Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Birthday twins....or not!

I have often been asked if these two are twins, but they are not! They have two very distinct birth stories and two whole years and a few hours between them! It is hard to believe they are 13 and 11! Here are some of my favorite things about each one of them.

Brennan: He is a huge, HUGE tease! Sometimes to his own detriment! He gets what he deserves at times! He is funny, smart and very quick witted. He is kind and grateful and sensitive. He is such fantastic kid, a great friend and brother, so glad he is a teenager now, he will be a great one!!!! Love you buddy!

Tyler: He is just always happy. He whistles all the time, sings all the time and just enjoys life. He works hard and feels things passionately. He is a great brother, good friend and tries really hard in school and in everything he does. He is and always has been a little fighter, and we love him so much !!!!!!

Happy Birthday to my two twins, who aren't twins.... boys....I love you so much!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eisely's firsts!!!

First candy cane.....oh what a mess she made!!!

First Christmas tree ornament!

First Thanksgiving dinner!
First Nativity scene, first learning about Christmas!
First of quite a few naps in the high chair, since she's a little stinker and won't take naps in her bed!!!
First movie at the theater, we went to see Jack and Jill for Gracie's birthday, she was mesmorized for about.......15 seconds
First of MANY basketball games!
First grandma and grandpa moments!
First time loving a dolly!
First time re-organizing all of the drawers and cupboards in the house! (Mom's hairspray and soap cupboard is a favorite!)
First church dress!
First SNOW!!!!!
First family picture!
First hug from a very excited, happy daddy!

First time on American soil!!!
These are just a few of many, many firsts for Eisley Jayne! She is adjusting so well, we are exhausted, happy, getting used to each other and loving her SO much! What a blessing to have her!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Birthday Gracie!

I can't believe our sweet Gracie is SIX!! She is such a sweetie and we love her! We love her cute little toothless smile, her happy little face and her fun loving personality! We are so happy she came to us and are so thankful she is part of our family! Happy Birthday Gracie Ruth!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Goodbye China!!!

We spent our last day in China getting Eisley's visa to come into the United States, finalizing paperwork and doing a little shopping, playing and packing. It was a beautiful day and I can't believe our time here is done. I am dreading the 29 hours that will start tomorrow morning at 5:00 am, but I am excited to go home and see Jon and the kids, I have missed them so much and am looking forward to some normalcy, even though it will be a new normal! I am feeling a little inadequate because 2 weeks isn't long enough to learn enough to teach my daughter about her homeland. I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface. But I do know this, parents love their children here. They take good care of them, they love babies and they are good to their families. The Chinese people are soft spoken, they are quiet and they are happy for the most part, that I can tell. They honor traditions, they are fiercely loyal to their country and each other. The amount of people here is really baffling, these cities are huge, the high rise apartments and skyscrapers never seem to end, the pollution is bad and everyone smokes, but even right in downtown there are little gardens and trees and parks. There are street sweepers whose only job is to keep the streets and sidewalks clean. The shopping centers are intimidating and huge. The restaurants are so different than back at home. The waiters and waitresses hover over you the entire meal, they don't bring the check till you ask for it, you eat off of very small plates and have to ask for utensils and napkins. The meat is in very very small pieces with tiny bones in it., and there are lots and lots of very very unique menu items. Whole duck, goose legs and feet, jellyfish and abelone, pork ankles and feet, squid, snails, hairy crab, every fish, sea cucumbers, star fruit, dragon fruit and lots and lots and lots of others. People do their best to speak English, which is pretty amazing because we sure can't speak Chinese, some of their translations of things are pretty funny, but they try their best! They are very meticulous about money and count each bill and make sure it is in good condition and read all the tracking numbers on each bill. They are crazy drivers, literally crazy. They are not a wealthy people, even though the country is very very wealthy, the actual citizens as a whole seem pretty poor. The apartments are small, everything is small. The garbage is taken away by a small cart driven by a man on a bike. People put all sorts of things on carts behind bikes, huge boxes, crates, food, children, it's quite interesting to see. The country side is beautiful and also very clean, with huge mountains and lots of trees and in this area (Guangzhou) it is almost like a rainforest in some areas. There is lots of culture, zoo's, aquariums, parks, theaters, places to eat. We didn't see any schools, and I wish we had, we did see lots of kids playing a little hacky sack game and some basketball. We can't drink the water or eat the food that has been washed in it, so we have been boiling water for Eisley's bottle and drinking lots of bottled water, and using it to brush our teeth. They sprayed for fleas on the flight coming from America, which we thought was very interesting. I think they think we are dirty, but they are very nice to us and I think have misconceptions of what we are doing. Today while we were shopping we had lots of store owners give Eisley little gifts, and they kept saying thank you (xien xien) to me, I feel like it should be me saying thank you, it is a privilege to be able to raise her in a place that she will be free and happy. I did so much research and reading before I came, I tried to think of the history of China and why it is the way it is, I tried to understand why people do the things they do here, live the way they live, believe the way they do. I think it's interesting how much they believe in traditions like rubbing a Buddha's belly or a snakes head or wearing jade or giving jade away or eating certain foods or being born in a certain year or wearing a certain color, all these things they believe will give good luck. They are a people who need faith, who need hope, who need a knowledge of something more. I can't help them all, I will help one. And she will help her children, and their children and their children. In some small way, I hope to make a difference. What an amazing and overwhelming opportunity!
There are so many things I want to teach her, so many things I hope I never forget, so many things I have yet to learn. Now she is coming home. Hopefully someday she'll be able to come back. Maybe her spirit will remember and feel welcome here. I have felt welcome here, I feel like these people are in a small way part of my family and ancestory now too. I will honor that heritage, I will teach Eisley to be proud of her Chinese background, I will always remember her little flower bed where my sweet little Yin Lan was found in
Zhengzhou, I will never forget. I will make sure she never forgets. Goodbye China, thank you for your priceless gift. I can never repay you, but I will honor you forever.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treating in China !!!

Today was my favorite holiday, Halloween. I miss my kids and all our traditions at home today and I'm hoping they all have a very happy day and take lots of pictures!!! Halloween Apples!!!!!!!!!!! The biggest treat for the day was when we went to the US Consulate and got to take the oath on behalf of all the adopted kids to become US citizens! The oath just basically says that all the paper work we've done is all correct to the best of our ability and that we are ready to be American citizens. It was pretty anti-climactic and I expected a little bigger of a deal, especially with all the paperwork I've done to get to this final point, the folder they went through and checked is just huge, but even though it wasn't as big of a deal as I thought, it was still exciting. I am excited that she will be an American citizen with so many freedoms and a good life with so many opportunities. I hope to be able to teach her about her Chinese heritage and to be proud of it, but also to be able to teach her to be very thankful for her American and Canadian heritage. Hopefully she won't be too confused!!!!! What a lucky girl!!!!!!! We also took group pictures in the babies Chinese outfits, poor Eisley has gotten to the point of not wanting her picture taken at all, and turns her head immediately when she sees a camera, I guess she'll have to get used to it, because she's so cute, I'll want to document all her little milestones for years to come!!! Of course no Halloween would be complete without TRICK OR TREATING!!! We went around to all the people in our group's doors and everyone passed out treats! I tried to fashion some sort of jack-o-lantern out of a newspaper and put a black garbage bag on my head for a witches hat Some of the kids dressed up and some didn't, a little family of Chinese kids came and joined us and they seemed to think it was a great idea! Our guide, Kathy, had a great time with it too and went trick or treating with us and was like a little kid! It was so cute! We went down to the lobby and lots of people were laughing and enjoying the kids. At the buffet for dinner there were cool, very unique jack-o-lanterns and cute eye ball cookies and ghost covered carrot cakes, I had creamy pumpkin soup for dinner too, so I guess there was some Halloween celebration!!!!!! Little does Eisley realize the craziness that is Halloween at home, I'm glad we spent her first one in China with a lot of fun people and in a fun place! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!