Thursday, February 25, 2010

1st Visit to the Library!

2.25.10: OK, I'm blown away by what library's have these days! I had heard about it--but our visit today was an eye-opener. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful FREE resource available to us--so close to home!



Izabella just soaked it all in during the story time--she didn't participate much--except lots of smiles and giggles. I imagine she'll do more of that in a few classes. I am so glad I signed up for this class--it's such a great introduction to her for class structure--the next step would be to do a class where the kids stay and the parents go to a separate room--I have to tell you--if we get into this class (called Brighter Beginnings) I am very nervous about this transition. I know we'll get through it--but pray it's as smooth as possible.

After the story time--they did craft time--and we got to make a "mouse that holds the strawberry behind his back"--just like the mouse in the story board. After we were done--she wanted to put him up on the board. Fascinating she made that connection--she was really paying attention! Love it! And I taught her how to use scissors for the first time. She picked it up pretty fast!


Then we ventured out to the children's area of the library and explored all the wonderful things they have there--for us to use there--and borrow for at home! We played with some puzzles, looked over some books and selected two to borrow, and then Izabella picked out a Book/CD package to borrow til next Thursday. We also selected a couple Angelina Ballerina DVD's-Thanks Aunt Michelle for turning us on to Angelina! We were going to meet Papa for lunch to tell him all about our morning--but the class went to long--so we'll tell him when he gets home.
Before we could get home--Izabella was sound asleep--and is still asleep on the couch! All this excitement and fun--exhausting!

Here is a video of stills and video from our visit today to the Library or I'd call it a treasure chest of FUN!. We had so much fun! We will go again very soon--and continue with the class every Thursday!




Shhhh! Don't you know this is a Library!

Friends!

2.25.10: Izabella attended her first birthday party. I was wondering how she'd do--given most gifts since coming home to our family have been for her. She initially thought the presents were for her-but when told that it was Zophia's birthday party she was so good about it! I was very proud of her.

My friend Shayna is a VERY good friend of ours and our relationship with Zophia is very special to us--so we were so excited about attending this year's birthday celebration with our Izabella. I can't tell you how special it was to arrive with gift AND our daughter in tow! Even Shayna commented on how wild it is that we -- have a daughter. I remember the first time they visited us--our first week home--I went to the door to greet them with Izabella in my arms and it was the same kind of feeling--"Wow! Finally! She is home. She is all ours!" Shayna is and was such a huge support throughout the wait--she never gave up hope that we'd see the day we'd have our family completed with a daughter. It is my hope her daughter Zophia nad Izabella will be as good friends as we are. They always get a long so well--and as you can see above--are all natural smiles when together. This picture is another one of those "Wow! Moments."


Matt (Zophia's Dad), Zophia, Shayna "Zophia's Mom"

It's simple times like this--that continue to bring me to a fresh reality that our world is infact so different--yet so much the same. She is amazing, loving, smart, independent, and so much fun. And yet our home is still the same--love, routines of doing life, laundry, fixing meals, cleaning the house and day outings--but they are now done at a new level. I recall last night--after a very full day for us--I was headed up stairs with Izabella for our nightime routine-and I almost let out a sigh with the thought in my head, "oh my goodness I'm pooped". But I caught myself and thought;"Nope! I'm happily exhausted and soooo happy to be so." I then had renewed energy to climb the stairs, following behind my little Izabella making her way to the top all by herself. She always says, "self, self" when she wants to do it alone. And says "hard, hard" or "help, help" when she tires. Of course I tell her to keep going--"she can do it!" And she does--and is very happy to do so.


I just love the crossed leg--as she feeds her baby with perfect form and nuturing."

This is another new thing. She has extremely advanced fine motor skills. She always has. Even in China she was doing very complicated fine motor task with ease. Her focus and concentration is remarkable in this area. She always watches everything we do very intently--then when she thinks she has it--she will give it a try herself. Insisting on doing so. We always let her try. But I noticed lately--she tried for just a little and then looks at me with those sad brown eyes and says, "hard, hard". I realized immediately I needed to show her "she can" and not do it for her. And I'd say 99% of the time she can and does. She even "buttoned" her sweater, mind you just one button the other day! I was blown away.

Here are some things she's learned recently--She can now dress herself, shirt, pants and shoes. We're working on socks. She brushes her teeth by herself--not very well--but pretty darn good. She applies lotion to her body and washes herself in her bath, she can screw on and off bottle and sippy cup containters. Can put her baby's socks on--just not her own. She helps me fold clothes and actually does a pretty good job. She understands "push" and "pull" which is a helpful concept in many things. She can open and close all doors. That's all I can think of immediately. But I'm marveled everyday at the things she learns. So fun to watch.

She also loves routine and we do things in a more consistant routine than I even realized. She knows when it's time to go upstairs to dress or do night time she has to pick up her toys. So when I say, "Okay! (she does this too when she's about to begin a new task it's one of those things you don't realize you do until you have a child that mimicks everything you do) Time to...." She jumps up and starts to pick up her toys. She always reminds me to shut off the light when we leave a room. The other day she even reminded me--after I had gotten dressed for the day--to grab my glasses and phone before heading down stairs. And she never forgets to put the trash bag in the trash can after she sees us take the full bag out. She knows every step of the way what's next...as we work our way through our days.

We are in love, impressed and in awe everyday of this little girl. As I type this--she maticulously just spread out her blanket on the floor in the sun, put her baby down on it and laid down next to her. It's time for a quick nap--and then off to our first Library 'Books & More" class at the local library. I asked her earlier if she wanted to go to the library to read some books and she squealled with delight, "Yes!!!" It will be so fun--I'm excited as well.

She continues to have night terrors--last night was a rough night. I slept on the couch in her room from roughly 2am on. She wouldn't stop thrashing and kicking until I let her slde down to the floor, she then fell off to sleep there with me on the couch next to her. i covered her up and thought--well if she's sleeping well--that's good. I didn't--but--oh well! I think the floor is more like the crib she slept in while in the orphanage--and in some way--that comforted her. It seems like she's been with us forever--but I am reminded at times like this that she it's only been just over 3 months with us--and that's not very long at all. So for now--whatever brings her comfort in these battling emtional times during sleep--I'm ok with it.

Here are some last weekend Saturday images--we had a wonderful family day together!

1st Apple Store Visit
Look at that focus and concentration--Izabella's first visit to the Apple store. She loved it!

She's watching "Happy Feet" !!! Hmmmm.....

1st Coldstone Ice Cream visit!
I have to note--we had to leave our normal hang-out spot by the fireplace becaue two teenage love-birds were sitting on a couch next to us--at first the boy was writing on the girls pants with a sharpie marker (yeah--I'd don't want Izabella doing this--ever!" then engaged in some making out--I was embarrased for them--we left promptly! Geez....seriously.



Some Chinese Food for lunch! Yum! She always cuddles into Dan's arm to eat. It's so sweet to watch these two together.

We stopped by to introduce Izabella to an old neighbor friend that owns a sunglass store in the Mall! It was so good to see him--and Izabella had fun trying on the shades. Hmmmm Maui Jims for her? Yeah--when she gets a job and can buy them herself!



This is a video of some clips of our day together--but i love the one of Izabella doing the play area fun all by herself! That's a huge step forward. I had taken her there a few time before and she wouldn't go play without us right there. Then I took her earlier last week and she just "took off!" And after one time of me helping her on the slide--I returned to my seat and said, "you can do it!" And do it she did! And after each time she did it--she'd run to us with so much joy--and we were of course so very proud of her! As you can see in this clip.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Whew! Busy, Busy Fun Day!

2.20.10: Today Izabella and I went to the mall playground today. We tried to go earlier this week, but we had a "nap mishap" and we didn't get it in. :) When we dressed this morning to go--I wanted to put on her 'squeaking shoes" we got for her in China--but they are just too small--so I had to move her up to the ones I purchased for this spring and summer. Thing is--those still have the squeaky things in them. So, I put them on her--she loves the squeaky sound--and thought, oh well, I'll take them out when I get down stairs. But I forgot to take them out and when I when I put her down to walk in Barnes and Noble Bookstore--ahhhh yeah--squeak, squeak, squeak! It's so quiet in there--so yeah--this was a bit like screaming in the middle of the library. Oh well--people thought it was cute--except one woman gave me a dirty look, as if to say, "ahhh what are you thinking? That's so rude!" Oh well--we squeaked our way out to the mall to make our way down to the play area.

All the way down the cooridors of the big echoing mall--we put smiles on all the faces that passed us. It was especially fun when she'd run and the squeaks would get faster and faster! After arriving at the play area--she was so excited--we pulled off the shoes and off she went. Usually she won't leave me and I have to walk around and help her the entire time. But this time she was off and running--like all the other kids. I was shocked and it was so sweet to see. Thankfully, she kept an eye on me--checking in every so often--yeah bonding is intact and on track. Then she wanted to go down a slide--she sat there watching the other kids for quite a while--then she looked over at me--and I signaled to her that "she could do it!" She thought that was a good idea--so off she went and down she slid! I was the proudest mom ever! She got up from the bottom of the slide and ran over to me to celebrate her accomplishment! I told her, "Izabella I'm soooo proud of you!" She then put her little index finger up to signal "one" to say, "one more mama! one more!" and off she went. She did this two or three more times. Next she crawled under the tunnel by herself and we did the same celebration dance...it was so fun to watch this new found trust and freedom in her. Very, very sweet! We played way past the "storytime" at Barnes and Noble--I didn't have the heart to pull her away from the JOY and FUN she was having. But as we went back through--and I picked her up when we entered the store this time--when we got to the storytime area--they were doing a fabric art project. So we joined in--rather anti-climatic compared to our play area fun.

Then we headed home to meet Papa for a trip to check out local outdoor skating arena-Brenton Skating Park. Izabella loves the skaters in the Olympics--so when they had a public skate time today--with an outdoor picnic (hopeful thinking for summer and warmer weather) we thought we'd make a trip there to check it out and show Izabella live skating! At first she was just taking it all in--then she showed a little smile. I think we'll consider getting her into some skating lessons. OK--we bailed on the cook-out and went to favorite little spot we haven't visited for a while. Then we headed home to take a much needed nap for everyone before a night of Bowling.

Another sign of new trust she has in us. We have tried this shoulder ride before and she panic'd. I was yet again so excited she did it--and LOVED it! Even keeping Papa's ears warm for him. So sweet to watch these two are!
Bowling was a blast tonight! I scored my highest game ever a 155! Not bad for a girl that started this league as with an 84 average just 3 months ago--we bowl every other Saturday! I was so happy! And had so much fun. It's much more fun to get spares and strikes than to leave miserable open frame afer open frame and end in double digits when the rest of your team is in the triple digits. Dan took me practicing and actually coached me one weekend. This helped me so much--so I give credit for this score to my amazing coach! This is such a wonderul time as a family. Izabella loves it too. She's so flexible--she just goes with the flow. We are always so proud of her--everywhere we go.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow Angels?????

2.19.10: We went out to blow the driveway went for our ritual walk around the block. Then Izabella was flapping her arms--she wanted to make a snow angel. So I grabbed my camera and off we went. Well, it didn't go quite as good as we thought. The snowflakes are so big and were coming down at a pretty good pace...so she had a hardtime keeping her eyes open. It was pretty funny! Oh well...she's a beautiful angel to me...no matter....:)


I LOVE this picture! That face is just like the look one of the
Olympic "1/2 Pipe Snowboarders" after a good run!


Like this one with all my "girls" in it! Come on Girls...let's do it! Let's make a snow angel!


Mama, Mama! Snow Angel! Right Here!

You just make your arms go like this!

Oh...maybe not so much...


Yeah...seriously Mama! Get me outta here!
I'm not an Olympian snow angel girl..not yet!


Maybe the shades will keep the snowflakes out of my eyes!
And I can hang a little longer!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our girl is on track...

2.18.10: Yesterday was a full day. We awoke early and made banana bread with the ripe banana's we didn't eat last week. They make yummy banana bread and Izabella loves to cook. So together we made two batches. Her Grammy Cota first showed her how--and she remembered, cause when I turned my back to grab the eggs from the fridge, I returned to the bowls and she had grabbed the teaspoon and the baking soda and added exactly 1-teaspoon! Too funny! She's so smart--show her once and she's got it! She just doesn't let on she knows right away--she sits on it for a while and then it comes out one day in complete amazement to all around her. :) Well me anyway. Then the ladies that were doing her early development accessment appointment arrived, so we got to work on testing. It was fasinating watching her move through the different challenges they presented her with. Of course she thought it was all a game and had a blast. I was so nervous--but these ladies are so knowledgable and helpful--they made me feel comfortable. Well the good news is--she is on track and needs no OT or PT! Infact they mentioned she's much further along than they would expect--especially since she's only been home for 3 months. I was sooooo proud of her. When I gave the report to Dan--he said, "I knew she was doing just fine!" Ahhhh...of course, proud Papa that he is!

We shared the news with Papa by having lunch with him. He's been working 18 hour shifts daily fo 3 days--he did come home at a normal time last night and went in at a normal time today--and is OFF Friday! But he will likely be called in this weekend--so we're taking advantage of our day with him tomorrow--anticipating we won't have a weekend with him.

Little sweet story from yesterday I want to remember. Izabella is so good at reminding me to shut off lights when we leave the room, she even reminds me to grab my phone and my glasses before we go downstairs. Well, we have been working on the "please" and "thank-you's" lately. She'll often say a word of something she wants like "more!" or "some!" or "juice" or "water" or something she wants. So we have started saying, "say please. it's a magic word." She does and BTW says it really cute too. So last night I asked her to bring me my phone. She loves the phone! So she jumped up and got it for me. When she got over to give it to me, she put it behind her back and said, "please!" "please!" I said, "please!" and she promptly handed it to me. It was pretty funny. Now I remember to say "please!" Thanks Izabella!

Another sweet story--I was putting her down for her afternoon nap. She was almost asleep when she let out this sweet little giggle. Then she popped her head up and looked at me and said, "I you, you!" (That's I love you in Izabella language!"). I said, "I love you too!" We sat there and said it to each other over and over and over again. Giggling and smiling the whole time! Then she put her head down and she was in a deep sleep within seconds! It was as if she was laying in my arms, thinking to herself how wonderful it was to have a Mama to hold and rock her to sleep! So she decided I needed to know. Precious!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

2.13.2010: We went to our first Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday. Dan was so tired...he stayed home and rested. But Izabella and I went. We had such a great time. We were able to meet some other adoptive families that we had been cooresponding with online and never met and we were able to meet a friend's daughter--that is from the same orphanage as Izabella. She is a sweetheart. We saw our first dragon dance--lots of music and dancing--and Izabella even was brave enough to put just her head inside a "jumping gym" tent they had. AND she putted her first golf ball and actually got a hole-in-one (I helped her--but I'm a terrible putter--so it was all hers)! We had some delicious Chinese food too.

We also saw Dr. Zhou--our dear pediatrician. He's such a great guy and wonderful doctor. He clearly loves all the children he cares for. We were so surprised to see him.

Here are a few pictures of the highlights:


Friday, February 12, 2010

Izabella's Beautiful Surprise Valentine Gifts!

2.12.2010: Oh my goodness! I don't know who was more excited Izabella or myself! We rec'd not one but two beautiful gifts this weekend!

First, from her Aunt Michelle and Uncle Ken sent it to her it was filled with all the things for a Chinese Princess on Valentine's Day:

...a beautiful picture of her Aunt Michelle and card! Which Izabella immediately INSISTED we put on the refridgerator--both the card and the picture!!! It was so sweet. And we did...she put the card up on the fridge by herself and we put the picture of Michelle up.

...an "Angelina the Ballerina Love" Book with valentines in the back with heart "Stickers" and everything! Izabella LOVES stickers. In fact, instead of candy for reward for potty training we use stickers instead. Infact--that evening sat on Papa's chest reading her book and decided she wanted to feel the "LOVE" by putting heart stickers all over her face, and even shared the LOVE by putting some on Papa's face too. Then moved them to her legs...
...a very colorful summer dress that is just adorable on her and will fit so perfectly this summer....an official "Dance Works" T-Shirt! Aunt Michelle owns and operates a dance studio in Austin, Texas. It's an amazing studio and has a coffee shop inside for Mom and Dad's to wait--with close circuit TV's for them to see what their little ones are doing while they wait! The coffee is sooo good and the atmosphere sheik coffee house style! It's so amazing. If you live in the Austin Area and didn't know about this place--you MUST check it out. Here is her website! http://www.thedanceworks.com/ ! I soooo wish Izabella could get her dance lessons from Aunt Michelle! Soooo wish! And that of course would mean we'd live in Texas--where it is much warmer than Iowa--and we'd be closer to them. We'd love it! Perhaps someday! You never know. Anywho--this t-shirt is pretty special!

...an absolutely gorgeous PINK party dress! It has a big full skirt and she JUST LOVED IT! She had to try it on right away--and she danced in it for hours. We had a hard time getting it off her. And the next morning when we went to get her dressed she cried cause we wouldn't let her wear her new dress! I got goose bumps and tears in my eyes as I watched her try it on and check it out. She was looking at herself in the refelction on the front of the dishwasher. I can only imagine she was thinking, "oh my this is the most beautiful dress I've ever had! And it's all mine! I don't have to share it with anyone!" Reminded me of Cinderella! It even has some resemblence to Cinderella's dress. It is so very special. I wanted her to wear it to a birthday party we had the next day--but Dan insisted we save it for Easter Sunday! So we will--it will be a special Easter indeed.


When I first asked her if I could take a picture of her in her new dress,
she insisted she sit on Papa's lap to take it.
She danced like this around the living room all afternoon!

I love this pciture...even though it's of the back of her...

Then that evening we got another package and it was from Aunt Shelly and Uncle Topher! It was a whole box full of Harry and David Pears! We love pears and Izabella does too! She begged for an hour to have one--I finally agreed--I was hestitant as it was late and i didn't think she'd eat the whole thing. But she ate every drop of it. The pear was almost bigger than her! They are delicious--she has devoured 4 pears as of this morning! It's the first thing she goes to each morning! This video is hilarious...you can see she grabbed a pear and was looking at me as if to say, "ahhh mom don't you know these pears are for eating..like this!" Then you see I let her have one--and she was chopping on it with pure delight!



Thank you Sooooo Muchhhhh! She is so very fortunate to have such loving family--and we are so fortunate to have them as well--and we are all blessed by her day in and day out! Praise God for bringing her to our home, to our family!

Hope everyone had a Valentine's Day filled with Love and Family!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday!

2.7.2010: Izabella really loved the music for the superbowl. She was playing with her pushy-builder toys--and all of a sudden she had to get up and dance. She's hilarious...seriously. She's also constantly finding things to make a microphone...she might be a singer...although I think she needs to work on her vocals a bit. :)

And in the end...when papa went to the bathroom...yeah...she wasn't very happy he locked her out..very sad...and very happy to see him emerge!



Montana on the other hand found a "high and dry" spot to hang out--out of the way of little dancing feet.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shovelin' and Sleddin'...

Just a good little memory video...

3.-Month "Family of 3 Day"

Dan and I have always been a family. And we've had a great life together. We have two four legged daughters--that we really do cherish as if they were our children. They have given us more pleasure than we ever could imagine. We hate to think of what we'd do without them. If not for Montana--I'm not sure I'd ever been ready when I met Dan. After getting her--she gave me a reason to come home for lunch and ontime from work. Therefore she helped me make room in my life for Dan--that fateful night in July of 1998--when I looked over my shoulder and said, "Hey what'ca doin?" Like him--I knew the minute I saw her face--that Izabella was my daughter and we only needed to find our way through the maze of craziness to her--to step out on faith--and wrap our arms, our hearts and our love around her FOREVER. I still look at her in amazement that she is REALLY OURS. She brings so much sunshine to our days. It's truly the most amazing blessing.

Three-Months ago today--we arrived home to the United States from a very long and crazy 'magic carpet ride" to China--with our precious Izabella. Here are some memories and some changes we've seen:

Izabella you now:
  • have LOTS of words in your vocablary. Your first few words were "Mama, Papa, Up, More, Down, I love you and all-done" You now surprise us everyday with new words every day. The latest word you learned is "self". You want to do it by yourself when you say this.
  • pray to God. Whenever we mention His name, you immediately press your hands together and say, "God, I love you, Amen." It's so sweet and innocent--and no one can tell me you don't understand what you're doing or saying. I believe you and God have had a relationship for a long time now. I asked you last night if God told you that you had a family, and that we were on our way to bring you home?" You said, with a HUGE smile on your face and your eyes lit up with sparkles of joy shook your head quickly, "Yes, Mama, Papa." Then signed to me the sign we showed her for what papa does "driving his BIG Truck."
  • You still don't sleep very well at night. No matter how many times I pray you have sweet dreams, it seems this is the only time you show any greiving for your old life, for your birth parents and for all you had and left behind in China. It breaks my heart to hear you whale and cry and not be able to sooth these wounds. All I can do is say, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. Mama and Papa love you and will never ever leave you."
  • You are so flexible. You like a schedule, but do not get fussy or miserable when everything isn't exactly on schedule.
  • The orphanage told us you had a fascination for dogs--curiousity was also used--but, when you saw Montana and Sadie--you were afraid. Within a week you were hugging on them and saying command like a pro!
  • Since the third day we got you--you opened up and smiled and relaxed. But everyday, you show us a new part of your personality. You are still unfolding like a the "beautiful spring flower bud" your chinese name meaning says.
  • You love your hair in pigtails, headbands, bows and everyting girlie. Even want to put on make-up with mom in the morning. And love Dad's chapstick!
  • You write, fingerpaint and do everything with such delicate detail and percision. Nothing is fast and furious to you.
  • You don't like to be messy.
  • Your giggle is contagious and could wake the soft part of a big crazy old dragons soul.
  • You are very independent and strong. We love this about you-as we know this skill, trait will serve you well as you venture out into the world on your own. You always want to try to do it yourself first--when you can not figure it out on your own--you accept help willingly and with intense concentration--so you'll be able to do it next time yourself.
  • You love your bathtime! But you rarely give a fuss when we say, "all done". You say "bye-bye water" and even know how to pull and turn the bath plug to let the water go down.
  • You are very energy wise--you always remind me to shut off the light before we leave a room.
  • You are the most loving child I have ever met. You insist on kissing each cheek and our forehead everytime you love on us. And your empathy for others well being--family and strangers alike is so amazing to watch. I love how you have no problem with "public display of affection (PDA). When shopping, you will say, "mama" and signal me to come closer. Then you plant a big kiss on my cheek. Sometimes you just bend your head down to my hand on the cart and kiss it with all you got--smooching noises and all. with a giggle behind every kiss--like it tickled you pink with Joy.
  • You love to share everything. Sometimes things we don't want to share.
  • You help me set the table everynight--and love to help me do "everything mommy". Especially pushing the swifter broom around the kitchen, doing laundry, and cooking.
  • Mama and Papa had never left you since the day we met you. Except for a couple hours the other day when Mama went to a lunch appointment and you stayed with your cousin Tatie (Katie) for a couple hours. She said you were upset for about 10 minutes then settled in and were fine. And the joy on your face when I came home--like when papa comes home was an unbelievable sight indeed.
  • You are a trooper about all things doctors. Experienced far beyond your years in this area.
  • Your walk was very unsteady when we met--and just three months later your little legs with not much muscle are so strong. And you're starting to run! And you are learning to climb the stairs up and down. And can even do a sommersault!
  • You love your babies. Always have. I will never forget the day in China when you picked up your baby and comforted her, kissed her, rocked her by swaying from side to side, and then changed her diapers by picking up her legs with one hand. I knew that day, you had seen your share of caring for babies and knew exactly what to do.
  • You can put on your shoes by yourself.
  • You can almost draw a face like your Grammy Cota taught you.
  • You love to sing and dance. You especially love the commercial jingles.
  • You love to put things on your head. Anything that will fit--hats of all kinds, boxes, blankets..anything! And love to crawl in and out of boxes.
  • You're amazed at the snow--the first day papa took you out when it was snowing. You stuck your tongue out to catch them.
I could go on and on. But these are a few of the highlights.

This video shows a little peek at how you are and it was just events of yesterday morning--in about 1.5 hours....you're so much fun to just watch. We love you beyond words!

Happy 3-Month Anniversay in your forever family Izabella. I keep counting the months and saying, "has it only been that long?" It feels like you've been with us forever.

This is PART One:



This is Part two:




I say this little saying to you each time we sit and rock you to sleep. I've said it since the first day we rocked together for a nap. You always shake your head in agreement after each statement and that little nod always warms my heart in a HUGE way.

"Mama loves Izabella. Papa loves Izabella. Izabella loves Mama. Izabella loves Papa. Mama loves Papa. Papa loves Mama. And that makes us all a FAMILY forever and ever!"

Amen.

A busy week...work, fun, singing, sommersaults...

A very busy week....warning...long post...sorry....Dan had to work A LOT of overtime...I know I'm tired of typing that tune!

McDonald's Playground Fun...So we met Papa for a lunch at McDonalds and there was a playground at this one. So after Papa left to go back to work, we took Izabella to the playground for a little. At first she didn't want anything to do with the colorful tubes of fun. Then I helped her into the first bubble, she hung out there for a while, checking it out. Then she decided she could "go"...the movie below shows the rest of this story.


Fingerpainting! We tried fingerpainting this week too! She is so fussy about having dirty hands, it was interesting to do this activity with her. She would only put one finger in, and paint with the same detail she draws, and colors with. Not much "fast scribbling and scrubbing" for this one. You can see by the look on her face...she was soooo excited. We took her finger paintings and made them into Valentine's for Papa. But, when Papa was having a bad day--we decided to give him one early to cheer him up a little. As we headed out to meet him for lunch, I gave one of the valentines to her to give to Papa when she saw him. She fell asleep in the car, but never let go of that valentine. I wish I had a picture. When I went to get her out of her car seat..she still had a death grip on it. She gave it to Papa..and clearly it lifted his day. He put it in his pocket for safe keeping. Even checked before he left to be sure it had not fallen out. Very sweet.


Building Towers! Izabella loves to build towers with her blocks Aunt Shelly and Uncle Topher gave her. She'll build one anywhere, anytime and then come to me and say, "Mama. Mama. Tall. Tall." Sure enough, it was tall. The pictures below are so precious. Not how she's putting that last block on. I thought for sure it was going over, but it didn't. And the last picture is not of after that "barely on there block", but it's what she does after each block is placed successfully! So fun...


Learning to navigate the stairs! We started learning to do the stairs. She's really picking it up quickly. And it's great for building muscles in her legs. We met with an Early Access Iowa today to get an appointment to get her an development assessment. I think she's on track, just want to be sure there's nothing we're missing. I was concerned her walking is so wobbly. She's getting much better, and doesn't fall much. But given her first step was taken in February of 2009 almost a year ago--I thought she should be a little more stable. After chatting with them--it occurred to me she just doesn't have any real muscles in her little legs. We know in the orphanage they kept the heart babies activity to a minimum--concerned about stressing their little hearts. So she really needs to build up the muscles. The stairs definitely help her do that. She's doing it better and better and with more endurance each time. She's so determined--every time we go upstairs she says, "Self, Self". She wants to do it by herself..holding my hand of course.


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It's a special Carry-Along personalized water jug. Izabella LOVES water and our friends Shayna and Matt gave us this jug right after we got her referral. I pulled it out and she loves it! Wants to carry it around all day! And wants us to keep refilling it. I'm not sure if she wants the water as much as it is the novelty of this really cool cup that she can carry around on a strap on her neck. The outfit she has on is from them too--for Christmas...and it all matches--how funny is that. Thank you Shayna and Matt.
Just a cool picture of them looking for Papa at the front door.