Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hannah is 2 Years Old!

Two already? Truly, how did that happen???

What an absolutely amazing little girl my Hannah is!! Babyhood has all too quickly been left behind and she is now all toddler. She loves to smile and shares that smile freely with others. As we walk through the grocery store she is known to smile at others and sometimes even call out ‘hi!’ When we leave a store she’s quick to say ‘thank you’ and leave with a wave. She brightens so many lives with her sweet, sweet personality!

I cannot tell you how many times she makes me smile every single day! Hannah has a sweet personality and love oozes from her! She will spontaneously come up and give me hugs and kisses and loves to cuddle and snuggle. When we first met she didn’t like anyone to touch her hands. Now we fall asleep each night with our hands intertwined and throughout the night Hannah will gently call out, ‘hand’ which means she wants to hold mommy’s hand. Such sweet and precious moments.

As she has grown, so has her wonderful personality! She has a spunk that will take her far. She is also full of energy and loves to run, jump, climb and spin. People often tease that she skipped directly from crawling to running as she’d prefer to get places fast. We are attending a gymnastics class and already in just 3 short weeks her confidence has grown. When the teacher says it’s water time she runs across the gym and quickly finds her water from amongst those on the shelf. So smart!! If I could just convince her that the bed is not another trampoline I’d be doing well! She has no fear so I need to be on my toes and let her know when things are safe and when she needs not to do something to be safe.

Hannah has so many wonderful friends and it’s really neat to watch them change from playing beside one another to interacting and playing with one another. They are creative, imaginative and a true delight. Tea parties are a fun part of each of our days and I really look forward to these. Hannah is a great hostess and always makes sure Mommy’s cup is filled with tea and a cookie accompanies it.

This year when Hannah has gone from crawling to running and climbing. She handles the stairs very well and is still cautious which I truly appreciate.

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Hannah has shown what I believe is to be wisdom beyond her young age. She is a logical thinker and often surprises me. Last week I opened the fridge and asked her to put something in. Without me saying a word she reached in and pulled out a small container of yogurt and put the larger container in the spot and then placed the smaller container on top. Wow! At the same time she’s still learning and growing every single day. I’d be happy to do nothing else but watch her explore and learn about the world around her.

Lately, my busy, busy girl has also started to enjoy her quiet time a bit more. For a while I teased that she had two speeds: fast forward and sleep. Now she will sit and enjoy a story that I am reading to her or even take a book and quietly and patiently turn the pages, chattering about what she sees on each page.

Speaking of chatter, Hannah has the sweetest little voice and she loves to chatter all day long. Often the words are understandable and other times it’s just sweet little baby talk. For months now she has understood virtually everything I have said to her and now she can respond. No longer does she just ‘parrot’ what is said to her, she takes the initiative to talk with me and tell me what on her mind. Precious, precious little girl with so much to share!

There is so much more I want to share with you about all that is Hannah but that will need to wait for another post. More to come....I promise.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Note to Hannah’s Birthmother

As Hannah and I are settling down for the night it is already February 27th in China and I know your heart must wonder how your sweet baby girl is.  Where is she?  How is she?  Please know that as we said our bedtime prayers tonight we prayed for you.  We asked God to give you a peace only He can provide.  You are a beautifully courageous woman who gave life to Hannah and a daughter to me.

You are on my heart as I am once again overwhelmed with love and thankfulness to you for the gift of Hannah.   Even though I don’t know who you are I see you in Hannah.  It is your beautiful black hair and almond shaped eyes that she shares.  She has the most perfect little rosebud mouth, beautiful long fingers and cuddly warm skin.  She is absolutely perfect from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.

I talk to Hannah about you even though she is still so young.  I want her to always know that she has a mother in China who loved her so very much that she chose to carry her for 9 months and then she made what I believe is the hardest decision in her life and allowed someone else to raise her.  For as long as I can remember I knew that I wanted to be a mom and God chose you to carry my daughter.  God brought Hannah and I together as mother and daughter, gathering us together from two sides of the earth to become one family and you are an important part of that too.  I don’t for one moment want to take for granted the sacrifice you made for Hannah and I to become mother and daughter.

My heart cannot express my thankfulness to you for the gift of Hannah.  May you know how thankful I am and may God bless you for the selfless sacrifice you made.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birthday Pancakes!

A friend sent a neat link to me a couple of weeks ago and I immediately knew when I would try it – for Hannah’s birthday!!  Cake Batter Pancakes!!  Who knew?  I wonder how long has this recipe been out there without me knowing about it? 

Realizing Hannah’s actual birthday is going to be a busy day/weekend, we enjoyed this celebration with just the two of us on Monday evening which was Family Day here in Ontario.  Even better!  Hannah and I had fun making these  together and after a few burned pancakes we had it mastered. Looks like one of the burners on my stove is beginning to run high.  Uh oh! 

Warning….these are not for those trying to lose weight nor those trying to cut down on sugar but, if you’re looking for a fun, delicious, colourful way to celebrate a special occasion then this recipe is for you!!

Adding sprinkles to the batterDSC_6960

The most colourful pancakes I’ve ever seen!


As I said, they’re a sugary delight.  Yes the topping is made of a runny icing with yet more sprinkles!!DSC_6967

No birthday celebration is complete without singing Happy Birthday and lighting candles.  (My family laughs that I’ve been birthday candle challenged since I was a kid!  You can hear here that it took Mommy more than I try to help Hannah blow out her candle.)


Mmmm…the cake batter pancakes were delicious and we’ll have them again for sure!

Happy Birthday Xiao Xiao!  Mommy is really glad that we had this opportunity to celebrate your special day together.  I love you with all my heart!!  xoxoDSC_6969

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Birthday Week Celebrations Are In Full Swing!!

Hannah may not turn 2 until next Sunday but birthday celebrations are already in full swing!  There are so many that want to celebrate her special day that we’re spreading the fun out.  Just the way it should be – a week of partying for my sweetie!

Sunday afternoon Nana and Papa, Great-grandma and Great-grandpa had a cake for Hannah where she learned how to blow out candles.  P2200503

I can’t believe how grown up Hannah is!  Babyhood has been left behind and she’s a fun, spunky, precious toddler!P2200504 - CopyAs well as some pretty new summer clothes, Hannah received a wooden beads and string gift from Nana and Papa.  When she was playing with it Sunday she quickly figured out how to put the dowel through one side of the wooden clothes but couldn’t figure out how to pull it through the other side.  Monday morning she tried again and we were both excited when she learned the second step of how to pull the string through.  Hannah is learning new things daily if not hourly!  What a great age she’s at!!  This video really captures Hannah’s sweet, fun personality and again, her adorable little voice that I could listen to all day long.   (Cute penguin pj’s were a referral gift from Mommy’s friend Special K who is ohsoclose to receiving her referral for her daughter Mia!  Thanks Special K!)

More birthday week celebrations to come…

Giveaway Opportunity

I was approached by CSN online stores to offer a giveaway to my readers. I enjoy these opportunities as it allows me to review an item I’ve been looking at for Hannah as well as offer something to you.

CSN Stores offers everything from pendant lighting to great cutlery and cute cookware!  I’m looking forward to seeing Hannah in an adorable little apron and matching chef’s hat.  She loves to help me in the kitchen so my helper will look all the sweeter adorned in her apron and hat!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Celebrating Noah’s 2nd Birthday

Hannah’s little buddy at daycare is Noah and he’s just 10 days older then she is.  This past weekend we celebrated Noah’s birthday with him.  The party started at Build-A-Bear where Hannah made her very first bear.  It was so cute to see her going through each of the steps with the rest of the children. 

Noah the birthday boy.  (Noah is the son of Hannah’s amazing, wonderful daycare provider Ange.)DSC_6924

Hannah and her bear whom we (meaning Mommy) later called XiaoXiao  (Sh-owe Sh-owe) Bear as Hannah has recently begun referring to herself as XiaoXiao, a nickname I’ve called her for long based on her Chinese middle name.  DSC_6921

Waiting patiently to add the stuffing to her little bear.DSC_6927

Putting the fluff in. 


Noah’s big brother Owen is another one of Hannah’s daycare buddies. DSC_6935

Hannah did really well waiting her turn for each of the steps even when she got creative in how she waited.DSC_6938

Tucking XiaoXiao Bear’s heart deep within.DSC_6939

Time for bear’s first bath.

Final stepping.  Naming her bear.


All boxed up and ready to go home.


I couldn’t resist taking this little video of her carrying the box that was half the size of her. 

Happy Birthday Noah!  Thanks so much for inviting Hannah and I to celebrate your special day with you!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

This morning I woke up to the sweetest little Valentine face ever!!  Check out how adorable she was with her Mickey and Minnie Valentine’s pj’s and wild bedhead!



Signing her Valentine’s cards last night, getting ready for today’s V-day party at daycare.DSC_6871

We captured this little video this morning while Hannah was enjoying her breakfast.  She’s recently mastered her version of Happy New Year (for CNY) ‘Happy NooNoo’ and just as she learned that one I sprung a new celebration on her.  She’s working on ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ here and soon it will be ‘Happy Birthday’ that we celebrate!!

My wiggly girl is hard to catch in pics these day but we tried this morning to capture her pj’s and then Valentine’s outfit.DSC_6888

We hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s day!!  We did for sure!  I am forever grateful to God for my sweet, sweet Valentine!DSC_6885

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Amazingly Blessed With Friends and More Friends!!

I remember when I first began my wait for Hannah, one of the real concerns I had was about playmates for her.  I wouldn’t say I really ‘worried’ about it as I’m not a worrier by nature but I was concerned at times for sure. 

At the time I was 38 not a kid, and most my friends had children who were already in school and some were nearing their teens.  I’d find myself wondering if Hannah would grow up mainly surrounded by adults unless she was at school or Sunday School?  That would have been ok but truly it’s was not my heart’s desire for her.  My heart’s desire was to have a group of friends myself who also had young children so that we could all spend time together as families.

Well, I need not have been concerned.  As always, God has provided in more ways than I ever could have hoped or imagined!!  He provided a sweet cousin for Hannah who is only 4 1/2 months older than she and as they’re growing up, they’re beginning to enjoy playing together which is such fun to watch.DSC_6158

God also provided SO many new friends for Mommy while I was waiting and now their children are Hannah’s friends too.  So cool!!  Our lives are full of love, family, fun and friends.  Who could ask for more?

Last weekend we were invited to hang out with some friends for the weekend and we couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough.  Well, Mommy said yes and Hannah found out hours before we went where we were going.  She was going to see her dear friend Ben and she was excited!  Since our FL trip she talks about Ben daily.

My first attempt to take a pic of our busy toddlers together.   You can see that they’d much rather play than sit for a photo shoot! 

As bed time neared we turned on the TV for a little wind down time after hours of running, jumping and fun!  Check out the cuteness! DSC_6837

My little sweetie wanted a little more closeness (read: she wanted Ben’s chair whether he was in it or not!) so she took matters into her own hands.  I laugh that she seems totally oblivious to Ben’s concern.DSC_6839

All weekend it was ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do!’  What one would do the other had to do also.  Here they were running circles around the main floor each holding one end of a monkey.  Pretty appropriate!  DSC_6847 What a great age our kiddos are at!  Breakfast for two. Sure wish I knew what she was saying as Ben sure was enjoying the discussion.DSC_6845

All too quickly our time together was done and it was time for Hannah and I to travel home.  Hannah takes her goodbye’s seriously.  Ben? He thought whatever was on the TV was far more interesting that kissing some girl!  Heh!Feb 013

We truly enjoyed our time with your friends and are already looking forward to when we can do it again!

This coming weekend Hannah and I will be hanging with more wonderful friends.  Auntie K and mommy are due for some long overdue catching up while Hannah, Chick and Pea will enjoy their time playing, running and jumping together.  (Notice a pattern with Hannah’s play times?) 

I have to work late Friday night so don’t have to go to work until noon that day.  Auntie K and I are going to take the kiddos on a trip down memory lane tomorrow morning.  While we were on mat leave together we attended a music class on Friday afternoons.  Tomorrow we’re going to a class for toddlers offered by the same teacher .  I know the teacher will be excited to see them!  Here’s a pic of them at our first music class together in January of 2010.   They were all such babies! (Sorry about the awful quality.)

Imported Photos 00035

I’ll try to take a pic tomorrow of the children enjoying Zita’s new music class.

Hannah and I are blessed to share our lives with many friends.  Some mommy has known since she was young and others have come into our lives over the past few years.  Whether old or new, we treasure each of them and the time we are blessed to share together. 

A Craft for My Valentine

Last week I saw Miss D’s beautiful Valentine craft that her mommy found here and I knew it would be one Hannah would enjoy too.  We went about gathering supplies and on Monday when we were cuddling at home since we were both sick, it was a perfect activity.  (Hannah has turned the corner and is doing much better.  Thank you to all for your kind words, emails and prayers.  We greatly appreciate them!) 

Here is Hannah creating her Valentine Window Art.


I love, love, love to hear her sweet little voice chatter away!  I still haven’t figure out what she was saying at the beginning of the video.  Any ideas?  I’ve also noticed how much more concentration she had on this craft than on our Christmas decorations only a short 2 months ago.  Enjoy the sweetness! 

The finished Valentine! DSC_6858

Oh yes, she has my heart!!DSC_6860




Sunday, February 06, 2011

Dance Hannah Dance!!

My parent’s bought Hannah a great DVD for Christmas and it quickly became a favourite!   It’s a personalized DVD called Jesus Loves You and is comprised of many favourite Sunday School songs that have Hannah’s name in them! How fun for her to hear her name over and over while learning how God loves her. 

As Hannah (all too quickly) grows and changes, her language is exploding!!  In the video below you’ll hear how she’s learning to sing along, often chiming in the final word of a sentence.  (The other day she shocked Grandma Dale and I when we began to sing Jesus Loves Me and she sang along to the degree that we could hear the tune and many words too!)

While Hannah is enjoying the singing, the dancing is right up her alley too.  Here she is in action earlier tonight.  I’m not too sure what she’s doing when she’s tugging at her shirt but I’m sure when I watch the DVD with her again it will become evident.   Check out the cuteness!!

Unfortunately I have a sick baby on my hands one more time.  She started with a fever last Tuesday which carried on for a few days.  A trip Urgent Care Thursday morning resulted in a new diagnosis for Hannah – pneumonia.  It’s a mild case that is not uncommon (or as dangerous as when adults get pneumonia) but still, she’s not well and has a slight ear infection too.  Poor sweetie!!  She’s a trooper through it all but my heart aches when she’s sick.

Tuesday evening I put on her DVD hoping to make  her smile even when she was feeling so punk and you can see here that she didn’t disappoint.  Even laying down she can get her groove on!

Hannah is on the mend and after 4 days on antibiotics she’s starting to feel more like herself.  Last night for the first time in a week she slept all night without waking which was great for her and a treat for Mommy too.

Praying my little sweetie is feeling better soon and ready to dance up a storm!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!

Happy New Year everyone!!  Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit.

Hannah and I enjoyed 2 New Year celebrations together with friends this past weekend.  Fun!

Saturday night we went to a beautiful CNY banquet in Toronto with the local Families with Children from China (FCC) group.  DSC_6781There were around 300 people at the banquet and we enjoyed an authentic 10 course Chinese meal.  Well…I enjoyed about 8 of the courses and the others I wasn’t brave enough to try.  It was a reminder of the meals that we ate in China although I must admit that when we were in China I ate very little as I was so afraid of getting sick and not being able to properly care for Hannah.  Dad and Norma were much more adventuresome in their eating!

This past summer a group from my agency received referrals from Hunan province which is where Hannah was born.  I was invited by our agency’s director to come to this group’s pre-travel meeting, sharing some of what I’d experienced and answering questions they might have.  It was a wonderful group of 5 families and we hit it off immediately!  Since then their group includes Hannah and I in their group activities including attending the FCC dinner.  What fun it was to spend time with them and their sweet children!

Here is Hannah with her friend Siena who both lived the first months of their lives in the DaoXian SWI.  One of the neat things is that Hannah’s Forever Family day is November 2, 2009 and that is Siena’s birthday!


From the moment we arrived at the banquet hall, Hannah was ready to check out all the celebration had to offer.  DSC_6738

On a side note, check out how my little girl has grown!  The pic below was taken the end of April 2010 and the dress went all the way to the floor yet now it’s just to her knees.  Hannah is now 34 1/4” tall which is in the 95th percentile on the North American charts!  Still my long and lean sweetie.  Imported Photos 00123

After dinner and a children’s entertainer it was time for the lion dancers.  Last year Hannah enjoyed the lion dancers and I was hoping she would feel the same this year.  Oh boy did she!!  (Please excuse her Mommy who mistakenly kept referring to them as ‘dragons. Oops!)

Hannah getting a closer look at the lionsDSC_6773

After the dance was finished, the children we allowed to climb under the lion and walk around with the costume on.  Look who was in there keeping up with the big girls!!  I love watching this as it shows Hannah’s fun, outgoing personality and that she lets nothing (including her age of only 23 months) hold her back! 

Sunday we enjoyed our second CNY dinner with friends Liz and Ava.  DSC_6788We travelled back into the city and went to a restaurant at the same mall we’d been at the night before for the FCC dinner.  How funny that both places ended up being Just doors from one another.


The girls both enjoyed the yummy noodles while this mommy was partial to the dumplings.  Delicious!



This is the second year that we have enjoyed sharing a CNY dinner together at this restaurant.  I think a tradition has been born!

Gung Hay Fat Choi!!  From Hannah and I, Happy New Year everyone!!DSC_6793

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