Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Suiteys Come to Town

A few of my favorite girls came into town last month to meet our newest family member.  They left their hubbies and babies at home and drove or flew in to spend a few days together.

This friendship dates back 12 years when we all began our freshman year at the University of Mobile.  The four of us have gotten together at least once a year since graduating and plan to continue to do so.  As always, there were late night talk sessions, lots of laughs, sharing of hearts, and a few tears. 


We've been through a lot together over the years!  Living in a dorm together forces you to either love, tolerate/avoid, or despise each other.  Thankfully these girls are easy to love.  There were many of late-night cram sessions, dorm room dance-a-thons, deep theological discussions, not-so-deep discussions of every variety, annual trips to the Big Easy, squealing fests over new diamond rings, subsequent wedding dress shopping, and more wedding/baby showers than I care to count.  I am so thankful that each of us has made the effort to not let the miles between us cause our relationship to dwindle away.  It is a rare treasure to have friends with whom you can bare your heart.  I look forward to many new memories made with these girls!

A look back:
Always a fav: at the Olive Garden
Halloween 2002
Christmas 2002
Shopping for hats???

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 2012

We have been having a fun time so far this fall! It has been amazing to me to watch the girls become such good friends. Caroline ALWAYS chooses to sit by Luisa in the living room. Every time she is leaving the room, she says, "Mom, take care of Luisa while I am gone." And Luisa just adores her big sister. I'm not trying to make you believe that they don't snatch toys, squabble, and irritate one another, because they do at times. That part has just been so much less than I expected it to be.
Painting turkeys
Philip took Caroline to Disney on Ice (Luisa is not quite ready for a crowd that intense yet). She knew every character and every song. The Alice dress that I had made Luisa for Halloween got another use as well.

All dressed up to go out with Daddy
Of course, Luisa had to dress up and get a photo with Daddy, too.
November is Orphan Awareness month, and our church recognized Orphan Sunday on November 4th. This beautiful display is up for the month. It illustrates where church members have adopted children from. Colombia now has a pin!

Here is a shot of Caroline "helping" Luisa eat her dinner.  We have now expanded the list of things she won't eat to two items: hamburgers and pancakes.  Anything else she gobbles right up!

We had our first appointment with the International Adoption Clinic here in Birmingham.  There are two pediatricians, both adoptive moms, who practice there.  They ran all sorts of bloodwork and made lots of referrals.  We'll go back for results in December.  We have our first appointment with UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) the week after Thanksgiving.  I am anxious to get to this appointment so the fabulous doctor there can evaluate Luisa and make recommendations regarding treatment and therapies.  These 10 weeks have been fantastic bonding time, but I am feeling the need to get the ball rolling on helping her achieve whatever she can physically.

Speaking of doctor appointments, I had my first with my OB and saw the little bean growing inside me.  We are getting excited about our rapidly growing family!  Caroline has decided that she wants a brother this time, and he should be named Freddy.  We'll have to see if she gets the gender she wants, but I think Philip and I will have to pick the name.  :)
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Friday, November 2, 2012

HOMEcoming in Photos

The very talented Stephanie Allums was at the airport to capture our homecoming.  I am so glad we have these photos, because this day was very much a sleepy, emotional blur to me.

My favorite shot
Here we come!  (Caroline gets a little uncomfortable in the spotlight, hence the look on her face.)
Meeting Mimi
And Pop
"Who are these people?"
Glad to be home and see friends and family.
So happy to see Mimi!
Meeting Auntie Erin
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

A New Blessing

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.   Isaiah 55:8-9
We are praising God that, in His infinite wisdom, He has chosen to bless the Ryle family with ANOTHER new addition.  Luisa will join Caroline in big-sisterhood this May.  The timing may not be what we would have planned, but thankfully
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.   II Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Settling In

Well, we've been home three and a half weeks, and I've been blog-silent. Sorry. Been a bit busy. It seems having a husband who stays home at our Colombian apartment all day to assist me in parenting our girls spoiled me a bit.

Philip has returned to work, and the little ladies and I have been busy settling in to our new life.

Caroline and Luisa are the best of playmates. Before we met Luisa, I was worried that Caroline would be frustrated when they played together. I thought that she may get frustrated with Luisa not being physically capable to play the same way she does or that she would be irritated that Luisa doesn't understand English perfectly. I needn't have worried. Caroline is (for the most part) very patient with her sister. There have been few questions regarding her limitations. At first, she asked, "Why is she three and still wearing a diaper? Why doesn't she walk?" It seems that her curiosity is pretty easily satisfied at this point with a discussion of how God creates all people differently. Also, there was NO need to be concerned with Luisa's ability to understand us. She picks things up so quickly. There has yet to be a time that I felt like she wasn't understanding me. Though Luisa is nonverbal (which shouldn't be mistaken for nonvocal, because she is supremo vocal), she is able to get her point across very clearly. We've taught her a few signs, and she combines that with effective sound effects and gestures. It is rare that we don't know what she is trying to let us know.

A happy discovery we have made is that Luisa seems to be ready to potty train. I haven't been extremely consistent in it, but if we are home and I put her on the little potty, she will do her business in it. She will stay dry most of the day if I am consistent in putting her on the potty. She doesn't yet ask to go, but we are making strides!

Overall the adjustment has been much easier than we ever dreamed it could be. Luisa sleeps well in her bed, plays well with her sister, DEFINITELY eats well, and seems to be very secure in our little family. On nights I have to head out to tutor, she grins and waves at me from the security of her daddy's arms as I leave. She still gets a bit nervous/clingy when new people come to the house. For the most part, we are sticking to home or activities with which she is obviously comfortable (going to the store, library, park).

Luisa loves riding on Grumpa's shoulders as much as her big sister does
Sweet sisters
Movie night!
Carving our pumpkin
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Sunday, October 7, 2012


One month spent in Colombia, and now we are HOME! It feels so good to be back under our roof, at our table, in our beds. The trip home was, well, trying. (At least, for us grown ups. The girls were fantastic.) We left for the airport in Bogota at 10:30 am on Friday. Our flight was delayed by two hours, so we were pretty sure we would not make it through immigration in time to make our connection home. We had three seats together and one 10 rows up, so the girls sat with me and Philip had some nice alone time sandwiched between two strangers.

Leaning on me to the left

Leaning on me to the right
We were in immigration at the Miami airport about 2 hours.  We made it out at 9:30 pm.  We headed to the American Airlines desk to rebook our flights for the next day.  The girls are usually in bed by 8:00, so we were hoping to stay at an airport hotel and be in bed soon.  Unfortunately, 3 hours later, our van finally made it to our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.  We would be at the wonderful Harbor Marriot Resort for 6 hours before making the 45 minute drive back to the airport.  (There were reportedly 40-something flights cancelled that day due to equipment problems, so everywhere was booked.)

With Aunt Joy at Miami airport
The upside was that we got to spend about 15 minutes with Philip's brother, Daniel, his lovely wife, Joy, and our nephew, Danilo.  This was the first family Luisa got to meet, and they happened to speak Spanish (Joy is Colombian). 
Doesn't everyone play ring-around-the-rosie while checking in for their flight?
Cutie Danilo
We had an easy 2 hour flight back to Birmingham. The kids were tired (so were we), but we were so glad to be almost HOME!  My parents were picking us up, and we had a few friend greet us there as well.  It was so sweet to see smiling, familiar faces who have waited and prayed for so long for our daughter to come home.

Luisa loved riding in her car seat, which was a relief.  We drove up to signs welcoming us home, and walked in to find our house cleaned and decorated with all my fall decor, which a fabulous friend had apparently crawled up in our attic to retrieve.  It is my favorite time of year!  The weather has been so nice and COOL this weekend.

The girls have been playing so well together.  Caroline takes her role as big sister seriously.  I get reports on ANYTHING Luisa is doing that may be questionable.  Luisa has been a rock star.  She has taken good naps and slept all night in her crib.  She (of course) eats well; she had her first Ryle-typical GF lunch (hummus, veggies, olives, and cheese) today and loved it.  She is a bit scared of the dogs, but she did voluntarily touch Ellie tonight, so we are making strides.

Dressing up
With Pop
and Mimi

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