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, January 28, 2007

My Sweetie Pie

Playing with things from mama's purse while in the waiting room for her hearing assessment. No time to blog right now, it's 11:35 Sunday eve and I should be asleep right now - I'll be paying for this tomorrow. Just had to get a picture of this sweet child posted.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Saving Levi

This week Focus on the Family had Lisa and John Bentley share the incredible story of a precious infant boy that was found in a field in China. He had been severely burned and left in burial clothes. Tears poured down my face as I heard the beautiful recounting of how this child was saved. I was trying hard not to cry as I was on my way to an early morning parent conference. It didn't work and I showed up with my mascara and eyeliner gone. The interviewers were all crying too. You can hear these wonderful broadcasts by clicking here for Part 1 and here for Part 2. In part two they also share about their daughter Orly, who had 3 failed adoptions before joining their family. Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a beautiful song about her and part of it is shared in the broadcast. For a pictorial reflection of Levi's story look beneath the broadcast information at a section called Web Exclusives. Under Related Articles there is another article titled China Heart. The newly released book, Saving Levi, is available here. To learn more about the Phillip Hayden Foundation or Harmony Outreach use the links in my side bar. There is so much we can do for the children who are still in orphanages.
The Bentleys have left everything to serve the children in China and I love this quote with their family picture....
"And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter...My hope is your story will be about changing...about learning to love a child...about learning to love others more than ourselves... We get one story, you and I, one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it? ...And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It's you who will have changed."
Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tiny Tot

Everyone keeps talking about how big Miss Abbey is but I just have to say...she still wears size 12 mo and swims in lots of it. She's running around like a big girl but she's really a little peanut.
She makes some very big shrieks (of delight) and I can't believe they come out of that little body, but you start wiggling your finger to tickle her and you will hear it. She thinks she is very big when she helps me turn off the light, faucet, lock the door, shut the trunk, etc. Little does she know that my pinkie is doing 99% of the work and her full force is doing 1%. It really makes me think of how God is with us. We think we are so big and making things happen, and really it's His power doing all the work and we just get to be a part of it. I am delighted when she thinks she has done something to help, even if I know it's all really me. Bottom line - her personality is big and her body is small.

You Asked...

Several people have asked to see pictures of Abbey and I together so I asked a friend to snap one today at church. It's hard as a single mommy to get in the picture but I am going to start trying to do it here and there so that Abbey and I will have those to share. She moves so fast (see video below) that I can barely snap pictures of her, let alone us. People very kindly tell me, "She's very active and busy..." Actually they tell me all kinds of things everywhere we go about how cute, bright, and fun she is.
Many of you have asked what I call her now. Mostly Abbey, she definitely knows that now. She still knows she's Zhuozhuo too, but we use that more when we look at her orphanage pictures. I've taken to calling her Beauty in my heart. I don't really do it out loud, but I think it and wisper it a lot. To me that word fits her perfectly.

Squeaky Shoes

Running the hallway at church today


When I got back from China my friends Scott, Kim, and baby Madison brought us an orchid. As you can see it has gone crazy with blooms, like no orchid I've ever seen. Abbey let out a big "ahhh" the other day when I lifted her up by the sink to see it. It so typifies this season in my life. I have a shockingly abundant harvest of love and joy, after many years of sowing in tears.

Psalm 126:5 "We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing...The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad...Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Great Saturday

Oh it is so nice to spend a day with my girl! I was overjoyed to sleep in until 6:48 a.m. I looked at the clock and couldn't believe my eyes, the luxury of it all after being back on a work schedule. We had so much fun today. We have just discovered Elmo on TV this week. I never knew how adorable he is. We awoke today to find him doing a special on doctors and STETHESCOPES! Abbey's jaw was hanging open and her eyes fixed in rapture. It was fabulous. After a warm bottle and waffles she got to take a super long bubble bath. We went to Starbucks and mama got a cinnamon dolce latte. To our delight the trash truck came to Starbucks and we got to see them lift the dumpster overhead on the truck. Again Abbey was awestruck. We went to the park and stayed twice as long as normal and were able to meet two Chinese mommies and their kids. They invited us for a playdate and talked to Abbey a little bit in Cantonese, but they also know Mandarin and are happy to help us. It was warm enough (after freezing weather this week) to wear light sweaters and our capri jeans. We came home and played with all the toys that are now new again after being at daycare all week.
Abbey's sign language has really taken off and I love to see her communicating so much. She is working on please, clean, bird, and fish. Her caregiver and I are a little perplexed because now that she knows please we both have a hard time resisting her requests.
Abbey has fallen in love with dogs. She really didn't understand what animals were in books or pictures when I got her. Now that she has been around a real dog named Colby at her daycare, she is hooked. She signs for dogs all the time and has become VERY attached to a little stuffed dog that Johanna got her, as you will see in all the pictures in the post below. She loves to give him kisses and sleeps with him every night. We got to pet a dog named Sadie who was out for a walk today. Abbey's daycare went to the pet store this week too.
We made it through our second week of work somehow. We ate alot of roast beef and potatoes that I had made in the crockpot Sunday. Our single-adopt-china group had advised me to get a crockpot that switches to warm after the cook time ends. It also has a lift out pot (they probably all do now) that you can throw in the fridge and easily wash out. I am going to be using Fix-It & Forget-It Lightly: Healthy Lowfat Recipes for Your Slow-Cooker by Phyllis Pelman Good every week and finding out what we like. I am so blessed that Abbey is such a good eater and sleeper.
This is her first offical coloring page, a doggie of course. Also, we have her first "craft", a kite that she put a few blue crayon marks on. We flew it today at the park and she was so delighted. A little boy tried to tell us it was not really a kite, that it was a paper plate, but we know better.

Oh, and Abbey is 21 months old today!

Overdue Photo Update

Finally managed to locate my camera and snap a few pictures.

New penguin outfit from Joyce.

Snug as a bug with favorite blankie, doggie, and snack trap filled with Panda Puffs : )

Working on shape sorters all week long.

Mama, look, I am sitting on my Daisy Stacker. Aren't I funny?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Things That Work

A friend of mine is having a shower out of state and wanted ideas for small items that can be shipped back. I am posting my response here in case it helps someone else.

Take & Toss (The First Years) containers and the organizer ($19) that holds them all. I know Target has the organizer but assume BRU does too. The Take and Toss spoons are our favorite ones.
Gerber color change spoons (for temperature of food) are great, but they were really too small for Abbey, for a younger baby they would be good.
Feeding set called Gerber Lil Trainer is our favorite and we use it everyday. It's blue and green with a little fork and spoon that are perfect for Abbey.
Gerber Bunch A Bowl 4 packs, get two. They come with lids and I couldn't manage without them.
Target carries Munchkin brand, BRU does not, but I love these items...
Munchkin bottle drying rack, I looked at them all and think it's the best. You can fold it up.
Munchkin wipes warmer. I thought this was silly but my mom and I both love it now. Abbey really appreciates a warm wipe!
Munchkin dishwasher basket for bottle lids and nipples.
Sassy bottle brush.
Large formula dispenser (also Sassy I think), the smaller ones won't hold all the rice and formula you need.
Dr. Ng recommended Playtex VentiAire Bottles and we love them. She said they are the closest to most the ones used in China. You need atleast 3 - 8 oz and 3 - 6 oz, but could use more than that. We are managing with that many but I have to keep track of them. We use the stage 2 Fast Flow nipples. Make sure you open up the Y cut before you use them.
We like the Playtex sipsters sippy cups and have heard they are the best for not leaking.
Bibsters disposable bibs. Also their disposable changing pads.
I like the Gerbers Grins and Giggles body washes and lotions the best. Also some Aveeno lotion for really dry patches.
The best diapers I've found are Costco Kirland brand. I got size 3 and they've been great as she was 19 lbs when I got her and is now 21 lbs.
For my shower I told people size 12 mo and up for clothing. Even at 21 mo. she is still wearing 12 mo. clothing.
I like Huggies wipes the best. I am trying to use up a case of Costco Kirkland that I bought but the Huggies are better.
I am using Cosco Kirkland formula "similar to Enfamil with Lipils". It really helped to have a case of diapers and formula waiting when I got back, but I know some people have a hard time with formulas.
I got the cutest diaper bag on Shamian Island for $12, cuter than any here and just as good as a Petunia Picklebottom. I also got a nice one from Graco that matches my stroller so that it can hang on the back.
You cannot have enough socks. Get tons of every color. Target ones are not good. You need the kind with skid resisters on the bottom. Old Navy ones have been great. Get 12-24 months.
Our favorite shoes are Bobux, you can Google their site to see styles and them buy them cheaper on Ebay. You really need these or Robeez for when they are learning to walk.
You need two changing pad covers, splurge for the nicer ones.
I love my Hip Hammock and so does she.
If your friends could get you all the baby meds that would really help because it costs a fortune. All the Little Noses/Little Remedies brand items are great and you need everything they make. They make a poison control kit too. Also pedialyte packets from Gerber (you can print coupons on their website). Tylenol and Motrin. Nail clippers. The long nose syringe. Balmex. My doctor said that the cheap digital thermometer under the arm was best, not the expensive ear or temporal artery ones. You don't really need vitamins because your doctor will perscribe them, but I was glad I had some OTC for the trip. Waterbabies sunscreen.
Lots of baby wash clothes - we love the Baby Einstien colors set, they are made so much better.
Gerber tooth cleanser. You need a couple of toothbrushes and one of the little finger scrubbers. I got a set at BRU that had a little tooth mirror too.
I took back the pacifiers and the food mill because Abbey was beyond all that. She would have nothing to do with baby food and went straight to table food. Others have had the opposite experience and I think it was because she was older and had a mouth full of teeth.
Sassy plastic bibs that have a hinged pocket with velcro tabs that fold open for cleaning.
Gerber Fruit puffs were her favorite first food.
Baby Einstien World of Animals DVD and Signing Time DVD's. Lots of baby music CD's.
And ohhhh, the Sassy diaper disposal bags and dispensers. You need about 3 of these, one for the changing table, one for the living room, and one for the car/diaper bag - with lots of refills.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I know what you are thinking....

Post some pic's of Miss Abbey, right? All we've managed to do this week is work, eat, bathe and sleep. Maybe with a 3 day weekend I will be able to break out the camera again. For those of you have asked, here are the answers to a few questions I've received.
1. How do Abbey's hair bows stay in? I put them back on over and over if she pulls them out and then she gets tired and gives up. They don't bother her, it's just a game to see who will win. I think she actually likes to see herself with them on. They are alligator clips and if you google bows with alligator clips you will find that there are a lot of great bows on line. I got all mine at a boutique and they were expensive but I got some in every color and just decided that we'll be using them for years and it's worth it to get good ones. Other clips would never work and would slide right out. I think this is a case of you get what you pay for. Ebay has tons of bows.

bowbaby calls them "clippies" as does osewpretty
abunchofbows calls them "clippys"
also check out thebowlady

2. Where did Abbey get her sailor dress? Mine was a shower gift and I think it was bought back east. Gymboree just came out with an adorable new sailor dress and I think you all should get one! Check it out here. Click on baby girls and then on the "Wish You Were Here" collection.

3. How did I transition Abbey to childcare? Finding the right childcare was my number one priority since I started the adoption process. Getting her used to it was easier than I think it normally would be because God helped me find the perfect place for her. I cried and cried after visiting many childcare centers over the last two years. I knew about her current daycare all along, but at the time there were no spots and I just kept praying that there would be. When there finally was one our caregiver was kind enough to "hold" it for her as the many months dragged on waiting for my referral. It's ideal because her caregiver is a Christian and knowing that her love, character, and values will be transmitted to my daughter is extremely important to me. I think the ages ot birth to 6 years are the foundational and I wanted the person responsible for her to be someone that my daughter could grow to reflect. At her family daycare there are only 4 other children, all between 1-4 yrs. It's enough for her to socialize with but still get lots of individual attention. I get notes about all the details of her day every day when I pick her up. They take field trips (this week to the pet store and dinosaur park), use sign language (which I am thrilled with), eat healthy meals and snacks (a special government reimbursement program to promote nutrition), and have a virtual preschool full of things to do. I took her once and played for her for about an hour and a half and planned on doing that several times, but she was so comfortable that the next time I left her there for a whole day. For the next two weeks I took her two days and then we started full-time. I had also left her in the church nursery several times, so she knew what it was like for me to leave and come back.
1st time 1 & 1/2 hrs with me
Next time dropped off for a full day
The next week, two full days
The next week, two full days
This week fulltime
She has been very clinging with me this week and I basically can't set her down after I get her. Usually I wouldn't go for this, but because of all the transitions I think she really needs me right now when she does have me, so I am trying to meet that need. I know she won't always want me to hold her all the time. I was really glad that we had the transitional days as she needed to learn to take a nap without me putting her down, and learn to take a bottle from someone else. I needed to learn how to time our day with the drive and get over my emotions with leaving her. It would have been really hard if we had waited and done all that this first week back. As it was it went very smoothly. Hope this helps someone.

Don't Be Alarmed

Well, we couldn't let a week go by without a fiasco, we wouldn't want you all to get bored.
On Tuesday Abbey discovered the panel on the stairwell for a security alarm. When I moved in my real estate agent told me that there was an alarm system but that if I wanted to use it I would need to call the company to activate it. I never did and have never paid any attention to it since. When Abbey played with the buttons I thought it was great that she was having so much fun but got a little concerned when a red "armed" light came on. Being exhausted as I was, I tried pushing a few buttons on it and then just went on to bed. The next day as we walked out of the house at 7 a.m. you can guess what happened. At first there was just a little beep and I thought, "oh, we are fine". Well, as M3 would say, he he he...Suddenly massive sirens went off and would not stop. The only thing Abbey is really afraid of is loud noises, and she was rendered silent by the shock and awe of it all. My poor neighbors, they must wonder what in the world I will do each day. I called 411 and although they could not find the alarm company they found some one they thought could service it. I called and I think this man answered from his home. He was so kind and walked me through step by step - unscrewing the box, disabling the power, removing the back up battery, etc. I had to do all this holding Abbey who was clinging on to me for dear life, and of course since this was the source of the alarm it was extremely loud. We were both bundled up in our coats and now getting very hot, but didn't want to quit working on it to take them off, it was quite the situation. Anyway, I was so grateful for this man helping me and for the 411 person going the extra mile. I always hope that I will respond like that when someone needs my help. Abbey was quiet as a mouse the whole drive to childcare with just a few little "ooh's and aah's" along the way. I think she knew she had done something very powerful. Of course like the pooptastrophe, and the key/sewer incident, and the blue sprinkles, this was really once again all my doing. Everyday she is training me to be a better toddler mommy. My lesson for the week was don't let your baby play with alarm systems. My silver lining is that I think I will call the person that helped me back and have him get the system all set up for me and show me how to use it.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It's Not Too Late

I've heard about these calendars for a long time and then caught a glimpse of one on Connie's blog several weeks ago. I ordered one a few weeks ago and I must say, it is simply gorgeous. I just want to cry seeing all these girls who have made their way out of the orphanage and into their forever families. You can still order them and there is a list of links here. Of course a portion of the proceeds goes to help all the little ones who are still in China.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Too Tired to Blog

Just wanted to say that I am too tired to really say anything. My first day back at work was great. My class was very well behaved, yay! My substitute was extremely organized.
Abbey loves her daycare and is so happy to go.
I was down for the count yesterday with my monthly migraine. Abbey was crying and climbing on me to get up, which I could not do, so my mom had to come to the rescue. That made Abbey very happy and she was giggling and squealing with delight the rest of the day while I conked out.

It looks like the creators of I Love You Like Crazy Cakes have come out with another great book. Check it out on Amazon. It will be available May 1, 2007, but you can pre-order now.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Girl

This is Abbey getting ready to attend a birthday party for the first time. It was at Chuck E Cheese's and she loved it. She loved the pizza, loved the mouse, loved everyone singing "If you are happy and you know it...", loved the tokens, and most of all loved riding on a minature carousel (about 20 times). It was so strange seeing her ride around on that pony and remembering back to where she was in November. I had just been looking at the photo's the orphanage took of her with the digital camera I sent in her care package. Her whole world has been turned right side up. She loves her little meals, her baths, her toys, and best of all being kissed and told that she is loved a hundred times a day.

Our Lao Shi

I was so honored today to have my Mandarin teacher and her lovely daughter come to meet Abbey today. She also translated notes I recieved from the orphanage. My lao shi has been so encouraging and she has shared such a wealth of information with me about the beautiful culture of China. She also works for our school district assessing all the Chinese students on their language development and seeing that they are recieving proper instruction. She was formerly the principal of our Saturday Chinese school too. Abbey and I are so fortunate to have her in our lives.

We couldn't get Abbey to sit still even for a moment, she was as busy as a bumblebee.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Little Miss Muffet

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Never Give Up

Sunday my BIL, Bob, gave the most awesome message on never giving up. It was entitled "Look Up, Get Up, and Try Again". I thought of all I have been through and how glad I am that I didn't give up. I kept thinking that I wish all my friends could hear this message. If this is something that would be helpful to you please send me your name and address and I will mail you a CD. We all need that encouragement sometime to get back up on our feet again. Where you are right now is not the end of your story, you have to hang on for the next chapter where things take a turn for the better.

Starting the New Year Off Right

My number one priority for Abbey is to have things right spiritually in our family. To that end I got a new Bible called the Mom's Devotional Bible. It's got special notes for moms throughout from the founder of MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) and other great leaders. I don't know about you, but I need all the wisdom I can get, so I am excited to have this resource.

One Year Bible

I also got this One Year Bible. It's organized with a little bit of Old Testament, a little bit of New Testament, and a Psalms and Proverbs each day. This way you just open up and read the text for the date, like January 1 and if you continue each day you will finish everything at the end of the year. It takes about 10-15 minutes a day. I've tried before using a list of what to read for each day but I've found that for me this is easier than having to flip around and find the books. It's just so convenient, like taking a vitamin each day, but so much more powerful.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Year in Review

Abbey's take on 2006...

Best song: Itsy Bitsy Spider (with Old MacDonald and Five Little Monkeys moving up the ranks)

Favorite Pastime: Screwing and unscrewing lids

Hot fashion accessories: stethescope and beaded socks

Passion: all things tech - cell phones, cameras, MP3 players, remote controls, computers

Greatest accomplishment: gaining 2 lbs with the help of a personal trainer

Fragrance: Giggles and Grins Lavender

So yesterday: the orphanage

Great eats: Gerber Fruit puffs, fried rice


This is a delayed response to Clutter Girl's tag for the weird meme. I've put my own little spin to list odd things that Abbey and I do. I don't know why we do these things or how they got started, but she likes to do them over and over every day.
1. We honk each others noses. She pinches my nose and I make a honking sound or she gets me to pinch hers and make it. The funny thing is that other people are starting to do it now too.
2. We pass things to each other mouth to mouth. She will put a toy or something in her mouth and want me to grab it with my teeth. It's very silly but she loves it.
3. I have to make little noises for each step we take on the stairs. Little bouncy squeaks, and she reminds me if I am sleepy and forget.
4. We both say "hi" to and kiss her pictures whenever we see them.
5. We both take turns wearing her toy stethescope all day long and checking each other's heartbeats. It begins at the crack of dawn with her morning bottle.
6. We stick toys and things under each other's clothing and laugh.

All of you consider yourselves tagged should you wish to divulge some strange tidbits.