Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Silly Star of Christmas

With all the busyness of the season, we finally had time to sneak in a Christmas photo. Here is Sophie with her new Veggie Tale movie, "The Star of Christmas". We think Sophie is our star this year!

Sophie has so many facial expressions that make us all laugh with joy. Here she is scrunching up her face as she smiles the biggest grin.

Getting ready to blow a kiss.......She can even blow kisses upon command. It's the most wonderful thing to have your child understand your words and show affection to anyone who is going out the door.

MMMMMMMMM...ya! I love you! The grin says it all!

Here's her eyebrow raising expression...deer in the headlights.

Sophie IS a hug waiting to happen! She discovered her barefeet today and wouldn't keep her socks on. Of course I had to nibble on her toes before putting them back on her...a million times!

And finally, a classic "getting ready for her bath" photo shot. She's ready for a dip in the sink, complete with rubber ducky and hooded towel. Today I was the queen of multi-tasking...Sophie took a bath in one sink and I washed dishes in the other. Boy, I'm good!

To all my students:

Many of my 2nd grade students and their families have been following along on my blog. I can't wait to take her to my school for show and tell. All 20 of my students are going to love her! As soon as I told them that I was going to go to China to adopt a little girl, they were all so excited to learn some basic sign language, Chinese words like "ni hao and xie xie", and make some Chinese art projects. I'm sure Sophie will love to see all their sweet faces and make them smile.

Hi Alexandra, Ashley, Austin, Bijan, Cali, Casey, Cody, Hayley, Jack, Luke, Mitchell, Paige, Nastia, Rachel, Sam, Sarah, Tia, Toni, Warner, and Victor!!!!!! I miss you guys! I'll bring Sophie in sometime in January for a visit! Be good and learn a lot from Mrs. Spahr!

Love, Mrs. G.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Taking Her First Bath at Home

After attempting to bathe Sophie at various hotels and in many ways, we finally got her to enjoy it at home! She was such a riot to watch as she began slowly splashing, splashing, splashing until the water splashed up onto her face. She laughed, giggled, and basically thought that taking a bath was the best thing in the world! Sophie always claps when she does something that makes us laugh or cheer for her. She amazes herself with her new abilities.

...splish, splash, I was taking a bath on a Saturday night...

Yay! Sophie is clean!
Who needs TV, books, movies, or any other form of entertainment when you have a very cute 1 year old around to make you fall out of your seat laughing, with her antics and adorableness? It seems like every minute she does something else amazing...like walk while pushing a walker, mimic you as you teach her sign language for "more" or "banana", learn to crawl...backwards, pull herself up using Aunt Sog's leg, or eating a tangerine for the first time, and seeing her face scrunch up when she drinks plain old water out of a bottle-expecting sweet milk. Or eating more banana than thought possible by a one year old...and ocassionally shooting it out of her nose (cleft babies have that special talent).
She was the celebrity at church today, waving and letting others hold her, winning them over with her cute smile. Everyone that saw her was blessed. It was great to show her off.
Aunt Sog reports that she seems to like cookies and licorice, much to her mother's dismay. Frank is trying to win her over by giving her any kind of food he can...and it's working!
Life is definitely busy, but, boy are we having fun!!!!! Christmas will have a new meaning this year...it's not about shopping, gifts, and decorations (cuz we don't have time or money to do any of that now)...it's all about God's greatest gift to us...His love...and the love he has for all His children, especially little spoiled orphans (as Frank has come to affectionately call Sophie). She is God's gift to our family and we couldn't be more happier.
If you haven't had enough of Sophie yet, or just want to see this silly, little girl in action...view the following 30 second video. It's guaranteed to make you smile!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We're Home!

After flying for 3 hours, stopping in Tokyo, then getting on another plane for 10 more hours... with lots of crying, eating Asian food in little compartmentalized dishes, feeling total exhaustion with stiff necks and legs...we are finally home. That was a looooooooong flight. Our little Asian princess didn't like being confined on mama's lap for so long, but who could blame her? It must've not been too bad because people all around us were sleeping through all the noise.

It's incredible how tired one feels after that kind of journey. We left Guangzhou at 8:30 am on Wednesday and arrived in Los Angeles at 9:00am. We all came home and hit the sack for a nap. After waking up after 3 hours, I had to take nap number 2 a little later. I couldn't keep my eyes open. Now it's 3:00 am and I'm wide awake. This jet lag is going to take some time I guess.

Sophie finally went to sleep in her own crib and I can do the same. We'll have pictures maybe tomorrow. Thanks for all of your calls, emails, and comments. They carried us through the last 2 weeks knowing that we were covered in prayer. Good night!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Going Home!!!

I can't tell you how much i love being a big "jie jie". Sophie is the cutest little half american citizen around. today we went to the consulate and she was sworn in with a whole bunch of little kids. and tommorow when we hit the ground she will be a proud american!!! its so exciting!!!
sorry i dont have any pictures from today.... we are all packed up and the cords for the camera are in some suitcase. but its also getting you used to not having new pictures everyday. cause who knows how long we will be able to keep that up when we are home. :) plus you guys will all be able to meet her!! hahah
we are leaving from the hotel at six tommorow morning! ugh... so early. but then we are home two hours later. oh the humanity of it all!! well.... i guess i have to try to get some sleep before the big journey back!!!
thanks for all your prayers! love ya all!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

GZ day #3

A spur-of-the-moment photo shoot on the famous red couch at the White Swan Hotel

Sophie and I in front of a beautiful flower garden complete with panda-shaped bushes
Ge-Ge means big brother...Mei Mei means little sister...Jie Jie means big sister

Our roller coaster maniac loves going on the elevator up to the 45th floor for breakfast

Finally we get a picture where Miss Smiley Pants isn't smiling...she was mad at Daddy for wrapping her up like a burrito in her bath towel

This was a lazy day in Guangzhou. We had to hang out in our room for a couple of hours just in case our visa paperwork needed adjustment. The kids and Frank played rummy while Sophie and Mommie took a long nap. Then we went to the Chen Family Museum to see some intricate embroidery and wooden carvings. No one was really into the museum so off we went to Shamien Island for all those last minute souvenirs and gifts. We're still not completely done with shopping. Tomorrow we'll take a taxi to finish up. While in the bus, the kids, ages 8-18, joyously sang songs praising Jesus! It was awesome when all the adults sang along. But, the best part of the day was when our whole travel group went out to dinner at The Banana Leaf Thai restaurant. Most of us got up and danced with some wacky waiters to the tune of Day-O. The food was Chinese-Thai and extremely delicious. The kids have found a great friend in 13 year old Mitchell Washington D.C. They even played Chinese Hacky Sack in the hotel hallway when we all returned. We're really going to miss our new-found friends when we leave in less than 2 days. We've had a wonderful time!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shop till We Drop

i love walking around in my new squeaky shoes!!!

yummy!!! mutton!!!!

thoughts from mommie:

We've been in our final destination, Guangzhou, for the last 2 nights. It is really a large metropolis with lots of skyscrapers, people, cars, and ....shopping! The best part is that we reunited with our travel group from Beijing. There are 8 families with adorable children ranging from 1 year to 6 years old. They're like family now. Today, Josh was sick so Frank stayed at the hotel with him while Courtney and I went to the famous Shamien Island for some serious shopping. It was so much fun buying lots of squeaky shoes for "Soapy" in various sizes. I don't know if you can buy them in the US but they are a big hit with all the adoption families. I bought 4 different pairs in pink, white, black...but I think I'll go get some more tomorrow. One can never have too many shoes, especially for $5 each pair!!! I had to buy a traditional tea set for all those upcoming tea parties I plan on having. This is one Chinese custom that I love! Tea is so soothing. Soapy has come to the conclusion that I'm more than just a nanny. She wants to come to me all the time, smiles when she sees me, reaches her hands out to me when someone else is holding her, and prefers me to feed her when she goes to sleep. This mommie thing is wonderful! It's great for one's self-esteem!

Frank, Mr. Practical, asked while feeding Sophie rice cereal, "Honey, can we get another one of these?" I think he's smitten with our little girl and head-over-heels in love with her! I knew he would be.

Courtney said that it's hard missing anyone at home because she's so in love with Sophie. While holding her hands as she walked down the hallway testing her squeaky shoes, Courts said, "She's growing up so fast and we've only had her for five days!" That pretty much expresses everyone's thoughts and feelings at this point. Until tomorrrow when we receive Sophie's American visa...one step closer to home.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I love you THIS MUCH!!!!

yay!!!! so much fun with my new family makes me clap for joy!
we visited the starbucks so we could get aunt soggy a mug!!

big wet slobbery mommie kisses are my favorite kind!


today i played with my cups again. i am gettting really good at stacking them by myself. i even figured out how to drop them and watch them spin before they stop. and im messy here cause courtney gave me a bite of her moon cake. yummy!!

"the wheels on the bus go round and round round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round all through CHINA!!!"

Mommie and Daddy bought a beautiful little present in China!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

December 12th 2008

my awesome siblings and i on the a few of the many steps of some dude's masoleum.

i have the coolest parents ever!!!! hahaha pigeons everywhere!

Lyla got this super cool hat for me!! we were matching!!!

all packed up and ready for my first flight!! guanzhou here we come!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoughts on Being a Mommie

Warning: The following blog has lots of words and few pictures. Enter at your own risk!

I thought I'd give you some insight from a "new" experienced mommie's point of view. Sophie is an amazing little girl. We have had it easy, except for the first hour of crying on Gotcha Day. She likes to eat and does a really good job with it, cleft palate and all. The only difference is that ocassionally, a little drippy food will leak out of her one nostril. It's kinda weird but we just tissue it off. She also has a special soft-sided bottle with a chewable nipple that we are able to squeeze to help her get the milk out. She's not able to suck because of the big cleft in the roof of her mouth. No big deal.

Sophie is a great sleeper too! She has slept through the night 2 out of 3 times. When you put her down, she goes right to sleep. This kid is way easier than my other two were.

Our new daughter likes to go shopping and look at all the sights. She's very curious and looks at people, blinking lights, listen to music, watch fish in a tank, and loves to hold onto things with a tight grip. So if you put anything in her hand...you buy it because she won't let go without a fight.

I thought maybe because she spent a year in an orphanage that she wouldn't like to be around people, ride in cars, or be touched by strangers. Well we were blessed with a little one who has no problems with any of those things. Because she is so cute and small, many people come up to her and talk to her, stroke her round cheeks, hold her hand, some waitresses or jewelry salesmen also pick her up. No tears at all! She's like a little Chinese celebrity.

I know you're probably thinking it's easy now because I have 3 other big people around to help me all the time, and you're absolutely right. Also, we're probably in a honeymoon stage, yah, yah, yah. Just let me enjoy my little utopia for awhile! It's way better than I expected so everyday I'm just so thankful to God for blessing us beyond measure! Others who have done this before said that this is an incredible journey, rich with incredible feelings, blessings too numerous to count, and instant unconditional love. Well it's true! I wouldn't have traded any of the millions of governmental hoops we've had to jump through, the cost, the incredibly long wait, the sleepless nights worrying about what could be, or the zillions of questions people ask with that tone of voice that said, "What are you thinking? Are you out of your mind? Aren't you too old to be starting over again?" Let me just tell you once and for all...YES...we are out of our mind...and yes we may be older parents...but ,people, this is one wild ride that is totally amazing and sooooooooooooo worth it! I am extremely glad that I listened to God who was telling me to show His love to the ones he loves sooooo much and not worry about my self. He promises to take care of all of our needs and he has with this adoption journey. God is to be praised and given all the glory! Our God is crazy in love with us and wants us to experience life to the fullest...and that is exactly what we're doing! May you be blessed by this incredible gift from God as well.

Love you!


Sophie's forever mama


its me again! just giving you an update on what we did today. for the most part it was a slow day but i did get to ride the bus again. the bumps are so much fun!

We ended up at some art museum. this was definetly my favorite exhibit. it was so amazing that it put me right to sleep in mommie's arms.

Courts, Joshie and I really liked these bells. but we were all a little more entertained with my links. they are def my fave.

but somehow we ended up in a jade shop at the end of the tour. cant they see i'm a local. these white people are the suckers!!!

i loved when big sissy even squirted the water in my mouth. it was kinda like a game. and then daddy made cheerios stick to her face. she looked really funny. but i had fun anyway.


Nap time! i borrowed Courtney's blankie. and daddy's arm. this is the life!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where the River Meets the Sea by Sophie

Nihao to all my new peeps in America! today i'll be reporting for my new family. we visited the orphanage where i spent the first year of my life. we were welcomed with this lit up screen with my name on it. i felt like a celebrity! it is a really nice orphanage with marble floors with clean, shiny, new furniture. they took good care of me. these guys played with me a lot.

this is me waving bye to my friends and nannies who were up on the second balcony!! tootles! i'm going to America now!

she loved me very much. she even started to cry when i was left.

the visit was a lot of fun. mommie and daddy thought i was going to cry and want to stay, but im really excited to be part of my new family. :)

Lyla slept in the crib next to mine at the "jiangyin children's welfare institution".

we celebrated my first birthday today! mommie and daddy found this really yummy cake and even lit a match in place of a candle! i nearly ate the whole thing myself. i definitely don't have any issues with sugar and fat content!

i stuffed that whole cake in my mouth. it made a mess but it was definetly worth it!

my new family and i visiting the bridge in my hometown. this is the biggest river in china called Yangtze. the bridge in the backgroung is longer than the golden gate bridge. jiangyin is the place where the river meets the yellow sea. i thought it was kinda a neat place for me to leave...like i'm leaving my old life and traveling across the sea to my new life.

my popeye/ smile/fart/ cute face... yah...i finally had a big bowel movement today...phew...i feel much better

this purple cracker was DELICIOUS! i worked on it for quite a while. mom tried to give me something healthy, but no way, give me cookies!

mommie even blew up this big beach ball for me. we all took turns hitting it back and forth. it was as big as i am.

winnie the pooh isnt nearly as cute as i am in this outfit!

we took a river boat ride. i loved staring at all the flashy bright lights while we were waiting. but then i fell asleep on courtney in the boat. what a day. and tommorow, our tour guide, jenny, is even going to take us to a museum!! i cant wait!!!