Monday, January 30, 2012

A Moment in Time: Sometimes I Forget…

…that Hannah doesn’t remember the day we became a family as I do. 
Now, that may seem like a funny thing to say as she was only 8 months at the time but a little background will help explain what I mean.  (Please bear with me…this post wanders a bit.)
Right now one of Hannah’s favourite games to play is ‘Baby.’  She will suddenly pretend to cry like a baby, want cuddles, to be picked up, snuggled and comforted with, ‘Shhh…it’s okay baby, Mommy’s here.’  She’ll do her pretend cry a little longer, all the while with a big smile on her face and stifling a giggle while I hold her close and rock her.  (Any opportunity to snuggle and cuddle my independent little sweetie is a good one!)
Something else Hannah loves to do is ‘Pway.’  We say her bedtime prayers each night and now she adds her own personal requests.  Often she’ll say, ‘Mommy, pway for me when I was a baby in China.’ and I’ll pray something like, ‘Lord, thank you so much that you knew before the beginning of time that Hannah and I would be a family.  Thank you for creating us to be a family and for brining us together in China to be together forever.’  I use this sweet time of prayer to reassure her that God designed our family and that we will always be together. 
Each nigh after our prayers we cuddle for a few minutes before I go downstairs.  She’ll normally grab hold of my arm and say, ‘I keep you!’ and try to hold me, all the while with her with a huge smile on her face!  We giggle together with our faces mere inches from one another and I say, ‘Yes sweetie, you can keep me forever!’  Eventually I wiggle away with the reassurance that I’ll be back very soon.  We end our little time of night-time fun with me placing a kiss on her forehead and her placing one on mine.  (Any attempt to kiss her sweet rosebud lips right now is met with that kiss being thrown away as she laughs!  I still do it and oh how she giggles and she announces, ‘I frow it away! Smile)  
I’ve often heard and read on other people’s blogs that ‘big’ conversations often seem to happen in the car.  Sometimes planned by parents that way, other times it’s just spontaneous conversation.
Yesterday as we were driving home from one of her little friend’s birthday parties we were praying for safe travels for those at the party as the roads were snowy and some families had a distance to travel.  After that prayer she said, ‘Mommy, let’s pway for Baby Anna in China.’  I asked if she meant Baby Ellie and she said yes.  Baby Ellie is the sweet daughter of friends who are traveling to China this week to meet their daughter!!  Although Pam and I have never met in person and only met via our blogs, the friendship is a dear, precious one and we know that someday we will meet.  Cannot wait!!
And now, to get to the reason for the title of today’s post.  As we were driving down the road and ‘pwaying’ for a variety of things and people Hannah wanted to pray about she said,
‘Mommy, pway for me when I was a baby in your tummy in China.’
It suddenly struck me that even though I know we didn’t meet until she was 8 months, 6 days old and we’ve often talked about that day and looked at videos and pictures, she doesn’t understand (nor have the ability to understand that) quite yet.  
I was surprised by her innocent request and all at the same time my heart began to race and tears threatened my eyes while trying to sound as ‘normal’ and calm as I could as I responded to her sweet request. 
My response?  We prayed, ‘Lord, thank you so much that you knew before the beginning of time that Hannah and I would be a family. Thank you for creating us to be a family and for brining us together in China to be together forever.’  Someday I will want to delve further into this matter but for now, I responded in the way I believe her little 2yo mind could handle.
I know in time these questions and many, many more will come and I am already praying (oh boy if you could have heard the arrow prayers I shot up as we drove yesterday!!  Talk about multitasking!!) that when we have these discussions that Hannah will view her adoption as a positive thing.   That she would not be angry with her situation, God, her birth parents, China or I’ll be honest, me.  I’m not in denial that some/all of these feelings may come but if/when they do I pray they do not last.  I pray that Hannah will see and believe that God brought us together to be a family.  A family designed by Him.  The perfect family for us.
Together, forever.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gymnastics Graduation–Kindergym

Saturday Hannah graduated from her second ‘nastics’ class!  The first term which we began a year ago this month we were part of the parent and tot group and this time the coaches at her gym encouraged me to register her for a Kindergym class designed for 3-5 year olds even though she would still be 2 at the end of the session.  It was a big step (for mommy!) but I’m so glad that we took the leap!  She did wonderfully from the very first class, leaving mom with a hug then skipping off to warm-ups with the rest of the kids.

I appreciated that she was learning to listen to someone other than me and she did well…most of the time.  She’s still a normal, busy 2yo and would sometimes lose focus but I was very happy with how well Hannah did in her first non-Mom class. 

Each week I sit in the parent viewing room which is above the gym.  It was fun to look down and see what she was doing and then to wave when she looked up for a reassurance.  It was also fun to meet the other parents whose children were in the same class.  We would laugh at some of the things the kids were doing or giggle at their lack of attentiveness.  The coaches were young and they had their hands full with 5 3yo’s and 1 2yo but they grew too and it was neat to see their confidence grow over the 20 weeks of the session.  Thanks Coach Brittany and Coach Bria!

‘The train’ the kiddos make to move from station to station.DSC_9633

Catching some airDSC_9620

The kids all love the tumble track.  Today Hannah was in one of her ‘I’ll do what you ask when I feel like it moods’ and it took until she was about half-way down the track before she’d put her hands where the coach asked.  Oh well, I tell myself her personality will take her far as she grows!  ;o)

This picture makes me laugh.  Every time Hannah goes by this bar, rather than jump over it she picks it up and readjusts it.  There was one time way back in the parent and tot class that it was crooked so she asked if she could straighten it and I said ‘yes’ and ever since then, each time she does the circuit she picks it up…every-single-time!  Smile DSC_9623

I’ve seen big improvements in what she’s attempting and succeeding at, especially on the bars and beam.  In the beginning she would let go each time she went around the bar but now she holds on most times and pushes up onto the bar too.

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Here’s my sweetie waiting her turn for her name to be called to accept her graduation certificate.DSC_9636

Want to take a fun step back in time for just a moment?  The pants she’s wearing are size 9 months and ones that were made for Hannah by an anonymous person and sent to us via M3.  I’ve always loved the ribbon pants this person has made for Ro and Ree so was so excited when she made some for Hannah.  I bet she never guessed (nor did I) that she’d still be wearing them 2 years later and that they’d still fit!  Hannah has grown taller in the past 2 years as you can see by the pants that used to reach the floor, but her waist really has not changed too much at all.  Here she was in February of 2010 when she first received this gift!  Adorable now and then!!Imported Photos 00286

Accepting her certificateDSC_9639

Hannah had her own little cheering section at graduation with Grandma, Grandpa and Papa in attendance.  She was also excited and surprised when Bec Bec came too!DSC_9644

Way to go Hannah!  You did so well in your first session of Kindergym and Mommy is excited to watch your grow and learn even more in the next session that begins Saturday!  IMG_4390

Thursday, January 26, 2012

‘Helping’ Mommy Shovel?!

We haven’t had much snow this winter (yay!) but when we received some beautiful, light, fluffy snow last Saturday Hannah was excited to help me shovel!

Many hands make light work, right?  Well….not sure that was the case this time but we sure had some laughs and giggles during the process!IMG_4293

My angel’s snow angelDSC_9600

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Hannah only lasted about 5 minutes before she opted to go inside and watch Mickey Mouse but considering all of her shovelling ‘help’ ended up in snow piled inside the garage I think her decision was a win-win situation for both of us!

I think maybe she remembers this episode from last winter and her shovelling into the garage was retaliation for Mommy’s bad aim!

OK, we’ve had snow, made an angel, gone sledding and shovelled the driveway.  Yup….we’re ready for spring!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fun Times with Ava

Over the past couple of weeks Hannah has had fun doing some special things with her friend Ava!

On Jan 12th we took the girls to see the Disney Princess’ show and they had a blast!  Even though neither girl had seen any of the stories portrayed, just being there, seeing the Princesses plus their pals Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy was all these girls needed!DSC_0684

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A wonderful Disney fix before our next trip.IMG_4242

Next was a quick snowy play date last Saturday.  I’m glad we took advantage of this time as the rain Monday washed all the snow away.  DSC_9601

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Monday night we celebrated CNY with Liz and Ava in their home.  What fun we had and it was decorated wonderfully!DSC_0739

Chop stick fun!IMG_4355

Eating long noodles is a CNY tradition.  This year Hannah enjoyed plain noodles with butter until we can see an allergist and rule out a peanut allergy.  She was just as happy with those noodles so that worked out just fine for her!IMG_4361

Our cute, giggly girls checking out the dragons.

Kung Hay Fat Choy!  Happy Year of the Dragon!IMG_4374

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CNY Party with Friends

Sunday afternoon we were invited to Ange and Gavin’s to celebrate CNY/Tet with some of our friends.  I will be forever grateful for the friends I made as I was waiting for Hannah and now those friendships continue to grow as we have many connections with friends who not only share our journey but also for Hannah’s sake, look like our family.  I believe having that connection is very important for her both now and in the future.  Adoption may be what brought us together but friendship now ties us together.

This weekend 5 families got together to celebrate.  Aren’t they cute?!!IMG_4305

Hannah playing with her new little friend Isabel.IMG_4312

Since this year we were celebrating the year of the dragon we found a cute little dragon craft for the kiddos to make.  They did so well!IMG_4313

My little love hard at work making her paper chain.IMG_4314

Final step….fedders!IMG_4316

Hannah with her finished ‘dragon muppet’.  Great job Hannah!  (Instructions can be found here.)IMG_4338

The highlight of the night was the amazing cake that Ange made!!  It was a Canadian version of M3’s awesome Dragon Cake!  We weren’t able to find single coloured M&M’s so she substituted with gummy hearts and it looked AH-MA-ZING!!!  Way to go Ange!!IMG_4320

This kids (ok, and adults too!) couldn’t wait to dig into it!IMG_4326

Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choy!!

From Hannah and I, Happy New Year!  Welcome to the year of the dragon!IMG_4302
This is Hannah’s version of ‘Kung Hei Fat Choy.’  LOL!  Guess we should have started working on this earlier than Friday. Smile  (Her ‘muppet’ is the dragon we made at a CNY party at a friend’s place tonight.  More on that to come in another post.)
Napping in Nana’s arms after church.  IMG_4299
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

*Going to Work With Mommy….Almost!

You may remember from last Christmas that Hannah went to work with Mommy on Christmas Eve day.   My dad had the same employer I do for the majority of his career and I remember going to work with him on Christmas Eve day each year from when I was not much older than Hannah!   This year was going to be no exception for us and Hannah had talked about going to work with mommy for a couple of months.  When she’d ask I’d tell her she could to with me at Christmas.

The day dawned bright and sunny and as we were getting ready Hannah was excited to be going to ‘Mommy’s work!’ 

We parked the car but as we began to walk towards our building I realized that our morning would not go quite as planned.IMG_3902

It’s not easy to see from this pic but when we arrived at work our building was encompassed by 3 fire trucks and 6 police cars…that we could see.  I believe there were probably more parked out back as the street behind our building was closed to traffic.

So, what does any good worker do when they can’t get into their place of employment?  They go for coffee!  IMG_3905

Due to the situation inside the building (which we never really found out many details about) we were sent home mid-morning.  Yay!  An extra couple of hours 2 days before Christmas was a welcome treat!

Before we left the coffee shop some of my co-workers came over and gave Hannah a bag of treats and oh boy did she enjoyed those!  Puzzles, chocolates, stickers and more!IMG_3907

Thanks Miss Pat and Miss Hema!! IMG_3908

What did we do with our extra time that day?

We went for an yummy unplanned sushi lunch with GrandmaIMG_3911

and then after nap it was time to visit Miss Ruth Anne who cuts mommy’s hair just in time for a cute trim for Christmas! IMG_3912

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A fun day and gift opening at Nana and Papa’s was still to come!!

PS – Yes Auntie M, if you read the hair cutting cape I’m wearing it’s bilingual…English and FRENCH!  ;o)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Look Who’s Potty Trained!!

Oh yes she is!  Hannah decided when it was time and it took her about 3 hours from start to finish!  I would never have believed it was possible but she proved it to me!  She still wears diapers at nap time and overnight but that will come with time and again, I’ll take her lead when she begins to wake up from one/both of these dry. 

The turning point for Hannah was when Santa brought her underwear.  You may remember from this video that even with all the presents under the tree, the first one she was looking for was underwear!  She was a girl on a mission!

Once she opened her new undies she asked daily to use the potty.  I wanted to ensure we had a full day at home with no interruptions to train so I was originally planning on this coming Saturday (a rare Saturday without gymnastics) but with her constant requests and displayed interest we moved it up 3 weeks and Monday, Jan 2nd became her big day!

Months ago I began doing some research about potty training and the book that came highly recommended by many was, ‘Toilet Training in Less Than a Day’ by Azrin and Foxx.  I borrowed it from our local library and decided that since it boasted such a successful track record and came so highly recommended by people online that I was going to follow their method to a T!  If you have a toddler to train in your future and you’d like a book to help you out, I cannot recommend this one enough!  I’m going to share a bit here but reading and following the steps in the book is the way to go.

Our morning began with breakfast and a large number of beverages for her to choose from.  Wanting to encourage her to drink as much as possible she even had ‘bubble pop’ (aka sparkling grape juice left over from New Year’s Eve) in one of her Sippy cups.  That was a huge hit for sure!  The thought behind this is that you want your child to learn what it feels like to need to ‘go’ so the variety and availability of beverages helps this.DSC_9590

After breakfast the training began in earnest.  I pumped up the heat as it was cool outside then dressed her in a t-shirt and large training pants.

I gave her a brand new doll and she was pretty excited about that!  

(A funny side story.  If you give your child a new doll the week after Christmas and ask her what she wants to name it, there is a chance she’ll say, ‘Baby Jesus!’  So yes, we have a cute little girl dolly who wets and is wearing a ruffled dress whose name is…‘Baby Jesus!’  To this day she still asks where her Baby Jesus dolly is!  LOL!!)

The fun part about this doll was that she wet so Hannah learned how to help her go potty first.   She walked the doll through all the steps that she would soon begin doing herself.DSC_9586

Soon it was time for Hannah to try herself and she did great!  I wanted her to think about what she was doing so I chose not to have any toys or books in the washroom.   The system of helping the doll, drinking lots and making frequent trips to the washroom worked like a charm and she was going frequently!  Oh the celebrations, clapping and cheering that went on!  Yay Hannah!!

Another important part of the program was treats – and there were plenty of them!  First the dolly would earn a treat each time she would go and since Hannah quickly realized that the doll wasn’t able to eat the treats, she got to eat them on her behalf.  Bonus!  Then, each time Hannah went she was able to choose a treat too!  In her potty treat jar I had a variety of things for her to choose from:  tiny squares of Rice Krispy treats, packages of 3 M&Ms, small chocolate bars, balloons, stickers, small bits of pop tarts, jelly beans, gummies and more.  Lots of treats that she doesn’t normally get so they were an incentive for her!  As soon as she finished washing her hands she’d make a bee line down the hallway and right to the treat basket!  (Side note: For about a month before she was trained if she happened to notice that mommy had used the washroom she’d cheer and then exclaim, ‘Mommy get a treat!’  Heh!  Nobody normally cheers for those things!  Winking smile  I’m just glad she was able to help me eat them as I’m not a huge fan of chocolate at 6am.  Oh who am I trying to kid?  Of course I like chocolate at any time…but it tasted much better when shared!!) DSC_9589

The day was full of much praise, cheering, encouraging and celebration!  (Thanks to all who allowed us to call with her big announcements and the congratulations and celebrations you shared via the phone with her!)  By the early afternoon Hannah was able to know that she needed to pee (or other Winking smile), go to the bathroom, do each step involved in the process on her own and then wash her hands.  If I realized it has been a while since she’d gone I’d ask her if she needed to go but basically she was going on her own and I was only going in for encouragement, wiping help when needed and assisting with hand washing.

All in all potty training was a huge success!  (Even more so when I mention that the day we trained was also the same day she started her eye infection so we took time out to visit urgent care.)  She’s had the odd accident but that’s never a problem and we just say, ‘accidents happen!’  If we’re travelling for a distance I’ll put a pull-up on her but basically she wears underwear whenever she’s awake.

I’m so proud of my big girl even though this is one more step of her babyhood that we have left behind us. 

She’s a big girl now!!  Yay Hannah!!!

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