Friday, November 30, 2007

Mountains recap and other fun news

Wow it has been a busy week! On Sunday while AnnaClaire napped, we ran to the mall for a bit. I spent the night at my friend, B's house that night. Well on Monday our other friend, W called us and said, "You will never believe who is at the mall!" She quickly explained that Miley Cyrus was at our mall. She told us that she had gotten a picture with Miley and that she was still there, shopping. At first we didn't believe W, but when she sent us the picture, we had proof. We started screaming. So yes we are 14 and we love Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. Miley was in town for the concert (which was on Tuesday.) So anyway, me and B were so excited. We got ready as quickly as possible throwing on the first clothes we saw and running to the car. B's mom was so good and quickly drove us to the mall. We walked in and met up with W and G, who also came. We walked by a few stores and found Miley. I think I almost fainted. I don't think I've actually ever met a famous person. Her bodyguards were pretty strict. She was with her three best friends (also backup dancers). We followed her into the next store she went into and got to talk to her and her friends and stuff. It was awesome. We also got a picture with her. She was really, really nice. She is just like any other teenage girl... besides the fact that she's well... Miley Cyrus. But anyway it was quite fun to meet her. I was definitely glad we had Monday off, because every other school here had school on Monday! (Probably why she chose to go to the mall, figuring no one would be there!) So that was an extremely fun little surprise! Of course it's the big topic here! On Tuesday I got to go to the concert which was downtown. It was insanely crowded. It was awesome. The Jonas Brothers (I'm not really a big fan of them) were there too. We really did have an awesome time and it was so surreal to actually be there (if only you knew the story of our tickets!). The arena was absolutely packed with everywhere from 6 year olds to teenagers! So that was really fun, too. The rest of the week has gone by pretty well, too. Last night I bathed AnnaClaire and she wanted, "Sissy in tub, TOO!" I put my legs in and she stayed in an hour longer just playing. She washed my feet, slid down my legs into the tub, etc. We had a fun time. Finally I asked her if she was ready to get out. I said, "Let's get in your cupcake jammies, find Mickey Mouse, and go see Mommy!" To that, she responded, "No cupcakes, no Mickey Mouse, no Mommy, NO OUT!" She just never stops making me laugh =].

But anyway, back to the mountains which I never did tell about. Will just saved up his money and bought himself a GPS on Black Friday. Well, on the way, we decided to use it. Will clicked in "Shortest Distance", not knowing it would lead us up a dirt path straight up the mountain. I will forever have memories of driving, in 4-wheel-drive, up the very steep, one lane road on the very side of the mountain, passing "mountain-man" (who was wearing a Texas hat! Hook em!!), having to drive over a huge mound of dirt that blocked the entire dirt path, and mostly, passing a gate with a confederate flag and a machine gun! We had a great time getting to What Fir Christmas tree farm. We picked a great one though! It had beautiful trees, was surrounded by ponds, had a petting zoo, and had a little store. We found a perfect tree not too long after arriving. AnnaClaire loved riding in her wagon and looking at the trees. We found the most perfect one and after it was chopped, Dad & Will carried it down where it was wrapped and loaded. The farm had GREAT service and the people were really nice. If you are ever looking for a good place to cut your own Christmas tree in Boone, NC, I recommend What Fir! After we got the tree, we went and saw donkeys and llama looking things. AnnaClaire loved saying "Annallama" as we looked at them and everyone got a hoot out of how she said that. We had hot cider and cookies and bought a few decorations before headed back to Boone where we hit a few little shops and ate at the Dan'l Boone Inn. You can't be in Boone and not go there! There's always a pretty long line but it is delicious and definitely worth it!! We headed back home after a nice day at the Christmas tree farm! We are going to put are trees up tomorrow! Here's the slideshow of pictures from our adventure. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christmas Tree Farm!

Today we drove up to Boone and went and cut down a Christmas tree! We have a fake tree, but we decided to make a new tradition of going and cutting down a real one after Thanksgiving. So that's our new tradition. We had a great time and found a perfect tree. We're going to put our fake one in our family room and the real one in the dining room. I'm so excited about Christmas!! It was sooooo cold in the mountains. There were even traces of snow! We made some great memories driving up that I will always remember. The place we went was great, too. I'll post much more tomorrow... but here's a picture of Will, AC, and me with the tree!

Oh and Maggie's mommy~ the red shoes are from a consignment store. I'll email you with the name.

Friday, November 23, 2007

AnnaClaire Visits Santa!

As I said earlier, we braved the crowds and went to the mall today! We brought Little Miss to see Santa soon after we got there, because the line wasn't too long. She was such a ham waiting in line and made friends with everyone in line. When we got to the front and it was her turn to sit on Santa's lap, she went right on and smiled so big. I was so proud of her! I have to admit I was a little worried she was going to be in hysterics. When we were in line I told her to tell Santa that for Christmas she wants a kitchen. So now everytime you ask her what she wants for Christmas, she happily says, "ki chen!" That's exactly what she told Santa, too. We had a fun day at the mall. AC and I ran in the apple store to look at ipods because I'm asking for a new one for Christmas. It was a zoo. It is always extremely crowded, but I had never seen it nearly that packed. Mom and Grandma were doing some other Christmas shopping, and it was pointless staying in the apple store because it was so crowded. So we ran across the way to Pottery Barn Kids and right away AnnaClaire saw a little vanity. She ran over saying, "Anna makeup!" She sat on the little chair for the longest time putting on "makeup". It was so cute... all the pieces were fabric. Everyone in the store was just watching her. She had the biggest smile on her face as she put on her "makeup". Sadly, my camera was with the stroller so I didn't get a picture... next time! After about 30 minutes of "Anna makeup" we found mom left. On the way home, AnnaClaire got some m&ms to keep her awake, and every time, she would tell us what color it was. It was so sweet! She is a smartie pants! We got home just in time for the Texas game... not a good game at all. Texas lost 38-30 which was unfortunate especially since they are ranked 13 and A&M wasn't even ranked! But oh well... it was fun to watch and AnnaClaire loved cheering on her horns!

Oh~ added music to the blog so turn up your speakers! This one is for all the many families that are spending yet another Christmas without their precious sweeties. I know it is hard, especially during the Christmas season, but once you have your little princess/prince, the season will be even more magical then you could've ever imagined! Thinking of you all during the long wait and know that one day you will get to spend your Christmas by your little one's side and it will be the most wonderful Christmas ever!

Hook Em Horns!


Daddy and his girls


I love chips!

This morning we fought the crowds at the mall. Didn't do too much damage. The big hit was visiting Santa Claus! AnnaClaire happily told him that she wants a "Ki chen!" She had the biggest smile on her face with Santa... no trauma and no tears whatsoever! Only smiles! Anyway.... we got home just in time for the big time rivalry, Texas vs. Texas A&M. We, of course, are all decked out in our Texas gear for the big event =). Isn't AnnaClaire's bow just adorable?? It's the one Maddy and family gave her for her birthday! I love it!

Made just for us! (thoughts and rambles)

(This picture was taken on 10/28 with her new little purse/dog carrier from Sara Beth's family... and of course Bunny who is wherever AnnaClaire is! She LOVES her doggie and doggie bag so much! Thanks again R family!)

So I know I've posted a lot lately, and given you a lot to catch up on, and you really don't need more... but I just need to ramble for a bit. (oh but do be sure to scroll down and read all my posts!) I think it's a combination of just meeting up with our good adoption friends, AnnaClaire's 2nd birthday, and our gotcha anniversary coming up, but I have really been thinking...

Here I am, sitting in my bed listening to Christmas music and I hear AnnaClaire making noises in her sleep. I am suddenly reminded of how much she means to me. We are one of those families who gets an idea and acts quick on it. We don't just sit around for years trying to decide if this is the right thing. So.. in October 2005 when Mom had the dream of adopting from China, we acted pretty quickly. We all knew this was the right thing for us, undoubtedly. We did research, but didn't drone on over it. We picked an agency that we felt right and in January 2006, we started the process. Like I told you... we don't sit on things for awhile... we act on them. The paperchase went by pretty slowly but 7 months later we sent our dossier of to China. We had heard about the waiting children program before, but when AWAA sent us our dossier packet is when we really discovered it and became interested. Right away we began talking about it and were put in the interested families list. Just to see the timeline, we were DTC 7/7, went on the interested families list on 7/16, and were approved on 7/18. On 7/21, I read on the AWAA site that they had recieved a surprise batch of 4 referrals. My heart skipped a beat as I read this... although it was highly unlikely has other people had been waiting months and months for this, and we had been waiting less than a week. On the 24th, we came home from Target (where we bought AnnaClaire's carseat, and thought we would be holding onto for many more months!) to a message from our family coordinator. She needed to talk to us. Mom had called her earlier asking some questions, she we automatically thought this was just a response. By the time we got the message, the AWAA office was closed, so the next day, 7/25, Mom called back. After trying a few times, our FC finally got through to us. I was in my room and heard Mom say, "This is so unexpected! We would LOVE to see her file! So young, too!" I ran downstairs. Her name was Chen Xun Hui. She was 8 months old. She was living in Chenzhou SWI in Hunan. She sounded perfect. 15 minutes later, we were emailed the pictures. She was gorgeous. She was AnnaClaire. She was ours. We could've missed her. You see, we were within an hour of missing the deadline to have our dossier go out on the 7th. It was going to go out on the 14th. It it had gone out the 14th, we would not have gotten our WC info in time to be on the IF list by the 21st. If we hadn't been on the IF list, we would not have been considered in the matching of the 4 children. Another fun fact is that Lucy and Shaoey (both of who we saw this weekend) were 2 of the other 3 surprise referrals. The 3rd was a precious little boy who was adopted a few months later. Anyway. We could've missed her. There's two times. If we had not acted quickly starting the adoption. If we hadn't been DTC on 7/7. There were 2 little pictures we had of "Xun Hui". For 4 months, I lived through these 2 little pictures... in her bright red coat. 4 months to the day after sending our LOI, we were united with our precious AnnaClaire. She was 13 months at the time, and had just began walking the week before. She was healthy and happy, the sweetest and most beautiful baby I had ever seen. We had the most amazing time in China. I remember our very best meal the whole time we were there was the day we visited AC's orphanage- Chenzhou SWI. We ate at a small place nearby. It was pooring rain and the people greeted us at our van with a huge yellow umbrella and walked us inside. We sat in a private room where we were attended two constantly by 2 waitresses. It was the most amazing meal. Terra root was the best part of it. I will never forget terra root. I will also never forget the van driver trying to teach Will how to use chopsticks. It was the best meal we had the whole time we were in China. The price? The equivalent of $16 USD. That was for Mom, Dad, Will, me, AnnaClaire, Amy (our fabulous guide), and the driver. WOW. We came home from China 5 days before Chirstmas to a huge crowd of friends and Drew. We landed close to midnight and there everyone was to greet us with signs and balloons. It was the most amazing site. I started to cry when we saw everyone there. Until you go through it... you never know how amazing it really is to come home from China and see everyone there waiting for you, supporting you, loving you. We got home and our house was filled with food. Our yard was decorated so our Christmas decorations consisted not only of wreaths and holly, but also a big "ITS A GIRL" sign and pink ribbon hung on every tree. It was amazing. The months have gone by. AnnaClaire has grown up. She is no longer that 5 month old baby from the pictures that we first came to love. She is no longer that 13 month old baby that we first met and fell in love with. She is now a 2 year old princess (and she knows it, too!). It's hard to believe she was ever living in an orphanage. She is spoiled rotten, now! She is perfect. I know she's not literally perfect... but she is perfect for us. I can in no ways imagine having any other mei mei. She is the only one. I look at all the other children. I follow so many blogs, we've met so many adoptive families. Each and every child is gorgeous, sweet, and I love each and every one. But... AnnaClaire is the only one for us. God made the perfect match. I love how God plans everything out. He planned everything perfectly so that we would get that call on July 25, 2006 at 1:04 PM telling us there was a little girl who who matched our criteria... Were we interested?! Adoption amazes me. It really does. So many people ask, "Could I ever love an adopted child as much as I love a biological child?" Although I can't answer that, I can tell you that I love AnnaClaire just as much as I love Drew and Will. Sometimes I forget that she is even adopted. It doesn't even matter. She's my sister either way. Adopted or biological?! She is perfect for us. One of my favorite quotes ever is, "God made you for us". Another mother had AnnaClaire. A mother I think about all the time. But that birth mother was never meant to keep AnnaClaire. She was meant to have AnnaClaire for us. I love that. AnnaClaire was born to someone else, for us. I love everything about her. I love her cheesy smile, her silky black hair, her chub chub legs, her buddah belly, her rosy red cheeks, her teeny fingers, and sweet little toes. I love her little giggle, her adorable voice. I love the way she walks, talks. I love the way she always says "please". Even if her answer is, "no", she says, "no PLEASE!" When she wakes up, she always says, "Mommy PLEASE!" and if Mom doesn't come right away, she starts saying "Sissy PLEASE, Daddy PLEASE". It's so sweet. When she wants something like water, she says, "Wa wa PLEASE". I love how when she does something wrong or something falls, she says "OOPSSS!" with a big smile on her face. I love the way she puts so much emphasis on all her words. I love the way the runs around care-free. I love how she repeats EVERYTHING you say. EVERYTHING. I love the way she says Mickey Mouse... as Mickey has become a new favorite in our house! I love how she has the best memory and will go to pictures ant point out people she's only seen a handful of times. I love the how everytime we pass Chickfila, she says, "Mama large COKE!" without Mom even telling we're passing a Chickfila. That's how amazing her sense of direction is. I love the way she plays peekaboo at any given time and her face just lights up if you play along. I love how when I'm upstairs and she comes up, I can hear her on the stairs saying, "SISSY!" and she runs down the hall to my room and opens my door with the biggest grin. I love how tonight we were all sitting around the table and all of a sudden AnnaClaire rides in on her trike with Mickey and Bunny in the "trunk", with the absolute biggest smile on her face. I love the way when she eats something good, she licks her lips and says, "mmmmmm". I love how when she counts, she always leaves out 7 and ends with a really big TEN! I love how she'll just randomly start counting all the time, but when you ask her to, she says, "no" with the most, "haha I'm not going to do it because I know you want me to!" look on her face. I love the way she always greets me when I get home from school. I love the way she is always joyful and always has a big smile on her face. I love the way she looks when she discovers something new, a look of happiness and also an "can I do this?" look. I love the way she gives the sweetest kisses, biggest hugs, and cuddliest loves. I love everything about her. I love that God created her just to be my sister, that he knew before she was even born that she would live in china for 13 months and then a family would come from North Carolina and make her part of the family. That her name would be AnnaClaire and she would be loved more than words can describe.

So that's my rambling for the night... and finally, I love how not only does adoption bring together families, it creates life long friendships along the way.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

AnnaClaire's 1st Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was pretty low key. We watched the parade this morning and had a delicious french toast brunch. We just kinda hung around the house, watched football... throughout the day. Mom and Grandma worked all day on preparing us the most delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Before dinner, I took AnnaClaire in the yard. Our yard looks beautiful right now with leaves all over the grass. We got the big rake and raked a pile and played in it. We had a lot of fun. AnnaClaire just loved playing in the leaves! It was so nice having the whole family home for Thanksgiving! It was our first Thanksgiving with AnnaClaire and it was absolutely perfect. =) She loved her yummy meal and had her first taste of pumpkin pie-- huge hit! I think as we all reflected on what we were thankful for, AnnaClaire was the big thing. Last Thanksgiving we were getting ready to travel and now we have been home almost a year with her. It's truly amazing. Our year has been so different... so much better, with the addition of AnnaClaire Chenhui!

Here's a slideshow with some pictures from our Thanksgiving. It truly was everything we could've asked for for AC's 1st Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for...
A God who loves me and cares deeply for every detail in my life
A mom and dad who do things for me that are taken for granted
Will and Drew, my brothers, who are just that... amazing brothers
AnnaClaire, my precious sister, the light of my life, the joy of my heart... as we celebrate her first Thanksgiving
My amazing friends that remain true and loving through everything
The families we've met through AC's adoption that there's no way we could've been through the adoption without them
This past weekend, the most fun I've had in awhile spent with some extremely special people
The food on my table, the roof over my head
...just to name a few...

Dad's Birthday!

I was browsing through pictures this morning with Dad and found the birthday pictures! I was so excited to find them, as I really thought they were gone. So... here they are! These are from 11/6.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks Maddy and family!

When we got back from Disney, we had a pig package awaiting us from Ohio!! We opened it to find this adorable little dog decked out in Texas colors with AC's monogram in none other than burnt orange!!! Mrs. W made this precious dog. She also sent a matching bow for AnnaClaire. AnnaClaire will definitely be wearing that bow with her Texas cheerleader outfit on Friday for the Texas vs. A&M game! Thank you so much Maddy and family! It's so cute and AnnaClaire loves her little Texas dog!

Meeting Allison!

Finally there are the pictures from when we met up with Allison and some other adoptive families last month! It was so great to see sweet Allison and her sister, Lindsey. Allison is a chatty sister as well!

Catching up

Here's some pictures I've been meaning to post. I have sooooo many that I need to post, but here's some for now. I just love this little girl so much. She is the light of my life! Enjoy the pictures. They are from a few days before her birthday through the 11th! Oh and also- finally updated the website so check that out!

**Don't forget to watch the Disney World movie in the post below this one!**

Lazy Fall Days

There's another one with some more recent pictures! I am soooo upset because I had some adorable pictures from Dad's birthday including some of AC's adorable card she made Dad... and I can't find them anywhere =( I think I went to download them but didn't because I had some on there that were downloading twice... so I thought I'd do it later and then today I totally thought I had downloaded all my pictures so I cleared my entire memory card because it was completely full... and well now I realize the birthday pictures had never been downloaded =(. Thankfully those were the only ones, though, but I am still so sad to have lost those precious pictures!

Disney World!

(I made this movie of our weekend at Disney. There is music and a few videos, so make sure to have your sound up. I have been working on this movie for hours and hours since we got home and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.)

First off, today is an important day on 2 parts. 1) a year ago today, we recieved that glorious call that we had TA and would be leaving in 17 days for our little Bu!! 2) it is the one year gotcha anniversary of many of our friends (Addie, Lucy, Shaoey, Caroline, Sara, and Esther happy 1 year gotcha!!)

Secondly, I had really hoped to post from Disney World, but had no internet and did not realize until our last night there that I needed to request a cord to plug into to access internet.

And thirdly, what you really came here to hear all about... OUR TRIP!

I cannot even begin to explain what an amazing time we had. There is simply no way my 725 pictures will even come close to showing how much fun this weekend was. We finally met "The Chatties". It was only mamas and babies and then Livvy and me. It was just way too much fun. I don't think there is any way to realize the tight bond we have formed with each of these families. The little ones are literally little cousins to me. Most of the families we had never even met before, yet it seemed like we had known them forever. Before I get into the story, let me tell you how the "Chatty Girls" came to be.

On the AWAASN board, there were a group of women who constantly chatted. It was actually AWAA who came up with the term "chatty". Shortly after we were all home from China, Sara's mommy made us our very own yahoo group so not to block the AWAA boards. We have talked since August of 06, when we all received our referrals. We had all hoped to travel together, and although that did not happen, we remained close and chatty. I honestly do not know what we would've done throughout the adoption without these friends, practically family. Over the year, we've gotten closer and closer with each family and early this year we began to plan a reunion when we would all meet for the first time. "Florida in November" was the plan and that's exactly what happened! Not everyone was able to come to our reunion but there will be many more to come in the future, so hopefully we will have a chance to meet the rest soon! As for the ones who were there, let me introduce them:

Addison (b. 10/6/05 a. 11/20/06)
Bekah (b. 11/4/05 a. 12/11/06)
Caroline (b. 10/29/05 a. 11/20/06)
Emily (b. 4/25/05 a. 2/26/07)
Lucy (b. 11/23/05 a. 11/20/06)
Mia (b. 9/27/05 a. 12/11/06)
Shaoey (b. 8/6/05 a. 11/20/06)

As you can see, they are all very close in age!!

So back to Disney World!

On Thursday, Mom picked me up early from school and we headed out to the airport. Addie and her mommy had a connecting flight in Charlotte, so we were actually on their flight to Orlando! That was fun! Addie is a total doll, as is her mom, and we were lucky to be sitting only a row apart on our flight! Once we made it to the airport, we got in touch with Lucy and her mommy who were landing around the same time from New Jersey! We met up with them and waited for our luggage. Lucy is just sweet as could be with the cutest little voice! We got a rental car with 3 carseats and loaded everything in for a packed drive to Mia's house! the conversation on the way went something like this:

"Girls, are you ready to see Mia?"
AnnaClaire, "Mia!"
Addison, "Mia!"
Lucy, "Mia!"
Addison, "MIA MIA!"
AnnaClaire, "MIAAAAAAAA!"
Addison, "MIA MIA MIA MIA"
Lucy, "MIA!!!!!!!!!!"
AnnaClaire, "MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA!"

Gotta love 2 year olds =)

After a few minutes of sleep, many cute 2 year old conversations, and reading directions, we reached Mia's house were we were greeted happily. We hadn't seen Mia since December when we were in China, and my has she grown! She turned two on 9/27 and she is all two! She has a huge vocabulary and is extremely verbal! She's so sweet and was great to share her houseful of toys with all the other girls! We chatted, toured the house, played, and ate a delicious lasagna and veggie dinner! The girls were just darling standing around Mia's little table! After a fun night of catching up, Lucy and her mommy and us went on our way to Disney world. Addie and her mommy stayed with Mia as did Shaoey and Caroline. What was supposed to take less than 30 minutes took us over an hour! But finally we made it and luckily both girls slept, as it was late. We checked in and immediately we knew we were in Disney World. We stayed at the Riverside which is very pretty. AnnaClaire was up a lot of the night just screaming. I'm thinking it was a mixture of tiredness and also fear. She has done this same thing a few times when we are somewhere different, but only on the first night. It was a fairy early morning and we met Lucy and her mommy and went to breakfast. Breakfast was fabulous! Afterwards, we took the girls outside to the nearby park. It was actually quite chilly to be Florida, and we were really surprised to see people in the POOL! It was in the 50s! We let the girls get some energy out before going back to Mia's where we enjoyed a day of fun. Mia's backyard was a hit with all the girls, having a trampoline, swingset, and numerous toys. We had a Chickfila nugget tray for lunch and enjoyed treats from our home states. The day went all to fast and soon it was afternoon. Of course this was not a bad thing beause Shaoey and Caroline and their mommies arrived! Both girls are just precious. We all played somemore and soon Emily came with her mom! Emily is an absolute doll! We played a little longer and made plans for the night to go to Downtown Disney. We called to make reservations at the Rainforest Cafe and the lady laughed when we told her we had a party of 18! She informed us with that many, they couldn't seat us until 10:30 or 11 PM! Yeah right, not with 8 two year olds! By this time it was almost 5, so Lucy, Emily, their mommies, and AnnaClaire, Mom, and I left to go back to the Riverside and get ready before meeting the rest of the pack at 6:15. When we were done we headed over to the food court place where we were meeting for dinner, but they were stuck in traffic, so we went in the store while we waited. The girls enjoyed looking at the many things the store had a playing with the stuffed animals! All of a sudden precious Bekah walked in! Bekah is cute as always, and has grown so much since we saw her in May! I think AnnaClaire remembered Bekah because she ran over and they greeted eachother with a big hug! So sweet! The 4 girls enjoyed playing with everything from animls to swords to tee shirts to noodles as we waited for the other 4. Soon, they got there too and we headed to the foodcourt. However, not before AnnaClaire could make friends with a sweet lady on a scooter! The lady even offered to take AnnaClaire on a ride! All 19 of us enjoyed a dinner together. The foodcourt place is the best place to eat when you have that many! After dinner, we went in the lobby and the girls ran around and we took group pictures before taking the boat to Downtown Disney. We had a blast there. The boat ride was really nice. Downtown Disney was great. We only went into the big Disney store but we were there awhile. Didn't do too much damage there. We got AnnaClaire an adorable Walt Disney World fleece with Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White on it. So cute!! I got an Ariel pillow =). That store is amazing. It is so overwhelming. It is just covered in everything Disney. There are all different sections. We, of course, spent most of our time in the princess area! All the girls enjoyed playing with these little spinny light things. We ended up getting them all Cinderella ones at the Parade on Saturday. Anyway, after we purchased out things, we went next door for some hot chocolate. It was that cold. We all enjoyed drinking it, the little ones especially. They really did all enjoy being together! We caught the boat back and were entertained with singing as boat drove on. We returned pretty late and said bye to Shaoey, Addie, Mia, and Caroline as the rest of us made our way back to our rooms. Saturday morning we got up pretty early and headed to breakfast before going to Magic Kingdom!!!!!!!!!

The bus ride there was packed. We had to stand which was so hard with our squirming toddlers! Finally we made it to the Magic Kingdom. My goodness, it was an absolute ZOO. We had some issues getting in because they had messed up on our ticket, but finally we made it in took a few pictures by the front and went in where we found Bekah and waited for the rest. Soon they made it and we strolled down the busy Main Street with the most beautiful view of the castle. I started having memories of being there when I was little! First we rode It's A Small World. It was great. All the girls loved it and by the end, AnnaClaire was in the front just dancing to the music... too cute! It really is a beautiful ride. I cannot believe detailed everything is in it! We rode the merry go round which was fun. We also road Peter Pan and ate a really yummy lunch. After lunch we bought AnnaClaire some PINK mickey ears! They are so cute on her! We strolled through the park and went to Tooneytown or whatever its called. AnnaClaire was borderline sleep, so we went back to Fantasy land while everyone else played at a little playground. Strolling did not get AC to sleep, so we rode on Snow White because the line was short. It was really scary, actually! AnnaClaire had her eyes just covered the entire time. We went in a few stores and took picture by the castle before rushing back to catch the train. We missed it, so we rode the next one. It was a nice train ride and we even caught a glimpse of a parade going on! We got back and met up with everyone else and walked over to Pooh. That was a very cute ride. Shaoey, Lucy, and Mia were all asleep by this point and the other girls had just just gotten up. one of my favorite parts of the trip came up next. Addie, Emily, and AnnaClaire all had Sara Beth Bows in, so we were trying to get a good picture of the three of them for Jeanette. All of a sudden, the held hands and the three of them started running around, clutching hands. That of course attracting much attention and we had many sweet comments about how beautiful they were. Someone even asked if they were triplets! They were just adorable. Imagine 3 Chinese beauties holding hands and running around... too cute! Then they decided to spin around in circles and that was just a blast in their eyes! They spinned round and round until we stopped them and made our way to Dumbo! The line was so long but all the girls did great! I guess when your with your friends, or more like sisters, lines aren't so bad to wait in! They all kept eachother occupied and we met a sweet family from Germany with a gorgeous 4 year old from China. They were almost in tears when they saw all the little ones. Finally it was our turn on Dumbo and AnnaClaire loved it as did most of the girls. AnnaClaire loves saying "Dumbo" now. Dumbo was my all time favorite when I was little, as well! Right after Dumbo ended, we headed over to the castle for the highlight of the trip. We dressed each girl in a princess outfit (AnnaClaire, Shaoey, and Emily- Snow White, Bekah & Addie- Jasmine, Caroline- Mulan, Lucy- Cinderella, and Mia- fairy princess). All the girls were precious in their outfits and Emily and AC enjoyed posing for pictures in their matching costumes. We then went into the castle for our Cinderella dinner! It was amazing. We got to get our pictures with Cinderella, and they gave each girl a Cinderella wand. They even gave us a huge table which we all could fit at. It was a wonderful 3 course meal and possibly the best steak and chocolate desert I've tasted in my life. The babies got free pasta and princess ice cream sundaes with a chocolate princess crowon on top, which each girl throughly enjoyed and proved it afterwards when each girl had the most chocolately mouth ever! AnnaClaire definitely loved her and ate the whole thing by herself and was literally scraping her bowl. They had a little show as we ate with the mice and fairy godmother. It was fabulous! The mice were a little scary to some of the girls, but AC did warm up to them. Emily was sooooooo sweet with the mice. She loved them! She even danced with one of them which was just the sweetest site. The dinner which was just amazing and I definitely recommend it! After dinner AnnaClaire and Shaoey were holding hands and took off running through Fantast Land. They were so cute in their little Snow White outfits, running around just giggling and looking at eachother. EVERYONE made comments about how cute they were, asked if they were twins, moved aside for them, etc. They actually ran pretty far before we caught them and yet they still grasped eachothers hands as we walked back. We did a little shopping and admired and castle, gorgeously decorated with beautiful white lights. After about an hour, we went out and got a spot for the upcoming parade. AnnaClaire and a few other girls had fallen asleep by now and AnnaClaire was just darling clutching her wand in her sleep. We set all the strollers up and it was the most beautiful sight. 8 little stollers with a beautiful "Mei Mei" inside, some asleep, some not, just enjoying the company of eachother. The parade was amazing and although AC and Shaoey were pretty scared, it was definitely worth it to watch. Afterwards we talked awhile longer and said our goodbyes to everyone. It was such a bittersweet moment. The weekend had just zoomed by it was hard to believe that was goodbye. I think everyone was teary eyed as we went opposite ways. Emily, Lucy, and us went to order pictures from the Cinderella dinner. We met a beautiful family with the most darling 9 year old from China. It was Tabby's 9th birthday and she was so sweet. We definitely enjoyed talking to them and were excited that they are going to Vietnam in March to get Tabby's 2 1/2 year old sister! Tabby was the smartest, sweetest, most beautiful girl and you could tell she was so excited to see 3 babies from China! The girls enjoyed playing while we waited for our pictures and then we left to go back to the hotel. Since getting the pictures had taken awhile, the crowds had died down a little and we actually got a seat on the bus. The girls enjoyed picking out everything that had Mickey Mouse on it. "Mickey Mouse" is a new favorite word in our house, that's for sure!

In the morning we met again for breakfast and talked awhile. We went back to our rooms and finished packing and then it was time to say bye to Lucy and her mom. I feel like Lucy and AnnaClaire share a special bond, as they were both from Chenzhou, and we think they might have been in the same room. It was hard saying bye to sweet Lucy and her mommy. But we made it through and then Emily and her Mommy took us shopping for the day, because our flight was at 7. The rest of the group's were around 1.

We had a wonderful day of shopping and both girls managed to sleep. We had a yummy lunch, met many people, and had a blast playing in the park across the street. Chasing birds, hunting for acorns, and throwing the acorns in the pond were all big hits of the park. Emily and AC were just total and complete dolls running around. So many people asked if they were twins. We bought nothing except for in a store we saw on the way out that we just had to go in. It was kind of a strange store because it had some really, really cute things and then other just tacky things, inclduing a black foofy dress that said, 'birthday babe'. It doesn't sound bad, but oh, it was. Bling pacifiers and wipey cases, red nightgowns... fun times. But we did find the cutest green dress with little pink and green presents at the bottom and both Emily and AnnaClaire got that dress. Emily's mommy and Mom have very similar shopping tastes, as you can see! We have some hilarious memories that will forever be in my mind from being in that one store. We then left for the airport and both girls, once again, slept. Before falling asleep, Emily and AC had a conversation that went something like this:

Emily - "Toes, toes toes toes"
AnnaClaire- "Toes!"
Emily- "My toes!"
AnnaClaire- "No, my toes!"
Emily- "My toes!"
and on and on

As I said... gotta love being two!

Emily's mommy was so sweet to spend all day with us and drive us to the airport (she lives in FL).Thanks so much again, you don't know how much it meant! It was so sad saying goodbye again. Emily and AnnaClaire had such fun times together and I know Mom and Mrs. M did, as well. It was then that our reunion was over =( and back home we headed. AnnaClaire enjoyed wearing her Mickey ears, wearing her Disney World fleece, and holding the Minnie Mouse (she calls it Mickey Mouse) that I got her. She looked like quite the Disney girl and everyone commented on her cuteness. She was pretty good on the flight and loved seeing Daddy at the airport. Dad met us right where we were greeted when we got back from China, which brought back many memories. AnnaClaire loved telling Dad all about her time. We really did have an amazing time. Even after this long post, I still don't think I've explained well enough what a great weekend we had. It was just amazing.

We had someone ask us if we were all family. To that, Mom responded, "now we are". I cannot think of a better way to say that. They really are our family. When all 8 strollers were lined up on the side of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, tears were brought to my eyes. It is that site that reminds me what a miracle adoption really is. You don't get it until you actually go through it. The bond that forms with other families, people you might otherwise never meet, is unbreakable. Those 8 strollers... it was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. Those 8 girls... all 2, all from China, all once orphans with now a forever family... They are all different in so many ways. They are different shapes and sizes, different haircuts, different personalities. You look at each one and it is amazing how perfect she is for her family. It really is. It is impossible to see any one of those girls with any other family. Adoption is truly a miracle. I think that anyone who saw these 8 beauties would not disagree with me on that one.

To each family who we saw this weekend: We love you all. Thanks so much for a wonderful weekend! Can't wait until next time!!!!!!!

I posted the precious stroller pictures and then a group shot, but I have many more that I'm waiting to post... but there's a reason that I can't say yet
UPDATE: the video is now posted! =)

Starting over

So if you're reading this, you were probably a reader of my first blog, AKA Journey with AnnaClaire. You might be wondering why I have decided to start over with a fresh new blog.... the reason? If you haven't noticed, Journey with AnnaClaire wouldn't let me upload pictures. That's because I ran out of space. Yes, I used a full 1024 MB and finally they had to stop letting me freely post pictures. 941 posts, over 1,000 pictures posted to the blog... that's what ran me out. Although starting a new blog wasn't my first choice, when even my background and header stopped showing up, I knew it's what I had to do. So here we are, starting fresh and new with this blog! It's also a good time to start a new one as we have some big family news!