Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mama’s New Toy!

My parents gave me a BBQ for my birthday the year that I bought my house…17 years ago.  It’s needed to be replaced for a few years now but it just wasn’t in the budget.IMG_4431  Last week I went to our grocery store and on a last minute whim decided to check out what they had left in stock.  I’d shared my thoughts with my Dad about wanting to buy a new BBQ and his one recommendation was to ensure that the racks were stainless steel.  After replacing mine a few years back with some inexpensive wire racks I knew that he was right.  Needless to say, by looking at the pic below you can tell that my BBQ had been out of order for a long time since I preferred not to add rust to my food!IMG_4432

When Hannah and I went to the seasonal section they had a few BBQ’s left.  I was excited when I found one that met my budget and had stainless steel racks but unfortunately they were all sold out.   After thinking about it a bit more I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask if they’d like to sell the floor model.  I was super excited when not only did they say yes but they dropped the price by another $30 so it ended up being over 60% off the original price!  Add to that that I had enough points to pay for it, I ended up getting it for FREE!!  Dad was excited that it was already put together and he wouldn’t have to do it for me!  A win-win for both of us! 

The BBQ didn’t fit in my car but Dad and Mom offered to pick it up for me the following day and brought it to our place.  Ahhh…now that’s better!IMG_4434

We checked out all the connections and after Mom and Dad left it was time to fire it up!IMG_4435

Yummo!  Steak with sautéed mushrooms (sorry K) and a baked potato with Heluva Dip were the perfect meal to christen the new BBQ!  All that was missing was the kalamata aioli M3IMG_4433

We enjoyed our first meal on our BBQ!  The second meal quickly took us back to reality.  Tube steaks!  (aka hot dogs)  Now that’s more like it for us.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

5 Year Referral Celebration Day!

5 years ago today my life changed in the most amazing, wonderful way!  I was blessed by God with the title my heart had longed to hold for as long as I could remember, ‘Mom!!!’  After waiting (im)patiently for the 3 1/2 years that my file was in China, Deborah called to share the news!  I am forever thankful that in the 30 minutes from her initial email that she was preparing to call until the call came, I was able to gather my parents and my ‘mother-in-love’ in one room so that we could get the great news together!

August 21, 2009 ~ Hannah’s Referral Call!  (Hannah and I watched this together last night.  A huge smile filled her face as she saw and heard our reactions and I once again cried ‘happy tears’ as that amazing day was replayed once again!!)

I still pinch myself often to believe that I am blessed to call this most amazing girl my daughter!!

2014 – 5.5yo2014 - 5.5yo

2013 – 4.5yo2013a - 4.5 yo

2012 – 3.5yo2012 - 3.5 yo

2011 – 2.5yo2011 - 2.5 yo

2010 – 17 months old2010 - 18 months

2009 – pics taken when she was just 3.5 months old!2009

Hannah, before God created the world He knew that you and I would be Mother and Daughter and I am forever grateful to Him!  I love you Xiao Xiao!!  xoxoxo

Friday, August 15, 2014

China Sisters Reunion

Hannah and I are blessed to have been welcomed into the travel group from our agency that travelled to China the summer after us.  As they were preparing to travel in the summer of 2010 I was invited to share our experiences with them and sweet friendships were formed that very day.  Since then we have been welcomed into their group and I am thankful for these friendships.  I am also thankful that two of the little girls in this group came from the same Social Welfare Institute as Hannah, 1 of which even overlapped with her there by a couple of days.  These are precious gifts for this mama to have and hopefully in time Hannah will appreciate this too. Another neat thing is that all of the girls were born within 9 months of each other and are all entering Senior Kindergarten in September.

Hannah put on her serious face when we stopped the girls long enough to snap a few pics.

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After that she asked me to take a picture of her alone.  Looking so grown up!IMG_4398

The girls jumped in the jumping castle for literally hours!  None of them stopped for more than a couple bites of lunch but ice cream was offered, that was another story!

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The girls serenaded us with a song I’m sure you’ve never heard before!  (I love Hannah’s little arm swoop later in the song.  She loves to act out this song!)

Our amazing girls and their mama’s!  We are all blessed beyond measure!!IMG_4411

It was wonderful to join you for your 4th Family Day Celebration friends!  We are so thankful for the friendships our group share!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wow!!! What a Difference Just 4 Days of Private Swimming Lessons Made!

Hannah has been a fish since she was a baby and has always loved the water!  Here’s her first set of swimming lessons when she was just 11 months old.

I normally put Hannah in swimming lessons during the spring session and did again this year.  I was excited when her teacher was a gal from our church.  Hannah swam really well with Rachel so I decided to sign her up for a week of private lessons during the summer, hoping she’d be able to pass the level that she’s been in twice so far and needed to repeat again.

Within minutes….MINUTES last Tuesday things changed and I could tell that this was going to be a great time of learning and growing Hannah’s swimming skills!  Two days before her first lesson we were at my parents and she could swim about 4-5 feet in the shallow end but then would need to put her feet down.  The month before at a friend’s pool she’d begged me to take her water wings off so I did so standing right beside her.  The entire pool was over her head and she quickly slipped a couple of inches the water.  I could see her looking up at me and she wasn’t at all concerned….but she was under water!  LOL!!  I pulled her up and she said, ‘Told you I could do it Mommy!’  Heh….not quite yet my love!

So, I was excited to see what would happen when she had 4, 1/2 hour lessons with Rachel.  They spent the majority of the time at the opposite end of the pool that was often blocked from view by a wall so I couldn’t really see her progress.  I was SHOCKED on Friday when I was able to go down and see her SWIM!  Way to go Hannah!  This is the same little girl who 4 days earlier couldn’t swim more than 4 or 5 feet!

After her big swims back and forth a few times, Rachel took Hannah for a ride in the canoe.IMG_4385

One of the other neat things that happened this session was that the pool was almost empty!  Normally during lessons there are a number of groups in the pool.  This time there were only 6 kids in the entire pool!  That was a neat surprise!

Hannah jumping into the deep end and then swimming to Rachel.  Amazed once again!

I am so thankful to Rachel for all that she taught her.  Unfortunately for us she is moving away in a couple of weeks so we won’t be able to plan any more lessons.  That being said, I’ll sign her up for private lessons again for sure!

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In the end Hannah not only passed the level she’d been trying to for 2 sessions but the entire next level too!  Way to go Hannah XiaoFen!!! 

Crocodile – here we come!IMG_4391

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sun, Fun and Sandcastles

Last Saturday Hannah and I joined Auntie K, Uncle J, K & G at a beach less than an hour away and oh my….why haven’t we been before?  They go often and yet last Saturday was a first for Hannah and I.  It’s a beautiful beach and we shared a great day together!!  IMG_4344

The kids played in the sand and water for hours and hours!IMG_4350

At times I think they were seeing if they could coat their bodies with every grain of sand on the beach!

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Time out for lunch.IMG_4347

Our cartwheelin’ girls!IMG_4342

There was also a sandcastle building contest the day we were there and it was amazing what some of these people built, especially the ‘amateurs!’  WOW!  Check out Dusty!

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Thanks so much for the invite Auntie K!  We had a GREAT time with you at the beach and cannot wait to join your family there again!

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