannot even fathom going through all that you have since returning home. I just so clearly remember the 'relief' of HOME, that I cannot wrap my mind around the displacement you must feel after already such a life-changing event. You just want to get home, settled, rested up and starting your 'new normal' I know this is really tough!

You have been in my thoughts and prayers and I just wish that we were closer to help. Sounds like you have some AMAZING family that has been there for you though... there is no greater blessing!

Sorry you have had to wrestle so much with insurance. They are programed that way, you know. You may have to consider checking into a lawyer... one who only gets paid if you do. I'm not sure if it is worth it or not, but it's worth checking into. They have a way of snowballing people, because most don't know to fight it. I'm speaking from experience, and in my case (car accident, not flood) it was definitely in my favor to hire the lawyer. I asked around so that I would find a high-integrity Christian lawyer, too. But it's something to pray about for sure.

I think what Natalie said about CL is a great suggestion... though with the floods, you may have to travel further to get them, I don't know. But praying things change in your favor and that this unpleasant and trying 'season' will be behind you sooner than later!

Now for the girlies... Oh how I just LOVE seeing them together! SO PRECIOUS!! Lainey looks like she will be an AMAZING big sister. (BTW, what size shoes is Lainey wearing now?!) I can't believe what a little peanut Ava is! Khloe is SO tall for her age, at least by Chinese standards. She is 3 and 1/2 and is right with her age for clothing. Though her waist is more of a 24mo/2t... she is already outgrowing the length of many of her 3t jeans! One of the reasons I love MJ and leggings!!

Well, keep the photos coming and please let us know if/how we can help. In the meantime, we will keep praying!

Love and Hugs,
~ Tanya