Monday, March 31, 2008

I Have A New Friend From China!

I have a friend from China whose name is Cheyenne (in the pink). She's 4. Our moms became friends when they discovered Cheyenne and I were from the same SWI (Social Welfare Institute) in China.

A couple weeks ago, Cheyenne's mommy & daddy went to China and brought home her little sister. In China her name was Long Fu Qun. Her new American name is Cassidy. She just turned 3.

This is Cassidy
"talking" to her mom, Tamara. Cassidy speaks Mandarin.

Cassidy and Cheyenne were looking at the picture of themselves on their mommy's camera.

I figured out why Kate does this on the swing (other than it's just fun)...she's not tall enough to get herself onto the swing sitting, so she just leans over it. Pretty funny. :)

A sunny day at the is good.

We're on our way to the park.
Smile Kate! (Cassidy looks suspicious!)

(L-R) Kate, Cheyenne & Cassidy.
3 pretty little Chinese faces.

I just want to tickle all those tummies!

I love this picture of how happy they both look together! Kate definitely has a feeling of security if Ryan is helping her do something.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Weekend

Dying Easter eggs with my cousins and brothers at Aunt Shannon's house.

My brothers Ryan, Brendan, Colton and cousin Theodore share in the eye dying.

This 'egg-scooping' thing is kind of tricky...

See Kate, you go like this... you can use a spoon, or just hold it in, but don't put your hand in the dye.

(That's my brother, Bryson)

Well, I'm just gonna do it my way...

Oh, very nice yellow. :)

I'm sure I saw an egg in here!

You're funny Daddy!

That's me and Ryan on the hammock. He's silly!

Here I am with my family at a friend's house for Easter dinner.

The morning after Easter, I came straight downstairs and headed for the baskets on the table.

I signed 'I want candy', but Mommy says we don't eat candy for breakfast. :(

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's Springtime!

Happy Spring everyone!

My new hat feels funny. Mommy laughed when she tried it on me in the store, and said, "Oh, we gotta get this!"

O.K., I know this is Kate's blog, but look how darn cute & funny Murphy is in this picture! It makes me laugh everytime I look at it! :)

I wish I could see him as a puppy...I bet he was absolutely adorable! We didn't get Murph from the pound until he was about 10 mo. old, and was already a big guy! I can no longer picture our home without him in it.

Say 'Cheeeese' and look at Mommy!

I love you, Murphy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wild Animal Park Friends

I can't believe I got this picture. I was focused on her to take a picture right as she looked at me for a split second, then looked away again.

You ever have that feeling someone is behind you?....

Hmmm. Must be my imagination.

Kate signed 'food' and walked over to the deer-food-pellet machine.

Hold on, I know how to work just turn the knob, and look in there, and out come M&Ms!

How come M&Ms aren't comin' out of this thing?

Hey there. You have very pretty eyes.

St. Patrick's Day!

Oh, what a beautiful mornin'!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! And may the luck o'the Irish be with'ya!

Well, Chinese-Irish!

Yay! I love holidays!
Where's the food?

Kate pretending to take a picture of me!

Standing on the tree in the front pink shoes,green pigtails.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kate tries on Independence

We went to buy Easter shoes a couple days ago. Mommy found a very cute pair of shiny white shoes with a little tiny satin bow above the toe. Perfect little girl Easter shoes.

While I was trying to find the right size, Kate spies a pair of pink "foam clogs" (that's not the right name, I'm sure) that have Dora on them. OOoohhhh. Her eyes are dancing as she pulls them down and puts them on her own feet. They fit perfectly! Not exactly what Mom would have picked out, but Kate looked up at me and was trying to say Dora. It was very cute. Do you want those? You may get them. She looked so proud, and wanted to wear them out of the store, even though she was wearing brown suede shoes that matched her dress. herself a haircut and doing her own shopping all in one week. We're getting to be a big girl!

Very proud!

Kate signing 'shoes'

Did I mention Kate is potty trained? O.K., I don't wish to cast aspersions on the male gender here, but she was done with potty training before any of the boys even started. She just seemed to 'get' what the whole goal was. The ticket seemed to be filling up a bubble gum machine with M&Ms. Everytime she was successful, she was allowed to go turn the knob and get herself a few M&Ms. She picked up on the association immediately, and it was a powerful incentive! She can even take a nap (in her new little Dora or Elmo underwear) and wake up dry. You go girl!!!

Kate Gives Herself A Bang Trim

So I'm combing Kate's hair back and think, what the?... What happened to your hair?!
This is one of those times when Kate looks at me as if to say, "Uh, I sorry, I only understand Chinese. Don't know what you're talking about."

I quizzed each person in the house, Did you cut Kate's hair? No, no , no, and no. Even Ryan looked believable when he said he had not touched Kate's hair. Are you sure you didn't cut her hair with scissors? No. Could she have cut her own hair that straight? She has seen Ryan and me using scissors, and I've taken them away from her before...Hmmm.....

Monday, March 10, 2008


On February 25th, 2007, the orphanage director handed Chang Qiu Lu (Kate) to us, and we held her for the first time. This is known in the adoption community as her "Gotcha Day"! I love that's so cute and cheerful, and is a yearly cause for celebration, somewhat like an anniversary or birthday. I cannot believe she's already been here for a year! The comments I hear most often from friends that see her is "She's very pretty/sweet looking." and "Oh my gosh, she has gotten so tall, and looks like a big girl."

I like that you can see Kate's name on her windmill.

We included my nephew William in the celebrations. William was adopted from Liberia 2 years before Kate. We all grabbed a glass of sparkling apple cider and said a toast to Kate and William, thankful that they are a part of our family, and sending postitive thoughts, remembering their birth families, who made it posible for us to raise these 2 neat kids.

There's something about her sweet little face in this picture I just keep staring at.

Here we have Kate's hair before her self-inflicted-bang-trim a week later.

Hey! How's it goin'?

I'm just walkin'.

Walkin', walkin'.

But don't blink, 'cause I'll be on the other side of the park before you can open your eyes!

Try me!

Homemade chocolate cake. Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.
Mommy gave me a extra big piece, 'cause me and Daddy were going to share. (Daddy let me have most of it though!)

We got home late in the afternoon, and decided to just let Kate stay up from her nap, and we'd put her down for bed a bit early. She didn't quite make it that long.

About 5 bites into her food, she was out, and didn't even wake up when we got her down, cleaned her up and put her into her pajamas. It had been a very full day...but a special one!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

What A Difference A Year Makes!

Here is Kate's one year progress report...She sure looks little here!

Speech - Kate is a pretty quiet girl. She still struggles with speech, but will try to imitate what you're saying to her. Mommy, no, milk (meeilk),ligh(t), hi!, and nun-you (love you) are pretty understandable & clear. Ryan is still y-an, Bryson is y-ton, and she still signs C next to her cheek for Colton and B for Brendan.

Her sign language vocabulary has increased to about 100 words(!) that she is comfortable using. She will sometimes sign a word I wasn't even aware she knew! Kate started speech therapy 6 weeks ago, and goes once a week for about 45 minutes, and seems to love going! Her current goal is to say (and/or sign) 2-3 words instead of just one. After her upcoming surgery, when they close up the remaining hole in her palate, it should be much easier for her to make the sounds that require a burst of air...b,d,t,p,and c. We discovered that the little piece of skin under her tongue (frenulum) also comes out too far, keeping her from easily making certain sounds, and as this is pretty common, they'll take care of it at the same time in her surgery.

Growth - When we first brought her home, Kate was on the 50-70th percentile in height (meaning if there were 100 kids, she would be taller than 50-70 of them). The last time she was measured, she was on the 90-95th percentile in height! I asked the pediatrician if that meant she would be a tall girl, or if she'll grow until she hits about 14, then just stop. He said it could go either way, so I guess only time will tell! But for now, she's a tall 2 1/2 yr. old!

Food - When we picked up Kate, she amazed us at how much food she could eat. She basically just over-ate for about 4 to 6 weeks. She never ate to the point of throwing up, but you would be amazed at how much food she could pack away. When she was done (or I thought she was done), Kevin would give her a banana, and she would eat that too. She would eat until her little tummy was as tight as a drum. Our thinking was just feed her as much as she wants until she understands that there is no shortage of food, and if you're hungry, we have food for you. I'd say it took her a good month before she called 'uncle'...I give up! I believe you! I can't keep up! She still is the best eater we have, including salad and vegetables, but will no longer gorge herself. She's pretty good about finishing what's on her plate, but if she's not hungry will sign 'finished/all done'.

- Kate loves chocolate. A lot. Chocolate frosting, peanut butter cups, M&Ms...she's not picky. She also loves warm baths with floaty toys and bubbles. Music, music, music. It doesn't matter what kind! I've never seen a child who enjoys & is attuned to music and dancing so much. Warm, cozy footy pajamas and towels fresh out of the dryer will usually get an 'oooohh' and a big smile, and for some reason, loves trying on shoes. Looking at herself in the mirror after I put a bow in her hair and we say/sign, "Oh, very pretty!" Cats...real, stuffed or in a book, and horses & cows. Fruit snacks!! french fries, and anything that Ryan loves. Books and more books. If she's in her room, she's probably reading a book, then she puts it down and pulls out another book. Dora The Explorer, Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse club, but mostly Dora. Going on an errand with Dad, and being tickled by Dad! Oh, and we've just discovered, the joy of girl scout cookies. :)

Life is good.

To sum it up, Kate has fit into the last little niche in our family. She is definitely just 'one of the gang'. We've always had extra little kids around, so I think it wasn't much of a stretch to have Kate around. She has a unique relationship with each of the boys. Bryson is the one she's most likely to wave & say "hi (y-son!)" to, Brendan often times bathes her and buckles her in her car seat and she definitely looks up to him as a 'big kid'. Colton is the one she is most likely to go to for comfort...she adores him, and the feeling is mutual. Ryan is her playmate and antagonist, the one she looks up to and wants to do whatever he is doing (or eat whatever he is eating!) She thinks he is SO funny and looks at him with so much admiration and love in her eyes, then looks at me with smiling eyes as if to say, "Isn't he great?!" Kevin, she runs to when he comes home, as she tries to say 'daddy' like Ryan does. Daddy is the little-kid-tickler, and is the patient one when is comes to sitting next to her at dinner time, or at a restaraunt, and Mommy is Kate's personal stylist, potty trainer, photographer, carseat & naptime enforcer and the bringer-of-food.

The whole family is the giver and receivers of hugs.

It's been a full year at out house, and in another way, it seems to have flown by.