Monday, March 29, 2010

Easy Lemon Pound Cake

I needed to bring something tasty to Knit Night last night, but didn't have time to drag four kids to the grocery store for ingredients. I found this recipe for Lemon Pound Cake that used ingredients I always have in the house, and it was easy and yummy!

Easy Lemon Pound Cake

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

1. Mix together 1 cup sugar and butter.
2. Add eggs and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; mix well.
3. Add salt, flour and baking powder to mixture.
4. Add milk.
5. Bake at 325 F in a well-greased loaf pan for one hour or until golden brown.
6. Mix 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar.
7. Use a toothpick to make holes in top of cake and drizzle lemon juice and sugar mixture over the top of the cake when removed from oven.
8. Serve warm or cool.

I read that some folks served it with strawberries on top, too!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Airport Photos!

A few photos taken at the airport when we arrived home with David. Two families from Hannah's group joined my mom and the girls in welcoming us home!

I love the blurry photo of the girls and me spotting each other...

Checking out the new brother...

David handled the chaos well...

We Are Family!!!!

This Is Our Life...

... and we're loving it! :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Life With David - Week One

We've been home an entire week. Can you believe it? I sure can't, but the calendar doesn't lie, so I'm going with it.

I think we're pretty much over the jet lag by now. David slept through the night Thursday and Friday night, so I think he's over it, too. Naps are non-existent. Even though I take him into his room, close the door, close the shades and lie down on his bed with him, he keeps popping up to play. I think just being in his new room is exciting for him, and he runs around exploring his toys and books and clothes and bed and rug and...

Speaking of running, David does! And just like my friends who have experience with toddler boys warned me, he's into everything! He pulls open drawers and doors, throws things into the clothes dryer while I'm doing laundry, dumps out bins of toys all around him, and finds great joy in all of it! We need to keep the bathroom doors closed because he delights in watching the water flush down the toilet, and I don't want my car keys or cell phone or anything else to go down with it!

David and his sisters are really enjoying each other. The girls play so nicely and patiently with him. The other morning, he got up after Hannah and Rachel had left for school and he was looking for them. He stood at the bottom of the stairs and looked up and called to them - "Yo! Yo!"

He's an affectionate boy - he gives us kisses when we kiss him. Yesterday, I was holding him and we were face-to-face. He spontaneously puckered up and gave me a smooch. Melted this Mama's heart! He's always throwing his arms up and saying, "Mama!" and giving me a big hug when I reach down for him!

There are still tough moments. Sometimes David just cries and wails and is inconsolable. He goes from pushing me away to desperately grabbing onto me. Yesterday, I went into the garage and he thought I was leaving - he came completely unglued. It will be a long time before he can totally trust his family - we will be patient. As a result, tomorrow he will attend his first knitting group evening. Abbie is jealous.

Actually, Abbie has had some tough moments herself, being displaced as the "baby" in the family. She and I remind each other constantly that she is my "baby girl" - that seems to help. In the mean time, she is very helpful with David - fetching diapers, serving him food (though I do any actual feeding), playing with him, distracting him when he gets ornery. They have their mornings together while the big girls are in school, and it has been good for their bonding.

As for food, well, our boy is an eating machine! He will eat any food we put in front of him, and won't stop as long as there's something on his plate. We have to decide for him when he's done, otherwise he'd eat all day! I hope the "pickies" never set in with him! I love giving him something he really likes - he lets out a happy, contented, "Aaaahhhh!" with a big smile!

David's talking quite a bit, too! He mimics many English words, including "night-night", and the ever-lovely, "NO!" I taught him to say "hello" on his toy phone - it comes out "yeh-yoooooo!" Too cute! He also talks quite a bit in ways we simply can't understand. I think of how much we understood of our girls' speech at his age, and I'm certain he's speaking toddler Mandarin. I sure wish I could understand him. He does say "xie" (shoes) and "wah-wah" (doll). At least I could catch that much! He also walks around saying, "Yi, er!" (one, two) over and over again as he marches around. I continue to use as many Mandarin words as I know with him - he seems to respond to me better when I do.

We have our daily (sometimes hourly) toddler frustrations. David is trying to communicate something and, try as we might, we just can't figure it out. He hasn't taken to sign language - he seems to prefer saying the actual words (particularly "more"). He also gets angry when we tell him "no" to anything - a cookie, glass dishes, dangerous objects. He just throws himself face down on the floor and yells and carries on. We're learning to ignore it.

But he is also just so full of joy. He usually wakes up in the morning and toddles into the kitchen in his cute jammies, a huge, sweet smile on his face. He laughs easily, and dances with glee when especially happy (gotta try and capture that on video!). David is loving life and all the exciting discoveries that go along with his new home and family!

We saw the pediatrician on Thursday. Just a physical. The doctor and I discussed what he will need regarding blood work and "other" samples, immunizations (he's missing a few critical ones), and other testing. Once that's all done, we will proceed with planning and preparing for his lip surgery.

I also placed a call to Child and Family Connections. We will schedule a full developmental assessment, with emphasis on Speech. Depending on how he does, we will determine if he needs to start services before or after his surgery.

So there you have it - a recap of our first full week together. Life as a family of six is beautiful - we are so blessed. Sometimes I look at David, and I think back to where we were in our wait last summer, and I am just amazed at the miracle of it all. He is perfect for our family, and definitely well worth the 3 1/2-year wait!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"I love these little people, and it is not a slight thing when they who are fresh from God love us."
- Charles Dickens

Monday, March 22, 2010

David Meets Ida

One of the first things the girls did when we got home from the airport was to formally introduce David to Ida. Now, David loves animals. And not just the big, fancy ones at the zoo. He would get ridiculously excited whenever he saw a dog or a cat on the street in Guangzhou. So imagine the thrill for him to see this little critter living right in our house!

He kept squealing, "Mama!" to me and pointing to Ida, as if to say, "Have you ever seen anything so amazing and wonderful?" I love his joy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Full Day Home

After a good night's sleep in his new little bed, David woke up with a smile on his face, ready to start his first full day with his new family.

Like any bigger family, our Saturday started off with an event. Rachel had her Awana Games, and I promised her that I would do anything I had to do to be there. Her whole family, including Nana, were there to cheer her on, and she had a great time playing the games!

After the Awana Games, we stopped at McDonald's for David's first taste of chicken nuggets and fries. He seemed quite pleased. It felt good to have the whole family around the table!

We have spent the rest of the weekend at home, getting to know one another better and trying to find some sort of routine. David has especially enjoyed having three older playmates around. He loves the blocks!

There was also some serious napping going on!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Few More Cute David Shots

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The Chinese don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, so we told Bill the story behind the holiday and about the many traditions surrounding the day. I guess some emphasis was placed on the drinking of beer, because for the rest of the day, Bill wished us a "Happy Drinking Day"! That evening at dinner, the men celebrated in traditional style with Chinese beer!

Angry Boy

Shi Shi is a typical two-year-old, prone to meltdowns when he doesn't get his way. Here you see him protesting Mama's denial of another cookie. He's got some "methods" worked out, too. After I took these pictures, I walked away so I could put away my camera. He realized that I was no longer standing right beside him witnessing his theatrics, so he got up, walked over to where I was, threw himself back down on the floor at my feet, and continued his tirade! Yup, he's gonna be a handful!

US Consulate Appointment

The US Consulate moved its Adoption Division off Shamian Island shortly after we adopted Abbie, so this was our first time visiting this office. There were many families there to "swear in" (basically a big group swearing that all the information we've provided them is true and accurate). The officer who led the swearing in did an informal poll - we were the only family in that big group to have done this four times!

More Action Shots

Because that's the only kind of picture we can get of David these days!

Dig We Must!

Shamian Island is under construction, and David is loving all the huge, noisy equipment! He's all boy!

Bill's Just One of the Family!


Red Couch Photos

Apparently, David had other things to do...

Family Pictures


Monday, March 15, 2010

Calabash Flute

My friend, Jackie, who was just in Guangzhou two months ago, recommednded we stop by a shop called "Jenny's Place". Jenny was such a sweet, Christian lady, and her husband was very kind, too. In her shop, Al spotted this instrument called a Calabash Flute. He picked one up and immediately figured out how tp play it. Jenny's husband began to play another one, and there was a lovely duet going on. We're brnging one home to go with our erhu. Maybe we'll present a concert of Chinese music someday!