Wednesday, July 27, 2011

sweet things

Have to brag a bit on my girl. She's doing so great with her manners lately, and wanting to do nice unexpected things for others. Hannah asks, "May I be excused please?" before leaving the table. But just don't serve her shredded cheese, or you might end up with it all over your floor and table, like Lora did. She told me "bless you" when I sneezed tonight. Yesterday she opened her craft drawer, took out a blank note card and envelope, decorated it with stickers, put the note card in the envelope, and handed it to Kevin. "Here you go, Daddy. I made this card for you." Tonight she called me one the phone at work and asked, "You want some lunch? I bring it to you." These sweet things help me overlook the mess she makes scattering all of her toys out all over her bedroom every day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Dragon Boat Races that Weren't, Yet Again.

We had thought that we'd miss going to Chicago for the dragon boat races this year as I had to work and there wasn't anyone to cover for me. Luckily for me, my coworker's plans were canceled due to extreme heat, and he volunteered to work for me. I called Kevin right away to see if he still wanted to go. YES! I rushed home from work, packed, made some phone calls to tell the other adoptive families that we're coming, and find out where to meet up. I think we broke a family record to be able to pack and get out the door in only an hour.

Hannah slept nearly all the way to Chicago. It was a blessing not to hear, "Where are we going? How we know where to go? Which way? How we get there?" on this multiple hour trip. I Pricelined and got a great rate at a downtown hotel, and we went out for some Greek salad and Giordano's pizza. Mmmm! Hannah tasted the anchovies on the salad and remarked, "I can't like that." Uhhh... I did not taste the anchovies on the salad, and I can't like that either!

Friday night there were some pretty bad thunderstorms that quickly put down several inches of rain. This caused flooding on the Chicago river, and the dragon boat races were canceled due to flooding for the second year in a row, but we still had plans to meet up for lunch with several Taiwan adoptive families. Our little family went to Chinatown for breakfast and ordered a box of buns from one of the many Chinese bakeries along Wentworth Avenue. Kevin likes egg and ham best. Hannah does well with a hot dog bun. I want to taste them all!

We did a little shopping, and can always find interesting things. My buys were two pairs of Chinese brocade shoes for Hannah for only $9 each, several pairs of hair sticks for $1-2 each, a book about the dragon boat races at the Pui Tak Center Chinese Christian bookstore, and a package of sour green beans made in Taiwan. The best find was found in a cardboard box inside one of the Chinese groceries. I spied the spikes of pink and green and knew that's dragon fruit! We've only had dragon fruit in Taiwan and wish we could find it near home. They are so beautiful, and taste a lot like kiwi... just don't make you pucker so much.

Lunch at Lao Beijing was wonderful, as always. We dined on pot stickers, Dan Dan noodles, orange chicken, vegetables, and some kind of delicious spicy lamb that the other family at our table ordered.

Before kids, I was really good at taking photos of our food BEFORE dinner. Now, I'm grabbing chop sticks out of little ones' hands when she starts using them like a sword, keeping her occupied when she's really hungry and wants to know where the food is, and preventing red punch from being spilled all over me, the table cloth, and others at our table. All I've got are photos of our leftovers and my empty plate!

dinner table

my empty plate

The fun really started when the kids were winding down with their dinners. Several parents gave their kids their cell phones to play with. There were little hands holding iPhones everywhere playing Angry Birds and snapping photos of other kids. My favorite photos are of Hannah and Miss E taking turns photographing each other with my phone. They were so sweet!


After dinner we attempted to take a group photo. This is the best I could do. The kids had just been cooped up in the restaurant for two hours, it was really hot, and they were ready to jump up and down and run off some steam.

2011 gathering of Taiwan adoptive families

My favorite thing about the whole day happened during the group photos. S, the boy all the way to the right in the green and navy striped shirt, jumped up, pretended to have a microphone in hand, and started jamming to music that no one else could hear. He hopped all over his stage while we parents put our hands in the air shouting his name and egging him on. It was hilarious! Love that kid. Love that three of these kiddos all lived together in the same baby house at the same time, and now live only a few hours away from each other. Lots of blessings crammed all together for a photo on a hot summer day!

Had to have some boba tea and shaved ice drinks before our departure, of course.

heart that boba tea

And a dash and splash in Millennium Park's Crown Fountain.

dash and splash - Crown Fountain

the chase at Crown Fountain

I'm so thankful that we were able to make this trip work at the last minute. It's less than three weeks until our big gathering of Taiwan adoptive families in Texas. So excited to meet lots of mamas and kiddos that I've come to know through pictures and phone calls!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

kids say the darndest things

While shopping in Chicago's Chinatown yesterday Hannah whispered to me, "There's a lot of stuff from Mulan in here."

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Before bed tonight Hannah started talking about going to parties, because I told her that I had just bought a new party dress. She started chattering on about birthday parties, and how much she likes them, and all of the things one has at a birthday party. Cake, ice cream, presents, balloons, birthday cards, etc. I reminded her that she had also been to wedding parties where someone got married. "You got married, Mom?" I replied, "Yes, I married Daddy." Then Hannah asked, "I get married someday, too?"


"Yes, baby. You can get married someday, too. Someday when you find a boy that is just as special as you are, and who loves you lots and lots and lots."

Redirect: In search of families for waiting children

Here's a post on my friend Cindy's blog about children waiting in Taiwan to be matched with families. Their adoptions can be facilitated by our agency For Every Child, and more information on the children is available at

Saturday, July 16, 2011

my little artist

my little artist in action

my little artist

My little artist drew roads and lots of H's with chalk in the driveway tonight.
She's also making the letters O and T, so we can write HOT.
It's going to be in the 90s all week, so we can make good use of the word HOT.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

at age 3 and 1/2


dear hannah,

someday you'll be an adult and won't remember what you were like at 3 and 1/2. this is for you to read 30 years from now. :)

you want the same thing for breakfast EVERY morning. "chocolate bread." what's chocolate bread? of course, it's nutella on a piece of white bread, folded in half, with the crust torn or cut off. we add in orange juice, milk, grapes, ham slices, cheese, and other stuff too of course, but there's always "chocolate bread." you like to pick out your own clothes from the closet, and usually want to wear "a dress and no pants." when i pick out your clothes i hear complaints "that doesn't match" and have to convince you that "khaki shorts are a neutral and go with everything." what do i know? you are completely daytime potty trained, but wear pull-ups at night. sometimes the pull-ups are dry in the morning, but usually not. you usually dress yourself with a little assistance. you rarely get your clothes messy while eating and we don't use bibs at home anymore, only when eating out. you don't like having messy hands, and use multiple napkins during dinner time.

you ride your tricycle like a speed demon in circles around the living room. it amazes me how much better you've gotten with steering around obstacles this summer. we bought you a power wheels car and your cautious personality shines through. you are worried about hitting people and obstacles with your car, and tend to drive it in a constant circle to avoid problem situations. you swim like a little fish with your floaty jacket on and have a lot water confidence in comparison with how confident you are with other activities.

socially, you're pretty shy. you will not talk to strangers and avoid looking at them in the eye. going to child watch at the ymca has been a good experience for you so you have to interact with different kids on a regular basis. there's another older little girl that the ymca that really loves on you. gigi is a little older and likes to "little mommy" you all of the time, and you like it. she wants help you take your shoes on and off for tumbling time. gigi likes to hold hands with you and share the same chair. it's pretty cute. i think gigi helps you feel safe to leave your comfort zone and try new things, and that's great. last week gigi was not at tumbling, and you refused to participate. your teacher had to come get me because you were sad. that made me frustrated, but i get it. i'm so looking forward to sending you to preschool this fall. so excited to see what you learn every day, and what friends you'll make. i feel like my baby bird is getting ready to fly!

we snuggle to read books and watch movies together. you still ask to be rocked, especially when you are tired. i'll be so sad when you're old enough that you don't want to be rocked anymore. i love you so much, baby girl. i'm excited to see you grow up, but i still savor the little bits of baby that are left in you at 3 and a half.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TAF camp

I'd like to raise awareness of the Taiwanese American Foundation's summer camp. Campers as young as 1st grade may attend. :)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Redirect: More fun with Allie and Hannah Claire!

Lora's posted her pics from last week's "Taiwanese sisters" playdate. I have a feeling that Lora may not be serving my daughter anything with shredded cheese next time we visit. Well, unless she puts down a tarp under Hannah's chair first. :) I haven't peeked at the pics on my camera yet. Hope to have a chance to soon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

mini driving lessons

We picked up Hannah's first set of wheels this weekend, a itty bitty Mini Cooper. Hannah and Daddy put it together last night. Kevin would ask for a wheel, and Hannah would bring it shouting, "Here, Daddy! I get it for you!!!" When Kevin would ask for the windsheld. "Windshield?!?! What's a windshield???" So funny! While I was at work today, Daddy said that she sat in her car most of the day waiting for the battery to charge up. After dinner Daddy gave Hannah her first driving lesson. We learned that she's a little too short to press the pedal down all of the way. Kevin has put a towel behind Hannah's back to scoot her forward a bit so she can reach the pedal. It's so cute to see that huge smile on her face when she's sitting in her car. Love that girl!

Of course, Kevin is already researching all of the mods that one can do to kid's ride on toys. Apparently three year olds need a place to hook up their iPods and extra accessory lighting for their Power Wheels cars.

Friday, July 1, 2011

ode to Matilda Jane

secret clubhouse

Opening up a box of Matilda Jane is sweeter than candy. "Oh, Mama! Let's open up my package!" and out comes flowers, butterflies, stripes, polka dots, ribbons, ruffles, and bows. Her eyes flicker with glee, a dimpled smile is revealed once again, and she dances in circles with delight as the fabric swirls around her. In a world where kids grow up too fast, Matilda Jane helps us savor the sweetness of our precious little girls for as long as we can.

then and now at the neighborhood 4th of July block party

sitting on a firetruck
July 2, 2009
I loved this dress. Hannah was barely walking, and I think I just
might have had my camera out about every day, savoring every step.

4th of July party 2011 - antique firetruck
July 1, 2011
Today she picks out her own clothes out of her closet and dresses herself.
Hannah wanted to wear purple, her favorite color.
I couldn't talk her into wearing a patriotic red, white, and blue Hello Kitty t-shirt.