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!

"Daddy fish."

Kevin is in the backwoods of Ontario fishing with the guys this week and we're having our own fun here with "Gamma" visiting and staying with Hannah at home while I'm working. The first few days Kevin was gone she'd ask "Where's Daddy?" a couple of times an hour, but now she understands what he's doing (fishing) and who he's with (Papa and "Gampa"). Gamma reassures her that I'm working and tells her what time (dinner time or bed time) I'll be home. Tonight while we were reading books Hannah hold me "Mama home. Dada fish." Awwww.

Over the holiday weekend we went to my grandparents' lake house and had fun with the family.

Grandpa Ray (that's where Andrew Ray will get his second English name from) continued his tradition of teaching grandchildren and now great grandchildren how to play ping pong. The toddlers get a kick out of getting to sit on top of the ping pong table and swing at balls that come bouncing towards them. This activity also requires a ball gofer on each side of the ping pong table, as pretty much every hit lands off the side of the table and not anywhere near the other player.

Yes, notice that Hannah is w-sitting in the picture above. Need help from the village here to keep reminding Hannah to "fix your feet."

Coloring is a favorite activity, of course. Hannah likes others to color with her, and she hands adults the crayon she wants them to color with, and will choose you a new crayon frequently.

They're looking at turtles on an old stump that sticks out just a little above the water. I love this photo. :)

Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

favorite books for 2-3 year olds

Here's Hannah's current three favorite books with links to Amazon for info on them.

Gossie - We pretty much have this one memorized and say it out loud together.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - We pat the book together with the rhythm of the repetitive text.

Mrs. Wishy Washy - We rub our hands together over the animals when they get washed and say "wishy washy wishy washy."

For my friends with two and three year olds, I'd love to know their favorite books. To go along with the book, what do you do with it (silly voices for the narrator or characters, hand motions, singing, etc) that makes is a favorite read for your child. I still want just titles that are available as board books only. Hannah likes to turn pages, reads while drinking sticky juice or "pink milk," carts books around the living room and put them in her tricycle... and is thus a little rough with books at times.

Friday, September 3, 2010

"I house!"

For the past two weeks, every couple of days Hannah has started looking sad and repeating "I house! I house!" over and over. I haven't understood what she's been trying to tell me, and have had all sorts of attachment and adoption related alarm bells going off in my head. I've asked her to use other words to help me understand, and have suggested other words. She gets more and more upset with big crockadile tears running down her face and she begins to cry. I've been reassuring Hannah that, "Yes, this is your house. Mama, Dada, and Hannah's house." This has been so frustrating for me, and I didn't know what else to do to figure out how to communicate with her.

Today during lunch I finally figured it out. I asked Hannah, "Are you saying Allie's house? Do you want to go to Allie's house?" Hannah sobbed back to me, "Allie house!" All this time, she's been telling me that she wants to go to Allie's house... but when she's crying... it sounds like "I house." I asked Hannah, "Is Allie your friend?" She replied, "Allie friend. Play dress up. Allie's house."

Big sigh of relief. I think I'm going to make a paper chain, and Hannah can tear off a chain each day to mark how long it's going to be until we go to Allie's house again. So sweet it breaks my heart!


This mama's at work prepping for our homestudy. Background checks, letters of reference, writing out answers to questions about our family backgrounds, scheduling doctor's appointments, etc. It is so much harder to prepare for an adoption when one has a toddler demanding attention! Looking back, it was easier the first time around because all of our efforts and attentions were focused on finding out what to do and just doing it. Now, I'm pretty sure I know what to do. Just double checking my efforts and struggling to find time to do it.

We've enjoyed spending time with Kevin's mom and dad this week. Kevin, Grandpa, and Papa are leaving tomorrow for a Canadian fishing expedition while "Gama" (what Grandma sounds like in Hannahese) will stay home with Hannah while I'm working. They've been going on trail rides with a friend's horses, visiting the zoo, cooking, playing at the park, and stacking blocks at home this week. Hannah's getting comfortable having them around, and shared her longest sentence to date with them: "It's too hot outside to go slide." This makes the parents of a First Steps speech therapy graduate very happy. Tonight Hannah used the phrase "excuse me" appropriately while in the play area at the mall. That almost makes up for this morning's antics at the breakfast table when she pounded her fork and spoon on the breakfast table screaming, "I want pancakes I want pancakes I want pancakes!!!"

I'm sure that Hannah is really going to miss her Daddy this week. The longest she's ever been away from him before is two nights. When we went on a trip together a few weeks ago to visit Libby and family, she asked "Where's Daddy?" each day. When Kevin packed his duffle bag to go fishing I explained where Daddy was going and that Grandma would stay with her until Daddy came home. Hannah packed her night night pink blanket in Kevin's bag and ran around the house laughing and yelling, "I wanna go bye too!" Aw....

When we tell friends that we're adopting again, the second question that people usually ask is, "What about Kevin's computer room?" aka "Where's this kid gonna go?" Kevin is relinquishing the bright orange walls of his masculine room of electronics to his son. I've offered a wall in our bedroom for his computer as well as room in the garage. The opportunity to have our children be close in age is much more important than things, and we'll both make concessions and make do in a smaller home in order to enjoy them.

I *love* decorating bedrooms, and have been wanting to do something modern for the first time with Dwell fabrics. Here's the beginning of Drew's nursery planning inspired by the fabrics from the Dwell Studio Space Baby for Target. This line is on close out, and I've found people selling the bedding on eBay for much less than the regular price that Target told it for. I've bought two sets and will use the second set's bumper to help make the window treatment. I'm trying to decide what colors to paint the walls and ceiling. Would like to do something with a darker blue, light blue, and a little bit of green. Considering painting the ceiling light blue. I'm open to suggestions.I'm interested in a mobile of our solar system to hang in one of the corners, but haven't found the right one online just yet.

Hannah loves her little chair for watching TV and looking at books in her room. I think I found one for Drew called the OFFI Kapsule chair. These molded plastic chairs are supposedly pretty comfy and have a cut out section in back for toy storage. I can imagine storing blocks, Star Wars action figures, and rubber snakes in these chairs.
Last but not least, I'll leave you with something an adoptive mama friend posted on facebook tonight.
"By adopting a child and helping them reach their potential, they help us reach ours. An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary. They are a child who was searched for, prayed for, cried for, begged for; received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full. Love is meant to be shared." - Author unknown