Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chinese New Year 2011 (1 of 3)

I have to preface this post a bit. We've been talking a lot about Chinese New Year at home with Hannah over the past two weeks. I got out her Chinese New Year books and we've been reading them. This one titled "Lucky New Year" by Mary-Man Kong is the best of them all because it's a pop up book with all sorts of fun things to play with inside. You get to sweep the house, eat with the family and peek inside their pots to see what's for dinner, and there's a big dragon pop up. Fun fun! We also tried on Hannah's Chinese outfits to see what fits. We're attending three parties again this year, and Hannah has three outfits that fit. Perfect! While in Florida after Christmas we bought some Chinese New Year candies and brought them back home to bring to our special events.

Hannah has quite a sweet tooth, and has been looking at the Chinese New Year candy longingly. She knows that we couldn't open it until we go to a Chinese New Year party. She started pointing at the golden rabbit candy container and remarking, "That's Chinese." "Yes, Hannah. That is Chinese. Isn't that a pretty shiny golden rabbit?" A few days later while playing play-doh with Grandma, Hannah remarked, "I Chinese." Grandma called us in to come talk to her about that. Hannah and I had a little conversation about that. I told her that "You're Chinese Taiwanese Hakka American and beautiful on the inside and the outside." I don't know much of this she understands now... but we'll keep having this conversation and see where it goes.

Tonight was our first of three Chinese New Year parties. This party is with a group of Taiwan and China adoptive families. The families all have littles that are all around Hannah's age, and they are all fantastic people. I just wish we lived a little closer so we could see them more frequently.



Of course, Hannah was very pleased to break out the Chinese New Year candies. The photo below is my favorite one from the evening. Those little three year old beauties were very excited about the candy in the golden rabbit!


The kids made dragon masks and had Chinese New Year coloring pages. Families brought toys such as a little kitchen, play food, mega blocks, and some cars to play with as well.

I got to hold a three week old preemie baby girl that only weighted about five and a half pounds. I don't think I've ever held a baby that small before. It's so hard for me to imagine Hannah being that little. Her eyes were open the whole time I held her and talked to her.

If you're looking for recipes to take to Chinese New Year parties, here's links to what I made. I made almond jelly with fruit cocktail and mandarin orange broccoli salad. The almond jelly tastes just like the ingredients: gelatin, whole milk, sugar, and almond flavoring. It's very cool and smooth and would be good with any kind of fruit. I used twice as much almond flavoring, a little less sugar, and one cup less water to make the gelatin a thicker consistency so I could cube it more easily. The comments on the recipe suggested the alternations I made. The mandarin orange broccoli salad went over really well and I didn't come back home with many leftovers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taiwan R.O.C.ks

Calling all Taiwan adoptive families! If you haven't yet heard... you're invited to the first annual Taiwan R.O.C.ks adoptive family reunion August 12-14, 2011, at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas.

Doesn't this look like fun? We're going!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I ♥ this girl!


Yes, I'm very glad to have my girl back. It was pretty lonely all at home by myself without even the dog to keep me company. Kevin had carpel tunnel surgery yesterday and is going great at home. Grandma is here to help take care of everyone while Daddy can't pick anything up with his right dominant hand. I shopped way too much online while home alone. My favorite outfit, a second hand Matilda Jane peasant shirt and ruffles, arrived for Hannah today and she asked Mommy to "take pitch-ures." Mama was very happy to get out her dusty camera for this request!

Hannah turns three on Saturday. We plan on celebrating with a little family party at home.

Hannah is really enjoying having Grandma here. Grandma is sleeping in her room, and it is like a slumber party every night! :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Redirect: Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

This Wall Street Journal Article titled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" by Amy Chua, professor at Yale Law School, is getting a lot of press and THOUSANDS of comments on the WSJ web site. I don't want to discuss it here, but it's an interesting read... and has provoked even more interesting comments.

Link to Tonggu Momma's thoughts on this article. She links to other Asian American blogs on the subject.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Redirect: Debunking the Skinny Myth

Hat tip to my friend Judy on her post, Debunking the Skinny Myth, on weight loss and body image among Asian American women. Make sure you eventually get back to reading or listening to Lisa Lee's NPR interview on Asian Americans And The Quest For Thin.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the story of Dolly

I've known Dolly before I knew of my daughter. Dolly arrived at my door when I was feeling very sad. Months of waiting for Hannah's referral drug on... and on... and on. Janalee sent me a care package with presents for the unknown child that would become my daugher, and a few things for me as well. One of the items was a Carter's soft doll in a pink dress.

When my wish came true and we were matched with Hannah, Janalee sent me the most beautiful adoption book I've ever read titled "I Wished for You" by Marianne Richmond.

While waiting to be approved to adopt Hannah, we shipped the doll off to Hannah in her first care package from us. We bought a duplicate of the doll and kept her here at home, just in case we didn't get make it's way back from Taiwan with our daughter. {Yes, the doll traveled to Taiwan in a food saver bag!}

Unfortunately, the doll that was sent to Hannah in Taiwan never made it back to us. I figured that's what would happen.

Now days, our two year old has affectionately named this doll "Dolly." Dolly is the only doll of Hannah's that has a name. Dolly sleeps with Hannah every night, and is the only doll or stuffed animal that is allowed by Hannah in bed with her when she sleeps. Hannah is ritualistic about bed time. She requires "new water," a freshly cleaned sippy cup with fresh tap water, "two bank-ets" which are flannel receiving blankets, and "Dolly." Dolly is often tucked under her arm when she sleeps.

Hannah cries when Dolly is in the washer, so we have to launder her in secrecy. When Kevin and I don't see Dolly in Hannah's bedroom at night time, Hannah always knows where she is. She'll run and find where she put Dolly every time, even under blankets at the foot of Mommy and Daddy's bed! Gotta keep tabs on Dolly.

Dolly travels with us as well, usually in a ladybug backpack given to us by another Taiwan adoptive mama, KB. Hannah calls her backpack "pack pack."

Makes me wonder if Dolly spent time in Hannah's crib in Taiwan. I'd like to think so. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 in review

2010: a year of blessings

I'm so behind with blogging. December only contained four little posts, the smallest number of post ever on this blog since it's creation. With Christmas activities, work, a kid that wants to sit on my lap and look at the Toys R Us web site or watch Max and Ruby videos every time she sees me sit down at the computer, and Facebook that is so quick and easy in comparison with hour long blog post creations, no wonder I haven't written much here.

Kevin and Hannah are still in FL with his family, and I've come home to go back to work. Surely I'll have some time to play catch-up this week with posts on Christmas and our two year Hannahversary day. Wow, two years ago today we were welcomed home from Taiwan by a village of people at the airport. I'm pretty sure that was the first time I'd ever felt the "I'm so tired I think I'm going to die" tired.

Tonight I'm writing Hannah's yearly update that our adoption agency will forward to the baby home where Hannah lived in Taiwan. It's always bittersweet to write this letter and go through a year's worth of photos. So many fun times, squeals of laughter, and silly little things that she's done. It also brings my adoption guilt back to the surface. My daughter and her first mother are the ones that are or will be experiencing all of the losses because of the adoption. Adoptive parents gain everything. I purposely don't talk about it much openly, but I feel a deep connection to or empathy with my daughter's first mother, thinking about her often, wondering what she thinks about when she thinks about our daughter. I wonder if she'll ever read the translated letters I write or view all of the photos that I spend hours carefully selecting for her. I'm blessed to have a great support group of other adoptive mamas to talk to privately about this kind of stuff. I wonder if my daughter's first mother has anyone to talk to about this stuff. I hope so.

The house is eerily quiet without the sound of Kevin's racing cars on the Playstation, the jingle jingle of tags on Sedona's dog collar, and a little voice requesting apple juice in a Tinkerbelle cup with no lid.