Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bloggy Meet-up at Daytona Beach

On Friday, November 12th our family was excited to jump into the van and head to Daytona Beach.  The reason for our trip was to meet with two special bloggy families.  I had met Don and JMei on a few different occasions but I hadn’t seen Alyson and Ford since the day they received their wonderful daughter Alyzabeth’s referral in the summer of 2008.  What a treat it was to see all of them again and to introduce my family to them too.  What a huge treat it was to meet the sweet Alyzabeth An!

We had a wonderful visit together and the time passed all too quickly. We’re heading back to The Villages next November and a Daytona Beach reunion visit is on our wish list for sure!  Here are some pics of the fun we shared together.

The girls getting to know one another.  L to R, JMei, Alyzabeth and HannahDSC_5837

My parents with Sharon and LarryDSC_5834

The big kids colouring while we waited for our lunch to arrive.DSC_5850

Hannah sharing something with her new friendsDSC_5846

Talking purses and jewellery.   DSC_5852

After lunch we headed out to the beach and as much as the adults enjoyed it it was nothing compared to the girls!  They were in their glory!!  As Nana said, ‘It was better than Disney for Hannah!’ and she was so right!  Hannah had so much fun with the big girls and it was fun watching her do her best to keep up with them.


Hannah had fun walking to the water’s edge with whomever caught up with her.  :o)



The area we were playing in was wet and the waves were staying out further but Mama wasn’t taking any chances and I’m sure glad that was the case.  We were surprised by a wave that suddenly came in much further than the others and soaked a number of us an oh how we laughed!!






Dad had the camera running at just the right time and captured the whole thing.  This is a great video!!

Alyson and Alyzabeth


JMei flying in the windDSC_5877



Follow the leader DSC_5911

A wonderful time was had by all!  I am so thankful for the friendship we share and that has now been extended to more of my family too.  We are blessed to have such special friends and look forward to the next time that we are together!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Can Fly!!

I’m still working on a couple of Florida posts but thought I’d share this pic for now.  My dad captured it the day we visited friends at Daytona Beach.  Check out her air!


Is there any question why we’re beginning parent and tot gymnastics in the new year?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus ~ Flash Mob

This is absolutely amazing!!!!  I came across it last night and found myself covered in goose bumps and with tears in my eyes as I watched it but it wasn’t until tonight when another friend sent it to me that I realized it was done last week, only about an hour and a half from my home.  So cool!!  I can only imagine what a treat it would be to be caught up in a Flash Mob ~ especially one as amazing as this!!  Enjoy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meeting Mickey and His Friends!

Hands down, Hannah’s favourite TV show is, ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!’  She absolutely adores it and a huge smile crosses her face every single time it starts. When we were at Disney Hannah had an opportunity to meet the real Mickey Mouse as well as his clubhouse friends. 

As we waited in line to meet the characters Hannah could see Mickey.  As soon as we were at the front of the line she wiggled and wiggled and said, ‘wal’ (walk) until I put her down.  She walked up to Mickey by herself and stood looking up at him with a look that appeared to say, ‘Wow!  It’s really him!’DSC_5797

I love how she has her little hands crossed casually in front of her.  Ah yes, she was standing with her friend.DSC_5795b

After meeting Mickey on her own she asked to be picked up and was happiest meeting the rest of the gang with Mama.  Posing with Pluto


Checking Minnie out over her shoulderDSC_5802

and saying good-bye with a ‘high 5.’  She gave most of the characters ‘high 5’s’ as we left them.DSC_5803

Watching Donald sign her autograph albumDSC_5805

Hanging with GoofyDSC_5811b

Goofy is one of Hannah’s favourite characters on MMCH and she smiles when she see’s him.  A couple of month’s back she began to giggle while watching the show and when I looked up I noticed that it was Goofy she was giggling at.  I was able to capture some of these giggles last week.  Is there anything sweeter than a baby’s laugh?

I’m so thankful that there is such a great show for Hannah to watch that she enjoys and where she learns so much too.  Tonight she was singing along with a song she’s heard on her DVD in the car.  I’ll work on capturing it to post another time.  How fun it is to hear Hannah begin to sing.  Another fun, huge accomplishment that my ‘baby’ girl is making.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Day at Epcot

Hannah decided to try Grandpa’s hat to see if she preferred it to her own.  Pretty cute!DSC_5760

We needed to stop just inside the park to take the traditional pics in front of Spaceship Earth.  Hannah chillaxin in her stroller.DSC_5767

Still excited that we’re here with Grandma and Grandpa, Nana and Papa!!DSC_5769

Hitching a ride with Nana early in the day.DSC_5770

Before breakfast with the princesses the 4 grandparents enjoyed ‘Soarin’ while Mama and Hannah took a leisurely boat ride through Living with the Land.

After breakfast Hannah hung out with Grandma and Minnie while Mama and the others rode Test Track.  Hannah was happy and I enjoyed being able to ride one of the adult rides.  Not often possible as most of my trips have been with my wonderful niece who is timid when it comes to rides.

In her glory with the grandparents.DSC_5778

Later in the afternoon Nana wanted to stretch her legs so Papa took the wheels for a spin.  By this point Hannah knew where the horn, speed and on/off key were so she decided to share her skills with Papa.  DSC_5779

Later in the afternoon we toured around the countries.  We went into the American pavilion but didn’t last long so Hannah and I hung out while she coloured a ‘Duffy the Bear’ while the others enjoyed the show.DSC_5785

Look how cute she looks!DSC_5787

Showing off the finished product.DSC_5792

A great day was had by all!DSC_0175

Wonder what parks we’ll go to next November when we return together?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dining with Royalty

Back to the fun FL posts….

Wednesday morning (Nov 10) dawned warm and sunny once again and we were off to a very important breakfast.  Princess Hannah and her Royal Subjects had been invited to dine with the other Princesses in Norway! 

When Princess Hannah was called to enter the dining hall she was met by the beautiful Belle wearing her formal golden gown.  Mommy was excited but Princess Hannah wasn’t too sure what to make of all that was happening.  She preferred to peek at the princess over her shoulder while grabbing hold of a fist of mommy’s t-shirt just to ensure that she wasn’t going anywhere! Heh...I think she may even be giving Belle the stink eye!DSC_5772

Upon being guided to our table and filling our plates with yummy, delicious fruit, pastries and breakfast food fit for a….princess, it was time to pose with the other Princesses who came to see us.

Princess Aurora smiled while Hannah pretended she wasn’t there. DSC_5773b

Cinderella was even there which was a wonderful surprise as she normally is busy elsewhere.  I think Hannah might have been warming up slightly to all that was going on as in this pic I’m pretty sure she was sharing her half eaten cheese with Cinderella.  Nothing says friendship more than sharing partially eaten food! DSC_5774b

LOL!  Check out all the flashes from the Grandpas-ratzi!  :o)

We had met Snow White the day before in the Magic Kingdom so this time Hannah was a little more accepting of her.  Snow White on the other hand was thrilled to see Hannah again and commented on her beautiful bows!


The final princess to grace our table was Aerial.  Still no smiles from Hannah but once all the princesses had moved on to visit with other Royal Subjects, she was happy to look at them and appreciate them from afar. DSC_5776b

The food was delicious and it was fun to meet so many princesses so we will go back and enjoy this breakfast again in the future. For now, Princess Hannah was just happy to enjoy her brekkie without having to pose for any more pics.  :o)  Having a mama and 4 grandparents all wielding cameras can be a little much for any Princess!  

I think Hannah’s favourite part of the morning was dancing in her high chair as the Princesses paraded through the restaurant with the children behind them.  Oh how cute it will be someday when she chooses to join in the parade!   For now, it was dancing at our table for all of us to enjoy and we loved it!

Breakfast with the Princesses.  A perfect way to start the day at Epcot!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to Canada Hannah XiaoFen!!!

One year ago today the lives of Hannah and I changed forever.  We boarded a plane in Beijing, China and in all too short a time, a ride down the runway, the wheels lifted off and the country that I had quickly fallen in love with was behind us.  I remember feeling excited, scared, happy and yet at the same time sadness also filled my heart as I was taking Hannah away from the country where she was born.  From the people who had loved and cared for her in Dao Xian.  From her language, food, culture, birth parents, nannies and so much more.  All she had ever known in her brief 8 months of life was behind us and yes, I felt guilty. 

Was I doing the right thing for Hannah and for I?  Yes.  Was this what God had planned for us?  Yes.  Would she have a better life in Canada with me rather than being raised in an orphanage?  Yes.  And yet, I wished there were some way to bring some of her friends, culture and country with us.  As she grows we will talk of China often and it will be a part of who we are as a family as not only is Hannah Chinese, I also hold China and it’s people close in my heart and we will forever be linked together.  Hannah’s birth country.  Hannah’s initial foundation.  Mommy’s thankful heart that I was blessed by God, chosen by Him, to have the honour of raising my daughter whom He chose to be born in China.  China in our hearts….forever.


This post of the day we flew from China to Canada is one that I’ve found challenging to write.  After all, it’s taken me a year to do so!  I think that besides the busyness that took over when we got home, I was also struggling with how to capture in words all that my heart wanted to say.  I just couldn’t figure out how to share the myriad of feelings and emotions that I experienced that day.  I’m still struggling with what to say but we’ll see how this goes.  What I do know is that I want to capture for Hannah memories of that wonderful, amazing day!


Saturday, November 14, 2009 dawned bright and sunny in Beijing.  Wanting to soak in the final moments of our time there I procrastinated in packing (oh yah….that’s me for sure!) and together with Mom, Dad and Norma, Hannah and I went for a walk near our hotel to envelop ourselves once again in China’s beautiful people and community.

As we went downstairs in our hotel there was a beautiful bride and groom entering the hotel and I remember being surprised that she was wearing a traditional western bridal gown.  For some reason I had thought she would be wearing a red silk dress.

After that we wandered down the street for a final time and visited a little tea store.  We purchased some last minute souvenirs and gifts for ourselves and others.

From there Hannah, Mom and I returned to the rooms while Dad and Norma went on a photo taking adventure.

As I was packing I found the two flags that I’d brought with me; one Chinese flag and one Canadian.  I propped Hannah up in her crib and began to take pictures, hoping for that perfect one.Imported Photos 00034


Imported Photos 00014

It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized how neat it was that that was the day I chose to take those pictures.  Saturday, November 14, 2009 Hannah Catherine XiaoFen woke a Chinese citizen and when she went to bed in Canada many, many hours later and yet still that same day, she was a Canadian citizen!!  How cool is that??!!!

After packing our suitcases and writing a final blog post, our travel group of 10 families went to the Beijing airport.  After a little mix-up about the babies’ tickets we were all set.IMG_1843

Hannah and I in front of the plane that would carry us from China to Canada.IMG_1847



With a 13 hour flight in front of us, we were sure to be punchy at times.  :o)  Here’s a goofy self portrait of the 3 of us.  Hannah’s looking at us as if to say, ‘What are you up to now?’  IMG_1862

(I had a nasty eye infection for the last few days of our trip and by this time the dryness of the plane nearly drove me mad.  Sorry for the yucky looking eyes, especially as the day got longer and longer….and longer!)

Bottle time.  ( I LOVE how this picture shows how Hannah was already very comfortable looking at me and even though I’m looking away here she was making great eye contact.  Thank you Lord!)IMG_1865

Nap time for Hannah.  She did so well during the flight!  There was playtime, snuggles, cuddles, bottles, a few walks to stretch our legs and visit with others and then she also had 2 good naps. It’s really neat how they work the lights on these flights as the airline attempts to help people with jet lag.  We took off in the evening which meant it was close to bedtime and the lights within the cabin mimicked evening then were a bit brighter and a snack was served then they got very dark for a number of hours and then mimicked a sunrise and breakfast was served.  During the darkest part of the flight Hannah and I both slept for 4 hours which was wonderful!


Entertaining her on the plane with a myriad of things.Imported Photos 00070

Preparing our customs forms.  One Canadian Passport.  One Chinese which is now a treasure in her memory box.Imported Photos 00075

A visit with Grandma and Grandpa in the row behind Mommy.Imported Photos 00064

All in all, Hannah was amazing on the flight!!  She had a couple of short crying spells but truly was a trooper through it all!

This picture holds precious, wonderful memories as this was how Hannah chose to sit as we were landing in Canada.  Her precious little hand was on my face while the other was on hers.  A moment of trust and peacefulness as we embarked on our new journey together as Mother and Daughter.  At this moment I was praying for us asking God to go before us in our lives together as a family as well as thanking and praising Him for bringing Hannah and I together.Imported Photos 00079

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Officially a Canadian citizen as her feet hit the floor!!Imported Photos 00081

By this time we had been through Canadian customs, collected our luggage and the next thing to do was to step through the doors to awaiting family a friends.  The moment I had dreamed about for almost 5 longs years was about to happen!  My daughter and I were about to meet those who had loved, supported, prayed for us, encouraged us and so much more.  I think I could feel the excitement through the doors and I felt like we were floating!  Excitement and anticipation filled my heart!

There were many, many people at the airport to greet us and I am still overwhelmed to think of all those who came to share this most precious moment with us!  Family travelled 5 hours, friends and more family travelled an hour or so, all to welcome Hannah home!077



A portion of Hannah’s paparazzi. 080



Yes, that entire wonderful group of people you can see in this pic were at the airport to welcome Hannah home!!DSCN60855092

This first video makes me giggle every time! Norma came through the doors first and I was supposed to be right behind but I stopped for a quick moment. 

As I came through the doors and heard family and friends calling Hannah’s name I was completely overcome by emotion to know that my sweet, amazing, wonderful baby girl was finally home and so many had come to welcome her!!


c2 I will forever be thankful that Norma was able to share this amazing journey with us.  As we were meeting with family and friends she was reuniting with her hubby too.  Hannah’s first opportunity to meet Uncle John who so willingly allowed Norma to share this experience with us.

Checking everyone out from the safety of mommy’s arms.


Another one of the precious moments was introducing my cousin Bridget to Hannah.  Bridget and I are very close and she was a huge cheerleader the entire time I was waiting for Hannah to come home.  Never once did her faith that this would happen falter and on those days when I needed an understanding, supportive voice, it was often Bridget I called.  Thank you Bridge.  Love you!

Some of the many ‘Hannah Fans!’  To all those who came to the airport to welcome us home….THANK YOU!!!!!!  Thank you also to Auntie M for all the great videos and to those who captured pics of this amazing moment!

After things quieted down at the airport and Hannah’s amazing welcome home party had headed home for the night, Dad picked up the van and we prepared for the final part of our journey…the drive home. 

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First ride in her car seat and she did great!  I’d been concerned how this transition might go as she’d never been confined in this way but I believe the previous 2 weeks of her being in the Baby Bjorn much of the time helped her feel more comfortable in her new car seat.  Hannah slept about half of the drive home and then after a few wake-up tears I was able to comfort her from the seat beside her.Imported Photos 00084

We arrived home to a wonderful surprise of a welcome home sign on the garage, made by the loving hands of special friends.  Imported Photos 00085 Nana had the tea on and Hannah was able to meet Nana and a couple of her honourary Aunties for the first time.  I can’t believe I didn’t take any pics of that but I think by that time I was bushed as the day was nearing 36 hours old.

Hannah and I were home.  The journey God had begun 58 months earlier was complete.  He had led me on January 11, 2005 to begin the adoption of a precious baby girl from China!  Now, on November 14, 2009 Hannah and I were home and a whole new journey was before us.  God is still with us and He has a whole new plan for us.  Day by day we watch it unfold and I am continually awed and overwhelmed by how blessed I am to have Hannah as my daughter.  She is absolutely amazing, sweet, precious, loving, happy, smart, caring and so much more!  Thank you Lord for blessing me with Hannah XiaoFen…forever, we are a family.


As I write this, it is now November 15, 2010 and yesterday Hannah and I flew home from Florida.  No, there weren’t 50 people waiting for us at the airport but it was still neat that it was the same date that we were on an airplane.PB140458

What I wasn’t prepared for was the overwhelming feeling of love and appreciation that engulfed me once again.  There were tears of joy and thankfulness as Sharon and I talked of Hannah who was sleeping soundly in my arms and tears of gratitude once again to God, for choosing me to be the mother of the most amazing baby girl in the entire world!!  I will be forever grateful to Hannah’s birth parents for choosing to give her life.  I pray often that somehow they will know that she is safe, loved and happy.  I am also grateful to the country of China for allowing me to raise one of their precious children.  I am forever blessed and forever thankful!

God is SO GOOD!!!

‘The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’

Psalm 118:23

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