Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mommy’s Little Helper

Hannah is at a stage where she loves to help mommy and do everything I do. Doing dishes often involves little hands in the soapy water which sounds great until that water goes flying. Oops! She’s also great at helping me move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and tidying her toys too….until one takes her interest and then she’s lost in play just as she should be at 18 months of age!

One of the other things she loves is our little electric broom. She’s a great help and can now do this on her own while I do something else. Some bits get missed but that’s just fine. I’m thankful for the help and she’s SO proud of herself!!

She’s the cutest little helper ever!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Daycare Fun!

Hannah’s first week of daycare went really well and if I was honest I’d admit that it was better than I was prepared for.  Once again, God answered prayers in an amazing way! 

Here she is all dressed up and ready for her first day.


Here are some of the pics showing what it took to get the one above.  1/30 pics isn’t bad is it?  :o)

I am so thankful that Ange encouraged us to visit for a number of play dates before Hannah started fulltime and also to leave her a couple of times.  It made this transition so much easier on her.  Mommy burst into tears once she drove away but Hannah was excited to play with her friends!

Hannah’s first day went really well and she did lots of fun things with her friends.

Snack timeIMG_6779


Ball pitIMG_6794



Craft time where she painted the picture of an apple using an apple as a paint brush!IMG_6831

Her first piece of artwork which is proudly displayed on our fridge!


Another day this week Hannah came home with a bag of yummy chocolate chip cookies that they had made.  Mmm!

One lesson I did learn from Hannah this week is that there is a definite difference for her between enjoying daycare and dealing with the separation from mommy.  Before this week I always thought that if she was having trouble with mommy being gone that she wouldn’t want to go to daycare.  I was wrong about this.

Last weekend, even before going to daycare but after a week with Grandma and Grandpa, she was very attached to mommy when we were together.  Literally!  We went to a wedding on Sunday and mommy made the mistake of trying to go to the buffet without her.  She was with our great friends whom she knows and loves and whom we’d spent Saturday with but when I left the table she lost it!  I felt so badly for her because even though she could see me 30’ away she went into a deep, sobbing, frightened cry within moments of me stepping away from the table.  I know this cry as I’ve heard it a handful of times but each time it happens it breaks my heart.  In the past it was normally a night-time cry but this time I heard it during the day.  I quickly abandoned gathering my food and went back to the table to scoop her up.  She settled within seconds with her head buried in my neck and arms wrapped tightly around my neck too but in the short amount of time she had been crying it caused deep shudders within her that took a little time to subside.  Poor lamb! 

Monday she had a great time at daycare and in the evening we went for supper with my parents.  It was also a buffet so I took her up with me to get soup but then made the mistake of trying to run up quickly for crackers without her.  She was with my parents and since I was going to be gone less than a minute I didn’t think she’d mind.  I was wrong!!  When I returned to the table she was once again inconsolable and my parents were saddened and somewhat surprised to hear the depths of her cry and have not been able to console her at all.  They were trying desperately to get her out of her high chair as the sounds she was emitting was breaking their hearts!  As soon as I scooped her up she buried her head in my neck, threw her little arms around my neck and squeezed in tight but still continued to sob with such fear that it nearly brought me to tears too.  To know that I had caused this brought on the guilt but it wasn’t about me, it was about comforting and settling my baby girl.  After about 5 minutes the sobbing eased and although the body shudders continued for some time, she was safe, secure and once again by mommy’s side.  As with the day before when this had happened I found myself eating my dinner with a beautiful, protective, soft little arm wrapped securely around my wrist.  She was making sure mommy wasn’t going anywhere without her.

Although Hannah has been happy, happy to go to daycare each day with week and ‘paaaay’ (play) with her new friends she’s also deep down been dealing with our new normal of us being separated for hours each day and dealing with the anxieties that currently accompany it.  Friday was a little tougher for her at daycare as she could be found wandering to the front window and crying out for mommy but Ange would comfort her, draw her back into the activities with the other children and reassure her that mommy would be back. 

Naps are a work in process too as she is used to sleeping in the same room with me during naps and at night.  I am SO thankful that Ange is working with Hannah to establish her new routine rather than following an ‘agenda’ that would probably be the case in a bigger daycare facility.  After the other children are down for their naps Ange takes Hannah downstairs and holds her for her bottle then holds Hannah while breathing slowly and deeply until she falls asleep.  Hmmm…wish I’d thought of this as it is working wonders.  She falls asleep in about 5-10 mins and then she just places her on a sleep mat in the same room she is in.  Hannah is napping around 2 hours each day which is wonderful!!

I am SO thankful for God allowing Ange and I to meet years ago and that He has provided her to care for Hannah!  Thanks Ange!!

While we’re going through these changing times I’m making sure that Hannah and I spend a lot of bonding time together when we are together.  Each night we’ve gone for walks or to a store with her in the Ergo.  Being in a carrier is the way that Hannah feels safest so we’re spending lots of time this way and it’s working well for both of us. 

All this being said, Hannah has done amazingly well with the transition to daycare.  She’s happy to go each morning and there is nothing in the entire world like the feeling I receive when at pick-up she comes running with arms stretched open, saying ‘mamaaaaa’ and wraps those precious little arms around my neck. 

I am forever blessed by this amazing little girl and love her more than words can express!!!

Thank you Lord for once again answering prayers and for Hannah’s transition to daycare going so well!


It's now Tuesday of the 2nd week at daycare and reality for Hannah has set in. She's happy, happy to go but the tears when I leave have started. It's SO HARD to leave her when she's crying but I know it's what I must do and that she will settle. For almost 10 months I was the one to comfort her 99% of the time that she was upset and now when she's crying in my arms and clinging to me I have to pull her away and give her to other loving arms. There is nothing more I want to do than to hold and comfort her but I know that if I prolong our goodbyes it will only make it harder. Ugh!!

I know this stage will pass too but it sure is rough leaving her when she's crying, calling out for mommy and reaching for me. Tears my heart strings!! I'm hoping for Hannah's sake (and let's be honest, for mine too) that this is a quick stage and that she's soon ok with me leaving again.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lazy, Sunny Summer Afternoons

(July 25)

My parents have a gorgeous backyard with a fun in ground pool. On this sunny day in July we hung out there with my brother Dave, SIL Trish and 4 of their kiddos. This summer Trish and I have gotten to know one another much better and in turn this means Hannah and Makenna's friendship has blossomed too!

When we were relaxing in the pool I challenged my nephews Noah, Josh and Justin to see if they could stay on top of the beach ball for 10 seconds. The successful person would be $10 richer in the end. I knew it was impossible but it probably entertained them for more than an hour. It was fun to watch them see all the different methods they tried.

Makenna was so content just floating around the pool in her life jacket and tube.Imported Photos 00013

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Hannah watching the funImported Photos 00014

Who needs an amusement park where Bampa and Uncle Dave are around?

Grandma and her baby girlsImported Photos 00025

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Permanently Wearing Our Party Pants!!

ostrich-head-in-sand-signIn the weeks that led up to my return to work I could best be described as an ostrich with my head planted firmly underground!  I was in total denial that the day I had to go back was coming and Hannah and I filled our days and nights with as much fun as we possibly could!  In those final days we spent lots of time with family and friends, visited many exciting places and just enjoyed hanging out together.   I have a few posts in the works sharing some of our fun. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One Year Ago Today My Life Was Changed Forever in the Most Wonderful Way!!! **UPDATED**

(I’ve finally found time to upload my videos of ‘THE CALL’. You’ll find them about half way through this post)

One year ago today my life was changed in the most miraculous, wonderful way!! One year ago today I received the call of a lifetime!! On August 21, 2009 I found out that I was the Mom of a precious baby girl waiting for me in Hunan, China and I couldn’t wait to meet her!!! Hannah Catherine XiaoFen had arrived with one amazing phone call!

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I remember many details of that delightful, sunny day and I believe that day will forever be ingrained in my memory! I was at my friend Sharon’s house for breakfast and remember leaving and saying, ‘Today could be the day! The next time you see me I could be a Mom!!’ That being said, all was quiet in Europe where the referrals normally arrived first so truly if I was being honest with myself, I didn’t believe that that would be the day. But a girl could still dream and dream I did!!

I remember skipping down the stairs of her porch and getting into my car, cell phone glued to my left hand where it pretty much was fulltime! There was a smile across my face that nothing could remove and I truly floated throughout the office. I’m not sure how productive I was that day but they understood! Rumor Queen was refreshed numerous times each hour as I eagerly awaited any iota of information pertaining to the anticipated referral batch. Emails were flying and I physically shook each time my cell phone rang.

The morning is a blur but I remember crashing a group of co-workers celebratory lunch who were going to the Mandarin. Norma was part of that group and I just didn’t want to be alone so I went along with them, trusty cell phone always in hand or on the table directly in front of me. I remember chatting with a family at the restaurant who had a 3yo daughter from China with them. I told them I was waiting for my call to arrive any day and they were excited for me and shared some of their experiences with me as we filled our plates with rice and lemon chicken.

I arrived back in the office around 2:00 and upon refreshing Rumor Queen’s page, the first indication of a call being made had just been announced! (I’m getting goose bumps just writing this as I can remember it vividly as if it were yesterday!) I remember trying to do too many things at the same time and not knowing what to do! Call people? Email? Text? Who to call? Too many to call! Calls were being made and suddenly I knew that Monday would be my day as truly my agency, being a Canadian agency, couldn’t possibly receive their package and begin making calls that day; could they??? Wanting to find out, I once again contacted my agency and left them a message. My question to Deborah was, ‘How soon after the US agencies receive their packages do you normally get yours?’ I waited with bated breath for her to call back so that I could relax (yah….right!) and prepare myself for a call the following week.

In reality what happened SHOCKED me beyond belief. At 2:57pm I received the following email from Deborah


Hello Cathy,

I have good news – where and when do you want me to call?

Best regards, Deborah


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! It was time!!! My call was coming!!!! I was excited, happy, barely breathing, shaking, running in circles, trying to lock up my desk and accomplishing a whole lot of nothing! :o) Thankfully my friend Rachelle happened to pass by my office and she could immediately tell that I was in labour!! Being the good (and trained friend as all my coworkers were) she grabbed my Flip and began recording!

I immediately emailed Deborah back and asked her to call my cell at 3:30pm. By this point that was only 20 mins. away and I had a 10 min walk and drive to get to Sharon and my parents! My first call had been to my parents and then to Sharon as I quickly decided where Sharon worked would be the best place to receive the call and thankfully my parents were only blocks away from there at the time too! God had placed all the right people in just the perfect places to share ‘The Call’ with me!

Here I am attempting to send a quick email to close family and friends letting them know the call was coming.

When my file went to China in March of 2006 I placed beads in a jar. Each bead represented a LID that needed to be matched before I would receive Hannah’s referral. Here I am moving the final bead….Hannah Day was finally here!!!

I raced to the car making a variety of calls and Rachelle was wonderful enough to follow along with me capturing all of the excitement! Thank you Rachelle!

I don’t remember much about the drive to the library other than it was a beautiful warm sunny day. What I do remember is seeing my parents sitting in their car in the parking lot and yelling ‘RUN!’ to them as the call was coming at any moment! Heh, I’m sure we were quite a sight as the 3 of us ran into the library in search of Sharon. We quickly found her and Marian (who recorded this for us…thanks Marian!) and before we could even get settled the phone rang! Here it is! THE CALL!!!

Part I

Part II

There was much celebrating and many tears of joy! God had blessed me with a daughter and she was only 5 ½ months old!!

After leaving the library, the day begins to blur a little more as I remember calling a lot of people to share my amazing news. I’m a MOM!!! Calls took a few hours and there were more tears of joy and shouts of celebration! I think it’s blurred as all I could do was dream of what my daughter might look like but it was so amazing to have answers. Suddenly with one phone call I knew:

- she was a girl

- her name: Yong, Xiao Fen. Soon to become Hannah Catherine XiaoFen

- her age: 5 1/2 months

- where she was living: Dao Country SWI, Hunan, China

- when we might travel: end of October 2009

- when I was going to see her picture!!! One week later…ugh!! SOOO long to wait!

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That evening I also signed up for Hannah’s SWI’s yahoo group and began reading the archives. What fun it was to meet other families who had children from DaoXian SWI. (It also ended up being amazing as one of the gals was able to find Hannah’s Finding Ad for me) on the Sunday and it was the very first picture of her I ever saw! Here is the first picture of my precious Hannah, taken within the first couple of weeks of her precious little life.

Hannah's Finding Ad pic

August 21, 2009 is a day that will forever be one of the most amazing days in my entire life! The Lord blessed over and over again and finally, more than 4 ½ years after I first felt God leading me to adopt from China, I had a daughter and soon she would be in my arms!

Here is her precious referral pics that I saw for the first time 8 days later on Saturday, August 29, 2009.Hannah Catherine XiaoFen 1Hannah Catherine XiaoFen 3 Hannah Catherine XiaoFen 2

Today, Hannah at 17 moths holding her referral pic.Imported Photos 00227 Imported Photos 00229

‘the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes!’ Psalm 118:23

Today Hannah and I spent the day with wonderful friends. At 3:30 we all celebrated and Doris snapped this pic of Hannah and I. Thanks Doris! I year post referral....right to the minute!
330 Aug 21, 2010  1 year post referral

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Still Doing Great!!

I'm happy to report that Hannah is loving this week with her grandparents which has made going back to work much easier on mommy too.   Yeah!!

They've done a lot of fun things together and it's neat to hear of their adventures when I get home (or when I call 5 times each day!)  I only called 3 times today...an improvement for mommy even though my mom understands my wanting to know all is well with my sweet baby girl.

Yesterday Grandma and Bampa had Hannah and my 7yo nephew Noah too.  They had a great time dining at Denny's for breakfast and then heading down to a fun new park near Lake Ontario.  P8170536P8170540

Dad confessed that he put Hannah on this fun little spinner and gave her a little twirl.  What he hadn’t planned on was the wind catching her and spinning her faster!  Heh….my thrills loving girl quickly signed more and said ‘moy, moy!’ when it stopped and he took her off!P8170539

After fun in the playground the headed down to the beach and enjoyed time on the rocks and in the waves.P8170545


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Thank you so much Mom and Dad for caring for Hannah this week!  I know she’s in the very best hands and I don’t worry about her at all while I’m at work.  I miss her like crazy but don’t worry.

This morning Hannah was so cute!  One of the last things I do before heading out the door is to put my work name tag on.  This morning she watched me put the lanyard around my neck, looked up with a big smile, said, ‘Bye!’ and happily waved at Mommy.  She was a-ok and ready for Mommy to go to work so that she could have fun with Grandma and Bampa! 

Thank you Lord for helping Hannah ease into this new period of our life so well!

Monday, August 16, 2010

God is SO Good!!!

As much as I dreaded the arrival of today, God once again showed His love for us in caring for both Hannah and I in amazing days.

My day began bright and early at 5:30am. I tell you, 5:30am is not nearly as exciting when you're getting ready for work as it is when you're getting ready to travel! None the less, the alarm went off and after swatting the snooze button a couple of times I was awake for the day...and feeling ill. The tears began early as Hannah dozed peacefully beside me, totally unaware of the changes that were about to take place in our lives.

I got ready for work and she slept. I cried. Mom and Dad arrived to care for her and I had to gently wake her. Ugh! I hated doing it but there was no way I was suddenly going to leave for an extended period of time without spending time with her and reassuring her that mommy would be coming back.

Once she woke up she was a happy mite and excited to see Grandma and Bampa! Books and toys were strewn about before I left the house and she was clamouring from one lap to the other, excited to spend time with them. (Although this was not the original plan to have Mom and Dad care for her this week, I know that it is one of the many things God orchestrated and I believe will help ease her transition to mommy going back to work. She'll get to know that I leave and then come home later, all the while being surrounded by love...and spoiled!...by her grandparents. God is SO good!)

While mom and dad were downstairs playing with her I'd be playing too then run upstairs, cry for a bit, then come back down with a cheery face for Hannah. This happened a couple of times before I was ready to head out the door.

After a quick stroller set-up and collapsing lesson for Grandma I was on my way. Brave waving from both of us and happy smiles quickly faded to tears as soon as Hannah was out of sight. I waited for a bit at the end of the driveway, just so I could clear the tears to drive safely.

I arrived at work and immediately met a number of people whom I haven't seen in a while. Some I was ok with, others who I'm closer too caused tears to fall again. All I had to do was hear Norma's voice cheerily say, 'Hey! Some one's sitting in my desk!' and I was a blubbering mess! :o)

I eventually found my new work station but still did not know where I was going to be working as the project I'd left in October was completed during my absence. I was thrilled to find out that I'd be working on a project I had interviewed for last fall. I wasn't successful in the interview but they're bringing me on board on a learning basis and I'm super excited! I've had some exposure to this project before and worked with the girls on the team and they're wonderful and work like a well oiled machine. I know that I'll be busy which is always a good thing when you're at work. It's also a fun team with one coworker whom I have a great friendship with and she and I just know how to work and have fun at the same time. Watch out Rachelle....I'm back!! :o)

I called Mom and Dad within half an hour of leaving and Hannah was doing great! There had been no tears for her and she was happily enjoying breakfast and letting Grandma know that she was OK to feed herself thank-you-very-much!

After breakfast they got her dressed in a cute little dress and even managed to get a piggy and bow into her hair! I'm impressed! They went to the passport office, Babies R Us for a mirror for their van so Hannah could see them and then to McDonald's for lunch. Another call by Mommy confirmed all was well. Even though I knew she was just fine I just needed to know! By this time my sweetie was tuckered out and she fell asleep in the van and Grandpa transferred her into the house and she stayed asleep! Woo hoo!! (In my vehicle she's still in a bucket seat so I just carry her in in that. Yes, still well under the weight limit and also the height so I'm still using it as she sleeps in the car often. Will move her soon but if I don't have to I'm not going to as the bucket works well for both of us).

My friend Joy offered to come and meet me for lunch and it was wonderful! I wasn't sure how I'd be doing so another friendly face was very welcome. It ends up that I was doing well by this time due to Hannah doing so well and the added bonus was lunch with a wonderful friend!

After nap Grandma and Grandpa filled Hannah's ladybug pool and it was time for some swimming fun in the courtyard. Love this little bathing suit! I'm not a huge fan of babies or children in bikin1s but I figure it's just fine in our own backyard.

The day went surprisingly quickly and before I knew it it was time to go home! Yay!!! I hurried to my car and couldn't get home fast enough! I think I almost took the turn into the driveway on 2 wheels and ran in to scoop Hannah up! She was excited to see me and we shared lots of hugs and kisses. Soon enough she wanted down and we played for a while and oh how good it was to be home!! God is SO good!!

She was in such a happy mood and I was so thankful that she has this week to share with mome and dad! They all love one another so much and it's a gift for her to spend this quality time with them.

After mom and dad headed home Hannah and I shared a wonderful, fun time around the dinner table together. You can tell from this video that she did amazingly well when mommy was at work and was happy to see me when I was home. Oh what a fun little tease she is and oh how I love her!

Work is good. Hannah is great and yet I still say with a smile on my face, 'Only 4 more sleeps until the weekend!!'

To all who prayed for us, emailed and/or called....THANK YOU!! You are greatly appreciated!

PS: God is SO good!!!

Congratulations Debbie and Dave! Welcome Charlotte!

Last month Hannah and I were invited to join a travel preparation meeting of families from our agency. They had just received their referrals from Hunan province and 2 of the babies were even living at Hannah's Social Welfare Institute in DaoXian, China!! You can imagine that I couldn't say 'YES!' fast enough!! July 18th we travelled into Toronto and shared a wonderful day with 5 families who were preparing to travel. It was great to share of our group's experiences and be able to answer some of their questions.

Another huge opportunity that this gave me was to be able to send a photo album filled with pictures of Hannah back to the nannies in her orphanage. What a precious gift this was to me and I know will be to them too! Thank you Chia-yi and Laura for delivering this for me!

Yesterday as my heart was aching preparing to go back to work (another post about that soon) I was at the same time excited for these new friends who were just hours from meeting their babies. Last night it happened and now 5 beautiful baby girls are with their forever families!!

Debbie and Dave have a blog and you can check out their precious Charlotte and the other babies here!
Congratulations friends!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Far Too Quickly the Time Has Come…

…for Mommy to return to work. :o( How did that happen? Where have the past 9 1/2 months gone? I will be forever grateful to a government who recognizes the importance of a baby spending time with their parents when they’re first adopted or born yet, being totally honest, part of me is ticked right now that adoptive parents are not granted the same leave as birth parents are. Sure my body didn’t need to heal from giving birth to a child but my precious little lamb’s heart and security were rocked when everything and everyone she knew was removed from her life when she was placed in my arms in China. I hope that this will inequality change in the future and that soon adoptive parents will be granted the same maternity leave as birth parents are. Until then, I can only dream of what another 4 months home with Hannah would have been like. *sniff* I am thankful and forever blessed to have had this amazing time at home with Hannah! We’ve played, sang, read, baked, attended music classes and swimming lessons, played with a whole bunch of friends and SO much more. I won’t for one moment regret the time we spent together as we made the most of every single day. Even quiet pyjama days at home were times of cuddling, reading and getting to know one another. Thankful…oh so thankful!!!

Tomorrow I will do something I’ve rarely done since October. I’ll set the alarm. Yuck!! One of our most precious times each day have been our quiet mornings together just hanging out on Mommy’s bed spending precious time together. Just the two of us before any outside influences were introduced into our days. Oh how I will miss these times and oh how I will cherish Saturday mornings which will allow for these times to be treasured again!

Here are some pics of how we start our days. Ahhhhhh…..love it!!

In ChinaImported Photos 00020 Imported Photos 00040 Imported Photos 00016

Imported Photos 00004 Imported Photos 00001 November 2009Imported Photos 00165

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February 2010

MayImported Photos 00139 Imported Photos 00143

JuneImported Photos 00016

July P7070431 DSC_4224


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So tomorrow, our new normal begins….almost. This week Hannah’s daycare provider is on vacation so Hannah will be blessed to spend the week with her grandparents. Mom and Dad will arrive bright and early each morning to play with and entertain Hannah until I’m finished work. At that time I’ll race home, run in the door and scoop up my precious lamb and smother her with kisses while trying not the squeeze her too tight! Our evenings will be filled with everything she loves and all too soon I’m sure bedtime will be upon us and the same will begin the next day.

As I write this it’s Sunday morning and I work up feeling sick to my stomach that tomorrow at this time I’ll be getting ready for work and will have to leave her. Ugh!!! I’m very thankful for my job but hate that it means we will have to spend so much time apart from one another. In the past 9 1/2 months we have only been apart a handful of times and the longest being for 3 hours. Tomorrow is going to be hard! I just pray she knows that mommy will be back soon and that I will always, always come back. I can handle the separation (maybe not well but I can do it) but it’s Hannah’s tender heart that I ache for. Please pray with me that this time will not regress her attachment and that she will be secure in knowing that I will be with her again soon. Thanks!

Is it too early to say only 5 more sleeps until the weekend???

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Everything Tastes Better With Dip

Hannah loves to dip everything into anything. I’ve learned lots of interesting combos from my sweet baby girl. Some I’ve tried and liked (blueberries in vanilla yogurt) while others I’ll leave to her taste buds (pizza in guacamole; grilled cheese into caramel sauce). It’s kinda fun to see what combos she comes up with and it also keeps mommy on her toes looking for things she can use as dips. I have chosen not to introduce ketchup yet as I don’t want her to ‘need’ it with each meal and also it’s sugar she just doesn’t need.

Here are a few pics I’ve captured of my sweetie enjoying her meals. She’s an amazing eater for which I am very thankful!

Potato chips in yogurt. The goodness of the yogurt cancels out the potato chips right? :o)DSC_4263

Watermelon into yogurtImported Photos 00023

Something that’s no longer here into apple juiceImported Photos 00289

You may notice the common element in all these pics is Hannah’s plastic bib with the pocket at the bottom. Before I was a mom I saw these on other children and in the store and never understood the need for them. Oh how I get it now!!! Hannah loves to feed herself and I’m happy to let her do so when time allows. The bib catches a multitude of dropped/spit out food and has saved many an outfit from the laundry bin. We now own 3 of these and they go everywhere with us. Oh yah, they’re also useful for snacking from when mommy takes your tray to wash it!

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