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Road Trips & Rest-stop Picnics: It's the Weasel World Tour

A week after Julia joined our family back in April, we hopped on a plane to traverse the daunting 8,113 miles from Guangzhou, China to Nashville, U.S.of.A. We largely laid low throughout the summer months, letting our little lady adjust to her new surroundings. But as she got more and more comfortable – and the demand grew for her to meet many of the folks who helped bring her home in the first place – we circled September and October on the calendar, knowing the time would be right to hit the road and embark on leg two of the Weasel World Tour.

Seeing the mighty traveler she already was, we didn’t hesitate scheduling visits and trips with friends and family throughout the south. So over the course of six weeks, this little Bee hit five states, two beaches, covered a little over 2,000 miles (mostly in the car), and soaked up hugs and kisses from a few dozen loved ones in the process. In short, this new family of three mastered the road trip together, so it felt apropos for this blog post photo to be one of the many rest-stop picnic experiences along the way (thank you Mississippi Department of Transportation!).

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The Weasel World Tour began in mid-September with a trip to Chattanooga to rendezvous with dear friends from Atlanta and their adorable family of five. Two weeks later, we headed to the beaches of sunny Florida with Sarah’s extended family from Michigan (Julia’s first time at the ocean!). The second part of the same beach trip led us west down Highway 30-A to spend a few days on the sand with my Mom and Mark. After one weekend at home, the Little Lotus made her first visit to Louisiana where we met up for some lake fun with my two best friends from college and their kiddoes. And finally, a short two weeks after that we flew to Austin for the Halloween weekend with cousins and Julia’s first breakfast taco. Whew, and yum.

The good time speaks for itself in the gallery below, but we’d be remiss not to prepare you for the best video of all. In the midst of this whirlwind, off-schedule circuit... the Bee took her first (true) steps! Sure enough, the night we arrived in Baton Rouge, we were just playing in the floor at our dear friends Nancy and Brian’s house, and all of a sudden Julia decided it was time to get up and go! She had taken some baby steps in between the couch and coffee table at home, but never had the strength or confidence to walk from point A to B. But that October evening was the night she put all the pieces together; a special occasion we’ll remember forever.

We had (and have) mixed emotions, to be honest. On one hand, she’s 28 months old so this milestone is long overdue and yet another indication of the developmental adversity she has overcome since coming home. So we’re beyond proud for her to check this “first” off the list. On the other hand, we admit that we feel a bit selfish for not wanting this baby phase to end. We’ve been blessed, in an odd way, that she has needed us so greatly since coming together in April. In China, we watched other adoptive families constantly chasing down their new sons and daughters in hotel lobbies, as these early walkers were already bent on exploring their latest sights and sounds. With Julia, she needed to be carried everywhere, which allowed for an amazing amount of unexpected bonding. It’s been six months of having this Little Lotus stuck to our side, quite literally, so it’s only natural that we’re sad for this phase to pass. Such is life.

But there are many milestones to still look toward – like her first sweet words – and make no doubt that we’re stopping to smell the roses in all the other firsts along the way. Speaking of, people have naturally asked what Julia was for her first Halloween. Easy choice. A bumble Bee, of course. Buzz down the page to see for yourself. But brace yourself for the insufferable cuteness (and really bad puns from Dad, apparently).

Looking ahead, now that we’re back home for a while, just a month from tomorrow marks a year since we were matched with this beautiful child on paper. December 10th, the first day we saw her innocent face in photograph form, will always be a special day in this family, so between that and the holidays coming up, we’re already giving thanks for a one-of-a-kind year that’s coming to a close.

Weasel World Tour, coming to an arena near you in 2015. Book it.

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"I am a lotus flower – delicate, fragile, yet strong... floating, unfolding, and blossoming into the life where I belong.”