Thursday, February 25, 2010

Two Year Old Cuteness

OK - I just had to show off little man's haircut, plus his singing skills!!! Please forgive the food on his face - the only time I can get him to sit still long enough to video is on his high chair!! Oh - and DO ignore the dishes in my sink, too. Should've zoomed in more!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Birthday Celebration

What an incredible privilege to get to share in Abby's very FIRST birthday celebration!! Yes, even though she turned nine years old today, this was her first ever birthday cake, her first birthday party, and of course her first year with a family to call her own. I had a conversation with Abby last week about birthdays, with a bit of help from Google Translate. She has already been asked in China by some of the shopkeepers when her birthday was and had no idea, so I had to start by telling her that much. Then I asked if she'd ever had a birthday cake. She indicated that some of her friends at the orphanage had a cake, but she never did. (When kids at the orphanage have been matched to their forever families and have a birthday while their family is waiting to travel for them, the family will usually have a cake sent to their waiting child at the orphanage. We were matched with Abby in May of 2009, so she did not have a birthday while we were waiting for Travel Approval). Anyways, I let her know that here she would have a cake - EVERY YEAR (and hey, this might be the excuse I always wanted to start celebrating half birthdays, too). She smiled from ear to ear and hugged me saying "thank you, mama, thank you." Totally sappy, I know, but that's how it went down. After much deliberation as to how exactly to celebrate her special day, I decided to bring in a cake to her co-op class on Friday.

We also bought a second "mini" cake to get a chance to sing Happy Birthday with Daddy and the little man, who had missed out on the first cake.

And then today, we continued the celebration by going to the Chinese buffet - and she literally jumped for joy when she saw the bounty layed out before her. I am still in complete shock that such a tiny little body can hold so much food - and I won't be surprised if she doesn't eat for a week. Her favorite were the crab legs - much to Daddy's delight. Finally, someone else who shares his taste for the truly fine food!!

And I couldn't help adding this cute picture:

I wish I had also taken pictures of her opening the presents from my sister. She hit some huge sale and sent two boxes of clothes for the girls, plus a Barbie, Barbie clothes, and hair clips, headbands, and all kinds of girlie-girl stuff. There IS an advantage to having the only little girls in the family - all these moms of boys just have to cave in at some point and buy the girlie stuff. So I explained to Abby that these presents were from my sister before we opened the boxes, and as she started seeing thing after thing come out of that box, she kept saying "I LOVE Mama's sister". It was too cute!!

And then, when she thought it was all done, a box arrived from Grandma with two BEAUTIFUL dresses inside - and I had to convince her that NO they could not be worn right then to go play out back on the trampoline!!! And today, because Grandma always manages to find the cutest things on the planet and I don't know how - or where - she finds these things, but Abby received a birthday in a box. She opened this tiny little box that was in the mailbox, and inside was a Happy Birthday banner, birthday candle, confetti, one of those blower things (what on earth do you call that???) and a tiny birthday hat. How fun would it be to be turning 9 and get that in the mail???

Abby also LOVED all the phone calls she got from family. She smiled so big knowing that people were calling FOR HER!! I am very appreciative of all the attention everyone gave her the last two days - she really felt so loved, even from those people she hasn't met yet. And it's helping her feel like this is HER family! I even forgive my good ol' dad for calling our house at 7:20 this morning and waking up the entire house on our one morning we get to sleep in all week. But he DID win the "first person ever to actually call Abby to wish her a happy birthday" award. We love you, Papa!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


That is all I could say after breakfast this morning. Because once again, my new best friend Pioneer Woman left me speechless. Jake had done extra school work yesterday to get ahead on today - just because that's who he is. So he had a VERY short day of school ahead of him. I took advantage of that fact and enlisted his help in making an extra special weekday breakfast. You know, a little bit more than the usual dry cereal. Because I figured if I had help, that was the time to go the extra mile.
We made Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. To satisfy our cinnamon roll addiciton. Thing is, these were almost as good as my cinnamon rolls. I just didn't have to start making them the night before. Please, click HERE and make your family a batch. They will love you so much they might even volunteer to do the dishes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Royalty for Dinner

I just had to share this. This is how the girls have been showing up for meals lately. And, Abby loves all princesses, but her absolute favorite is definitely Snow White.
And, I don't post much about school, because frankly, we don't do much that I find post - worthy. It's been so cold outside, though, we've been getting a bit creative. Today we made Australia out of cookie dough. This is one of THREE. And we've consumed almost ALL of them. Yeah, educational AND tasty. OK, we seriously need spring to get here. SOON.

Monday, February 15, 2010

For the Record

I just wanted to clarify something. I posted recently about Abby's fears when riding in the car. Well, I misunderstood her possible fears. Abby has certainly been told (by the orphanage staff, by our guides and translators in China, as well as by us here) that she is here FOREVER. She is not afraid because she hasn't been told this. I think being told and believing it are two completely different things. For an adopted child, whose entire world has just been turned upside down (even if for the better) establishing TRUST takes time. Abby is doing just fine now, by the way. The idea has sunk in that we WILL in fact come back here. After all, we pretty much live in the car, so I knew it wouldn't take long. But I just wanted it for the record that it is not always about TELLING them, but about giving the TIME to develop that trust.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Party

Abby had her very fist Valentine's Party today at co-op. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, and even sampled all of the treats. She also joined in all the games and tried to sing along with the songs. It was great to watch the fun she was having!! I, of course, forgot my camera. Thank goodness for cell phones.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Helping Haiti's Orphans

I have for months now admired the work that Wild Olive Tees does to raise money for orphans. Not only do they make awesome t-shirts, but I'm kind of a sucker for the cause, too. Well, I was super excited to find out that they've come out with a shirt to raise funds for the people of Haiti affected by the recent earthquake. 100% of the proceeds from the t-shirt will go to help Haiti, through Eyes Open Wide International. As soon as I saw the shirt, and where the money went, I knew I'd be ordering one. Then I got DOUBLE excited when I found out they're also doing a giveaway. So even if you don't have the money to spend, go check it out and find out how you could WIN a shirt. (just click on the company's name above).

And when you're done there, if you want to read some really touching stories, go over to the No Hands But Ours Blog and read the adoptive stories of some amazing families. Have some tissues handy. And by the way, Stefanie, the woman behind these two inspiring websites, is a mother of nine, FIVE of her kids being adopted from China (and about 5 of them are 6 or under). How she manages to do ANYTHING else I don't quite get. But it makes my day at home teaching my 5 kids seem like a cakewalk. Anyhow, go check it all out and get inspired to sport a new t-shirt, or donate some money, or HEY, maybe even adopt a little one yourself : )

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


One of the fun parts of adopting an older child is getting to experience all the excitement of some "firsts" with them. Yesterday Abby had a couple of firsts:

Made her first Valentines for her co-op Valentine party on Friday:

Got her first box of curriculum, and she was SO excited!!!!

Don't you just love that smile??

Sunday, February 7, 2010


It's funny how normal life feels around here. A quick peek at what we've been up to:

Abby thought using the mixer was a blast!! However, she wanted nothing to do with the resulting cookies. Sweets are so NOT her thing! I love seeing all these little things as brand new through her eyes.

Daddy can't stay awake through an episode of SpongeBob. Abby sure thought it was funny, even though she didn't get what anyone was saying!!

Sisterly love.

We do love high fashion around here.

The Wii needs no language. She's quite the bowler, by the way.

Friday, February 5, 2010

First Day of Class

Today was our first day back at our homeschool co-op, Abby's first time getting to go. I signed her up for the first grade classroom, because that's the last grade that has non-rotating classes an I thought that would be easier. I also signed myself up to be a helper there the entire time, so I'm with her while she adjusts. I'm actually off during first period, so we're using that time to sit at the library together and work one on one on school stuff..

Abby LOVED co-op. She got along well with the other kids, and really liked getting to take turns at the different "stations". First grade will be the perfect place for her for now, because they're working on all the phonics that she's going to be needing to work on. And actually, size wise she fits right in to this classroom, which helps her feel less out of place.

I am very grateful to the first grade teacher and all the kids, who so graciously welcomed Abby into their class. Actually, it went beyond that to the entire co-op. Every hallway we walked down we were stopped every few feet by people wanting to greet her and welcome her to co-op and to the U.S. It made me so grateful to have this "extended family" in my life right now. And Abby was eating up all the attention and the way people called her beautiful......

So, the day was a huge success. Well, maybe. With the teeny-tiny exception of the puking on the way there. Learning to ride a car around these windy back roads has not been easy for Abby..... I hope she can hold her dinner on the way to basketball tonight........

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It's been interesting around here this week. Abby is doing great adjusting to her new surroundings. She plays very well with every one of the kids, even Cy.

On Monday morning we hit the first real difficulty of the adjustment process. We had our appointment with the pediatrician, and so we packed into the car: Mama, Daddy, Cy and Abby. Well, it was our first car trip out of the house, and poor lil' Abby must've been so uncertain of what was going on and where we were going! This was also the first time I was frustrated with being unable to clearly communicate with her. She was a mess on the way there, not screaming but quietly crying in the backseat. Once we got there and she realized what was happening, she calmed down, and eventually became her usual peppy self.

Next day it was time for the dentist, and this time she rode with Daddy and Jacob. Well, she did better, but the fear was still there. Jacob had brought some toys and books to help keep her entertained on the ride, but she wanted nothing to do with any of it. She just sat very quietly (which is NOT like Abby at all), and didn't cry, but her eyes did get puffy and red.

I had to take her to yet another appointment in the afternoon, and this time she did just fine. It's good to see how quickly she's learning that we're here for her forever. We can get in the car and go somewhere and still come back home; I think she knows it now.

So, that's good progress right??? Until this morning, when *silly* old me decided I HAD to get to the commissary. So I bring Cy and Abby along, not even stopping to think that I'm at an Air Force base, and, well, guess what there is right at the gate: airplanes!!!! Poor girl took one look at the planes, said : "Airplanes" - and then tears starting welling up. We just so happen to have 3 planes in front of our main gate, and that's what it took to get here from China: 3 planes. I'm sure she thought she was heading back home. I tried to tell her we were going to get food, but I could see the fear in her eyes. However, once we got inside, and she started to realize what we were doing, all was fine. It took about 10 minutes of walking around and watching me put things in the cart, and then she perked right up and started asking for stuff. When we headed to the register, she pointed at our cart with a big grin and said "BIG". I think she was having a hard time believing we were really bringing all that food home! (Wait 'til we go to Sam's Club). She did great on the ride home. The gate guard waved at her on the way out and said "Good-bye young lady" and she looked at me, confused, and said "I no Lanie". She thought he said "Goodbye Lanie". I explained to her that young lady was the same as "girl", so now she's going around referring to herself and Lanie as "young ladies". Love it!

So we're dealing with the little issues as they come up, but I'm surprised by how minor they've really been. I love that she's learning to trust us one step at a time.

The language acquisition so far has been amazing, and I have to think she knew a lot more than I suspected from school. Like today she pointed at me, and then her belly, and said "five children". I don't know where she picked up on "children". Her favorite phrases: "I eat" " I potty" "I no sleep" "sing a song".

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So Proud of My Man

So this is what we came home to last Friday. Our plane landed at around 11:40 on Thursday night. By the time we made it to the house, it was a little past 1 AM. The next afternoon it was time for my hubby's big promotion ceremony. Mind you, this was not planned around our schedule because that's not the way it works - besides the fact that we had such short notice for travel. God orchestrated it so that we could all be back on time. Also, did I mention we had horrid weather on Friday and countless flight cancellations. Our plane literally landed in the nick of time - a few hours later and we might not have been able to make it after all!!!! I was so glad to have been here for his big day! It's been 13 years in the making, and trust me, I've been there every step of the way and it hasn't all been fun and games!

I love that Abby got to be a part of pinning on her Daddy's new rank!!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Just got back from Abby's checkup with the pediatrician and everything checked out OK. More praises!! Off to the dentist tomorrow.