Monday, March 31, 2008

My birthday :)

I had a really great birthday. Thanks for all the wishes. I only have a minute, so here's a picture... I'll add more tomorrow. 3 of my friends decorated the rock at school for me, so this is me and them on it. They put all these jokes we have on it (which is why it says baked potatoes) and wrote Happy Birthday on the top. I had a really good day. Check back tomorrow and I'll have a few more pictures!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A few more...

First of all, I just wanted to wish Staci and Keara happy birthdays. Staci turned 16 on Sunday and Keara turns 15 today. So happy birthday to both of you!!! Hope they were really fun!

And now for some spring dress cuteness :)

Enjoying chocolate cake at Bucas last night!

Okay so here's a few pictures to catch you up on this week. Not loving todays weather... it's cold! Oh well, atleast we had a few springlike days and hopefully they will return next week. This morning Dad, AC, and I went to the Verizon store. For my birthday I'm asking for a new phone. So I picked out the one I want. Dad got a new phone, too. As you know, buying phones is not a super quick process, especially with a 2 year old! AnnaClaire did meet a little friend, Abby Scott. She was 2 and a half. The girls had so much fun holding hands and playing "follow the leader" around the store. They were soooo cute together and had a blast. When Abby Scott had to leave, they were hugging and giving kissies and everyone in the store was like, "Where are all those camera phones!?" It was funny. Then we had lunch at Qdoba and Will met us there. It was funny because we saw the paramedic who brought AC on the ambulance ride! Oh and big news at Qdoba!!! AnnaClaire went potty! She's never gone on the potty when we've been out, so this was a big deal!

Friday, March 28, 2008

On the potty front...

She's doing SO well. She has been wearing panties all week and minus a few accidents here and there, she'd doing awesome!! Today was the first time she wore panties ALL day, keeping them clean and dry the whole time! (Of course she's still in diapers at nap/bed.) She goes every single time she sits on the potty, even if it's just a little!! The only problem is she won't tell us when she needs to go. But anyway, I'm so proud of her!! She's doing so great with her potty training!

By the way, don't you love her cute new dress?

Today's my grandma's birthday.. (yeah, we have our share of birthdays the last wek of March... Will's is the 24, Grandma's the 28, mine is the 31!) Happy birthday Grandma! She's here so we celebrated at Bucas. It was delicious. AnnaClaire definitely enjoyed her fettichine and chocolate cake! On the way home, we were talking and all of a sudden she starts rubbing my head and says, "I love you Sissy!" She wasn't even prompted or anything.. she just said it! :)

I have a few more pictures to add. She has adorable spring dresses and she's finally getting to start wearing them! Of course we're getting cold weather this weekend... ugh.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter pictures!!!

Family pictures

AnnaClaire modeling in her Easter dress!

Easter egg hunt!

Playing with her cutting toy and her sidewalk chalk!

Afternoon bike ride with Daddy, Drew, and Sissy

"Who's a chub chub?"
(Whenever call AnnaClaire a "chub chub", she squeezes her thighs like this... so cute!!)

Here's all the Easter pictures. I know some of them show up teeny on the collages. You can enlarge the collages by clicking on them.

Today it was back to reality. Drew went back to MA for college, Will and I went back to school. It wasn't so fun going back to school. Seeing everyone was great, though. I think I had mentioned that we had to memorize some Julius Caesar... well today one of my friends and I decided to say it early, since we knew it. It's not due until Friday, but it was nice saying it today so I don't have to worry about it anymore. We had to memorize 81 lines... not fun. However I got a 99% and it was a test grade. That was good :).

On the potty front, I think AC went 5 or 6 times today, including poopies!!! She wore panties ALL afternoon. Although she had wet panties, she did very well!!! We're getting there!!

This afternoon we enjoyed a nice episode of Barney. AC loves Barney. It's the only show she sits through. She loves the "I Love You" song at the end and always sings along. It's so cute when she watches it! :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Will!

Today's Will's 17th birthday! Happy birthday Will!

No Easter pictures today... we go back to school tomorrow and I'm busy with that fact. All day I worked on support letters for my mission's trip to Romania this summer. I finally finished, after working from 11-5. I'm sending out about fifty! Anyway, by the time I finished with those, we left for Outback for Will's birthday dinner. He got lots of money, a Chickfila giftcard from Drew, AC, and me, an an iPod. After our delicious dinner, we went to the mall so he could get the iPod he wanted. Then it was back home for chocolate butterfinger carmel cake! YUM. I think he had a good birthday!

On the potty front: AnnaClaire went potty a total of FIVE times today! She kept her panties dry all afternoon! She went on quite a few errands and kept them dry. She also wore them to dinner and kept them dry! She has done SOOO well! Sadly, at this point she will only go for me, and I go back to school tomorrow...

I'll try my hardest to add those other cute Easter pictures soon. I'm back to my busy schedule, so I can't promise tomorrow, but I'll try to get them up then.

P.S. Our beautiful spring weather from the weekend, where I was walking around in short sleeves and bare feet has disappeared. We're back to our cold 50s, which is nothing to some of you guys, but when over the weekend, it was 70, it's not fun at all!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


My Easter Baby

Infamous cheesy smile on Easter!

Will, me, AnnaClaire, and Drew!


Beautiful on Easter

Easter egg hunt!!

Look at all the eggs I've found!

Finding her stain glass one (it has a stain glass window on it and it is definitely her favorite egg)

My precious mei mei!

A Bu, a bunny, and a basket full of eggs

These are 10 of my favorite Easter pictures. I have SOOO many from today. I took close to 300... Our Easter was really good. We woke up and we all opened our Easter baskets. Drew, Will, and I got money from both grandmas and also Mom and Dad. AnnaClaire got a little Easter bird and bird's nest that is really cute. She also got Easter egg sidewalk chalk, eggs with candy, and an Easter book. That was all from Mom and Dad. From Grandma she got a package of food that you can cut! It's so cute and she absolutely LOVES cutting the food with her wooden knife! After we opened out baskets, we headed to Church. It was a really great service. After, we went to lunch. When we got home, we took tons of pictures. AnnaClaire played with her cutable (is that a word?) foods before her nap. She absolutely loves that present. She would not stop cutting them! I'll need to post a picture so you know what I'm talking about. She took a great nap and we had to wake her after five!! I asked her if she had to go potty, and she told me she did. She went poopies and tinkle! She got lots of chocolate kisses for that!! We were so proud of her. It was her first time going on the upstairs potty (AKA the pink potty.) She cut her foods somemore and then we had an Easter egg hunt. She had a blast hunting for all her eggs! She found all of them, and was soooooo cute doing so. She was especially excited when she got to her "Stain glass egg." That is her favorite by far. She saw a stain glass window recently, so she loves that sticker on it. She picked it up and said, "STAIN GLASS EGG! PRETTY!" It was cute. After she collected them all, she sat with Bunny and she and bunny counted her eggs... so cute! We went back inside and she wanted to cute her foods somemore. I took her on the driveway and we played with her Easter sidewalk chalk. She had never seen chalk before. She had tons of fun with it. It's really cute... egg and chick shaped! After awhile of chalk, she saw her bike and wanted to go for a ride. Dad, Drew, and I took her and she had lots of fun. She is quite the peddler. She has all these new traditions that she does on her bike. Such as, on the way, she looks for rocks to throw in the creek on the way home. She also stops at a certain place on the sidewalk to jump. It's funny. We had a very nice ride and she loved saying hi to all the people that were out on this beautiful Easter day! We came back and it was dinnertime. We had a delicious Easter dinner of ham, green beans, corn pudding, and carrots. It was delcious. Afterwards, AnnaClaire had to go potty again! We fought a little over it, but when she sat on it, she went right away. She got to wear panties and we watched her funny antics (such as squeezing her legs when we say shes a "chub") and then Dad and Drew took her to the movie store so they could get a movie. This was the first time she wore panties out somewhere. She did great and kept them dry! When she got home, I asked her if she needed to go potty again. She did! Yes, that is THREE times in ONE day!! We were SOOOOO proud of her. Needless to say, there were lots of chocolate kisses today! She went night night after a very nice Easter. It really was a great day. More importantly though, we celebrate our risen Savior! Happy Easter everyone!!

P.S. Look below for another one of my favorites from the day. I also added a picture to it... Be sure to check it out.

P.S.S. I have tons more pictures to add, but I'm going to get to bed, so I'll add them tomorrow!

He is Risen, Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!
Love, AnnaClaire

P.S. Stay tuned for lots more pictures coming tonight!

Easter 2007... Look how much she has grown in a year!!
(These pictures are taken in the exact same spot!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Decorating Easter Eggs!

My friend left late afternoon today. We had a really fun time with her. Yesterday her, two other friends, and I walked around old memorable sites and had a picnic at the park. It was actually really fun! Then last night about ten of us went to the mall and had dinner. Afterwards we went in the hot tub and had a huge game of hide and seek in the dark. It was so fun. We had ice cream sundaes and had a sleep over. We had a fun time. In the morning slowly people started leaving. A few of us stayed until Rachel left, too. We decorated easter eggs and just hung around. It was really fun but sad to see her go. Anyway, once I got home I decorated Easter eggs with AC. It was really fun. AnnaClaire really did enjoy herself as she plopped them in the dye. After they were dry, we decorated them with Easter stickers. They turned out really pretty. She was really proud of her Easter eggs and counted them all after she decorated them! Here's a few collages with pictures from decorating them. Oh by the way: yes, she has on different pajamas in the second collage. We had a little accident with the dye and her nightgown was drenched with yellow dye. Thankfully, it all came out, as her nightgown is our favorite.

here's a picture of a bunch (although not all) of us on Friday night!

Thursday and Friday

Here's pictures from Thursday and Friday. See below for about Thursday. As for Friday, Mom and Dad took AC to the zoo! She had a really fun time, as you can see from the pictures. She just loves going to the zoo!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kitchens and lawnmowers

It's been quite a day :). The morning consisted of Dad and Mom going to the lawyer for AnnaClaire's readoption. They said NC is very slow at processing it all and it might be a couple of months before the actual thing (and at the time we will get her English birth certificate.) Sadly, the state of North Carolina doesn't do the readoption with the judge, so we will not have those special judge pictures. Anyway once Mom and Dad got home, we all just kinda hung downstairs and talked and played kitchen with Bu. After awhile Dad, Drew, AC, and I went to Lowes to look for a new lawnmower. We found one. AnnaClaire had a blast trying out all the riding mowers. (No, we didn't get a riding one.) We ate at Pei Wei afterwards and it was sooo good. It was packed, so we had to sit at tables overlooking the kitchen. It actually turned out fun though and AC liked watching them make all the food. She ate really well and enjoyed her lunch. We came back home for naptime and Mom and I stopped quick at the mall to pick something up. Soon after we got home, my friend got here!! I think back in August I talked about how she moved to Pittsburgh... well they are back here for a few days! I'm so excited!! Her brother and Will are really good friends, too, so we are both pretty much really excited. So anyway, I hung out with her and my other friend all afternoon. We had so much fun. So we've been pretty busy today. I have a lot more pictures, but here's one for now. She loves cooking in her kitchen. And I love her in that Princess apron!

P.S. We had potty success tonight! She is so ready... just STUBBORN. I couldn't believe I actually got her to go tonight. Whenever we mention the potty, she practically starts crying. But tonight I asked her and she said no. I asked her if she wanted to try and she said NO POTTY. But something changed her mind and she went! She's always so happy after she goes. My favorite was "GOOD JOB BU BABY!" (she said that to herself.) She also always proudly shows everyone her potty after she goes, and we all clap and encourage her and she gets her treats. She's doing better, she is just so ready that it makes it hard. Bribes don't even work anymore, she is just so stubborn about it... but we still love her :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cut Out Cookies

I had told Miss Bu that we would bake cookies after her nap. While she slept, Mom and I ran to the mall quick to find a dress for me. I got two new ones! :) When we got back, AnnaClaire was up and ran downstairs reminding me that we were going to make cookies. We washed hands and I cleaned her rolling pin and we made cut out cookies! We had a fun time! We used her letter cookie cutters that she got for her birthday. This was the first time she ever made cut out cookies, and she had a fun time doing it... or should I say eating dough? :) By the time we were done, she was covered head to tow in flour. She definitely enjoyed herself! Not only that, but we have some delicious cookies! Cut out cookies really are the best. (Notice Kate's name in the names we spelled out in cookies? Can't wait!! Speaking of which, we've been logged in 3 months today!!!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cinderella Story

I was shocked when in the winter of 2005, my parents told us at dinner that they wanted another child. I was the youngest, but being twelve, I never thought I would have a younger sibling. However the thought of adopting a baby girl from China immediately sounded amazing to me. I dreamed of having a little sister. I dreamed of her in a pink tutu, as every big sister does. We started the adoption a few months later and it wasn't long before we were logged in. On July 25, 2006, 2 little pictures changed my life forever. It was a typical summer day when a Virginia area code showed up on our caller ID... and it wasn't my aunt. Long story short, there was an eight month old baby girl at Chenzhou SWI who needed a family. I now look back and realize how amazing this day really was. Just a week after being added to the Interested Families list, we were being called with a referral... now it takes much longer and people are waiting over a year... and that's considered short. Anyway. It was that moment that changed my life. My mom called me down, but I already knew what she was going to say. We couldn't wait for the email... fifteen minutes didn't come soon enough. Finally the email came through, and we looked into the sweet eyes of AnnaClaire Chenhui. For four months, those two pictures were all we knew... and some how every day I found myself more and more in love. For those four months, I lived and breathed through those pictures. I once again dreamed of her in pink tutus with a big bow. All I ever thought about was AnnaClaire. She was constantly on my mind and I couldn't think of anything without her popping into my head. I don't think I could have beared another day without her. Luckily, God has perfect timing and on December 7, 2006, we boarded a plane to Beijing. The following days were incredible. Beijing is a beautiful place, and one I will never forget. However, sightseeing didn't even matter. No matter how hard I tried to enjoy the beautiful landmarks of Beijing, my mind could only go to Monday. I pictured and replayed images in my head of how our "gotcha" moment would happen. However that Monday, December 11, 2006, none of those images actually happened. Our gotcha moment was so different than what I thought or expected... but it was perfect. A little after 4 P.M. on that day, Xun Hui was ours. The rest of our trip wasn't so easy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. As you probably know by now, AnnaClaire attached very quickly to Dad. This made everything difficult and I can just remember Mom and I trying to console her in the hotel room, to no avail, whenever Dad wasn't there. However, we survived and had an amazing trip that I would not trade for anything. Coming home was bittersweet, as arriving home just before midnight did not keep our family and friends away. When we got to our house,it was decorated and food filled. Our Christmas was hectic, arriving home just five days before. That Christmas honestly didn't feel like Christmas at all. God had already given us the best gift of all, two weeks early. The months flew by and AnnaClaire grew and grew. She started accepting everyone. Her transition really was easy and I am SO thankful for that! She picked up on words so fast and I was amazed every time she said something, how a sweet baby could go from 13 months of only hearing Chinese to speaking English in just a few months. She experienced so many new firsts, which I cannot even begin to list. Her life was drastically changed, but she was not the only one. My heart grew about a million times as big as it was. Every day I fell more and love with my little princess, the beautiful girl that God blessed our family with. My love for her continues. It is still hard for me to fathom that it has been over fifteen months since our bundle of love was placed in our arms. It still seems unreal that she was ever not a part of my life. She has changed my life so much. She has grown leaps and bounds and I cannot believe she was ever a baby. She never stops talking... or kissing, for that matter! :) She is SO full of love and joy and she only reaches it out to others. I literally hold her and never want to put her down, because she is so amazing, so beautiful, so loving. She is so fun to be around. She's so funny, too. She is always saying the funniest things and we are constantly laughing at her. I love everything about her. It's really hard for me to believe that two years ago, she was an orphan... a four month old baby waiting in an orphanage. How did my spoiled, dramatic, princess ever live in an orphanage? It really is hard for me to believe that. I cannot tell you how much I love her. Everything about her, I just love. The way she has memorized practically every single book, the way she kisses, the way she reacts when she experiences something new, the way she sings "Jesus Loves You" and "I Love You" (especially when we get to the we're a happy family part; how true!) and just everything. One of my favorite parts of the day is when she just wakes up from her nap. I walk in and she has a huge smile on her face and is either standing and saying, "WHERE ARE YOU!!!!!" or laying and laughing at herself. I get her out and still smiling, she always tells me something (Yesterday it was "Nope poopies, I didn't go poopies.... SISSY PLEASE CHANGE POOPIES!") She is always happy, but I especially love her joy when she wakes up. Yesterday, I got her out of the crib, and she informed me that she wanted to listen to "Cinderella song!" (As I mentioned, she has this thing with that song and she wants to listen to it over and over again.) So we went in my room and turned it up really loud and I showed her how to dance to it. All of a sudden it dawned on me that we had a tutu that might fit her now. I found it and sure enough, it fit. For the next two hours, we played Cinderella song over and over and danced again and again. (and did makeup, too.) Finally I got my dream... my princess in her tutu. As I watched her dancing, full of joy, it dawned on my that dreams really do come true... just look at AnnaClaire. She's my princess, my very own Cinderella. And I love her so much.

Sweet Maia!

Today we had lunch with "the ladies." AnnaClaire was so excited! We went to Chickfila and everyone was there. She had soooo much fun. After eating, Emma Grace, Alex, Jacob, and AnnaClaire went on the playplace and played for the longest time.The whole morning, AnnaClaire had been asking to play at Chickfila, so she definitely enjoyed herself. She also loved playing with kids! As for us, we got to meet Maia! She just came home from Vietnam and she is adorable! Her family is adopting Aliana from China, but did a concurrent adoption through Vietnam. As you can tell from the pictures, little Maia is just adorable. She's seven months old! AnnaClaire was definitely jealous when Mom or I held Maia. Most of the time, she was out playing, but she would come in every once and awhile (I think to make sure we weren't holding Maia.) one time, she ran in and I was holding Maia. She went crazy. "SISSY HOLDU! SISSY HOLDU!" Others offered to hold her, but she wanted SISSY. Mom took Maia so I could hold AnnaClaire and guess what... "MOMMY HOLDU, MOMMY HOLDU!" So I held AnnaClaire and Maia! At first, AnnaClaire was smiling for pictures and fine. But then she got kinda mad that I was holding Maia too. She wanted her OFF. (you can definitely see that in her face in the picture of the three of us on my camera.) So our girl has a little jealousy issue... we'll need to work on that before we get Kate :). All in all we had a really fun time. AnnaClaire was so excited to see Emma Grace again. She always loves playing with her friend! She also had a lot of fun with the boys, who normally aren't there!

I can't believe I forgot to mention...

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That's right... AnnaClaire went poopy on the potty for the first time on Saturday!
Needless to say, there was lots of chocolate chips and clapping that afternoon :)

Hosanna! Hosanna!

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Last week at Bible Study, AnnaClaire's class celebrated Palm Sunday with palm branches! Not only that, but they also made stick donkeys to ride! When I got home from school, AnnaClaire was so excited to show me her donkey and wave her palm branch. They would wave them and yell, "HOSANNA! HOSANNA!" Mom said she picked AC up a little early and they were still waving their palm branches when she got there. She said AnnaClaire was very into it and waved hers very happily while excitedly saying, "Hosanna!" AnnaClaire always gets really into whatever she's doing :) Oh and she's so cute with her stick donkey, too. Before dinner, we went outside and she rode it around the backyard, waved her palm branch, and had a really fun time swinging (which she hadn't done in awhile!)

Check below... I finally posted the CNY pictures!

Only a month later!

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I was really putting off posting the CNY pictures (because I took over 200.) I finally narrowed it down to these and put them together on a collage! (I finally figured out how to get LumaPix on this computer without paying for it again!) So anyway... here's my sweet, precious, adorable Chinese Princess decked out for Chinese New Year pictures!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman Concert!

Emma and AnnaClaire had so fun running around with their buckets!

On Saturday, Dad, Mom, AnnaClaire, and I headed to Rock Hill for the Steven Curtis Chapman concert. We volunteered to work for Show Hope at the concert. It was really fun. Not only did we see Maggie's mom and dad, Jeanette and family, a girl I used to go to school with and her family (including her adorable sister, Abby), and a few other families that we met for the first time, but we were also so excited to see Emma and her family who drove five hours to come! We traveled to China with Emma's family in December 2006. I remember they were the first family we met, because we were on the same flight to China. It was so great seeing them again. Their older kids also came, and it was fun meeting them. Emma has grown so much! The last time we saw her, she was a very quiet, two year old with no hair. Now, she is an outgoing, long haired, beautiful girl who will be four next month! Emma and AnnaClaire had so much fun together. They played ring around the rosy, collected change, and had a blast watching part of the SCC concert. It really was amazing seeing Emma and family again! I absolutely love the first picture of the girls with their Change for Orphans buckets. The second one is the girls with their Moms in China. As you can see, they have both grown so much!

Seeing lots of our friends was not the only great part about the concert. We got to listen to a lot of it, since our job was only before, after, and during intermission. Mom and Dad worked a booth while AnnaClaire and I collected change. That was the great part. SCC told all about Shaohannah's hope and Change for Orphans. At intermission, we walked around with buckets and people would put their change in. AnnaClaire was definitely good at her job and she had $300 in her bucket after intermission! She would literally go to people and do her "puppy dog face" and hold the bucket up to them. No one could say no, and that's how she raised money! One person, she even pointed to their pocket and said, "Money out of pocket!" She definitely knows how to make people feel guilty :). Nonetheless, by the end of the night, over $5,000 was raised and a family adopting from Kaz was awarded the grant... right there! It was a really great concert, and while we weren't raising money, AC had a really fun time dancing and singing along. I think we can say that "Dive" and "Cinderella"are her new favorite songs. She always asks to listen to "The Dive song!" or "Cinde-RELLA". She had a blast! Sadly, we were unable to meet SCC as we had hoped, but we still had a fun time.

He talked a lot about orphans throughout the concert. There was an ongoing number on the screen of how many kids became orphans during the concert. At the end, the number showed 587. Every 18 seconds, a child becomes an orphan. Although this is extremely sad, he turned it into a way for Jesus to be shown... and for us to help!

Here's more pictures from our night... enjoy!

Playing Ring around the Rosy with Emma and Walter B

Emma and AnnaClaire dancing

AnnaClaire with the Show Hope backpacks

Emma and AnnaClaire watching the concert!

Beautiful Emma!

Mom, AnnaClaire, me, and Dad

Maggie was very sweet to share her coloring book and crayons with AC!

There was a 100 dollar bill in AnnaClaire's bucket!

Christopher (Sara Beth's big brother to be!) and AnnaClaire

AC and her Change for Orphans bucket!