We celebrated yesterday at PF Changs, and later this week, Mom, AnnaClaire, and Kate are going to a Chinese New Year party that AnnaClaire's bible study teacher (who is Chinese) is having. I'm sure we'll have some pictures from that :)
*by the way, Xīn Nián Kuài Lè is the Mandarin pin yin for Happy New Year. I know a lot of blogs have the Cantonese spelling (Gung Hay Fat Choy) so just wanted to clarify :)
Today marks three months since sweet Kate became a part of our family! This month, we have really noticed her to feel much more at home. She has also become much more comfortable around others. Last month, I would not have described her as a "happy baby." How that has changed... she is such a happy little thing now! She has been saying quite a few words and definitely understands what we say to her. She is extremely go-with-the-flow, as well. She has also started to give kisses in the past month. It is about the sweetest thing EVER. She puckers up her lips and even adds "mwah." She is such a little cuddle bug and the sweetest little love. She and AnnaClaire are becoming sweet friends and playing so sweetly together. Yesterday, we were out TV shopping and they were just walking around, holding hands, with big smiles. Love that sight! :) I'm going to be honest and say that our first month and a half home were not easy and not neccesarily enjoyable. However, what a difference we have seen in our beautiful girl! She is so at home now and we are loving life with our two sweet little ones! October 25, 2008 January 25, 2009
This afternoon, we were out TV shopping when AnnaClaire started talking about "the pwane on the Hussen." How she remembered that, I have no idea. I mean, it was a week ago and she even remembered the river's name. She's pretty smart, if I do say so myself. Anyway, it reminded me how I had really wanted to post about it.
I'm sure you've heard, but if not, just google "Hud*son Riv*er Miracle." (take out the asterics, of course.) In short, a plane was flying from NYC to Charlotte, ran into a flock of birds, the engines blew, and the plane landed in the Hud*son Riv*er. Everyone survived. Pretty amazing.
That plane was headed to our city and one of the people on it goes to our Church. He was working up in NYC and was headed home that day... one of the 155 passengers aboard that flight.
On Wednesday, he was able to share his story with our youth group. Not even a week after it happened, and he was recovering from a touch of bronchitus. Amazing.
He shared his story and his perspective of the flight. He talked about how his wife was pregnant and his biggest fear as he went through that scary moment was that he would never meet his baby... and his wife would have the raise the baby alone. Yet he was okay with the fact that Christ was taking him home. Can you imagine? Can you imagine being up in the sky on a plane that was headed for a river, as the pilot screamed, "brace yourself for impact"... thinking you were about to die?
Of course, as you know, the pilot skillfully landed (you keep hearing crashed, but it literally LANDED) on the Hud*son Riv*er and everyone survived.
The plane landed at the busiest section of the river, yet there were no boats in the path of the plane. That also meant that there were a bunch of boats that were able to come rescue the people- whom did I mention were standing in 35 degree water. It occured during a time of day when there were double the people on staff, as they were switching shifts. The pilot was an experienced pilot and and practiced landing on water in his spare time. The ice that appeared on the river the day before, and the afternoon of was nonexistent, making it a smooth landing. Everything was executed perfectly so that the plane landed just right and was not immediately sunken. The worst injury on the plane was two broken legs. Everyone survived.
You just don't hear that. You just don't hear about planes landing on rivers and everyone being okay. Yet, it happened.
I wish I could think of the words to say to explain AnnaClaire. She amazes me every single day, even 25 months after she came home. It's hard to believe it has only been that long... it seems like she has been in our family forever. I hardly recognize the first few pictures we have of her with tears streaming down her face. Although those tears never lasted long, it's hard to imagine that she was ever that sad baby girl who didn't know the love of a family.
She is such a LOVE. She loves life and is constantly laughing and smiling. I love that sweet joy that surrounds her all the time. She is full of PERSONALITY, as she always has been... and it just shines through her. She is most definitely outgoing and has never met a stranger.
She chatters non stop which makes for some hilarious conversations. Yes, it does get tiring... but oh what comes out of a three year olds mouth... she always has us laughing!
She is such an great big sister to sweet Kate. They have their fair share of fighting over some toys (they always seem to want the same toy) but they are so sweet together and they really do love eachother.
The littlest things in life please her and she is appreciative of everything. She cares about everything and everyone. She has the most tender, sweet heart and although she is extremely outgoing, she is also quite sensative.
She is a JOY, a LOVE, and a MIRACLE. Everytime I think of adoption, I realize what a miracle she really is. Just the way everything was perfectly planned by out amazing Father and how he brought AnnaClaire into our lives... the fact that she was born from another mother, orphaned, and out of the thousands of orphans in China, God chose her for OUR family. She fits in so perfect and I cannot imagine our family without her.
I love her so much. I love the way she recaps her day for me every time I get home from school/swim practice. I love the way she tells me that she's "crackin' me up." I love the way she gets all excited about going places and doing special things, I love the way she wants to be just about everything when she "gets big like Sissy", I love the way she knows every word to about every song, I love the way if you ask her who loves her, she says, "JESUS and GOD!", I love the way she comes into my room and asks about my day... I could go on and on...
She has grown and changed so much... too fast for my liking! Yet everyday, I fall more in love with this sweet princess. She really is an amazing, sweet natured little girl.
On MLK Day, Dad took AnnaClaire on the train downtown to the children's museum here while Kate, Mom, and I did some shopping. Booie had SO much fun with her Daddy. She needs a special time just her and Daddy every once in awhile. She had a blast and especially loved the milkshake that Daddy treated her to at lunch! Enjoy the pictures :)
Sundays are always pretty lazy days for us. Our only activity is Church and then after we normally go to lunch. But the afternoons are always spent relaxing at home. While both little girls LOVE to be out and about, a lazy day is always nice :).
Speaking of Sundays, Kate has been going to the nursery! I have been going in with her as we're not quite ready to leave her there, yet. (We did the same thing for AC when she first came home.) Kate has been having such a fun time and loves playing in there with the toys and the other little ones!
I was almost as exicted as AnnaClaire when I woke up to see snow and realize there was no school! We continued a lot of snow traditions and created a lot of snow memories today! I was glad to have the day off (which made it a four day weekend.. nice!) and AnnaClaire was glad to have a snow buddy! First, we enjoyed pancakes for breakfast. Dad, AnnaClaire, Kate, and I then went outside into the snow. Kate enjoyed sledding a few times, but after a few minutes, was ready to go inside. Since we haven't had a good snow in YEARS (and when I say a good snow, I mean 3+ inches. Well, there was that one year we got near 20 inches...) we didn't get snow gear this year. So, the girls outfits were a little makeshift and I think Kate got cold. I don't blame her considering she was wearing AnnaClaire's rainboots which are about 3 sizes too big. AnnaClaire was plenty warm in her foot pjs, long sleeved shirt, jeans, fleece, coat, hat, mittens, and boots and she enjoyed a long time of snow! We had so much fun sledding, making snow angels, making footprints in the snow, making a snow man, and playing with some of her little friends on the street. One of her little friends was talking about how they had gone inside for hot chocolate, so AnnaClaire decided she wanted some. Meanwhile, Kate was helping Mommy make cookies! When Booie and I went in, chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa were waiting! We enjoyed that before going back out and enjoying more snow fun! Finally, we were so cold and hungry that we decided it was time to go in for lunch. We had grilled cheese and bean and bacon soup (another snow day tradition... when it doesn't snow much, you can have those!) AnnaClaire read some of her snow books and then took a nap. We just got back from a few final rounds of sledding and took a little walk in the snow. Sadly, it's melting (amazing how snow can melt so fast when its below freezing... hmmm...) so we'll be back in school tomorrow. But we did have SUCH a fun day in the snow. AnnaClaire is most definitely a snow girl and is already asking when it's going to snow again.
(AC's first "snow" in early 2007!) Please let it snow!
We are supposed to get 3-5 inches of snow tonight/tomorrow. Which is a big deal here! It's been a few years since we've had a real snow. Last year we got maybe a centimeter... not even enough to cancel school (which here in the south, it doesn't take much snow for school to be canceled!) The year before, we had maybe an inch. Needless to say, we are all hoping for a day off of school and a nice little snow... Booie is especially excited about the 90% change of snow! The last time she really saw snow, she had been home a month and was 15 months old... and even then, it wasn't much!
This morning, when we were excitedly talking about the chance of snow, she said, "Maybe God and Jesus will send me SNOW!" and before she went to bed, we prayed that it would snow as she chattered about what she was going to do if it snowed. I really hope it does for her sake (and because I wouldn't mind missing another school day!)
Update: we did get a couple of inches and I have taken some cute pictures :)
Sweet friends walking around the Chen Family Temple together
"Everybody hug Kylie and Caleb's daddy!"
Chasing eachother all around (yes, this is what touring looks like with little ones!)
Playing in the hotel
Caleb, Kylie, and AnnaClaire sharing M&Ms
Kylie, AnnaClaire, and Darby on the red couch
Sharing cheerios on the flight to Beijing!
Dancing around and eating starbursts in Beijing
...to see my Kywee, Darby, and Lu Tao again!"
I have really been missing China this weekend. You could call it China envy from following the three families I posted about as they are there. So I was looking through pictures and realized I had never posted these of AnnaClaire and her sweet "China srends." AnnaClaire loved every minute of our trip to China... especially her little friends. We traveled with 4 other families, 3 who had adopted little girls already, and 2 had their 2.5 year old girls with them. Kylie's family was on our same flight from our city to Newark and to China, and the girls had so much fun playing on the long plane ride! And that was only the start... When we landed in China, we met sweet Darby (who was also on our flight, but sitting in a difficult spot) and the girls danced around together. On the buses, they sat by each other, and at the museums, they ran around together. AnnaClaire asked about her friends every single day that we were in Jiangxi and excitedly chattered about them the whole flight to Guangzhou. They loved running around the hotel hallways, playing together, and sitting by each other at McDonalds. I'm so glad AnnaClaire had little friends in China! Kylie and Caleb, when you are in town, make sure to let us know! AnnaClaire misses you both SO much!
And so it's no wonder that the other day, AnnaClaire said to me, "I wanna go back to China to see my Kywee, Darby, and Lu Tao again!"
Thankfully, it doesn't take 30 hours of traveling to do that :)