The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I want to give a big Happy Birthday shout out to my super 6 year old Joshua today!!!!! He is such a wonderful boy and makes my heart full of joy! He loves to read and talk about all kinds of facts. He loves science and skyscrapers and dinosaurs and legos. If you sit down together with a book on any of these subjects, you can have a long discussion about the facts and he will be so happy! Happy Birthday Joshua. I hope Kindergarten and your 6th year rock!

He has been saying how much he would like a "surprise party", LOL! So we gave him a surprise Birthday party this past Sunday! It was fun and here is a video of the surprise moment. Also some other pics from the party. I'm sad to say that the camera I was using had most of the pics come out blurry so I only ended up with a small bunch of good pics.

Surprise Face!!

mmmmm.... waiting for cake!!! Still room after pizza?? Of course!!

Good Friends :)

Worms in Dirt... ewwww!

Painting "pet rocks" was a hit!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

3 CUTE LITTLE RASCALS TOGETHER FOREVER and "Mom, I think we got the best little girl in the orphanage."

This little girl has these boys wrapped around her little finger! All day long she calls their names, "Josssuaaa!!" "Mapheeww!!!" and they run over to her and help her with whatever she needs. She comes with me in the morning to help wake them up in their rooms and calls them to come down from their bunks. She is so excited to see them get off the bus and Joshua runs over to kiss her as Matthew casually and cooly (because he is 7th grade now you know) picks her up and gives her a hug. She loves them and wants them to play with her and calls them over all day long. Even Matthew's 7th grade friends hug her and she has gotten to know and like them. :)

Joshua (5) was the baby of the family and let's not kid around here. This transition has not been easy on him. In fact, he has had some real big changes in behavior while giving up the baby spot. He has been acting particularly difficult and defiant and crying more at the smallest things. So, we have been working with him to help him move into big brother spot. But the neat thing is, he doesn't resent Katie Grace in any way he just resents not being the baby and me not having 4 arms instead of two. And I totally get that. It is hard when I have to hold her a lot with her fears of being left behind and being stuck to me and him not getting the attention he used to get. So I am trying to do my best. But he does adore her now and that is a relief. He kisses her a lot and says things like (in a baby talk voice) "look at this sweet baby" and she pushes him away with a grumpy face because he is way over kissy and gets in her space! Then he laughs and then she laughs too. But she still loves him just the same and he does her.

Last night on the way home from football practice, Matthew (12) said, "Mom, I think we got the best little girl in the whole orphanage." and Joshua (5) said, "I do too!" Then I said jokingly, "So you don't think we should trade her in for a new one?" and Joshua said, "NO!!" I said, "That's good, cause we would never! She's for forever."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quick addendum and edit to the last boo hoo post this morning.. :)

So when I said that no one has come by to visit or has even called me and mentioned only two that had, I had failed to mention that Jacob's parents were here when we got home and have been SO helpful! They have been beyond wonderful! I didn't add them to the visitors because they had been a part of the welcome home and well, just part of the family! But when I read my previous post, it sounded as though I left them out. I just assume everyone knows they are a part of the family and always here for us, but I should never just take that for granted or assume everyone knows how awesome they are! Anyway, I just wanted to correct that.

Also, I think I am just having sort of one of those boo hoo downer days, so don't take this too seriously! In fact, I was thinking... We have only been home a little over 3 weeks, but we adopted Katie Grace 6 weeks ago. So the fact that no one here locally has called me or to ask if they might see her, is not that unusual if you think of only 3 weeks for goodness sakes! It just feels longer to me. Like Leah said on her comment, they may feel like we need time to settle in. And we did, I could just use a little diversion from playing dollies hour after hour now! So..........

This morning, after writing my last post, I remembered my dear friend Karin wanted to do some playdates soon. She is a friend who I work with at Disney who pretty much stays at home now with her 2 year old daughter and lives about 20 minutes away. So I called and sure enough she was ready and going crazy for someone to come over! I headed over and the girls played for 2 hours. Karin is Japanese so she made noodles which is Hua Hua's favorite and we all ate with chopsticks and everyone was so happy for the company. We are planning to do this 2 days a week!

3 weeks home!

Sorry I have not had a lot of time to post. It is not easy to get time on the computer with this little chickie following me around and still stuck to me like glue! She likes to press the buttons on the computer when I am on it so I just usually end up giving up!

Over all Katie Grace Xi Hua is adjusting quite well. She is very good natured, bright and learns as she goes. She is very observant and wants to do things like we do them, so she watches and learns quickly, whatever it might be.

Her tantrums have numbered down considerably. She may only have a couple per week. When she wakes up from a nap, she used to have a big tantrum everyday. Then it became just a long crying jag, now it is about 20 - 40 minutes of serious grumpiness without much crying. I have to work with her through it- she won't let me leave her side, but won't let me touch her. Once it is over, she is a sweet as pie again!

She is still very attached to me, Mom. Now the attachment is good, yes! But the fear and panic is not so healthy. I am working with her to not fear being left behind in her own home. She panics if I walk too fast away, even in the house. But yesterday for the first time, she played with our little neighbor girl, Amber (7), who loves to come over. She let me go out of the room several times to do my housework and only called me a lot and checked on me now and then but didn't scream and run after me. I even got a shower in without her standing at the shower curtain, yay!

She is learning to share more and more everyday and really loves her siblings and mom and dad so much. We hug and kiss and hold hands a lot all day. We play and sing and dance and watch shows together.

I however, have to say, am feeling a little bit down. It is not easy sitting in a house all day on a floor playing dolly or "kitchen" with a 3 year old hour after hour day after day and doing house work in between. I know, I know, that's what moms do! Don't get me wrong, I really am attaching to Katie Grace quite well and she is so sweet, but this is not unlike the feelings of the blues after having a baby and you feel pretty cooped up and disconnected with everyone. No one has come to visit or to see our new daughter or even called to say hi, except our awesome babysitter and my wonderful neighbor Liz. Actually 2 others have messaged me and said they would visit. But that is it! I guess adopting is not exactly like having a bio child in the eyes of the world? Or maybe once you have a few already, people probably figure it doesn't really matter anymore and you got it down to a science. :) That has been a bit of a disappointment and I feel a little out of it. I have to say, I have been feeling better though when I get out in the evenings to football practice or wherever and just out of the house for a bit.

Here are some great pics from this past week:

Here is a cute one of Kate Grace in her too big slippers and backpack she wears around the house and packs with all kinds of things! If you can't find something, it is usually in there, like my phone, someone's shoes, etc!

Daddy gets a little extra love from the boys! Nothing like those hugs to give you some more energy for the day!

Just a cute little face to see everyday!

Swimming pool time with Matthew and Joshua. Thank goodness she lets Matthew take her in too so Mom can take a break and take some pics!

Joshua and Hua Hua all grubby after playing in the dirt after football practice, being silly and having chicken nuggets for dinner.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Katie Grace Hua Hua came to us with bangs (hang in there, this is kind of a neat story when you get to the end!) but they were too long and hung over her eyes, so I have been barretting them to the side, which is super cute, but I am re-clipping that barrett every 20 minutes when she is playing! So, I decided to recut her bangs yesterday. She was so good and just sat on the bathroom countertop for me as I cut them. She LOVED her bangs and said, "mai lee!" Pretty!! I can still barrett them if I want to but they are short enough to stay out of her eyes when playing.

Then, as most little girls love, she grabbed some hair bands I had on the counter top and wanted me to put some ponytails in her hair, so I put a pair of ponytails in, one on each side like I used to wear when I was little.

Suddenly, I realized I was re-creating the little girl from my vision! The little girl that I had to go and find from my dream I had almost 3 years ago. Here she was in front of me! She couldn't be more real! The very reason we set out to adopt our little girl in Asia. You can read about that vision here. You see, 3 years ago, I was already advocating for children here in foster care as a GAL and had a heart for children in need. Also, in the past, I had pursued the adoption of a little girl from foster care and that child was not able to be adopted at that time much to my heartbreak. Adopting internationally was not really a thought until I had this dream and "told" the little girl "I will be there soon". Then this journey began and here we are today with our little Katie Grace Xi Hua!

Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo