Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving #1

Our first Thanksgiving dinner of the season was at Katherine's school. Her kindergarten class made a Feast and did all of the cooking themselves. They made turkey salad sandwiches, fruit salad, celery with peanut butter, and pumpkin pie. Maybe not the typical dinner, but pretty impressive for kindergarteners! The kids all wore Indian costumes and decorated their classroom. (Indian gear is so much more popular than Pilgrim clothes that they don't even bother with those weird hats and buckles and just wear vests and headbands.)
Since my classroom is next door to Kate's I had planned on eating the Feast with her. Just as we were sitting down for lunch, Granny and Poppy stopped by with Rachel. They had no idea there was a special dinner, they were just running an errand and decided to visit! Katherine was thrilled to have everyone there. Her class watched our China journey and now claim Rachel as one of their own, so Rae's presence was an excitement in itself. It ended up being so much fun!

Thanksgiving #2

We had Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom's family. It's a pretty informal affair, which is good since there were around 35 of us there. There is, of course, enough food for twice that many people. We ate and watched the kids play and ate some more. Four of my cousins had babies within 5 months a couple of years ago. Now that Rachel has joined the family, that makes FIVE 2 year olds! They were all there and they were all busy! Actually, they were quite adorable to watch. Mom brought gingerbread men and gingerbread turkeys, so all the kids had a blast decorating them. Rachel didn't care much about the cookie, but she loved eating all of the candy decorations (before they ever reached the cookie!).

Thanksgiving #3

We don't always make it to both sides of our family over Thanksgiving, but we did this year. All of Steve's family met at his parents' on Friday. With his parents, brothers, all the neices and nephews and their boyfriends and girlfriends, there were 21 of us sleeping in one house! It was a bit crazy, but kind of fun. Thankfully, all of the "big kids" were curteous and good natured about sleeping on the floor on wall-to-wall air mattresses.

The girls have 7 cousins, ranging in age from 6 to 28. Now that the "big kids" are grown, we don't all get together very often. Katherine was delighted to see her 6 year old cousin Bethanne and the two of them played and giggled non-stop. Rachel met several cousins for the first time and charmed them all. She happily made her rounds from lap to lap and basked in all the attention.

This was also the first time Rachel met her great-grandmother, Steve's 92 year old grandma. Great Grandma fell for Rachel's charms just like everyone else! Katherine and Great Grandma have always had a special relationship and Great Grandma has followed the journey to bring Rachel home with great interest. We always look forward to seeing her.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Today is Rachel's 2nd birthday and her first here with us. We celebrated so much over the weekend that we didn't do much to mark the day today. Rachel has learned how to say "two", but she only holds up one finger - we'll have to work on that!

Mom and I did have a photo shoot today (one of our favorite hobbies) with Rachel in her baptism dress. The results were great! Enjoy the pictures!

One of the interesting things about adoption, especially international adoption, is that your future child's birth date is a mystery for a long time. There is no "I'm due at the end of June" general timeline. When the referral finally arrives, a day that has never had any particular meaning is now important and exciting. Months that previously were just part of the calendar are now of more significance. For us, November 23rd has become ared letter day!

Rachel's birthday also has a meaningful tie to my history. My Mom's mother died when Mom was a child. I have asked her before what my grandmother's birthdate was, but she couldn't remember. This summer, a few weeks before we left for China, Mom called and said, "You'll never believe what I found!" She had come across a paper with her mother's birth and death dates on it. My grandmother was born on November 23rd. I never knew my grandmother, but I love that my daughter shares her birthday. The connections through time and space are amazing...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


We spent the weekend celebrating Rachel. Her birthday party was yesterday. Katherine and I decorated her ladybug cake and matching cupcakes and Granny and Poppy hosted the party (their house has a lot more room than ours). It was Rachel's first time to meet some of her aunts, uncles, and cousins - she charmed them all, of course! She had never opened a present before, but was quite delighted with the whole concept. After the first few, she would open one and then sign "more"! She was so pleased with her new books and toys - baby dolls (which she calls "bubbas"), an Elmo phone, a little doll house, a shape sorter. She is VERY social and just loved having so many people around.
This morning during church, Rachel was baptized. Granny had made her a beautiful dress from silk she'd purchased in China. Rae knew she looked fancy! Our minister is also an adoptive dad and he said such beautiful things about Rachel and her presence in our lives. Rachel was happy to look around and flirt with the congregation. When everyone clapped to end the ceremony, she clapped along for herself! Our church family was with us through the long and complicated adoption process and people are so excited to see Rachel home and happy. At the baptism, we were presented with a scrapbook of good wishes, all beautifully decorated with ladybugs, and a handmade good luck quilt. It was such a special day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here is a picture of the girls taken last Sunday. It was the first time since the airport that they'd worn their sister shirts. I think they are finally adjusting to this new role. Giving up her "only" status was really, really hard for Katherine, but she's doing much better. She loves Rachel deeply, she just doesn't like sharing the attention. Rachel, for her part, adores Katherine and anything that she does. Katherine often refers to herself as "Sister" when she's talking to Rae. I like hearing that...
This is a pretty good look at Rachel's current hair style. It's wild! Her bristles are showing no signs of being tamed or even just lying down!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pictures from the park

It is cold and rainy here today - feels like winter. So, I'm enjoying pictures taken a few weeks ago at the park. It was sunny and gorgeous and the girls had so much fun playing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Okay, here is my first attempt at blogging! I'm trying to figure everything out, so please be patient!

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way