Saturday, October 30, 2010


This photo required it's own post. They were doing the Halloween Walk and the teacher suggested they might want to dance like a ghost with a friend. Izabella immediately jumped on that. I happen to have my camera on her--this is what I captured. It's adorable. (click on the photo to read the captions and see the expressions--it's hilarious)

Pre-School Halloween

Another First :
Halloween fun at pre-school.

Kayla had "play princess shoes on--with heels" so Izabella helped her around all day.
When I asked her what her favorite part of the day was she said,
"I hold Kayla's hand so she don't fall."
How precious is this!

The Director of the Pre-School was "Mary Poppins"--how perfect is that?
Just a spoon full of sugar...

Izabella's class--the two super heros are twins--jimmy and Joey.

Love this pic of the little bumble bee and lady bug golfing.

Izabella is a leader--she loves to be at the front of the line. Even in her precious book from the orphanage, her Nanny's told the story of how she refused to take ahold of the child in front of her and was only cooperative when they took her to the front of the line. Besides--who wouldn't follow a lady bug with a wand full of "good wishes".

The kids were "fishing" things from behind a big screen--a dirty sock, a sponge, etc. Sending each item back over the screen until they were happy--their final prize--a bag of goldfish crackers--YUM! Izabella thought it was hilarious! She laughed so loud it knocked her over. :) Just kidding. She did laugh very loud though. It was so sweet.

An adorable lady bug indeed.

After the games they did some circle fun--called the "Halloween Walk". Here is is flying around like a bat
NOTE--the lady bug antennae are all crumpled over--too funny.

More Halloween Walk fun: This time rolling around like a pumpkin. This is one of my favorite shots of the day.

A blurry shot of our ladybug being a kitty cat. Love how colorful and the movement and fun this photo captures on her face and all around her.
I think she had a great day--you think?

Dragon Key and "I's"

10.30.2010: Izabella drew some pictures for us this morning and was very proud of them. It was the first time she wanted to put one of them on the "fifigerator".

This was the first drawing:
M: Oh Izabella that's beautiful. What is it?
I: It's a "tatapiller!
M: Oh yes I see that!
I: And that's a "tey"
M: A tey?
I: Yes. A Tey. A Dragon Tey. To open the box!
(She watched the Disney movie "Dragon" movie with Daddy this last week. She LOVED it and obviously paid very close attention--to be able to make this old fashioned key drawing from memory.)
M: Oh Izabella that's amazing! I'm so proud of you. That's a very good dragon key drawing.
This one is hildarious! Izabella is learning how to write in her pre-school class. But, I taught her this letter before she went to school, as it's the first letter of her name. This morning she brings me this drawing.
I: Mom this is "you".
M: It looks like "I's" to me.
I: Yes, this one is your eyes, then Daddy's eyes, then Betta eyes.
M: Awww...I see it's a whole family of 'I's"! Very cool.
I: I want to save this one. Put on the "fifigerator".
And she did. On top of the big orange pumpkin I put up yesterday.

Letter I and Eyes. Too funny. I love how her brain is putting things together and processing all these new things she's learning.

AND: This week I worked in my studio on a logo that included a lizard. The lizard's eyes had those dark spots in them--a cartoon like character. She has never drawn eyes like this before. Fascinating to watch them grow.

This one is just special to me. Early on in china, Daddy taught Izabella how to trace his and hand on a paper. I remember how sweet it was to see her tracing his VERY big hand. Just so you know, his ring finger is the size of a quarter. He's a big ole' Nebraska guy. Ever since they do this tradition every time she sits on his lap and draws, or sits next to him with her complimentary crayons and paper from a restaurant. I usually throw them away or leave them behind. but this one struck me as very special. You can clearly see, Daddy traced Izabella's hand, and Izabella traced Daddy's hand. SWEET.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Izabella loves her puppies...

10.22.2010: Yesterday as we were cleaning up the kitchen after lunch. I told the dogs to get out of the kitchen and go to their beds. Izabella looked up at me--as she was putting the dishwasher tablet in the dishwasher(something she LOVES to do to help Mommy--this and always replaces the trash can liner too) and said in the sweetest voice:

"Ah...Mommy. She's ok. Montana just wants to be with me. She's my friend!"

Of course Montana sensed the security of Izabella and hovered over close to her so she could disobey my command and stay with us.

Izabella reached over with one hand to gently pet Montana's head and turned her face to Montana's face and said:

"Ahhh...I love you Montana. You my friend. Yes. Ahhhh..."

Izabella gets bonds with them more everyday. When one of them is not in the room with us. She will look and yell for them until she finds them. She says, "Sadie! Come! You're my friend." She will grab their collars and drag them along for a walk with her where she wants them to go. Often she loses that battle though--they will refuse and she gives up and tries again another time.
It's pretty sweet to watch their relationship grow.

A couple more cute little things:

This morning as I prepared Dan's lunch. Izabella sat at the end of the island with Dan eating her breakfast. Dan got up to get his coffee and prepare to leave. Izabella said:

"Daddy! Come here! Come here please! I want to talk to you!"

When he said he had to go to work. She said:



We were in a car showroom last night. Izabella crawled into the front seat of a car on the showroom floor and said:

"Mommy. I drive! You sit there. Daddy sit back there!"

Dancing with praying hands....

10.22.2010: This morning a friend of mine posted this video on her facebook page. So I popped over to listen to it. Izabella was sitting next to me. Here is what happened next (I wish I had my camera sitting next to me--but this time words will have to do).

Her face lit up.

Then carefully climbed down from my lap. (as if in reverence--as normally this would be a scurry to get to the floor fast so she can dance and sing)

Walked over next to me in the chair, raised her hands, then ran them down her body very slowly. (putting on her pretend princess dress)

She then swirled her hands above her head.

Reached out to her right to grab something--and put it on her head. (putting on her princess crown)

Reached out to her right again, reached down to her foot, ran her fingers across the bottom of her foot. (putting on her right princess pink slipper)

Reached out again, this time reaching for her left foot, running her fingers across the bottom of her foot. (putting on her left princess pink slipper)

She then pressed her hands together in praying hands. And began to dance and sing all over the living room.

Not releasing her hands from praying form --until the last notes were sung--when she raised her hands and her face skyward with the most precious smile. Singing loudly as best she could the last few words "Your faith abounds to me. To me."

It was precious, innocent and beautiful.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fun Pumpkin Patch Special Play Date:

10.19.2010: I don't have a lot of time. But I wanted to get this day documented. We tried to arrange another adoptive families of children from china play group event at the pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, no one could make it at the last minute. So Izabella and I headed out to it by ourselves (Dan got called into work that morning). We loaded the wagon and rode out to the pumpkin patch (by the Bridges of Madison County Francesca's house) and took a little stroll along the paths. Most of the pumpkins were gone--so we headed back to the area closest to the wagon drop off and where they had put pumpkins for "picking". Clearly a pumpkin fairy moved them there. :)

Once back to the wagon area--Izabella was not having fun at all. All the pumpkins were too big for her to pick up and she was just plain not doing well. Suddenly we I heard my name, it was one of our play group families! We were thrilled to see them. Their oldest Katie and Izabella just  had a wonderful time. We found a fairly small pumpkin. Katie helped load it in their wheel barrel, loaded them back on the wagon and headed back to the farm. Once there Izabella rode a pony for the first time--and loved it! I was sure she would be frightened--but I think Katie doing it as well assured her it was ok. Her smile tells it all. AND she picked and was lucky to be able to ride a horse that looked just like her CHINA stuffed horse at home. It was wonderful to see her having such a great time! Then it was off to play on the tire swing, the see-saw, ride the toy tractors and swing. Katie was such a great friend--encouraging and holding Izabella's hand each step of the way.

Here's a few pics of our day. Precious! Thank you God for bringing this beautiful family to us that day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mommy sent the Monster Away!

10.14.2010: Izabella's been waking up in the morning talking about having monster dreams for a long time. We tried to help her by telling her to tell the monsters to go away, and that Daddy will "smash" them...etc. We tried reminding her to think of fun things before falling asleep. Suggesting she dream about dancing and singing and playing with her friends. According to her daily dream report--some nights it seemed to work. But most nights--not.

One night I was sitting on the floor next to her bed with her while she fell asleep. I was watching her as she layed in her bed and so solemnly and a bit frozen with fear as she stared up at the ceiling. When I looked up where she was looking, I noticed the "decorative fairy doll" we had purchased for her that hung from the ceiling over her bed was moving from the heat blowing up from the heat register below it--causing the fairy to look a lot like a "live" fairy monster!

I asked Izabella if she was afraid of the "fairy"? She said, "yes". I asked her if that was the monster? She said 'yes"! I immediately got up and took it down. As I did so, she buried her head in her pillow and quilt--as if she didn't dare watch her mommy slay the monster. When I showed her it was just a doll--she didn't believe me and insisted I put it in the closet and shut the door tight!

The next day she announced to Daddy, "Mommy sent the Monster Away!"

She hasn't had a dream about monsters since.

I want to note--I recall reading a blog post about a father that had an adopted son that was having nightmares and a hard time sleeping in his room alone. So one night he decided to see what might be frightening him. He got down on his hands and knees so he was at his son's eye level and noticed a very large stuffed tiger with green eyes, that was pretty scary looking in the dark. He removed the tiger and his son never had problems sleeping in his room again. Thanks to that post--I was able to slay the "monster's" in my little girls dreams. :)

Sweet Dreams Izabella!

Chinese Dragon Ghord!

10.13.2010: Izabella's school is having an October Festival and asked each family to decorate a ghord for the festival. Not being the crafty type person--I had rarely bought a ghord, say nothing about decorated one--a tradition I've learned is common in many families and at many festivals in the fall. Ahhh...all the new things with having a child in your family.

As I contemplated this project--I thought it would be fun to do with Izabella--but I wanted to decorate them with a Chinese flare! So...after consulting Izabella...a CHINESE DRAGON Ghord it would be. Off to Wal-M*rt we went to pick up the necessary supplies. I designed it in my head--thinking we could use toothpicks to hold the pieces together. And have a blast making the colorful dragon! Well, our project almost died in it's tracks when I realized the ghords were too hard to push the toothpicks into them. Bummer....

Oh, well, we'll just make a dragon's head and use just one Ghord. So we started. Izabella was gluing colorful balls, dragon's teeth on his dragon mouth I made for us, rolling and twisting pipe cleaners for his antlers, eyeballs and tongue. I was working hard to find a way to attach his mouth--when Izabella said, "Look Mommy! His tail!" She had placed a ghord she picked from the pile on the table where we were working, then picked another one and stuck a toothpick in it and placed it next to the other one on the table. Indeed it was a body and tail! How did that little thing get that toothpick in that ghord? we didn't argue with fate--decided to just glue them next to each other on a board and the decorated the toothpick as the tail! So ingenious she is!

Here's my creative genius focusing hard on rolling an eyeball for our Dragon!
Here is the first of the "tail" ghords she placed next to the head. See the orange ghord?
And she is so proud of her Chinese Dragon Ghord! Tonight I decided we should draw some legs on our dragon. So we'll do that in the morning. Then it's off to school. Our first school project together! Sooooo fun it's crazy! I'll try to take a pic of her taking it into school. She's precious to watch tell me how she'll carry it "very carefully"! We already dropped it once showing it to Daddy!

It won't win any awards--or make it into one of those "crafty how-to" magazines. But we love it--and had a great time.

Today at lunch she said, 'After lunch nap, then Daddy home, and make a dragon again! Let's do it again Mommy!" I told her we'll do it again next year for school.

Haircut Mommy Haircut!

10.13.2010: Eeeeeek! Busy in my studio--talking on the phone with a client--I set Izabella up with the really neat "paper cutting" tub. She was so excited to show me this fun activity in her classroom on Monday--so I decided it would be easy enough to make one for her at home. She has learned how to use scissors at school--so we purchased a pair of kids scissors for her and today set them to use. I glanced several times over at her to see her happily cutting away have a great time. Then crawled up in my chair behind me and took my ponytail tye out to play with my hair--she does this a lot--and loves to try to put the pony tail back in. I didn't think anything of it--until she climbed down--pulled her little chair up to my chair with her back to me and handed me her green scissors and said, "Haircut Mommy! Haircut!" we don't cut hair with our scissors!

Suddenly, terror shot through me--as turned around to look at her little table--and laying on the floor next to it was a few globs of my precious beautiful Izabella's hair!!! Oh NO! I looked at her--and tried to find where these HUGE globs of hair came from and as I ran my fingers through her hair--more hair came out! she cut a huge clump off the right side of her hair! Thankfully she has so much hair--it is hardly noticeable!

OK--this is something I hear about all the time from other mom's. Just never thought it would happen to me--of course. But as my Dan said, "I knew that was going to happen when I saw those scissors. She keeps saying over and over how she needs a hair cut--and I knew she'd do it herself with those scissors." I wish he had said something--I never thought of it--seriously. How "stup_d" can I be? Oh harm done..

This afternoon I was brushing my hair when a huge glump of hair fell on the floor. Yeah--you guessed it--she cut my hair too! I still haven't figured out where she cut it from. Thankfully I have a VERY layered hair cut right now. :)

I'm still chuckling. I call her "butch" now. She says, "I not butch. I Little Girl!"

PS--I'd post pics--but I didn't think of it at the time--I was in a state of shock and just cleaned it up. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sun Come Out! I wait for Sun...

So fun to capture this on video! She's pretty serious about the sun coming out! :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I love my home!

Izabella approached her bed to settle in for the evening, then stopped and took a big whif (smell) of her bedding and said, "Mommy clean my bed!!!"

Mom: Yes, while you were napping downstairs with Daddy, I cleaned and made your bed all nice and fresh for you to sleep tonight.

Izabella: "Ohhh..Dank-You Mommy!"

She snuggles in--carefully covering her sweet horse "China" next to her. And putting her extra pillow under the covers at the foot of her bed for her feet (still don't completely understand this one--but she insist every night). We said our prayers. Then she rolled over on her side facing me (sitting on the floor next to her bed), snuggled her face into her pillow and pulled up quilt and said so sweetly, "I LOVE my home!"

Enough said.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Football, Apple Pie and our final post adoption report...

10.9.2010: Last week-end we loaded our 3.5 year old in our truck with a weekend of supplies and clothes and headed to Colorado Springs to watch our nephew Alex play football at the Air Force Academy! AND a huge day it was--they beat Navy for the first time in 7 years! Alex is a senior this year--and we're so proud of him. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Izabella said it best after getting in the car after the game, "That was fun Mommy. Do it again! Do it again!"

Izabella was a dream on the trip. We were warned by many that taking a 3.5 year old on a drive that long (11 hours) was going to be a nightmare. We knew she'd be fine. She's done the trip to GI (4 hours) a week after we got home without any issue, and she is just happy to be with us--together--she doesn't care if it's in a car or where it is. We are soooo very proud of her.

We stopped to see our VERY special friends Zola (now cancer survivor too!) and Gary. They were an instrumental part of our journey to Izabella--they were one of our reference families. So this was a very special visit.
At the families tailgate party--Izabella got a picture with the Armadillo! She thought that was pretty neat.
And she pulled the winning "autographed falcon's football" raffle ticket. This is the winner. Izabella is the only one she let hold her prize. :)
Love this pic of the flag behind her and Papa.
Yes--Mommy was there too--Daddy took this picture in front of the stadium for us.
Hmmm...I wonder if she had a good time!
She's pretty happy to be at the football game with Daddy!
Hey--found another one of Izabella and Mommy!
We sat with Aunt Chelle! She is so special to us! We love her sooo much!
See that handsome guy in the #60 jersey--puttin' that Navy guy in his place in the back of this picture--YUP--that's our nephew Alex!
I love this picture of Alex and Izabella. Our babies!
This is Dan's brother Ken, his wife Michelle and their son--AFA Cadet/Falcon Senior. Beautiful family indeed!
Love this picture of Alex and his Dad (Ken).
Alex and his Godfather (Uncle Dan)!
This is an adorable shot of Dan and Izabella on the field after the game. She requested this picture.
Sweet! Is all I can say.
I don't know what they were saying, but I can guess it was something like,
"Honey, we won--and we're so proud of our son!"
On the way home we stopped for dinner--this picture was taken near the Nebraska/Colorado border. We were on the road about 6 hours at this point. We stopped after dinner at the DQ. A much deserved treat.
This picture is taken at the same gas station in the same spot Dan took a picture of Montana and I just 3 months after we met--on our first trip to Colorado Springs--we were engaged a month later--and almost to the day--12 years later we are a family of 3!

Today we just layed low. Dan changed oil in my SUV, fixed a sprinkler head, mowed the lawn, and Izabella and I made 4 apple pies and come pie crust pinwheels--my favorite! And we watched the Air Force Academy clobber Colorado State--we're so happy we get the Versus Channel--we get to see every game in the comfort of our home. Izabella and I froze 3 of them--and cooked one for dinner tonight. The pinwheels are yummy! It's always a messy time--so I just let Izabella be messy! And we had so much fun. She helped with all of it--except the rolling out the crust. She ran the apple peeler, she sprinkled the sugar mixture on the apples, loaded the pie with apples, and even helped pinch the sides to seal it all together. She loved it--and so did I. I thought of my mom--she taught me how to make apple pies--and I can't make them without thinking of her. And now--I was teaching my daughter. Mom let Izabella make apple pie with her when she was here with us last winter--upon our return. So..she had a few lessons from Grammy Cota already. :)
Apple pies. Can you tell she loves to cook with Mommy!?
She loves to pretend cook too.
She loved that apple peeler! And she was good at it too!

Making pinwheels!
Flour, Flour, and more Flour. :)
Want some Mommy? Ah...not so much!
Look Mommy, I'm an apple pie monster!

And last, but definately not least--We also had our last post-adoption (12-month) report home study done after we returned, this week. I can't tell you how relieved I am to have all the paperwork done--and she is ours--safely, soundly and forever. This last visit upset her though--which I wasn't expecting. Towards the end of the visit--she crawled into my lap -- as I sat next to the case worker -- and put her hands on my face and said, "I love my mommy! I LOVE my MOMMY!" Of course I assured her I loved her too. Then she gave me a big hug and said, "I don't want to go back to China Mommy! I don't want to go back to China! I want my Mommy and Daddy!" The caseworker and I and Dan all assured her that was not going to happen. I guess you could say, she's happy to be here with us--and all is ok. She was happy to see the caseworker go home. We walked her out to the driveway--like we do all our guest--and she wanted to quickly get back in the house. That night she was out of sorts--quiet and more withdrawn and contemplative than she usually is. And it was a rough night of sleep for her--and for me. But Friday she was back to herself, and we were so happy to see that!

As I contemplate this meeting--and our first meeting--clearly we've come a long way Izabella. We love you so very much, we look forward to every day and every minute with you. We deeply in love--forever and ever and ever! When we first met--you really didn't want me to hold you--one year later, you are telling me you never want to leave. You're such a brave, smart, sweet little girl and we are so very proud--today--we can finally call you ours forever and ever!

One final note: We went to the doctors this week as well. We have just two more rounds of vaccinations and she's done. We did see the doctor too, and he's so happy with her growth. I thought the growth was due to good nutrition--but he indicated it is also in part being in a loving environment. The thought that our love for her helps her stay healthy physically as well as emotionally is sweet to hear from a medical doctor. She is now 39" tall, and weighs 36.4 pounds. On the Asian growth charts she is in the 97% percentile for height and off the charts for weight. So she's doing great! We're so proud of her.

Whew! A busy week!