Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Card

We did another home photo shoot this year, hoping for the perfect shot for our Christmas cards. I didn't like any of the shots from the first try, so we scrapped those photos and started over one Sunday after church. We ended up using this photo of the girls just playing around with their antler headbands. Of course, the girls dressed the dog up for the photo too! :-)

And then, this is another set of photos I really liked. DH didn't want to use these because it's a repeat of our 2004 photos....but I think we'll be doing these again in the future anyway!

Cookin' Up Christmas

The girls sang in the children's choir at church again this fall. The theme for the Christmas program was "Cookin' Up Christmas". The characters of the program were modeled after the big name stars of the Food Network. We had Bobby Grey, Emma Lasagna, Martha Steward, Allie Brown, Paula Queen, and even Betty Rocker. :-) The part of Paula Queen (aka Paula Deen) was played by an adult who used a strong southern drawl to tell the story of Jesus' birth. Emily played the part of Martha with an attitude. :-) Ally and Claire didn't have a speaking part, although they did have a song duet, and I must say they sounded really good! (imho)
All of the kids decorated aprons to wear during the performance, and finished off the outfit with a chef hat. Everyone remembered their parts and did a great job of singing. Way to go kiddos!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gotcha Gifts

As I mentioned in the previous post, Emily's 10th anniversary of her adoption day was in November. Due to scheduling conflicts and the Thanksgiving holiday, our group planned our celebration weekend for November 30th through December 2nd.

On the afternoon of the 30th, I packed everything for the trip and picked dh up from work. He said he wasn't feeling well, so he stayed home for a bit while I went to check the girls out of school early. By the time we came back home, dh was really sick...and ended up being admitted to the hospital later that evening.

Emily was absolutely heartbroken at the thought of missing her gotcha day party. She was sad that her daddy was sick, but there was some major sobbing going on when she heard we couldn't go on the trip. I remembered that a friend was driving to Little Rock the following day for a Hannah Montana I made a few phone calls and asked for a few favors. Emily was able to get to Little Rock, and her China travel group picked her up there. She was THRILLED to be with her friends for the remainder of the weekend!!

Emily's China travel group always exchanges gifts for "gotcha day". This year, I made pillows for each of the girls. The pillows have their names and a Chinese girl embroidered on them (clothing colors selected to match their bedrooms...hopefully!). The pillows are finished off with matching beaded trim and back fabric. Don't know what I was thinking when I decided to put on beaded trim...nearly lost my mind sewing that stuff on!! LOL We weren't there for photos, but the other parents sent this photo of the girls with their pillows.

Gotcha Day - 10 years!!

It all happened 10 years ago....the day we first became parents! Little Lu Ran-Ran was placed in our arms on November 21, 1997. Our WONDERFUL travel group got together to celebrate our 10 year adoption anniversary (aka gotcha day) - more to come on that later, but for now, my mind is reminiscing a little.....

I still remember walking into that conference room in Hefei, China...feeling excited, scared, anxious, nervous. I was SO nervous that at first I didn't even see the nannies holding the children!! I felt like I had blinders on. I only saw an "official looking" woman and the conference table. I was the first one into the room...I walked to the table and pulled out a chair....only to be told NO! by the woman. She then told me to go around to the other side. THAT'S when I saw the babies!! There on the couch were 4 nannies, holding 4 beautiful and precious little girls. When Randy and I turned to look at the babies, one of the nannies pointed to the child she was holding and said, "Ran-Ran" and then pointed back at us, smiling and saying, "Mama & Baba". I melted. There she was...only a few feet away, OUR daughter! The little girl we had waited so long to hold. We had to wait a little longer before we were able to hold her though, as the officials wanted the adoption paperwork completed first.

The next few minutes are a blur...with the 4 families completing paperwork, answering questions about our incomes, why we want to adopt, will we promise to love these children as our own, etc. The final step was to put our thumbs into red ink and "stamp" the papers.

THEN we were allowed to hold our children! Emily was dressed in a little onsie, a pair of split pants, and a little quilted jacket. Before she handed Emily to me, the nanny removed the split pants for the orphanage to keep. I cried a little when I first held Emily, but she just looked at Randy and I with wide eyes. Her little hands grasped the little caterpillar toy we brought with us. Randy and I were totally and completely in love with this child! I remember Randy saying over and over how beautiful she was. This was OUR DAUGHTER!!

Once we came out of our own fog, we were able to observe the other families in the room. Trish (a single mom) was singing to her tiny little one, the Gary's were smiling and taking photos of their daughter, and the Wood's were consoling their grieving daughter. Three of the girls were very close in age (14 months), however, the Wood's daughter was 2-1/2.

Fast forward 10 years. Our group of 4 first-time parents became "families" together. We also became close friends. We have gotten together every year for the past 10 years to celebrate our adoption day. We also get together every year for China camp. We have also tucked in a few extra events throughout the years such as a trip to Silver Dollar City, and many scrapbooking retreats for the moms. On top of all this, 3 families in the group returned to China earlier this year for a birth land tour! We don't live really close, but not really far apart either. The longest drive between us is 6 hours. We believe that our bond as parents has helped to bond our children together as well. The four little girls adopted that day in Hefei are now such close friends. They mail letters and cards, and send emails to one another. They make gifts for one another. They LOVE getting together for their gotcha day weekends and China camp...when they see each other, it's like they've never been apart. The girls are even scheming to go to college and live together when they're older!! :-)
We are SO thankful for this wonderful group of people. They are such blessings!!

Little Nurses

Ally and Claire LOVED the nursing accessories they were given when their dad was in the hospital. I think everyone in the family was subjected to a few pretend shots.


Since I got behind on blogging, I'm backtracking a little.
Claire made this cute little turkey at school prior to Thanksgiving. She wanted to make sure I put a picture on the blog! :-)


Finally back with time to update our blog a little!! What a CRAZY few weeks we've had!!

On November 30th, dh became ill with severe stomach pains and vomiting. As the symptoms became worse, he finally relented and allowed me to take him to the ER. After a short (ha!) 4 hour wait in the ER, dh was admitted to the hospital. Xrays and blood tests were done...and 2 days later, dh was feeling better, so he was released from the hospital. Diagnosis was a bacterial infection in his stomach.

Only four days later on a Thursday evening, the pain and vomiting had returned...this time much worse, so at 9 p.m. we headed for the ER again. They graciously assisted us with another 4 hour wait (have to give them credit because 3 hours and 55 minutes WERE in the treatment room after all). :-)
DH was again admitted to the hospital for another round of xrays, MRI's, blood work, etc. Diagnosis was "pancreatitis". The main treatment for this is to hook up an IV and withhold food/drink for at least 5 that's what they did. DH wasn't allowed even a drink of water. They also put a tube into his stomach to drain all that yucky bile (pretty gross stuff I must say!). On the final full day of his hospital stay, dh was given a liquid lunch (he thought the Jell-O was heavenly! LOL), and then 'solids' for dinner. I think they call the meal a 'solid' because it really doesn't qualify as tasty's simply a solid piece of meat that has all of the "taste" removed. :-) Since dh was able to keep the foods down, he was then released the following day (& much rejoicing was heard around here!).

During dh's hospital stay, I spent many hours there with him (it's a sad, boring place to be alone!). The remainder of the time I spent getting the girls to/from school, getting homework and school projects done, and then taking the girls to visit their dad. One of the nurses took quite a liking to the girls, and outfitted them with masks, gloves, empty syringes, etc.
Allyson and Claire thought their accessories were SO much fun...and they tried their hand at doctoring dad (of course, I HAD to take a picture of that!). :-)

BTW, for anyone wondering.....80% of people who have pancreatitis are alcoholics, 10% have a small gallstone causing irritation, and 10% don't really know why. DH falls into the final 10%. He had his gallbladder removed in March, but they "think" maybe a micro stone was causing the problem -- and it either passed or was removed via the tube. We just hope dh never has this problem again....he was one very sick puppy!!!

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