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!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year from Miss Abbey!

God has been so good to us!!
We are thrilled to be launching into our new life together and we wish you a wonderful 2007!

Worth the Wait

I love this card given to me by my friend Dawn. She is one of the people God used to provide so many things I needed for Miss Abbey through. When I was paperchasing I was very concerned about how I would buy baby furniture, clothes, etc. Two Easter's ago we were at picnic and I told Dawn and her husband that I was adopting. She got goosebumps and tears in her eyes and promptly announced that she wanted to give me her lovely crib and changing table. It then went on to strollers, bedding, and clothing. I think her DH was worried she may just give me their whole house. Anyway, this card came with a lovely storybook for girls and another load of cute clothes. Inside was something very special her mother had once written and I am sharing it with you...

A daughter, an astonishment, a perfection
The newest thing in the world. So small. So packed with secrets. And everyday brings fresh wonders - for every gesture, every smile is an enchantment.
Everything is unexpected (quick, see what she's done now).
Her face lights up when you - most ordinary you - come into sight. Your songs delight her. You are the one who can soothe her to sleep, drive off her terrors, lift her from tears to laughter.
She is so beautiful, so eager, so resolute, so funny and amazing, and she loves you with all her heart. No one has failed who has so dear a daughter.

Beautifully said Maureen, who I believe is watching from heaven and whose love lives on in the hearts of her children and grandchildren.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Joys of Motherhood

Just wanted to share that I earned a new mommy badge today for my sash - the mega-watt Diaper Blowout badge. For some reason I thought it would be okay to go to the mall for 3 hrs without doing a diaper change (don't do that!). Abbey spilt a whole water bottle on herself because she wants to drink out of one like I do rather than use a sippy cup ( again, ddt!). Some one came up to me in a restaurant at the mall and let me know that they had seen us earlier and that Abbey's sippy cup was on a display in the toy store. After throwing what we were buying on top of another display and wheeling her outside to dump all the water out of the stroller tray we resumed getting our purchases. As I headed out I thought I smelled poop but just sort of ignored it and didn't investigate (DDT!! I never will again - anytime I think there might be poop I will go all the way in checking). She was all wet when I loaded her into the car but I figured it was just from the water bottle, wrong. When I finally got her home and to the changing table I unsnapped the onesie and poop went flying, some hit me in the head. I never thought I would be praying for the Lord to help me find all the poop, but I was. Little pieces were scattering every where. The onesie, of course, had to be pulled off over her head...let's not get into it. So now, all our clothes are in the washer and I have completely dismantled the stroller (pieces had to be unscrewed to get the straps off) and the car seat (which I am not looking forward to reassembling). Now I thought I would have to wash those items someday, but not two months into it. And BTW I am still finding little blue sugar sprinkles everywhere...not just the kitchen, they have migrated all over the house. Also, while digging through the entire kitchen trash can piece by piece looking for screws to our new Fisher Price Farm which I thought might have been thrown out, I discovered a surprise at the bottom. My spatula and wooden spoon. I don't know how she does these things because I am with her every second. She must be lightening fast. I also found two little construction worker plastic men in her diaper champ which I now check carefully before cleaning out.
But, I can still say that I love every second and that she is the most wonderful thing that's ever happened to me.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Overdue Thank You's

Teacher Mary, thank you for this cute Make A Wish outfit! I can't wait to wear it.

Thank you Otvos Family for the velour jacket and the I Love You Like Crazy Cakes book!

Thank you to Victoria for the funky purple outfit, so cute!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Abbey makes the sweetest little call when she wants up...uuuuhhh with tons of imploring inflection. Although she only knows a couple of words, she puts her whole persona into communicating with them. When she says "hi" it is extremely animated and engaging. When we went to the doctors office last week she walked right up to a tin snowman decoration and said hi to him with all the friendliness that can be put into the word.
In the past week she has learned to give kisses and hugs, drink from a straw/sippy cup/juice box, had fun petting dogs, and is working on the signs for cheese and kitten.
She so enjoys this Nursery Rhyme MP3 player from Target.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Morning

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Abbey has been enjoying all the holiday celebrations. She loves being around lots of people laughing and enjoys all the food. I think she is getting quite into it. Being the center of attention doesn't hurt either with everyone trying to high five her, tickle her, play with her. Later in the day we came home and had a quiet mommy and me day.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Happy to be a reindeer and full of Christmas joy!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas to all from Miss Abbey!

Friday, December 22, 2006

California Cutie

Abbey loves the little California Cutie oranges that are tiny and sweet. I always peel them and cut them up for her but today I pulled one out of the bowl that had a set of tiny teeth marks in the peel, I guess she had to try it herself. I also found a bottle behind the TV in the armoire that we had been missing for days. She cracks me up. She brings joy to so many people everywhere we go. Everyone falls in love with her when she smiles and says hi to them. She loves having people over too. Last night our friends Lindi and Salome came over to watch Polar Express, but we spent most of the time watching the funny things Abbey was doing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

First Ride

She loved it!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Abbey went to daycare today by herself for the first time. We visited together one morning last week. We wanted to try everything so that when she really has to go we are all ready. I feel SO blessed and fortunate to have her in this wonderful place. She loved it, did not miss me, and came home happy as a clam. Evidently she knows how to steer a stroller and drive a car, news to me. When I went to explain to her that I was going "bye-bye" she clung on to the play kitchen and began shaking her head NO thinking she was going to have to leave with me. When she found that she was staying and I was going she was fine with that. When I came to get her she was beaming and wearing a train conductor uniform and had a walkie talkie. I am soooooooooo happy that she is happy. Of course I was trying not to cry during the morning as I went to the grocery store, ironed, etc. It will be easier when I am back at school because my first graders take all my attention every moment, but I know she will be on my mind still every minute we are apart. She is so smart, cute, happy, funny, and wonderful to be with. I love her so much!
Oh, and she learned the sign for apple at snack time.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Came Early

My mom wanted to take Abbey to Toys R Us and let me tell you, she was in awe. She was so cute looking at all the shelves of toys and wanted to explore every one of them. We settled on the Fisher Price Learning Bench, Corn Popper, and Medical Kit. She is so funny with each of them. She loves hammering on the bench. She is very serious with all her medical tools, especially the stethescope - her face looks like she is conducting neurosurgery when she uses it. The Corn Popper was so overwhelming for her that she sat down on the floor of the store and got it locked in her arms and hunkered down for battle. We had to carry her out with it locked in her arms, barely able to scan it at the register. The whole way home she kept her arms locked around it, no one was going to be taking that from her. When she got home she had so much fun playing with all of it and she continues to each day. Thank you Lao Lao!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Home for the Holidays

Every year there is a wonderful program on TV to promote forever families for children who need them. It's called A Home for the Holidays and I don't want any of you to miss it. This year it will be on Friday, December 22 8pm EST/PST and 7pm MST/CST. It is on CBS and you can read more about it here. There will be lots of celebrities and many waiting children will be featured. One year the audience was full of little girls from China. Have your kleenex ready.
Also, Shaohannah's Hope, Focus on the Family, and Family Life Radio have teamed up to found Voice of the Orphan to raise awareness for the 143 million orphans in the world and spur people to action. I plan on collaborating with others in my town to do the same and they have great resources for getting started.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Naughty and Nice

Well, Miss Abbey has completely transformed herself into a full-fledged toddler this week. The good news is that she is smart enough to get into everything, that of course is also the bad news. This also goes for walking and climbing, which is such a big help to mama, but also quite a challenge. Forget my books about Super Baby Foods, Gymboree Games, etc. I am now going to delve into Raising Your Strong-Willed Child and the like. Yesterday while getting home just in time for lunch, bottle, and nap schedule, I had a major snafu while trying to hold the baby, diaper bag, purse, and grab several grocery bags from the trunk. Abbey wiggled and my keys (in slow motion) flew from my hands, soared through the air, and went down through the grate into the parking lot sewer. She had a sopping wet diaper on, and was ready for food and bed, and I had a trunk full of frozen foods, and we were locked out of the car and our house. After looking around and seeing no one out and about mid-day I went to the nearest neighbor who had just moved in and I hadn't met yet. She let us come in, put food in her freezer, do a diaper change on her living room floor and helped us find a phone number for our home owners association. She was working from her home office which I found was stacked with huge Chinese dictionaries. It turns out she is a professional translator with a Master's in Mandarin (this is so how my life goes - disasters that morph into something great like meeting her). Anyway, another unknown neighbor drove by and saw my distress and was able to pull off the grate off and CLIMB INTO THE SEWER and get my keys out. I was so relieved because I had been trying to calculate the cost of the fancy car key and the locksmith coming out to get me into the house. Somehow we managed a nap and dinner but as I was doing the dishes I noticed that the little feet behind me were very still and someone was very quiet. I turned around to see Zhuozhuo with her little mouth open in awe and out entire kitchen floor covered in blue cookie sprinkles. I really get into baking and decorating cookies and have a drawer with special decors. Of course it has a baby latch but she had stuck her hand through pulled it out, unscrewed the lid, and dumped everything in about 20 seconds flat. They weren't rectangular shaped sugar crystals that just lay there, they were very tiny blue beads that bounce and roll, about a million of them. The vacuum cleaner just made them fly around so I had to crawl on the floor with attachments with ZZ screaming because she is afraid of the noise. It took a loooong time to clean up. Did I mention that she locked us both in the bathroom the other day right as we were leaving to meet someone and I couldn't get the door knob unjambed for several minutes? Or the night that we both went to bed crying because she kept pulling my hair and then I finally pulled hers to show her what it felt like? Or that she she bit me twice (playfully, but not fun on the receiving end)? Our baby phase was very short but I am thrilled that she is developing like any child her age, maybe even a little ahead of's the terrible two's, right? No one said anything about 19 months.
She had her first dentist appointment this week and they thought her teeth looked great. We are really making progress with the toothbrushing thanks to all of your tips and suggestions.
Today we went to Early Intervention and she can qualify just because of the deprived environment that she came from and to make sure that we work on any sensory integration concerns I have, which are basically all due to lack of exposure to different temperatures, substances (grass, sand, etc.) They said that congnitively she is doing great and is really bright. She loved sitting in the little chair and having them give her tasks to do. She will also be assessed for speech. Most babies her age know 20-30 words and she just knows 4 - hi, mama, ba-ba (our word for bottle), and her favorite "uh-oh" which she uses 100 times a day. I think this is impressive due to her newness to hearing English. She is moving at a more rapid clip than I am with Mandarin for sure. Her receptive language is great. When I tell her to do little tasks she is so proud to go do them or get ready for whatever I am talking about. The other day a friend loaned us a whole set of Signing Time videos which we are thrilled with. While we were at her house we ate grapes (yes, I cut them lengthwise) and our friend showed us the sign for grapes. So, at 4:15 a.m. guess who woke up and started signing grapes to me and laughing in the middle of the night? She so wants to communicate and accomplish things. When we are at the park and the big kids (that she is totally enamored with) are running around yelling, she laughs and gestures and acts like she is a part of all the action, even though they don't even notice her. We also went to visit her childcare this week and it was so wonderful. I love this lady and I can feel the Lord in her home. There are more fun toys and things than you can ever imagine and ZZ latched on to a stethescope right away which she recognized from our doctors visits. We pretended to use it on each other and she wore it the rest of the morning. Let me tell you I had to pry her away from it when we left, but I was thrilled that she will be so motivated to come back. Her eyes were as big as saucers watching the interactions of the other 4 children who range from 1-4 yrs. She has been invited to her first birthday party for a 4 yr. old friend who goes to her daycare and our church. I am so excited for her but it means I will be doing something I was planning on never doing...going to Chuck E. Cheese. Yes, I am the mom of a toddler, full-tilt. We are watching The Wiggles, signing "more" and "food", and singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider throughout the day and night. Oh, and calling my sister in tears with mommy guilt and self-doubt about all the discipline I am having to impose now. Yes, I am the mommy and I have to do it. My sister was soooooo encouraging about how safe the boundaries make it for the child and solidify our relationship as Mother/Daughter. I know all this as a teacher, but somehow I thought after all Abbey has been through we wouldn't need to do all this so soon, but here we go! Oh, and how did I have time to write all this? I told my mom I was having a meltdown and to come help me again so she is down playing with Abbey and a friend from church is on her way over bringing me a turkey dinner. Yea!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Santa Baby

Monday, December 11, 2006

Busy Day

I have a great idea!

I must work quickly while mommy is busy.

Someone just put my shoe in the trash can.

That was almost as much fun as putting shoes in the Diaper Champ.

On to my next trick.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Johanna Saves the Day!

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Yesterday I woke up at 5 am with a really bad migraine. I took my med's and pushed through the morning of our big children's event. As the day wore on I got worse and worse. Thankfully my dear friend Johanna was here visiting and took over playing with Abbey for me so that I could rest. By 4 pm she said she needed to get me to a doctor and loaded up Abbey in her nap pj's and me in my incoherent state and drove my car through the rain to urgent care. I was throwing up at each light and she finally had to pull over. It was quite an ordeal. I was able to get shots and while I was with the doctor Johanna took Abbey for Chinese food. I was so greatful for my wonderful friend taking over and finally recovered late in the evening. This is a picture of Abbey and Johanna at church the next morning.

Gingerbread Girl

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Reindeer Romp

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Today we attended our annual Gingerbread Day party at church. Tons of children come and make their own little gingerbread houses. It's a wild time! It was really fun because two families that have adopted from China came, and two families that are doing the paperwork came as well. Another couple that I met through this blog also came with their sweet baby. I love all the new people we've met as a result of our shared experiences. Abbey was stomping around church grabbing gingerbread cookies and balloons and loving playing with all her friends.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Birth Moms

My eyes keep welling up with tears tonight as I think of Abbey's birthmom. Somewhere out in this big world is a woman I am profoundly grateful for. Although I don't know anything about her, I know all this beauty came from somewhere. I know this sweet voice with all her 'oohs' and 'aahs' came from someone. This bright little mind that copies everything she sees and tries to figure out everything around her is all genetically linked to someone. I know that God created Abbey, but he did it through a person, and I just wish I could send a million shooting stars of thanks her way. By carrying Abbey and giving birth to her you have filled my life with so much joy, and there is a ripple effect that is touching everyone around us. Somehow may the love in my heart for you reach all the way to China and wrap itself around you. May deep peace fill the empty place in your heart. Your daughter is LOVED and treasured and so are thoughts of you. I hope that sometime in eternity we will meet you.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17


Growing by Leaps and Bounds

This child is transforming before my very eyes. It was just four weeks ago today that I recieved her, what a blessed day that was! The first week she couldn't walk, then she could barely walk, but only if forced to by me moving a few feet away, next she would walk at home, and now finally she is walking everywhere. The orphanage director had told me she could walk, but with all the transition it's just taken time emotionally. I am so happy that she is feeling safe and comfortable. She is absolutely adorable. I know I am biased, but others nearby concur...she is such a good baby! Yesterday she had Italian food for the first time, stuffed shells and garlic bread from Ms. Amanda. We have been so thankful for the meals that friends have been bringing...chicken and veggie soup with bread and sparkling cider from Rebecca, and barbeque chicken, corn and garlic mashed potatoes from Lindi. You should see this girl eat, it's amazing!!
She played in the sand today for the first time at a park, it was soooooooo cute. She really enjoyed it. She is amazed with the world and I am too as I experience it with her. She also walked up and down our stairs yesterday and today with me helping her. It's a lot of climbing for a little girl and I am so proud of her for trying. She has gotten the hang of eating samples at Costco and is pretty excited about the whole scene there. We stocked up on formula and diapers there today.
Mom is growing by leaps and bounds too, or maybe crawls and stumbles. I learn how to be a better mom every day. My whole world is rearranged and I love it. I thought dish towels lasted for several days, now I go through several a day. I never had to run the dishwasher, now we do it everyday. I like getting up early and making a great breakfast for my baby. I am developing all sorts of new tricks - letting all the non-perishables stay in the car until naptime, strapping the snack cup to the cart at the store, and braking for every park we drive by. I used to eat one real meal a day, she has three with 2 snacks and four bottles added in. It seems like my whole life revolves around food now and I can't imagine how these moms with teenage boys do it. It is so much fun. Every moment I am thinking things like, "I can't believe I am shopping for baby things with MY BABY!"

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Getting ready to floss her teeth, I mean do the same thing she does to toilet paper - pull as much out as she can before I come running - before an FCC event. We attended a Waiting Families/New Arrivals candlelighting ceremony. It was amazing to think that we sat there one year ago with hope in our hearts. Now all my dreams have come true! We got to reconnect with others we've met on this journey and see lots of cuties that have found there way home to their families. Thank you to Families with Children from China for uniting us all.

I Like Church!

Zhuozhuo has decided that she really likes church and is starting to show her true personality there, although I don't think we've seen all there is to her yet. Today she ran down the center isle during worship and then spent about 15 minutes removing all the "reserved seating for parents with babies" signs. In the afternoon she partied with the leadership team over salmon and sorbet. She skipped her nap and was as happy and delightful as always. I am continually amazed and in awe of this child. After seeing her buddy Madison eat oatmeal she has decided that she does like mushy foods after all and has now added yogurt and baby food to her repertoire. That means that the only food she doesn't like is baby greens soaked in balsamic vinegar. I warned her, but she has to eat everything I do. Oh, and today was her first time to ever wear a dress.