Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring Concert

Yesterday, Big Sister's preschool had their annual spring concert. I was lucky enough to have a babysitter which allowed me to capture some video footage and take a few photos. Here they are.

Monday, April 28, 2008

10 Things that make Big Sister happy

1) Birthday parties

2) Preschool / Sunday school

3) Playing in the sand

4) Creating an art masterpiece

5) Making up stories and songs

6) Ice cream

7) Playdates

8) Playing dress up

9) Being a big sister

10) Mommy

Saturday, April 26, 2008

10 Things that make Little Sister happy

1) Her blankie which she affectionately refers to as "B."

2) A gray and white stuffed kitty she got from Uncle Mike.

3) Food, especially bananas and yogurt, her favorite snack.

4) Going to the park.

5) Any kind of phone. She is fascinated with them!

6) Elmo

7) Cookie Monster

8) Cookies

9) Her Baby Songs video

10) Mama

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mei Mei Video Recommendation

Each year on the anniversary of our forever family day, I try to buy my daughters' something that represents their Chinese heritage. This past February, I bought Big Sister the Dance and Learn Chinese with Mei Mei DVD. Little did I know what a huge hit it would be. Both of my girls absolutely love it! They put on their ballet outfits and dance around, fluttering like delicate butterflies. More beautiful than a field of spring flowers. You can purchase the video or DVD from Mei Mei is actually a grown woman who guides a group of students. Together, they teach children how to speak and sing Chinese. We really love this DVD and highly recommend it to anyone with children adopted from China.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Busy mom makes time to exercise

Before the arrival of my youngest daughter, I pretty much had it made. Big Sister started preschool last year, attending three mornings each week, which gave me free time to do whatever I wanted. To fill my time, I joined a Jazzercise class. For those who haven't done Jazzercise before, it's basically a combination of aerobics, dance, and Pilates. The classes are taught by highly qualified instructors who promise to give you a great workout. When I moved to Illinois, I was bummed to find out that there is no Jazzercise in my area. Instead, I have recently joined a Hatha yoga class where I am learning new postures, stretches, and breathing techniques. Yoga is a vast difference from Jazzercise, not easier, just different.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Girl Next Door Wins Bret's Heart

The writer's strike may have stopped us from watching new episodes of our favorite TV shows, but it did wonders for reality TV. I should know because that's all I watched at night during the past few months. One of the shows that got me hooked was Bret Michael's, Rock of Love 2. I never did see Rock of Love 1, but apparently last season, he chose the wrong girl and the relationship didn't pan out. Bret is the lead singer for Poison, an American rock band that first formed in 1983. This summer, Bret Michaels will be releasing Rock My World, his newest solo CD. In Rock of Love 2, women from various walks of life competed to win Bret's heart. In the end, it came down to Daisy, a seemingly neurotic stripper still living with her ex-boyfriend and the accomplished, yet wild girl next door, Ambre. He choose Ambre who in my opinion was definitely the best bet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Seven Things You Need to Adopt a Child

I found this article by Deborah Mumm and thought it was very accurate. Adoption is an emotional journey of filling out paperwork, homestudies, waiting, prayer and patience, but in the end, it is worth every crazy moment. Here is Mumm's article:

7 Reasons to Adopt a Child
by: Deborah Mumm

Seven Things You Need to Adopt a Child

(1) The desire to have a child – whether it is your first child or your sixth. Having a child is the most difficult job you will ever have but is also the most rewarding. This child will probably not appreciate all that you went through to adopt him/her until adulthood, but realize that biological children won’t either!

(2) Which country do you wish to adopt from? Countries (even the USA) vary in their wait times, costs, availability of certain sex & age of child, etc. Do your research and then go where your heart leads you.

(3) Talk to adoptive parents. Find local support groups or message boards on the internet. (Example: Ask questions. Adoptive parents love to talk about their adoption journey.

(4) Read current books and articles. But, beware! Newspapers love articles that grab the reader’s attention! This usually means a negative story on adoption gone wrong! Please realize that for every bad story there are hundreds of happy stories….but happy stories don’t sell papers.

(5) The money…sigh! Know that you will need at least $15,000 for one adoption. You will be eligible for a $10,000 tax credit, but not until after the adoption is complete. If you don’t have much money saved up, don’t give up hope. Studies show that most adoptive parents are not in the wealthy bracket. Most are average income earners and many are just big-hearted families with lots of love but not much money. Again…the internet is loaded with grant programs and loan ideas of adoption. If you are motivated, you will find a way. If you needed a new car or appliance you’d find a way to finance one. The life of a child is much more fulfilling in the grand scheme of things.

(6) The paperwork…ugh! There will be stacks of papers needing to be signed and notarized. (Find a notary early on that you like to work with!) Some papers will seem ridiculous to you and many people will question your sanity as you blindly fill them out over and over! You will learn quickly that you will do what is asked for to help your child. It is all worth it in the end. Think of the paperwork as labor pains…it will end and there will be a child at the end of it all!

(7) Faith! The most important thing you’ll need is faith…and lots of it. Faith you’ll find the money. Faith that the right child is matched to you. Faith in a foreign country where you are the foreigner and that you must do whatever is asked of you. Many times it will be blind faith leading you to your child. But when they give that child to you and you kiss his little face, you will see the power of adoption and the choices you made creating a future for this little person, who until you came, had none. And months later when he is calling Mama and Papa and rolling in laughter on your living room floor you will know you were given the best gift in the world. A child that loves you!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Mei-Mei

This past Saturday (April 12th), we celebrated my daughter's second birthday. She has been home now for almost 11 months and has come a long, long way. When we adopted her last May, she came to us like a wounded bird, fearful, distrusting and angry. I didn't know what to make of her. Her issues seemed overwhelming to me, the intense jealousy she felt toward any affection I gave her sister, her desire to control my every move, and the deep sadness that permeated her dark eyes. I searched high and low for answers and prayed daily, asking God to help us both. He did! The first gift he gave me was the realization that in order for me to help Little Sister with her problems, I had to first accept her, tantrums and all. I had to love her enough to help her heal. To move past her birthmother abandoning her at two months of age, and from the neglect and abuse she suffered in the orphanage during her eleven month stay there. After I accepted her, I fell in love with her, but let her know upfront that Mommy was in charge. Her tantrums and screaming were not permitted. She had to learn to trust in me as well as the other adults in her life, a new concept for her, but one that is beginning to form. With a lot of patience, prayer, Early Intervention, holding therapy and her beloved blankie, she has become happier, more confident and sweet. I look forward to seeing her continue to flourish over the years and hope that her early life's pain can somehow be erased or softened from her memory. Here are some photos from her bithday and one from Gotcha Day.

Little Sister on her adoption day. She was the saddest little girl that I have ever seen.

All smiles!

The Birthday Girl!

Having fun with her sister and cousins.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My niece's 2nd birthday!

My sister's little girl, Cutie Pie, turns 2 years-old today. She is exactly six days older than my youngest daughter. The girls are good friends and thoroughly enjoy each other's company. Yesterday, her mom and dad gave Cutie Pie a wonderful, Elmo themed birthday party, complete with balloons, party hats and an amazing Elmo cupcake cake. Here are a few photos from the party.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lifetime Movie Alert

For those of you who loved the bestselling novel, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, get ready, because on April 12 at 9 p.m., the movie will air on Lifetime. I loved the book and am looking forward to seeing the movie which will hopefully be as good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday's Reflection - Cherry Blossoms

I am in love with cherry blossoms, hence today's post. I have always loved them! Perhaps it is because they are so beautiful and fragrant, yet fragile and fleeting just like spring itself. They remind us of God's creation and the gift of nature. It is free for us to enjoy. All we have to do is take the time to explore it.

"In the cherry blossom's shade,
there is no such thing
as a stranger."
- Unknown