Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Halloween

I will be gone for much of the rest of this week in New Orleans, so I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Halloween. I cannot to see all of your cuties in dressed up for the holiday. In the mean time, here is something to make you giggle.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Shoo Visit

What a fun weekend!

We live in the middle of the United States and enjoy where we decided to settle ourselves down greatly. Unfortunately, because we chose to live in middle American, we do not have family who lives close to us. My mom, sister, and family live on the East Coast, while my husband's family live primarily on the West Coast. Most of the time I love the fact that we live nicely situated between two coasts, just the perfect distance from all of the "fun" that can happen when you live real close to relatives. However, there are times when I dearly with that we did live closer, especially now that we have children.

As many of you know, my mother accompanied us to China to bring home the Butterfly this past summer, so she has actually met our newest little wonder and spent some fun time with all of us. However, what many of you may not know is that my husband's mom and dad were also planning on accompanying us to bring home the baby, but some other last minute issues came up and they were not able to make it. So, sadly they have not had the opportunity to meet our newest little family member... that is, until this weekend!

Nana & Papa Shoo, and Nana Shoo's Mom, the Great-Nana Sutts came out to visit us this weekend. The Ladybug loves her Nana and Papa and she was so excited to get the opportunity to see them again. But, because the baby is still a bit apprehensive around new people, we were a little worried how/if she would take to them. Apparently we worried unnecessarily.

They arrived at our house on Friday afternoon, and as soon as they walked in the door both girls were excited to see them. The Butterfly went to all of them immediately (she never does this with new people), and eventually started grinning from ear to ear each time she would walk up to them. We eventually went to dinner where they were able to observe the baby's voracious appetite and much of her silliness that we enjoy on a daily basis. Following dinner we settled in for the night to get some nice rest before a busy day tomorrow.

Saturday, the Ladybug had already planned to go attend a Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic to build another exciting item. This weekend she was building a wooden bat that flaps its wings (in honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday). With Papa Shoo and the rest of the family tagging along she was even more excited to be building something special (Papa Shoo is a great do-it-yourself type of guy, so the Ladybug was proud to have him there to watch her hammer away).

The Butterfly hanging out by her sister at Lowe's.

The Ladybug checking out her work.

The Butterfly watching her sister intently while she makes her flying bat for Halloween.

Nana Shoo and the Butterfly watching daddy and the Ladybug build her bat.

The Butterfly offer some suggestions to the Ladybug.

The Butterfly and Nana Shoo "cheesing" for the camera.

Nana Shoo, the Butterfly, and Great-Nana Sutts smiling for the camera.

The baby wandering around Lowe's while her sister is making a flying bat.

Following the building, we enjoyed a great lunch and eventually dinner with the family. At one point, the Ladybug convinced her Nana that the perfect place to visit while they were here was not any of the beautiful landmarks (Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, etc.). No, her persuasion skills must be amazing because she convinced her Nana to take her to Chuck E. Cheese (she is only four after all!). We all made our way over there and played a few games. The Bug had a BLAST, as can be expected, and surprisingly, so did her sister who enjoyed the mini merry-go-round, and all of the flashing lights and music.
Papa Shoo and the Butterfly enjoying some time together.

A little peck on the cheek.

Time for a stare-down.

Apparently the Butterfly won this round.

Time for some tickles.

Great love between Papa and his newest grand-daughter.

We finished our fun day with a nice dinner before saying goodbye. It was such a short visit, but we all thoroughly enjoyed the time together. I am so happy that they had the opportunity to finally meet the Butterfly and get to know her a little bit. She is such a fun little girl and has really come out of her shell in the last couple months since she has been home.

Thank you Nana & Papa Shoo and Great-Nana Sutts for visiting us. We hope to see you all again real soon. We love you!!!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Social Worker and Messy Eating

Last weekend we met with our social worker for another evaluation of how the Butterfly is doing now that we have her home. We last saw her two months ago when we had been home only one month with the Butterfly. This was the three month visit, and it went wonderfully. As a matter of fact she stated that in all of her years of working with adoptive families, she has never seen a child improve so drastically in such a short amount of time. So, here are some of the changes that have happened in the last two months:

  • The baby wasn't even crawling when we brought her home three months ago and yet now she is walking everywhere, and even running.
  • She has gained 3 pounds (yup, a little chunky monkey)!
  • She no longer uses bottles, she really never seemed to like them. She now uses sippy-cups all the time.
  • The baby has really taken a liking to her big sister (finally), and actually follows her around everywhere (much to the Ladybug's dismay at times). The girls now play with each other all the time.
  • She has started talking (babbling mostly, but there are some words starting to come through). She says "bye-bye," "dada," "mama," and "stop." Right now it is cute to hear her say stop since she says it in the middle of giggling when we are tickling her.
  • She communicates really well through the use of sign language that we have been teaching her. She knows about 25 - 30 words and uses them all the time to let us know what she wants. (Just tonight she came to me crying hysterically. I was actually worried that she possibly hurt herself somehow. I picked her up and gave her a hug and asked what was wrong. She signed the word for dog and pointed toward the door. I walked with to the door with her and as soon as we got there she pointed to the dog next-door, and nuzzled into my shoulder for comfort. She really was scared.)
  • The Butterfly not only seems to be able to communicate with us rather effectively, but she also seems to know what we are saying when we talk with her, which just amazes me since she has only heard English for three months of her young life. This fact also amazed the social worker who was able to observe her reactions to us when we were talking to her and asking her to do things. I honestly believe that sign language has really helped her bridge the gap between hearing only Mandarin for the first 14 months of her life and now only hearing English.
  • The baby LOVES music and starts dancing whenever she hears it. She even dances when she hears my cell phone's ringtones. I also often hear her trying to sing with us when we are singing to a song on the radio. It is really cute.
  • She seems to love her family. She smiles and giggles practically all the time, and takes great joy in playing with all of us every day.
  • She has learned some silly little things to do which make her daddy and I laugh. So, we frequently find her walking up to us, nudging us and joking with us just to make us laugh. She really has a great sense of humor.
  • She is a huge cuddler, and can often be found hugging and snuggling us. Some of my favorite times are when she crawls up onto my chest and snuggles into me. Such a loving little girl.

After seeing what a shy, scared little baby she was when we met her just three months ago, I am amazed at her transformation into a fun-loving, silly little girl who loves her family. We really are so blessed.

One of the things that did shock the social worker was the fact that the Butterfly has gained three whole pounds in just three short months. I believe the reason for this is that she was so restricted with her eating in China that when we brought her home she couldn't find her "off switch" when it came to her eating. She has since realized that she does not need to gorge on everything that she sees because we do eat three meals a day, thus she has slowed down. Non-the-less, this little girl does love her food, and tonight is the perfect example of her joy of eating.

I placed a bowl with some noodles and meat in front of her this evening along with a fork to help her eat. She dove right in and ate every single morsel. Every morsel, that is, except the stuff that ended up on her face, on her hands, and in her hair. Gotta love a kid that enjoys her food.

Licking her fingers to get every last bit of sauce!

Diving into her food.

A very happy eater!

The Ladybug watching her sister during dinner, showing her how to smile for the camera.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tub Time!

Our girls LOVE their time in the bathtub. The Ladybug has always enjoyed playing in the tub, and has often been found writing on the walls with tub crayons...

...and singing her heart out.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

With the Ladybug's love of bathing, we were of course hoping that the Butterfly would enjoy her time in the water as well. However, we could not imagine just how much our new little baby would love getting clean.

We found out about her love of the water while we were still in China. We visited the hotel's pool for a quick dip in the refreshing waters a few times because of the extreme heat during the summer. We figured our first visit would last no more than about 20 minutes, but the Butterfly had other plans. As soon as we got in the pool, the baby started splashing, giggling, squealing, and playing with such delight. Before we knew it we had been out there for a little over an hour, and we were all getting wrinkly. As can be imagined, our next few visits to the hotel pool were long and fun.

Now that we are home, the Butterfly has decided that she has her own personal pool in our home... the bathtub. And, she wants to go "swimming" every day. We do love that she is such a water baby, but knowing that if she had her choice she would spend almost every waking hour in the tub, we have decided to limit her time "playing in her pool" to every other day.

As you can tell from the photos below, she does love the water, and playing with bubbles... and her sister. We are just so happy to see this little baby coming out of her shell.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Opposite Roles

Just a quick post today about my girls. One is growing up so quickly, and the other is striving to go back in time.

The Ladybug is now 4 1/2 years old, and with her new baby sister in the house, the older sibling is really wishing that she was the baby in the house again. Just the other day I found her like this...

After dinner, she had climbed into her sister's high chair, and was playing with her toes, just like a one year old. Poor thing really misses being the baby in the house.

Later that evening I found the Butterfly, now 17 months old, walking around the house acting like a teenager...

Really "Bad to the Bone." She is now walking, and at times, running everywhere. She follows her big sister around everywhere she goes (much to the disappointment of her big sister), trying to be big just like her.

Of course she does still love her blankets!

We have been home just three months now and already our girls are wishing to be an age other than what they are... ahhhhh, such is life.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Play at the Park

The park, our girls' favorite activity. We tend to visit most days of the week as long as the weather is good, and with the beautiful weather we have been enjoying recently, trips to the park have been quite frequent.

The other day we put the Butterfly in the stroller and made our way for the local park, just about two blocks away. Below is our afternoon in pictures!

The Butterfly, as you can tell, smiled her way all the way to the park.

... and giggled her way as well!

The Ladybug has recently mastered the overhead bars, and enjoys practicing each time we visit now.

For the Butterfly, the swings are still her favorite. She loves swinging back and forth, and giggling the entire time.

At one point I was able to capture the most adorable smile as she was swinging. Wow, I just love seeing the joy this baby girl shows with her family... she is really happy!

Daddy moved in and started giving the Butterfly hugs and tickles with each swing, and she seemed to thoroughly enjoy.

The Ladybug loves spending time on the swings as well.

Especially when Daddy gives her great big pushes to give her lots of air (notice that Daddy's feet aren't even on the ground!).

The Butterfly is starting to practice her staring skills... I think she will be ready for a sibling staring contest in no time!

Of the many skills the Butterfly is currently working on and mastering... walking. She is doing a great job!

Of course a few spills are part of the learning process.

While the girls were playing, Daddy decided to practice with his whip and top that he purchased while in China. He is getting pretty good!

Lastly, just a couple close-ups of the Butterfly. I love this little girl so much and am so happy that she is a part of our family. She, and her sister made me a Mommy. Thank you Lord for making us family.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

I went into the Baby Bug's room this morning to awaken her from her dreamy slumber. I opened the blinds to let light into the room and then found the Butterfly sprawled across her crib like below. This little girl definitely loves her sleep, and enjoys using every inch of her crib to get it... including the vertical edges apparently!