Friday, April 30, 2010

Hannah's Dedication

Hannah was dedicated this past Sunday. What a precious, wonderful day it was to dedicate Hannah, promising to teach her from God's Word, be a godly example to her and to pray earnestly for her.

We were surrounded by many family and friends and as you can see Hannah was her true self. She was happy, smiley and waving like crazy! She spotted her picture on the 2 screens, saw family and friends in front of us and her Grandma in the choir. She waved like crazy but just couldn't quite figure out why they weren't wildly waving back! :o) She is busy, busy right now and just wanted to get down and run! Oh what an amazing day this was!! God is so good!!

I have longed for and prayed about this day for so long! In China I purchased her dedication dress at the silk factory and had mine made at the silk market, all in preparation for this most amazing day!! Anticipating what it would be like to hold my child, the one God entrusted into my care. It was a feeling unlike any other and I am so very,very thankful to God for the most wonderful, precious, amazing gift of Hannah Catherine XiaoFen!!

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him (her) to the LORD. For his (her) whole life he (she) will be given over to the LORD."

1 Samuel 1: 27, 28

Our family with Pastor Rick

Hannah with Grandma and Grandpa Ryan

Hannah with Grandma and Papa Perkins

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Special Treat for a 14 Month Old

Today Hannah turned 14 months old! In the afternoon I was going through the fridge when my eyes spotted a chocolate pudding cup. Her cute little outfit was already dirty from breakfast so how much more damage could be done with a pudding cup? Quite a bit I guess but oh my did she have fun!!

The first sign that the spoon was going to be abandoned for fingers.

Who needs to scoop it out when you can drink it directly from the container?

Good to the last drop! (I love the little ring of pudding in this pic.)

She went directly from the high chair to the tub!

Happy 14 month old birthday little love!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Florida Trip - Day 2

Monday, April 19, 2010

In spite of the original weather forecast of rain for our entire trip, Monday dawned bright, sunny and hot! What a wonderful treat this was!!

For breakfast Hannah and I headed to the food court at Pop Century taking a quick side trip to Goofy's Splash Pad. The jets weren't turned on so I was able to capture this cute video and pic of Hannah sitting on Goofy's shoe.

After preparing for the day, Hannah and I headed out in the car to pick up our wonderful friends D and Daphne. Our departure time coincided with nap time so the girls took the opportunity to rest up for the dayof fun ahead. So sweet!

The destination of the day was Downtown Disney and our first stop was at the Rainforest Cafe where we met up with our great bloggy friends Don and Joanna Mei. I had met them a couple of other times and this was D's first time to meet them. We shared a wonderful lunch together and it was great to see them again and introduce them to Hannah! J Mei is a sweet little girl who has grown up so much since I first met her a year and a half ago.

We were visiting and I didn't realize that I'd left a yogurt tube within Hannah's reach. She realized the yogurt was there for the taking so helped herself. Mommy needed to take a moment to clean the yogurt from between her sweet little toes. I love how she is growing and changing and trying new things...even a yogurt pedi!

It was also really neat for D and I to sit back and watch the girls get to know one another. We had been together one other time a couple of months ago but this time Hannah and Daphne really began to interact with one another and it was so cool to watch! Here they are playing together at the table at the restaurant.

After saying goodbye to Don and Joanna Mei, D and I took the girls off to explore Downtown Disney. We had to take cover a few times when rain rolled in but most of the time it was bright and sunny and we had a great time together. We sat outside listening to a group of high school musicians while feeding the girls their bottles. It was another one of those times when we both looked at each other with tears in our eyes as we realized we were here together with our daughters!!! After years of dreaming our daughters are here and oh how we love them!!

This pic is special to me as I had included a picture taken in this exact place in my homestudy and photos that went to China. It was extra special to be there with Hannah even though she doesn't remember this part of the trip.

The store I enjoy the most is the huge Disney store. We explored it seperately and laughed when we came back together realizing that we'd both chosen the same Mickey Mouse stuffy for our baby girls.

Hannah and I found this big Mickey Mouse sitting on a shelf so she visited him for a moment then wandered off to see how many Minnie's she could remove from the shelf before mommy stopped her.

After a great afternoon of shopping together we geaded back to D's hotel where we met up with her hubs who was finished for the day. Once again we tried to go to an Olive Garden for supper but faced another crazy long wait. Mr. D ran out into the rain and found a great steakhouse just up the street where we enjoyed a delicious supper together. From there we called it a night. I had hoped to take Hannah to see the fireworks that night but due to an exciting, early start to our morning coming up on Tuesday, there was just time for bath and bed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Florida Trip - Day 1

Sunday, April 18th, 2010
(Pictures are a combination of both travel days which is why Hannah's outfit changes so often.)

Our day began early, early, early as we headed to the airport at 1am. Hannah snoozed in the back seat on the two hour drive, across the border and to the Buffalo airport but was ready to face the day when we arrived there shortly after 3am. After calling to wake up the shuttle driver :o) we headed to the airport terminal. You know you have an early flight when you're the first 2 people through security when it opens up am 4am! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to be in the 'families' line at the airport!!! For years I have looked at that line longingly anticipating the day when it would be Hannah and I heading through together. That day had finally arrived and I was thrilled!!

Here she is ready for our adventure. I'd say she's looking pretty happy considering it's not yet 5am when this pic was taken. She's a morning person just like her mommy.

As you may remember from past posts I never, ever...ever travel lightly. Have things changed? I'm guessing this picture verifies a resounding, 'NO!' This was Hannah and I with our luggage for our 4 day Florida visit.

We checked 1 bag but the rest of it travelled with us through the airport. We were quite the sight with our little train consisting of me with Hannah often strapped to me in the Baby Bjorn, stroller, car seat, back pack and roller bag. That being said, I cannot begin to count the number of people who offered to help us. I had heard from others to accept offers and I quickly became open to accepting offers to help with our luggage and even asked people for help at times when it came to lifting our carry-on up and down from the bulkheads as at that point Hannah was always strapped to me.

Our first flight was scheduled to leave at 5:10am but due to a radio problem we were delayed until 6:30. Unfortunately this caused us to miss our connection in Charlotte, NC but US Airways booked us for a new flight that left an hour and a half after we arrived there. We had great service with US Airways and I would travel with them again for sure.

This is a picture of how Hannah spent all of our flights.

In total we had 4 flights (2 going and 2 returning) and she slept 90% of the time! The plane would begin to taxi, I'd pop a bottle into her mouth to help her little ears and voila, off she'd go! It was wonderful! When she was awake she played happily with the toys I had brought and also with the flight attendants who could be seen playing peek-a-boo with her from the galley. US Airways was also wonderful in that 3/4 flights when I requested an aisle seat due to having Hannah on my lap, they arrange for there to be an empty seat beside me which was a huge help! I never asked for this but they always arranged it even though our flights were really full.

We arrived in Orlando shortly after 1pm which was 4 hours later than originally scheduled but still early enough to enjoy our first day! Here's Hannah posing with Mickey in the airport.

We picked up our rental car and were on our way. Once again I was glad to have brought some of Hannah's comfort items to help ease her with the transitions. In the car we had her travel mirror which meant we could see one another and we both really appreciated this. It's the little things that make such a difference when travelling with my sweet baby girl.

Our first stop was Target to pick up some baby food, sun screen, munchies and stuff. Oh how I wish we had Target in Canada!! I've heard rumour that they might be coming here but so far I think it might just be rumours. Too bad!

The drive to our hotel was an adventure which just made me laugh. As often as I've been at Disney, I've always been there via Disney transportation so never had to navigate the roads myself. In attempting to find our Pop Century Resort I ended up at both Epcot and Animal Kingdom. :o) Thankfully they're fully prepared for this and have turn-arounds which allow for easy redirection. We arrived at Pop Century around 5:00 and I got goosebumps as I drove through the gate with Hannah in the car! My daughter and I were at DISNEY!!!!

Check-in went smoothly and as always Disney staff were very helpful and accommodating. We were able to request a fridge, pack 'n play and bed rail for our room, all complimentary. Normally there is a daily charge for a fridge but since we needed it for her formula it is complimentary.

After this we made our way to our room. We were located in the 50's area and 'Lady' stood outside our building and 'Tramp' was across the way. One of Hannah's favourite signs is 'doggy' and she had lots of opportunity to use it this trip!

After a change into summer clothes we were ready to check out our hotel.

Signing 'more'....she was ready to go!

We drove to a local Olive Garden to meet 3D's for supper. It was wonderful to see them and we just looked at each other and said, 'Can you believe we're here together in Orlando with our daughters?!!' There was a 45min wait for a table and unfortunately before it was ready my little love had hit her wall and we needed to call it a day. We headed back to the hotel, followed our normal bedtime routine and before long Hannah was sleeping peacefully.

Tomorrow promised to be another day of wonderful Disney adventures!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Niagara Falls - An Awesome Viewpoint!

Florida updates coming soon. Until then, check out this neat video I was able to capture when the pilot flew over Niagara Falls! I've flown in and out of Buffalo a number of times and never seen the falls but this pilot not only flew over them once but twice and made sure each side of the plane got a good view. So cool!! Even the flight attendants were in awe of him being able to do this. A rare treat for sure! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Piggy Tail Cuteness!

I didn't take my computer with me to Florida *gasp* so thought I`d line up a post of Hannah cuteness to tie you over while we`re away.

Here she is in all her piggy tail cuteness! And yes, that cookie is the one I bribed her with so that I could put these in her hair.

You may also be able to tell from these past couple of posts that Hannah is now officially a walker! Crawling has been left behind and walking (and much falling) has now taken it`s place. Oh my is she fast and oh so adorable with her wide stance!! Video to come in a few days.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hannah at 14 Months

**An update on Hannah for March 28, 2010 to April 27, 2010**

Hannah at 14 months
Height: 31" tall (90th percentile)
Weight: 20.3 lbs (20th percentile)
Teeth: You have 7 teeth now with one that made it's appearance today as you turned 14 months old! You like to chew on your fingers a lot.

Sleeping: On average 9 1/2 - 10 1/2 hours each night. Normally you fall asleep sometime between 9:30 - 10:00 at night and sleep until sometime between 8:00 and 9:00 the following morning. When you're in your crib you sometimes open your little eyes just to make sure mommy is still there. Once we both settle for the night you're good to go until morning. Sometimes you let out little squawks but normally they don't wake you. You're moving around in the bed a little more now than before and it's not unusual for me to find you upside down in the bed. You love to nap when the car is moving and normally I can carry you into the house in your car seat (still in the bucket seat as it's good until 32") to finish your nap. You normally nap 2-3 hours a day but at a variety of times and lengths depending on what we're doing each day. Something I never thought I'd do but find myself doing is putting you in the car to take you for a drive so that you'll nod off for a nap. You go to sleep like a champ at night but sometimes naps are a little harder on you so we go for little rides to help out. You also like to nap in your stroller when you're tired so the nice days not only mean we get to enjoy the fresh, warm spring air but you get some napping time in too. It doesn't matter to you where we are...when you're ready to nap you're ready to nap! I love that you find sleep so easy to come by...just like your mommy.

Weekly Activities: Books and Bounces (Library on Tuesdays); Crawlers and Cruisers (Wednesdays); Swimming lessons (Thursdays); Music Class (Fridays with Auntie K1, Chick and Pea)

Words Hannah is saying: Mama, buh bye, ball, woof, baba (bottle), back, toe toes, papa, hi, baby. Her use of 'back' is really cute. I didn't realize how often I'd say to her, 'Mommy will be right back' until she started to repeat (or initiate) the word 'back'. It happens each time I load/unload the car, run upstairs/downstairs, go to the bathroom and other times too. She's so cute when all of a sudden she stops what she's doing and I hear 'back!' with great emphasis!

Signs: We watch 1 of 4 'Baby Signing Time' DVD's each night before bed. The signs you currently use are: all gone, bath, brush teeth, book, please, dog, hat, eat, bottle, bye bye, hi, cat, fish, diaper, baby, signing, cracker, horse, cereal, cookie, shoes, birdie. Signing is a part of our daily life and you communicate so much with it! I am so thankful that we are able to use sign language to communicate as it helps you tell mommy what you want and there is far less frustration I believe. When I tell her it's time for 'Baby Signing Time' she settles into her special chair and doesn't say a peep for the entire time the DVD is on and can often been seen signing along.

Signing: More. I love how she does this one up near her face and those adorable little eyes plead with you over her hands. So cute! And how could a mommy say 'no' to a request like that?

Food: bananas, cheese, broccoli, noodles, yogurt, crackers, oranges, peaches, baked beans, chicken, baked potato, rice, turkey, avocado, strawberries, pizza, cake, beef, tomatoes, lettuce, pancakes, bacon, pudding, eggs, toast, chicken dogs, cereal

Wow! That's quite the list when I think it was less than 2 months ago that we began to add table food to your diet. Now you eat mainly table food for lunch and supper (still baby cereal with fruit for breakfast) but you still like baby food so I often use it to supplement other food and also when we travel or are out for a meal.

Hannah feels that dishes and cutlery are highly over rated and prefers the feel of food between her fingers...and, in her hair!

This month Hannah began to explore so much!! She loves to move around the main floor of our home looking into cupboards, drawers, closets and so much more. Unfortunately for her this meant that Grandpa helped mommy by installing locks on the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen but it was just so much better than having to tell her 'no' all the time.

I try to use 'no' very infrequently and redirect her attention instead. When I do have to use the word she pays attention (most times) as she realizes mommy means 'no'. It's taken conscious thought to do this but I try using positive reinforcement more and it works really, really well! When I see her thinking about doing something I don't want to (IE. standing up on the bed) I will quickly look at her and praise her for sitting on the bed on her bum or knees. This usually gets a big smile and we move on to something else to take her attention away from standing up.

My little explorer also has a cupboard all her own filled with plastic containers and bowls and she loves to play with all these! Many days the toys are barely touched but these containers are around the house after being carried by little hands. Oh how she loves to carry things around now and is oh so proud of herself that she can manage walking while carrying something!

Sadly for Hannah the exploring stage also meant that the gate at the bottom of our stairs is now closed so that she can explore while Mommy has peace of mind that she's not going up the stairs. She crawls up really well but doesn't yet have the concept down that turning around on the stairs isn't a good thing!

When we go out Hannah loves to smile, wave and say 'bye' to everyone! I cannot begin to count the number of lives she brightens on a daily basis with her sunny smile! It's funny when we're in a restaurant as over the course of the meal I see her waving to different tables and sure enough, when I look over they're waving back and mouth, 'she was waving at me...she's adorable!' I would be concerned if she showed any interest in going to these strangers but if they move closer she cuddles in to me and sometimes hides her head in my shoulder. She's happiest waving from the safety of mommy's arms and from a safe distance.

It's no longer necessary to burp Hannah after her bottles. She normally squirms away too quickly anyway. The cute thing is that she enjoys watching the Baby Signing Time DVD's and in one Hopkins burps which she thinks is hilarious and she giggles every single time. So cute!

When Hannah is really happy about something she gets this huge smile across her face, tilts her head and pulls her shoulders up. It's adorable!!

Thankfully the squealing phase left as quickly as it arrived. It only lasted a couple of weeks but oh, those were painful weeks! What 'broke' it was something so simple! She makes these adorable little clicking sounds with her mouth and we called them her 'nice' sounds so as soon as she'd squeal I'd ask her if she could make her 'nice' sounds and voila...screeching stopped and the clicking began. Ahhhh...SO much better!!

This month Hannah experienced her first Easter which also meant her first chocolate egg. No explanation needed here!!

We also attended our 2nd session of swimming lessons. I can see such improvements in Hannah already and she really enjoys the water.

Hannah's Passport arrived on April 1st and just 17 days later we used it to go to Florida!! What better place to break in her passport than a trip to Disney? My girlie will be a Disney girl for sure! I have saved up for our first 2 trips and have begun to save for a Disney cruise that I hope we can take in a few years.

Hannah was also dedicated this month by Pastor Rick Baker. My squirmy worm did really well!

Here are some of Hannah's accomplishments that I recorded on her calendar:
March 29th: You have a little chair that you sit in to watch your bedtime DVD (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Baby Signing Time). Tonight I looked over and you had climbed out of the seatbelt and were standing beside the chair on the floor!

March 30th: Today for the first time you put 2 pieces into the Fridge Farm all by yourself! You bade a 'horse-pig' but you did it! You also signed 'drink' for the first time today to tell mommy that you were thirsty!

March 31st: We were at a friend's house today and when we were leaving she asked you if you could blow a kiss and you did! I didn't know you knew how to do this. You also took a DVD today and tried to put it into the DVD player. Too bad the DVD was still in the box! :o) You're so observant and you keep mommy on her toes!

April 3rd: You have stopped falling asleep during most of your bottles. I miss watching you peacefully drift off to sleep but you still give me this pleasure some nights when you drink your bedtime bottle.

April 4th: Your first Easter with Mommy! Somebunny loves you too!

April 5th: You're now walking more than you're crawling. That happened fast...too fast!!

April 6th: 5th tooth today. 2nd tooth on your top right. You also discovered the stairs today so I needed to begin closing the gate.

April 7th: Everyday you try more and more to communicate with Mommy. Also, when you're playing you chatter away and it's absolutely beautiful!

April 8th: You've started to initiate signs now when you want something. Often you sign 'more' and mommy needs to figure out what you want more of. :o)

April 9th: Today you signed 'diaper' and sure enough you needed to be changed. So cool!! You've had a runny nose for over a week. We're having an early spring this year and I wonder if you might have allergies?

April 10th: Today when you were on the change table you picked up the tube of sunscreen and rather than just play with it you began to rub your hand and arm. You're so observant and so smart!!

April 11th: Your communication skills are exploding Hannah and Mommy loves it! You initiate signs, pull me to go places and babble at me truly thinking you're talking.

April 12th: You like to walk around with your facecloth and 'clean'. Mommy greatly appreciates your help! You also started helping tidy up your toys today.

April 13th: I booked our first (of many) Florida trips today. We leave Sunday! You fell asleep in your high chair while mommy booked our flights. This week's popular sign is 'birdie' and often you've seen one and other times you're just teasing me!

April 14th: Tooth number 6 made it's appearance today. 2nd tooth on your top left. You also love to walk, wobble, walk and if mommy is holding you you'll squirm like crazy when you want down.

April 15th: Today you said the word 'bottle' very clearly on at least 2 different occassions. Also, I'd say you're officially a 'walker'. Times of crawling are few and far between *sniff* Secured day care today for when mommy goes back to work in mid-August. Thankful but HUGE *SNIFF*

April 17th: Today you pointed to your toes when asked where they were and even said, 'toe toes'

April 18th: First trip to Florida! You flew like a trooper; waved at everyone and then slept both flights away. Raining when we arrived but you just laughed when the rain hit your face.

April 19th: Downtown Disney today with special friends D&D. We're staying at Disney's Pop Century Resort and whenever you see Lady or Tramp you flap your arm wildly for the 'doggie' sign and say, 'ooof ooof'

April 20th: Breakfast at Chef Mickey's with D&D. Characters were Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto. Swimming outside for the first time in the afternoon. Fever of 40.0C in the evening. Even harder when we're away from home.

April 21st: We flew home from Florida today. You smiled, waved and said 'hi' to so many people today, especially when travelling through the airports in Mr. Snuggles. You made so many people smile! Your personality is truly delightful!

April 22nd: Today you shook your head 'no' for the first time and it was even in the appropriate place.

April 23rd: New sign 'cereal' when Mommy was getting your breakfast ready. You now say 'Papa' really clearly.

April 24th: So cool! Today I turned on 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.' You looked at me and shook your head 'no', dd the sig for 'Signing Time' and pointed to your special chair. Sure enough you wanted to watch 'Baby Signing Time'. Wow!! 3 things together! You're so smart. Still had a fever and bad cough. Took you to urgent care and you have another ear infection. Poor lamb! Right ear. More Amoxacilinand you take it really well. 2nd ear infectiona dnagain seems tied to teething.

April 25th: You were dedicated today!!

April 26th: I asked you if you wanted to read a story and you signed 'book' and then said a word that sounded like 'book' too! You amaze me every single day!!

April 27th: 14 months old today!! Your 7th tooth cut through today. Next one on your bottom left. We met the lady today who will care for you when Mommy goes back to work in August.

Mommy loves you Hannah XiaoFen!! More than she could ever, ever express to you!!!

What Took Us So Long?

If you've been here for a while you'll know that this Mommy is all about Disney! Well, it's official. Hannah will have had her Canadian Passport in hand for all of 17 days when her feet touch down on Disney soil for the very first time! Wheeee!!!

I woke up Tuesday morning and decided to just 'look' into the possibility of a trip this coming week. Heh, if you know me you know that 'looking' became an intense search with numerous windows flying open on my computer at the same time, trying to see if it was going to work out. Our first airline of choice was completely sold out but further searching quickly showed doable flight prices, availability where we wanted to stay and car rental costs that were manageable. Yeah!! Also, taking advantage of my sweetie still flying for free on a lap ticket.

What caused this sudden case of Mickey-itis? For one thing, it's a dream I've always had that when I was on maternity leave I thought it would be so cool to drop everything at a moment's notice and go on a vacation! The big incentive for the timing of this one is that the 3D Family will be in Orlando next week and since Daddy D is at conference all day, Mommy D and Baby D will be on their own to tour the town. I called her and asked if they'd like company and sure enough it all worked out!

The biggest challenge for myself is that we're going to be ohsoclose but not going to any Disney parks this trip. We're staying at Disney's Pop Century Resort and will spend lots of time visiting Downtown Disney but we're saving the parks for a very special visit this coming November when Hannah and I will be there with all 4 of her grandparents! Now that will be a trip to remember! One thing we will do though is find a place somewhere to enjoy Wishes fireworks from a distance. Even if we can't hear them or the music I know they will be worth going to see!

So, earrrrly Sunday morning (5:10am) Hannah and I fly off to Florida for a quick 4 day trip with wonderful friends! As much as spring is in full swing here at home and the weather is beautiful, there's nothing like a few days around Disney! Catch you when we get back and yes, I promise to inundate you with lots of pictures and stories of my beautiful Princess on her first Disney trip!

Hannah says, 'Sorry friends but I have to run! Mommy called and they had a last minute cancellation so Miss D and I are dining with Mickey Mouse Tuesday!'

I'm super excited that we're going to be able to meet Mickey even though we're not going to the parks! We'll see how Hannah does. Hopefully she likes the characters and if not then that's just fine too. We'll wave at them from a safe distance and keep moving. She's pretty adventurous though so I have a feeling she'll be just fine! See y'all soon!

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