We are surrounded by amazing, loving, thoughtful, supportive family and friends. We are blessed beyond measure. Here's why...the long version.
We woke up August 30 in Hong Kong around 6:45 a.m. (5:45 p.m. central time) and got ready to start the long journey. After a very fast traditional breakfast of congee, dim sum, etc. we made the mad dash to our gate. We arrived as the plane was boarding. No sooner did we get settled than the flight started taxing. Nice. Then the pilot came on saying that in order to avoid some rough air, we were going to take a little longer route home. Oh yay. More flight time with a four and two-year-old. What could be better? ;) Actually, though, the entire flight was uneventful. Ethan slept for 11 1/2 - 12 hours of the flight (with only one Benadryl dosing -- so no we didn't drug him throughout the flight!) and Aiden, while sleeping for only about 4 hours, did really well. God Bless the iPad! (Thanks, my dear cousin Jen for loaning it to us. It saved Aiden's life and our sanity more than once on the trip.)
We landed in Chicago (those of you who fly, just did a little "ooooo" in your head, didn't you?) and Ethan became a U.S. citizen.
Aiden was a little whiny (hahaha! little!) and Ethan a little restless (hahaha! little!) which made passport control, customs, luggage retrieval, immigrant / new citizen processing, and security a lot of fun. *Insert sacrasm for previous statement.* We got through it, though, and had two hours to kill before boarding the final flight of our incredible journey. We ate a Chilis where we could sit for a while and pass the time. I am still impressed at how well the boys did there. French fries will soothe the savage "beast" apparently.
Our flight from ORD to FSD was largely uneventful, and we touched down just a few minutes later than planned -- about 25 hours after we had woken up in Hong Kong. The boys, wearing the American flag t-shirts, got their American flags to wave, and we headed toward the arrivals area. We were met with a small group and a lot of love: Grandma & Grandpa, Grandma Jan, Jenny & Andrew, and Jeffy G. Aiden was thrilled beyond words and Ethan took it all in stride.
We had decided beforehand to have a small welcome home celebration as our world is about to become very small. Everybody ventured to our place. This is what awaited us. Supper was on the table -- thanks Mom & Dad. Our home had been recently cleaned -- thank you Jenny Rae, Andrew, and Jenny F. Our pantry and fridge had been stocked -- thank you Jenny F. We had fresh veggies from the garden -- thank you Jenny & Andrew. There were gifts for the boys -- thank you Jenny F and Grandma Jan. We had flowers on the table and beer in the fridge -- thank you Cousin Jen and Jenny F. Our cat had also been loved and well-taken care of -- thank you our Jennys. :) We certainly don't deserve that kind of generosity, but God has seen fit to bless us with thoughtful, kind, wonderful family and friends. Throughout this journey we have been met with just such acts of kindness. We can't begin to say thank you enough to everybody who has been so wonderful, but hopefully you all know how much you mean to us and how much we appreciate you!
So, now the real work begins. We are settling in and trying to find our new normal. Ethan is starting to show small signs of attaching. He cried a couple times yesterday when I said bye-bye and left his line of sight. He still will, however, try to crawl into anybody's lap and is a little manipulative with his smile: things most people find adorable and indications of good adjustment. In our situation, though, it can be a bad sign, especially coupled with the fact that in the Chicago airport, he would walk away and hold his hands up to perfect strangers while not caring if we were around. We will continue to work on this by keeping our world VERY small for the forseeable future. He has to learn that we aren't going anywhere and we, and ONLY we, are going to meet his needs. Only "mama" and "baba" can feed him, hold him, comfort him, carress him..... WE need to BE his WORLD. I am so grateful Troy and I decided that I would take the entire 12 weeks allowed under FMLA even though it will be a little rough next summer. It is going to be critical to the bonding process!
On a positive note, the boys have been sleeping between 10 and 12 hours a night ("baba" included!). :) I wish I could say the same, but I've been getting 5 - 6 and I took an hour nap yesterday. Also, Aiden woke up yesterday, sat bolt upright, crawled out of bed and ran to the living room and looked around in a panic. He finally came back to me and desperately asked where Ethan was. I showed him that Ethan was still in his crib. Phew! Now, that aside, they already fight like brothers and Aiden is crazy jealous, but we're working on that and trying to make sure he still feels loved and cherished. (If he only knew how much...!!!) They play together and are generally happy. It's interesting; they both wake up at the same time during the night and get up in the morning at almost exactly the same time, too. Maybe they have already formed some kind of connection / bond? Both of them are eating well and are adjusting to life back at home pretty well. They're pretty amazing kids. Now, if they could both kick these colds, we'd be good.
Well, coffee is brewed and muffins are out of the oven. If I could just get the "men" of the house up to eat them, we'd be on to something. Nine in the morning and they're all still sawing logs!! But what am I saying?! Who am I to eschew morning quiet time. I guess I'll head to the deck with my coffee, a book, and a muffin and enjoy the gorgeous day before chaos once again reigns. Thank you, yet again, for all of you who have supported us in so many ways to make this beautiful chaos possible!