6 Months with Us!

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It has been 6 months since we first held Callie in our arms. Tomorrow will mark 6 months of her officially being a Koehn. We are so thankful that she is in our family. She is a spunky little ball of sunshine. She is full of joy and life and she laughs and giggles A LOT (even when she is being a stinker).

We are continually impressed with how well she has transitioned to life in our family; she has made it very easy on us. She has also made incredible growth in development. She has grown from size 12 month to 2T in 6 months too!

We’ve learned she loves bunnies and kitties. She is an excellent helper and always wants to help me put away laundry, dishes, shoes, coats, etc. and she readily helps me clean up toys. (Which is a HUGE difference from her brothers at this age!) She gets so excited to help me put things away and she is actually a help; she remembers where everything goes in the kitchen and what clothes go in which drawers, the only hinderance to her being when she cannot reach to put it away. She also loves to draw and color. She has learned that books aren’t for throwing and ripping(most of the time) and now will sit and look at pictures; her current favorite is Old MacDonald Had a Farm (the horse page is a hit). She loves to be outside and will run around squealing and giggling or ride along on her little scoot bike while her brothers zoom on their bikes. If she could she would spend much of her time at the park swinging on the swing.

She has powered through a bunch of developmental milestones since she has been home too and now behaves a lot like you’d expect a 2 year old might – temper tantrums and all. I never thought I would actually rejoice when my child started throwing fits about not getting their way; but this is so sweet because it means she is on track and that she is comfortable with us enough to show us how she really feels. She is working as hard as she can to learn to speak (which is pretty difficult when your palate hasn’t been repaired and you have significant hearing loss). She calls me “Mama” along with the sign for “Mom” and she calls Andy “Gaga”(we love that one) with the sign for “Dad”. She also says the boys names; Eli is “E-la” and Luke is the “k” sound.  She has also learned many signs and to recognize even more that we sign to her. We love to watch her run and jump and climb. She readily gives us hugs and kisses too; watching her pucker her lips is down right adorable.

She has attached well to us and us to her as well. I remember well the days when she would easily have gone into anyone’s arms; she waved and smiled at anyone and everyone and she did not have a grasp on the fact that we were mom and dad; but not anymore. Recently while we swung into the post office to pick up some stamps another customer in line was being friendly and talking to Callie; but Callie stayed close and leaned away into my shoulder instead of reaching her arms out to be picked up by this stranger; it was a sweet reminder that she is learning I am her mom.

We are so thankful that God led us to Callie and that he made it clear to us that we were supposed to welcome her into our forever family; one look at the picture below and we knew. We are so thankful that she is our daughter! Happy 6 months home sweet girl!

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The first photo we saw of Callie. August 2015
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Family Day in Xi’an – May 15
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Our beautiful girl waiting to meet us, her forever parents.

 

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Callie at home, now 6 months later. 

 

 

 

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October in Review

We hope you all had a wonderful October. Ours was certainly mixed; we’ve spent much of the month with sickness in our house and we’ve had a few particularly disappointing occurrences. We are looking forward to November and December and celebrating a few exciting things; successful surgery for Callie (we hope!), Thanksgiving, Callie’s 3rd birthday (first with us) and Christmas. We may have to hold of on a few of these celebrations if Callie’s surgery goes forward as scheduled on November 22nd. Initially I was trying to avoid this time of year so that Callie could have a proper 3rd birthday rather than spend it recovering, but things may not work out that way.

Andy took the boys to the Model Railroad Show here in town at the beginning of the month. It is a yearly event that they enjoy attending. Callie and I sat this one out so she could nap and I could enjoy some quiet time.

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Have I ever told you that Andy is a fantastic cook? He makes all of our dinners and he does the grocery shopping. He even brings me flowers every Friday when he comes home from grocery shopping! This first week of October he brought me red roses for my birthday and made me a special dinner of crab cakes, steak (not pictured) and a delicious salad with homemade dressing and homemade hollandaise sauce. It was really amazing and I am kind of wishing for more crab cakes as I type this.

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I am glad we squeezed a little birthday celebrating in because the stomach flu hit our family hard and for the next five days we all took turns being very very ill. First Luke, then me, then Eli and finally Andy. Somehow Callie managed to escape the sickness; something we are so thankful for since she cannot communicate her illness to us well and she is so itty bitty.

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Luke in the basement feeling crummy and watching TV for a distraction from the misery.
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Eli in bed with me (both of us sick) after a long night of being very ill.
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After Eli recovered he drew this picture. That is him, so sad, with big tears coming out his eyes because he was sick.
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Our three cuties! All feeling well!
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Fairy Princess

We took the kids to a pumpkin patch just outside of our town, called Willetta Farms. We had a wonderful time. There was so much for the kids to do! We had fun racing rubber ducks, making our way through the corn maze, picking out pumpkins, exploring the blackberry thicket, eating pumpkin loaf and cider, going on a wagon ride pulled by beautiful draft horses, riding a horse, petting the bunnies, feeding the goats, etc. etc. The kids had a blast and it was so fun to play with them and to see them so happy!

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Willetta Farms

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Luke was brave enough to go on a horse ride!

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Callie loved petting the bunny. When it was time for the bunny to go back into the hutch she threw a little bitty fit.

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Andy and I had a lovely evening out celebrating our friends Erik and Jane. It was such a beautiful wedding and it was fun to be dressed up and out for the evening. We had great company at our table for dinner and it was a lot of fun!

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Andy and I at our friends’ wedding.

My sister Kristin works in town and so she joins us for lunch usually once a week. We love having her company. One day she came dressed in the same exact outfit I had put Callie in that morning; of course we had to take a photo. Now whenever Kristin comes Callie runs to her closet to get her boots out!

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Aunt Kristin and Callie accidentally matching – identically!

Eli has been playing soccer this fall and Andy has been his coach. Their last game had some lousy weather; pouring rain and wind but he still came home smiling!

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Eli after his last soccer game – soaked to the bone!
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This picture is misleading – I did most of the work as Eli and Luke declared the pumpkins to be too slimy.

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Ready to explore space.

Callie has been waiting a long time to have surgery to repair her palate and put tubes in her ears and we were so eager to help her move past this surgery. Unfortunately following the stomach flu we were hit by a bad head cold. Eli first, then Luke and the day of surgery I started feeling terrible. We’ve all had symptoms of varying degrees; Eli has had it the worst with a terrible persistent cough for almost two weeks. Luke had a mild version with a long lasting runny nose but not much coughing and I had a terrible two days of cold symptoms but then recovered with no cough at all.

Callie was not showing any signs of sickness and we’d been working really hard to keep the kids separated, sanitize the house, and wear masks when necessary in order to keep Callie healthy. The day of surgery we drove 3 long hours (traffic was lousy) to Seattle Children’s hospital. Callie woke up and wasn’t showing symptoms of sickness but as the morning went on she started to sound slightly congested. The anesthesiologist thought she might have heard some congestion in her lungs and so she cancelled surgery. It was disappointing to have to cancel but we don’t want Callie to be at risk during surgery or after while she is recovering so we will try again in a month and hope that she is completely healthy then!

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Ready for surgery! Oh wait, no, last minute cancellation!

Callie never really did get very sick, a few sniffles and a rare cough to clear some drainage, but nothing slowing her down. We went for a little bike ride around the neighborhood to enjoy the sunshine and fall color.

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Neighborhood Biking
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Beautiful Fall Color

The kids helped us rake the leaves that had fallen from the large maple tree across the alley. They did such a great job and were so hard working. Then they had a wonderful time jumping, tossing and playing in the leaves.

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Leaf Raking and Jumping!
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Fall Fun!

Another totally awesome surprise this month was that as Luke has become proficient in potty use Callie decided that she is going to potty train too! She is non-verbal but still knows how to get her point across very well and now with some key ASL signs in her vocabulary we can communicate together about going potty.  She is doing so well! Of course she had already realized that I give out M&Ms for motivation (Luke really needed motivation) so she quickly signs “all done”, then “more” “eat” “candy” when she is finished in the bathroom. Smart girl!  Then she runs to the kitchen while squealing with joy!  I could really squeal with the same joy about being done with diapers! Can you imagine???

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Happy Halloween!

On Halloween the kids and I, along with Aunt Sara, went downtown for some trick-or-treating. It was a lot of fun. The kids had a blast and the weather stayed dry. It was really nice to have this option to trick-or-treat at local businesses (all of whom were so friendly and welcoming) during the afternoon hours. This allowed us to stick with our evening routine and have kiddos in bed at their normal time – which is pretty important for their success the following day.

Hope you all had a wonderful October. We are looking forward to a (hopefully) healthier November and praying that Callie will be 100% healthy and ready for surgery on the 22nd. Thanks for following along!