cherry blossom baby

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12 Join the joyous journey to my baby in China!

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Incredible Gift!!!

Yesterday I was amazed to recieve this beautiful gift that my incredibly talented cousin made for Zhuozhuo. This is just a priceless treasure that we will always cherish. I have never seen the Ten Commandments in poetic form before. There are so many special details with the dragonflies, ladybugs, stars, and the little girl who already reminds me of Abbey. There are even some sweet bunnies, my favorite!

Thank you, thank you Anna for this beautiful expression of your love!!!!!!

Pronouncing Zhuozhuo

Gabcast! Cherry Blossom Baby #1

You can call her Abbey or you can call her ZZ or you can practice what I call her, Zhuozhuo. Just click on the arrow to listen.

ZZ's New Friend

Zhuozhuo has finally hooked up with her new friend Madison. We are all together for Sunday School each week and Madison's mommy and I have long looked forward to this day. It was so sweet to see the way Madison brought toys to her and shared. This was Monday night at our Christmas decorating party.

Monday, November 27, 2006

First Oreo

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I never dreamed I would give my child an Oreo within my first few days of meeting her, but when we were at the California Kids Club in Shenzen she was given one and all the other kids were having them, so we went for it. Her head is wet because it was so unbelievably hot and humid there! Obviously she got into the cookie experience. Not to worry though, last night she was gobbling up lima beans, carrots,and peas.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another Miracle

For a long time I've been mesmerized by a beautiful family in Waiting for Sophie. If you haven't seen Cooking with Sophie Lu you better go there right now (scroll down to November 18). Anyway, after adopting beautiful Sophie from China, her parents are now adopting two more children from Guatemala. My heart soared today as they got little Isabella. She has gone from the saddest eyes in her referral photos to beautiful, beaming smile. And they just found out that the little boy they are adopting is with the same foster mom. You really have to take a moment and see for yourself. I am thrilled for them!

The Swing

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So many people have said before that if you adopt a toddler there will still be many firsts. I can't tell you how true this is! Everything we do is a first and it is thrilling and delightful to watch her experience it. At the park she patted a sweet dog for the first time. She stepped in sand for the first time. Everything she has eaten and every little game and tickle we've made up, they are all firsts for her. I am loving every moment and feel that my heart is just bursting with joy. I've never experienced so much love and happiness.

The Park

We went to the park 3 times this week! She loved it. She thought she was a very big girl to sit on the bouncy animals, swing, and go down the slide. As you can see her "snack trap" cup is in hand at all times and she eats from dusk till dawn. I love that cup because it doesn't spill, she has to use great fine motor skills, and because she loves it. We fill it up with Goldfish, Cheerios, etc. Her favorite thing at the park is watching other children, which she would be happy to do for


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Another Sweet Gift

Thank you Marianne and Joe!

Gifts in the Mail

These were waiting for us with the mail when we got home from China. Thank you Connie for the sweet frame! Zhuozhuo loves it when I pick up a photo of her and kiss it, she just giggles hysterically. And the little doll is from Kathleen. It is the first of what I am sure will be a collection of the little "Kelly" dolls. It was very kind of both of you to think of us and put actions to your thoughts by sending gifts. We look forward to meeting both of you someday.
Oh, and there is my Dell logo. A gift from dad which makes all this blogging possible.

Playing with Avonlea

What are those and how can I get a pair?

Zhuozhuo was very impressed with Avonlea's dangley earrings and her Fergalicious dance performance for the family.

It was so funny to see her little body bouncing up and down to the hip hop beat.

Are they edible?


My wonderful neighbors brought us this arrangement for Thanksgiving.

Zhuozhuo played drums with the measuring cups and strainer. I think she pretty well charmed my dad and my sister's family. It was my best Thanksgiving ever to have her there in the middle of everything. She loved the mashed potatoes and turkey.

Sorry, I have to take my calls!

Cell phones are Abbey's favorite thing. She likes her toy ones and loves real phones. Everyone in my family gave her theirs and they were calling her and making them light up and ring and play music. She loved it. She was especially enamored with Gran-Gene who was allowed to tickle her and play silly games. She was still reserved with everyone else. She also accepted Ashton into her inner circle because he threw things back and forth with her. It was so fun to have her with my family!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for...

...two huge eyes rosebud lips that smells like sweet peas
...lots of silly giggles and belly laughs
...someone who is always ready for fun
...a little girl who wants me as much as I want her
...the thrill of everything being new and a "first"
...cherrios and goldfish strewn across my life baby bottles by my sink
...tiny socks in my dryer
...a tub full of stacking cups and bubbles

...a future as bright as the rising sun
My beautiful daughter!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Cutie Pie

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Before Breakfast at the White Swan

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Abbey likes to say "yiyiyiyi" but only when it's just her and I.

Eating Breakfast

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And to think a few days before I didn't know how to eat and could only drink a bottle! I love the 5 Star Breakfast Buffet at the White Swan!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Well, since you all don't mind....

I feel the need to brag some more about my baby. She is just so good! As it says in Ephesians, God has done exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ever ask or think. My mom stayed up in the night with her and kept it dark and quiet, no playing, and I slept on with my Tylenol PM. I woke her up around 8 and took her to her Dr's appt. He was really great, but she wasn't thrilled with being stripped down and examined. I was sad to find out that she weighs only 19 lbs. Today she turned 19 months. The Dr was appalled that she had never been given solid foods, with his other Chinese adoptees this has never come up, but I am assuming most of them were younger and therefore it is not surprising to have them still on bottles. I told him she was happy to try any table foods I give her, but no baby food, yogurt, juice, or water. He said that it would take time for her to get used to trying different things and that because of the oral defensiveness we could get her some occupational therapy through early intervention. I had been hoping for that. She did not want to show him that she could walk. Her height and head size were good. We will go to see a neurosurgeon just to rule out the earlier concerns we had for her, but the ped thinks she looks good. We found that she has an ear infection in addition to the bronchitis and were able to get a new antibiotic. I thought that was coming because she has been rubbing her ear. I can't imagine what she must be like when she feels good, because she is so sweet even with all this pain. We decided to wait until next time to start the vaccines, but we did take her to the hospital to start all her lab work. I hated to hold her down for that. Can I please have another mommmy badge? I was glad that it wasn't done at the Dr.'s office and that she won't associate him with that. I tried to take her for a McDonalds ice cream afterwards but she wouldn't try it so I ate both of ours and decided it was my reward too because the whole proceedure seemed to be as hard for me as it was for her. After all that I sent my mom home to recupperate but told her to be ready for another round within the next week or two. I know I can be a mom in a 5 star hotel with a breakfast buffet and maids, but can I do it on my own at home? We shall see tomorrow.
I have to wake her up from her naps and sleep times in order to try to beat the jet lag. It's hard because I can barely keep my own eyes open. My niece and BIL came over to play with her after her nap. She was reserved and quiet but towards the end she let my niece hold her and she was very impressed with Bob allowing her to play with his REAL cell phone. After they left we did her bath, which she loved and then just played. She seemed more comfortable than ever before and started walking around the house and playing with things of her own initiative. She does some adorable babbling and got much more animated with her "talking" and expressions.
Before she came home I did tons of babyproofing, I started a year and a half ago. Most of it I am happy with but she pulled the little soft corners right off all the sharp furniture, and it pulled some paint off too. I had removed all my lamps except one floor lamp that I really need. I thought I had it between some furniture where she wouldn't get it, but she went right for it. I am going to see if I can bolt it to the wall. Also, I had put a lock on the glass fireplace enclosure and thought she wouldn't be interested in that, but again, she went straight for the glass to bang on so I've put a port-a-crib in front of it and will be shopping for solutions tomorrow.
She is just darling as she interacts with me and she is as in love with me as I am with her. We both just want to laugh and be together every moment. We both find each other hysterical. I cannot believe how blessed I am to have this child in my life and to have her as my daughter is my greatest honor. Thank you God! Thank you China! Thank you all friends who gave me courage!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What we found at home

Christmas outfits from Auntie, Rebecca, and Joyce.

Balloons from Auntie that I LOVE to play with. Lao Lao and I think it's funny to bonk our heads on them.

My new Hippo from Scott, Kim, and Madison. Mommy really likes the orchid!

Auntie and Ashley bought every snack the store had for me to try!

Jet Lag Hits

At church with Auntie. Wow, not only a mommy and a Lao Lao, but an Auntie too!

Okay, I spoke too soon. Last night around 12:30 I was finally ready to go to sleep, but that is when Zhuozhuo woke up. I tended to her until 2:30 and then my mom took over but we all stayed up until 4:30. At 3:30 I had a whole 2nd Mexican dinner. We kept ZZ in her room and in the dark but held her and talked quietly. It was so hard to get up and wake her up at 8:30. We both had circles under our eyes at church. I let her nap from 2:00-4:30 and let myself sleep for 1 and 1/2 hr. It was even harder to wake up this time. We tried to go for a walk, take baths, etc. Anything to keep her awake until 8:30. I am getting ready to take a Tylenol PM and mom is going to sleep on the floor in ZZ's room so I can sleep. We have our big Dr's appt in the morning.

Happy in the nursery because I have my container of Gerber Fruit Puffs and a mirror to look at myself in.

All things considered I think she did great at church!

With mommy, waving to my friends.

We came home to fun signs!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Coming Home

Well, I can't believe that I have not posted since Tuesday. Everything is a blur now and I can only really remember the last 48 hrs. Friday morning I woke up with a full blown massive migraine. I packed and did last minute shopping. I had to buy a gigantic suitcase to bring all our treasures home, luckily they are $15 dollars there. Even so, it barely all fit. I left a lot behind at Jennifer's Place. It's a shop that has shelves for parents to leave meds and baby things they didn't use for parents who are arriving. We then went to the US Consulate and they had a special swearing in ceremony for us because of National Adoption Day. There were 61 babies there, about 250-300 people. They said that this year they've only done 7,000 adoptions, down from the 8,000 they did the year before. They said they are working on behalf of waiting parents to improve the situation and seemed genuinely happy to see all these children being adopted. I left with four other families to go straignt to the airport and fly out that eve. Most of our group went back to the hotel and would be leaving the next morning, bags out at 5:10 a.m and leaving at 6. I was so glad that we were going when it was nightime for the babies. The dreadful thing is that we flew China Southern Economy. I've never seen anything like it. You are packed in so tight you can't move at all. I will never do that again. Other friends have recommended Cathay Pacific. Fortunately this flight was not packed as our last one had been and I had an empty seat next to me to lay Abbey in. She did pretty well on the flight, I did not. After throwing up from the migraine I put the barf bag in the seat pocket (I was pretty incoherent). While I closed my eyes Abbey took it out and poured it all over both of us. Nice. I need another badge on my mommy sash. I had canker sores so big they had merged together inside my lip and were throbbing, even on tons of vicoden. I also had a sinus-throat- ear thing going on. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I considered asking them to land the plane, but we were over the ocean. At one point I asked the stewardess how much longer and when she said 6 hrs I just about lost it. When we finally landed Abbey melted down in customs and immigration. I think they felt sorry for us and hurried us through. I began having thoughts of, "What have I done? What was I thinking that I could do this? " I was feeling like I couldn't take care of Abbey one more minute, and then we saw my mom. I couldn't wait to hand my baby off to her! I was very happy that Abbey went in her car seat with just a little fuss. When we finally got home there were big "Congratulations" signs and "It's a girl!" from my sister along with pink balloons (which ZZ loves). There were Christmas outfits for Abbey from her and Rebecca and Joyce. My sister and my friend Ashley had gotten us groceries, and I can't tell you how helpful that was to be able to give Abbey things right away. I went straight to bed and my mom stayed up with Abbey until midnight then we put her in bed with me and she slept until I woke her up at 8:30 a.m. The two things I said I would not be doing, having her sleep with me and eating in the carseat, she did withing her first few hours home. It all goes out the window when you are in survival mode. I woke up feeling like a different person, still a little sick, but nothing like the flight from H-E-double hockey sticks! Abbey had her first bath at home and loved it. She likes her high chair too. We went to a picnic for National Adoption Day and got to see some of my friends that have been so helpful and encouraging. ZZ loved the ducks and the children. We just stayed for a little while, I wanted to get her into the sunshine to help reset her body clock with night and day. We went home and took naps and she went in her crib for the first time with no problem except that I had a fun light up musical toy strapped in their that she loved and I had to get her all calmed down after that. My friends Scott and Kim brough us Mexican food for dinner, yea! They also brought us a pretty orchid and a big pink hippo for Abbey. My sister and my niece came over and Abbey decided to do a big trick for us all and walk to Lao Lao and then back to me. She loved it that we all clapped for her. I am glad she felt comfortable enough to show everyone that she can walk, even though she doesn't want to right now. She went to bed nicely in her crib and I am thrilled that we are doing so well with the sleep and time changes so far. My friends have warned me though that sometimes it doesn't hit until the 2 nd or 3 rd day, but I think so far so good. Tomorrow I am going to put one of her Chinese outfits on and take her up to church for just a little bit. Monday I have her first Dr's appt at 9:15 a.m. and I can't wait to have him check out her bronchitis. She does seem much better.
Already the White Swan is seeming like a dream. I loved it there and know I will go back someday with Abbey.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Reflections of a New Mom

Well this is probably going to be pretty sappy, but I can't help myself. I am so in love with my baby that my heart is ready to burst. This has been the most wonderful time of my life and I am just savoring every moment. It is very hard for me to let her go to sleep, and I have to force myself to get things done during that time because I want to just sit and stare at her, which I do plenty of. I can't believe all the obstacles that got in the way of me coming to her, but I just thank God every moment that I made it. I cannot fathom what I would have missed and lost if I had given up along the way. Part of me feels this strange need to try to hide her and not let anyone here see how wonderful and adorable she is because they would all want to keep her. I keep thinking that someone didn't realize that she is the crown jewel of China and now I am leaving the country with her. They have no clue the great treasure I am leaving with, my Bao Bei!
She has been really sick for a few days with bronchitis and I hate hearing her struggle to breathe with all the phlem and the rattle in her tiny little rib cage. The clinic here in the hotel has been very good and they are giving her special antibiotics and expectorants. She is so incredibly good natured. She loves and appreciates everything and is delighted with anything from a straw to a cracker. If I need to talk to someone or am shopping she just waits happily. She is acting a lot younger that she is. When I first got her she was like a wet noodle and just stayed laying wherever I plopped her. As she has gotten over the grieving and the sheer terror that she must have felt, she has come out of her shell. There were many things I wasn't sure if she could do or not, such as getting from laying to sitting by herself, sitting to standing, and walking. She can do all these things but really wants to be treated like a baby for now, and that is fine with me because that phase will be over all to soon. In the playroom I challenge her a little just so that I can see what she can do. I will crawl away and she will crawl after me. She likes to be right near me at all times. She likes to get in the little baby swing and suck her three knuckles. She sees all the other toddlers running around and drinks it all in with her eyes, but she isn't ready yet emotionally. Everyday she shows me a little more of what she is really capable of, but I secretly am enjoying her baby mode too and love carrying her around. We learn new things everyday. She had never eaten before, bottle only. We began with Gerber fruit puffs that melt in your mouth and went on from there. She learned how to swallow, and then how to chew. After a few days she began putting the food in her mouth herself and loves everything I give her. Now we are working on not stuffing to much in her mouth. She only weighs 21 lbs at 18 months. At first she didn't touch her bottle, I held it all the time and wept inside that no one had ever done that for her. One day while I was getting things ready she grabbed her bottle and held it in her mouth, like she always had to do at the orphanage, but she much prefers me to do it. The first time I fed her she tried to look away and was avoiding eye contact that first day, so I decided I would only hold the bottle where she had to look in my eyes, now she loves that. She looks at me all the time the way I look at her, like "I can't believe my good fortune that I have you." She is just drinking in the love and plumping up like a sponge. I will tell you all the heartbreak of the orphanage later, but on the trip back from there she really began to come alive. She began giggling and playing with me and went on for hours. We were mimicking and mirroring each other and she thought that was so funny. She waved bye-bye for the first time and seemed as amazed that her arm and hand could do that as I was. She loves being tickled, bounced on my knee and lowered back. She is in awe of This Little Piggy and Patty Cake. The day I got her she was very stinky and had never had a real bath. She still has dirt caked in her ears that I haven't gotten out yet. I tried to set her on the counterand do a sponge bath with the sink. She was terrified and screamed. The next day I got into the bath tub with her and it was still pretty traumatic. The next time she cried at first but then slowly stuck one pinky out to touch the bubbles and stacking cups. She tried to act like she was still afraid but I could tell she was starting to love it. Today she was so happy to play with her cups. We only use them in the bath so that is a special treat. She still doesn't like me rinsing her hair, but I think it's because I need to improve my technique. I had been just dumping cups of water on her head, today I tried leaning her back at the suggestion of another mom, and that was better but I still have room for lots of improvement. I really felt like a mom while crawling around her crib at night trimming her finger and toenails as she slept. It seemed like I should receive some kind of new mom badge I earned. I was so afraid to clip her skin and couldn't really see that well, but thankfully I did not hurt her. I've also been consulting with moms about medicine administration techniques. It was a lot easier the time I got another gal to help me, but most of the time I am trying to pin her down by myself. We both end up covered in pink syrup which really isn't a problem because it looks and smells better than all the other food that is now on my clothes all the time. I am always thinking she won't forgive me after these episodes but as soon as it's over she is happy with me again. I have not succeeded in brushing her teeth and without heavy equipment there is no way to pry her mouth open. I am open to all input and really want to get going on this. Hopefully the pediatric dentist can help me. Because she's been on the bottle all this time and never had her teeth wiped off they bleed the first time I tried. They are very cute little white teeth. I thought she had an underbite at the first few days, but it was part of the tears and sticking her lower jaw out.
Some of you knew the dire warnings I was given about her after my referral. They couldn't have been further from the truth. She is so smart! I now see why the orphanage described her as clever. All the agony I had over her cognitive abilities should have been energy better directed on how to keep up with a bright child. I think when her personality is fully unleashed she will be giving mommy a real run for her money. She's already as sharp as a tack and voraciously acquiring new tricks. The orphanage did tell me that she doesn't talk yet, just baby talk. She has the sweetest little oohs and ahhs you've ever heard. It's my favorite sound in the whole world. The other day while in a very good post tylenol dose mood she wispered Zhuozhuo to herself and then Gene said hello to her and she said hello back. It was so cute! I haven't heard any other words yet but we play silly sound games back and forth with each other all the time. Again, it's just fine with me to let this unfold slowy because I just delight in every new step and don't want it to happen to fast, let's drag the fun out as long as we can. I haven't called her Abbey yet and really don't know when I will. She likes her name ZZ and responds to it and I love it too. We can add Abbey on later but we both like her sweet little name. It's pronounced j-wa j-wa. It is unusal and very elegant. It means outstanding or excellent. She has huge eyes for a Chinese baby. Her lashes are so beautiful it looks like she has on eye-liner. Okay, enough! I am sure you all are sick of hearing me brag about my baby, I am a lost cause. I wish I could post all the adorable pictures but I don't know how to use this Mac laptop and Gene went to Hong Kong for a few days. Once we get home and get our nights and days turned around I will go back and post things from the trip that I haven't had time to write about and give you tons of photos. It takes about 30 minutes here to get 4 photos up and all the best ones are on Gene's equipment, not mine.
With a heart of thanksgiving like never before, Thank you God for my baby girl!!

We Go To Work

From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

Believe it or not, Gene and I and Abbey got to work while we were in Shenzen. My friends were doing a promotion at Sam's Club and we worked at the booth to promote their new school. Abbey go to to chew on leggos and attract attention while we worked the crowd. This is next door to the world headquarters for WalMart. My friends also took me in to Sam's to buy Chinese DVD's and books for Abbey. We got Cinderella, Curious George, Mickey Mouse, and some only known in China. My total bill was less than $10, DVD's are $1 here, and Sam's are all legal copies. Since most of the Chinese population know nothing about the orphanages, they are all very curious as to how I have a Chinese baby. (Especially since I got the cutest,sweetest one in all the land of China!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Fun with Friends

From New Album 11/...

This is Abbey's teacher Sabine, from Germany. We had a children's cooking class on making pasta (the real goal being English).
From New Album 11/...

ZZ was very good while mommy told all the children a story...
From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

Abbey's First Day at School!

From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

My friends just opened this beautiful school, California Kid's Club. It goes from six months old through high school and is all extracurricular classes. Abbey got to go to her first "Gymboree" type class that is designed to teach Chinese babies English. We had a great time, her teacher Debbie was excellent!
From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

Sorry for leaving you hanging!

We didn't mean to make anyone worry. Thursday was a very tough day for little Abbey. She is teething with big molars coming in and running fevers off and one and she was also really grieving so I really didn't take pictures. She did have her first strawberry ice cream (about 3 spoonfuls) and her first McD's french fry. She gnawed on that for about 1 1/2 hours. We went to the Civil Affairs office again for more paperwork and then on to get Abbey's passport application filled out. We then went to a WILD shopping area that makes Times Square look boring. We went to a very nice department store for baby things. It was all I could do just to get through the day but I loved every minute of taking care of her, even when she is having a difficult time.
We left early Friday to go to Shenzen to visit friends. Gene and I and ZZ took the train 1 hour to Shenzen and then 1/2 hour on the subway to where our friends live. We had a wonderful time and just returned this morning. While there we were unable to access hotmail or blogger, so that's why you didn't hear from us. ZZ is a great little traveller! She can just pack up and go with the flow and is actually very happy to be out where the action is.
From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

Abbey's First Day at School!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Non Bloggers

Just wanted to make sure you knew that you can click on a picture to enlarge it!

The room where the babies waited to meet us

Civil Affairs Office

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

From the orphanage

From New Album 11/...

Special gifts for Abbey from her orphanage. We were also returned everything I sent in her package. The blanket had never been unwrapped or used. They gave back the photo album I sent. They returned the disposable camera about 1/2 used so am excited to see the prints from the orphanage. It was very kind that they returned all her things but I don't think she ever got to play with the toys.

Her arrival outfit

From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

From New Album 11/...

Love the bunnies on her clothes. She was the only bunny baby. Love the sparkly shoes!