Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hannah's Birthday Sleepover

Last Friday night, Hannah had a few of her friends over for a birthday sleepover party. It was a wonderful time! The girls played outside, ate pizza and strawberry shortcake and drank root beer floats, did a craft, and gorged themselves on cheese popcorn and Doritos while watching "High School Musical" in their jammies. They finally fell asleep around 11:30 (I suppose it could have been worse). Also, one of the girls' little brother spent the night, as their parents were at a benefit that evening. I really expected to have to drag them out of their sleeping bags the next morning, but they were all up by 6:30 (lucky thing I had my coffee by then!).

At one point, while we were watching the movie, Hannah turned to me and said, "Mom, this is the best party ever!" That made all the preparations and lack of sleep more than worth it!

Hannah, Lydia and Stacey sitting on top of our play house!

The happy birthday girl!

For a craft, the girls decorated men's undershirts to make nightshirts to take home!

The girls (and Joshua) enjoying "High School Musical" and junk food!

Breakfast the next morning.

I also have to state for the record, that these children were all a delight to have in our home! They were very well behaved, extremely polite, and kind to the little ones. Their parents are doing a great job raising them, and they are all welcome in our home any time!

Daddy Daughter Dance, First Grade

Hannah and Al attended the Daddy Daughter Dance at Hannah's school last Saturday night. They had a very special time together! Rachel was really upset that she couldn't go, too, even though I tried to explain to her that she would be able to attend next year when she was in Kindergarten. So while Al and Hannah were at the dance, I took Rachel and Abbie to Portillo's for dinner. It seemed to make Rachel feel better!

Don't they look great?

Gotcha Day Party

We celebrated our seventh Gotcha Day with several of the families we traveled to China with. As I have said many times before, these families have become our dearest friends, and it's wonderful to see how close our children are to one another as well!

Hannah decided to wear a Chinese dress in honor of the occasion.

We tried to recreate the Red Couch Photo...

...and then added big and little sisters!

Just had to share this one! Even the little sisters have become the best of friends! Here is Rachel with Michelle, Amy's little sister.

Recipe - Ultimate 7-Layer Dip

I threw this together for Hannah's China group's Gotcha Day party, and it turned out great! Thought I'd share...

Ultimate 7-Layer Dip

1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup Mexican-style shredded cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbsp. sliced pitted ripe olives

Mix beans and taco seasoning mix. Spread onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate.
Layer remaining ingredients over bean mixture; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled.
Serve with tortilla chips or assorted crackers.

That's it!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Eighth Birthday, Hannah!

Celebrating Hannah's first birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Guangzhou.
Our beautiful young lady now!

Hannah's a great Big Sister!

She loves God and the Bible...

...is a super violinist...

...and pretty flexible, too!

Happy Gotcha Day, Hannah Zhipan!

On April 16th, we celebrated Hannah's Gotcha Day. It's hard to believe she's been a member of our family for seven years!

This is our first family photo, taken just moments after Hannah was placed in my arms.

Signing the official adoption papers.

This photo was taken at some farmland in rural Jiangxi Province, outside Nanchang. Yes, that's a water buffalo in the background!

The traditional Red Couch photo. Travel groups often line their children up on one of the red couches in the lobby of the White Swan hotel in Guangzhou for a photo. Hannah is fifth from the right, sort of under two other girls!

We celebrated Hannah's first birthday in China!Hannah is being weighed at the official medical checkup in Guangzhou.
Exhausted baby!
Hannah's first full day at home with us!

My Little Bible Hero

On Wednesday nights, Hannah attends Adventure Club at our church. It's an opportunity for first through fourth graders to learn about the Bible, memorize scripture, worship, as well as play games and do crafts. One night last month was Hero Night. The children were invited to come to Adventure Club dressed as their favorite hero, either someone from the Bible, or maybe a sports hero, or someone they knew personally. Both Hannah and her friend Anna decided they wanted to go as their favorite Bible hero, Abigail, because, as they learned at Adventure Club, "She made peace!" I was at a loss about how to dress Hannah, but fortunately, Anna's mom (my good friend, Lisa) is very creative, and whipped up these great costumes out of an old bed sheet and some scarves. The girls looked awesome! And they learned about the woman Hannah's little sister was named after!

Springtime in Chicagoland

On April 11th, I woke up bright and early (5:30 a.m., thank you very much!), went downstairs, looked out the window, and saw this...and this...
Did I mention that it was April 11th??? Well, that's springtime in Northern Illinois for you! So I set about making my coffee, grumbling the entire time. Then I sat down for my devotions.
And wouldn't you know it, the devotion for April 11th, naturally, was about Psalm 118:24 - "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
The thing is, I don't usually get stuck in the past, but I do tend to worry about tomorrow - a lot. And I often find myself dwelling on future events - these days, it's "when Sarah comes home". Why is it taking so long, how much longer will it be before she's home, will anything go awry in the process. But what I have to keep reminding myself is that I need to just enjoy today for what it is. Enjoy my family of five, enjoy my girls at ages 8, almost 5, and 3. And not try to rush ahead in my thoughts to when Sarah will finally come home. Because each day is, indeed, a gift. Our girls grow up soooooo fast! I want to treasure each day, each moment that our children are young.
As if to emphasize the point, I had taken the pictures of the snow using an old memory stick that I hadn't used in a very long time (it came with the camera and has very little memory). When I downloaded the photos, these were on there as well...

These photos were taken in December 2004. Abbie had only been home a couple of weeks. She was about 10 months old, Rachel was 2 1/2, and Hannah was 5 1/2. They were so little! And I'll never get those days back. So I'll make a more concerted effort to not focus so much on a year or so from now when our family is finally "complete", and to focus on my "complete" family right now! I will rejoice and be glad in this day!

Easter 2007

On Palm Sunday, Rachel's Sunday School class sang at the church services. They sang a song about being the donkey that carried Jesus while the people shouted, "Hosanna!" Here she is with her friend Josh, wearing their donkey ears!

We did manage to squeeze in a bit of Easter egg coloring on Good Friday (nothing like waiting until the last minute!)

The finished product!

Our little Easter blessings!

Easter girls!