Monday, February 27, 2012

dreaming of what we want to see/do in Taiwan

Kevin and I have been making a list of where we want to go when we return to Taiwan. Here's the list for my reference and to share with others.

must (new places):
Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park
Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines
National Palace Museum
Longshan Temple in Taipei

must (do-overs):
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall - photo op
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial - photo op
Din Tai Fung for dumplings - yummy!
go up Taipei 101 with Hudson

would like to (new places):
Snake Alley
Jade and Flower Market
Taipei Zoo
Ping Hsi railway line
Taipei Eye

Restaurant suggestions

Sunday, February 26, 2012

apartment and condo rentals in Taipei

This post serves as an index of sites where you can rent an apartment for a short term in Taipei. I'm using this to collect the information for myself and share with others that are interested. I'll add more links as I find them.

Trip Advisor - I like this site best

I'm seriously considering renting an apartment in Taipei for when we travel to Taiwan to meet Hudson. Because we're planning on traveling with Hannah, we need to go very light on luggage in order to have hands free for two little ones. Kevin and I are planning on only bringing four days worth of clothing with us and washing clothes at the apartment. Most likely Hudson will come with clothing and shoes that he's been wearing while living with his foster family.

We're planning on flying coach this time around. Business class was SWEET when we traveled for Hannah, but we can't justify the added cost this time around with Hannah. We will buy Hudson his own seat for the ride home so we'll have plenty of butt room for everyone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Mama? How does your name go?"

"Mama? How does your name go?"
"What do you mean, Hannah?"
"What are your letters?"
"Oh. S - A - R - A - H."
Two minutes later, "Here you go, Mama. I made this for you!"


That's my smart girl! So proud of this!"

"For Christmas?"

Today, out of the blue, Hannah asked me if I knew what I wanted for Christmas. "For Christmas?" I asked. That's a really long way away. Hannah replied, "Well, maybe you can want to bring home my baby brother for Christmas."

Uh... I'll settle for Christmas in July. Or May or June even. April will work. I'll start writing my letters to Santa.

Friday, February 10, 2012

push send/receive... push send/receive again. any news?

In the five months, one week, and one day since we've known about the little boy we hope to name Hudson, we've only received one tiny update on him that consisted of two undated photos. We have no developmental and personality info on our little guy since he was six or seven months old. We understood going into a foster care adoption case that we could have very few updates, but this is really hard. It is really difficult to feel emotionally connected to this adoption this time around because we feel that we know so little about him. We have all sorts of information on the social history of the case, but very little information on our little guy. This doesn't mean we don't want him. This means we yearn to learn more about him, if he's walking, what foods he likes, who loves on him in his foster family, what makes him laugh, and what soothes him when he cries. So if I don't post about him... it's not because I'm not thinking about him. I think about him every day, check my e-mail multiple times a day for a few words, a few photos, and there's never anything there. It's sad. It's a darn good thing I'm too busy to dwell on this much... because when I do, it makes me so sad! Still plugging along tracking calories, exercising at least three times a week, being really frustrated with work while having two good employees on medical leave... loads of extra work dumped on with new year changes, going to story hour at the library, planning play dates, doing laundry, etc etc etc.

Redirect: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!!!

We had a blast at Teresa and Curtis' home last Sunday to eat yummy food, girl gab, and watch the superbowl commercials. Gabriella and Hannah provided the entertainment. Thanks for sharing your photos of the girls HERE, Teresa!


good read: It okay to ask if someone's kids are adopted?

Linking to a good read at Rage Against the Minivan titled "It okay to ask if someone's kids are adopted?"

My answer to this question: It is okay to ask, but don't ask in front of my child/children because I don't want my child/children to feel as though they are being singled out for looking different than I do. Depending on how you ask and why I presume you are asking, I may answer you in the following ways:
  • "We are an an adoptive family." I'll answer your questions, but I'm not going to allow you to single out my child for looking different than I do. We come as a package deal. We're a family.
  • "Why do you ask?" I'm feeling protective of our family's information and want to feel you out first before I talk to you. I want to figure out if you're an adoptive family as well, if you're just nosey, or if you are genuinely interested in adoption.
  • If you ask in a disrespectful way, I might say this. "I've always thought it was rude to ask strangers personal questions." I've never had to use this one, but I've got it on the back burner, just in case.
  • If it's obvious that you are likely a member of an adoptive family as well, I'll just straight up tell you that we adopted our child/children from Taiwan when she/they were X months/years old. I can see why you're asking. I'm also more likely going to respond to Asian Americans with this answer, as I'm wanting to make connections with you and see what we have in common.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

my Belle

my Belle

Hannah has three favorite Disney princesses: Rapunzel, Mulan, and Belle. For her fourth birthday, our present to Hannah was a Belle dress and crown... with a promise to take her to see Beauty and the Beast at the movie theater, and she could wear her Belle dress to the movies. I think she was more excited about wearing the Belle dress outside the house than actually seeing the movie.

I had the day off today and decided it was a good day to see Beauty and the Beast in 3D before it left the theaters. I told Hannah, "Let's make a deal. Do you know what a deal is?" She nodded. "How about we go see the Belle movie tonight, but in order to go... you have to take a nap today because we're going to stay out late." Hannah was very excited! She ran to her bedroom, jumped in bed, and shut her eyes. It was so funny! This from the girl that forever tells me, "I'm not tired."

After a good nap I helped Hannah get the Belle dress on with plenty of warm clothes underneath. It's 26F degrees outside, after all! She also requested to wear gold sparkle shoes and carry a pink wand. We had dinner at Panera Bread and got all kinds of smiles from the other diners. I don't think the other diners expected a "character dining" experience when they decided to eat at Panera tonight. After a quick Target run, we hit the theater. We didn't even have to tell the ticket attendant what movie we wanted to see. Somehow... he guessed that we were there to see Beauty and the Beast!

She was so good and so sweet tonight. "Mama, there's some scary parts at the end. But it's okay. It's just a-tend." Hannah kept offering me popcorn from her popcorn cup, and wanted to make sure that I had plenty of snacks, too.

Today was a great day. Love that girl!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

note to self

Note to self: Make sure child's iPad is not in said child's bedroom when you put child in bed. Child might be up an extra two and a half hours watching Angelina Ballerina in bed on Netflix.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

photos from Hannah's 4th birthday party

Get out your toothbrush. This post is so sweet and sugary
that if you don't brush after reading it you might get a cavity!

Thanks to Lora for these four photos! They're my favorites!

Teresa and Lora helped out in the kitchen.

We had cupcakes (and more cupcakes), fresh fruit, taco chips and a dip tray,
Valentine peanut M&Ms, pink lemonade, soft drinks, and coffee.

I can't believe we really fit 40 people in to our little house.

Decorating cupcakes and cookies is one of Hannah's favorite things to do,
so of course we had to let everyone decorate their own cupcake. Kids went first.

Hannah accessorized her party dress on her own that day.

That's my girl!

Gabriella thinks this was a good idea, too.

Allie and Lora look like they're having a good time.

We bought a cupcake pinata and stuffed it full of all kinds of candies. We didn't have anything to hang it from, so Kevin held it. We didn't blindfold the kids. We started with Hannah letting her swing a big stick at it first. She didn't make a dent in it. We went from the youngest to oldest, letting them take several whacks at the cupcake, but it was tough! It was a little nerve wracking to watching the kids swing that stick and trying to stop them from smacking each other with it. The bigger kids fought hard with the pinata, and Lora's boys started to make a little progress. Finally, the oldest kid at the party, the neighbor girl across the street, took a couple of big hard whacks at the cupcake and it rained down candy.

A big thank you goes out to my mom and dad for helping with chairs and tables and to Teresa for getting supplies for and facilitating a round of the Grand Prize Game. Hannah has played with the heart shaped buckets and ping pong balls every day since the party!

The sweetest thing about the whole day was watching Hannah
hold hands of both of her friends Allie and Gabriella
and run around the house with them. Big smiles. Pure joy!