Friday, October 24, 2014

The Bongs Go To Washington

A couple of weeks ago we did something huge!  A trip to Washington D.C with all the kids.  Yes, we flew all four kids across the country.   And lived to tell about it. 
The boys on the plane- they were awesome!  I can't believe how well everyone did.  And this was after a four hour, middle of the night drive down to Albuquerque to catch our very early flight.
The girls were also great on the plane.  Avika only cried a little bit on the flight there and on the return flight. 

Thankfully we had my parents with us on both flights because we brought all this through security.  Twice.  An umbrella stroller, two unwieldy car seats, three backpacks, four wheelie suitcases, a purse, a diaper bag, and four small children.  Did I mention we did this twice?  And got all of it on and off a plane.  Twice.  We are superheroes!

Of course we had to hit some of the Smithsonian museums while in D.C.  Our first stop was the Air and Space museum for Isaac.  We got to touch a moon rock!
This is out in front of the Museum of Natural History.  We were hoping to see dinosaur stuff for Miles, but unfortunately most of the dino exhibits were closed.  
We did get to see the rock and gem exhibit, which was amazing!  Avika and I are posing in front of the Hope Diamond (behind lots of glass so it does not photograph well.)  Avika means diamond in Hindi and the Hope Diamond is from India, too, so we had to get an up close peek at it.  This sucker is over 45 carats!

The next day to headed to the White House!  Here we are waiting in line for our tour.

This is us in front of the White House after our (very, very brief self guided) tour.  The kids were not super impressed, but at least they can now say they've been to the White House!  I thought is was awesome, even if I didn't get to share my WH joke with anyone (There haven't been this many Bongs in the White House since the Clinton administration!)

Then we headed back to the mall to see the Lincoln Memorial.  This is Isaac and Delia at the bottom of the LM steps with the reflecting pool, Washington Monument and the Capital in the background. 

At the top of the Lincoln Memorial.  This was so cool!  Pictures don't do it justice, I'm so glad we got the chance to see this in person.  On the steps on the way down  I tried to point out to the kids that this is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech (they've studied it in school.)  I pointed out that in a way our family is the fulfillment of MLK's dream... the kids just wanted to know if they could pet the ducks swimming in the reflecting pool.  Maybe in time they'll appreciate all the history they got to see during this trip?  We also walked through a sculpture garden for Delia this day and saw a tiny bit of an art museum for my little artist.

The whole reason for this trip was to go to my sister, Emily's, wedding.  Delia acted as flower girl with her cousin, Eva.  Avika turned left at the bottom of the stairs instead of right and kind of missed her flower girl opportunity.

Here's Aunt Emmy and her new husband, Dana, on their way down the isle.  The wedding was beautiful- I am so grateful we were able to be here for this! The ceremony was very touching and thoughtful and the reception was fun- the kids loved dancing and playing with cousins.  Don't know why I didn't get a picture of all six of us (it was a major achievement to get us all dressed up.)  Emily, you will have to send us wedding picts!
The next day we went to the National Zoo.  This was mainly for Avika as she loves all animals.  Unfortunately this was a rough day for her (for all of us really) but we did get to see some animals before the long, long, long uphill trek back to the car.
Here she is looking at a cow.  We think she said "moo" when she saw it!
In between fits waiting while Miles and Delia rode the carousel...

On our last day in town we went to the best park ever.  The kids all said this was their favorite part of the trip (Really?  After the White House tour that I set up four months ago?  The Lincoln Memorial?)  But it really was the most amazing park.  If not for the bugs we could have spent days playing here.

All tired out after playing at the best park ever.  We had so much fun in D.C. - it really was the trip of a lifetime.  And we probably won't go on vacation again for many, many years as I am still trying to recover. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Avika at One Month

Avika has been home with us for one month and has changed so much.  When I think about the little girl that walked into the room that first time we met her in Delhi the changes are astounding!
Of course she has grown physically- she's gained several pounds and grown an inch.  She's up a shoe size and her 2T clothes are fitting much better.
It seems as though she is attaching well to the five of us.  She is content to be held by Matt or me and lights up to see the kids after school or Matt when he comes home from work.
She loves to play with toys, especially pressing buttons, turning levers, etc. working her fine motor skills.  We are working on "be gentle" as she likes to throw things around once she's done playing.  She is very sweet with her doll, Latika (or LaLa) and gives her hugs and kisses and pushes her in the stroller.

Looking at her favorite book (about cats and dogs).  She's not much in to reading yet, but likes to flip the pages and touch-and-feel books...
She's very much a typical two year old climbing on everything and trying to find trouble.  The first time she climbed the stairs it took at least five or six minutes.  Now she scrambles up them so fast!
Loves to be outside where she can run around and be LOUD!

By far Avika's favorite thing to do is to take a bath.  She screams with delight until we get her into the water.  She loves to dump water on her head and face over and over.  Can't wait to take her swimming.  She might be our only real swimmer.

She also loves our cat and dog.  She follows them all over the house.  Maeve and Mojo are putting up with her very well considering how obsessed she is with them.  She's not talking yet, but she has definite sounds for each of the pets: a guttural screech that sounds kind of like "meow" or "wow" for the cat, and yelling "bow-wow" for the dog.  It is adorable (to us, probably not the animals!)
So while she isn't talking yet she does a lot of vocalizing.  She has started saying "mum" and "bop" a lot.  I'd love to say that she means "Mom" and "Pop", but she says this about just about everything. 
I'm happy that she has taken to the stroller for longer walks and running errands.  We are about to take a big trip and don't think I can manage if I have to carry her (or chase her as she runs away) the entire time.

The first couple of days home Avika pointed at her high chair constantly.  She has settled into more of a routine with eating, and seems to only ask for food when she is hungry at meal times.  She is very picky, and we are having a hard time finding lots of things for her to eat.  We keep trying different things, though, and she seems to be eating enough for now.  She loves her milk, cheerios, crackers, cheese, oatmeal, bananas, and feeding herself.  Thankfully it is fairly easy to give her her thyroid medication with yogurt.
Overall Avika is doing really well!  She has a lot of personality and it's fun to see it come out more and more as we get to know her.  She can be playful and fun and curious, she loves to see what her siblings are up to, but she'll play by herself for small stretches of time.  It seems like she can get worn out by meeting lots of new people or a lot of loud noises, but it's usually not too bad.  She's napping about an hour and a half in the afternoons and wakes up a couple times at night.  She probably sleeps as well as the rest of the kids did at this age, so it's nothing new for us!

Everyone wants to know how the older kids are doing in relation to Avika.  They are doing great!  They love to spend time with her and show her off to anyone we see.  They are always looking out for her safety and love to introduce her to anything that might be new to her.  Miles does not like having his sister mess up his Lego creations and drool on his cars, but is loving her through this transition.  Going from the baby of the family to older brother is proving to be a little challenging for him, but I am always surprised at how gentle and kind he is with Avika.  
And the other question we get is, "How are you doing?"  We are also doing well.  There are many unknowns as we learn our new daughter: is she throwing a fit because she's two?  because she's tired? because she's scared?  because it's just her personality?  will she grow out of this? should we be concerned...?  The questions go on and on.  Basically we have a lot to learn about Avika and who she is.  I am reminded often that we are just getting started.
The biggest transition in this for me had been going from three kids to four.  I thought this would be much easier!  What is one more kid when you already have three?  Ha!  I'm (very) slowly figuring out how to be a mom/wife/friend/functioning person with four kids and all that entails.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

First One Gone

Delia and I were both surprised when she lost her first tooth this week!  When I picked her up from school one day she announced her tooth had come out.  When I asked if it had been loose she told me, "No!  I was eating a piece of bread at lunch and it just fell out!"  Easy enough.

It was so tiny- you can barely see where it was.

The school nurse gave her a little box to take it home in.

She's growing up too fast!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wake me up before you go-go

This is what happens when a toddler falls asleep in the car- messed up nap schedule and crashing on the couch.  I could eat this girl with a spoon.

Parade of Cakes

Birthdays in the Bong house really do seem to go on and on.  This year I think it was great for Miles to feel the center of attention for a bit with all the changes happening to our family.  Here he is on his actual birthday celebrating with cake with extended family...

Muffins with his class at preschool...
 Miles had his first proper birthday party with friends from school.  He requested a monster truck party (details to follow soon on my crafty blog), so this cake is supposed to be a monster truck.  He had so much fun! 
Happy Birthday my sweet Miles!  We love you so much!

And then there were four

The best part about having Avika home is seeing her with her siblings!  This was our second day home- all four playing together.
Hanging out with Isaac...
The older kids want to hold her hand everywhere we go. 

Delia is especially thrilled to finally have her sister home.  When adopting from India you are encouraged to be open to either gender, but Delia told us that she was getting a sister, end of story.  So happy that Avika is that little girl!
Showing Avika how to draw...
Delia saw this dress at Walmart and insisted we get it for Avika so they could wear matching outfits...