Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

Over all, we had a very good Thanksgiving. It was just nice being home and relaxing all day. I did my contribution to the feast by baking the pie the night before Thanksgiving. I enjoyed watching the Macy's Day Parade with AC in the morning and also read the New Moon, because I am overly addicted to the Twilight series. (The movie was really good, too, although had a lot of differences from the book.) I actually started and finished the second one yesterday and am almost done with the third, which I started today. Of course, Thanksgiving football was a highlight, too, even if all of the games were terrible (and broke records for worse Thanksgiving loses- Lions.)
Anyway, back to the Macy's Day Parade. AnnaClaire loved it. She kept talking/asking all about the parade and she and Kate were dancing to the music- very cute. AnnaClaire spent the rest of her morning helping Grandma make the stuffing. She considered her job very important and made some delicious stuffing. She had a blast standing at the counter helping grandma.
After a fairly relaxing morning, Dad and Grandma took the little girls to the park. Mom and Grandma worked the rest of the day preparing our amazing dinner, which consisted of turkey, corn pudding, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and green bean casserole. And of course my pumpkin pie. It was all delicious and we enjoyed some family time, although it was very different -weird- without Drew this year.
I'm so glad Kate was home to enjoy the holiday with us, even her Thanksgiving dinner consisted of two eggs. It's also extremely hard to believe that this was only AnnaClaire's second Thanksgiving with us. Thanksgiving of 06 was three days after we received our TA and 2 weeks before we went to China. It was definitely so nice having our TWO precious little ones sitting around the dining room table with us :)
So we had a very good Thanksgiving. Just a nice, relaxing day spent at home, but fun. We ended it watching Texas absolutely destroy Texas A&M, which was a nice ending to a good day :)
One of my friends came over last night and we slept for a few hours before awaking at 3 and getting picked up by another friend's mom, and all 6 of us headed to the mall. I still don't know how I even woke up. I remember barely anything about that hour this morning. We all had fun and it was definitely an experience, although I didn't really buy much and I was quite unimpressed with the sales. We ended up getting back around 7 and I was asleep shortly after. AnnaClaire did come wake me up right before 10 and Grandma, Mom, AC, Kate, and I headed to a different mall for more shopping. We had a good time and we didn't buy too much. Actually, you should be proud because we didn't even go into Gymboree, although it was 25% off the entire store. We ended the time with Chickfila, which tasted so good. We ran into Maggie and her family on the way out and enjoyed seeing them again. AnnaClaire was so happy to see her sweet friend Maggie. I think they are going to have another play date soon.
Oh and I cannot forget to mention... Kate has sat... and has LAUGHED in her bath the past two nights, even when she was getting her hair rinsed. This is a HUGE accomplishment because for the past 3 weeks, all we have heard when she was getting bathed were screams coming from her.

So it was a good Thanksgiving and a good Black Friday. Tomorrow we are heading up to the mountains to get a Christmas tree :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


That Kate is home where she belongs on this Thanksgiving.

For friends and an incredible family.

For a God that never ceases to bless and amaze me :)

"Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100: 4-5

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Site Updated...

I posted a new home update on the website today! Be sure to check it out... There are lots of pictures, including some that I haven't yet posted here :)

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Month Ago Today...

...our family increased from six to seven. I can hardly believe that it was just a month ago that my life was forever changed, once again. We left the hotel in Beijing, China that morning of October 25 as a family of six. When we returned later in the afternoon, our family was complete... a family of seven.

For a month now, we have enjoyed this precious girl more than words can express. She has gone through such a transformation during this month we have had together. The screaming baby that we first came to know and love has become a girl of many smiles, laughs, giggles, and squinty eyes. The somber and reserved look we constantly saw on her beautiful face has been replaced with cheesy grin and a glow in her precious, black eyes. She is no longer worried and scared. She is HAPPY. She loves everyone in the family and is becoming more outgoing with those around her, too. (And yes, she has her fair share of whining, too, but only because she LOVES to be held and therefore does not love to be set down!) She is a JOY and her JOY is apparent on her sweet face. What a long way she has come in just a month!

I love you sweet Katherine MeiLing! We have loved every minute of our first month with you! :)

October 25, 2008
November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kate's First Haircut at Home!

Kate and AnnaClaire got sweet little bobs today! This was Kate's first haircut at home and wouldn't you know, Mom forgot the camera. The place takes pictures of first haircuts for you... but guess what? Their printer was broken! Oh well, I got lots of "after" shots of our beautiful girls! Aren't they both just BEAUTIFUL? Do you see why I'm downright in love with these two precious girls?

Oh and that size difference in that list picture. It never ceases to crack me up :)

Details about the haircut. Kate sat on Mom's lap, didn't want to wear the cape, and cried the whole way through. But she got it and is now sporting an adorable bob... and many smiles.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

AC visits Santa!

And guess what she asked for? Chips! She's pretty easy to please :)

Yesterday, Mom, AnnaClaire, and Kate went to the Southern Christmas Show with Mia (who is AnnaClaire's good friend and also her Chenzhou sister!) A grocery store nearby sold the tickets for a discount, so the moms decided to meet there and while Mia's mom was putting the carseat in the car, Mom thought she would go in to get the tickets. AC and Kate were both in their carseats, and Mia was sitting on the seat in the front while her Mom was getting the carseat out of their car (which was of course parked right there.) Mom had shut the doors so no one would fall out and taken the keys out of the ignition and set them on the driver's seat since Mia was sitting in the passenger seat. Can you see where this story is going? Mia must've accidentally hit the lock button on the door, because before Mom even went to get the tickets, they realized the car was locked- with all three girls in it! So there is Mom and Mia's Mom, standing in the freezing cold (I think I can say that, anywhere in the 30s is freezing, right?) and AnnaClaire, Mia, and Kate (who are 3, 2, and 1) are in the car! Oh and let me mention that Mom locked her keys in the car at the doctor on Thursday (no one was in the car.) Remembering how long it had taken a car company to get there, and having three toddlers stuck in a car, Mia's mom suggested calling 91*1. So that's exactly what they did. They explained the whole situation, but the lady said they would still send a fire truck. In less than five minutes, a fire truck- with lights and sirens- pulled up and three men jumped off and had the car unlocked in about 2 seconds and all three girls "rescued" out of the car. So that was the excitement of the day.

But anyway, from what Mom said, it ended up being a fun day had by all. Santa was there, and Mom figured AC might as well see him there so we could avoid mall lines and the $8 went to a much better cause (Shri*ners Chi*ldren's Ho*spital) then the $22 you pay at the mall. (In my opinion, it is wayyyy to early to see Santa.) Kate, as you might guess, wanted no part of Santa, so just AnnaClaire got to sit on his lap and tell him how badly she wanted chips for Christmas!

So there's how our Friday went. I was at school all this time and had a school swim meet after (which we won!) so that was fun.

Oh and I just had to mention~ as you know, Kate has had a few doctors appts. in the 2.5 weeks since we have been home. She has yet to have any shots (they are running titers to see which ones she needs, as we know she is probably pretty caught up since she was at Philip Hayden.) she has had her TB test (which is being read today) and did have to get blood out twice. When we got Kate's referral call, we were told she had a hemangioma and anemia. After researching, we knew there was a chance that she might have a thalessemia, a more major type of iron deficiency. Well, we got the results of her blood test, and not only does she not have a thalessemia, she doesn't even have an iron deficiency! Praise God!

Things are going great and we are enjoying our sweet girlS so much. They are both doing so well. Kate is really settling in and so happy. She does have her moments (of whining) but is overall a pretty happy baby. It's hard to believe that this week we celebrate one month with Kate! And in just over 2 weeks, we will celebrate 2 YEARS with AnnaClaire. Just amazing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gotcha, Kate! (10/25)

The nations will see your righteousness, and all the kinds your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will designate. You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken," nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate"; But you will be called, "My delight is in her," and your land, "Married"; for the Lord delights in you and to Him your land will be married.
Isaiah 62:2-4

October 25, 2008. The day our lives were once again forever changed. The day Miss Katherine MeiLing became a part of our family. We love you sweet girl and are so thankful that God has blessed us with YOU!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Philip Hayden Foundation

Ginger (she is getting major heart surgery later this month. She needs lots of prayers because she has a missing diaphragm and her heart is in her abdomen .)
Ginger and a baby boy
AnnaClaire loved baby Katherine
Tiffany/Mei Mei captured my heart in so many ways. She has an inoperable heart condition and has trouble walking. Yet her joy was evident in the few moments we saw her.
Me and Emily
Will holding Christopher
Smiley girl
Christie and Charlotte

Me and Drew
Ling Ling
AC and Ling Ling playing ball

Bea and Cameron

In case have never heard of Philip Hayden Foundation, it is a Christian organization located just outside of Beijing, China. It has a family village type atmosphere/layout and houses around 100 special needs orphans of every age.

I apologize for the delay in posting these pictures. I know how special it is to receive new pictures of your children. I tried to email pictures out if I know of a family adopting a specific child, however, I know there are lots more families awaiting Philip Hayden kids.

I want to ASSURE anyone who has a child/sibling waiting at Philip Hayden, that they are waiting for you in the best possible place. There is no place like home, but if they cannot be home, I promise they are waiting for you in the next5 best place. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about that.

We were able to receive Kate (Shia) at Philip Hayden, so our visit was not typical. We had to wait on someone to oversee the gotcha moment, so we only had a short amount of time to see the homes before receiving Kate. We were only able to see Samaritans House and the House of Blessings. We also saw the House of Love and the House of Peace (the two houses that Kate lived in), but all of the kids were napping when we saw those. I would've LOVED to spend all day there, but obviously, that was not an option :) Someday, I know I will be back there to spend a lot longer than a few hours at PHF.

We went to Shepherd's Field (The name of the PHF village) on October 25. It was about a 45 minute drive from our hotel in Beijing. We had a little bit of trouble finding it, but when it came into view, we all recognized it right away. We pulled up to the gate and faced the main building (office) which looked beautiful against the bright blue sky. To the left was the row of houses. To the right was another row of buildings being constructed into various houses for amazing things to begin. Directly behind the office is a very nice play ground.

We started down the sidewalk, which "connects" all the houses. First, we saw Sams House. This house is for children with the most major medical needs. Our family sponsors Katherine and I sponsor Emily, who both live in Sams House. (By the way, I was so excited to learn that Emily has a waiting family!!!) When we got there, it was lunch time. The older toddlers were in the kitchen sitting in chairs having their lunch. The babies were in their room. A few were being fed their lunch while others were playing on the floor. The nannies were down with them, holding them, feeding them, playing with them, etc. We spent a little bit of time in there and then headed to House of Blessings. Lots of activity was going on at the HOB! Another volunteer group whom we had "met" on a PHF yahoo group was there, so it was fun meeting them! All of the kids were on the floor playing with all kinds of toys. The nannies were on the floor playing with them. There was sooo much activity going on in there and all the kids seemed to be enjoying it. We stayed at HOB for awhile, just enjoying and loving on all the little ones. They were all so sweet and looked so happy! I wish I could've brought them ALL home with me. I am SO happy that two of the kids in particular, Elena and Drew, who really became near to my heart are being adopted very soon! After awhile of playing and loving on those precious kids, Leah told us that it was time to get Kate, so we hugged the little ones goodbye and headed back to the office to meet our precious girl! If you followed the website, you already know about that special moment... :)

After awhile of sitting in the office with Kate, we left Mom to have some time with her while the rest of us went to see the House of Peace and House of Love. The kids were napping, but we got to see Kate's crib at HOL and were able to see her room mates (Vira, Brent, and one other little girl.)

Every house is set up where you walk in to a little "mud room" with cubbies, strollers, shoes, etc. There is a bathroom and a bedroom and then a big play area. Attached to the play area is a kitchen with a highchairs, tables, little tables, etc. Upstairs is another little foyer and the kids rooms. There is a great kid to nanny ratio, which is awesome.

PHF is SOOOO well run. I cannot give enough praises about it. The kids get the best possible care and it is obvious that the nannies truly love their jobs. Every child is loved and cared for, that I can assure you of.

We are so blessed in that Kate lived at Philip Hayden for 15 months. We have pictures, info, and memories from those months that we missed. We have no doubt that she was loved, cared for, cherished, and provided for in those months. Not only that, but her medical needs have also been provided for- and we KNOW that she was not alone in getting her steroid injections to heal her hemangioma. We are forever grateful for the work Philip Hayden does, especially in bringing up our precious Kate. Words are not enough to describe the love and friendly atmosphere PHF provides for the kids and the thankfulness we have- and will always have- for what the did in our own sweet girl's life.

And so, if you are a waiting for your little one from PHF, I want you to know that they are LOVED. They are loved in a big way. They are also cared for, no doubt about it. If they can't be home, they are in the next best place.

"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

Friday, November 14, 2008


I was looking through some of my China pictures and some from our first week home as well, and I am overcome with joy at what a transformation our sweet girl has gone through in our not-quite three weeks together. She is like a different child. Even more so than she was earlier this week! I think this picture of her speaks a thousand words. You can just see it in her eyes, in her sweet smile... that she is HAPPY. The whining and crying has lessened to an extreme and those whines we we getting tired of hearing have been replaced with sweet giggles! She is always looking up and smiling for no apparent reason, too! She has even finally started eating actual food, and loves being in her highchair eating! Bath time improved greatly, as well. Today, there were no tears- just smiles- until a few tears came when we had to pour water on her head! What a difference from the screams we were hearing just a few days ago! Her shy, reserved personality in public has been replaced with lots of waves and "hello" and "bu-byes" to all she sees when out and about. (which by the way, she LOVES being out and about!) She has grown so much in these few days we've been home and we are finally able to sit back and enjoy our precious girl, rather than worrying about this and that! She has such a JOY that is just apparent all over her sweet face. And what a JOY she is to us! :)

Just Pictures (first week home)

Kate and AnnaClaire LOVE riding in their wagon!

This isn't a good picture for so many reasons, yet I love it...

Our sweet love bug playing

(first day home!) big laughs!
Our sweet THREE year old who loves being a big sister!
...and our sweet Kate enjoying being HOME
gathering leaves...
My sweet sisters
Always happy in her high chair...
stroller walk in their new double stroller!

These are completely out of order, but I have been meaning to share them. They are all from our first week home. I know I've been a really lame blogger. It's just been tough getting back into the swing of things here. I have soooo much to post about, but whenever I sit down to post, I get so sidetracked with other things... Oh and I did finally decide on a name, so a new blog look is coming VERY soon!

I'm about to do a "real" update on Kate, so stay tuned!