Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thank You, God...

...for my wonderful husband, who is really my best friend, and the only person in the whole world who truly "gets" me.
...for my Hannah, my creative dreamer, artist, musician, who gives awesome "squeeze hugs".
...for my Rachel, my busy, active little ballerina, everyone's best friend, my "sunflower" and ray of sunshine.
...for my Abigail, my little princess who loves her family and all babies, my little magpie, dancer, snuggler.
...for our extended family - Al's and my moms, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles - all loving reminders of who we are and where we come from.
...for our warm, comfortable home surrounded by corn fields and prairie preserve and a creek, the horses in the pasture, and a kitchen I actually enjoy cooking in now.
...for my cupboards, pantry, two refigerators and Big Freezer full of delicious and (mostly) nutritious food.
...for my faith, and the fact that I can worship, read the Bible, pray, and teach my children with complete freedom, without fear of persecution.
...for my music, and that I have had many new opportunities in the last few months to play and sing, especially for the Lord.
...for my friends, both old and new, with whom I share so many aspects of my life - China adoption, education, music, children.
There's so much more - I'll keep adding, I'm sure...
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Tell me what you're thankful for!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Christmas Traditions

Mary at is looking for Christmas traditions. Here's ours...

Our family has the traditional Christmas tree in our living room. It's decorated with all our traditional ornaments, including a few that go back to when I was a child. But in our TV room, we have our China Tree. When we traveled to China to adopt Hannah, we purchased two cloisonne ornaments - one for her (to take with her when she has her own home someday), and one for us. When we returned to China to adopt Rachel, we not only got two more cloisonne ornaments, but also bought a few more. On our most recent trip to adopt Abbie, we again bought two more cloisonne ornaments, and about 20 others! All these ornaments are hung on our special China Tree. We use red and gold beads and lights (good luck colors in China), and I found a beautiful Chinese angel for the top. I'm always on the lookout for Chinese-themed ornaments to add to our tree - last year, Hobby Lobby had a beautiful collection. We've got pandas, fans, tea pots, lanterns. But, of course, our favorites are the ones we brought home from our trips. I'm going to need an extra suitcase for ornaments the next time we travel! And a bigger tree!

Our beautiful China Tree, and the angel who adorns the top.

"Good luck" boy and girl, and our girls' Chinese zodiac animals - I bought all these at a shop on Shamian Island in Guangzhou on Abbie's trip.

We also have an annual tradition that I started for Hannah's first Christmas with us. On Christmas Eve, we give the girls new Christmas jammies and a Christmas-themed book. They put on their new jammies and we read the book to them before bed. Last year, we read Max Lucado's The Crippled Lamb (the lamb's best friend is a cow named Abigail - Abbie loved that!)

Christmas jammies, 2005

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Two Years Already!

Happy Gotcha Day, Abbie! You have been such a blessing to our family!

Our first family photo, taken with Mrs. Qiu, the Yangxi Social Welfare Institute director. She described Li Huan (Abbie) as a "gentle baby".

We took several photos of Abbie as soon as we got back to the hotel room. She was brought to us wearing this Carter's sleeper!

Abbie slept soundly that first night! Little did we know...

The next morning, we signed the official adoption papers at the Civil Affairs office in Guangzhou.

Our little pink princess is officially a Cormier!

Family portrait at Yun Tai Gardens in Guangzhou.

Our sweet Abigail Lihuan!

Our Abbie (and her sisters) today!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Overheard in the back seat of the mini van...

Rachel and Hannah were discussing an event that took place when Rachel was a baby...

Rachel: "That happened when I was a baby, back in the Olden Days."
Hannah: "No, Rachel, the Olden Days are a long, long time ago, like when Mama was younger. Like The Eighties."


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Please excuse me for a moment while I brag about my child...

This evening, Abbie put together this 24-piece jigsaw puzzle. All. By. Herself.

She is two-and-a-half years old.


The Trappings of a Big Family

According to one of the blogs I read frequently (, if you have three or more children, you are considered to have a "larger family". Since we are now waiting for our fourth child, we officially have a Larger Family (hooray!). And so, today, Al went to Best Buy and bought us a Big Freezer. To hold all the pizzas and chicken nuggets and soups and stews and spaghetti sauces that we need in the course of a couple of weeks. And all the other stuff that I have been stocking up on so I don't have to go to each of three different stores twice a week. Definitely a new way of doing things for this Only Child! Our beautiful new appliance sits in the new laundry/mud room for easy access. It was a floor model with a little ding toward the back, so Al got them to take $100 off the price and throw in a $40 gift card (to use for Christmas)! My hero! So drop on by for dinner any time - I'll be prepared!
Abbie: Shhhh, Mommy! Babies are sleeping!
Mom: Oooooh, OK! What do we have here, a day care?
Hannah: No, Mama, this is China. The babies are waiting for their Mommies!

Anybody need a tissue?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November 2006 - National Adoption Month!

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

During National Adoption Month, we encourage the adoption of young people in need, and we honor the adoptive and foster families who have offered children a loving and supportive home.

The best of America is reflected in the many citizens who have adopted children as their own. Mothers and fathers are the most important influences in a child’s life, and children with caring, involved parents can better realize the full promise of America. Parents help their children thrive by encouraging them to aim high, work hard, and make good choices that will lead to healthy, satisfying lives. On November 18, loving families across America will celebrate National Adoption Day by finalizing their adoptions of children from foster care. This day will also raise awareness of the many children still waiting to be adopted and encourage more Americans to choose adoption.

My Administration is committed to helping place children with caring families. Through the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids project at, we are working to provide guidance and support for parents considering adoption. We are also offering tax credits to ease the financial burden on adoptive families, and we are providing funding to help strengthen State adoption services through the Adoption Incentives Program and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program. Together, these efforts can help connect children with loving families and help provide greater hope and opportunity for America’s children.

During National Adoption Month, we pay tribute to the parents who have opened their hearts and homes and helped provide love and stability for young people. By caring for the youngest members of our society, these families are helping our children grow into successful adults and building the future of our country.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2006 as National Adoption Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities to honor adoptive families and to participate in efforts to find permanent homes for waiting children.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.