Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas humor

Kevin was suggesting another Christmas present for Hannah, and then claimed an injury.
Yes, he's like this all of the time. I live with this humor.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

holiday fun at Allie's house

Friday morning we traveled to Lora and Allie's house for a play date for the "Taiwanese sisters." Hannah was ready to play dress up, heading right for the toy box. Hannah pulled out an Ariel dress up gown, Allie pulled on a Cinderella gown, and the fun began! Hannah found Allie's Ariel umbrella and carried it around half the time we were there exclaiming, "It's raining!" with her little sweet voice. After dress up Lora gave the girls presents to open. They both opened matching aprons to get ready for some Christmas cookie decorating. Lora's one smart mama, thinking ahead to place a drop cloth under the toddler table. Hannah put as many sprinkles in her mouth as she did on her cookies, and what didn't stick to the cookies ended up all over the floor.

I left my camera at home (boo hoo!) and just have a few shots from my phone, but Lora has a few photos up on her blog, including the lovely shots of my daughter shoving sprinkles into her mouth. Heehee!

After lunch the girls settled down for a little bit, sweetly sitting together behind a chair, both playing with little computers. They were so quiet, you'd think they were up to something!

Thanks for the lovely time once again, Miss Lora!

sky lantern release scene from "Tangled"

I heart this scene! I could watch it over and over... oh wait, I have watched it over and over! :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

thee years of visiting Santa

Hannah and Taiwanese Santa 2008
Christmas 2008 - Tainan, Taiwan

Christmas 2009 - Indiana, USA

Christmas 2010 - Indiana, USA

Photos say a lot, don't they? :)

We started talking about Santa and reading Christmas themed books this week. We'll break out the Little People nativity to play with this weekend as well. Santa sent Hannah a video message on the computer this week to remind her that she needs to keep working on her pleases and thank yous. She got really excited when Santa said her name and had photos of her in his book of good little girls and boys!

We made a trip to visit Santa tonight at the mall. Once again, Hannah was not going to sit on Santa's lap all by herself, but she agreed to sit on Daddy's lap while talking with Santa. She didn't seem scared of him, but she was much more interested wanting to ride the carousel down the hall than in taking to his bearded guy. I think she understands that Santa brings presents, but doesn't quite get the gist that it would be a good idea to tell Santa what she would like him to bring to her.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

first movie

We took Hannah to her first movie tonight. I'd been interested in seeing "Tangled" but wondered about how long Hannah could sit in a darkened movie theater. After calculating that she's the same age I was when I saw my first movie in a movie theater {The Muppet Movie (1979)} and watching several YouTube clips of "Tangled," I decided we should give it a try.

I'm so proud of my big girl! She sat between us, sharing popcorn and Sprite nicely. Hannah even held her Daddy's hand for part of the movie. She alternated between sitting down and sitting on her knees. She only shouted out once with a shout out to Mickey Mouse during the opening credits. When Daddy broke out the M&Ms, Hannah kept asking me, "Is it yellow? Is this an orange one?" while looking at her M&Ms in the dark. At home, she has to say the name of the color of the M&M before she gets one. Works wonders on learning color words! Telling me the color of the M&M is the equivalent of asking permission to eat it. It was so hard not to giggle while explaining to Hannah, "I can't see the color in the dark. It's okay. You can go ahead and eat it." During some dark scenes toward the end she needed to sit on my lap, and that was fine. Towards the end she stood on her seat, and that's okay since her head barely reaches the top of the tall movie theater seat.

When the movie was over we asked if she liked the movie. Hannah replied, "I come back. Come back and see a new movie," over and over again. She calls the movie "Princess with Long Hair" and notes that the "Horse likes eat apples." She didn't want to go to bed when we got home tonight. I told her that she needed to go to bed and be good so she could go back and see more movies later. She scampered up into bed pretty quickly after that!

It was really touching to me that Rapunzel was drawn homeward by sky lanterns. I loved the sky lantern scene at the end so much!!! Makes me want to be in Taiwan for the release of a whole bunch of sky lanterns so badly. I wonder if sky lanterns will gain popularity in the US because of this movie. Hmmmm....

Friday, November 26, 2010

gingerbread men

Hannah went to Nana and Papa's house today.
Nana decided to make some gingerbread men cookies with Hannah.
First they rolled out the dough.

Then they cut out the shapes.

They put them on a cookie sheet to decorate them with red hots and raisins.

Papa remarked that this "looks more like a mob hit than gingerbread men." When Nana and Hannah delivered some gingerbread cookies to me at work this afternoon, I had the same thoughts as Papa. I counted 26 red hots all over one of my gingerbread men.
He was one HOT gingerbread man!

Hannah enjoyed looking at her cookies and Nana and Papa's Christmas trees.

I hope to get our tree up next weekend.

Our family Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Looking forward to family time. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

life rolls on

We had our hair cut Friday morning. Hannah put ALL of the PINK clips in her hair.

We stopped at Steak and Shake on the way to Great Grandma and Grandpa's today.
Big fan of hot dogs, cheese fries, chocolate milk, and silly hats.

Great Grandpa Ray worked on the two year old's ping pong education.
It takes a lot of ball handlers to chase down ping pong
balls during ping pong school for two year olds.

We made a Target run on the way home tonight. Hannah discovered a $5 pink toy broom and dustpan in the toy section and is VERY excited about it. She wanted to hold them in the car all the way home. Mama thinks this is a great idea, especially because Daddy let Hannah run around the house with "popcorns" in a snack bowl this week, and now there's little "popcorns" all over the house. I think I'll let her break in her new TOY tomorrow by sweeping up all of her dropped "popcorns."

I taught Hannah how to feed the dog one morning. Later that afternoon she fed the dog again when I wasn't looking. You can see how well this plan of teaching Hannah new housekeeping skills is working out for me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Redirect: Finding Diversity in the Library

Big fan of Tonggu Momma here. She had a very resourceful post today titled "Finding Diversity in the Library" with links to lists of multicultural children's books. Excellent resource.

Video: Why I care about Taiwanese politics

Thanks to Lawrence for the link to this video. This was part of a campaign ad by the Democractic Progressive Party of Taiwan, minus the election language. Pretty powerful.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two years ago today on the other side of the globe...

... our dreams came true. :) Final decree!


Redirect: 12 Incredible Images of Taiwan

Found this post tonight of twelve incredible images by photographers in Taiwan. Cool. I've already thought a lot about really wishing I could go to a sky lantern festival (would have to be traveling the right time of year)... but right now I'm dreaming about soaking in the waters of a hot spring. Mmmmm. Think I'll go crawl in my warm cozy bed and think about that some more. G'night.

What do you think about doing in Taiwan? On my short list: 1) Visit the National Palace Museum. 2) Go to the Jianguo Jade and Flower Markets in Taipei. 3) Spend time with the Wus, two very special people. 4) Eat dumplings with soupy goodness in the middle at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House again. Mmmmm.

During breakfast this morning Hannah looked at the ceiling and saw a remnant of a cobweb. She told me to tell Daddy to get out of bed, get a ladder, and clean it up. Hahaha! Hannah's also started using the phrase, "Watcha doin?" I think she hears that phrase a lot at home, like today when she was caught coloring on the floor with a purple crayon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dada's birthday party

Tonight we had a little family celebration of Kevin's birthday at my parents' house. Nana baked a pumpkin pie and Hannah helped her stick birthday candles in it. Hannah liked helping Kevin blow out his candles so much that she squealed and requested, "again!" Well, why not? So we lit them all back up again for an encore and she got to help blow them out a second time. I like the pic above. It looks like there are so many candles that the pie is on fire!

Hannah knows to buddy up with Papa, because he slips her chocolate. Thanks to Papa, not only does Hannah love chocolate, but she shows a strong preference for German chocolate over other kinds of chocolate. She's got a piece of Kinder in her hand here. We keep asking her if she'll share, and the shouts, "No!!! Mine! My Shock-it!" Darn. It's really good stuff.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Someone in this house turned 40 today and it is NOT me. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

personal experience with Mandarin Chinese language DVDs

Hannah's done such a good job learning phonics with the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD that we're ready to move on to some others. We've put Leap Frog Math Circus DVD on her Christmas List, and I ordered the two Follow Jade Mandarin Chinese Language DVDs based on a friend's recommendation. If you have purchased Mandarin Chinese Language DVDs for your toddlers or preschoolers, I'd love to hear your reviews. There are so many of them out there that I'd like to hear from personal experiences. We'll need some new DVD material for an upcoming looooooong car ride, and this would be a great time for the whole family to be listening to these tools. I'd also like to hear about any favorite educational DVDs that your preschoolers have benefited from.

Video: phonics, chicken, and noodles

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Loving Family (TM)

We've started Christmas shopping. Last night we took Hannah to Toys R Us and she exclaimed "Toy Story!" as we entered the store. She was pretty excited, to say the least. Everything thrills her. We're blessed that she's just happy to play with everything and doesn't beg for it to come home with her. She likes Fancy Nancy and Princess themed dress up items (hat tip to play dates with Miss Allie), wooden train sets, bicycles, scooters, power wheels cars, and anything with the characters of Toy Story and Cars.

With his 15% off one item coupon in hand, Kevin snuck away to buy the Loving Family (TM) dollhouse and slip it in the back of the car. We had to choose between Caucasian or African American family set. This loving family here at "my little lantern" doesn't look like the families on either of the boxes. With the help of eBay, on Christmas morning Hannah's Loving Family (TM) will include an Asian girl, an Asian baby boy, and a little dog too. Oh, and there's an African American girlfriend for the Asian girl arriving as well. Loving Families come in every shape and size. It just took a little extra effort and help from eBay to put together family members that didn't match right out of the box.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Photos

halloween 2010 collage

Snow White's Halloween Portrait

Happy Halloween from Snow White

Snow White

Snow White and family wish you a fun filled Halloween!
This photo is from Friday's trip to the zoo.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

straw maze

straw maze a the zoo

We bundled up and went to Halloween at the zoo on Friday afternoon. Hannah loved it all... the pumpkins, the candy, the straw maze, the animals... except for the friendly witch with a green face that wanted to pose for a photo. I think her favorite was the straw maze for toddlers. It was piled up just high enough so that she could still see Mommy and Daddy while running around trying to find her way out.

Hannah's at her aunt and uncle's house for a sleepover party today while we do a fall clean up outside and rush around to get the house looking nice for our homestudy visit on Wednesday.

I've made friends with some other mamas with a local adoption support group for parents. It's nice to get together and drink some coffee with other people who "get it" when one's regular friends aren't able or comfortable to discuss things like testing for fetal alcohol syndrome, communications with birth family, our children's biological siblings they haven't met, African American hair care, and dealing with the stares and sometimes comments a multi-racial family receives. It's nice to have this support with online friends, but feels even better to me in person.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

good potty rings

These have been the best tool in motivating Hannah to peepee on the potty. You can get a pack of 12 in the party section at Walmart for $1. "Mama, let's go peepee and get a good potty ring." And if she looses one, we just put it back in the pot and recycle them for another good potty!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Redirect: Taiwanese Cooking

Feeling adventurous in the kitchen? Check out Taiwanese Cooking - Recipes From Formosa For Those Living Abroad.

Our homestudy visit was scheduled yesterday and is next Wednesday, eight days from now. Last time we did this nearly four years ago, our homestudy visit day was the cleanest and most organized my home has EVER been. This time... uh... we'll be clean, but it certainly won't look like a page from Better Homes and Gardens.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

my little pumpkin

Some of my favorite photos I've taken of Hannah are pumpkin photos from last year. As I look back on them tonight, it amazes me how much she's changed in one year. One year ago, my little pumpkin was in physical therapy and said a handful of words. She was just beginning to walk so that she didn't fall down all of the time. Now... she runs, jumps, hops, and CLIMBS. She says funny things on purpose because she knows she'll make us laugh.

Our photo shoot didn't start off so well. This afternoon I dressed her in the same dress, now a shirt, that she wore in last year's photos. It barely fits. Well, it was a little chilly, and pretty windy. My little pumpkin was ready for a nap and was not into it. She cried, got red faced, snotted all over, and threw a fit. Very photogenic, right? Those photos were pretty much all deleted and Kevin and I were both majorly frustrated. We packed up in the car and Hannah screamed all the way home. She must have been pretty tired, because she napped for nearly three hours this afternoon. This was a photography fail, for sure.

After her nap and an early dinner, I asked Hannah if we could go see the pumpkins again. She agreed, and then asked for some of my cheesy crackers. Ding! A bribe! So, I bribed Hannah to pose for photos for me with a package of cheesy crackers. Kevin worked really hard at being my jester by balancing baby pumpkins on his head, and we were table to get these shots.






The first one is my favorite. That's my funny girl! Number three is antiqued and feels a little moody. I adore the bokeh and bright red colors in the trees in number four!


Sunday after the wedding, my cousin's wife and I crafted some elastic headbands. Brandy made the light blue flowered one and the fabric flowered while headband while I made the others. I'd browsed many things like this on Etsy and decided to make my own. Tips I learned: Use upholstery thread for sewing elastic together, flowers on headbands, and buttons on flowers. Regular thread won't be strong enough. The feathers instantly dressed up the flowers. I'm really glad that I bought them. If they fall off, I've got a whole bag of replacements and can just hot glue more on.

ditching the dish

Kevin and I ditched the dish this week. No cable TV either. At $89.09 per month for DirectTV with a DVR, it was pretty ridiculous. We've become fans of Netflix ($7.99 per month or $8.99 per month with the unlimited DVDs via mail) on demand this summer for movies and started watching some old TV series that we hadn't seen before, and Kevin just turned me on to Hulu Plus to watch current TV shows on demand ($9.99 per month). We've streaming this all via a PS3 on the internet. If we didn't have a PS3, I would definitely get a Roku Player to do this with ($59.99-$99.99 depending on model). Anyone else make the switch to internet TV lately? If so, what are your favorite finds?

Uh... but I just spent the money we'll save this month by ditching the dish this month on my new clothing find. Love the asymmetrical lines of Naartjie Kids! They have 40% off Treasure Tuesday items every Tuesday. Hannah will be decked out in cranberry velour with dragonflies for Christmas. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

second shooter

Saturday we attended my cousin's beautiful autumn themed wedding. I heart fall themed and leaf themed decor, and had an autumn wedding myself nine years ago this weekend. Hannah brought her princess camera along as she's an inspiring second shooter. We sat in the back row on the end of an isle as I anticipated chatter and wanted to be able to make a quick escape if I needed to. I did hold Hannah up for a little while so she could see what was going on. "Do you see the ladies' fancy dresses. The bride wears a fancy white dress." Hannah pointed at the bride and exclaimed, "It's FANCY NANCY!"

Today we spent the day hanging out with family, eating yummy leftover wedding cake, playing chase with second cousins... and organizing Grandma and Grandpa's little pumpkins by their front door. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Hannah and I read the book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems together three times tonight. I LOVE IT! I'm still thinking about it crackin' up! Hannah thinks it's funny to tell the pigeon that yes, he can drive the bus, and then she looks at me with a crazy face and laughs. Funny kid!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

progress and some photo pages

Behind the scenes, we've been busy on our quest for number two. All of our home study documents have been submitted to our home study agency except for our physical forms. We'll be finishing up with those next week. We got mail from the USCIS to let us know that they received our I-600A and we would soon be receiving a biometric (fingerprinting) appointment letter. Thank you very much, Department of Homeland Security. I finished our family photo scrapbooked pages for our Taiwan placement agency as well as a letter of introduction. So... I haven't digiscrapped in forever. It was a little painful to put these together as Kevin had to keep Hannah away from me for an afternoon and evening. She wants to sit on my lap or on my desk and point at photos all over my computer screen when she sees me sitting at my computer.

Next on my agenda is completing the rest of our dossier documents for our Taiwan placement agency. Have to keep remembering to follow the instructions and use a blue pen!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Redirect: National Geographic’s Megacities: Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung, Taiwan is featured in National Geographic’s Megacities series as it deals with energy and conservation issues. has links found YouTube videos where you can watch the program. My favorite parts were part 2-1 on the solar powered stadium and part 3 a park over the former largest dump in Taiwan. Images of the huge container port blow me away. There isn't anything like that in the fields of corn and soybeans around here.

And... happy birthday to Hannah's Nana. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

First Annual Taiwan ROCks Family Reunion

A group of Taiwan adoptive mamas are planning a first annual Taiwan adoptive family gathering titled "Taiwan ROCks" at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas, August 12-14, 2011. The committee is securing a great rate and is working on a blog (address to be announced) where families can get info about the event, see who's coming, and register. I checked out the Great Wolf Lodge's web site and wow it does seem like a pretty cool place for families with kiddos! Of course, I'll be posting and linking to the event site when the web address is announced.

I will be asking off for work for that week and our family will plan on attending, provided that we aren't in Taiwan for kiddo number two or just home from Taiwan at that time. I really think we'd be traveling to Taiwan after August, but one never knows. Hmmm... I think November or December weather in tropical Tainan, Taiwan, sounds much better than August. We have family in Fort Worth and are looking forward to visiting with them for several days as well.

one blessed family

My cousin snapped this of us when we were out for ice cream last month. Working on family photo pages today for adoption number TWO and feeling blessed and loved!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"my little scholar"

"My little scholar" named half of her alphabet tonight for the price of one smartie per letter. She usually knows A, E, and Z as well. Dada and Hannah have been working with online flash cards at Kevin's so funny... he was working with Hannah on vegetable words a few days ago, and then all of a sudden switched to planets. Oh my. She's a trekkie in the making, I swear. First they watch the first season of the original series together, then she got her first science officer onesie, and now she's learning to ID planets.

Last but not least, we turned Hannah's crib into a toddler bed last night. It went really really well. She got out once after being in bed for 15 minutes because she needed "more bank-ets." One blanket is not enough, and three are needed for maximum comfort. After she was back in bed with three blankets, she slept all night in her big girl bed without any issues.

Monday, September 27, 2010

who's growing up?

My baby girl is growing up. We'll be transitioning her into a toddler bed soon. This mama has a love for bedding, and is excited to move Hannah into toddler bedding. Target has a cute line called "Love and Nature." I'm having a little banner made by an Etsy seller with Hannah's name.

We had such a great time at the fair this week. Hannah rode a few kiddy rides and keeps talking about the strawberry ride, crazy bus, and the carousel. She's had so much stimulation this week that we have all sorts of things to talk about! We started reading the "Fancy Nancy" book this week, and she likes pointing out things that are FANCY. I couldn't help but giggle when I watched her bring the "Fancy Nancy" book over to her dada. She crawled into his lap and and said, "Let's read Nancy Nancy!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival! I think mooncakes are so pretty, but until now... I've never had one that I liked. I'm not a fan of red bean, egg yolk, and lotus mooncakes. I feel badly when I say that I once thought such pretty cakes tasted so yucky... but they did. This year I learned about this Etsy shop by the Mam Non Organization that is selling pineapple mooncakes, and decided to try. Much much better! Sweet and fresh and pretty, and for a very good cause.

a mouthful

This morning when I picked Hannah out of her crib, she had a lot to say. We had a ten minute conversation about everything she saw at the fair last night. During the parade she saw firetrucks, police cars, horses, goats, lots of kids, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, a big bird, race cars, singing, and bands. She remembered dancing to the music in the street, going on a big fast slide, and going on the carousel with Nana and Daddy. Hannah told me that she had two hot dogs (they were corn dogs, close enough) and french fries with cheese. I was amazed at all of the vocabulary that was streaming out as she chattered and chattered about everything she saw at the fair. I'm so proud of my big girl!

I had walked the parade right in front of Minnie Mouse and Goofy. When the parade route went past the section where Hannah's little lawn chair was, I went over to wave to her. She exclaimed, "Mama!" with big eyes and was surprised to see me in the parade. I exclaimed, "Hi, Hannah! I want you to meet my friends, Minnie Mouse and Goofy. Minnie and Goofy came over to the side of the street to see Hannah, and she was pretty amazed that her mommy was friends with such important people. Heehee. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Redirect: Taiwanese sisters get together for tea!

Life is on full speed right now and I haven't had a chance to even offload my pics from my camera... but you're welcome to check out Lora's pics from the tea party that these ladies hosted for us at our playdate last Thursday. We've entered the dress up, tiara and heels wearing stage at our house now.

Hannah had so much fun at the tea party. On Friday she was crying, "bye bye... bye bye." I thought she was having separation anxiety and thought I was leaving. "No, Hannah. Mommy is not going bye bye. We're both staying home." Then Hannah started crying even more. "What's wrong? Do you want to go bye bye?" "Bye bye Allie House. Bye bye Allie House. Pway. Pway!!!" Aw... she's crying because she wants to go back to Allie's house.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Daddy's home!

"Daddy's home, and he keeps kissin' on me!"

The boys came home from their Canadian Fishing Expedition last night. Hannah and I have been getting lots of hugs and kisses, and we like it!

Regarding the Colts game, all I wanna say about it is that Hannah looked pretty cute eating peanuts during the game in the dress that Gamma made for her. The rest I want to forget about.

Resource Link: Simple Language for Adoptive Families

Simple Language for Adoptive Families

Available in Amharic (Ethiopia), Chinese, Haitian Creole, Russian, and Spanish.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Redirect: Welcome to NashWill

Our bloggy and facebooky friends the Lands met their sons Nash and Will today in Taiwan. A family of three becomes five. I hope they are getting a little sleep tonight. :)
Redirect: Meet Nash
Redirect: Meet Will

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"I ride turtle!"

"I ride turtle!"
A very happy girl went to the zoo today. We're so blessed!