Wednesday, March 31, 2010

1st Playdate!

3:31:10: Today we were invited to our very first group playdate! It was soooo fun. For Izabella and I! I met some really amazing mom's with kids of all ages and Izabella played so well! I was so very proud of her. She had a great time. We stayed 1 hour past the playdate ended and she still cried and resisted all the way to the car. Once at the car, she sat on the curb and pouted. It would have been funny if we didn't still have a lot to do! We had to hit the grocery store--and get her a nap! Well, she decided the nap was going to be combined with the grocery shopping, as you can see in the last photo--she was just plain exhausted!

I'm so amazed--asleep in the cart or awake and full of JOY--she attracts so many people to her. They just love her and tell us how "beautiful she is--wow!" Yup she sure is--inside and out! the playdate--I brought a $1 bucket and shovel and a couple old tupperware containers for Izabella to play with in the sand. It was a huge hit with everyone--especially the little boys! Boys always are drawn to her everywhere she goes--hope this isn't a sign of things to come--yipes! So, before she could get to the sand box--a little boy was playing with her bucket and things. Our first real "sharing" lesson. She broke down in tears and cried--I told her it was fine--she can share and when the little boy was done with it, it would be her turn. Sure enough, just as I finished saying that--he was done (with a little encouragement from his mom) and she had her "stuff" back to play with. And she played and shared with the boys the rest of the date. She LOVES the sand box and the slides best! She even ventured off to play on the slides and equipment all by herself, checking back with me after each slide down the slide. She is doing soooo great! Truly!

We also brought a hand-held pin-wheel. I had that pinwheel given to me by a client "Nanny 2 Shoes" just weeks after we started our paperchase. It was my first lunch meeting where the client asks--"do you have any children?" and I soooo happily for the first time was able to reply "we're on our way to our daughter in China!" What a great moment that was! So it was special pin-wheel indeed. I looked over and there was a little girl playing with it! I thought, what ta heck--she'll have a good time--izabella doesn't care. At the end of the playdate she brought it back to me and thanked me for letting her use the pinwheel. She said it was really fun and she took very good care of it and didn't break it or anything!" I said, "well then you'll need to borrow it again sometime!" Too funny. So we scored points in the toys department. :)

The kids even got a little creative and plopped it into the middle of the full bucket of sand. As you'll see in the video--popular toys! $1 worth! :)

Oh God blessed us so with this group of mom's and kids. It's amazing to me--still--how'd this all happen to us!

Here's sampling of our fun:

This was taken right after she got her bucket back! Ah...sharing is so good!

Here are the two little boys with her playing with the bucket, tupperware and pinwheel! You can just see her arms/hands in pink on the right. They posted the pinwheel in the middle of the bucket. By the way--this was planned by the little guys with the little girl that had the pin wheel. She came over and asked them if they were ready for the pinwheel yet. It was a windmill don't you know. :)

Lunch sitting on a bench with her baby! I should have brought a blanket--uh-duh! Next time I guess. She looks like she's sitting on a bench in florida or some coastal part of the country.
Oh how I wish!

She looks like such a big girl here. She has put on a pound--but still pretty little.

Izabella is so alert to everything around her. A mom was dealing with an un-happy son here--she was watching with --as you can see--much concern. Infact, last night at the restrauant--a little baby at the table next to us was crying and whaling. She was fixated on him saying, "sad, sad, baby sad!" Then she pushed her dinner away and wouldn't eat cause she was so upset the baby was sad. I tried to assure her the baby had his Mama and Papa right there to take care of him and he'd be just fine--not to worry. Suddenly the baby stopped crying and and she perked up and said, "baby happy!!!", pulled her dinner back over to her and was ok again. Whew!
She's so compassionate!

The next few shots are of her playing by herself after everyone had left--just a few other mom's still at the playground.

She's pointing at a plane!

Completely exhausted from all the fun in the sun!
She fell asleep in the grocery store as I was shopping.

This is a clip of her playing with the little boys.

40 mph winds and 72 degree weaather!

3.30.2010: We decided it was too warm out not to be outside and hadn't checked out a park yet--so we headed to the park I photographed for our dossier 3 years ago--since that time they have put in 2 huge amazing playgrounds one for 2 and up and one for 5 and up. We had the place to ourselves so we took the "girls" (dogs) and they loved it too--but they both tried to do the so much...only took one disasterous try for them and they were done with that! They do like to follow Izabella everywhere though and the gym was no exception-silly girls they think they're human. :) The winds were 40 mph and you'll note it almost knocks her down a couple times. :) Crazy.

Also--it was Izabella's second day of school. Just as the teacher (she's so smart) suspected the second class would be worse than the first. She went into the snack room, directed me to come with her to her seat--put a cookie in her mouth and then realized "ut-oh! Mama's leaving now!" She immediately pulled the cookie from her mouth--put it back on the napkin in front of her--and started to plead with me to stay--sit down. So I stayed and eased my way out after one of the teachers distracted her and got her moving on to the FUN stuff in the other room. She never did eat her treats! Not a priority I guess.

The teachers report was EXCELLENT--she said she came leaps and bounds in just one week. They said she's starting to interact and play with others and is doing great. They just love her there and I am so appreciative. As I was leaving the director of the program stopped to visit with us--I told her how very much we appreciate this amazing opportunity. And how we felt it must have been God that had a hand in it. She said, "Well it was interesting, I remember the lady at the office handed me your application and said you need to look at this one--she came in today and she was so nice! That's all she said, then when she was filling up the rooms, she had just one slot open--it was ours!" One slot--wow! This program is so high in demand--seriously it's a miracle--yet again. God is so good.

Today we are headed to our first "Playgroup"! The mothers from our school all get together every week at a different park! I am so exited to go. AND one of the mothers has her son enrolled in the same preschool this fall we are so praying Izabella gets into. How wonderful would that be to have her in a class this fall with a friend she knows from this spring and summer class. I am so blessed.....God is looking over us on all levels and we can not be grateful enough.

AND yesterday--the friend that wrote that beautiful poem for us--emailed me yesterday that God laid a song on his heart and it was a final call to adopt. His wife and he had been considering it for years, but pushing the idea off for all kinds of reasons. But he feels now--it's time. I forwarded him some info to point him in the right direction--and I pray everything falls in place and God shows him the way with smooth grace. He could use your prayers if you have a slot open. :) I'm so touched by all this--i can't tell you.

Izabella touches the adoption spot in so many people family, friends and strangers alike in our lives. Her story of survival, miracles and joyful, beautiful, delightful spirit can not be denied. It's amazing--it's a miracle unfolding every day.

Here are some pics and a video of our time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blowing Bubbles and Beautiful Kites!

3.28.10: Oh my goodness it was a beautiful day! Dan has been sick so all our plans for the weekend were on hold--until Sunday we were just plain bored! We had purchased a kite for Izabella for Easter--and dying to take it out! The wind in Iowa is a constant--it's a rare day there is no wind in Iowa--you come to love it and on a very hot day the cool breeze (wind) is much appreciated, and when flying a kite it's amazing wind! I grew up in Vermont--wind is not an element that shows it's wonder except on top of a mountain--so kite flying was always a frustrating event and ended in broken kites that just couldn't get off the ground, even when we put our fastest sprinter on the kite to get it launched! Soooo...yeah....this day was soooo perfect.
Izabella was so fun to watch! Her expressions are so sweet!

We tested the weather a little on the deck first with some bubbles from a little bottle she got at the doctors office on Friday with Dan--they were so in love with her she got her choice of toys--3 of them! The doctor Dan and I go to (Dr. Lenz) so lovingly did all our medical exam paperwork and was so good to us through the wait-always asking about the adoption and in the end he was so blown away by her. He said, "oh my she's beautiful and smart too--you won't have any trouble with her in school--she'll do so well!" I think he's right. After he left the room, we overheard him telling the nurses the same thing! So he wasn't just telling us that--cause we are her parents! So sweet.

So...she LOVED the bubbles! She tried to catch them, then said, "bye, bye"! The she told them with so much certainty, "stop, stop!" Ahhh...doesn't work that way!

Then we took off to go to the school to fly the kite. Dan had a really hard time breathing--he's got a really awful chest infection from breathing in the dust from the street sweeper he's been running all week last week. Coughing up dust and even on Friday a fever and stomach upset. So, he had a really hard time--but he was a trooper and I think had a sweet time. It would not have been the same without him.

The girls went with us too. They are so sweet. Sadie wanted to chase the butterfly and Montana was so happy when I sat down in the grass with Izabella and she just flew the kite. So she layed down next to us, very tight up against us--and hung out with us for this very special moment. Almost makes me cry typing this--it was truly a special moment--so unexpected. Dan captured it in a photo for us.

All together a wonderful day.

Here's some photos and at the bottom a very special video (click here to view it on You Tube) of our little family kite flying event ( put music and titles to it and lost it--UGH!--no time to rebuild--so it's just the raw footage--bummer).

Enjoying the warmth of the sun on our favorite swing!
Can't tell you how many times I sat on this swing and dreamed of a day when she would be sitting with us on this swing! Praise God!
Blowing bubbles! Love those puckered sweet lips!
Trying to catch the bubbles! Immediately after she said, "bye, bye!"

"I do it! I do it!" And indeed she did. At first the wind was pulling her forward and we thought it would lift her off the ground and take her with it--like in the movie "Up!" Then we put her in the car to hold onto it--and she got the hang of it.

My Chinese Princess--Flying her beautiful butterfly kite--couldn't be prouder of her!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A sweet poem from an old friend...

3.25.10: I rec'd this email from an old friend from high school this morning. It reduced me to tears. So very special. Rick and I were cheerleaders together in high school. That's right a boys and girls squad--the first one at the high school level in our state history. We had so much fun and we even won the state basketball championship the same year. As is pictured here--as we pose for this picture with our trophy. I believe this picture was taken in Feb/Mar 1975 so I was 15 years old--just two years after the adoption spirit hit my heart!

Since we returned from China--I have reconnected with a couple friends from high school that have also adopted! How sweet that is! And one friend I graduated with--just got married two years ago and is on his way through the paperchase to becoming the father to a beautiful little boy that lives in a land half way around the world! (Congratulations Bill and Melissa!).

I love how the spirit of adoption was alive and moving through the hearts of so many of my friends all those years ago.

Although this poem was written for our family--it could be written for any family that has been touched by a child through adoption. Thanks Rick--your words are so eloquent and touched me deeply. You are so kind.

A Family At Last--BY: Rick Whitham

A precious little baby who lived so far away,
Had no Mom or Daddy and had no place to play.
Then a very special couple saw that lovely face,
And said “That is our daughter” with God’s help and grace.

They worked to make it happen until they got the call,
That said they could come and get that precious baby doll.
So off they ran to get her in that far away land,
When they joyfully returned, they were walking hand in hand.

Now beautiful Izabella won’t have to grow up sad,
‘Cause that very special couple is now her Mom and Dad.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Very Special Friends on a Very Special Trip!

3.25.10: You all remember my friend Kelly! The woman that lives in Pennsylvania, started an online group of families waiting for their children to come home from China as of July 2007 and as a result created a whole group of amazing mom's that I've come to feel very blessed with their friendship. AND in the end, was the first person to show us our Izabella's face.

Yes, you read that correctly. The day before we received a call from our agency with Izabella's referral, I was desparately sad with not getting a call from that months list that was released. It was 5 days past the release date--which meant the chances of getting a call were slim to none. Add to that, our fingerprints expired on November 26th and would require we get them renewed. This sounds like a minor thing--but it would have meant spending yet more money and Dan's patience with this dream was running thin, I seriously doubted he would agree to renew them--which would have ended our almost 3 year wait to meet and bring our daughter home.

I was beside myself with sadness, tears just poured down my face for nearly a half hour, as I typed a post "So Sad" . It's a very long post, but as I just re-read it, it brought tears again to my eyes--as I know there are so many other families feeling the same way every day--as they wait, and wait, and wait. I was so blessed with a level of comfort in our journey for so many months, but once in the special needs program, I knew we were close and it got pretty real and tough at the same time. Funny thing is, the months before the merge of our agency, and the opportunity of a special needs child opened up, we were really at a dead end and I had more reason to be "sad" but I was NOT. I knew God would not end this journey that way. And my faith in that gave me a peace in my heart that is a blessing beyond my wildest dreams.

Through all of this Kelly has been a rock for me. Along with several other friends I've never met in person, but they know my heart like only another adoptive mom would know. After reading this post on August 10th Kelly sent me this email.

My heart took a leap, I called my niece Katie over to my computer to look at her, and announced, "she looks like the face of the little girl God gave months before we started our journey to her." (I posted about this dream and the other dreams I had leading up to this one here entilted, "She woke me out of a deep sleep..."). I remembered that face well, and it carried me through many days of waiting. And brought me so much assurance that there would be no doubt when we saw her face, that she was the one God has chosen to be our daughter. The one that we'd be honored to be the chosen parents of. And I was so sure. But it was late, our agency was closed, and I wasn't sure how to proceed without getting my sweet friend in trouble for sharing this info with us. She found her on a "hard to place" list on her agencies website.

Just a little on how the list works: Once the list comes out, the children with minor special needs get locked in a matter of seconds. Every once an agency locks a file for a family to review a child's file they have just 48 hours to formally "accept" the child by sending electronic acceptance through their agency to China for review and final approval. So the fact that it had been now 6 days after the list dropped, meant the odds were seriously against us and that likely she was reviewed by a family or or two before being put on the "hard to place" list of children with needs that are more serious and need to be considered carefully. Well, her Hep-C positive test made her hard to place. And it was a VERY serious condition for us too. But, my heart knew she was ours--I just needed to find my way through this Hep-C issue and of course Dan must be on board as well--and he was very reluctant about the Hep-C. Interesting, if you note, Kelly said in her email, "Are you open to possible Hep C?" There was no possible in her file--she was positive according to the test--how did Kelly know--as we now know that the test was a false-positive and she was healthy and HEP-FREE? Another one of God's details and it's a beautiful thing--how He IS in all the details of our lives--if we just pay attention.

By now you know, Kelly R was a true angel in our lives, and will always hold a VERY special place in our hearts. It's hard to put into words how I feel about her and all she's done for us. Well, I am honored to now have a front row seat on God's miracles in her life with the referral of their daughter "Lydia". You can read about their referral journey to her here in her post "boy, girl, boy, girl". I am sooooo excited for her and the BIG NEWS IS THEY IN CHINA NOW AND JUST DAYS FROM MEETING THEIR LYDIA! I am hitting the refresh button all morning waiting on her post that they arrived ok. AND as God would have it -- they will meet their Lydia in the same city in China we met our Izabella in! We thought they might even meet her in the same room, on the same couch and have the same civil affairs officer make her "offically theirs". But the civil affairs building is being rennovated--so they will meet her in a hotel that is a temporary office for them. But will likely have the same Civil Affairs officer! There are those that don't think anything of these details and think they are all coincidence. But I don't believe in coincidence--I believe it is all part of the "blueprint" of my life and that my meeting Kelly over 3 years ago was meant to be, that God knew he'd use her to sooth my hurting heart and give us a journey to our daughters that is blessed with friendship, fellowship that is not an accident in any way shape or form.

So safe travels, transition and adventures to you Kelly and Mark! You are an amazing family and I am so privledged to know you and hope to meet you some day, some how. I am watching and praying for you while you take these final steps to your daughter. Oh how I remember them so well for us--it's a time you will never forget and never be able to put into words. It's that amazing! The excitement for you is as if it was us!

Oh Lydia--you are so close to becoming a part of a family that is a blessing to all! Can not wait to see you in their arms and see a little smile on that beautiful face of yours and tears of joy in your mama and baba's eyes.

I encourage you to follow along with them here. Kelly is a wonderful writer and whowever follows along with them will be touched and blessed with their words, actions and events that take them through the journey to an orphan finding a family, and a family completing their family. God's will indeed. You'll be hitting refresh every morning too! :)

SIDE NOTE: Blessing Abound! As I was composing this very long post (which started out as a short note of JOY for my very special friend Kelly) I realized something that is so moving to me. After reading the post in June of 2007 about my dreams--I did some math and realized those dreams were happening at the same time our Izabella was being concieved! My heart is so warm as I realize, God truly is holding your dreams, your life in the palm of His hand. And I am yet again so blessed and comforted to know this true. As the financial stress since getting home has been overwelming to me and at times confusing to me. I am comforted to be reminded today with this post--that God is with me--and that I need to pay extra close attention to Him as I move through this next phase of adjustment for our family of 3! I have only to look at Izabella's face to know she was worth all of what we are faced with financially right now--this too will pass and we will come to a place where we can look back and understand it in all of God's detail. For now, I am just thankful I have faith and hope and a God that's here for me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An afternoon in the spring cool breeze...

3.23.10: Yesterday afternoon after a full morning of first day of school..we headed outside to enjoy the afternoon sun peaking in and out of the clouds. Izabella had a two-hour nap so she was ready to run and have fun. And her cousin Katie and our sweet neighbor Jackson were happy to join the fun.

That little Jackson is such a sweetheart. He never comes over to visit unless invited and is so gentle and fun at the same time. I just love how he plays with Izabella. And clearly she really loves him too! I actually think they have a very special friendship. Can't wait to see all the sweet and fun times they'll have. He lives right across the street. His family is very nice.

Here are some highlights and pictures and a quick video:

Off for a walk--the whole family is glad papa is home!

precious running!

Returns on the shoulders of her Papa.

Sitting on the stoop with their pansies picked from our garden that managed to survive the winter somehow!

Running with Cousin Katie--she runs with her whole body and the arms are moving as fast as her feet!

Katie and Cousin Izabella and baby.

Mama and baby.

Izabella insisted on a nap after a full afternoon of ring-around-the-rosies, london bridges, tag and leap frog, simon says and leap frog! Whew...snoring just to be sure we know she's sleeping--like Papa does.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Izabella's First Day of Pre-Pre-School!

3.23.10: She did soooo well! I am so proud of her! Oh how I stressed about this--and she just breezed through it! The instructor told me that next week will likely be harder. And when i ask her if she liked her "school" she said, "no"! Funny, she didn't want to leave after it was over. We'll see how next week goes. I love this class and this group of mom's they are so sweet! Several are pregnant even which is fun. And they invited us to join them for a Wednesday morning playdate they do--at a different park each week. HOW FUN IS THAT? I am so excited about this.

We did song time with mom's and children--and then they went to the other room to sit down at little tables for their snack--then the big moment "we had to leave". I slid out and then looked at her through the window. She saw me, I think that assured her it would be ok. She was very calm--not emotions really. Just checking it all out! Then the mom's got to know each other. There were 3 new mom's to the group--including me. Thankfully, I was not the only NEWBIE! Of course I am the only 50 year old mom--and the only mom with an adopted daughter--but they were all so excited for us and welcomed us with open arms. Even one woman asked me about adoption in more detail--they had been struggling with whether to or not for a long time. Praise the Lord! So lots of amazing things happened in a short hour and 15 minutes!

The teacher said she did very well! Loved playing cooking with a couple of the other kids and even grabbed the teachers hand and insisted she "sit", "stay" and proceeded to serve her food she had cooked in the kitchen. She's hilarious! And she was impressed with how well she understood the concept of "make-believe". She said most kids you have to tell them not to really eat it. :) I said, "oh yeah, and she usually thinks everything is HOT and blows on it to cool it down before eating it." She said, "oh yes--everything was "HOT" So, I'm totally relieved and yet again blessed immeasurably!

When we got to the car, she didn't want to take off her back pack and go home--wanted to take a walk I guess. Once in the car, she kept yelling to the little boy in the car next to us "Logan" telling him "bye, bye!". So I rolled down the car window and he returned the greeting! It was so sweet. I asked her if she liked Logan--her eyes got very big and she said, "YES!" She also really like his brother Gavin. We'll see how it goes!

We hit the grocery store for a few items and then headed home for lunch--Izabella ate lunch and promptly fell asleep after. She had a BIG day! Can't wait for next Tuesday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mad Scientist Bed Head and Our little Diva!

3.19.10: Izabella woke up with some seriously wild bed-head. When I walked into her room, I said, "Good Morning Izabella. You look like a Mad Scientist." I went to pick her up out of her crib when she immediately said, "No" and pointed to her headbands and bows basket on her dresser next to her bed. Yes, our little diva had to have a Headband and bow on before getting out of bed! She then proceeded to tell me she also MUST have a 'Grween Bow". Then she wanted a "Piik Bow". OK...I'm lovin' that she's saying more colors than Blue and Yellow. So we put on our head band and bows and started our day.

Then while she was eating breakfast, she insisted I listen carefully. And she counted to THREE! She has been counting "One, Two, Five, Nine" for months! So I was so happy. We even got her to do all the way to five-just once though.

So it seems in addition to a girl that can't show up at the breakfast table without her "pretties" (that's what we call her head bows and bands), she also had a morning that things were really starting to click for her--or she just decided she'd share this knowledge she had and hadn't shared yet. :)

She's still adorable--even with the Mad Scientist bed head!

What mom? You want a picture of what? Your pretty Izabella, your pretty!

I think this is one of my favorite pictures of Izabella and Katie--Love them both--LOTS!

Lunch with Papa: Entertained by flying Eagles

3:18:10: I always bring my camera with me because you just never know what will happen. Especially now that Izabella is our lives. So when we brought lunch to Papa at the Lake Marina we were so pleased the EAGLES decided to grace the sky and entertain us for the event. If you recall an earlier post--we took a drive earlier this winter to see the Eagles. But they were no where to be found. So, just as it always is, it they will show up so beautifully unexpected.

Izabella was fasinated! She loved it. Couldn't focus or talk about anything else. I didn't get great pictures but a couple that show them off a little. There were 6 of them! Truly quite a sight! Not sure I've ever in my life seen a bald eagle. Thank you God for this beautiful lunch with my family.
Is it my imagination or do they look a lot alike in this picture!

Is it my imagination or do they look a lot alike in this picture!

Papa and Izabella by the Motor Grader he was operating that day--they look so little next to it!

Where did the Eagles go?

Hmmmm what happened?

Darn it I wish they'd come back?

Hey! There they are!

One of the Six Eagles flying past the Mast of a Sail boat?

Bye, Bye Papa! See you in a few hours!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring is Here!

3.17.2010: Yesterday afternoon it warmed up to 60 degrees! So we went outside to soak up the sunshine! We pulled out her little car from our neighbors the Linders--(thank you so much)--and really enjoyed ourselves. Then we realized the little car was a little too small for her--and we had purchased a new Radio Flyer tricycle for her in November for her May birthday (thinking she's grow into it by then) but realized quickly we'd need to pull it out way before May! So we went down to the basement and brought it up. I didn't realize it would have to be put together--but Papa happily did it for her and whalla--she was off and riding! She learned the concept of pushing so quickly--we were so proud of her. She has some practicing to do--but we're certain she'll be off and riding around the block in no time!

Dan took his Harley out for a ride too--it was so gorgeous. It's going to be another day like that today--but predictions of more snow on Friday have us dashing out to enjoy it while it last.

I captured the most precious video of our little evening in the spring sunshine.

But the most precious of all is a moment when Izabella comforts Dan as he struggles with one of the parts that doesn't fit very well. She will often do this--kiss on us--love on us--but I never catch it on video. I was in tears this morning thinking about it--and how very blessed we have been with this little precious soul! She is truly amazing--absolutely, undeniably amazing!


Like Father, Like Daughter!

A little lesson and she's off!

She just loves her bike!

"I help, I help!" "Papa fix it!"

Papa's back after a little ride--oh yeah!

Monday, March 15, 2010


3.15.10: The title of this post is silly. The things you learn about yourself when you have a little one around imitating everything you do. Apparently--before I move from one task to the next I say, "ok!..." I learned this when one day Izabella did this between all her task. I thought she was being so adorable--then I realized--hey that's what I do!

I didn't realize it's been so long since I updated. We've been so busy, just doing normal stuff really. Here's a picture post of our happenings.
I don't remember ever getting a picture of Dan and his parents! I think the last one I have was taken at our wedding. When I saw them together saying goodbye on Sunday--I had to snap this photo. It's blurry darn it--but it's a good one of everyone. And it's only right that this picture include Dan and his parents and his daughter! They love Izabella so much. It warms my heart to see all the love they give her and she gives back.

We also visited very good friends (Dan's best friend from High School) and his family! They just got added this beautiful rescue league dog to their family and oh my is he "SWEET" with all CAPS! Wow...What a beautiful family they are and wonderful friends. Izabella just loves Kennedy--they danced and played all night!
It was Todd's birthday--Happy Birthday Todd! He wanted a McDonalds Cake! He's so much like Dan--so silly! you think she likes Kennedy? As izabella would say, "YUP!"

We made a trip home to Nebraska to see Dan's family and some old friends. Izabella loved this house her Grampa is buidling that is a replica of his sister's house. It's so cool.

Izabella's cousin Katie was so much FUN! We bought these matching "sister" shirts in China--and planned to take a "sister" picture. We got it done this weekend--and I love this shot! Two of my most favorite girls! Katie and Izabella played for almost 3 hours with all her cool toys. Izabella loved her doll house and playing with her cousin. When we got in the car to go to dinner after her playtime with Katie--she looks at me and said, "Mama! Fun!" She just loves Katie!

Gramma Arndt gave Izabella her first Easter Bunny! It was almost bigger than her!
Papa always uses a coin or two to get some "goodies" for Izabella!
She gets such a kick out of the prizes...he loves doing this with her.

Checkin' out the pretty ring she got! We try to stick to the "things" not "sweets" ones.

Papa joined us for a library storytime! I love this picture of Izabella working on a puzzle and Dan is holding his head in amazment of how SMART she is!

We also visited a new play area at a different mall. I love this picture of her. It's precious. She's always so happy!
We attended a "Dr. Suess" Story time at Barnes and Noble and even got some goodies too! She held onto those goodies like they were gold.