Friday, March 30, 2012

Journey to the Cross

I find it hard to believe (and some days accept) that Hannah is growing up so quickly.  She is no longer a baby.  She isn’t even a toddler.  At 3 wonderful years she is now fully a pre-schooler who grasps new things at lightening speed!

As much as I want to slow time so that I can savour every moment, there are also new opportunities that are opening up to us now that she’s a bit older.  Tonight we had a great mother~daughter time at the church enjoying a family event called, ‘Journey to the Cross’. 

I found it easy to share the birth of Jesus with her at Christmas but have been struggling with how to share the Easter story with her at a level that she can understand and yet won’t scare her when she’s not able to process the details or truly express her questions.  Tonight’s event was geared for children and was informative, interactive and wonderfully geared towards children.  Even though much of it went over her head, it was a great first introduction to the Easter story.

Here are some pictures from our evening together.

Singing Hosanna waving the palm branch she madeIMG_5058

The black light wall of sin.  Even Hannah understood one of these words as we often speak of obeyingIMG_5060

A little round stone.  On one side we drew a cross and on the other wrote the letters ABC for:

A – Admit I am a sinner

B – Believe Jesus died on the cross so that I could have forgiveness of my sins

C – Confess my sins to him

I know this is too advanced for her the first time around but each time she hears this offers us more opportunities to talk about it.IMG_5064

A glow bracelet to remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world.IMG_5068


Participating in the celebratory dance that Jesus is risen!

What a great evening!  The first of many with my kiddo and spending them learning about God’s love for us is the very best way to spend time together!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thank You for Praying!

It has been a very long 4 days for Ivy Joy and her precious family and she still has a long way to go.  Thankfully her body seems to be beginning adjust to the new anatomy and with the care of the doctors, nurses and mostly the Great Physician, she is slowly getting stronger.  After her very long surgery Monday her little body fought the changes and she was placed on ECMO which is a machine that provides oxygen to her little body.   She is purposely paralyzed by medications to allow her body to heal and adjust.  After a day of sweet rest for her yesterday where she showed good reactions to what is being done, the doctors are planning on removing her from the ECMO today.  Please pray that her body reacts well to this and that the healing continues.

Thank you for the prayers you have offered up on sweet Ivy Joy's behalf and those that you will continue to pray for her.

Thank you for being part of Team Ivy!!!

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him."
1Samuel 1:27 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Starting the Day with My Princess

Hannah has just entered the dress-up stage in the past couple of months.  I love seeing her run around in her outfits and role playing with her.  Most often she is Cinderella and Mommy is the ‘pwince.’  It’s not unusual to hear her call out, ‘Oh pwince!  I would like you to ….’  Fun!

This morning (after she helped Mommy choose a necklace which is also a daily event) she chose to wear her Princess Aurora dress to daycare.  I loved seeing her little poufy dress running around the house, reading stories


and enjoying breakfast.IMG_5041

They were made all the sweeter with the crazy bed-head Hannah wakes up with each morning!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Please Pray for Baby Ivy Joy

This morning at 8:00am sweet Ivy Joy, home from China just 5 short weeks, will undergo life changing heart surgery.  Beautiful Ivy Joy is 21 months old and she is AMAZING!  God has sustained her life (living with oxygen saturation levels often hovering well below 50 when 100 is the norm) and now we pray that today He will provide the valve required as well as guide the hands of the doctors who will be operating on this amazing little girl!

Please join me in praying of Ivy Joy.  (Note: website plays music)

Ivy Joy

And now….do you want to hear an AMAZING God story that I just realized as I wrote this post?  My heart is still racing as I write this!

The world of blogs is one that is intertwined and I often find myself reading blogs and not remembering how I initially found them.  Was it through a comment the writer left on another blog?  Was it when someone posted a link about a family meeting their baby in China?  Was it through a Rumor Queen ‘Babies’ post?  I often don’t remember as was the case for Mary’s blog, Ivy Joy’s mom. 

Regardless, this beautiful little girl grabbed at my heart strings and for weeks now Hannah and I have been praying for baby Ivy Joy, crying out to God and asking Him to strengthen her enough to have the heart surgery she so desperately needs and also to provide the valve that will be best for her.

Knowing that her surgery would be today I wanted to write a post and ask you to please pray for Ivy.  In doing so I went to their blog and read some of the older posts a little more in-depth and that was when IT HAPPENED!

It was today that I realized not only were we praying for a precious baby girl and her family….we were praying for a family I had met in China and who had received their first daughter in the same room I met Hannah on the very same day!!!  We had chatted in the hotel on a couple of occasions and even bumped into one another at the Walmart in Changsha and talked more there!  They were a beautiful Christian couple and we hit it off immediately!  Unfortunately due to the health of their first DD we didn’t see them again after the day we received our daughters but I have never, ever forgotten this family and often wondered how they were doing.

Can you imagine the wonderful surprise it was to learn today that the baby we had been praying for for weeks was the daughter of the same family I’ve thought of and prayed for over the past 2+ years??!!!  As I’ve looked at their pictures I’ve often thought the mom looked familiar but if you know me….that’s doesn’t mean much as I’m not good with faces.  I just figured I’d seen her face in the pics left when someone comments on a blog and never really thought any more of it.

But then today God showed me that He had brought our families together once again through the beautiful act of prayer.

God is SO good!! 

Praying for baby Ivy Joy and trusting her care into the hands of the Great Physician.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Spur of the Moment Treat for Mommy

Yesterday after gymnastics we stopped at a couple of stores to pick up some light, fun sundresses for Hannah to wear this summer.  With our sudden onset of summer temps in March it was time to find the deals before they all disappeared.  $5.95 for a sundress is right in the budget for us so I picked up a few of them.  All I need to find now are some little shorts for my tumbling girl to wear under them and we’ll be all set in the sundress area.

As we left the store I looked across the parking lot and saw a nail place and decided it was time to treat myself to a pedicure.  It’s been a busy few weeks with lots of time spent on home reorganizing and Mommy was ready for a treat!  My toes are normally hidden under socks from October – May so the first pedi doesn’t normally happen until May but now that my toes want to be in sandals with summer temps abounding, it was time to get them tidied up.   I must say that a pedicure is one of my very things to do!

Considering Hannah had gone with Mommy for a pedi the day we became a familyImported Photos 00014_thumb

it was time to introduce her again. 

Normally when I go for a pedicure it is when Hannah is either at daycare or with her grandparents. Since we were together yesterday I thought I’d try anyway and it was fun for both of us!  She liked the massaging chair the best.IMG_5016

Hannah sat on my lap for the first while and then the lady helped her take off her socks and shoes so that she could dip her toe-toes in the water and then gave her feet a little massage. 

After the water was drained Hannah wandered around for a little bit and when she could she even helped out!IMG_5009

By the time it was time to apply polish Hannah had pulled up a chair for herself and watched carefully to what was being done.IMG_5010

Using the dryers with Mommy.IMG_5012

I think Hannah is going to be a pedi girl too so I look forward to times of pampering with my little love.IMG_5011

Until then I think it’s time for Mommy to break down and buy some little polish for Hannah.  *sigh!*  One more sign that Hannah is growing up.

PS – I’ve received a couple of pedicure gift certificates from friends whom I’ve helped book Disney trips for over the winter.  They’re for fancy, pampering places and one even came with the offer to watch Hannah so next time I’ll drop Hannah off to play with her cousins Chick and Pea and hopefully Auntie K and I will head off for some pampering time together.  Have fun Uncle J!! Smile

Friday, March 23, 2012

Moments to Remember: First Drawing, Counting and LOL...Morning Breath!

As Hannah grows and changes on an almost daily basis I'm quickly realizing that things I thought I'd remember forever quickly fade as those sweet moments are replaced by new ones.  I'm sure you can relate!

For the first year and a bit that Hannah was home I kept a calendar on the kitchen table, documenting all of the fun little things she did as well as her growth, weight and the grand entrances of her teeth!  Using that info I documented those events here in monthly updates on the blog.  After I went back to work and life got busier, gathering those details together didn't happen as often.  I don't want to lose these moments so I've decided to create posts here that will in turn be captured as parts of her books as each year I turn this blog into a book for Hannah to view and enjoy later.

Today I want to share and capture 3 fun things that happened this week.  2 of them blew my socks off at her skills given that she just turned 3yo a few weeks ago and the other well,'s reality with my honest little love!  :o)

Wednesday evening when we got home Hannah said that she wanted to draw a picture for Papa.  I thought this was a great idea ~ especially since I knew the plan was to enjoy our amazing, unseasonal 80o weather (in March!!) and walk to where Nana works after supper.  She carefully chose a piece of paper and got out her markers and began to work away.  I was preparing supper in the kitchen so while we were chatting, I wasn't looking at what she was doing.  You can imagine my amazement, shock and surprise when she said, 'Mommy, come see my picture of Papa'!!!

She easily described a head, 2 eyes, a nose, mouth, ears, hair and 2 very long legs!  WOW!!!  I was shocked to say the least and so pleased with what she had drawn!  Lots of praise and cheering in our house!

A game that she's recently made up and will tell you is her favourite is the 'money game'.  In reality it is the leftover Chuck E Cheese's tokens that we brought home from her birthday party.  We use those on the carpet to create shapes, letters, numbers and faces.  I guess she was incorporating those skills into her drawing.  Way to go Hannah!

The second thing that happened was the very same evening.  (It was an exciting night, can you tell?)  Rather than drive to Nana's work (approx. 2kms from home) we walked.  I tried something new for us and pulled out her Baby Hawk carrier and put her on my back.  She LOVED it and so did I!  She could see so much more and we were easily able to talk to one another.  When she's in the stroller she's so far away and as we have busy streets to walk along, the noise of the traffic often makes conversation a challenge.  In the BH we could chat, point to birds, sing and more.  She quickly exclaimed, 'Mommy, I like this!' and asked if we could do it again.  Yay!  Great exercise for mommy carrying almost 32lbs on my back and great for the two of us sharing time together too.  At one point she rubbed my arm and said, 'You're doing a great job Mommy!  I'm so proud of you!' it!!

Anyway, the second amazing thing of the night happened when we decided to count motorcycles.  We had seen 2 and a third passed by.  I asked her, 'How many motorcycles have we seen now?'

Her answer was 'Three!' as she held up 3 fingers.

THEN she said, 'Mommy I want to count 5 motorcycles.  I have 3 so I need 2 more.'!!!  WOW!  How did she know that?  She just turned THREE!  I give a lot of the credit to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show that teaches a lot of great skills including basic math, without the kids really knowing it.  Way to go Hannah!

And finally, a moment to capture that still makes me giggle, even if it is a little embarrassing!  Sadly this one happens about once a week and yes, it happens in the middle of the night or early in the morning and I giggle every time!

We wake.  The birds are singing and the sun is beginning to rise above the horizon.  A brand new day is before us! 

And then I hear.....

'Ewww Mommy!  You go potty!  Stinky, stinky, stinky!  You need to go poopie!'

Heh....morning breath as described by a preschooler!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Simple Picture....

I am a member of a few adoption yahoo groups.  Some are active, some not so much.  I receive daily digests from these groups and often just scan them looking for something that may be of interest.

Last week I received a daily digest from one of these groups and little did I know that with a simple click of the mouse my heart would feel something my mind has known for a long time but not truly processed.

My sweet, precious, amazing, loving, spunky, caring, giving, wonderful daughter was left to be found. 

I've always known with China adoptions that the children are not given to a caregiver by the birth mother, birth father, family or friend.  Sadly that is a fact with China adoptions.  A child cannot be given over to another for adoption.  A child is left to be found.

The daughter that I love more with every breath I take spent time alone.  Waiting to be found.

This is the earliest known picture of my precious baby girl, taken sometime in the first weeks of her life. 

Looking at this picture never ceases to take my breath away!

It was the picture below taken recently, and this article that somehow caused the fact of Hannah's beginning, to 'click.'

I think part of the revelation came with seeing this beautiful 'safe haven' that is newly constructed in Hebei province.  As I looked at that picture I realized that there was a little baby in that bundle.  A baby that had been carried within a birth mother's womb for 9 months and who now was being placed to be found.

The emotions that flooded over me and do again now as I write this are ones of such hurt for Hannah.  A hurt that although I have no control over it, is very real.  I can't deny it.  And, I guess that the hurt that I feel will only be an iota of what she might feel.

I ache that Hannah had to spend even one single second alone.  She was only a baby!!!  I know some details of her finding but this information is left for her to share if and when she wants and with whomever she chooses to.

What I do know is that a 'safe haven' like this is not common in China and that it is not Hannah's beginning.

She was dressed warmly and bundled well but still, she was alone.  How long was she there?  Who was the person who found her?  Was she crying?  Was she sleeping?  So many questions that we'll probably never have answers to.

Oh how I long to have these answers.  A little bit for myself but most importantly for Hannah.  Someday she will learn of her first days and the 'Mamma Bear' in me wants to protect her from everything she might feel.

And yet....I can't.

What I can do is be there for her.  Be her 'safe haven' now that was not there for her at that time.  Allow her to go through the emotions she needs to and support her through it all.  Through the pain.  The grieving.  The anger.  The tears.  The questions and any other emotion she may feel.

Yes my precious Hannah XiaoFen.  Mommy will be here through it all.  And, while I cannot begin to imagine what your will go through, please know that I am here and loving you through it all.

I do believe that my sweet, precious, amazing, loving, spunky, caring, giving, wonderful daughter will come through this revelation a stronger person.  But still, her life will be forever altered the day she fully grasps her beginnings.  I believe the full realization of this is still some time away but it is coming.

So for now, I pray.  I cry out to God already, asking Him to allow her to process this truth with the knowledge that as hard as this is to understand that she is safe, and loved and cared for and....forever home.

(In sharing this piece of my heart another revelation that I in my own hurt, had forgotten.)

May she find His peace in knowing that she was truly never alone...God was with her the entire time.

Hannah was NEVER ALONE!  GOD was with her every moment!

Once again, a single moment in time has changed me.  God never, ever left her side.  (My heart knew this but my mind is just fully grasping it.)

You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain. 

For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be. 

Psalm 139: 1-6 and 13-16


Monday, March 19, 2012

Her Biggest Cheerleader!

I hope I never, ever lose the sense of awe that is watching Hannah learn, challenge herself, explore and succeed!  Saturday afternoon as I was gathering our things together for an evening of fun with friends and staying overnight, Hannah opened a new puzzle that we had done together one other time.  I assured her that Sunday afternoon when we returned home we’d put the puzzle together but she decided to move ahead with it on her own.  I first looked over and saw this and the cheering began!IMG_4933

We do a lot of puzzles together but this was really the first time she’d done a puzzle on her own except for the wooden puzzles with individual pieces.

Even though the car was packed and ready to go we were having too much fun to leave.  I was enjoying watching Hannah achieve this goal and cheering each new piece she put in place.  Unfortunately there is one corner piece missing but that’s life.  This is a 50 piece puzzle and my sweetie put it together completely on her own!  The only time I gave a tiny bit of guidance was when she had the two different sides of the puzzle put together back to back to one another and didn’t realize they would match up to complete the puzzle.IMG_4935

20 minutes later….ta da!

Way to go Hannah!  Mommy is so proud of you!!IMG_4941

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Hannah and I are off for an evening of fun with friends but before we go we wanted to take a quick moment to say…err, yell, ‘Happy St. Patrick’s Day!’  IMG_4932

Was there any question this would be Hannah’s holiday attire when I saw it?  No way!!

‘May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand’

An Irish Blessing

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Little Bit of This and That

There are sweet little moments of day to day life that I want to capture so that I don’t forget them.

Hannah, I love how you sleep with your little head between our pillows.  IMG_4859You are Mommy’s little snuggle bug and when I go to bed, even though you are sound asleep within seconds your feet come over until you are touching Mommy and then you settle in.  A couple of times a week I’ll wake to your sweet little voice saying, ‘Mommy, I can’t reach’ as you’re attempting to reach your little arm around me.  You love to play with fingertips as you’re falling asleep and they’re also a comfort to you even when you’re fast asleep.  This is extra special to me as when we first met you would draw your hands away from anyone who attempted to touch your hands.  Now you reach out to hold the hands of those that you love, especially when you are tired.  Precious moments that I experience with you often and that you’ve also shared with Grandma and Nana!

This little story also made me giggle.  Mommy is in the middle of a lot of changes in our little home, one of which was taking down the baby gate that has been at the bottom of the stairs for more than 2 1/2 years.  IMG_4863

I can admit now that it’s gone that I am SO thankful that you, my little climbing monkey, never thought to try and climb over it nor even attempt to open it.  For months now it’s remained open except at night and if it happened to be closed you would just wait patiently and call to Mommy if you needed through it.

This little cute thing happened the same day the gate came down.  You are a great helper and love to help Mommy in any way you can.  On this particular day I had a number of packages of envelopes that I was going to move from the main floor to the office.  I asked you if you could please, ‘Put these on the stairs for Mommy so that I can take them up.’  You happily took them and ran off to the stairs.  I didn’t really think anything more about it until later that evening when I turned the corner and saw this:IMG_4870

Too, too cute!  I love how you did what you interpreted I’d asked.  I think your idea was absolutely perfect and it brought tears to my eyes to see all the care you’d taken to place each bundle on a stair.

Hannah, Mommy loves you so much!  I am so thankful for a place to capture all these little moments that I might otherwise forget!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

21 Questions on Hannah’s 3rd Birthday

Hannah's 3rd Birthday A

This is a list of 21 questions that I plan on asking Hannah on her birthday for the next number of years.  I wasn’t sure if she’d quickly lose interest this year and it might take some time to get them answered but she was totally into it and excited to answer the questions.  She hopped up on the couch and looked at me with excited eyes to see what question was coming next!

Here are her 3yo Birthday responses.  LOL….you’ll see a definite trend about Hannah’s interests!

1.  What is your favourite colour? Red

2.  What is your favourite toy?  Games and Princess ‘cooter’

3.  What is your favourite fruit?  Vegetables! ;o)

4.  What is your favourite TV show? Mickey (Mouse Clubhouse)

5.  What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?  French fries

6.  What is your favourite outfit?  Minnie Mouse

7.  What is your favourite game?  Puzzles

8.  What is your favourite snack? Timbits (1 cherry and 1 chocolate)

9.  What is your favourite animal?  Elephant (who knew??)

10. What is your favourite song?  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jesus Loves Me

11. What is your favourite book?  Princess

12. Who is your best friends?  Ben!!

13. What is your favourite cereal?  Dinosaur cereal (oatmeal with little candy dinosaurs in it)

14. What is your favourite thing to do outside?  Blow bubbles

15. What is your favourite drink?  Apple juice

16. What is your favourite holiday?  Christmas

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  My friends!  (Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and Donald x 2.  Yes – it’s crowded in our little bed!)

18. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?  English muffin with cheese

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Chicken nuggets and French fries

20. Where do you want to go on vacation?  Mickey’s House!!  (Walt Disney World)

21. What do you want to be when you grow up?  Princess

Hannah's 3rd Birthday B

Sunday, March 11, 2012

More 3rd Birthday Fun!

Hannah was excited to celebrate her birthday over and over again!  It wasn’t unusual for about a week to hear her sweet little voice singing, ‘Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday dear Hannah, Happy Birthday to me….And many more!’ as she was playing with toys, reading books or falling asleep.  It was so sweet!

She had great reason to be excited too as her birthday was celebrated often by family and friends. 

Sunday at lunch Nana and Papa, GG and Grandma Dale.  One of Hannah’s weekly treats that she looks forward to at Nana and Papa’s is Cheesies!  Once her lunch is finished Nana will whisper in her ear and Hannah gets a big grin from ear to ear and the little bag of Cheesies magically appears!  She enjoys them and we love her generous spirit as she shares them with the rest of us.IMG_4659

No birthday celebration is complete without a cake and candles to blow out!IMG_4662

Oh how I love those giggles!

Gift time


Getting ready for summer!IMG_4676

Bec Bec surprised Hannah by going to her Chuck E Cheese’s party!  I love the friendship these cousins share.IMG_4728

Her final party was dinner at her favourite Chinese restaurant with Mommy, Grandma and Grandpa.  She noticed the boy at the table next to ours had an ‘umbrella drink’ and she asked for one too.  It’s a rare, rare treat for her to get ‘bubble pop’ but on the special occasion of her 3rd birthday Mommy quickly agreed it would be the perfect birthday treat.  IMG_4801I think in the end she only drank a few sips but played with the umbrella for a long time.

Once again, excited to hear ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to her.IMG_4803

I love you Grandma and Grandpa!IMG_4810


Happy 3rd Birthday Hannah XiaoFen!  Mommy loves you soooo much!  xoxoIMG_4785

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Busy Days!

I’m sadly behind in posts right now.  With Dad’s help as well as that of some awesome friends, I’m in the midst of a large reorganizing project at the house.  I’ll post more about it and other stuff once it’s done.


Be back soon!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Celebrating with Her Friends!

Hannah had only been to Chuck E Cheese’s once and she was too young to remember it but I knew once she got there she’d love it!  It ended up being a great place to host her 3rd birthday party with her little friends!
7 of her friends joined Hannah for a time of celebration!   (This pic also shows how tall my little sweetie is.  She is the 3rd youngest kiddo in the pic.  We’re hoping her height will work in our favour for our August Disney trip as she’ll be able to ride such rides as Soarin’ and Splash Mountain!)IMG_4715There were games and rides for all to enjoy and then a pizza supper.  Here Hannah is taking a ride with Barney.  I love how she has her little arm around Barney and then shows him the pic of herself that she had made on an earlier ride.
After supper Chuck E himself came out and entertained the kids for a bit IMG_4711and then it was time for cake. Yum! IMG_4703
I never anticipated how emotional it would be to sing Happy Birthday to my daughter and even watching this video found me tearing up again.
Hannah really enjoyed herself and yet at the same time was quiet and took it all in around the entertainment and action around her.
After supper Hannah was invited to go into the ticket blaster. IMG_4721 I wasn’t sure how it would go but my sweetie completely surprised me by jumping in there with both feet and grabbing tickets like the best of them!  After it was over I giggled as she turned around and threw all the tickets she’d grabbed back into the blaster.  For her it was all about the fun of gathering tickets.
Happy Birthday Hannah!  Mommy loves you!!IMG_4717
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