Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sweet Sixteen!!!!

More pictures later :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Always Smiling

My goodness, how I love this sweet little girl and her SMILE! As she would say, "I'm just crackin' you up!" She is always making us laugh. Oh the joy that our spunky three year old brings us daily! She is always smiling, and oh what a smile she has! She has such a spunk and zest for life! Whether it be while she's pretending, talking (and talking!), playing, reading, eating, dressing up... she's always so HAPPY. I love that about her! Her smile is just contagious! And not only that, but I love the way that she loves Jesus! She is the loudest singer at bible study and knows every word to every single song they sing. In fact, next week, she's going on the stage with the music lady (just her- no other kids!) to sing to all of the 200+ ladies at the Bible study! She's always sooo excited to tell me what she learned about Jesus at Bible study. And then there's her sweet prayers before dinner, that go something like this...

"Dear God, thank you for my food and thank you for my WHOLE family! Thank you for everything! Thank you for Drew and Daddy coming home from work and thank you for me and Kate coming home from CHINA! Thank you for Dora and Diego (and then she always giggles) and thank you for my WHOLE family! AAAAAAAAAAMEN!"

She's not the only one smiling. She makes everyone around her smile and I just know that she's making Jesus smile, too. I pray that she ALWAYS loves him, looks to him, and isn't afraid to shout out his name!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Five Months...

of loving this amazingly sweet little girl :) It's hard to believe that five months has passed so quickly. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were standing in the office of Shepherd's Field Children's Village watching Kate, in the arms of her nanny, walking over to meet us? But then again, as I always say, it's hard to remember life without our precious girl! I just love this little girl so much... her joy, shy little spunk, and love of life is just contagious. Praise God for the five months Miss Kate has been a part of our family. He is so good and to Him be all the glory for what he has done in our lives and in hers.

For pictures from Kate's other gotcha anniversaries, go here!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

My little girl and her Crocs!

As I have said, Miss Katie Cakes is ALL girl. She loves shoes, dresses, bows, bling, tu tus... everything girly. She especially loves her new pink Crocs! Who doesn't love those on her teeny little feet? She's in the smallest size and they are big on her... but could she be any cuter? AnnaClaire got matching bright pink Crocs and is so excited about them, too!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Track Meet Fun!

Covering her ears during the start of one race
Posing with Sissy (and the discus, which she was very intrigued in.)

We had an absolutely beautiful morning (which turned into a beautiful day!), although a little on the chilly side. I had a track meet, so AnnaClaire and Dad decided to come and watch. AnnaClaire had so much fun and was very good for the 5+ hours we were there. She, as always, had fun seeing her "big" friends and cheering for Sissy! She has been talking about the "track meeting" (like Daddy's meetings) all day long!

While AnnaClaire was having fun at the "track meeting," Kate had a fun day shopping with just Mommy! Kate is SUCH a girly girl. She got some new shoes and was just prancing around like a princess throughout the whole store. She gets so excited about new shoes and clothes!

Oh and just a note to self, I really need to add pictures from Kate's birthday "party" in the mountains. We celebrated two weeks ago and yet still... no pictures. It's just so overwhelming because I have a lot of cute ones. Those are next, I promise!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

{Practically} Wordless Wednesday

We walked by AnnaClaire's room to this sweet sight today...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Pattys Day!

~AnnaClaire and Kate~

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Orphans No More!

Kate in March 2008, 12 months
Kate in March 2009, 24 months

AnnaClaire in March 2006, 5 months
AnnaClaire in March 2009, 3 (40 months)
Just had to share these pictures~ It's so easy to forget when our sweet girlies weren't with us. It's even harder to ever imagine them being orphans, living in an orphanage. Don't you just love how much they have changed in the time they have been with us? They have gone from orphans to princesses and I love that. I really wish there was a way to give every orphan a fairy tale ending... Make every little girl a princess, every little boy a sports star. There are 187 million orphans in the world and I doubt that number is going to shrink any time soon. I realize that not everyone is called to adopt. Although, I can tell you that in no way did we think that we would ever adopt. When we started the process for AnnaClaire, Drew was a sr. in high school! That's when parents are focusing on just getting everyone out of the house, not starting over! Yet the seed was planted and I now I cannot imagine life without our two princesses. Look what we could've missed! Our two amazing, beautiful, joyful girls who bring so much to our family... so much laughter, so much joy, so much fun! But anyway, I do know not everyone is called to adopt. However, there are a few things that anyone can do! PRAY for the orphans. Pray for families to step up to adopt babies, children, teenagers even. No child should have to go through life with no one to turn to. If you get the opportunity, VISIT the orphans. I promise you will be changed in an unexplainable way. SPONSOR the orphans. AnnaClaire and Kate's orphanages both had amazing sponsorship programs. AnnaClaire's orphanage (Chenzhou) has a Half the Sky program and there are many, many kids in that program that NEED sponsors. Kate's original orphanage (Shangrao) has an amazing program called Love Without Boundaries and they, likewise, have many kids that need sponsors. Lastly, and most dearly to my heart is Philip Hayden Foundation, the place where Kate lived for 15 months. PHF houses around 100 special needs orphans and they all need 8 sponsors for surgery/medical treatments and day-to-day care. Care for the orphans, visit the orphans, pray for the orphans. That's what we are called to do! Just think... those two beautiful princesses pictured above were once two of the 187 million orphans in the world. They lived in orphanages in China, were cared for my nannies, and were sponsored and prayed for. Look where they are now. Two sweet princesses who have come HOME through the miracle of adoption, a lot of prayers, love, faith, and a mountain-moving God who loved them and saw 2 beautiful orphans who needed families and one family who needed two sweet little girls in their lives. So I beg of you, if you can't adopt, PRAY. SPONSOR. VISIT. LOVE these orphans. SPEAK UP for those who can't speak for themselves! They all deserve it!
And after all, it is what God calls us to do!

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My News...

I've made you all wait long enough... so I thought I would finally tell you the exciting news that I posted about. I had wanted to wait for exact dates before I said anything, but I just can't wait any longer to share.

Anyway, as many guessed, I will be going to C*hina this summer!

First of all, let me say that I have been wanting to go back this summer so badly. However, I honestly had no idea how I was going to go. I didn't say anything to anyone, just kept praying that if it's what God wanted me to do, He'd find a way for me to go. Imagine my surprise... or should I say SHOCK when my aunt called one day a few weeks ago. I was home sick and Mom came in my room once she got off the phone. She was looking extra happy about something and I asked her why. She went on to inform me that Aunt L had called to say that whe and my other aunt (Aunt D) were going to C*hina this year. Her Church had decided to go and she had asked Aunt D to go, too. Aunt D had been praying about it and said that every time she prayed, my name just kept coming to her. She told Aunt L to ask me if I wanted to join them. Therefore, she was calling to see if I would go to C*hina with them. Alright, now is that God or WHAT? Here I had been praying that I could somehow go to C*hina... and throughout this time, my aunts had been praying about asking me to go to C*hina with them!! I know without a doubt that this is what I am called to do this summer. I'm not sure God could've made that any more clear. So on (or around) July 15th, I will be heading to the Liao*ning province with both of my aunts and a few other ladies from Aunt L's church. We aren't sure when we're coming home yet, but we will be there between 7-10 days. I can't go into a whole lot of detail about where we are working, but I can tell you that we will be working in a home of special needs orphans. And I couldn't be more excited.

Sara Beth Bows Giveaway!

I know I've talked about Sara Beth Bows before... Our favorite place to get bows (where basically every bow AnnaClaire and Kate have is from!) run by our sweet friend. Anyway, Sara Beth Bows if having a giveaway. Above are the bows that the first name picked will get. There is a birthday bow for the second name. Be sure to check out Sara Beth Bows, enter the giveaway, and check out the sweet bows! They are the cutest bows and if you're not lucky like I am to know Jeanette, let me tell you that she is one of the SWEETEST women I've known and we are so blessed to live near her... which means we get our bows HAND delivered :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kind of Wordless Wednesday

Have you noticed how bad I am at wordLESS Wednesdays? I just have so much to say. Like what an absolutely adorable girl is pictured above and how each time I look at her, my heart grows... Oh and have I mentioned how much I love her closed mouth smile? 'Cause I do.

And since we're talking about AnnaClaire, let me rewrite what she just told me...

"I am a good big sister to Kate because Kate is a good little sister to me and Sissy is a good big sister to me AND Kate!"

I do love my big, little sister!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Big Sister, Little Sister

Every single moment that these two share... whether it be playing ring-a-round-the-rosie with their bunnies, reading books and goofing off in AC's bed together, or eating popcorn and watching Dora side by side... every single moment reminds me of how BLESSED I am by these two little girls. Their love for each other is so sweet and while every moment isn't perfect (there are moments which are far from perfect!), their special bond just makes me love them even more.

AnnaClaire could not be a better big sister. We have been trying Kate in the nursery, and while she was fine the first two times we tried bringing her by herself, she screams now. AnnaClaire said to us the other day, "Mommy, Kate can come in my nursery and I will play with her and make her not afraid!" She loves her so much... and has become quite the protective big sis, too!

Kate is such a sweet little sister. Like I said, every moment isn't perfect and there are times when Kate refuses a hug or doesn't want to play... but oh how sweet it is to watch her chase AnnaClaire around and do everything she does. Today, they were watching Dora together and Kate (unpromted by anyone) put her arm around AnnaClaire. And there's those times when she says "I lub eww!" to AnnaClaire.

I just love watching these two together. Never a dull moment :)

One other adorable moment which I almost forgot to share... We were at the mountains on Saturday, celebrating Kate's birthday. We started at a park in Blowing Rock and had ice cream. Afterwards, we were going to the car to head to the actual mountains. Dad, AC, and I had walked ahead to throw some trash away and Mom and Kate were walking when we turned to come back to the car. At the same time, AnnaClaire and Kate started bolting at eachother and ran into eachother with the sweetest, biggest hug I have ever seen. Talk about melting their sissy's heart...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Summer Sneak Peak :)

My amazingly adorable sisters :)
AnnaClaire LOVES to swim... especially with her Daddy!
She has the best smile... even from the side
Kate gave AC a thumbs up so AC was returning the favor :)

We have had some incredible weather this weekend and today. I'm talking 70s! We're all loving this summer like weather. I think it's time for the spring clothes to come out! Today we had a little sneak peak of summer and the girlies wore their new bathingsuits...

Dad came home early from work, so he promised AnnaClaire that he would take her to the Y*M*C*A* pool to swim. She's been a few times and absolutely loves it! I didn't have much homework, so I went with so that we could bring Kate along. They looked so stinkin' adorable in their new flowered skirtie bathingsuits from Mini Bo*den. (I mean seriously... have you ever seen anything so cute?) Once we got in the actual water, we discovered Kate is not water baby. Of course, neither was AnnaClaire when she first went to the pool. (Look at that chubby goodness!) Kate did warm up to the water a little at one point (what I mean by that is she clung on to me with her head on my shoulder, but didn't cry) she even let out a few laughs. But then someone splashed her, and there was no going back. We got out and we enjoyed watching AnnaClaire swim with Daddy. Kate ended up having a fun time of giving thumbs up, cheering, and clapping for AnnaClaire while bundled in her little towel. AnnaClaire had so much fun, as always, just swimming around. She is our little fishie! She could swim all day long if we let her. Of course, she needs to really learn how to swim. I told her I'm giving her swim lessons soon because she's 3.5 and she needs to get over putting her head under water :) mean sissy! Anyway, we had a fun afternoon and look forward to lots more pool days... and soon enough OUTDOOR pool days!

By the way, I took sooo many pictures when we went to the mountains on Saturday for Kate's birthday. They are coming as soon as I have time to upload that many pictures. I also have a few cute ones from yesterday and some cute little girl stories. These two are full of funny and adorable moments :) Anyway, those posts are coming soon, I promise.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tutu, doll, and dress links

Now that Kate has her doll, I can finally show you these adorable dolls! I saw them on this blog around Christmas. I told Mom all about them and we proceeded to order them. Since we were in China on AC's birthday, we hadn't gotten a chance to use the money her grandma sent for her. We decided to use that money on her doll and Kate's money on a doll for her! I absolutely love them. You can pick the dress/skirt fabric, shirt fabric, hair style, hair color, eyes, etc. But the best part of all? The sweet scripture patch that appears under each doll's skirt. The verses we used are life verses we choose for the girls'. You might recognize them from their adoption announcements. Anyway, I think these are just the most special dolls.

Order a doll at www.babybeblesseddolls.com. They have boy and girl dolls and you will NOT be disappointed.

We saw Kate's birthday dress on this blog and had fallen in love with it. I'm sure you know by now that Mom and I absolutely love pink and green :). Anyway, the dress is made by Izzy B Designs, which you can find here. They have a bunch of different dresses and they are all ADORABLE.

And lastly, THE tutu. Lets just say we have been on the lookout for the perfect tutu and I think we finally found it. The tutu site was given to us by some friends of ours. The site can be found here (www.zolee.etsy.com) Kate's is baby pink, layered, ribbon waist. It is even cuter in person. Oh and... it's only $25 (that's including shipping!!)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Precious Kate!

Happy birthday, my precious two year old! I had so much fun celebrating your special day with you and I cannot wait to watch you grow. But for now, lets stick with turning two...

First things first. When you wake up on your birthday, it is important to get dressed in something really cute. Because we all know that if you look cute, you feel cute!
Just in case you didn't get enough cuteness, here's a little more. Oh and if you have any, squeaky shoes are preferable. They attract lots of attention and you are sure to get lots of "oh my goodness look how cute that little girl is!" if you do wear them. Plus, what could be better than hearing yourself squeak all. day. long?
After your favorite breakfast of a whole wheat bagel with cinnamon sugar, play extra nice. If you do, your mommy might take you to your favorite restaurant, which would obviously be Chick*fil*a. And maybe your best friend will even show up and bring a present for you! And best of all, you might even stop by your big sissy's school and get to bring her to lunch, too!
If you eat really well (and even if you don't) the sweet hostess (who knows you by name because you eat at Chick*fil*a so much) might bring you, your sister and your friend, "Mina" some ice cream. Maybe she will even put some sprinkles on and sing the happy birthday song to you!
If you ask, your mommy might even let you go outside and play! If you have a big sister like my AnnaClaire, she might even help you go down the slide. If you have a great friend like "Mina," she might even share some of her teddy grahams with you. And since you are looking extra cute, everyone will most likely look at you and tell you how adorable you are.
If you take a really good nap, your biggest sissy might just take you outside and offer you M&Ms if you give her a sweet smile. If you are really, really cooperative, she might take you and your other sister to play with some friends across the street! If she is that nice, be sure to remind her that you are now two (and cute as can be!) and say it in a really, really cute voice. Not like she needed reminding, anyway.
If you have a really great family, they will probably take you to your other favorite restaurant, Pei Wei. Since it's your birthday, no one can get mad when you plop your feet on the table and start stuffing noodles in your mouth. Not like they could ever get mad at you anyway. Your big sissy would just laugh and pull out the camera.
When you get back from dinner, there is a good possibility that a light pink homemade cake (made by your favorite big sisters!) will be waiting. Everyone will start singing the happy birthday song and that's when you know to start dancing and clapping. At the end of the song, it's important to blow out all the candles. That's how birthdays work in America!
Your family might want to take a few pictures with you, because you are so cute. Be sure to cooporate because that most likely means they will be more generous on your cake size.
Make sure to love extra hard on your biggest sissy. Thank her for getting out of school early to come to lunch with you. (ha) Tell her how much you love the cake she made for you and she'll smother you with kisses. Given fact.
Give a big smile with your mommy and daddy, because they most likely bought you a lot of new things, and it's good to be appreciative. They'll want to keep buying you things if you are.
Eat your cake until your heart is content, because since it's your birthday, you can have as much as you want! Since that only happens once a year, eat a lot!
Savor every minute of "cake time" with your family, because they are all there. And that just doesn't happen that much when you have teenage siblings! Plus, you will be eating a slice of heaven. No need to rush that!
When you're done with your cake, your mommy might just take you to a pile of presents, which she tells you are all for you. The quicker you smile with your pile, the quicker you open the presents. Be sure to remember that little tip! It might just come in handy!
When opening presents, know that your big sister might want to help you. She likes to open things to and it's good to share. Plus, if you let her help you, maybe she'll let you help her on her next birthday! Oh and when you open the cutest doll ever, be sure to give her a big hug. Everyone will thing you are so cute if you do that. I mean, not that everyone doesn't think you are cute already.
Let your sissy put on your new pink tu tu because you will look like a complete doll in it. Your daddy will start videotaping you, your sissy will take some pictures, your mommy will go crazy over how adorable you are. Especially if you stick your hiney in the air and your tu tu goes straight out.
If you want to cry for no reason at all, go ahead. Since it is, afterall, your birthday. And since it's your birthday, you can cry if you want to.
Tell your sister to get her tutu so you can dance together. We all know that dancing with your sister is one of the funnest things you could do. Especially when you both fall down on top of eachother! Yes, danacing with your sister is just so much fun!
Before you go to bed, pose for one last picture with your sister and your dollies. Only because they are the cutest dolls ever and you think that everyone who has a little girl (or a little boy!) should have one. Anyway, if you do pose, you might just get another M&M. To finish the night, give everyone a happy birthday kiss and let them sing happy birthday to you one more time... because it will be another year before that song is sung for you again.

Happy second birthday, sweet Katherine MeiLing!! I love you so much!