Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thanks Ernesto..

Thanks to Ernesto, we got a day off of school and time to hang at the park!! The girls loved the park, but were sad they couldn't go to school. In regards to the "Hurricane," we were fine.. it was like a very long thunderstorm.

Funny thing about Esther- I put her and Emma in the baby swings since there were two right next to each other, and the big kid swings were huge, and I was afraid they would fall. But when I put Esther in it, she about had a cow. She was afraid she would fall out. I was kinda shocked, because she's swung on swings before and never had an issue, but I guess maybe she had fallen off and I wasn't aware of it. Anyways, I let her watch Emma swing, and told her that it was a lot of fun, so Esther started to warm up to the idea. She eventually let me push her in the swings, but once she got to a certain point swinging, she would yell "STOP!!" But then she would be fine, and want me to push her more. Esther's up for trying new things, but only if you coax her to. She's pretty cautious about certain things, but once she tries them, she's fine. She's doing great!

Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Emma!

(Pretend this was posted on Aug 24, like it was supposed to have been!!)

Wow.. it was two years ago that we were all sitting around a large table in a conference room inside the Beijing Children's Welfare Institute in Beijing, China. We were there with the four other families in our travel group, all anxious to meet our babies who were so close to us now. The officials from the orphanage were busy scurying around.. counting money, collecting our documents, preparing more documents for us to sign, while our guide was trying to keep the room in order.. nervous, anxious parents and anxious officials!! After the last family had handed in their paperwork, had their money counted (yep, all $2400 yuan) and sat down, our guide Liu told us to "just wait" and the babies would be here soon. The last few minutes were the hardest of our lives since we had waited 18 months already, and now our kids were in the same building as us and we had to wait some more!! Finally.. after what could have only been the LONGEST 10 minutes of our lives, we heard some people coming down the hall... and squeaks. And all of a sudden emerged a nanny with a baby all dressed in pink, and I just knew it was her, our Emma. Everyone started talking.. in Chinese & English, mom's were crying, and we were all trying to get the camcorders rolling and camera's ready. Then we heard "Xi Yun Na"... the name of our baby. I think my mom was a bit bewildered, and I was busting at the seams yelling, "Mom.. go get her." My poor mom was just standing there in utter amazement, unsure of what to do next. So she walked over, and the nanny came near us holding sweet Na Na. She just looked at us, and then at her nanny.. sorta like "Oh no.. you are NOT going to be handing me over to THESE people!!" And, well she was handed to us. We were told she was a shy child, so we were expecting her to cry. And cry she did. (Well, more like scream!) But, when I think about it from her point of view, she had a lot of reasons to cry! She'd never seen us before, and probably had never seen anyone that looked like us before. My mom was a basket case crying.. shoving a baby doll in her face.. crying more.. excited.. ya know all of those emotions moms have! I had the video camera shoved in her face.. saying "Hi Emma!!!!!!!" and we were all saying "She's so beautiful!!" So.. she did have reason to cry!! After a few minutes, her nanny came back and handed her some candy, which Emma gladly excepted and started munching on. The next hour is sort of a blur of what happened next...

But in the past two years she has been home, Emma Grace YunNa has transformed from a tiny 18 pound baby whose legs were covered in mosquito bites, to a beautiful, sweet, independent, fierce, strong willed 3 1/2 year old. Everyone who knows Emma knows how adorable she is. Ya just can't get past her adorableness!! Even though we got her at 18 months, and missed her first steps, first birthday, and first word, we have witnessed a ton of firsts in her two years being with us.
The first time she sat on grass (she screamed!)
her first Christmas
her first time opening presents
Her second birthday, but first time with a cake
Her first "I Love You"
Her first prayer
Her first time climbing out of the crib
Her first time holding a baby chick at the farm
Her first time in the pool
Her first time at Disney World
Her first time tubing on the lake.. which she loved
Her first time on a jet ski.. screaming "Go faster!"
Her first time hugging Esther
Her first time saying "I Love You Esther"
Her first time licking the spoon from the cookies we made
Her first time going down the big slide into the pool
Her first time seeing Cinderella at Disney World

So, I could go on and on about all of the firsts we have experienced with her. They outweigh the first things we missed, but we have a lifetime of firsts left. Emma is an incredible little girl, and I look forward to all she is going to accomplish with her life. She's so strong willed and independent.. I can't wait to see what a difference she can make in the world. =)

Right now, she's too young to understand the significance of this day. To her, it was just another day, but kinda special because it was all about her. We took Elena to her math class, and then stopped by the grocery store to pick out her cake. Emma picked out (of course) a pink, strawberry cake and then we got some icing too. When I dropped her off at school, she was a little upset that she couldn't take her cake to school with her, but I promised that when she got home, we would make her cake. So once she got home.. she was all about business.. "When we make my cake??" =) We talk to her all the time about how she came to us from China, and I asked her a few times what day it was today, and she would reply.. "it's my birthday!!" Whenever you bring up China, she always talks about her "China blankie," the blanket I brought her home from China when we brought Esther home. =) Probably by next year she'll start to understand more of what Gotcha Day is really about, but for now we're enjoying the time while she's young.

So for her 2nd Gotcha Day we celebrated by a cake.. which is another first.. the first time she helped me bake a cake!

Mixin' up the cake mix.

Lickin the cake mix off the batters

Another first.. for Esther

Then they really got down to business by licking all the mix out of the bowl!!

Watching the oven to check on my cake...

Now we ice it

Then we stack them together and add more icing! (And take a picture)

The finished project.. (Hey, I'm no artist!)

I just love the expression on Esther's face

Sisters Forever

Emmie and her cake

First Day of School!!

Finally!! I haven't been able to upload anything to blogger for the past week and a half! It's finally working again though. Anyways, last week, Esther and Emma started "school." They're going to a daycare/preschool program run by friends of ours from 9-1 each day. This gives Mom time to do school with everyone without having two little ones running around. Before we put them in their school, it was quite difficult doing school with the girls! But both girls LOVE school and are doing great. They're happy, and learning.. and we're happy to be able to do schoolwork with a bit of peace and quiet! =)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Saturday.. Swimming, Boating & Popsicles

On Saturday, everyone came over to our house and we went swimming, grilled burgers and hot dogs, went tubing on the lake and the girls enjoyed popsicles.

Swimming in the pool

Meili and mommy going down the slide

Lily and her mommy on the boat

We took Lily and her daddy on their first tubing ride, and they really enjoyed it. Emma and Esther look like pro's at this!

That must've been one hard tubing ride! Esther was completely out! She's such a cutie when she sleeps.

Meili enjoying her popsicle. She is a beautiful little girl and I sware this kid has never taken a bad picture in her life! I took a bunch of pictures of her, including close-ups and they all turned out great!!

And here's another beautiful Beijing girl enjoying her popsicle

I just love this picture of Esther

And beautiful Miss Kelly...

Kelly and Meili

The girls decided to take a break from their popsicle eating and check out Meili's daddy's camera

Ian gave the girls a ride in the wagon as we went down to the dock

Rachel and Emma.. don't they look alike?

Ian, Elena, Rachel, Kayla and Rachel's daddy. Rachel had a great time until the tube swamped under the water and they all fell off.. then she got scared!

The boat's good for getting these girls to sleep. They were out not five minutes after we left the dock!!

It was sad seeing everyone go, but we are already planning next year's reunion!

Friday... All Five Beijing "Babe's" Reunite

On Friday, we got together for dinner and everyone came, including the C's, whom we hadn't seen at all yet. Their beautiful daughter Esther is a day older than Emma, and she is the tallest of all the girls. It was so fun getting the girls together again since this was the first time that all five of them had seen each other since China. The girls had so much fun together playing hide-n-seek through the restaurant (which we had almost all to ourselves) and ran all over the place. It reminded me of all the fun times we had in China, this time with a few extra kids in tow.

The girls reuniting

Lily on the left and Esther with Lily's daddy

Emma and Kelly are best buds!

Poor Ian was the ONLY boy out of all our families.. and he didn't at all enjoy playing with the girls!! :-P

Ian & Rachel (??!!)

Between our five families, there are seven little girls from China and one more on the way! Meili's mei-mei is waiting for her family in China, and they hope to bring her home next summer.
(L-R Back Row: Meili, Lily, Rachel, Emma, Front Row: Esther, Kelly and our Esther)

Another shot of the girls. Poor things, we lined them all up and then at least five of us were snapping pictures right and left. I think I took about 30 shots of the girls, because they're never all looking or smiling in the same picture! These two were the best out of all the ones I took.

The five beautiful "Beijing Babe's" who came into our families' lives on August 24, 2004. They were all together for their first year+ of their lives, and now they're scattered throughout the USA, but we plan to keep them together and in contact as they grow.

"Kelly, wanna smell my stinky feet?"

The Esthers